Cruel Prince Page 2

I send him another text, but just like the first ten I sent today, he doesn’t respond.

Curiosity getting the best of me, I slip out the door of my new room and venture down the long hallway. My aunt said there were six bedrooms in the house—but after knocking on several doors, it’s obvious Oakley isn’t in any of them.

Stifling a groan, I amble down the staircase and wander into the kitchen. Much like the rest of the house, the kitchen is spacious, and everything looks expensive, but price aside, it’s pretty standard. Stainless steel appliances, glass table, large granite island in the center.

And no Oakley.

After checking the living room, my uncle Wayne’s office, and the bathroom on the first floor, I make my way down the stairs leading to the basement.

The smell of marijuana infiltrates my nostrils almost immediately.

I’m not a buzzkill, I have no issues with people who smoke—what I have an issue with is people who indulge so much they forget the important stuff.

Like answering text messages or picking their step-cousin up at the airport.

The big screen television—which is currently broadcasting two naked girls grinding against one another to awful mumble rap—illuminates the basement enough I’m able to see the back of a leather couch. The smoke wafting toward the ceiling fan tells me there’s a good chance I’ll find Oakley on the other side of it.

I don’t know whether to laugh or shake my head as I round the corner and see him passed out with one hand down his pants and the other holding what appears to be a partially smoked blunt.

The baseball cap he’s wearing hides most of his face, but he definitely looks like he’s been asleep for a while. How the house hasn’t burnt down is anyone’s guess.

I’m about to dispose of the still lit blunt and go back upstairs…but then he speaks.

“Hey, babe.”

Uh. Kind of weird, but considering I’ve been called worse by strangers, I decide to roll with it.

“Hey.”

“I was wondering when you’d get here,” he murmurs, his voice thick with sleep.

I tamp down the urge to tell him I would have been here sooner if he picked me up from the goddamn airport like he was supposed to.

We’re going to be stuck together for the next year and bitching at him isn’t a good way to start a relationship.

I open my mouth to ask if he wants to grab a bite to eat later, but he speaks again.

“You’re so fucking hot.”

Okay, this train has officially reached awkward station.

“Um. Thank—”

Before I can finish that sentence, he shoves his sweatpants down and…

Oh. My. God.

Bile works up my throat as he wraps his hand around his exposed dick.

“Come on, beautiful,” he groans. “Quit teasing me and sit on it.”

I’m positive I must have a contact high because that’s the only way to explain why the actual fuck my step-cousin is summoning me to sit on his penis.

“Gross. What is wrong with you?”

Shielding my vision with my hands, I proceed to back away. Unfortunately, I knock into the coffee table so hard I see stars.

“Dammit,” I yelp, gripping my throbbing calf.

“You’re not Hayley.”

Talk about stating the obvious.

“No shit, Sherlock.” I make the huge mistake of looking up. “Oh, my God, dude. Can you please put your wiener away?”

“Sure thing,” the pervert says, rising from the couch. “As soon as you tell me who the hell you are and why you’re in my house.”

He has got to be kidding me.

“Seriously?” I point to myself. “I’m Dylan.”

He tilts his head to the side, like he’s having trouble understanding why my name would have any significance to him.

“Your cousin,” I grit through my teeth and he blanches.

Eureka.

I breathe a sigh of relief as he pulls up his pants.

“You’re not supposed to be here until Saturday.”

“It is Saturday,” I inform him, and his eyes widen.

“Well, shit.” He places the blunt between his lips and inhales. “This stuff is better than I thought.” Coughing, he holds it out to me. “Want some?”

I give him a sardonic smile. “I appreciate the peace offering and all, but I’ll pass.”

He doesn’t look offended in the least. “That’s cool.” His expression turns serious as he snuffs the cherry of the blunt on a can of soda. “Look, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell the parental units I tried to bang you, okay? They’re on my case enough lately.”

Oakley doesn’t have to worry. I won’t be telling anyone he tried to bang me.

I give him a nod.

He nods back.

And then it’s nothing but uncomfortable silence.

Quite the riveting exchange we’re having here.

“It’s Saturday night,” he declares unexpectedly while stretching his arms over his head and yawning. “Christian’s throwing his big end of summer party before school starts.”

I don’t know who Christian is, but I wouldn’t mind going to a party. In fact, meeting a few people and reconnecting with some old friends before school starts will probably make things easier for me on Monday.

My heart does a little flip. Maybe Jace will be there.

There are so many things I want to tell him.

And even more things I want to ask him.

Like why he blocked my number. Or why he never returned any of the dozens of messages I sent him on social media after I left.

“A party sounds like fun. I can be rea—”

“Don’t wait up,” Oakley utters, brushing past me.

Well, that settles that then. My cousin is a bigger tool than the one contained in his pants.

“By the way,” he calls out from the stairs. “The school admins are assholes. I doubt they’ll let you keep that blue crap in your hair.”

Highlights. They’re called highlights.

A smile touches my lips. I hope they hate my blue hair so much they refuse admission and I have no choice but to attend Royal Manor High instead.

Chapter 2

Dylan

“Your hair,” my aunt exclaims as she wraps me up in a hug the next morning. “I like it, but Royal Hearts won’t. I’m gonna see if I can book an emergency appointment with my salon girl today.”

Oakley peers up from the breakfast he’s currently wolfing down. “Told you.”

I shoot him a dirty look as my aunt squeezes me tighter.

“My goodness. I can’t get over how grown-up you are.”

Oakley grins. “Like a tall Smurf.”

I preferred it when he was passed out on the couch.

There’s a frown on my aunt’s face when we break apart. Like me and my mother—Crystal has pale blonde hair, dark blue eyes, and a freakishly fast metabolism that makes us appear to be in much better shape than we are.

She’s also disturbingly perceptive at times.

Her expression is careful, like she’s afraid I might break. “How are you holding up?”

I ignore the twinge in my chest. If I give in and break down now—I don’t stand a chance of making it through the next twelve months.

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