But it's not my father. It's Caulter. I exhale forcefully. I know I need to talk to him, but right this moment? Whatever I've done to incur this massive onslaught of karmic shit the universe is throwing at me, I resolve to fix it immediately.
"Hey, sis," he says, emphasizing the word as he closes the door behind him and leans against it. If he has an expression other than self-satisfied-smug-asshole, you'd never know it. He should be just as skeeved out as I am, but of course he's not. He's Caulter. This kind of thing would only add to his already sterling reputation.
"Don't call me that," I snap.
"Oh, but you heard daddy dearest, Princess," he says. "We're going to be siblings now."
"Don't be stupid," I say. Why do I have the urge to slap him whenever I'm around him? He opens his mouth, and it's like nails on a chalkboard.
Caulter laughs. "Shit," he says. "It must be hard going through life with that stick up your ass."
"Shut up," I hiss, narrowing my eyes. "Did you know about this before you and I...you know?"
He steps forward, away from the door, and stands inches from me, so close I can feel his breath warm the air between us. “You know…?” he says, his voice trailing off. “What are you asking, Princess?"
The blood rushes to my head. "Stop calling me that, Caulter," I say. "Or I'm going to start referring to you as shithead."
He leans closer to me, his mouth mere millimeters from my ear. "Well, you can call me Oh God," he says. "Like you did before. When we were...you know."
Fuck. Heat floods my face, and I put my hands on his chest, pushing him back. "Screw you, Caulter."
Laughing, he sweeps away the lock of sandy-colored hair that falls briefly over his forehead. "Nah, Harvard," he said. "You already did that. And as I recall, it involved a lot of you moaning...Oh God, right there, Oh God, Caulter, Caulter..." He mimics me, his tone high-pitched and breathy, the sound of his voice echoing through my father's office, amplified in the enclosed space.
What happens next is out of character. I don't even think about it before I do it. I just step forward and slap Caulter right across the side of his face, my palm landing against his cheek with a crack that reverberates through the room. I'm not sure who's more startled, him or me -- and I withdraw my hand like I just touched an electric outlet, backing away from him in horror.
I've never done something like that in my entire life. I can't believe I lost control. “I --” I begin. “I -- you’re being...a total asshole about this!”
Caulter brings his hand to his cheek and raises his eyebrows. “Yeah, sweetheart,” he says. “It’s me who's being a total asshole.”
“Did you know about our parents getting married, before?” I ask again.
“What, before you texted me and begged me to give you some of this?” He grabs his crotch.
“I didn’t exactly have to beg,” I say, my teeth clenched. “I don’t think anyone has to twist your arm to get the dick you dole out like it's candy.”
"You sure didn't have a problem sucking on it like it was made of fucking sugar," he says.
I can feel heat rise to my cheeks. "That is not how I sucked your --"
"What, Harvard?" he asks. "Are you going to tell me you don't remember how you wrapped those sweet little lips around my cock like it was the best thing you ever tasted?"
"I'm not even going to dignify that with a response." But my face is flushed, and I think I might be short of breath at the thought of Caulter's cock against my lips. No, I can't think about it. "It was temporary insanity. What happened between us never happened.”
“Don’t worry, Princess,” he says. “Our dirty little secret is safe with me. It’s already forgotten. You weren’t that memorable anyway.”
I bristle at his words. Not that memorable? I'm about to give Caulter a real piece of my mind when the door swings open behind him. He jumps out of the way, and for a moment my father stands in the doorway with Ella behind him, his brow wrinkled but just barely. My father is the consummate politician, unflappable. He’s the master of non-expression. If you didn't know him, you wouldn't know that the tiny wrinkle line that creases his forehead is a sign of irritation. My heart stops and I wonder if he knows, if it's written on me like some kind of badge of dishonor-- I fucked Caulter Sterling.
"Ah," my father says. "I was wondering where you'd disappeared to."