“And out of respect for all of you,” he says, “I won’t take their licenses. But if there’s a next time, they’ll be riding the bus for the rest of their lives.”
Madoc nods, looking contrite, and asks, “Of course. Can we see them now?”
“We have them in a room. I’ll get them.”
“No,” Madoc shoots back. “Leave them there. We need to talk to them first.”
“Right now?” Fallon questions him.
But he just ignores her. All seven of us trail to the back of the station, A.J. and little James staying with a police officer, as we follow Barry. But when he stops and opens the door to one of the interview rooms, a flood of shouting and furniture scraping against the floor hits us, and all I can see is the cop and Madoc rushing into the room, pulling Hunter off Kade, who’s backed against the wall and bleeding from his mouth.
“Oh, my God,” Juliet breathes out.
She quickly pushes past me, into the room, and rushes for Hawke, who’s bending over with his hands on his knees and breathing hard like he was trying to break up the fight.
We all hurry in, and I close the door behind me as Tate and Jared rush for Dylan, who’s standing behind Hawke and looking like she’s about to cry while Jax picks up the chairs that have toppled over.
Hunter is panting and glaring at Kade as he tries to yank himself out of his father’s grasp. “She could’ve been killed! You’re a piece of shit!”
“Come on, you little bitch!” Kade holds out his arms, begging for more.
“Enough!” Madoc bellows, pulling tighter on Hunter. “What the hell is the matter with the both of you?”
Kade moves closer to his brother, threatening his space and unwilling to back down, but then Jared is there, staring down at Kade, walking into him and forcing him back again. Kade’s jaw flexes as he stares up at his uncle, but he finally drops his glare and stops.
Everyone is damn near hyperventilating, but slowly everything starts to calm down. Hunter stops fighting against his father’s hold, and Hawke is resting against the wall, looking exhausted.
When Madoc lets go of Hunter, he comes to stand between his sons and looks back and forth at both of them. “What the hell? You both realize that ‘mayor’ is an elected position, correct?”
The police officer chuckles, and I realize I haven’t even thought about that. Everything that happened tonight could hurt Madoc’s campaign—not that his career comes first, but it won’t look good when Madoc can’t even keep his children in line.
“I think we should just take them all home,” Tate says, Dylan’s face buried in her neck. “It’s late.”
“Yes, let’s sort through this tomorrow,” Fallon adds.
But Madoc just shakes his head. “No. Everyone over here.” He points in front of the table. “Now!”
I jump, noticing a vein on his temple and his face getting red. I’ve hardly ever heard Madoc get angry. I’ve seen him get frustrated in the garage or yell at Jared or Jax, but he rarely gets pissed like this.
Hawke, Kade, and Dylan round the table, standing in front of it, while Hunter lurks behind them, everyone silent.
Behind me, the police officer leaves the room, quietly closing the door behind him.
Madoc stares at the kids, shaking his head. “You know what? You’ve all had it made,” he tells them. “You’ve had the very best of what we could give you. Loving, supportive two-parent households, family vacations, phones, iPads, clothes, cars . . . You were spoiled!”
I glance at the others, my brothers and their wives, and see them all listening. No one has a problem that Madoc is yelling at their kids.
“And we knew,” Madoc went on. “We knew this would happen, but, for some reason, we couldn’t not give you those things. How were we supposed to withhold anything that made you happy? We just thought you’d learn some goddamn humility. We thought you’d learn how to be grateful for everything you have.”
Dylan and Hawke are avoiding his eyes, looking contrite, while Kade is still scowling, and Hunter’s fists are balled up, both of the twins looking angry.
But they’re quiet.
“And we were no better at your age,” Madoc continues. “But we did know that some things couldn’t be replaced. Not everything is disposable.” And then he looks over at Fallon, his voice growing quiet. “You only learn that lesson through loss, and that is something you kids have never known. Not one of you.”
He draws in a deep breath and crosses his arms over his chest. “I think it’s time you all start learning that lesson. You have two choices,” he bites out. “You’re too destructive together. Hawke graduates in a year, so let him and Dylan stay put, but my boys can switch schools—”
“What?!” Hawke bursts out.
“No—” Dylan follows, standing up straight and looking suddenly worried.
“That’s crazy!” I hear Tate say.
“Or . . . ,” Madoc interjects, because he’s not done. “You all can take your punishment and build some goddamn character if you want to stay together.”
“Yes,” Dylan answers quickly. “Don’t send them away.”
Madoc can’t tell Jared and Jax what to do with their own kids, but nonetheless, Dylan and Hawke aren’t toxic together anyway. They don’t need to be separated.
But I’m sure that, even though Hunter and Kade are destructive together, he doesn’t want them separated. They’re brothers, after all. And maybe, just maybe, he figures taking them out of Shelburne Falls and away from certain “distractions” will solve their problems.