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431 pages, Kindle Edition
First published December 2, 2014
Do you ever just hurt when you think about all the times Andrew must’ve taken beatings from his mother in Aaron’s stead? And how he almost killed a bunch of guys for being homophobic towards his cousin? How Andrew would literally stab anyone if he saw a mere scratch on Kevin, if Kevin gets a simple paper cut, if a single hair on Kevin’s head is ruffled, but would voluntarily split his own knuckles open without a second thought? It hurts when I think about Andrew’s hands around Kevin’s neck, how he almost blinded himself in pursuit of Neil after he was taken away. His disregard for the terrible, terrible act that had been committed against him, the violation of his own body; while he stared deeply into his brother’s eyes, afraid of the blood he wore that wasn’t even his own. Andrew’s fiercely protective streak could be seen to be just as human as it is perceived to be inhuman because that is how he shows his concern and the warped sense of love and family that he feels towards these people. Andrew Minyard was a victim of brutal abuse and instead of victimizing himself he was only ever so stronger for it. He looked at himself and saw something that was already far beyond saving but he would do anything to keep his inner circle from a similar fate, he would take a thousand beatings if it meant that this makeshift little family he’d found himself a part of didn’t get hurt. He literally never does anything without a reason and his crap sense of morality reflects the sort of awful environment he grew up in. He has killed to protect someone that he loves and I have no doubt that he would do it again. To him, the end justified the means. It’s not a healthy or acceptable way of thinking but for Andrew it was the only way. Yes, there’s no denying he’s messed up. No, he isn’t a good person, not in the basic sense, but he’s good where it counts. And that is just one of 2036372883 reasons why he will forever be a character so very dear to my heart
Better then that bright future was what he already had. A court that would always be his home, a family who'd never give up on him, and Andrew, who for once hadn't wasted their time denying that this thing between them might actually mean something to both of them.
Now he couldn't help but smile, pull Andrew in. This was everything he wanted, everything he needed. And Neil was never letting go
❝This,❞ Neil flicked his finger to indicate the two of them, ❝isn't worthless.❞
❝There is no 'this'. This is nothing.❞
❝And I am nothing,❞ Neil prompted. ❝And as you've always said, you want nothing.❞
Andrew kissed him like this was a fight with their lives on the line, like his world stopped and started with Neil's mouth.
Better than that bright future was what he already had: a court that would always be home, a family who'd never give up on him, and Andrew, who for once hadn't wasted their time denying that this thing between them might actually mean something to both of them. Neil hadn't even noticed the silence at first, too distracted by his dizzying thoughts. Now he couldn't help but smile and pull Andrew in.
This was everything he wanted, everything he needed, and Neil was never letting go
Andrew kissed him like this was a fight with their lives on the line, like his world stopped and started with Neil's mouth. Neil's heart stuttered to a stop at the first hard press of lips against his and he reached up without thinking. His hand made it as far as Andrew's jaw before he remembered Andrew didn't like to be touched. Neil caught hold of Andrew's coat sleeve instead and knotted his fingers in the heavy wool
"Stay," Andrew said, and leaned down to kiss him.
Time was nothing. Seconds were days, were years, were the breaths that caught between their mouths and the bite of Neil's fingernails against his palms, the scrape of teeth against his lower lip and the warm slide of a tongue against his. He could feel Andrew's heartbeat thrumming against his wrists, a staccato rhythm that echoed in Neil's veins. How a man who viewed the world with such studied disconnect could kiss like this, Neil didn't know, but he wasn't going to complain.
"Last I checked you hated me," Neil said against Andrew's mouth.
"Everything about you," Andrew said.
Neil pushed himself up a bit. "I'm not as stupid as you think I am."
"And I'm not as smart as I thought I was," Andrew said. "I know better than to do this again. Perhaps it's the self-destructive streak in me?"
"You are a Fox. You are always going to be nothing." Andrew stubbed his cigarette out. "I hate you."
"Nine percent of the time you don't."
"Nine percent of the time I don't want to kill you. I always hate you."
"Every time you say that I believe you a little less."
"No one asked you." With that, Andrew caught Neil's face in his hands and leaned in.
"Fight because you don't know how to die quietly. Win because you don't know how to lose. This king's ruled long enough—it's time to tear his castle down."
"Wymack clapped his hands at them and said, "Let's go!"
"Foxes!" they roared in response, and the starting line-up headed for the door."
"What's so funny?" Nicky asked when he spotted Neil in the doorway.
Neil hadn't realized he was smiling. "Life?"
Fight because you don't know how to die quietly. Win because you don't know how to lose. This king's ruled long enough—it's time to tear his castle down.
"I'm tired of being nothing," Neil said.
"Who said 'please' that made you hate the word so much?"
Andrew gazed at him in silence for a minute. "I did."
"I've never belonged anywhere or had the right to call anything my own. But Coach gave me keys to the court, and you told me to stay. You gave me a key and called it home." Neil clenched his hand, imagining the bite of metal against his palm, and lifted his gaze to Andrew's face. "I haven't had a home since my parents died."
"I didn't say anything then because I knew I'd look out for only me when the world went to hell. I don't want to be that person anymore. I want to go back for you."
"Yes or no?" Andrew asked.
"Yes," Neil said.
"You're wrong," Nathaniel said. "They can't leave without Andrew, and Andrew won't go anywhere until he talks to me."
"You can't have him," Nicky said. "He belongs with us."
Better than that bright future was what he already had: a court that would always be home, a family who'd never give up on him, and Andrew, who for once hadn't wasted their time denying that this thing between them might actually mean something to both of them.
"Fight because you don't know how to die quietly. Win because don't know how to lose. This king's ruled long enough-it's time to tear his castle down."
"This was everything he wanted, everything he needed, and Neil was never letting go."
“We're okay," he said to the empty hall. "We're going to be okay." The Foxes would be okay, at least, and that was more than enough.”
“You were supposed to be a side effect of the drugs.”
"Most coveted, most protected. He'll sacrifice every piece he has to protect his throne. Whatever. Me? I'm going to be the deadliest piece on the board."
“He'd come to the Foxhole Court every inch a lie, but his friends made him into someone real.”
"This is about you. This is about everything it took you to get to this point, everything it cost you, and everyone who laughed when you dared to dream of something big and bright. You're here tonight because you refused to give up and refused to give in. You're here where they all said you'd never be, and no one can say you haven't earned the right to play this game.”
"Neil had been doing one stupid thing after another all year long and this had turned into the best year of his life."
He didn't know what this thing between them was anymore. He didn't know what he wanted or needed it to be. He just knew he had to hold on for as long as he could.