What's gotten into me? My mind immediately flashes to Caulter.
Caulter bending me over the desk in my father’s office. Caulter thrusting into me as the ladder falls from beneath me in the library. Caulter’s hot breath on my stomach, his face moving lower as the warm water drums over our bodies in the shower. My lips wrapped around Caulter’s cock, the saltiness of his pre-cum on my tongue.
I have to blink several times to erase the images in my head. I definitely need to meet someone else -- if not someone appropriate, then someone inappropriate. Inappropriate and filthy enough to get my mind off of Caulter.
“Caulter should come with us,” she says, interrupting my thoughts.
“What, are you obsessed with him or something?” I snap. “No Caulter.”
“Okay, no Caulter,” she says, giving me major side-eye. “I didn’t know you were so touchy about him.”
“I’m not touchy about him,” I say. “I just don’t -- he’s irritating, that’s all. I don’t want him killing my buzz.”
She laughs. “Yeah, okay, I can see that. Who wants your new step-brother tagging along with you to a party, anyway?” She pushes herself up to her feet, reaching to take my hand and pull me up. “Ten-ish, okay? I’ll text you.”
“I said, it’s really loud,” I yell.
Jo hands me a plastic cup filled with beer and motions toward her ears, yelling back. I can’t hear her, but I can read her lips. “I can’t hear you!”
A guy sidles up behind her, wearing a leather jacket even though it’s probably still seventy degrees outside and inside it’s hot as hell. I’m sweating, even in the dress I’m wearing -- one of the new dresses Ella’s stylist sent.
I still haven’t forgiven Caulter for burning all my stuff, either, even though a box showed up with exact substitutions for all my jeans this morning. No note from Caulter, no explanation. Just brand-new versions of everything that he’d burned.
Part of me is impressed he went to so much trouble for a stupid prank, noting all of the sizes and brands and then tracking them down. It couldn’t have been easy, although he probably hired someone to do it.
I nearly pulled on a pair of jeans tonight, but I had to admit that what the stylist picked is actually pretty hot, much better than I’d have picked. It's not something I’d usually wear, either. It's this fire-engine red mini-dress that I’m sure my father was not imagining when he jumped on board with the redo-Kate’s-wardrobe plan. But my father isn’t home, and what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, right?
Jo leans back against the guy, who pulls up the hem of her shirt and slides his hands over her stomach. From behind her, he cups her face with his hands, and leans over to kiss her, all tongue, then slides his hand down the front of her shirt.
Well, this is totally awkward.
I down my warm-ish beer, wondering where the hell I need to go to get more. This is why I don't fucking go to parties. At Brighton, I went to exactly one, and it was during my spring break, only because I was stuck there with nothing else to do. That was at someone's parents' house in the Hamptons.
That was not this kind of party. There was no warm beer, just expensive champagne and liquor from kids who had access to unlimited supplies of the best stuff. There were models. I don't know why I went to that one, either, because it was just as awkward as this. After two glasses of champagne and fending off a series of dumb pick-up lines, I was in a cab back to my dorm at Brighton.
Jo finally comes up for air and takes my empty cup, handing it to the guy who’d just mauled her face. She grabs my arm and pushes me toward a hallway where it’s quieter, but still just as crowded with people. “Bathroom,” she explains.
We stand outside the door, waiting for three more people to use it before she pulls me inside. It’s a nice reprieve from the loud pounding of the music in the house. She squats over the toilet and pees, talking the whole time. “It’s fun, yeah? I mean, it’s loud, but fun.”
“Sure.” I’m feeling out of place and agitated. I can’t imagine why Jo thinks this is going to be fun for me.
“Come on,” she says. “Loosen up a little.”
I squat to pee. “Who was the guy?”
Jo laughs. “Some guy,” she says. “A hook-up, no big deal. We’re on again, off again, you know? But he has some hot friends. I told him I was bringing you with me.” She opens her purse and pulls out a bottle of prescription medication. “Want one? You need to relax.”