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“You’re only a year older than me.” He rolled his eyes and clarified, “Sorry. A year and a few months older. You’re not dad.”
That last comment was a parting shot as he stormed off. He went upstairs and slammed his door. I wasn’t his dad, and I muttered under my breath, “I’m the closest thing you got to one, though.” Then my phone buzzed. It was a text was from Nate; he wanted to go drinking tonight. I didn’t even think about it. I typed back, I’m in. Where and when.
Now. Fischer wants to take us to his cabin tonight. Meeting there now.
I looked up towards Logan’s room. I knew what he was going to do. He was going to screw her tonight, just to go against me. Decision made. I typed back to Nate, I’m bringing Logan.
He’s going to drink then.
I sighed. Rather have him do that then something else.
Ok. I don’t know what that means, but ok. Need a ride?
Nah. I’ll drive. See you at Fischer’s. I tucked my phone in my pocket and hollered, “Logan! You’re going to a party instead. Cancel your date.”
The door opened within a second. “Can I drink?”
Fuck my life. “Yes, but not too much.”
“Fine.” He slammed the door again.
I waited.
It opened again. “When are we going?”
“Now. Pack a bag.”
“Okay,” he said, his tone cool, calm. The door shut and I heard, “Hell yeah! This is going to be awesome.”
I grinned, and went to pack my own bag. I would text my mom later and let her know the plans had changed. She’d be hurt, but I didn’t care. She was gone. The responsibility for Logan landed on me. I might not be doing the best, but I was only sixteen-years-old. This was all I knew. It wasn’t until we were already in the van and heading for his cabin that I realized, I never considered letting James know.
I shrugged. He didn’t matter anyway.
When we got to the cabin, Logan jumped out of the van and headed off with a friend. We’d been there before so he knew where to stash his bag and head off for their own fun.
Nate rounded the van from the other side and saw that I was watching Logan round the corner and disappear from eyesight. He asked, “You worried about him?”
I sighed. “Always.” Then I frowned. “Who’s that kid with him? I don’t know if I’ve seen him before.”
“I think that’s Derek Smythe. He’s in the same grade as Logan. Why?”
“Is he a punk?”
Nate laughed, scratching his head. “Aren’t they all? Aren’t we punks?”
“I need to know if he’s a punk that’s going to get Logan in trouble.”
He laughed again. “Besides the trouble we get him in?”
I shot him a dark look.
“Sorry. If you’re thinking drugs and crap like that, I don’t think so. Derek’s older brother is Jared Smythe.”
“He’s in the grade above us?”
Nate nodded, watching as another car pulled up to the cabin. “He seems like a legit guy. His ego is normal sized, like the rest of us.”
We shared a grin and leaned back to watch more and more people arrive. They were older than us, juniors and seniors. Recognizing Jared Smythe as he parked his car, I felt a little more reassured. “We play football with him.”
Nate barked out another laugh and shook his head. “No, you play football with him. You’re both on varsity. Us, minions, aren’t deemed good enough. We’re on the normal teams for our grade.”
“Shut up.”
“Kade.” Jared Smythe came over and held out his fist.
I met it with mine and he nodded, stepping back. He nodded to Nate and shoved his hands in his pockets. Then he glanced around. “I saw your little brother’s here.”
I narrowed my eyes. He slighted Nate just now and if he was going to start on Logan, we’d have problems. I raised my head in a challenge. “Yeah?”
He grinned, shaking his head. “Relax. I’m not going to start with you. I’m just saying because he’s friends with my brother.”
“Yeah.” Since he was in front of me, I asked, “Do I need to worry about your brother?”
“What’s that mean?” His tone cooled and he frowned.
“Does he do drugs?”
He laughed. “That’s rich. You brought your own brother to a party. You know he’s going to drink here and you’re questioning my kid brother?”
“Does he?”
“No.” He raked a hand through his hair and rolled his eyes. “Shit. This is hilarious. You and your friends were invited—”
“Fischer’s my friend.”
“Yeah and his brother is throwing the party. This is an older party. You little shits were invited because of Ethan and because you’re on varsity with us. Come at me with this attitude and I’ll get you banned from every single party for the rest of the year.”
I laughed. “You’re forgetting one goddamn thing, Smythe.”
“You f**k with me off the field, and I will f**k with you on the field.” My threat held weight and he knew it. I was better than him. That meant I held more power than him and there was nothing he could do about it.
A harsh-sounding laugh came from him and he began backing up. “This year’s going to be fun. Let’s see who wins, Kade.”
Nate burst out, “Come on, Jared. He’s just looking out for his kid brother. That’s all. He doesn’t know your brother.”
Jared wasn’t listening. He came back, his eyes flashing with anger. “For the record, it’s your brother that I’m worried about. I love my kid brother too, but yours got him grounded the other night. Derek’s been sneaking out past curfew, taking off to who knows where, and he came home stoned. Sorry, Kade, but your little brother is the reason for all that. He’s the leader in his grade. Mine’s not. You do the f**king math.”
I scowled. “I will. If your brother’s getting stoned, it’s not Logan’s fault. If mine is doing drugs, he’ll have me to answer to. No way is my brother getting into drugs.”
Jared still frowned, but it lessened. He sighed. “Fine. Fine. Okay. Whatever. Truce?”
I didn’t say anything.