Misfit (Prep #1) - Elle Kennedy

Chapter 1

RJ

“Eat up, bud. I’m getting married.”

Those were the first words to exit Mom’s mouth when I walked into the kitchen this morning. Naturally, I assumed I was still dreaming. That wasn’t really my mother making pancakes at the stove, casually talking about her spontaneous marriage. Clearly I was embroiled in one of those off-kilter dreams where nothing made any sense.

But nope, I was awake. Awake and apparently in the midst of Mom’s midlife crisis. I knew she was dating some new guy these past few months, but it’s not like I gave it much thought. My mother’s relationships never last.

And yet here I am, barely eight hours later, pressed into an ill-fitting tux and pushing lumps of salmon around my plate beside a similarly blindsided stranger I’m supposed to call my stepbrother.

Meanwhile, our respective and alleged adults grope each other around the dance floor, creating nightmare fuel to some graphic ’90s R&B slow jam.

Fuck me with a sledgehammer.

“Maybe it was the fish,” Fennelly says next to me, looking a little green, “but I’m starting to feel like something crawled in my stomach and died.”

Or maybe it’s his dad getting handsy all over my mother in front of a roomful of minimum-wage waiters who aren’t getting tipped enough for this shit.

“When the apocalypse comes,” I mutter at my own slow, painful torture, “and some dude with a baseball bat is standing over me asking if I have any last words for my maker, I’ll tell him I’ve stared into the face of darkness and fear has no power over me.”

Fenn grins and knocks back another glass of champagne like he was raised on the stuff straight out of his mother’s tits. They ought to get him a hose. Or an IV.

I haven’t decided what I think of him yet. We met for the first time at the altar only an hour ago, standing on either side of the aisle while our parents made their vows to an otherwise empty room. I’m still trying to get a read on this blond pretty boy with the outline of a flask protruding through his pocket.

His name is Fennelly Bishop, which is a fucking stupid name, but then again I’m not one to talk. Like me, he rebels against the name, and told me to call him Fenn. I suspect he’s an athlete, or at least good at sports, because he’s got that tall, muscled build that doesn’t look like it came from a gym. Although I guess he could have a super-expensive personal trainer on retainer, some burly dude who shows up at his huge mansion and gets paid two hundred K a year to keep this blue-eyed rich boy in peak shape. They’re money people, Fenn and his dad. It wafts off them. The way he sticks his pinky out and leans back in his chair, legs splayed, as though we’re all here to serve and amuse him with our quaint peasant talents.

“When I write my memoirs,” he says, unraveling the bowtie around his neck, “I’ll remember this as the day I learned what the opposite of porn is.”

I snicker quietly. Dude’s funny, I’ll give him that.

Fenn barely has to raise his empty glass in order to get a refill from one of the half-dozen waiters in tuxedos skulking in the shadows of this swanky country club ballroom. It’s the kind of place where the silverware is made from actual silver. Someone rushes over and offers to pour, but Fenn swipes the bottle instead. Part of me wonders if I’ll have to leave here through a metal detector. The country club is in Greenwich, apparently not too far from David’s mansion, which I assume is a palace, based on this club’s sizable membership fee. We’re worlds away from the lower-middle-class suburbs where Mom and I live on the other side of the state.

“Chick over there? She’s looking at you.” Fenn nods past my shoulder.

Nobody ever said I was polite, so I turn around to follow his gaze. A short brunette in a server’s outfit flashes me a coy smile before raising one brow.

I turn back. “Nah, I’m good,” I tell him.

“I don’t know, dude.” Fenn cocks his head in appraisal. “She’s kinda cute. I don’t think anyone would notice if you took her into the cart house or something.”

The last thing on my mind is hooking up. It’ll take weeks for me to be able to unsee the display of parental vertical sex currently assaulting my eyes. Fenn must read the notion on