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One Step At a Time

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Three years – one thousand ninety five days since he had set foot out of this place. It felt like a lifetime had passed, that he went in one person and came out another, one that he didn’t recognize when he looked in the mirror. Wasn’t sure that he liked all that much. He walked with his back straight, head held high, not letting the pain he was feeling show. He never went down without a fight. That’d earned him some respect, some safety, but some others had found it exciting. He was just too pretty to give up on. He now knew why Dom said he’d die before he went back. He felt the same way. But he didn’t regret his choice. He’d do it all over again, just to make sure that Dom, the team, his family went free. Vince and Jesse lived. The second was touch and go for a while but he pulled through. All they’d had on them was circumstantial evidence, nothing to put them away with. No one came forward, so the most they could do was question them and then let them go.

But they had plenty against him and they used it all. Three years at Lompoc, high security prison, no chance for parole. They could have sent him to a minimum security prison, they should have. But they saw him as a dirty cop that betrayed his own, and revenge was needed.

The guards jeered and leered as he walked by. They were no better than his once fellow inmates. One yelled out and laughed mockingly, thrusting his hips out and grabbing his crotch, “Hey sweetheart, I’ll give you a free ride!”

Brian just kept going forward, one foot in front of the next, one step at a time, face straight, impassive. He had served his time, was free, no way was he going to fuck up on his way out.

The gates towered before him, a sight that he used to hate, but now was happy to see. He walked through, and they slammed shut behind him with a clang. He didn’t look back, just kept walking down the desolate road. He didn’t have anything on him, no possessions that he’d desired to keep. Just the nondescript clothes on his back that he was given upon exit.

The walk would be a long one he knew, but he’d done worse, been through worse. He heard the roar of an engine but didn’t think much of it. He didn’t expect the cheery red, Honda Civic that pulled up beside him, and he most certainly didn’t expect Dom to be driving it. He looked the same as ever, shaved head and white wife beater.

His head was as smooth as Dom’s now. He’d learned quick after the first night that long hair made for great handles. He fixed that the next day and been doing it since.

He realized that he’d been standing there just staring for who knows how long when Dom’s raspy voice startled him. “You going to get in or stand there all day?”

He froze a second before hopping over the side into the passenger seat, which hugged him. He felt like he was home, or maybe that was Dom’s arms that had reached over and surrounded him. He was surprised that the touch didn’t repulse him, make him flinch like all touches had for so long. But Dom had never hurt him, Dom was Dom, Dom was family. More so than anyone he could remember. He turned his face into his neck taking a deep breath, reassuring himself that he was real, reveling in the scent that was just Dom and burrowed closer.

He’d always thought that nothing could be worse than juvie with a couple hundred hormonal adolescent kids. He thought he’d seen it all, but Lompoc had taught him that the kids didn’t have the cruelty that many of the lifers did. He didn’t realize that he was crying until Dom starting murmuring nonsense words of comfort, holding onto him even tighter.

He quickly fell asleep, feeling safe and secure for the first time in what seemed like forever. Always having to be on edge even in his sleep had exhausted him, but he knew that he’d be fine in Dom’s arms. They’d protect him, even from himself. They had before. and he was sure they would again.

When he woke again they were speeding down a nameless highway, not another car in site. He didn’t care where they were going because anywhere that Dom was, was home and that’s all that mattered.