Family Ties

A collective gasp echoes through the room as I walk through the door, dripping red on the white stone tile. The room so bright after the darkness from outside and the dim red interior of my truck.

“Shit man, are you alright?” Mac leaps up, dribbling beer on his Alabama shirt and turns off Jason Aldean in the middle of “You Make It Easy.”

This definitely ain’t easy—my entire family staring at me in the sudden silence, the Championship game playing on mute.

“Jason!” Mom shoots to her feet, knocking her wine glass to the floor, her face white. She pushes past my dad, who gawks at me like Saban himself walked in and said how do.

I hold up a hand to stave off her examination, but she pats me down anyway, checking for evidence of injuries. She won’t find any, but she does helpfully manage to contaminate some evidence in the process. I stop her before she gets to full blown hysterics.

“I’m fine. It’s not my blood.”

She freezes, not taking her eyes off my hand as blood run down my wrist like drips of paint. Matt and Bobby eye each other on the couch but don’t say anything. I know they won’t—for now.

The only one who isn’t fazed is Grandpa Richard. He didn’t even blink when I came in. He got the hard look, eyes flicking over me, already assessing the situation, already calculating.

I counted on that.

It’s the main reason I got here so fast. If anyone’s going to save me, it’s gonna have to be him. Even if it was all my fault, I’m still a Montgomery and in this house, family comes first.

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