It was the next day. I didn't fall asleep last night. Instead, I listened to Bronx's iPod that was on repeat. I listened to the same song over and over again, never getting sick of it once. It never occurred to me how much I really appreciated music until that night, especially when I was deprived of it for four years.

I stayed in bed until I heard some movement around six thirty in the morning. It must've been Pete because Bronx was still in bed, sound asleep. I swung my legs over the edge of the bed and tiptoed carefully out of the room, closing the door quietly behind me. I made my way downstairs and found Pete in the kitchen, making breakfast. He glanced over his shoulder and saw me, greeting me with a friendly, "'Morning."

"'Morning," I replied, stepping into the kitchen and sitting myself down at the island. He was making pancakes and bacon and there was a pot of coffee brewing. In his high chair, next to me, was Saint, dozing in and out of sleep, his head tilting back and forth.

"How'd you sleep?" Pete asked me.

"Fine," I lied, shifting uncomfortably in the stool. "Why are you up so early?"

"I don't know. It seems like a reasonable time to get up and start the day, and I never really sleep that much anymore anyways." I know how it feels. "Plus it takes me about thirty minutes to make breakfast for the little squirts and then I've got to get ready for band practice, so...yeah."

Band practice. I remembered when I used to go to band practice. I would always show up late and it would piss the guys off so much, but I showed up nonetheless.

"I was actually hoping you could watch the kids for me...?" He inquired, his voice slightly higher as if he wasn't sure I was going to say yes.

"You want me to watch your kids?"

"Yeah. Is that okay?"

"I-I guess," I stuttered, astonished he wanted me to watch his kids. I was a criminal, after all, who got out of prison early on parole for good behavior. I didn't think anyone would want their kids in a mile radius of me.

"Great. I really appreciate it, man." He slid the spatula underneath one of the pancakes on the pan and picked it up, setting it on top of two pancakes on a plate and pushing the plate towards me. "Eat up, you're going to need it watching this little devil." He reached over the island and ruffled Saint's hair, waking him from his light sleep with a start.

"Hey, I'm going to take a shower." He announced, picking up some syrup and some butter and sliding them across the countertop to me, then retrieving me a fork and knife and handing them over. "Just make sure Saint doesn't choke on his drool and if Bronx comes down, make sure he eats. Like I said, he's been a brat lately and not doing as he's told so-"

"Got it," I cut him off, becoming overwhelmed with all of his orders. He gave me a reassuring smile before escaping upstairs.

I heaved a sigh and picked up my utensils and dug into the pancakes.

*****

Pete kissed his kids on the heads before leaving the house for band practice. I stood in the doorway, watching as he got in the car that was being driven by Andy, and in the passenger seat was Joe. They both just kind of stared at me as Pete got in, probably shocked to see me. That's how everything and everyone seems to be now. Shocked. The car door closed behind Pete and the car sped away. I heaved a sigh and closed the door behind me.

Bronx was standing at my feet and Saint was in my arms, supported on my hip. Bronx crossed his arms over his chest and glared at me.

"What?" I asked him with an attitude.

He just shook his head and walked away. I rolled my eyes and followed after him.

Meanwhile...

Pete, Andy, and Joe were driving to the studio. The car was completely silent, an obvious tension hanging over the three band members. Joe cleared his throat and pivoted his torso so he was looking at Pete, asking, "So you're letting Pat stay with you?"

"Yeah," Pete replied, his gaze directed out the window, watching the cars and scenery pass by before averting his eyes over to the guitarist, "Why? Do you want him to stay with you?"

"No, that's not what I meant. It's just..."

"We just don't know how could you still want to be associated with him after what he did to Sarah..." Andy finished Joe's sentence, looking at Pete briefly through the rear view mirror before returning his attention to the road.

"He's my best friend," He retorted brusquely.

"Yeah, he's ours too, Pete, but-" Joe began to say when the bassist cut him off.

"Well you're not acting like it. You're acting like you don't know that Patrick wouldn't do something like what he was accused of doing. You're just like the rest of them."

Joe and Andy remained silent.

Along with the many others who didn't believe Patrick were Joe and Andy. It's not that they didn't want to believe that he was innocent, but there was just so much evidence that pointed towards him being the criminal.

"And I don't think he deserves to be ostracized like this," Pete went on to say, "Criminal or not. He's our friend. And I feel bad for him. First he's sent to a place not meant for a guy like him and then he comes back to find out that he's lost everything. He's lost Elisa, he's lost Declan, he's lost you guys..."

"Hey, we're not the only ones in the band," Joe defended himself and the drummer.

"Yeah, but it wasn't my decision to let Brendon take his place." Pete snapped, covering his face with his hands and mumbling through them, "Sorry, guys, I just..." He runs his hands down his face and puts them in his lap, "It's been rough for me these past few months for me. I'm just a little stressed out right now. And Patrick coming back..." His voice trailed off.

"It's the icing on the cake," Andy remarked.

"Right," Pete agreed, tilting his head down and pulling out a necklace from his pocket, specifically Meagan's. He ran his thumb over the metal heart.

A tear drop fell from his eye and splashed onto the charm.

He folded his fingers over the necklace before pocketing it and sitting back in his seat, asking what they would be doing today at the studio, which was really pointless since he knew they were going to be planning for the tour to promote their newest album. He just needed something to get his mind off of Meagan.

Anything.

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