“Watch out for that one—she’s lethal. Every pretty girl is competition, and judging by that reaction, you’re most definitely on her hit list.”
“Who is she exactly?” I ask, as we walk the corridor toward the bedrooms.
“She was the love of Ky’s life, until she ruined him.”
Max, the Kennedy’s chauffeur—yes, they have a full-time chauffeur—drives us into town. “So what exactly went down with Kyler and Addison?” I ask, as we sit side by side in the backseat. Purposely inspecting my nails, I’m trying my best to appear innocent.
Keaton splutters. “No way.” He holds up his hands. “I’m not touching that.”
I try a different approach. “It’s no biggie. I’m only trying to understand your brothers. Apart from you and Kalvin, the rest of them seem pretty closed off. Maybe if I knew what was going on with them …”
“You’ll find out soon enough, and then you’ll wish you’d left well enough alone,” he replies cryptically.
“What did … Kaden mean last night? He has some issue with your parents?” All the K names are confusing me, so I hope I’ve referenced the right cousin.
“You caught that, huh?”
“He wasn’t exactly subtle.”
He angles his body and his knees brush against mine. “He’s been acting like that ever since he turned eighteen. Keven too. I swear, for a while, I actually thought they were in some secret ‘coming of age’ club”—he gestures with his fingers—“you know, like Jacob and Co. in Twilight when they became members of the wolf pack and they couldn’t talk about it?”
I burst out laughing. “You think your brothers are shape shifters?”
He grins. “It’d be cool, right?”
“Totally.” I laugh. Keaton is so easy to like. “But I doubt that’s in the realm of possibility, so what do you think it could be?”
His smile withers up and dies. “I don’t know. Only that it’s nothing good. Things have been strained between them ever since. If the same thing happens when Ky turns eighteen next year, then I’m definitely reevaluating my wolf pack theories.”
He loops his arm in mine as Max slows the car down. “Anyway, enough of my idiot brothers,” Keaton says. “Ready for your guided tour?”
“Can’t wait.” A genuine smile plays across my lips as I beam at my cousin. I’m glad I’m developing a rapport with at least one of them.
We get out in the middle of a busy town. It’s modern but quaint. Keaton is animated as he points places out to me. We walk around for hours, peppering each other with questions. Keaton knows everything about everyone, it seems, and he introduces me to people left and right. The names fly over my head. Some are friendly, others less so. The boys seem more enthusiastic than the girls, and that isn’t in anyway reassuring. Most of them go to Wellesley Old Colonial, the private school my cousins go to and the one I’ll also be attending.
Spotting a bench, I plop down, and my aching legs offer up silent thanks. “I’m knackered,” I tell him as he drops down beside me.
He laughs. “You’re what?”
“Worn out, tired.” I grin back at him. “That’s a new one, huh?”
“Yeah, and I’m most definitely storing it for future use.” He gives me a cheeky wink. “How about I treat you to lunch, and then we can head back?”
“Sounds like a plan.”
He opens the door to Legend’s Diner and Family Restaurant, stepping sideways to allow me to enter first. A pretty girl with shocking pink hair and warm brown eyes shows us to a booth by the window. Keaton says hi to a few school friends before sliding in beside me. I order a Cobb salad and iced tea and settle back in my seat.
My eyes rove over the diner, and it’s like stepping back to the 1960s. The black-and-white checkered, tiled floor contrasts perfectly with the red-and-white themed booths. Quirky signs dot the walls at odd angles in a strangely stylistic fashion. Black, white, and red drapes frame the windows. It’s contemporary and old-fashioned, mirroring my first impression of the town.
People sit on high stools in front of a long counter at the top of the restaurant. An old-fashioned jukebox throws out tunes from another era, and my foot taps idly off the floor. A shadow darkens the tabletop and I look up at the musclehead clearly checking me out.
His shoulders are so broad it’s a wonder he squeezed through the door. Bulging arms stretch over a fitted green shirt, and he wears black cargo shorts and black-and-white runners. His sandy hair is half-hidden under a branded cap. “It appears the rumors are true.” He’s blatantly undressing me with his eyes. “Nice.” He whistles appreciatively.
“Fuck off, Jeremy.” Keaton says. “And stay away from her.”
“Now, now, little Kennedy.” Jeremy tousles Keaton’s hair in a condescending manner. “That’s no way to speak to your elders.”
“Speak to this.” Keaton gives him the middle finger, and I almost choke on my laugh.
“Don’t mind this douche.” Jeremy reaches out and takes my hand uninvited. “He is utterly clueless when it comes to the opposite sex.” Keaton’s face turns puce as Jeremy winks, then lifts my hand, and presses his mouth to my knuckles.
I wrench my hand back and pin him with a ferocious glare. “On the contrary.” I lean forward on my elbows. “Keaton has been perfect company all morning.”
“Damn.” He rubs a hand over his stomach. “You are too fucking cute. You’re killing me with that accent.” Lifting a hand to the side of his mouth, he hollers, “Yo, guys! Get over here already!”
There’s a virtual stampede to our booth, and I squirm in my seat. Keaton groans and rolls his eyes. At least seven or eight boys loom over the table, taking their fill of me.