Yanni sat in silence as we drove to the prison, still in obvious pain from the night before. Her head jerked with every bump we hit, causing her to audibly wince each time. I looked over and smiled, finding it hilarious that she was in such bad shape after just a few drinks.
"You know, what I said before, I wasn't trying to defend my mother. I know she's in this shit deep."
Yanni's eyes suddenly opened wide. "You're damn right, she is! That woman is hiding a fugitive. She's aiding and abetting. She's responsible for Alex being in jail." She winced again and laid her head back. "She doesn't need defending from you. She needs to be a defendant."
"I know. Trust me, I do. And I feel horrible that it's my mother that's the fucking broken key to getting Alex out. Hell, maybe it's for the best she didn't tell me where Sheldon was. I would've probably killed him myself for knocking my mother up."
"Mason, please. You don't have murder in you. Period. And especially not when it comes to your mother. There's no way you would've killed the man that makes her happy. Part of me thinks that's why you were messing up so bad trying to tail her."
"What does that mean?" I said, stealing a glance at Yanni as we sped down the highway.
"Don't play dumb with me, boy. You know exactly what it means. What would you have done if she told you where Sheldon was? Go find him? Kill him? Bring him back for justice?"
"Shit. Maybe all three."
"And what? Then make your mother miserable?"
"She deserves to be miserable for hooking up with him in the first place. For getting pregnant at her age. For—"
"For what, Mase? For betraying you?"
"Yes. And my father. She deserves to be miserable for that!"
Yanni gave me a look, and then busted out laughing. "Mason, you're killin' me softly over here. You didn't even like your father, and now you're trying to defend his honor? I can't take it."
She doubled over, with damn near tears coming from her eyes.
"That shit's not funny, Yanni," I shot back.
"It is funny," she said, straigtening back up and grimacing while holding her head. "It's funny because your father was a horrible man. And he was horrible to your mother and to you."
"But he was still my father."
"And she's still your mother. And as much as you say she should pay for her sins, you can't—and wouldn't—be the one to do it."
She was right. As upset as I was with her, I wasn't sure I could ever contribute to making her life hell. If I ever would've found Sheldon, I know I'd want to kill him with my bare hands. But would I?
Yanni looked over at me. "Look, Mase. The other day when I told you to lay back, yes, it was partly because you'd messed up. But it was also because I knew that you couldn't really be objective. It was impossible. If you helped Alex, you'd hurt your family."
"Alex is family, and you've all been more family than I've ever known."
"But he, and we, aren't blood. We're not your mother."
My head began to pound as we drove in silence for the remainder of the trip, finally reaching the prison parking lot. Yanni spoke to Starlet on her cell phone as I navigated my way through the massive lot. Clearly, it was a huge day for visitors, as it was packed with cars. I cut off the ignition and started to open my door when my phone vibrated on my hip.
I couldn't help but let out a sigh when I saw that it was my mother on the caller ID. "What's up? What do you need?" I said, frustrated.
"I need a doctor, Jack. My water just broke. I need you."