“Ethan Fischer’s having a big one.”
“Isn’t there supposed to be a bonfire tonight?”
“That’s a no-go. The only way back there is next to Quickie’s, and they shut it down. I guess the clerk keeps getting beat up by the Broudou brothers, so they’ve been banned. I heard police were even going to be there, and if the Broudou’s can’t go, no one from Roussou’s going. Hence,” he flashed his dimples at me, “there’s a Public party at Fischer’s. I was there earlier.”
It was perfect. “That’s where we’re going.”
He didn’t move. In fact, he turned the engine off.
“You sure about this?”
“What do you mean?” There was something in his gaze that made me uncomfortable. As he continued to stare at me, the more I wanted to run. Then it clicked. Pity. He felt sorry for me. “I know.”
“About Kate and Mason?”
His eyes widened.
“I know. That’s why I’m going.”
“They weren’t there before.”
“Let’s go, Mark.” They were going to be there. She was going to be there, and so was I. I wasn’t going to miss this for the world.
I glanced at Logan as he checked his phone for the fourth time. We were waiting in my car, parked outside of Ethan’s house, and I was tempted to punch my little brother. “We’ve been here five minutes. Relax.”
“You relax,” Logan shot back. “We need to get in there and get that video back from Kate. If it were Sam in it, you’d go steal the video from Kate’s house.”
“You would too and we both know it.”
“You’re not pissed about the damn video and we both know it.”
Logan didn’t comment on that, not that I expected him to, but I rolled my eyes and sighed as I leaned back in my seat. Twenty people were running around Ethan’s front yard in rhythm to the bass from inside. Drunken idiots. The entire night had been f**ked up. The hurt in Sam’s eyes wasn’t something I’d forget any time soon, but I shoved that memory aside, for now.
“Finally.” Logan pressed a button and his window went down.
Ethan, Strauss and Derek broke away from the crowd and crossed the street. A few from the front yard watched them, but no one followed.
“Yo.” Ethan led the way around to Logan’s side. He held onto the Escalade’s top and leaned against it. “What’s the plan?”
Logan glanced at me.
I leaned forward. “You guys got all your things ready to go?”
Ethan looked to the other two, and they all nodded. “Looks like. That was the plan we hashed out at Nate’s. I didn’t know it was going down tonight.”
“Okay. Sounds fine to me.” A cruel grin came over him. “I love butchering little shits.”
Derek snorted in laughter. Strauss nudged him out of the way, hitting his shoulder into Ethan’s harder than necessary.
Strauss ignored him and addressed me, “I thought you were waiting another day.”
“This idiot,” I pointed at Logan, “got caught getting a blow job on camcorder.”
Ethan and Derek burst out in laughter. Strauss grinned, but reached inside and punched Logan’s shoulder. “Should I congratulate you or call you a moron?”
Derek snickered. “Depends on who the girl is.”
A fresh burst of laughter came from Ethan. “Did she deep throat you?”
They kept laughing.
Logan cursed and slammed his hand against the car door. “Shut the f**k up.”
“Shit.” Derek straightened away from the vehicle. “I thought this was a topic we could laugh about. You would be if it happened to one of us.”
“You better run, Streeter,” Logan threatened, his hand going to his door handle. “I’m going to beat your ass until—”
“Enough.” I stepped out and slammed my door. As I rounded to their side, I asked Ethan, “Kate’s inside?”
“Not yet. You called her?”
“Yeah. I told her to bring everything.”
“You think she will?”
I shrugged, glancing at Logan from the corner of my eye. “She knows I hate Tate.”
Derek snorted. “And she thinks the two of you are tight again.”
Strauss slapped his hand to Derek’s chest and pushed him back a step. He moved in front of me. “Kate stopped sniffing around us when she thought the two of you were good again. Is that going to be a problem?”
“No. We just need proof she was coming around before that.”
“We got that.”
Logan got out of the Escalade as I told Strauss, “You and Derek stay up top. We’ll do this downstairs.”
“I cleared it out when I got your text,” Ethan added.
“Good.” I glanced at Logan. “Where’s Tate?”
He checked his phone. “She’s inside. I’ll tell her to hide in a room downstairs for now. You know Sam’s probably headed here too.”
Everything was falling in place, except for that.
As we started for the house, I told Strauss, “Sam will figure out where we’re at. She’s got too many buddies from FCA here. Don’t stop her, just let her through. We’ll have Tate play interference when she gets into the basement.” I didn’t like it, but she was coming no matter what. “And don’t let anyone touch her. She’s still hurting. A lot.”