Seth was still trying to get the image of Jackie Stewart out of his mind when he saw him. It took no time at all to recognize him; he looked the same as he did three years ago, when Seth told him point blank never to fucking show up to him again.
Memories of that day came rushing back all at once.
“You can’t come to one of the services? You can’t pop into the wake for five fucking minutes to say goodbye to Mom?”
“I tried, Seth,” Logan had said casually. “I asked, and they said no. We have a raid planned of something for that day. They said they need me.”
“I fucking need you! Our mom is dead, Logan, do you not understand that or something? She is dead. We can never see her or talk to her again. She is just as dead as your fucking gang brothers are when they are lying on the street after being fucking shot.”
Logan got really pissed off at that point. Heatedly, he shouted, “Hey! Don’t minimize my brothers being killed. It isn’t funny when whey die, no matter what you think it is!”
“Oh my God, you are so fucking ignorant! I wasn’t even talking about your gang brothers! I was talking about our mom. Our, mom. Do you even remember what her name is, Logan? Do you remember what she looked like? Do you have any lasting impressions of her on your brain at all?”
“Fuck you, Seth,” Logan growled.
“If you do not come to her wake or her funeral, you are dead to me, do you hear me?” Seth asked angrily, his voice rising with rage.
“I’m not going to her wake or funeral!” Logan screamed at him. “I can’t do that to my brothers!”
“Well fine. I hope your new ‘brothers’ treat you half as well as I have tried to over the past three years. Because when you realize that they are not as close to you as you think that they are, do not come crying to me. Do you hear me?”
Logan flipped him off, waved his hand dismissively, and took off. Seth had expected him to actually try to show up after that, but he didn’t. This was the first time that he had seen his baby brother in three years. To his surprise, he didn’t immediately get mad. He had been expecting an onslaught of maddening screams to erupt from his body, but that didn’t happen. He just felt . . . cold and empty. What does he want? He thought to himself. Why did he come here? How did he even know this is where I would be?
Walking slowly over to his car, he met Logan’s eyes and he said, his voice rough, “Hi.”
“Hi, Seth,” Logan responded, greeting him in a low voice.
“You’re kind of blocking my car off,” he said after two minutes of silence. “Is there a reason for that or are you just feeling like being an ass hole today?”
“Look, Seth,” Logan tried, but he didn’t say anything else. It looked to Seth like he wanted to say something, but apparently, he was having difficulty finding the words.
“Either tell me why you’re here or get the fuck away from me,” Seth finally said bitterly. It was the nicest way he could say Get the fuck away from me you good for nothing son of a bitch, which was what he was thinking. “I do not want to put up with your shit right now.”
“I want out of the gang, Seth,” Logan said quickly, his voice so quiet that Seth had almost missed what he had said. But he did hear his brother say it. To be sure that he wasn’t imagining things, though, he asked, “You what?”
“I want out of the gang,” Logan repeated, his voice a little louder this time.
For a couple of minutes, the two of them fell silent again. Seth kind of kept waiting for his brother to tell him that he was kidding, that he just wanted to pull his leg or something, but he didn’t. He just stood there, giving him a long, hard stare. Seth had seen that stare before; anytime that Logan truly wanted something, he got an almost unbearably hard stare. But even with the convincing look from his younger brother, Seth couldn’t buy it - not yet, anyway.
“Are you fucking with me, Logan?” Seth finally asked, breaking the silence. “Because I swear to God, or whoever you want me to swear to, that if you are fucking kidding about this, then I will-”
But Seth didn’t get the chance to finish that thought, because Logan jumped in, his eyes and voice so somber. “I am being serious, Seth. I want out of the gang. I know that I cannot get out on my own. I don’t really think that you will have nay more luck that I would if I tried it on my own, but you were always smarter than me. Maybe you will see something I’ve missed. I really, really need to be done with this gang. I mean, I am really hopeful that I will get out alive, because I have a woman now - a serious one that isn’t a fucking whore, and I really want to be able to go on dates with her. But if I die, which, let’s face it, is the much more likely scenario, then at least I’ll be dead and the world can move on. You could go back to living your life; Jackie can move on to someone that would actually be good for her. But whichever way it is going to go, it needs to go there soon, because I cannot live with this gang for much longer.”
Seth just stared at his brother for a long time. Why is he asking me to help him? Why does he think that I have the means to help him through this shit? He can’t be serious, he told himself with a shake of the head, There is no fucking way that he is being serious right now.
But when he voiced that opinion, Logan argued vehemently, “No! Damn it, I am being one hundred percent fucking serious right now, Seth! I want out of this gang. I need out of this gang. Look, if you don’t want to help me, fine, I get it. I really do. I just thought I have to try; you’re the smartest guy I know, Seth.”
“Yeah, well, the guys you hang around at the moment aren’t the brightest people you could compare me to. I’m pretty sure that some of them are dumber than the gorillas that know how to sign to their caretakers.”
Logan bristled at that, but then he shook his head and let out a gruff, “I guess I deserve that.”
“Shit, Logan, you deserve a lot worse than that for the hell you put me through for the past three years.”
And Seth meant every syllable of that sentence when he spat it out to his younger brother. Logan was asking him for a favor. No matter how you looked at it, it could always be boiled down to a favor. Whether a person wanted to look at it in as positive a light as that they could and say that Logan wanted out to live a safer life or not, it ultimately always benefitted Logan. If Logan and Seth had been on speaking terms for the past three years, maybe Seth would have said that it would be better for everybody if Logan got out of the gang, but they hadn’t been on speaking terms for the past three years. If Logan got out of this mess, it would ultimately land in Seth’s lap to help him get his feet back under him. Although, even if he refused, Seth figured out pretty quickly that he would contact Logan again . . . or Logan would try to contact him again. It was always the same shit; it was just a different day, today.
“You really want out of this gang?”
“Yes,” his brother said solemnly.
“You’re not just pulling my leg?” Seth asked. It sounded so silly when he said it, but he had to inquire about Logan’s sincerity in this matter. The past three years were weighing heavily against him at the moment.
“I thought about just running away today, but I don’t think I would make it out alive. I tried running once before, you know.”
“You did?” Seth asked, lifting his eyebrows in careful surprise. “When?”
“A couple of years ago,” Logan told him, letting his voice drop to an even lower octave. “I didn’t make it, obviously.”
“Why not?” Seth asked.
“Does it really matter?” Logan asked.
Seth got the impression that it did matter. The fact that it was making Logan uncomfortable seemed to be a sign that the events that had happened the first time he had tried to escape were crucial in helping Seth decide if it was worth his time to try and help him escape a second time.”
“Because I was buying time so that Wyatt could make a clean escape,” he said after a short silence.
Now Seth was interested. When his brother didn’t say anything more, Seth prompted him, “Who was Wyatt?”
“Wyatt is the only member of the gang that was able to escape. When I tried to run the first time, I bumped into him, and with the gang pressing closer, I told him to run; that I would hold them off. So that’s what I did. I held them off long enough to ensure that Wyatt was able to escape undetected a second time.
Tipping his head forward, Seth asked, “Why did you do that?”
“Because Wyatt escaping gives me hope that I will be able to do it someday too. Look, I have to get going. Can I count on you to help me out, if I need it? If not, I understand why you wouldn’t want to get involved. It’s just that, you’re my big brother, you know? And you’re the only family I’ve got left. I’m sorry it took me that long to come to you, but that can’t be helped right now. So what do you say? Are you in?”
Seth looked at his brother and a small hope started to rise inside his chest. He knew that he would most likely regret it, but he looked Logan right in the eye and affirmed, “I’m in.”
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