Home > Anti-Stepbrother(11)

Author: Tijan

Avery answered, “I’m ready to go outside.”

“Marcus is out there.”

No outside. No Marcus. I silently willed the girls to come up with another plan. I should’ve left as soon as I found out whose house this was. This was Marcus’ territory. If he remembered me from the other night, I was pretty sure he wouldn’t want me here.

I stood up. “You know, I’ve got more dancing in me. They’ll change the song soon, I’m sure.”

Shell snorted. “Not likely. Once the slow stuff starts, they keep it up. It’s how they get people to leave. The kegs must be empty.”

“I don’t care what we do except for Marcus,” Avery announced. “Wherever he is, we should not be.”

I agreed, pumping my head up and down. I so agreed.

Avery rolled her eyes as her hands found her hips. “But I still want to go outside.” She sent a puff of air out, blowing a strand of hair off her forehead. “Come on, guys. We can do this. I can do this.”

Shell said, “You’re drunk. It’s not a good look.”

Avery’s eyebrows shot up, and her head cocked to the side. “Excuse me?”

“Marcus is still in the backyard. You’re drunk. It’s not going to look good for you. We all know that you speak first and think later when you’re like this.”

“I can handle Marcus.”

“No, you can’t.” Claudia joined in. “Not when you’ve been drinking.”

The more they talked, the more intrigued I became. The more anxious I felt, too. Avery and Marcus? He’d been proclaiming his love for Maggie two nights ago.

“I told you guys, I can handle this, and I will.” With that, Avery whipped around and shoved through the crowd, heading for the stairs.


I wasn’t sure who said that, but Shell and Claudia scrambled to their feet and ran after her. Another girl that had been dancing caught the exchange. She tore out of her partner’s arms and grabbed her buddy, pulling her behind. I was the last to go, because I was a little bit more drunk than I realized. I stood, but the dance floor spun with me. I had to wait until the couples righted themselves, and once they did, I headed off too. The girls were long gone by the time I got upstairs.

I grabbed a guy passing by. “Backyard?” I asked.

He pointed farther ahead.

I came to the rear of the house to find Avery and the girls huddled together in a corner outside, their backs to the rest of the yard. They kept glancing over their shoulders toward a bonfire on the other side. A group of people lingered there, but I could tell the two everyone was focused on: Marcus and Asshole. Both sat in lawn chairs, their legs sprawled out and beers in hand. At first they looked like they were just relaxing, chilling, not paying attention to anything, but Caden was watching the girls. So was Marcus. He looked a little tense, but Caden… I frowned, studying him a bit more. I didn’t see the annoyance and anger from two nights ago. He actually seemed to be enjoying himself, and when his eyes darted from Avery to his brother, I got the feeling he was enjoying watching his brother squirm.

That pissed me off for some reason.

I pushed open the door a little harder than necessary. The thought of Asshole having fun at the expense of his brother didn’t sit right with me. I stepped outside and down the stairs. Joining Avery’s group, I turned squarely to face Caden and his brother. I thought they both saw me, but neither showed a reaction. I mean, I wasn’t sure if they did. It was dark. I was clear across the yard and a bit drunk. I didn’t think so, though, and I was going with that.

“What are you doing?” Avery hissed at me.

I stood next to her, but faced the guys while she faced her friends.

I crossed my arms over my chest. “I’m not pretending, that’s what I’m doing.” I was almost glaring.

“What?” She sent me a horrified look. “Why are you acting like this?”

I didn’t know, but there had to be a reason… I think.

Marcus leaned forward. Caden’s amusement was evident, and now he zeroed in on me. Completely. I raised my chin, challenging him.

He grinned, lifting his beer for a drag from the bottle.

“Stop, Summer. I don’t want Marcus to come over here.”

I frowned, breaking whatever kind of stare I had going with Asshole, and looked at her. “What? I thought you did.”

“No.” But it was too late. Marcus had left his chair.

Avery groaned, turning around. “Oh, no. He’s coming over here.”

The other girls drew closer. “What’d you do?” someone asked.

They weren’t talking to Avery. All were now glaring at me.

“Oh.” Oops.

“You here to come clean?”

The question came from behind us, and I turned to face forward again, but I already knew who it was. Marcus. He was right there, holding his beer in front of him, an almost lazy smirk adorning his face. His eyes kept skirting from me to Avery, but when she stood facing him too, I realized his question had been directed at me.

I jerked upright. “What?”

Marcus narrowed his eyes. He skimmed me up and down before lifting his beer again. “My girlfriend. Your brother. I assumed you came here to ’fess up about what you really saw.”

Sooo uncomfortable. I wanted to squirm. I could feel the attention from Avery and her friends. “Uh, I mean, why would I?”

He arched an eyebrow. “This is my house. My party. And here you are.” He took another drink. “That is why you’re here, isn’t it?”

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