Friday Sneak Peek – A New Tune

Looking for a Christian romance novel to read this weekend? Check out this sneak peek from my book A New Tune, which is just $3.99 on Amazon or FREE on Kindle Unlimited! (You can find it here.)

A New Tune 2

~Marie~

Even in the sand, she could outrun him.

Little surprise, though, since she’d first learned to walk on this same sand, had tread more than one path across the shore, and had lived all of her life right here by the ocean. He had always been there, three steps behind her.

“Marie!” he yelled, not as winded as she had figured he might be with the speed she’d been running.

She groaned at the energy still in his voice, knowing the truth that it suggested – that she had always outrun him before because he had let her. That he had been content, all these years, to let her think that she was in charge, that she’d been the strong one, that they were who they were because he loved her as much as she loved him.

But what if it wasn’t true? What a horrible thought, especially now, as it was all about to change.

“Eish, man!” he yelled, finally putting his hand to her arm and turning her into him effortlessly. She yanked out of his grasp and shot him an irritated look. “You did not give me a chance to explain myself!”

“Oh, I think I understood just fine,” she huffed, punching him in the arm with all of her strength.

He didn’t even flinch. Blast it, when had he suddenly become immune to her best efforts? All of her best efforts? Marie flushed at the very thought of all those efforts coming to nothing –

“Nee, man,” he said, “you are so stubborn.”

She scowled at him. “Stubborn?” she spat out. “Just because I don’t understand why you took their side? Why none of our plans seem to matter at all to you now? Why you were so eager to kiss my dad’s butt this afternoon –”

“I did not kiss his butt,” he swore.

“Oh, yes, you did,” she said. “You stood there, Piet, and told me that I should listen to him. That I should go away.”

It was her worst nightmare. Marie Boyd was an American… in nationality, at least. Apart from a handful of short trips to the US to visit her grandparents when her parents were on missionary furlough, she’d never spent any real time there. Life was Africa. Life was Namibia.

Life was Piet.

His parents were nationals, but they’d been home to Marie. From her first days until now, the Bothas had been as familiar, as welcome, as comforting to her as her own family. She and Piet had grown up alongside one another and had never imagined that it would be any different than it was, spending all of their days together seaside, just as they were.

Standing with him, she let her mind roam back through their days as children by the sea as their parents visited together, when they would stay up at night, long after they were supposed to have gone to sleep, giggling together over the scary stories that they would tell, invariably always ending up in the same sleeping bag together because they were too scared to sleep alone. And then to the day when they were teenagers and their sleepovers were abruptly ended because their parents found them wrapped in one another’s arms in the morning, innocently enough for them, but looking suggestively enough like the beginning of something else.

And as it turned out, it was, as Marie soon noticed that Piet stood taller, stronger, and felt almost electric to her as they spent their holidays together. And Piet noticed that Marie had curves, was impossibly soft to the touch, and had a thousand different alarms going off in his mind and body every time she glanced at him.

Then, there were sweet kisses and embraces shared when their parents were in another room, certainly not oblivious to what must be going on between their children. And then, of the times they could never have guessed at, when the kisses turned urgent enough that Marie would go out to visit friends and would end up at the Botha house alone with him. Long nights together, when his parents were up in the north, where Piet and Marie spent hours alone discovering one another, inch by inch, in a way they hadn’t before, hands and lips, eyes and breaths, moments collected in a dark room by the sea. And even now, as Piet stared at her, Marie could remember how it felt to look up at his face on those nights, the same face of the boy who had been her childhood, staring down at her as they crossed a line together, truly making her believe all the Afrikaans words he whispered afterward, every time, about how he would never love anyone the way he loved her.

Never.

But here they were, on the edge of a challenge to all those whispered promises. Her parents were insistent that she attend university in the States. It would prepare her for life in either nation, for a future anywhere in the world. She needed to prepare for whatever future the Lord had for her, they had said.

How could they not know that she’d already chosen her future? Her future was her past, her present. Her future was Piet.

She watched him as he struggled for the right words to say. How she had always loved his blue eyes, his dark hair, his calm, easy way… well, most of the time, anyway. Now, as he frowned at her and stared intently into her eyes, he was worked up and bothered. And though he called her stubborn, he was more stubborn than she was, more insistent on having his way, and completely unyielding when it came to deciding what he was going to do, what she was going to do, what they were going to do.

They had already decided it. School was done. They were going to marry. They were going to be together.

She had never had to convince him of this. He had been more than eager to make this their reality. He had promised her forever when they were just children, insistent that they would have their own cottage on the beach when they grew up, where they could eat cereal three times a day, buy a trampoline for the backyard, and build forts in the living room to sleep underneath. He had promised her forever when they were young teenagers, hopeful that their cottage would include a video game room, a brick oven for homemade pizzas, and constant access to the beach for surfing. He had promised her forever just the week before, as they tugged their clothes back on between kisses, swearing that the cottage needed nothing more than her and that he had no intention of ever leaving home as long as she smiled that way at him, over her bare shoulder, biting her lip at him and –

She punched him again and cursed at him in the most vulgar Afrikaans she could manage.

Piet said nothing for a moment, then sighed. “Well,” he began in English, “that’s mature, Marie.”

“You want to talk about maturity, Piet? How about being mature enough to man up and do what you want to do, instead of placating my parents?”

“Hey,” he said, raising his voice to match hers, “I do what I want to do. I haven’t spent any of the past two years asking for their approval. I think we both know that your father would have me killed if he knew the half of it.”

“He sure would,” she said. “Which should give you even more reason to just keep on with our plans! I think he’d rather us marry than keep on like we’ve been, honestly, and –”

“Do you think I can provide for a family right now?” Piet interrupted her.

“Oh, good grief, Piet,” she sighed, relieved that they were finally getting to the heart of it. “Is that what this is about? About your need to provide?”

“Ja,” he said. “And it’s not a bad thing, Marie. I’m eighteen. Do you think I can do anything to provide for you right now, just as I am?”

He wouldn’t need to do a thing. Marie wouldn’t expect it, wouldn’t require it, when all she really wanted was him. Just him. Just as he was right now. It wasn’t about being taken care of or having anything – it was about being together.

“I love you, Piet,” she said, wrapping her arms around his waist. “That’s enough. We’ll figure everything else out.”

He sighed… and slowly withdrew her arms. “I’m eighteen,” he said again, softly.

“And I’m seventeen,” she said, her anger bubbling up again at the way he was putting distance between them.

“I think I’m too young for what you want,” he said.

“I thought it was what we wanted,” she managed, blinking back tears. “Piet, you’ve been promising me a future together –”

“Someday,” he said. “But we’re too young right now, Marie. I’m too young.”

A pause, as she watched him fight to meet her eyes. “Is there someone else, Piet?”

“No!” he shouted at her, putting his hands to her face, his eyes pleading with her to understand. “And there will never be anyone else. Why can’t you just go and take a few years, let me figure out what I need to do here, then come home to me, and –”

“A few years?!”

“If you really want to be with me for as long as you say you do,” he said hotly to her, “then what are a few years to appease your parents, to get the free education you’ve got waiting for you, to let me set up a home for us? What is it, Marie? Why does it matter?”

It mattered because she knew it would change things. These few years, removed from one another – they would fundamentally change something. Even now, the mere suggestion of spending half a world apart from one another, his calm demeanor at even the possibility… it was changing things.

She didn’t want any of it to change.

“I’m not ready,” he pleaded with her. “I’m just not ready.”

And there was the truth. He wasn’t ready because somewhere in his heart, he wasn’t sure. She was certain of it.

“Marie,” he insisted, as she fought back tears, as he drew her close, “ek lief is vir jou.”

“I had thought so,” she said to his declaration of love. “But I –”

He leaned in and covered her mouth with his, silencing whatever protest she had to offer. This was his way, to silence all of her protests, her concerns, her worries, with his lips. Although with Piet? Marie rarely had any protest at all.

And as his kiss drew to a close, Marie had the fleeting, horrifying thought that this would be the last time she kissed Pieter Botha.

“We will talk about it more,” he breathed out. “Still a few weeks until you must leave, your father said.”

She swallowed the lump in her throat and nodded.

A few weeks.

 

Oom Willem was having a difficult time understanding her tear-stained declarations thirty minutes later.

“I’m not sure I understand, Marietjie,” he said, using the term of endearment that they all used for her. “Little Marie.” Which wasn’t so apt now, given the rude, explicit, and overall loud way she said her earlier statement again, this time in Afrikaans.

“Shame, man,” he said, after a stunned moment of silence. “I understood perfectly.” He looked to Aunt Sophie and shrugged. “What do you think, Sophie?”

The beautiful, tall American frowned slightly. “Are you running away from something, Marie?”

“Why do you think that?” Marie asked, wiping her eyes furiously.

“Because you have not wanted anything to do with the States before now!” Willem said, echoing his wife’s suspicions. “And today, you storm in here and tell us that you’re going to college a few weeks early. And you want us to go with you to get you settled in!”

Marie sighed. “Well, perhaps I’m reconsidering it all now. The scholarship to that… tiny school no one’s ever even heard of.”

Oh, Marie knew a few things about the tiny college that had called her earlier in the year. It was summer in Namibia but winter in the States, and Marie had been, very literally, in her bikini sitting on top of Piet as he lay on the beach, smiling up at her and whispering about all the ways that he would make her very happy indeed –

And the very remembrance now made her stomach turn with nausea, not unlike the way it had turned back on that day at the beach, when the call came in on her cell phone. Marie had no need for American universities, but this particular small, private school with grants and funds especially for missionary children, had plenty need for her. They were calling not only to offer her that money but an additional scholarship which would cover the entirety of her tuition, living expenses, and book expenses, all because of her audition tape.

Marie had never sent an audition tape. She hadn’t even knowingly recorded one. As she sat on Piet and ended the call with great confusion, she told him the news. A series of shadows had passed over his face, even then. By the time she figured out and confirmed what she had guessed – that her parents had been behind it all, had filled out the paperwork, had filmed her during a particularly rowdy music service up north in Oshakati – it had all started to unravel.

Piet had started seeing reason where there was none. He had begun to listen to her parents, and their speculation about the future had changed his heart.

“Marie?” Sophie asked, gently, pulling her back to the present.

“I just… I need to go now,” she said simply, trying for a smile that fell woefully short of the goal.

Willem exchanged a look with Sophie and frowned again. “Nee, man, what did Piet do?”

“Piet,” Marie hissed, “did nothing, Willem. Absolutely nothing.”

“Then why are you angry at him?” Willem shouted.

“Willem,” Sophie sighed. “When she says he did nothing, she means he did something. Clearly. Have you learned nothing in seventeen years of marriage?”

He thought on this for a second. “I’ve learned nothing… which means I’ve learned something, ne?”

Sophie smiled at this. “Quite, Willem.”

“Ja, I’ve learned that women are sometimes passive-aggressive.” He smiled at Marie. “Shame, man, I’ve learned what passive-aggressive means as well. Lovely English phrase for a horrible thing that American women are so skilled at doing. Which is something I’ve tried to warn my nephew all about, but Piet will not listen to reason when it comes to you. You have rendered him as completely hopeless as Sophie has rendered me, and –”

Marie and Sophie both shot him a look, silencing him.

“Well,” Marie said, “the something he did was nothing. Piet just sat by and… let my parents convince him that I need to go to the States.”

Sophie shrugged. “It doesn’t mean forever. Going now, I mean. And you can take a year maybe, on that scholarship and decide if you want to stay there or come back or… the world is open to you, Marie.”

Marie knew it. And she knew, more than that, as she thought of Piet’s words, that she wouldn’t come back. Not to him, when he couldn’t promise forever.

“Exactly,” she said.

“But why us?” Willem asked. “Why do you want us to take you?”

“Because you can afford it,” she said simply. “And you’re fun. I can’t take a whole lot of crying from Mom and Dad shooting death glares at everyone because he feels so foreign.”

“I am less foreign in the US than your father?” Willem asked, raising his eyebrows.

“Ja, man,” Marie said. “En jou Engels is pragtig.”

He laughed out loud at this. “It is. It really is. My English has come a long way!”

Marie shrugged. “Things are tense at home. It would be better to go overseas with you guys.”

It had been tense in the Boyd home for nearly a year now. Talks of college, suggestions on education, outright demands on what she would do – this had been life. Her father had never been an easy man to reason with, and her mother had been in complete agreement with him on this topic. College in the States. Decided. Done.

So not done. She hadn’t lived the rest of her life for their approval, and she had no reason to start now. She’d go to college, sure, but she would never come back. College on her terms, to show them, to show Piet, to show everyone.

She knew it would wound her parents, this plan. That made it all the more appealing, since they had wounded her by setting in motion this heartbreak from Piet. Would it have happened anyway? Maybe. Marie didn’t want to think about it.

“So, Willem?” Sophie asked, looking to him. “Should I speak with Sara, make plans, and…” She left the question hanging.

“Book a flight, Sophie,” he grinned, high-fiving Marie as he did so. “Gaan ons na America!”

 

~Scott~

“I love you, Scott. I want to marry you.”

The evening was young. The lights were dim. They were all alone.

Yet still, Scott Huntington sighed at this declaration with absolutely no intention of returning the sentiment. The words were sincere, of course… but they probably had more to do with the alcohol than genuine emotion.

Besides, Drew, even as he clung to Scott and gazed up at him with eyes that just wouldn’t focus… well, he wasn’t Scott’s type.

Because he was a dude.

“I’m flattered,” Scott said, twice as drunk as his friend but three times better able to function despite this. “But seriously, Drew. It would never work.”

Drew groaned. “But you have a good job,” he slurred. “You could support me. Be my sugar daddy and all. Then, I wouldn’t even have to worry about getting a job or figuring out what I’m going to do! I’d make you so happy, Scott!”

“Okay, this conversation is getting really weird for me,” Scott said, pushing his friend away just slightly as he took stock of the cell around them.

Yes. A cell.

This was his first arrest, his first DWI… which sucked, frankly. This would end up costing him. A lawyer, a court date, fees, a ticket, and words, so many words, from all the members of his family, on how he was a total loser. It was all sure to be heading his way soon.

It would suck. But at that moment, Scott didn’t waste more than a few seconds thinking about all that. No, right then, he was more concerned about his truck and its whereabouts.

He’d had too much to drink, which was true of most nights, and he’d tried to drive himself home, which was true of most nights. Most nights, though, he made it home. That night? He was pulled over, declared drunk, and driven to jail in the back of a police car.

And his truck was still out there somewhere.

“I should’ve let you drive,” he muttered to Drew, expecting an intelligent response from his cellmate.

But seeing as how Drew was a loud, chatty, stupid drunk who was more concerned about his own future lack of job opportunities than he was about his criminal record, he kept right on moaning and groaning.

So annoying.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life,” he carried on and on, even as Scott stood and began pacing, willing the buzz away so he could think. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. Why am I here? What’s the whole point of it all?”

“You’re going to help me find my truck once we get out of here,” Scott said. “And you’re here because you’re a lousy friend who wouldn’t be my designated driver tonight.”

“My parents are missionaries, man,” Drew droned on and on, not hearing a word. “I mean, I know there’s more to life than living like this. There’s got to be more, Scott. Really! There has to be! Jesus has to want more from me, for me, than this!”

“I think,” Scott said, sidestepping all of this talk about Jesus and His expectations, “that you need to shut up, or –”

And the prayer he hadn’t even bothered to pray was mercifully answered as Drew passed out in a heap on the floor, just as an officer came around to tell Scott that bail had been posted.

“Hallelujah,” Scott muttered. He wasn’t much for prayer. He wasn’t much for Jesus. His family was, but he was cut from a different mold, rarely giving anything beyond the present day and its pleasures more than a fleeting thought. But when he was arrested, he’d had the good enough sense to thank whatever God was out there that his brother, Sam, was on leave and back in the US. Sam was the best of the five Huntington brothers, the quietest, the one least likely to give him a hard time, and the one least likely to tell their mother about this and break her heart.

Scott was an alcoholic and a loser, sure, but he still didn’t want to break his mother’s heart. Surely that earned him some good guy points in a good guy book somewhere, right?

Points didn’t count for much, he concluded, when he walked out into the foyer where Sam was standing with his arms folded across his chest, staring blankly ahead.

That is, until his eyes met Scott’s. And before Scott could comment on the rage present there, Sam grabbed his arm, and dragged him out to—

“Why are you in Seth’s truck?” Scott asked, recognizing their youngest brother’s mess of a vehicle instantly, what with all of the textbooks on the floor. Biology, animal science, and… good grief, was that a dog’s skull?

Maybe Scott was drunker than he thought.

“I live overseas,” Sam murmured. “I don’t have a car. Seth let me use his.”

“Okay,” Scott sighed, picking up the skull, slipping his hand inside, and staring it in the eyes. Or lack of eyes. “Do you think this is real?”

Sam didn’t even look his direction.

“Helllllooooooo, Samuel,” Scott said, working the jaw up and down with his hand. “Do you think this is reeeeeeaaaallll? Or is Scott just that drunk? Hmmmmm???” Then, with a sigh, “I don’t guess it matters either way. But Seth needs to clean his truck out. A man should have a little more respect for his vehicle, you know? And speaking of, we should probably figure out what they did with my truck, and…”

His voice trailed off as he noticed the direction they were driving.

“Sam,” he started in. “Where are we going?”

Sam didn’t even glance over at him. And like that, Scott knew exactly where they were heading.

“Sam,” he swore, “you are such a –”

“Shut up,” Sam cut him off. “One more word, and I’m opening up your door and throwing you out. Then, I’ll put the truck in reverse and run right over your sorry butt. Multiple times, until you’re nothing but a bloody pulp I’ll have to hose off Seth’s tires.”

He would do it. Scott knew he would. He wasn’t sure what went down in Afghanistan or what exactly the Marine Corps had Sam doing out in the middle of nowhere, but the man could be scary psychotic when he wanted to be. So, though Scott’s blood boiled at the thought of being dragged to see his super religious, super irritating, oldest brother, Sean, he kept his mouth shut.

Until they got there, walked into the kitchen, and he counted.

Oh, no. Really? All five brothers, in one kitchen, together again.

Scott was about to scold them all for not including their sister, Savannah, in this fine reunion when Sam pulled out a chair and forced him into it with a heavy hand to his shoulder.

“Oww,” he muttered. “Do you mind not –”

“Shut up,” Sam answered, going over to the corner and sitting on the stool there while the rest of the brothers sat around the table.

There was Sean, the oldest, with his hipster glasses, his tight tee shirt, and… oh, good grief, skinny jeans. The man, and Scott used the term loosely, was wearing skinny jeans. He had his pastoral face on, where Scott couldn’t tell if he was really thinking deeply or if he was just mentally calculating how long he’d have to be here, looking as though he was thinking deeply. Nods and sighs, nods and sighs, and a well-timed “bro” and “man” thrown in once in a while.

Ugh.

Then, there was Stu. Good, old, stodgy Stuart. A pastor as well but not hip. Not at all. Just serious, focused, and probably ready to launch into a dull dissertation about reformation, the elect, and the doctrines of grace. Scott had no idea what any of those things actually were, but they were all Stu blathered on about. And while grace was on his lips more often than not, it was likely the thought of alcohol and Scott’s inability to stay sober that made Stu look like wrath was about to spew forth from his mouth.

Ugh. Again.

Next was Seth, who looked like he’d probably been sleeping in that horrifically messy truck of his. He wore scrubs, had circles under his eyes, and… eww. What was that on his pants? Blood, mucus, intestines? Seth didn’t seem a bit bothered by the disgusting evidence of his work as he watched Scott with wide-eyed innocence and shock, glancing over to Stu and Sean both as they all continued watching. Seth was totally non-threatening… but he might actually have a horse tranquilizer on hand somewhere, with his vet’s license giving him the permission and authority to legally use it at will. It would only take a word from Stu, and Seth would acquiesce and stab Scott with it so that he’d be sedated enough to shut up and listen.

Ugh. That would probably hurt.

And then, there was Sam. Quiet, sensitive, thoughtful Sam. Who looked, as he sat on the stool with his hands clenched on the seat, as if he could break apart in a million pieces at any moment, kill them all, and go on with life as if he wasn’t bothered in the least bit. He was trained to do it, probably did it on a normal basis in his covert missions, and was now likely completely insane because of it. Insane enough that Scott moved his chair away from him just a fraction of an inch.

The Huntington brothers. My, my, my. What a great night this was turning out to be.

“Hey, Scott,” Sean began, in his concerned pastor’s voice. “We just wanted to sit down with you, talk about life, and really help you to discover what it is that you –”

“Oh, great,” Scott groaned, his suspicions confirmed. “Is this an intervention?”

Seth cleared his throat uneasily. “You were arrested. A DWI.”

“Thank you for stating the obvious, Seth,” he muttered. “I was there. I know what happened.”

“Well, we’re all worried about you.”

“That’s fine,” Scott said, “but can someone other than Sean discuss this because the hip, understanding, ‘let’s talk about your feelings, bro’ pastor routine? Is making me want another drink.”

Sean nodded thoughtfully at this (nod and sigh, nod and sigh), then opened his mouth to try perhaps another approach. But Stuart cut him off.

“Fine then, you idiot,” he spat out. “How about you let me handle it?”

“That’s just fine,” Scott hissed. “Especially since I’ve shared more than a few beers with you, friend, and can recall that you’re even wilder than I am afterwards.”

His mind went to evenings spent with Stu just a few years back. They’d drink together, they’d drink alone, they’d drink to celebrate, they’d drink just because. Stu was cooler drunk than he was sober, that’s for sure, and Scott had watched him in awe more than once as he’d done some crazy, stupid, wonderfully pagan things after a few too many –

“Oh, yeah,” Stu said. “You remember all that, huh?”

“With fondness,” Scott replied. “First time I felt like I had a real brother.”

“We were real all right,” Stu said. “Real guys with a very real problem.”

“Yeah, until Bible Boy over there got to you,” he said, nodding towards Seth. “And now, you’re just as religious as all the others. And trying to convince me to be the same.“

Seth glanced over at Stu. “I’m not sure that’s what he was getting at, Scott,” he said.

“Yeah, apart from any spiritual convictions or insights I could offer,” Stu continued, “on why your excessive drinking is a poor substitute for filling that void in you that only Christ can fill –”

“Ugh,” Scott groaned.

“He speaks the truth, man,” Sean cut in.

“Shut up, Sean,” Scott muttered.

“But that’s not my point,” Stu said. “Apart from the spiritual truth, there’s this truth, Scott. You have a problem. And I know all about it, because once upon a time? I had it with you. I drank alone. I drank all the time. I drank so much that it was all I could think about.”

Scott could relate. And he could see it in Stu’s eyes. He understood. It was a need. It wasn’t even a choice anymore. He did it because he had to. It was all there was to do. When he was anxious, when he was content, when he was bored, when he was –

“They don’t get it like we do,” Stu said softly. “And I don’t know why it’s our problem, just you and me, but I know I had to stop it altogether. I can’t even handle it in moderation. And neither can you. So you have to stop. Not another drink. Ever.”

“Or what?” Scott said. “I’ll ruin my life, huh?”

“Or someone else’s,” Seth murmured.

“Yeah,” Sean said. “What if you’d run your truck into someone tonight? Into another car?”

“I didn’t hit anyone!” Scott bellowed.

“No, you ran into a telephone pole,” Sean pointed out.

“What?” Scott asked, incredulous. He didn’t remember that.

“It could have been worse,” Sean nodded.

“You could have killed someone because you can’t stop drinking,” Seth said. “Could have run your car into someone’s family and killed their children, Scott.”

“It could’ve been anyone,” Stu said, getting visibly angry at the very thought. “It could’ve been Abby. And Chance, sitting in the backseat watching his Elmo videos.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Scott managed. “Are you serious? I didn’t hit anything but a telephone pole! And you’re acting like I’ve murdered your wife and son!”

“While he was watching Elmo videos, too,” Seth murmured, a frown on his face. “That’s really, really sad.”

“Shut up, you idiot,” Stu said. “Both of you. Do you see how this affects more than just you now? How it’s about more than you, your truck, your stupid friend –”

“Drew is stupid,” Scott allowed. “But my truck! Is it totaled?!”

“Your truck doesn’t matter,” Stu interrupted. “You’ve got to stop drinking.”

“Agreed,” Sean said. “We have an AA group at the church, some guys who’ve been there and can talk you through the first step in giving it up, and –”

“This is stupid!” Scott yelled.

Then, everyone was talking at once, with no one listening. And as the brothers’ voices raised, talking over one another, Sam, who had been silently watching their conversation, finally stood, strode over to Scott, and grabbed him up out of the chair by the collar so that their faces were only inches apart.

Scott noted that he had his crazy psychotic eyes out and everything. Awesome.

“You listen here, you little snot,” Sam said, evenly and dangerously. “I don’t give two flyin’ flips what you think about the Lord, any of us, or even your own sad pathetic self. But you will stop this. And you will get help. Because, Scott,” he said, great emotion in his voice, “I can’t go back overseas to what’s waiting for me there and get a call telling me that you’ve finally killed yourself drinking. I can’t do it. And I’ll spend every waking moment I’m here making sure you give it up.”

And he hugged Scott to himself rather fiercely, dropped him in his chair, then left the room.

Every set of eyes followed him as he slammed the door behind him.

Scott concluded that Sam was mentally imbalanced and would come back and kill them all if he didn’t at least give sobriety a chance.

And so, after another two hours of arguing with his brothers over it all… he did.

 

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