Home > Anti-Stepbrother(12)

Author: Tijan

Avery cleared her throat, her arms folding to mirror my stance. “She came with me.”

Marcus just stared, but his amusement was now evident, just like his brother’s.

“She lives on my floor,” she added, shifting her feet.

“The floor where you’re an advisor?”


His eyes fell on her water bottle. “Setting a good example already, huh, Av?”

She flushed. “Like you have any place to say anything.”

He indicated me with his beer. “You know who her brother is, don’t you?”

I corrected, “Stepbrother,” but it didn’t matter.

Avery rolled her eyes. “Again, like you have any place to say anything.”

That got a reaction. Marcus had been all easygoing, slightly cocky, but now any trace of humor vanished. A flash of anger sparked in his eyes. “We used to be friends, Av.”

She snorted. “Right. Because friends screw each other over.”

His eyes darkened. Smoke could’ve come out of his eye sockets. I was getting heated just watching the two.

“Okay.” Shell stepped up, a disapproving glint in her eyes. “We’re separating the two of you before a full fight ensues.” She took hold of Avery’s arm. “Marcus, it’s been a lovely party. Thank you for letting us come here, dance our asses off, and get drunk, but it’s time to head out.”

Marcus said something, but I began to tune them out. Avery was going willingly with Shell. There wouldn’t be a fight.

My eyes followed Marcus. I didn’t intend to look for Caden. I didn’t even like him. I’d named him Asshole for a reason. But somehow, I’d been aware of him the entire time. He was like a bug, always buzzing at the periphery, nagging at my concentration. I’d half expected him to step in, take over the situation, and pull his brother back like he had at the fraternity house. He’d done none of that. He wasn’t even still sitting in his lawn chair. He now stood with another group of people, like he was part of their conversation, but he wasn’t. The beer bottle was gone, and his arms were crossed over his chest. A girl even put her hand on his arm, but he wasn’t paying attention.

He was watching me.

Our eyes caught and held, and I frowned.

There was no hostility, not like the other night, just a slight flicker of amusement—like he was finding me funny, or the situation funny. I glanced behind me, but there was nothing comical there. Wait—I started to look back at him, but whipped around again.

There was nothing behind me at all. The girls were gone.


I had no idea how to get back to the dorm. I started back to the front of the house. The girls weren’t there. They weren’t in the living room, kitchen, or bathrooms. They weren’t upstairs or downstairs. I went back to the backyard for one last futile attempt, and again, nothing.

Then I felt him.

He came to stand next to me, his hands in his pockets, and looked over with those eyes that could see through me. “They took off while you were glaring at me.”

“I wasn’t glaring.” I didn’t think I was, anyway. A headache formed behind my temples. I lifted a hand to rub at my head.

One side of his mouth curved up. “You were, but that’s fine.” His eyebrow raised. “You need a ride back?”

I sighed. “We had a buddy system.”

The other side of his mouth lifted, and the distinct feeling that he was laughing at me washed over me again.

“Come on.” He gestured toward the street. “I’ve had one beer. I can drive, and I’m heading out anyway. Trust me enough for a ride?”

I held my breath. He’d been laughing at me earlier, now he was outright making fun of me? I weighed my options. I could call a cab and hope the driver knew where my dorm was, or walk and try to find it myself. A third option was calling Kevin. A part of me wanted to do that, and I reached for my phone. What if he didn’t answer? I let go of my phone. I didn’t want to test that theory.

My last option stood in front of me.

I nodded. “After you.”

Caden/Asshole drove a Land Rover.

I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t that.

And it was clean. I paused after I opened the door and could only stand there. It was impeccably clean.

He’d already gotten inside. “Please don’t tell me the leather offends you.”

“It’s so clean.”


I had no clue what came over me, but I broke out in a “Ta-daa!” and my arms lifted like heaven’s gate had been thrown open. A full choir and orchestra played out in my voice. “Behold the gloriousness!” Then I dropped my arms and was met with silence.

He tilted his head. “How much did you drink?”

Yeah, maybe it was the booze. Shrugging, I got inside. “Sorry. I’m just surprised,” I explained as he pulled away from the curb. “Kevin’s car is always a mess. The floor of the front seat where my feet are supposed to go is his personal garbage can. He throws everything there. I always have to move a bunch of junk aside so I can get in.”

“He doesn’t clean it for you?”

I shrugged again. “He cleans it for his dates.”

“Not even for his mom?”

“If they go anywhere together, they take her car. Nope. Just his dates.” I was rambling. I sat on my hands.

He noticed. “What are you doing?”

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