"Definitely," I say firmly. I definitely can't stand him.
The image of him looking up at me, his face buried between my legs, flashes into my head and I feel warm.
"So you hate your new step-brother," she says.
"Shut your mouth. He's not my step-brother," I say. "We're not twelve."
"Ooh, touchy touchy," she says. "The Dick is marrying his mother. That makes him your step-brother. You know, by definition."
"So?" I ask, my voice rising an octave. I know I'm getting defensive, and I tell myself to calm down, but I can't. "It's not like I know him at all. We're not siblings."
"I didn't say you were," Jo says. "Cranky much? You need to get laid."
I immediately think of Caulter and my face flushes. Please don't let my cheeks be bright red, I silently pray.
"So?" she asks. "Are you getting any at Brighton, or what?"
"Yeah, right," I say. "No one wants to date Senator Harrison's daughter except the ones who want to be you know - "
"The First Daughter's husband?"
"Ugh. Don't even talk about marriage. I'm eighteen, not thirty."
"What about the guy you were seeing?" Jo asks. "Tad, was it?"
I giggle. "It wasn't Tad."
She waves dismissively. "Whatever," she says. "Biff?"
She groans. "Yes. Chase," she says. "I knew it was something that screamed summer in the Hamptons and brunch with his parents."
"Shut up. He was -- yeah, okay, he was pretty much that guy." We dated for three months, even though I realized almost immediately that he was completely obsessed with politics. And my father. My God. It was all about campaigns and Washington internships and whatever was the hot button political issue of the day. He was exhausting.
"He was cute, yeah?" she asked. "In a really buttoned-down kind of way."
I shook my head. "No way. I think he wanted to sleep with my father more than me."
Jo laughed. "So there's been nobody this whole year?"
Nobody. Except for Caulter. My new step-brother. Who's slept with basically everyone. And who I want to strangle every time he looks at me.
So, essentially, I have fucking phenomenal taste in men. "Nobody," I say.
"Is Caulter hot?" she asks, as if she can read my mind.
"Wh -- what?" I stumble over the word and roll over onto my back, sitting up and drawing my knees to my chest.
Jo follows suit, rolling onto her back. "Is he hot?" she repeats. "I mean, yeah, he's a asshole but he's a slutty asshole, right?"
"So?" I ask, my tone high-pitched. "I can't stand him."
"So he's the perfect guy to screw," she says, matter-of-fact. As if she knows every damn thing in the world and is the exact person who should be giving advice. Jo has had a string of shitty boyfriends in the past two years, coupled with dramatic breakups. She's the last person I need to listen to about guys I should screw. I'm immediately irritated by her statement.
"Caulter Sterling is the last guy on earth I'd ever let near my vagina," I lie loudly. Too loudly.
"That's why he's the perfect one to let inside your vagina," she insists, laughing. "I mean, he's slept with a lot of girls, so you know he knows what he's doing. Probably. And you don't like him, so there's no messy breakup before you run off to Harvard."
"Some people wait to lose their virginity to someone they love," I say imperiously.
"Mhmm," she says. "I'm just saying that Caulter would be a perfect one night stand."
"Well, if you think he's a perfect one night stand," I say, "Then you can have him."
She looks over at me, and I can't see her eyes, obscured by the sunglasses. "Well, maybe I will," she says.
My entire body tenses up at her statement, and I swear my heart actually stops. It's just Jo being Jo, I tell myself. And what the hell should I care anyway? Caulter and I had sex once. Well, more than once. We had one night of sex. It was only one night -- completely and utterly meaningless.
Jo should sleep with him. But the thought of her and Caulter together makes me practically enraged. I clear my throat, ready to change the subject, but Jo saves me from that.
"Besides," she says. "You're being smart. It's a very reasonable not to hook-up with him. I'm sure the media would be all over that, if you and your new step-brother were bumping uglies. You know, since the Dick is like the biggest family values guy ever."