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Appealed: Chapter 16


This time, Kennedy shows up: at seven sharp there’s a knock on the door. I wait in the backyard while Harrison goes to open it. The whole afternoon, my energy level was buzzing even higher than usual. I tried to get some work done, but I kept wondering when Kennedy would get home.

And what her expression would be when she opened the box I’d had delivered to her—a big white box with a red bow. Large enough for the dress, shoes, and purse that were inside it.

My mother has a personal shopper she’s worked with for years. With the amount of time my hands have spent on Kennedy’s body, I know her dimensions pretty frigging well. Well enough to describe the perfect dress that’ll fit her like a custom-tailored glove.

And I’m every bit as good as I thought I was.

Because when Kennedy steps onto the back patio, she knocks the breath out of me. Her flawless neck and dainty arms are bare in the white strapless dress—practically glistening in the moonlight. The soft, shiny fabric hugs her breasts, pushing them up and together, creating a tasty cleavage line that I want to dip my tongue into. The dress cinches at her tiny waist, then flares just a bit, the gauzy chiffon fluttering slightly with the light breeze, just above her knees.

The dress is lovely. Sexy but elegant. Something a woman would wear on a special night out . . . or a girl would wear to her prom.

Her hair falls loose and curled around her delicate shoulders, her lips are shiny with a touch of gloss. And her smile—it’s all hope and wonder and amazement. My heart pounds in my chest—because I was able to give that to her.

Kennedy looks around the yard, at the twinkling lights strewn through the trees and bushes, at the candles glowing softly on the table set for two. “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer plays out of the speakers—they were a big hit in the nineties. When those stunning eyes fall on me, I know she gets it. She understands what I’m trying to do.

I shrug. “You didn’t get to go to the senior dance . . . I figured it’s time to rectify that.”

“Brent . . .” She sighs. “This is . . . wow.”

I bite my bottom lip with a nod. “Oh, there’s more.” I open the small box on the table and step up to her.

“You got me a corsage?” There’s laughter in her voice.

“Yep.” I start to pin on the small red rosebuds. “When I was seventeen, I probably would’ve gotten you a wristlet—because I would’ve been too intimidated to pin this here.” My fingers graze her soft skin beneath the top of her dress. “But I’m all man now, so this corsage is no match for me.” Once it’s on, my hand skims down her arm, making her shiver. “And I got to touch your boob, so—bonus.”

The sound of her laughter echoes across the yard and warms my blood. Then her head tilts as the song changes. To Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph.” And Kennedy’s smile glows even brighter.

“I love this song.”

I lift one shoulder. “I didn’t at first. The radio stations overplay it, make it annoying.” And I look into her eyes. “But lately, I like it a lot more. It reminds me of you. Of us.”

She nods slowly and takes my hand. “Dance with me, Brent.”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

My arms wrap around her, pulling her flush against me. I follow her small steps, but mostly we just sway. Kennedy’s cheek rests against the lapel of my tuxedo and I kiss the crown of her head.

“You look beautiful,” I tell her—although the tent in my pants, pressing against her, probably already gave that away.

“Thank you.” She lifts her head and looks up at me. “Thank you for doing this. It’s like . . . a dream come true.”

Before I lean down to kiss her, my thumb strokes her cheek. “Yeah, it really is.”

•  •  •

A week later, Kennedy calls me midmorning at the office. “Hey, you’re coming over tonight, right?”

She’s never seen the original Escape from New York—a cult classic and favorite movie of mine. But she agreed to let me pop her Snake Plissken cherry tonight.

I lean back in my chair. “Wild dogs couldn’t keep me away.”

“Okay, good. I need your lacrosse stick. I need it really bad.”

It takes me a second before I know how to answer.

“Is that, like, a code word for my dick?”

Her laugh tickles my ear through the phone.

“No—it’s code for there’s a bat in my attic and I need your lacrosse stick to catch it.”

I sit up so I can fully process such a ridiculous statement. “There’s a bat in your attic?”

“Yes.”

“And you think you’re going to catch it with a lacrosse stick?”

“That’s what I said.”

“Okay. Kennedy, let me lay it out for you. You are beautiful and brilliant and you’re fucking mind-blowingly talented in the sack. But you suck at lacrosse. I’ve seen you play. You couldn’t catch a basketball with a lacrosse stick if it was anchored to the ground.”

I practically hear the eye roll.

“Well, I’m going to have to. I called two exterminators and both of them want to kill it. Bats are harmless creatures, and they eat their weight in bugs every night. I don’t want it dead, I just don’t want it living in my attic.”

“Then it’s lucky for you I have two lacrosse sticks. We’ll catch it together.”

That’s code for she’ll swing at the air and I’ll actually do the catching.

I hear her smile. “I was hoping you’d say that.”

•  •  •

With my sticks in hand, I roll up to Kennedy’s house before dusk so we’ll be in position when the flying rat shows itself. I nod to the marshal stationed in his unmarked car at the curb and walk in her door without knocking.

We’re past that now.

I find her on the couch, stretched out on her stomach—giving me a sumptuous view of her tight ass cheeks peeking out beneath tiny running shorts—petting and talking to her cat Jasper. I’m beginning to suspect he’s the demon spawn of Mephisto, evil ruler of hell in the Marvel universe.

“Who’s a sweet kitty?” she purrs. “Such a pretty pussycat.”

“His owner’s prettier.” I smirk.

Kennedy rolls to her side to look at me. “Ha-ha.”

“Not even kidding.” I lift the sticks. “You ready to do this?”

She pops off the couch. “Yep.” Then she grabs a Yale football helmet from the table and slips it on her head. “Ready.”

And she looks so fucking cute my cock lifts for a better view.

“Nice helmet. Did you date a football player you forgot to tell me about?”

She smiles. “No. This was a Halloween costume—junior year of college.”

“Mmm . . .” And I start thinking of outfits. Specifically, Kennedy in all types of outfits—and out of them. “Do you have a cheerleader costume?”

She shakes her head. “But I was Supergirl the year after.”

And my mind explodes.

I bite my fist at the image of her tight, perfect little body wrapped in royal blue spandex and teeny—hopefully crotchless—red bottoms, with a satiny red cape swirling behind her.

Can’t forget the cape.

“Why the hell am I just hearing about this now?” I complain. “Do you still have it?”

Her smile is slow and sultry. “I do. It’s in the attic.”

After I catch that bat—I’m going to fucking kiss him.

An hour later, after Kennedy swings a near-miss at my head that would’ve knocked me unconscious, we have the ugly little squatter in a closed cardboard box. We take him to the Tidal Basin after dark and release him into the wild.

Then we go back to Kennedy’s and I screw Supergirl bent over the arm of the living room couch. Twice.

•  •  •

The following week, Kennedy is elbow deep in preparations for the Moriotti mobster retrial. We steal hours together—she slips into my bed after midnight, and I bring dinner, and my cock, to her office. So that Saturday, she agrees to shelve work and drive up to my parents’ place on the Potomac River for the night. They’re spending the weekend at the lake house in Saratoga, so we’ll have the whole estate to ourselves.

I’m particularly looking forward to having her back in my childhood home to act out every illicit fantasy I had in each of its rooms. And there’s a lot of rooms in that house.

We drive up in my convertible with the top down, the sun shining, my hand resting on her thigh, and Tom Petty blaring from the radio.

Henderson, my parents’ butler, greets us both with the warmth of a dear uncle. He takes care of our bags, and we take the boat out onto the river. After cruising for a while we anchor the boat, then swim and fish the afternoon away. The water’s cold as a witch’s tit, but the sun is warm when we climb out on shore. We spread out a blanket on the beach and then, because it’s totally secluded, we warm up . . . in other ways.

Her skin smells like coconut—beachy suntan oil. The bare flesh around her pussy is smooth and tastes faintly of salt on my tongue. When I spread her with my fingers and dip inside, her knees dig into the sand on either side of my head. Kennedy lies on top of me, her blond head in my crotch, her mouth rising up and down over my dick with perfect suction. I press down on her ass, bringing her closer, giving my roving mouth fuller contact with her cunt. My blood zings through my eardrums like rushing water and I feel slightly drunk. I go to town on her—sucking and kissing, rubbing my face and tongue against her clit. She hums around me and my hips jerk up.

She’s close. I know it by the way her hips roll wildly—losing all inhibitions—going mindless. Seeking, needing, only caring about that building sensation that’s about to burst free. I squeeze her ass and trace the line between them with one finger—gliding, teasing.

Someday, one day—she’ll take me there. And it’ll be fucking magnificent. But if it’s going to be good, anal requires a little more forethought than I had for this day trip. So instead, I slip one finger into her ass while at the same time I rub flat, tight circles on her clit with my tongue.

And she goes off like a fucking cherry bomb, with a long, endless moan that reverberates deep in my gut.

Then she goes slack and weighted on me. And as fantastic as her mouth feels, I don’t come yet. I have other plans.

I roll us to the side and flip around so my chest is pressed up against her slick back. Pulling her hips against my pelvis, I lift her leg and slide effortlessly inside. Kennedy’s head rests on the blanket as I pump into her—giving my mouth unfettered access to her neck, her shoulder. I suck and kiss and lick that soft skin. I scratch her with my chin and press my teeth against her, stopping just short of biting. And sounds like growls crawl up my throat. With my cock deep inside her, my free hand roams—rubbing her sensitive clit, sliding up her stomach, squeezing her velvet breasts.

My climax climbs, peaks, and ripples through me. The pleasure so heightened—so intense—I lose control of my movements. And my mouth.

So good. Love this . . . Christ, fucking love you . . .”

When I regain command of my faculties, my forehead rests on Kennedy’s shoulder blade and her weight leans easy against me. But as my heart rate slows, she stiffens. Tightens.

And pulls away.

Shit.

I lift up on an elbow and roll her so she’s on her back, with nowhere to look but up at me. “Hey.”

She smiles—but it’s forced. “Hey.”

My voice sounds deeper. Rough. “Are you good?”

“Yeah.”

But I don’t believe her.

She doesn’t say anything for several moments. Then her brows inch closer to one another. “Is it because of how I look now?”

“What?” I honestly don’t have any idea what the hell she’s talking about.

“Is that why you want me? Is that why I’m here?”

A scowl pulls at my face. “No. Of course not.” My eyes wander over her familiar features, remembering her at nine, and thirteen, and every year I’ve known her until now. “You were my best friend—I always thought you were fun. Awesome. And then, when we were older, I thought you were really fucking cute. Even behind your glasses and beneath your bulky sweaters, I thought you were pretty. Once the boners became a regular thing, the idea of your braces scared me a little—but they were never a turnoff.”

She looks . . . thoughtful. Not happy at my revelation or relieved, like I thought she would be. She sits up and I shift over—leaning my elbows on my bent knees—as my dick lies exhausted against my thigh.

Kennedy’s eyes peer out over the water. “Do you remember the last week of summer, just before junior year—when you had a few of the lacrosse team guys here for the weekend? They were in Cashmere’s crowd of friends.”

It takes me a minute to vaguely recall. “Yeah?”

“I didn’t know they were here, so I came over to see if you wanted to do something. You were all in the pool. I was standing on the back patio, but none of you saw. You were talking about girls . . . about me.”

My stomach knots itself and my eyes drag closed. Because I remember now.

“They said I was weird. That I smelled weird . . .”

My head snaps to her. “You didn’t.”

Her voice is softer than a whisper.

“And they said I was ugly. That they’d have to put a bag over my head if they wanted to—”

“Kennedy . . .” I beg.

Because I want to kill something. Pulverize something. I want to reach into her mind and wrench those memories away so she’ll never have to think about them ever again.

“I left after that.”

I grasp her shoulder. “They were assholes, okay? Stupid and cruel little dicks to say those things. I never said them.”

“No, I know that.” Then some iron comes into her voice. “You never said anything. After they were gone, you came to my house and we hung out . . . just like normal. Because I was good enough to be your friend—as long as no one else was around to see it.”

All I can do is stare at her, pull the words from deep inside, and give them to her. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I hurt you. I was a jerk and a pussy for caring what they thought. But I liked you. Blond or brunette, designer clothes or a trash bag—I wanted to be close to you. Even then.”

When her eyes dip, I lift her chin. “If I could go back and change all of that, I would. But this is where we are now. We have to move forward. I’m in love with you. And if it takes awhile for you to wrap your head around that—to wrap your heart around it—then I’ll wait. Because you’re worth waiting for. You always were.”

•  •  •

Things are upbeat again between us by the time we walk into my parents’ house, holding hands and heading up to my room for a shower.

Until we come to a screeching halt in the foyer.

Because standing there, staring at our entwined hands like it’s a living, breathing miracle—is my mother.

“Hello, darling!” If she smiles any bigger, her face will break in half. “Kennedy, dearest, I can’t tell you what a joy it is to see you again. Here. With Brent.”

“Hi, Mrs. Mason—it’s great to see you too.”

There’s hugs and cheek kisses all around.

I try my damnedest not to sound as disappointed as I feel. “What are you doing here, Mom? I thought you guys were in Saratoga.”

“Your father’s back was acting up, so we had to come home.”

That’s when my father walks past the open doorway of the library, on the phone and pacing, and his back seems just dandy to me.

My eyes narrow on Henderson. And I smell a traitor.

“Did you two have a nice day?” my mother asks.

“Yeah, it was great,” I tell her. “We took the boat out. We were just going to head up and grab a shower.”

So much for christening the ballroom with a blow job.

“That’s nice,” she coos softly. “In case you had planned on other arrangements, I think it’s best that you both spend the night in Brent’s room. And use his bathroom as well—the other rooms in the house, unfortunately, aren’t prepared for guests.”

Poor Henderson looks down right insulted. “Beg your pardon.”

My mother waves her hand, shushing him. “They’re not prepared, Henderson. And that is that.”

Now she’s just creeping me out. It’s one thing if I want to screw Kennedy ten different ways. But to think of my mother cheering us on—sitting on the sidelines with a flag in one hand and a foam cock in the other—is just wrong.

“Okay. Thanks, Mom.”

I lead Kennedy up the stairs. But we’re not in my room for more than two minutes when her phone pings with an incoming message.

She sits on the end of my bed, reading it. From my swiveling desk chair I tap my forehead like a mind reader. “Wait—don’t tell me. Because my mother couldn’t stop herself from telling your mother we’re here—it’s a message from her. And we’ve been summoned to your house for dinner tonight.”

Kennedy sighs and shows me her phone. “You should take your act to Vegas—you’ll be a hit.”

Then she throws herself back onto my bed and blows a frustrated raspberry at the ceiling.

•  •  •

Dinner at the Randolphs’ is a formal affair. The men wear suits, the ladies cocktail dresses. I had appropriate attire at my parents’, and my mother loaned Kennedy a little black dress she picked up years ago in Paris. I’ll forever be grateful that it still had the tags on—that my mother never wore it. Otherwise, the massive erection it caused when Kennedy walked out of the dressing room could’ve been weird.

The dining room table is long enough to seat thirty and fully appointed. Without the classical music playing in the background, the room would’ve been awkwardly silent through the first three courses.

Because our parents aren’t talking—they’re all just kind of watching us. Expectantly.

Finally, Kennedy’s father attempts normal conversation.

“How’s your Nevada case coming along, princess?”

I frown at her and whisper, “He has a nickname for you? Why does he get to have a nickname and I don’t?”

“Not now, Brent.”

Begrudgingly, I let it go. But she can bet her sweet ass we’ll be talking later—even if I have to tie her to the bed until the discussion reaches its full culmination. It’s possible I’m just looking for an excuse to tie her to a bed.

“It’s going well. I’m confident I’ll be able to secure a second conviction.”

Mitzy clears her throat, signaling that the observation portion of the evening is complete—and the examination segment will now commence.

“Yes, that’s all very nice, Kennedy. But is there anything you would like to tell us? An announcement, perhaps, that it would behoove you to share?”

Kennedy blinks like a blond Kewpie doll. “Nothing comes to mind, no.”

Mitzy throws down her linen napkin and narrows her eyes at her daughter, like a sharp-clawed hawk. “I was at the Prince benefit, young lady. I saw Brent whisk you away after David’s tawdry proposal. So, what I’d like to know—what I believe all of us here are entitled to know—is what exactly is going on between the two of you?”

The cross-examination force is strong in Kennedy’s family. Mitzy Randolph would’ve made a kick-ass attorney.

“Brent and I are . . . friends.”

And fuck me, the benefits are fantastic.

Mitzy huffs. “Don’t be coy, Kennedy—you’re not good at it.”

And I get why Kennedy’s reluctant to share with her mother. It’s like that scene from the original cartoon movie Cinderella. When Cinderella makes her own pink dress from scratch, and her bitchy stepsisters tear it to pieces. For as long as I’ve known her, there’s not a single aspect of Kennedy’s life that Mitzy wasn’t waiting to rip to shreds.

But this’ll be different. Kennedy has me now.

I throw my own napkin down, reach over the table, and take Kennedy’s hand. “The truth, Mrs. Randolph, is Kennedy and I are dating. We’re seeing how things go . . . enjoying each other’s company. Beyond that, it is really none of your business.”

Kennedy is looking at me like I’m the prince that just woke her with a kiss, found her glass slipper, took her on a flying carpet ride, and defeated the evil witch.

And we get lost for a moment—just looking at each other.

Until my mother squeals loud enough to shatter the crystal glasses on the table. She claps her hands together. “You were right, Mitzy! You were so very right!”

“I told you, Kitty. Just like we planned!”

Kennedy frowns. “What do you mean, like you planned?”

And like the villain from a Batman comic, Mitzy reveals her devious scheme.

“You’re thirty-two years old, Kennedy; you obviously weren’t going to get yourself married. Kitty and I knew that, once we orchestrated your and Brent’s reunion, things would progress. And look how perfect it’s all turned out.”

“You didn’t orchestrate anything, Mother. Brent and I saw each other again at the party. We were assigned to try the same case.”

Mitzy lifts her penciled eyebrows. “And who brought you home—making it possible for you to be at the party and try your little case?”

Kennedy’s jaw hits the floor.

“You said Father was sick! You said he needed tests!”

“A means to an end, darling.”

Her indignant brown eyes zoom to her father. “You had an oxygen tank when I visited! And the”—her hand flutters in front of her face—“the nose thing!”

“That was your Aunt Edna’s oxygen,” her mother volunteers unhelpfully.

Her father has the decency to look ashamed—but only a little. “I just want you to be happy, princess.”

That’s when my mother reenters the conversation. “You know what I can’t decide, Mitzy?”

“What’s that, Kitty?”

“Summer or fall? June is classic, but the threat of thunderstorms will hang over the entire affair. And pish-posh to that ‘rain is good luck on a wedding day’ silliness. There’s nothing lucky about mud and soggy gowns.”

“It will depend on the location,” Mitzi says. “Location is everything. We won’t have it in the city. Perhaps Palm Beach?”

“Mother . . .” Kennedy growls.

“Though the humidity in Palm Beach is atrocious. But definitely outdoors. White tents, green hills, sunset . . .”

Kennedy stands up. “Mother—”

“And white flowers!” Mitzy says. “But no lilies—they remind me of a funeral.”

Kennedy stamps her foot. “Mother!”

Mitzy makes a sound like a disgruntled hen. “Kennedy, really! What’s gotten into you? Is this any way for a bride to behave?”

“You’re not doing this! You don’t get to be in charge!”

“Lower your voice. All that yelling will make you break a blood vessel—and your complexion really can’t afford that.”

“We will make our own decisions, and you will have no say in the matter, Mother! If we want to get married in Tahiti, we will!”

Mitzy gives Kennedy an indifferent wave. “Yes, yes, that’s fine dear.” Then she turns toward my mother and asks her who designed Ivanka Trump’s wedding gown.

“In fact,” Kennedy hisses to no one, “that’s just what we’ll do. We’ll get married in Tahiti!” She bangs the table. “In a bar!”

“Is that a proposal? This is so sudden.” I squint as if I’m thinking it over, then nod. “I accept.”

“Naked!” Kennedy yells at her mother, wagging her finger. “And we won’t take any pictures!”

“If we’re going to be naked, we really should take a few pictures.” I insist. “Or a video.”

But our mothers just keep on chirping. Kennedy and I might as well not even be here anymore—which is the best fucking idea I’ve heard all night.

I stand up and grab her hand. “Come on.”

She doesn’t come willingly at first, so I tug her along.

“Doesn’t that bother you?” she complains, gesturing back toward the parents, who don’t even notice we’ve left the room. They’re having too serious a discussion.

About us.

“No, it doesn’t bother me.”

“How can it not? How can they—”

I cut her off with a deep kiss—one hand holding the base of her neck, the other at the small of her back—pressing her against me. Then I tell her, “Let them have their fun. Let them talk and plan their hearts out. When the time comes, we’ll do whatever the hell we want anyway.”

I pull her toward the back door. “Now, let’s go for a walk. You can let me into your boathouse.”

“Is that a euphemism?”

I’m surprised she has to ask.

“Yep.”


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