Chapter 41: Family.

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Chapter 41

I ran a shaky hand over my face.

"Nate, do me a favor and don't lie to me." I said quietly and he looked away, resting his back against the wall, elbows propped onto his knees and gun held firmly in his hand.

Downstairs we could hear the men, making no attempt to be quiet. They were sloppy if you asked me. I imagined the sensible thing to do would be to enter quietly, surprise us using stealth rather than announcing exactly where they were. It was clear they weren't professionals but it didn't take a professional to end a life.

I worried my bottom lip between my teeth and glanced at Kyle, who had moved to sit between John's legs, his own elbows resting on his lover's raised knees, and his back against John's chest.

John's easy acceptance was worrying, and I clenched my fists, trying to keep my hands from shaking.

"We've just gotta protect each other. We'll find a way out of this." Kyle whispered.

 As always he was filled to the brim with optimism, but in light of our current situation, his words did nothing for me.

"I can't believe this is happening." James whispered brokenly.

 He had tears streaming down his face and no matter how much he swiped at them, they just kept coming. I reached over and dropped a comforting hand on his shoulder.

I could understand how he was feeling, at least the five of us knew each other. James, though, James was all alone up here, with no one to assure him but a bunch of strangers, and despite the fact that he may very well be the reason I'd been wrongly convicted; I couldn't just sit here watching him suffer.

"Kelly just wants his son back. What if we use him to negotiate?" John said and I was already shaking my head when Eddie spoke.

"Simon told me earlier that Kelly's with him. I don't think he's involved in this and if he is, he's one sick bastard getting his kid mixed up in this mess." He finished and Nate let out a string of curses.

"It's just one shit storm after another." John commented drily.

"Who the hell are these guys?"

"T-they want me...because I know too much." James whispered through his tears, and we all turned to face him. Completely alert.

"What do you mean? What do you know?" Eddie prodded, and James shook his head then took a shaky breath.

"I know about...." Another deep breath. "the drugs and the people they killed, the guards, everything...but they made my dad do it, he'd never just get up and kill someone; they forced him to do it, I swear!" he hissed. By now his face had gone red and splotchy and I patted his shoulder again, trying to calm him.

"Wait, wait, wait..." Nate began, his brows furrowed in obvious confusion. "What are you talking about?"

"Start from the beginning and hurry up." John told him, glancing around the room as if he expected someone to burst out of the shadows at any moment.

"Wait gimmie the phone." Kyle said to Eddie who pulled it out, but didn't pass it on.

"Why?"

Kyle pulled it from his hand without a word and fidgeted with it for a second, before placing it on the floor in front of James. "I'm recording it, just in case...in case we don't make it." He said and I swallowed past the lump in my throat.

John looked away and Eddie nodded. If anything, I think it put more stress on James, who wrapped his arms around himself, while Nate only watched, his face devoid of emotion.

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