Chapter 25

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Ethan POV

Fox, Chase and I sat on the couch, watching the news on mute. Hank was out patrolling. I was waiting to pick Daniel up. He said he'd be at school half an hour later than normal. Chase gave a bored sigh and got up.

"I'm gonna go have a cigarette," he said, stepping outside.

Fox watched him leave then turned back to me.

"You ever feel like there's more to life than this?" He said, out of the blue. I looked back at him, surprised.

"What do you mean?" He shrugged.

"It's just, what are we even doing? Fighting Dominic's guys so they don't take our shitty neighborhood in the trashiest part of Oklahoma. Like, the rest of the world doesn't even give a shit. They have real lives and real purposes, and we're stuck here because Ace is too proud to leave, and enjoys his power over us." He said, his voice raising with every sentence.

"Shhh-" I said; I saw Toto running past our window. Fox waited until we could hear his footsteps fading before continuing.

"If Ace and Dominic and fucking Loco want to stay here and fight each other themselves, they can. But what's the purpose of us staying here and fighting their stupid little battles for them while they intimidate us into doing their dirty work, when all they need to do to end this mess is go out there and fight it out themselves. They're the ones with the power issues they shouldn't be able to sit behind their closed doors and give us orders while we get stabbed-" he motioned to himself- "and kidnapped and killed." He finished angrily, glaring at the television in front of him.

I felt conflicted. When I was seven, I'd had a foster family that wasn't my favorite. My older "brother" and I had always gotten into fights that always left one or both of us a bleeding mess. I ran away from "home" once I'd overheard our foster parents debating over which one of us they would send away. It was then that'd I'd met Ace; when I walked to a gas station in the most dangerous part of town.

"But Fox, Ace raised us. He saved us from being homeless-" he interrupted me.

"No! No he didn't- he did the opposite! He took us in- right when we'd been abandoned. If anyone normal had found us, they would've taken us to an adoption center, where we at least would be able to have a normal home or childhood! He didn't send us to school, instead he taught us how to do his bidding, shoot and kill people for him while we took the bullets and he got the money and power. That's not what someone who cares about children would do to them." He finished, bitterly.

I stared at him. I'd never known he'd felt this way. Fox had always seemed fine with following orders from Ace. I had a feeling that his near death experience had influenced this outburst.

"Well what would you have us do?" I whispered to him. Chase had come in, closed our window, and gone to his room. Fox shook his head.

"Honestly anything would be better than this." I did agree with that, and nodded my head in approval.

"But we can't just leave, Fox- Ace would kill us-"

"Would he? If we moved would he actually take the money and effort to track us down and risk losing his precious neighborhood? We could be anywhere in the world-" Fox quickly stopped talking as Chase opened the door to his room and came out to sit with us again. Fox and I avoided eye contact and pretended to be watching the news. Chase sighed.

"You guys know that I'm not deaf right?" Fox and I quickly looked at each other,

"What are you ta-" I started,

"Don't worry I'm not gonna rat you guys out. I'm on your side with this." Fox looked relieved, and relaxed against the couch.

"Just next time make sure the windows closed before you talk about stuff like this otherwise we'll all be dead."

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