“Piper.” I tilt my head when she looks up, indicating I’d like to talk to her outside.

She jumps up eagerly. She’s been on the campaign beat for the last two months and has proven to be smart, professional, and tenacious. The Senator likes her. He’s sent me to offer her a sit down. One on one time with the Senator two weeks before his presumptive re-election is quite a win for any reporter.

I lead her just outside the doors. We’re currently in Springfield at a town hall for the Senator and local citizens. I know she won’t want to miss much even though it’s starting to wrap up. But I also knew this was the best time to catch her.

“Xander. What’s up?”

“Senator Abbott would like to meet with you.”

She grins. “Wonderful. I’m in.”

I laugh. “I figured. Can you meet him at the Chicago campaign office tomorrow morning 8am?”

“I’ll be there. Thanks, Xander.”

I nod. “You’ve earned it.”

Still grinning, she slips back inside the auditorium.

Before I can follow her in my cell buzzes. I curse when I see the name on the screen.

This is so not what I need to deal with right now.

Ian Robertson.


That name never brings anything good into my life.

I take a deep breath and push ‘accept’, greeting him by name.

“Xander.” His voice sounds terse, never a good sign. “Are you somewhere you can talk for a few minutes?”

Can I talk? There’s a couple thousand citizens and two dozen reporters on the other side of the door I’m standing beside.

But it’s not like people don’t know about my history. One google search and it’s all there, laid out for public consumption. In all it’s ugly glory.

“I’ve got probably three minutes,” I offer. Better to know what’s going on sooner rather than later.

“Greyson’s lawyer has petitioned for a hearing. It’s scheduled for next week.”

“On what grounds?”

“They claim his treatment has been effective. They’re asking for him to receive early release.”

“What?” Early release? I’ll say four years in to a twenty year sentence is ‘early’. “How is that possible?”

“I don’t know. We’re having our own experts interview him. You should be getting a call from the Department of Corrections but as a courtesy I thought I should alert you.”

“Thank you. I appreciate it.”

“Xander – one other thing. Your mother is on the list to make a statement of support.”


Shock and fury war within me.

“Surprised me too.”

I hear cheers from beyond the door. I suspect the Senator is wrapping up. Soon I’ll be surrounded by hundreds of eager, listening ears.


“Ian, level with me. What are the odds he wins?”

“I’m going to do my best. If I had my way he’d be in a high security prison, not a mental hospital. After he meets with our psychiatrist I’ll have a better sense of the situation. Can you come in sometime next week? Would you be available to speak on the motion?”

Two weeks. Two weeks from now is Election Day.

Fury is winning as the shock begins to fade.

Greyson somehow always manages to fuck up my life, manipulating everyone around him to his advantage. Even from hundreds of miles away and in an institution for the criminally insane.

My fucking brother.

Want more of Piper? click here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Senator, click here.

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