She looked down, and a moment later, she sat down. Reaching for her wine, she held it toward me and gave me a forced smile. “Let’s hear about the new production you’re in, Q. And then I’d like to see any videos or pictures you have of Nova. My aunt card is dying to be punched.”
Logan looked at the guy on his left. “Who are you?”
It lessened the air around the table. Most everyone chuckled, relaxing, but then I glanced at Nate.
Nate was not relaxed.
Nate was pissed.
Quincey, Taylor, and Logan all knew I was pissed. The others didn’t, and if they did, I didn’t care.
Once we left and were in the vehicle, Logan opened his mouth.
I shot him a look. “Not yet.”
He closed it and sat back.
We rode back to the house. Taylor and Quincey went inside.
Quincey glanced back, concerned. I shook my head. “We just have something to hash out. I’m sorry he called your family without your permission.”
Logan was waiting in the kitchen.
Quincey grabbed my hand, giving it a slight squeeze. “Go easy. It was a good thing he called them. Calihan and I needed to have that moment. It’ll make it easier to reach out, to be honest.”
I lifted my head in a nod, but it was hard. Every muscle in my body was screaming to fight, but this was Logan. He was my brother, my best friend, and fuck if we hadn’t endured worse over the years.
He said good night to Quincey as she headed to the room, then locked eyes on me. “Where?”
I didn’t answer, just leading the way into the basement and into one of the back rooms.
He looked around, whistling. “Why haven’t you shown me this before now? This would be a sweet movie theater room.”
I ignored that. “You were testing her?”
He stood to face me.
Neither of us was sitting.
Anger and so many emotions were churning over in my stomach.
“Yeah.” He raised his chin. “I don’t give a fuck that you’re pissed. You’re sleeping with her. I know you. I know how you are as Nova’s father, and I know you wouldn’t start sleeping with her unless you had feelings. Do you love her?”
“Do I—HOW’S THAT ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS?!”
He didn’t react. “Because you’re family to me. Because if it wasn’t for her, you’d have Nova in Boston already, and you know it.”
“You love her, and you’re going to stay here, and I can tell.”
“I—” I held my hands out, feeling fucking confused. “You’re asking about shit that I don’t know myself. I can’t know. It was about Nova, then we went right into the fight to get her and keep her, and now… you’re way ahead of me.”
“Is there more going on here that I’m not seeing?”
“No.” But he stopped.
“Mase, and now you, are both getting your own families. I can tell. It’s always been about our group for you. It’s not anymore. It’s about Nova and Quincey for you.”
“You’re getting way ahead of me. I’m not…” I was still at a loss here. “Logan, is this about you?”
I let that simmer, and then the answer was clear. It was.
No. It was.
I focused on him and said slowly, “I think this is more about you than me. You knew there was bad blood with Quincey and her family. You invited them on purpose.”
“I wanted to see if she’d fight or if she’d run. She can’t run forever—”
There was a wince there, and I got it. I got all of it.
He kept on, “If you’re going to be with her, and if she’s going to be Nova’s mom, then you need someone who’s going to fight.”
“She’s already Nova’s mother.”
“I’m getting that.”
“And if she hadn’t? If she hadn’t fought today?”
“Then she’s not worth it.”
I nodded slowly.
He was venturing into my relationship, so turnabout was fair here. “Like you think you’re not worth it? For Taylor?”
He closed his eyes, turning away.
“You fell in love with Taylor in college. You’ve not proposed, but I know you. You love her with everything in you. It’s not her who’s the problem. Am I right?” I waited a beat. “You think you’re the problem?”
I was right.
I saw it.
His shoulders were lowered, and he wasn’t answering me.
“What’s the issue, Logan?”
His eyes were torn. He looked all twisted. “Stop, Nate.”
“No. You’re in my relationship. I’m coming into yours.”
“What’s the issue, Logan?! What’s the issue?”
He threw his hands up, turning away. “I was a fuckboy growing up.”
“Yes. So was I.”
“You weren’t like me, and you know it. I was—I fucked. That’s what I did. I had a bad feeling, I went and got ass. If I marry her, how do I know that I won’t resort back to that? That I won’t be like my father?” His voice broke. “That I won’t destroy her like my dad did to my mom? You can’t know I won’t do that. I don’t know if I’ll do that.”
Jesus. He thought he was like his father.
Mason should’ve been here for this.
But, dammit. He wasn’t. I was. And I’d been the one to push him.
My voice came out quiet. “You’re not like your father.”
“Push comes to shove, I might be. I was when I was younger.” His tone was so bitter. Haunted.
“No, Logan. No.” I shook my head. “You’re not like your father. He didn’t care that he was cheating on your mom. He didn’t care. Not you. You care. You already care, and you’ve not done anything. You love Taylor so much, but dude, you have to let some of your demons go. The fact you’re scared about this is why you won’t do this. Taylor balances you. She’s your anchor. That’s what you need. That’s what Mason did for you growing up. He was the stronghold, and you could go off and do the shit you did. I see it. No one else would work for you. No one else could be your literal other half. I don’t give a fuck what you think; you will only love her and do right by her. The same with children, because if you’re having those worries about you being a husband, I know what you’re thinking about you being a father. You’re wrong, Logan. You’ll do amazing at both.”