Rich Prick

Page 8

I stilled, hearing my mom’s voice at my door.

A polite knock came next, and I had to answer. My stomach was in knots, but I pushed back from the desk and walked over. My legs felt like wood.

My mom was on the other side, frowning, concern pulling her eyebrows together.

She wore a light summer dress, an artsy scarf wrapped around her neck with books on it, and her hair coiled up in a loose French twist. It was a mess of brown and gray since she was letting her last dye job run out. Minimal makeup, and she had on hemp sandals that wrapped around her ankles.

I already knew what mood she was in that day.

She was feeling an artsy/creative/loving/spiritual vibe. In these moments, she loved life and tried to be a beacon of light to everyone. This was the perfect time to make my request.

“Mom.” My voice went all warm and happy, and I made sure to smile, radiating peace and tranquility.

“Daughter.” A flicker in her eyes, and she tilted her head toward me.

She was on to me. She knew I wanted something.

Good thing I knew she wouldn’t mind in this mood.

Right now she wanted to go to the desert and commune with nature and take mud baths, all while dosing up on some really great pot. I never saw this side of her until she and my dad had their midlife crisis. Now this was a regular occurrence, and the vibes in the house were a lot more relaxed because of it.

“I want to go camping for my last week at school.”

She didn’t even blink. “Absolutely not.” And damn, her smile never wavered either.

“Mom.” I was getting serious now.

“Daughter.” So was she. “It’s your last year. You’re not missing any projects or memories to go camping alone.”


“I’ve gotten permission to finish all my projects and tests in the next three days at school. And I can do it. I’ll have everything completed and handed in by Thursday. I can take off on Friday.”


What was I doing?

I didn’t want my parents to know when I graduated. I’d made up a fake email for them, so everything school-related actually came to me. I knew my grades for months before my parents remembered to ask. With their old-school way of thinking, no news from my school was good news. That meant I wasn’t having problems, so they had no reason to worry about me. And straight As—a 4.2, with the new ranking system. School had always been easy for me. It was just the social scene that presented a challenge, but what parent actually waded into that world?

I needed to go camping.

I needed it like I needed to live. This past weekend was supposed to have fed my soul, but it hadn’t.

I was going anyway. Regardless of what my mother said.

I made the decision right then and there. My projects would be done. My tests would be taken. If I didn’t show up, no one would care.

I was doing it. My mom would never know anyway.

And so now I had to distract her. I moved in, wrapped my arms around her, and buried my head in her shoulder. “I love you, Mom.”

She stiffened for a second, then she melted. “Oh, honey.” Her hand came up to the back of my head for a moment before she hugged me. “I love you too. So very much,” she murmured next to my ear. “You know that, right?”

I squeezed her. “Always.”

She sighed. “Come for dinner. Benny made Thai and your father is having a fit. You know he was hoping for tacos. Lord knows why. If he could, he’d have tacos every night of the week. Tacos and those damn cigars of his. I thought I got rid of the rest of them, but he snuck away to his editing shed. It’s like he thinks we’re oblivious that it’s his he-shed more than anything.” She paused, her smile turning tender. “You’ll come for Thai with us?”

I nodded. “Of course.”

Another hug, a soft squeeze of my shoulder, and she left, her hand grazing my cheek.

After dinner, I studied for my two tests and drew up a list for my camping trip.

I’d be back before she even knew I’d been gone.



Between Zeke and Oliver and Jamie, Tasmin never stood a chance.

She came alone—no boyfriend and no brother with his girlfriend in tow. And I knew my half-bro well enough to know there was no way he would come without his woman or his friends. He had a tight group. I’d heard my mom complaining to Stephen one night that the only way they’d gotten my half brother to the first dinner was because Tasmin went behind his back to friend-guilt his girlfriend. She had come to support Taz. I don’t know what happened, but he showed up with her, and then they’d all stormed off with Taz’s boyfriend.

That’d been the pussy dinner. Zeke and I took off right after them, and that night had been a fun party.

I barely remembered it.

But with its smaller crowd, this dinner had passed without much needling or questioning or guilt tripping about why I didn’t have a better relationship with so and so—just fill in the blank. At this rate, it was a rotating door. My mom was always disappointed that I wasn’t closer to someone: Stephen, Tasmin, the brother who didn’t give a fuck about me either, or even fucking Griffith, the non-bio asshole who’d raised me.

I got out unscathed, and then we went to Zeke’s, where I spent the rest of the night in a drunken stupor. We passed a bowl around and played video games, just the four of us. No Brian or Branston, and I knew that was Zeke waving a truce flag. He knew I couldn’t stand either of them, so I was happy.

The next day, I kept an eye out for Aspen.

There was something about her. It was bugging me. I didn’t know what it was or why I was wasting my time, but I did.

I noticed she wasn’t in any of her classes Tuesday morning, so I asked around. And then she was back in classes that afternoon, but I heard she was working on projects on her own.

Wednesday was the same thing. That day I heard she spent the entire afternoon in the library.

On Thursday, Jamie tapped my arm, nodding to Aspen as she hurried past us in the hallway. “Heard you’ve been asking about her.”

“Yeah. You know stuff?”

“I know she got permission to finish all her shit this week. My mom is friends with one of the clerical ladies in the front office. They said the girl could officially not come to school any more as of tomorrow.”

Well. Crap.

My chest tightened at that thought, though I had no idea why.

Jamie frowned at me. “Why you so interested in her? She’s been a nobody all year.”

My teeth instantly ground against each other. I hated that word, but I shrugged. “It’s not what you’re thinking.”

He grinned. “You don’t want a new BJ girl?”

I swore under my breath. “Tell me that’s not what you guys are calling Mara?”

“Mara. Penny. Whoever. They all get on their knees at some point, don’t they?”

I shot him a look, but he wasn’t speaking with disdain or condescension. He was just saying it, like it was a fact. “You know it’s talking like that that made me go at Strandling, right?”

He rubbed his chest. “You know I don’t mean shit by it. I don’t think less of those girls. They could turn it around and say we’re all just fuck boys, because ain’t that what we do? We service them too.”

That was one way of thinking about it.

He frowned, straightening next to me. “You ever been in love?”

I frowned. “No, not like that.” I’d never had a reason for that. I got what I needed without having to do the relationship. Some guys liked that, but it wasn’t in the cards for me. I shrugged. “I suppose one day, maybe? But why, though?”

He shrugged. “No clue, man.”

We went back to watching people pass us in the crowd. Many looked our way, but we were used to that. We were at the top of this school, so we got attention. It was the same way everywhere we went in town, and even if we went to other towns. We all looked like rich assholes. We walked like it, drove rich-prick cars, and there was an air about us—confidence, arrogance, whatever.


Yeah. I could say it.

But while others thought that way, believed that way, I didn’t. It was a shield for me.

And with that last thought, I’d had enough of school. “Wanna go to Zeke’s and get wasted?”

Jamie smirked. “Can we bring some girls?”

I snorted. “Of course.”

I was in the mood to fuck and forget.



I left on Thursday after school, and my parents thought I was camping for the night. They’d be in for a surprise when I didn’t come back until Monday—if they noticed. You heard that right. Monday. That meant Thursday night, all day Friday, all day Saturday, and hell to the yeah all day on Sunday. I’d come back Sunday night if I wanted to, but knowing me, maybe I wouldn’t.

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