I’d given up my teen years to take care of my family. All of us were walking a tightrope. We had been for years now. We were reaching for good when all we got was bad. Our family balloon was about to burst, and it scared the fucking daylights out of me. I wasn’t going to get any answers now, especially with Sullivan and Seever following Kelton out the door. I wasn’t sure if Sullivan and Seever were leaving since the match was over or if their intentions were to ambush my brother. I wasn’t taking any chances.
Hunt and I searched for Kelton inside and outside the gym. I called his phone and then texted. No response. Standing on the street, I racked my brain, thinking of all the reasons why Kelton would snap like that. I expected moodiness from Kody, not Kelton. My blood boiled as I thought about the night I’d gotten the call from the police about an accident involving Kody. My heart stopped that night.
Hunt slapped me on the arm. “Snap out of it. Kelton can take care of himself.”
He was right—if it was a fair fight. Sullivan didn’t do anything fair. Sullivan’s idea of a fight consisted of a group of assholes ganging up on someone, beating them until they couldn’t walk or breathe.
“Let’s check the garage. Maybe he went back to the truck,” I said.
A cold wind blew. The area was quiet for a Friday night, which was surprising since we were close to Boston University. I half expected more people roaming the streets with all the restaurants and bars in the neighborhood. Maybe since the threat of snow hung in the air people were hibernating.
I tucked my hands in my jacket as we crossed the street behind a passing car. Once we were in the garage, Hunt pressed the elevator button, and it immediately opened. We jumped in and rode the car up to the fourth floor. I bounced on my feet, watching the floors tick by ever so slowly.
The doors slid open, and Kelton’s voice echoed through the garage. “You boys hit like girls,” Kelton spat. “Come on. Is that all you got?”
Hunt and I dashed out and to our right. As we got closer, I grabbed ahold of Hunt’s arm behind a row of cars.
On the other side of the pillars, we could see Sullivan punching Kelton while Seever held my brother’s arms pinned behind his back. Each time Sullivan’s fist connected with Kelton’s jaw, my brother laughed, the sound menacing. Then he spit out blood at Sullivan’s feet.
Quickly, I scanned the area. No one around except us. I motioned for Hunt to go right. Then I went left. We both circled around and came into view at the same time. As I watched Sullivan punch the shit out of my brother, I clenched my hands into fists and locked my jaw. Doing the right thing flew right out of the window. We were going to end this once and for all.
Seever’s eyes grew wide when he saw me. Sullivan smirked as though to say welcome to the party. Oh, it was going to be a hell of a party. When I got done with the asshole this time, I would definitely belong in jail.
“So, boys. Or should I say cowards. You can’t fight fair?” I stalked up to them while Hunt sauntered down from the opposite end. “Why don’t you let Kelton go, Seever, and let my brother fight Sullivan? Or aren’t your balls big enough, Sullivan, to fight someone who’s not tied down?”
Seever frantically darted his head in all directions, more than likely wondering if Kross would jump out from between the cars. Seever would mouth off to any one of us. When it came to Kross, though, the dude shut down. Kross was probably showering and debriefing with his coach. Although it would’ve been satisfying to see Seever and Kross go at it. But the first rule of fighting was never lose focus on the enemy. That small mistake gave Kelton the advantage.
In a blur, my brother head-butted Seever right in the face.
“Fuck,” Seever bit out as blood oozed from his nose.
Without missing a beat, Kelton pinned Seever against the white Mercedes. Poor car. As they went at it, Hunt crossed his bulky arms over his chest.
Sullivan started to back away. The only out he had would be in between cars, and that would slow him down. Either Hunt or I would get to him before he had a chance to get away, and I salivated like a hungry animal to get at my prey.
“Going somewhere?” Hunt lunged and grabbed Sullivan’s arms then twisted them behind his back as he laughed.
Sullivan wiggled and fought, but Hunt was a big-ass, scary dude. He played linebacker for Kensington High last year. I was glad we were friends. I’d hate to be on the other end of his fist.
I ambled up to Sullivan. “So now the tables are turned.”
Grunts sounded behind me as Kelton and Seever battled it out. I flicked my head at Hunt, and he let Sullivan go. I wasn’t about to beat the shit out of him while he was tied down, and I wasn’t about to throw the first punch either. If he was going to have his lawyer daddy press charges, I wanted to be able to claim self-defense.
With a guttural sound, Sullivan charged at me, fists in the air. The guy might be three inches shorter than me, but he was in good shape and had strength behind his punch. He delivered a left hook to my jaw, and I suddenly felt alive for the first time tonight.
He plastered a cocky smirk on his face. I let loose, ramming my fist into his face then his gut. The feeling was euphoric as I released the pent-up frustration that had been building since he’d returned to town last fall. Maybe I understood now why Kross liked boxing.
“Is that all you got, Maxwell? You punch like a pussy.” Sullivan’s voice was sardonic as he returned a blow, catching the corner of my mouth.
As the metallic taste of blood coated my tongue, two things happened at once. Sullivan pulled a knife from his jacket, and the sound of someone chambering a round on a Glock, a sound I knew all too well, reverberated through the garage. I glanced past Sullivan to Hunt, who’d backed away to watch the fight. He shrugged with a lopsided grin. He knew the men behind me with their guns drawn. They couldn’t have been cops either. The law would have identified themselves immediately.
I didn’t want to turn. Not with the knife Sullivan was holding, even though his posture was ramrod straight as if he’d been flash frozen. Hunt wandered toward me. When he reached Sullivan, Hunt shoved him toward a parked car. Sullivan stumbled, and the knife clanged to the ground.
“It’s just Pitt and his men,” Hunt said. “Turn around slowly.”
Wiping the blood from my lip, I pivoted to find the steroid twin with the scar had a gun pointed at Kelton and Seever. The Charles River was looking like a good resting place for my brother. The other steroid twin had his gun pointed in my direction. I wasn’t leaving my brother here. So running was out of the question, and attacking Pitt or his men without a weapon was suicidal.
“Hunter, good to see you.” Jeremy Pitt hung to our left near a dented van with his hands in his dark pants. His daughter, Chloe, was next to him staring at Kelton and Seever.
Fuck me. We were out here in the first place because of her.
“Have you made your decision yet? Your brother Wes speaks highly of you,” Pitt said in a gritty tone, as though he’d been smoking cigars since he was ten.
“What’s he talking about?” I asked Hunt without taking my eyes off the guns or my brother.
“Not now,” Hunt whispered out of the corner of his mouth. “Pitt, tell your men to lower their weapons. You have no reason to point them at us,” he said matter-of-factly.
I could always count on Hunt for not taking shit from anyone, even from a man who supposedly had ties to the Russian mafia.
“Oh, I do. You see, these two morons”—Pitt wagged a finger at Kelton and Seever— “have managed to spew blood all over my Mercedes. And my daughter doesn’t like the sight of blood. Also, I can see a dent from here. Which means someone is going to pay.” He gave me a death glare.
Sure, Kelton, Seever, and the Mercedes were spattered in blood, but why the hell was he eyeing me?
“Mr. Sullivan,” Pitt said. “Are you that stupid?”
All eyes went to Sullivan, who was on my right, halfway bent over, reaching for his knife.
“Stupid is too kind of a word.” Kelton licked the blood from his mouth.
Then all hell broke loose. Seever elbowed Kelton. My brother stuffed his fist into Seever’s gut, slamming him against the Mercedes. By the time Kelton was done with him, we were all going to be tied and beaten. As Pitt tucked his daughter behind him, Sullivan picked up his knife. Hunt reacted quickly, knocking it from him. When the knife hit the ground, Pitt’s daughter flinched.
With one gun trained on me, I held my breath, afraid to move until the scar-head twin slid closer to Seever and Kelton. He aimed the gun inches from my brother’s head.
Death flashed before my eyes. The rage lingering inside me exploded. I was hotfooting it toward Kelton when a gun went off.
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