I can only nod.
She stands. “Try and get some sleep. I’ll be away on a business trip for the next few days, but I’ll call you tomorrow. Courtney will be here, and she’ll get you anything you need. We’ll talk more when I’m back.”
She halts at the door, her fingers curling around the handle. “I’d prefer if we kept this conversation between us. We haven’t spoken to the boys yet, and I’d rather they hear it from us.”
“Sure.” Yeah, I’ve zero desire to drop that bomb on my cousins. They don’t need additional reasons to be wary of me.
The door snicks shut, and I flop down on the bed, staring at the stark white ceiling. Everything is foreign, and I can’t remember ever feeling this alone.
Stripping off my clothes, I take a long, hot shower.
Re-dressing in a pair of sleep shorts and my white lacy bra, I sit cross-legged on the bed and retrieve my phone from my bag. Quickly computing the time difference, I FaceTime Jill, hoping Rachel is with her and that they are still up. A comforting sensation spreads over me as Jill’s familiar face fills the screen. Rachel’s head materializes in the frame, and I grin. “How’s it going?” she asks.
“It is so good to see you. I miss you guys so much already.”
“Ditto. We can’t believe you are actually gone, gone.” There’s a pregnant pause before Jill forces a smile on her face. “So, what’s it like there?”
“Honestly, it’s pretty insane.” I proceed to give them a blow-by-blow account of everything from the plane to the car journey to the house and meeting the boys.
“Ohmigawd!” Rachel shrieks. “I love Kennedy Apparel! Do you think you can get them to send me some clothes? I had my eye on this amazing dress from the autumn collection, but it’d bankrupt me to buy it.”
I roll my eyes. “Seriously, Rach? My whole world’s been turned upside down, and you want me to score you some freebies?”
She looks instantly chastised. “I know that, and I’m sorry. I’m just super excited. This is big!”
I get up and pace the floor. “I wish you guys could be here to see it with your own eyes. It’s … I can’t even find the words.” It’s fucking overwhelming, and I still can’t work out how I feel about it. “That K brand is everywhere, and all my cousin’s names start with K. I mean, it’s like no other letter exists in the feckin’ alphabet. It’s the biggest load of pretentious bullshit I’ve ever come across. How am I going to live with these people? My aunt and uncle seem decent enough, but my cousins are either downright hostile or cagey or ripping the piss out of me. I…” I rub a hand low on my belly in an attempt to calm my churning stomach.
A low whistle pricks my ears, and I jump in fright, almost dropping the phone. Kalvin is lounging against the doorframe, wearing only khaki shorts, which hang low on his hips, giving me a full view of his ripped abs. His eyes unashamedly rake me up and down, and anger ignites my insides. “What the hell are you doing?”
“Hey, hot stuff.” He pushes off the door and saunters toward me. “Who you talking to?”
Before I have a chance to answer, he’s whipped the phone from my hands and he’s introducing himself to my friends.
“I think I’ll have to immigrate to Ireland when I graduate. You lay-dees are mighty fine.”
Jill and Rachel practically drool at the mouth, and I shake my head. “You’re like a walking American cliché. Do girls here actually fall for that cheesy crap?”
He messes up my hair, smirking at my scowl. “Works every time.”
A snort escapes me, and he laughs. “The guys in school are going to go crazy for you. Hot and sassy is the ideal catch.” He lets out another low whistle as he circles me, his eyes inspecting every inch of me. Jill and Rachel titter like three-year-olds. Fat lot of use they are. “They’ll be walking around with permanent boners,” Kalvin adds.
I cross my arms protectively over my chest. “I’m not interested in boys.”
“You’re batting for the other team? Man, that’s totally hot.”
Another round of giggles emits from the phone, and I’m starting to get really irritated with my friends. Kalvin doesn’t seem to need much encouragement, and their juvenile behavior isn’t helping.
“I’m not gay.”
He winks. “Prove it then.” Puckering his lips, he makes a kissing sound as he steps in front of me with a devilish grin.
“Knock it off.” I shove a hand in his chest, keeping him at bay.
I ignore my friends who are currently acting like brainless dimwits, hollering at me to kiss him.
He leans in, sniffing my neck, and I jerk back in alarm. He cranks out a laugh. “Relax, cuz. I’m only messing about.” I narrow my eyes, and he laughs again. “Or maybe not.” He nuzzles my neck with his nose. “Maybe I’m into the whole kissing cousins mentality.”
Jill and Rachel start yelling demands at me again, and I snatch the phone out of Kalvin’s hands while he’s distracted. I press the button to disconnect the feed as he dips his head and presses his mouth to my collarbone. I nearly jump out of my skin.
“What the hell is going on here?” Caught off guard, I emit a screech, and the phone flies out of my hand, spinning across the room.
Kyler stalks into the room, his eyes moving from the stubborn set of my eyes to my mouth and onto my semi-exposed chest. I stare back at him, and we face off for a few seconds. My mouth is suddenly desert-dry, and the air is charged with … something indecipherable.
“Do yourself a favor, Ky,” Kalvin says, chuckling. “Don’t let Addison see you looking at her like that, or there’ll be hell to pay.”
Kyler grasps him by the shoulders, pulling him upright. “Don’t talk crap, and stay out of her room, Kal. I told you already. No sleazing. She’s our cousin, you sicko. Don’t think I won’t beat your ass.”