Ideally, though, that’s a last resort. This is everyone’s home, and we all belong together.

“You all owe about forty grand in damages, so what are you going to do?” Madoc asks.

Dylan speaks up. “We’ll pay it.”

“Oh, you’ll pay it,” Jared repeats in a humorous tone. “Will that be Visa or MasterCard?”

“We’ll pay it out of our college funds and then we’ll work to put the money back,” she clarifies.

Madoc nods. “What else?”

“Curfew by ten?” Kade offers.

But Madoc just laughs, his chest shaking as he turns to Jared. “That’s cute,” he tells him. “They actually think they’re allowed outside of the house besides work and school.” And then he turns to face Kade. “Grounded. The entire summer.”

Kade’s chest visibly caves, but Hunter remains silent.

“What else?” Juliet joins in.

“Extra chores?” her son suggests.

“Keep going,” I hear Tate say, looking at Dylan.

“We’ll volunteer at the hospital a few hours a week,” her daughter adds.

“And?” Jax folds his arms over his chest.

“And we’ll work for free at the summer camp as soon as school lets out,” Kade grumbles as the consequences get heavier and heavier.

“And?” Madoc keeps going, looking at Hunter.

But it’s Dylan who speaks up. “We’ll write letters of apology to the people whose property we damaged and to the city.”

“And?” Tate says.

“And we will earn back your trust,” Dylan adds. “We’re so sorry.”

Madoc steps up to Kade, glowering down at his son who doesn’t look sorry at all. Just pissed that he got caught.

“Are you?” he questions in a hard voice. “Are you sorry? Because if it’s not fair, I can enroll you at Weston on Monday.”

Kade looks like he bit into a lemon, but he finally nods, mumbling, “It’s fair. We’ll do it.”

“Not me,” another voice speaks up, and Madoc raises his head to look at Hunter.

I pinch my eyebrows together in confusion and shock. What?

“I’ll pay for the damages and work to replace the money out of my college fund,” his son says, “but I’m taking option A.”

“What?” Fallon moves forward.

“Hunter, no,” I hear Dylan demand, her frightened eyes on him.

Madoc’s entire body tenses, and he doesn’t say anything as he stares at his son.

Hunter wants to leave. Switch schools. He actually wants to go?

“We’ll talk about this at home,” Madoc says, turning away.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Hunter insists. “You said it was an option.”

Kade, who’d been silent, finally turns his head to look at his brother, something I can’t place going on in his eyes. “You want to leave?”

For all the arguing and the fighting, Kade doesn’t sound happy.

Hunter locks eyes with his dad, his demeanor eerily calm. “I was thinking St. Matthew’s.”

“That’s our biggest rival,” Hawke blurts out. “Are you fucking kidding me?”

“Hey!” Jax barks at his son’s language.

Hawke looks back down, shutting up.

“I could stay with Grandpa Monday through Friday,” Hunter tells Madoc. “It’s only an hour away from here. I’ll be home on weekends.”

But Madoc shakes his head. “You are not living . . . with him.”

“So you were bluffing?” Hunter throws back.

Oh, boy.

Yeah, Hunter could enroll at Weston and still live at home, but if he wanted to go to St. Matt’s, he wouldn’t be able to make that commute every day. He’d have to live with Ciaran, Fallon’s father, in Chicago.

And despite the fact that Madoc and Ciaran get along semi-well, Madoc still doesn’t want his son living with an ex-gangster.

Hunter pushes off from the table and walks up to his father, dropping his voice. “I need to get out of here,” he tells him in a near whisper. “I need something of my own. Please.”

My heart goes out to him, because I know what he’s feeling. Kade rules the school. He’s always the one everyone notices and the life of the party. He feeds off being the center of attention, and Hunter doesn’t ever seem to be able to carve out his own niche. He feels out of place and invisible.

I can’t see Madoc’s face, but I can tell he’s staring at his son, not saying anything, probably because he doesn’t want him to go, but he also doesn’t know how to fix everything that’s making Hunter unhappy.

“Fine with me.” Kade finally breaks the silence, the hint of pain in his voice that I heard earlier now gone. “Maybe now he’ll stop touching my shit.”

I close my eyes for a split second. Jesus. He’s talking about Dylan. I know he is.

She’s the wedge between them.

Hunter’s eyes turn dark, and a loaded smirk I’ve never seen before curls his lips. He turns around, and I’m afraid he’s going to hit Kade again, but he simply walks up to his brother, calm and confident.

“I’ll see you on the field in the fall,” he says, tossing it out like a threat.

Kade straightens, both brothers the same five foot eleven as they glare at each other. “Damn right you will.”

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