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that he had been unable to get through to his own brother. And part of him was saying, even now, that Leo had brought this all on himself and deserved to sit there and stew in his own juices ... or alcohol... whatever. That he was not entitled to one shred of sympathy.

And he would have been right.

But still... it was his brother. His brother.

The stern expression of their father, long gone, hovered in his mind. It was as if Lyta Alexander, in mucking around in his mind, had stirred up memories long forgotten. He wasn't sure whether he should be appreciative or not.

And he decided-----One chance. He would give Leo one chance. Not that he would tell him this was it, of course, or that he was being handed one opportunity to try and make some sort of repairs to this screwed-up existence he called a life. He would walk over to Leo and stand there, just... stand there. And if Leo said anything that was at all hurtful, or mean-spirited, or ... well, anything typically Leo, really ... then Alex would turn and walk away with a clear conscience and without a second thought.

He was certain that that was what was going to happen. People as embittered as Leo didn't change, not really. So when Alex walked slowly toward him, he knew that-even now-Leo was probably going to come up with one excuse after another to explain his own behavior, or to reinforce his long-held conviction that Alex and Sheila had been stepping out behind his back. Leo had spent his entire life finding excuses for his own shortcomings and failures. He'd drifted from one job to the next, never settling on anything, never finding his niche, and had always managed to come up with reasons as to why it was someone else's fault.

Alex walked up to the table and, as he'd planned, just ... stood there. Leo
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