Prick, p.2
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       Prick, p.2

         Part #1 of A Step Brother Romance series by Sabrina Paige
 
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  "Ah," my father says. "I was wondering where you'd disappeared to. "

  Page 5

  "The news is a lot to take in, I'm sure," Ella says, her voice gentle. She places her hand on my father's arm. "I'm sure the two of you probably want some time without the parental units around. "

  Caulter laughs, the sound bitter. "Yeah, right," he says. "I've had plenty of time with Little Miss Perfect here. " He edges between my father and Ella, and they let him pass through the doorway, but Ella's eyes are wide.

  "Caulter!" she says. "Don't be rude. "

  "Rude?" He's walking away, his back toward us. "That's fucking rich from two people who just sprung a whole marriage on their daughter, don't you think?"

  Did he just say that they sprung a whole marriage on me? Like he knew about it before now?

  The crease in my father's forehead deepens. "I won't tolerate -- "

  Oh shit. I don't think my father fully appreciates what he's gotten himself into with Caulter. He thinks any issue can be cured with a good dose of discipline and some military-style physical training. If this conversation were happening with a five-years-younger Caulter, my father would have him outside running sprints and doing pushups until he couldn't hold himself up anymore. As it is, Caulter is an adult. I don't know if my father has a plan here.

  Caulter stops. "Tolerate? Let's get something straight here. If you want to parade your own kid around in front of the cameras like she's some kind of trophy Stepford child, that's between you and her. But me? You don't get to walk into my life and expect me to pretend we're all some big happy family. "

  I hold my breath, waiting for my father's reaction. His temper rarely flares, but when it does, it's nuclear. Despite my complete and utter distaste for who Caulter is, I can't help but feel a twinge of smug satisfaction, hearing him talk to my father like that. No one talks to my father like that. Definitely not me. It almost feels like Caulter is taking up for me, even though I know he's not.

  "Caulter Sterling," Ella says, her voice shaky. "We need to talk about this. I know you're upset, but -- "

  Caulter interrupts. "Oh, and Senator?" he asks. "I'm sure you think that this is some kind of true love thing, but my mother doesn't exactly have a reputation for keeping men in her life. You might want to think about that. " He doesn't look back, just walks down the hallway and I hear the front door slam.

  Ella looks at me, and then at my father. She blinks slowly, once, twice, three times, and I immediately feel badly for her. She looks like she's trying desperately not to cry, and it's suddenly awkward, as I rack my brain to come up with something to say to make the situation less uncomfortable. As if that were fucking possible.

  I clear my throat. "I'm sure -- I mean -- he's upset. I'm sure it'll be fine. " My voice sounds strained. Why am I trying to console two people who just dropped a bombshell like this on their kids, expecting them to fall in line? I hate to admit it, but Caulter has a point. "Um. I'm going to just go upstairs. " I squeeze past the two of them, heading up the stairs to my bedroom without waiting for a response.

  Inside, I close the door behind me and sit on the bed, the bedspread a simple white color that accents the dark wood bedframe and desk. Everything in here is antique, matching the rest of the house, the photos on the walls carefully selected to display only the most shining moments of my life, all of the awards and things my father considers important.

  This isn't my dorm room at Brighton, with its brightly colored bedding and collages with pictures of me and my friends plastered on the walls, the paintings I've done and the sketches of places that mean that most to me. I have a car full of stuff sitting outside in the driveway, the remnants of my high school life.

  My best friend Sara is backpacking across Europe this summer with her boyfriend Dan. Come with us, she begged. It's your chance to go crazy before college starts in the fall. It's like a rite of passage. We'll get drunk and watch the sun come up in Rome.

  I couldn't even consider the possibility of disappointing my father. I'm the always-dutiful daughter, the one who does what's expected of her. I know I live a charmed life -- the Senator father, private school education, headed to one of the best colleges in the country. But still, I can't help but feel a tiny bit sorry for myself, even if I know I'm having a pity party.

  The walls already feel like they're closing in on me. I won't be at the DC home for long; I'll be back at the summer home in New Hampshire before the week is out, I'm sure. But that will be a prison all its own, working on the re-election campaign and being trotted out for photo opportunities with my father and his new wife.

  Page 6

  It's only a few minutes later that it occurs to me. Oh, shit. Does this mean Caulter will be coming to New Hampshire with us?

  I take a drag on the end of the cigarette, the nicotine hitting my bloodstream but doing nothing to take the edge off my attitude toward all of this bullshit. I'm standing outside, leaning against the railing that lines the front steps, reeling from what just happened with Katherine, not with her fucking father and my mother. I couldn't give a tiny shit about what those two have going on. My mother has been engaged at least five times, and married three. It's not like this is the first time some prick in a suit and loafers has walked into the room and introduced himself as my new father.

  At least this one is age-appropriate. Before she graduated to dating CEO's and, apparently, politicians, she went through a rocker phase. That was real fun. My favorite was the twenty-three-year-old she was going to marry, some guy who looked like he wasn't a day over eighteen, the lead singer in a boy band. That kid had the balls to tell me he hoped he could be a "role model, you know, a real father figure" to me.

  I punched him in the face, and Ella sent me to a psych facility for ninety days, where I got to talk to all the shrinks about how I was acting out because I wasn't shown enough love as a baby, how I wasn't breastfed enough and shit. What can I say? I'm just a little boy who wants a hug. What a bunch of assholes. Ella married the douchebag boy band guy, but it only lasted a week.

  My mother's drama is old news. I don't give a shit about whatever the hell the Senator and Ella are doing.

  I'm on edge because I haven't been able to get Katherine out of my fucking head since that night. I thought I was done with her, until my mother practically kidnaps me today and forces me on a flight to DC, announcing that she's getting engaged and that I have to meet her new beau. Like she couldn't have announced this three days ago when we were all at the graduation ceremony? Or told me over the weekend, back at the apartment in New York? Leave it to Ella to keep everything a secret. The only reason I agreed to get on the flight at all was because she had first class tickets and there would be good booze on the plane.

  I drink and ignore her during the flight. Like I said, Ella getting married is old news. So imagine my surprise when she finally springs the name of the lucky guy on me as we're driving away from the airport. I'm slouched in the front seat texting on my phone when she says it, so I almost miss the last name. Harrison. Katherine's fucking father. I can't believe my ears.

  "Senator Harrison?" I ask.

  "He has a daughter in your class, I know," she says, looking at me nervously. She chews on her fingernails; I want to tell her it makes her look like a damn twelve-year-old girl but I never do. "Is that, like, completely weird? It's not weird, is it?"

  "Sure, Ella," I say, my tone condescending. I'm trying to be nonchalant despite the way my heart is pounding. "It's no big fucking deal, you getting engaged to the father of someone I go to school with. Why not just date one of the teachers? Better yet, I could just find you one of my friends. That's more your style, isn't it? I thought you liked them young, but we're going for Senators now, are we?"

  She glares at me, her eyes flashing. "You're not going to ruin this for me, Caulter. "

  I don't look up from my phone, going through the motions of texting even though I'm not actually talking to anyone. All
I can think about is that it's Katherine's father. Which means she's bringing me to meet Katherine's father.

  Which means we're headed to see Katherine.

  Little Miss Perfect, too-good-for-her-own-good, going-to-Harvard Katherine. Giant-stick-up-her-ass Katherine. Barely-cracks-a-smile Katherine. All business, all the time.

  Except that night.

  The night.

  I had hit on that girl more times than I could count at Brighton. I mean, hell, why not? It's not like Miss Priss should be wearing a paper bag over her head or something. In fact, it's exactly the opposite. She's smoking hot. And untouchable. The lacrosse team keeps scorecards with all the senior girls on them, each with their very own "bangable" rating. "Brighton Bingo," they call it. I don't play, because I'm not a stupid jock. I might fuck around, but keeping track on a scorecard is just tacky. For the lacrosse players, though, Katherine is the money spot on the card. The thing is, it's widely accepted she's out of everyone's league. There was talk she might not be into guys at all, but she dated some dickhead jock from the lacrosse team for a few months, probably the only guy in that school who wasn't trying to get in her pants. That guy just wanted to suck up to her father.

  Page 7

  It's not like I ever thought it would happen with Miss Not Interested. She and I had developed a certain kind of relationship over the past two years that mostly consisted of rolling eyes and lobbing insults back and forth. Really, I only hit on her anymore because it's fun. I like that she looks at me with disgust and calls me asshole instead of sliding into the backseat of my car and offering up a threesome with her best friend. Chicks have been trying to get with me since I was in middle school. Everyone wants that son-of-a-celebrity cock.

  Too much pussy. It's my cross to bear.

  But Katherine is different from all of those other girls. She never wanted anything to do with me, writing me off as some kind of filthy manwhore. That fact makes me respect her as a good judge of character, since it's pretty accurate.

  That's why I could have shit my pants when I get a text from her offering up one night at a hotel. I am sure it's a joke, but it's a week before graduation and Brighton is quiet and it's a night I'm bored anyway so I figure, what did I have to lose?

  When she walks through the door of the hotel looking nervous as hell, I can't believe my eyes. She stands there in this short-sleeved black dress that hangs past her knees and these matronly black heels that make her look like a PTA mom. And a headband. I mean, we're eighteen, for fuck's sake. What the hell kind of adult woman wears a headband?

  I've screwed models, actresses, and socialites. A girl wearing a headband and a dress the size of a tent should not light up my radar in any way, shape, or form. But for whatever the hell reason, it's the hottest thing I have ever seen.

  I stare at her, for once without anything smart-assed to say. But my dick has a mind of its own. All the blood leaves my head and rushes to my cock. I'm hard as a rock. Apparently I have a thing for girls that wear headbands and weird-ass ultra-conservative dresses that show zero skin.

  She pushes me over the edge when she opens her damn mouth. "So I decided before I leave Brighton next week, that I want to see what all the fuss is about. "

  The only thing I can think is that it's the ones who look like her, proper and conservative, who are the wildest in the bedroom.

  That's a fact.

  It's all that repressed crap they have going on. Or daddy issues or whatever. Who knows? All I know is that I'm about to get with the most untouchable, most repressed chick in the history of the world. It's like I've hit the goddamn lottery.

  When I put my mouth on hers for the first time, it's fucking magic. I can't describe what she tastes like except that it's everything that's right with the world. Then Katherine breaks away for a moment and looks at me.

  She looks at me with contempt. She despises me. But when she kisses me. . . she kisses me like she hates me and wants me more than anything.

  It's just another lay. So what if it's the Holy Grail of hook-ups? So what if it's going to be the best kind of hate sex imaginable? It's when I'm about to put my cock inside her that she tenses me up and gives me a look. I've got enough sense to know what the hell that means. I'm not interested in taking some chick's virginity -- virgins are clingers, and that's the last thing I want.

  Then Kate (that's what I called her that night -- Kate, not the proper Katherine like she is at school, but Kate when I'm inside her, Kate when I'm coming so hard that my head is going to fucking explode) asks me if I'm going to screw her or what.

  There's good sex, and then there's sex where the memory takes up permanent residence in your brain, changes the fucking chemical balance or something so that you crave it like a damn fix. It makes you jones for it, gets under your skin like an itch. That's the kind of sex this is.

  Katherine, prim and proper Katherine in the morning, sneaks out of the bed the next day. She tries to creep out of the hotel room, but I wake up as she's near the door and look at her in disbelief, not that she's leaving, but that I fell asleep and she's the one who's awake.

  Most guys will fuck and fall right asleep. Not me. I'm lying there wide awake, counting the minutes of cuddling required to preserve my reputation before I can slide out of bed and get the hell on with my life. Waking up in the morning to watch a hook-up of mine about to slip out the door isn't exactly a regular occurrence.

  "Thanks," she says, opening the door to leave. Her hair is still mussed and the dark eyeliner smudged around her eyes makes her look sexier than she did last night.

  Thanks? Who the hell says that after a hook-up, especially after a fuck like that? I don't know what to say, so I just grunt and turn over in bed, listening to the door close behind her.

  Page 8

  It's just a screw, right? No big deal.

  Except I can't get her out of my head.

  It should be one for the record books. I should Brighton Bingo that shit and rub it in the face of each one of those dumb jocks: I bagged Katherine Harrison and, even better, punched her v-card. But I don't say anything.

  With all the pre-graduation stuff going on, it's easy to be busy, but even so, I swear she's laying low, avoiding me. And I avoid her right back. Hit it and quit it, that's my philosophy. What I'm thinking about the whole time is how I really just need to bang some other girl to erase the memory of Kate. Wipe the slate clean.

  But I don't. It just festers, eating at me like some kind of disease.

  The only reason I show up here with my mother at all is because I just can't help myself. I have this perverse need to see the look on Katherine's face when she sees me.

  It's worth the effort. Katherine just looks so. . . . pissed off when she sees me. She looks at me like I'm pond scum. But I can't stop thinking about fucking her.

  I'm through a second cigarette by the time I'm finished stewing over Katherine, and I'm about to light up a third when a voice from the sidewalk makes me look up.

  "Hey Caulter!" The man in wrinkled cargo pants, messenger bag lying on the sidewalk at his feet, brings the camera to his face and clicks.

  I light my cigarette and take a drag on it as he continues to click away, before I give him the finger. I make a point of standing there unmoving, flipping him off, while I take one more drag, put it out, and grind the butt of it into Senator fucking Harrison's perfectly manicured lawn.

  The paparazzi are parasites.

  I guess the cat is out of the bag -- well, not the real secret, the one Katherine's so terrified I'm going to spill. As if I want everyone knowing anyway.

  I go back in the house, momentarily considering the fact that I don't have to do this whole summer thing. I could say fuck it, and blow the whole thing off.

  Of course, my trust fund is in jeopardy. So I make the deal with my mother. It's like that guy, Faust, the one who sells his soul to the devil. Ella made me an offer I couldn't refuse. So I'm going to
play along, join my new family for the summer.

  Besides, how can I resist the thought of getting under Katherine's skin all summer long?

  I run my fingers down his chest, tracing the ridge between his pectoral muscles and down over his nipple. He makes this sound like something you'd hear from an animal, deep and low in his throat, and the hair on the back of my neck stands up. It's primal, like he's a predator and I'm the prey. Except that he's the one lying on his back, and I'm the one straddling him, my knees on either side of his body. His cock is bare, warm between my legs, and when I push down on his shaft, he groans my name.

  "Kate. "

  He repeats the word again, and I don't wait for him to say it a third time. I just guide him inside, aided by my wetness. I savor the feeling of his thickness filling me up. Riding him, skin to skin, his cock bare inside me, I fuck him. It feels familiar, like I've done this a million times before. But it's a thousand times better now than it was the first time.

  His hands slide up the sides of my waist to my chest, and he palms my breasts, his thumbs grazing my hard nipples. I begin to let go, abandoning myself to the sensation of being with him, riding him as he brings me higher and higher.

  I'm so close, and he grabs my waist tighter, his hands pushing me down hard on his cock, his thrusts shorter and more frequent.

  "Kate," he says. "I want you to fucking come on me. " I'm on the edge, so close, about to crash over.

  I jolt upright in bed, the pounding in my chest mimicking the throbbing between my legs. A sex dream about Caulter? It's like my brain is practicing mutiny. My nipples press against the fabric of my bra. Shit, I'm wearing a bra. And my jeans and t-shirt from yesterday. My mouth tastes like crap.

  Silver morning sunlight streams through the bedroom window, and I can't believe I've slept through the night. The last thing I remember is putting my head down on the pillow so I could just close my eyes for a moment, figuring it was only a matter of time until my father came upstairs to have some kind of chat about the engagement. I can't believe they let me sleep.

  I slide out of bed, wincing at the cotton mouth I've developed, and pad lightly down the hallway to the bathroom. I feel like I'm doing the walk of shame or something, still dressed in my clothes from the night before, and I'm immediately reminded of that night with Caulter.

 
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