As he stood by the front window of some stranger’s apartment, Sean wished his brother, Joe, would take a hike, preferably all the way back to Ireland. That’s where Joe belonged.
“I’m only saying you should listen to me.” Joe grabbed Sean’s arm as he tried to leave the window in favor of following Christina’s luscious back side to the kitchen where conversation was bound to be better. Sean looked from his brother’s hand to his eyes as a hint which went ignored. “Quit running away when I try to talk to you.”
“I’m not running.” Let his brother think what he would, Sean didn’t run. He might avoid a touch, but he didn’t run. He yanked his arm free.
“Just listen now, before Christina gets back with our refills. Did you, or did you not come to this party so you could spy on the kid.” He kept his voice low, looking around the room at the handful of ladies to drift in from the other room.
“I didn’t even know where he lived until you said something.”
“And right after I said something you accepted Christina’s invitation, which is why I suspect you.”
“And why you came? To keep an eye on me?” By all the saints, why couldn’t his brother stop following him?
“I told you to stay away from him, from all of them,” Joe said.
“He’s a bright kid with good co-ordination. If he’s related to the cab driver with the red barrette he’ll make a great driver. What are you so worried about?”
“Why can’t you just do what you’re told for once.”
“Listen, big bro. I don’t have to do anything you say. Not now. Not ever.”
“Not even if I’m speaking to you as your captain rather than your brother?”
Sean hissed between his teeth, recoiling. “You aren’t my captain anymore. There is no more ILA. Is there?”
When the Irish Liberation Activists disbanded, Joe and Sean separated. Joe went on to the Celtic Liberation Front while Sean was sent to their grandfather in America. So far as Sean was concerned, that should have been the end of it.
But no. Two years later, there’s Joe on his front porch looking for a place to land. Said he’d left behind the old ways. Said he wanted to start new in America. Didn’t say a thing about whether or not the CLF still existed, or if Joe still liked to bomb and threaten and all the wonderful things Sean had outgrown and no longer wanted a part in.
He was tired of lectures and demands and a basic invasion of his privacy. But it was worth attending this party to hang out with Christina. Christina was hot. If Joe wanted to think he was trying to recruit and underage driver for his internet-based club, well that was going to be a royal pain, because Sean was.
Sean searched Joe’s face, looking for the truth. Would their past leap out at him from behind his brother’s mask? If so, he’d just as soon kill the man where he stood. He didn’t ever want to go back to the nightmare his life in Dublin and become.
Joe must not have liked what he saw in Sean’s eye, because he fell back a step, almost bumping into a curly blond woman who walked up to the window with their hostess. Christina walked up with their beer about the same time. She handed them around, then looked out the window with interest.
“Hey, isn’t that the kid you two were talking about?”
“What? Where?” Sean and his brother both whipped around. Sure enough, there was the kid standing on the porch of the house next door. Sean didn’t recognize the man standing next to him. It wasn’t the red baret guy. Might be a friend.
Sean raised a hand to wave. Joe yanked it down.
“Don’t do anything,” Joe ground out between clinched teeth. “Don’t say anything. Don’t get his attention in any way.”
Sean threw his brother off. “I’ll do what I damn well please!”
“No you won’t!”
“Yes, I will!”
The window next to them was already partly open to let a breeze in. Sean shoved it up the rest of the way. He kicked out the screen while Joe tried to get a grip on him. He crawled out onto the roof over the hostess’s porch and waved madly.
“Hey! Kid! Remember me?”
“That’s him! That’s the man who tried to get me into his car.” The kid pointed.
To Sean’s horror, the man next to the kid pulled out a gun and took a bead on him.
“Halt! You’re under arrest.”