“How is stepbrother dearest today?” Victoria asked.
The bed squeaked as I plopped on my stomach and sighed into the phone. “Up to his usual assholery.”
I hadn’t told my best friend Victoria about Elec’s show and tell in the bathroom Friday night.
It embarrassed me to no end, and I decided to keep it to myself. A Google search of pierced penises ended up keeping me up the rest of that first night.
Let me tell you, anyone who innocently searches “Prince Albert” is in for a big surprise.
It was now Sunday, and tomorrow Elec would be starting at my high school where we would both be seniors.
Soon enough, everyone would get to meet my jerky stepbrother.
Victoria sounded shocked. “He’s still not speaking to you?”
“No. He came downstairs to pour some cereal this morning and brought it back to his room.”
“Why do you think he has such a stick up his ass?”
You should see his other stick.
“Something’s going on between him and Randy. I’m trying not to take it personally, but it’s hard.”
It’s hard alright. God, I can’t get it out of my head!
Pierced mushroom head.
“You think I would like him?” Victoria asked.
“What do you mean? I told you…he’s the devil,” I snapped.
“I know…but do you think I would like him?”
Honestly, I knew he was exactly Victoria’s type. She loved dark and brooding guys even when they weren’t as good-looking as Elec. This was another reason I had to keep the details of the bathroom encounter to myself.
All she needed to hear was that his cock was pierced, and I’d never get her out of my house. But she’d find out what he looked like soon enough, so I figured I’d be honest.
“He’s really hot, okay? Really…fucking…hot. In fact, his looks are just about the only thing he has going for him.”
“Okay, I’m coming over.”
“No, you’re not.”
I laughed, but deep down, the idea of Victoria throwing herself at Elec made me really uncomfortable even if I didn’t think he’d return the attention.
“What are your plans for tonight, then?”
“Well, before I actually met him and realized he was an asshat, I was supposed to be making Sunday dinner for all of us. You know…my one specialty.”
I laughed because it was the only thing I knew how to make well. “How did you guess?”
“Maybe you can serve up a can of whoopass on the side for stepbrother dearest.”
“I’m not engaging him. I’m gonna kill him with kindness. I don’t care how much of a…dick…(oh goodness) he wants to be to me. The worst thing I can do is let him think he’s affecting me.”
Mom helped me set the table while we waited for the Tetrazzini to bake.
My stomach was growling, but it was more nerves rather than the smell of cream sauce and garlic emanating from the oven.
I really wasn’t looking forward to sitting across the table from Elec, that is, if he even agreed to join us.
“Greta, why don’t you go upstairs and see if you can get him to come down.”
My mother screwed open a bottle of wine. She was the only one who would be drinking, and she likely needed it. She poured a little, took a sip then said, “Look, I can understand why he doesn’t like me.
“He sees me as the enemy and probably blames me in some way for his parents not being together, but there is no reason for him to be treating you poorly.
“Just keep trying to get through to him, see if you can get him to open up a little.”
I shrugged. She had no idea how all out in the open things were in the bathroom the other night: balls to the wall open.
As I walked up the stairs, the theme song to Jaws rang out in my head. The thought of knocking on his door terrified me, and I didn’t know what I would be faced with if he even opened the door.
To my surprise, he opened right away. A clove cigarette was hanging out of his mouth. The sweet smell of the smoke traveled quickly up my nostrils.
He took a long drag then slowly and intentionally blew the smoke right in my face. His voice was low. “What?”
I tried to seem unaffected until an uncontrollable hacking cough broke out.
Very cool, Greta.
“Dinner is almost ready.”
He was wearing a tight, white ribbed tank top, and my eyes drifted down to a tattoo that said “Lucky” on one of his muscular biceps, which was now leaning against the door.
His hair was wet, and his jeans hung low, showcasing the top of the white boxer briefs underneath. His steely gray eyes stared into mine. He was breathtaking…for a bastard.
I had zoned out when he said, “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Like you’re trying to remember what I looked like the other night…like you’d rather have me for dinner.” He snickered.
“And why are you winking at me?”
Shit. My eye twitched whenever I was nervous and made it look like I was winking.
“It’s just a twitch. Get over yourself.”
His expression turned angry. “Really? Should I? My looks are all I have going for me, right? So, I should capitalize on that.”
What was he talking about? I stood there speechless.
He continued, “What’s the matter…too hot in here for you?” Then, he said in a mocking tone, “So…fucking…hot.” He flashed a wicked smile.
Those were the exact words I had used to describe him on the phone to Victoria earlier.
He had been eavesdropping on my conversation!
My eye twitched.
He continued, “You’re winking at me again. Am I making you nervous? Look at your face! Red’s a good color on you.”
I immediately left to go back downstairs.
He yelled after me.
“We’ll match, seeing as though I’m the DEVIL!”
Elec picked at his meal without saying a word as I fixated on his lip ring. Randy was glancing over at him with a look of disdain.
My mother refilled her wine glass more than once. Yup, our very own version of the Brady Bunch.
I pretended to be enjoying the Tetrazzini while ruminating over the fact that he’d overheard me talking about him that way and therefore, now knew I was attracted to him.
Mom was the first to speak.
“Elec, what do you think of Boston so far?”
“Seeing as though I’ve ventured nowhere but this house, it sucks ass.”
Randy slammed his fork down. “Can you show some respect to your stepmother for five seconds?”
“That depends. Can she stop boozing it up for the same amount of time? I knew you married a cheater, Daddy, but a lush, too?”
“You worthless piece of shit,” Randy spewed.
Once again, Randy had floored me with his choice of words toward his son. Elec was surely being an asshole, but it still shocked me to hear that kind of language coming out of my stepfather’s mouth.
Elec’s chair skidded back as he threw his napkin on the table and got up. “I’m done.” He looked over at me. “The Titty Zinni or whatever the fuck it’s called was wonderful, sis.”
The word “sis” had rolled off his tongue with sarcasm.
After he left the table, the silence was deafening.
My mother put her hand on Randy’s, and I was left pondering what could have happened between Elec and his father to cause such a rift.
I impulsively got up and walked upstairs. My heart was pounding as I knocked on Elec’s door.
He didn’t answer, so I slowly turned the knob and found him sitting at the edge of his bed smoking a clove cigarette. He had headphones on and hadn’t seen me enter. I stood just past the doorway and observed him.
He was bouncing his legs nervously, looking frustrated and defeated. Eventually, he put the cigarette out only to immediately reach into his drawer and grab another one.
“Elec,” I shouted.
He jumped and removed his headphones.
“The fuck? You scared the shit out of me.”
He lit the cigarette and gestured toward the door. “Leave.”
He rolled his eyes and shook his head slowly, returning the headphones to his ears and taking a long drag.
I sat down next to him. “Those are gonna kill you.”
Smoke billowed from his mouth as he said, “Perfect.”
“You don’t mean that.”
“Please leave me alone.”
I left the room and went back downstairs.
Seeing him looking so down when he didn’t know I was watching him made me more determined than ever to break through to him somehow. I needed to know if this was just a façade or if he were truly a genuine asshole.
The meaner he was to me, the more I wanted to make him like me. It was a challenge.
I returned to the kitchen and asked Randy for Elec’s cell phone number before programming it into my phone. I then typed out a text.
I decided to change the subject off of Randy.
What a jackass. This was going nowhere. I threw the phone on the counter and marched up the stairs.
Now, he’d put me in the mood to do something that would piss him off.
He was still sitting on the bed smoking when I opened the door after neglecting to knock.
I headed straight for the drawer, grabbed his box of cigarettes and ran out.
I was laughing all the way back to my room. That is, until my door burst open. I quickly stuffed the cigarettes into my shirt.
Elec looked ready to murder me, although admittedly, the glare in his glowing eyes was pretty sexy.
“Give them to me,” he said through gritted teeth.
“I’m not giving them back to you.”
“Yes the fuck you are, or I’m reaching into your shirt and getting them. You choose.”
“Seriously, why do you smoke? It’s so bad for you.”
“You can’t just steal my shit. But then again, like mother, like daughter.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Go ask your mother,” he muttered under his breath. He held out his muscular, tattooed arm. “Give me my cigarettes.”
“Not until you explain why you just said that. She didn’t steal Randy. Your parents were divorced before my mom even met your dad.”
“That’s what Randy wants you to believe. She was probably fucking around on your father too, right? Poor gullible bastard.”
“Don’t call my father a bastard.”
“Well, where was he when Sarah was fucking my father behind my mother’s back?”
My blood was starting boil. He was going to be sorry for asking. “Six feet under. My father died when I was ten.”
He was silent then rubbed his temples in frustration. His tone eased for the first time since I’d met him. “Fuck. I didn’t know that, okay?”
“There’s a lot you’re probably assuming. If you’d just talk to me…”
Elec almost looked like he was going to apologize. Almost. Then, he shook his head and turned right back into evil Mr. Hyde.
“I’ll be fucking damned if I have to talk to you. Give me my cigarettes, or I’m ripping them out of your shirt.”
My body buzzed when he said it. What was wrong with me?
A part of me wanted to see what that would be like, his rough hands pulling at the material on my shirt, ripping it off. I shook my head to rid the thought and backed away as he slowly approached. He was just inches from me now.
The heat radiated from his body as he moved up against me, squishing the cigarette box into my chest. My nipples instantly turned to steel.
I had never felt so out of control of my own body and was silently begging it to stop reacting so intensely toward him. Let’s face it. My body was an imbecile with poor judgment.
How could it want something so badly that hated it right back?
His breath smelled like clove. “That was the last package of that brand. They’re imported from Indonesia. I don’t even know where to buy them here yet.
“If you think I’m difficult to deal with now, you’re not gonna want to see what I’m like with no cigarettes tonight.”
“They’re so bad for you.”
“Ask me if I give a shit,” he said uncomfortably close to my mouth.
He backed up a few inches. “Look…smoking is the only thing that has brought me any peace since walking into this hell hole. Now, I’m asking nicely. Please.”
His eyes softened, and with each second that passed, my resolve weakened. “Okay.” His gaze followed my hand as I reached into my bra for the cigarettes.
I handed them to him and instantly felt the cold air replace the heat of his body as he walked away.
If I thought giving him back the cigarettes would initiate a truce, I was wrong.
He turned around one last time to face me, and his eyes were no longer soft. They were piercing. “You’re gonna pay for that.”
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