This story in particular will contain underage drinking, violence, sexual situations, recklessness, general teenage stupidity to the max, and of course the site warning applies (ie this is a discipline fic) You have been warned. Enjoy!
The way that things usually went for Royal Kingston, having the sheriff’s truck pulling into his driveway wasn’t exactly anything new. It wasn’t particularly a bad thing either.
He could see the flashing lights reflecting off of the cars parked on the beach. He himself was seated on the patio off of the house’s basement rec room a still slightly chilled bottle of beer in his hand.
“Quinn’s on his way.”
Royal nodded at the kid, some sophomore in his brother’s grade that had never been at one of his parties before now. The kid fumbled for a while before Brick dismissed him with a nod.
“You want to drop the bottle somewhere?” Sean glared from over his sunglasses.
The sky was on the dark side of dusk and the air was starting to chill out like only a summer night could. For many feet in front of them, and almost half a mile in both directions, the back of the house opened up to a private beach that was currently hosting the first party of the term. Only slightly different from the party they had thrown three days ago, as the last party of the summer.
“Wouldn’t make much difference,” Royal shrugged. He wasn’t the only one drinking, all of the kids around them seemed to have a bottle, can, or cup in their hand. Most of them had either set up a tent on the beach or would be sleeping in their awaiting cars. Royal knew better than to have someone drinking and driving on him.
Still, he took a final chug on his bottle and handed it over to the senior girl that was currently on his lap, Sarah Cane. He had been more or less dating her for a week now, and it was getting on to the time that he was going to have to dump her. The last thing he needed was for her to get all territorial and clingy.
“Get lost,” he told Sarah with a jerk of his head.
“Do you want me to come back?” she batted her slightly dazed eyes into his.
Sarah’s friend, the one that had been mostly hooking up with Sean for the week, rolled her eyes and stood up from Sean’s side and grabbed Sarah’s hand.
“Jackass,” she groaned at Royal.
“Fucking move,” he groaned back.
“You have such a way with woman,” scoffed Brick on Royal’s other side.
As the girls left, only the three remained. High upon their pedestal, as many laid claim. Even in his own home, Royal rarely partied with the other teens. It felt so juvenile and bored him easily. But the alternative was quiet, lazy weekends and boredom. He couldn’t always take that.
Daniel Parker, one of the seniors that was considered part of the “inner circle” of Royal’s friends led Sheriff Randolph Quinn onto the deck from the side. No one was walking through the house that evening.
“Ethan Kingston,” Sheriff Quinn walked over and took a stance off the side of the table. “Ross and Philbrick,” he added, looking at Sean and Brick respectively. “You boys have been keeping yourselves pretty busy this week.”
“Last week of freedom, Sheriff Quinn,” Sean grinned.
“Besides, what else were you planning on doing this evening,” scoffed Brick. “Did you have an evening planned with the missus?”
Royal reached over and smacked at Brick’s exposed and slightly sunburned chest. His friend merely glanced at him, shrugging at the look Royal turned his way. Brick was not the most charming of the trio, and he wasn’t about to suddenly turn into the voice of kindness and reason overnight. That was, in a sense, Royal’s job.
“Sheriff, please join us,” he indicated towards the four other chairs remaining empty on the other side of the table.
Quinn scoffed, shaking his head and moved to the nearest seat.
“What brings you back to my humble homestead, Sheriff?” Royal frowned.
“Oh,” Quinn leaned back in the deck chair, comfortable in a way that outdoor furniture usually wasn’t. Still, he had grown up around that town and around people like the Kingstons. He knew better than to show any kind of impression from the top of the line things around him. “Same old, same old, I’m afraid. The same thing that had me coming out just last Thursday.”
“Old Mrs. Skalicky called in a complaint again,” Brick scoffed. “Doesn’t the old bat ever sleep?”
“How could she, with this ruckus?” the sheriff turned to the other teen.
Royal again nudged at his friend.
“We have kept the music down considerably,” Royal frowned. “And most of the party has been on the beach this time around. I seriously don’t know how she’s supposed to have heard something from so far off.”
“Not a noise complaint,” Quinn clarified. “She is concerned about the cars out there though. I found it a bit difficult myself to find a space to park.”
“You blocked me in the driveway,” grinned Royal, knowingly.
“There are over fifty cars out there, Ethan,” the sheriff frowned.
“And another twenty or so over here,” Sean shrugged.
“No one is driving out of here tonight, Sheriff,” Royal frowned. “You know that.”
“I’m grateful for your little rule book or whatever you have that makes these kids listen to you, but the fact is, any private event occurring in a residence isn’t allowed to overflow into the street. The limit is twenty vehicles, and you have been made aware of this in numerous occasions, Ethan.”
“I’m aware,” Royal sighed, rubbing at his eyes. He glanced at his watch and noted that it was nearing midnight. Quinn had long stopped trying to tame the hours that the Kingston parties took, and he for one was grateful not to have those conversations any more.
“No one is leaving tonight, Sheriff,” Sean repeated for Royal.
“Skalickly will more than likely survive the night,” Brick scoffed. “Besides, we all know she lives for these moments. She would have nothing else to do otherwise!”
“Trent,” the sheriff shook his head at the third eighteen year old.
“I can assure you, Sheriff,” Royal interrupted. “Ninety percent of those cars will be gone within six to eight hours.”
“Mrs. Skalicky will likely head to bed soon enough,” Sean shrugged.
“You boys really want to start out the school year like this?” the sheriff glared at them.
“No different than any other year, sir,” Royal shrugged.
He had a way of reading people, knowing when they wanted something from him and what they were feeling. The sheriff, at that moment, was thinking that he couldn’t believe he had to bow down to a bunch of teenage punks.
Ethan Kingston, better known as Royal, couldn’t blame the guy. It wasn’t easy living in a town like Port Chester, where the rich pretty much controlled everything around them. And Kingston himself was the crème of the crepe, top of the top. Even in his young age, Royal practically owned the town.
“Your father around?” the sheriff frowned in his last ditch effort to gather some kind of control.
Royal merely grinned.
“I doubt the old man is in town, much less in this house, but I’ll send someone to check inside if you wish.”
Royal knew that the officer wouldn’t. It wouldn’t go any better with James Kingston than it would dealing with his son; of that Royal was most certain.
“Have you any idea how many people are actually here tonight?”
Royal looked over at Sean and then at Brick, the latter of which shrugged.
“Chester Prep is here, so is Satellite High and Courtland Public is here too,” shrugged Sean.
“Sounds like you’re hosting quite the trischolastic get together.”
“We are always looking into the name of brotherhood and alliances,” Royal nodded straight-faced. “You can never have enough friends.”
“And all of these kids,” Sheriff Quinn looked over his shoulder at the massive collection of teens around. “They’re your friends?”
“Gotta start somewhere,” Sean shrugged.
Another sigh and Quinn got to his feet.
“You boys are eighteen,” he said with a frown. “But am I going to find the same down there? Do you think it’s a good example for the younger kids, drinking and partying around all hours of the night? For your brothers?” Sheriff Randolph Quinn looked right at Royal and shook his head.
“What would your mother think about this?”
Royal’s initial reaction was to want to slam his fist right into the sheriff’s face. He had a good three inches height on the man, and maybe a good fifteen or so pounds. He hadn’t kept to a strict weight training schedule that summer, but he hadn’t exactly slacked off completely either. He wasn’t the captain and state Wide Receiver on his school’s football team for nothing.
But Sean’s hand jetted out instantly fast too, landing against Royal’s arm and having the desired effect of calming him and grounding him.
“Tread lightly there, Sheriff,” Brick glared from Royal’s right.
“You know she wouldn’t approve,” Quinn ignored their ministrations. “You know she was against this kind of debauchery and disrespect.”
“You knew my mother almost twenty years ago,” Royal gritted out. “You knew nothing about her. Stop playing out like you were some kind of great friend of hers! It’s unbecoming.”
Sheriff Quinn glared at the teens in front of him, but said nothing.
“Speechless,” Brick grinned grabbing at a beer bottle from the cooler beside him.
“Piece of advice to you boys, you probably don’t want to anger a man that can toss your asses in a cell. Eighteen gets you in with the big boys, you know.”
“Why don’t you hold off your so-called advice for your own kids?” Royal rolled his eyes. “You’ll be seeing them this weekend, right?”
Quinn frowned, wondering, as he always did, how Kingston was so well informed.
“The party is over boys,” he said instead, standing and moving to go. “If I drive by in half an hour and find that there is still music and cars here, I’m going to call in my guys, and then the whole of you is going to be spending some personal time behind bars.”
“You can try,” Royal shrugged at the man. “You know the way out, I’m sure.”
With a look to Brick beside him, his friend stood up and went to stand beside the sheriff. He wasn’t as tall as Royal, but he was still much taller and a more commanding presence than the midlife Sheriff beside them.
“It’s always a pleasure, Quinn.”
“I can bet,” the officer shook his head and turned to leave.
Two hours later and Ethan was fast asleep on the couch. He could still feel the party going on outside.
There was a couple of burst of noise, nothing he couldn’t sleep through. And when someone came into house, he would listen to make sure that they went to the bathroom and straight back out. He was a bit paranoid and controlling in that way.
He had almost forgotten that he had fallen asleep with a girl until she started shifting around. With a slight groan, he opened his eyes and looked over at her.
Sarah’s best friend, Jasmine Givens, was holding on tightly to his arm. She was still in her jeans and he was mostly dressed, except for his shirt. He was pretty certain that he hadn’t had sex with the girl.
He pulled his arm from her grasp and sat up. A push of a button on his wristwatch told Ethan that it was almost three in the morning.
He could still hear music playing outside, but the other sounds of the other teens partying wasn’t so obvious. There were probably many of them already asleep in their cars.
Ethan stood up and started to head for the bathroom.
“Where are you going?”
He turned and looked at the wide green eyes of a now awake Jasmine. Her light brown curly hair was standing up in every which way. Her top hung slightly off of one shoulder, showing the clear bra strap underneath.
Jasmine rubbed a hand over her face, smudging slightly at some of her makeup. Her normally put together appearance was stretching to the point of ripping at the seams.
“What’s it to you?” he replied.
She was hurt, he could tell. Most of the time, whatever he had to tell a girl, especially one that was interested in him, it led to hurt feelings. It wasn’t his fault, but any sign of kindness would seem to them like he was more interested than he was. It wasn’t worth the effort.
“You don’t have to be so rude,” Jasmine tried to jerk back.
“I’m going to pee now,” he stated, turning towards the bathroom. “Be gone when I get back.”
The house was over a hundred years old, and it had spent nearly all of that time in the Kingston family. When he was eight years old, he had loved learning his family’s history and was proud to stay in the same place that his grandfather had been raised, that his mother had been born in.
The house had been added to and rebuilt over the years, but the overall feel of it was still the same. Homely.
As Ethan sat in the empty theater room in the basement ground level of the house, he couldn’t help but wonder when exactly that feeling had left him.
The basement of the house opened up to the backyard. It was the only house in all of Port Chester with a Bowling Alley in it, and the first house, some eighty years back, that had installed an indoor, in ground pool. Along with the theater room, there was a rather large gym that connected the house to the pool room, a larger conservatory that opened up to the patio that overlooked most of the house parties. The recreation room was as large as half of the house, and had a pool table, a ping pong table, a kitchenette, an elevator, and a large sitting area and bar.
This was all party central. Not this night, however, as Ethan had made certain most people stayed outside. The night was warm enough for the outdoor pool and fountains, and he certainly didn’t want a repeat of the last party, where more than one person had been drunk to the point of puking in the inside pool’s water.
“You decent?” Sean asked, coming in and flopping into one of the seats in the row in front of Ethan.
“Not that I’ve heard,” Sean grinned. “It’s your brother.”
William Kingston was having himself quite a time. No one ever called him William, except for Ethan. Everyone called him Liam, though many knew him as Little Royal or Little King. Liam was sixteen and surrounded by his two best friends and a whole bunch girls. Not all of them were even in the 10th grade with him, but he couldn’t care less.
Beer was in heavy supply, moving around like it was water.
Liam and his friends, invited only because Liam was no longer a Freshman. The other kids weren’t going to say anything since Liam was Royal’s little brother, and if Royal said it was okay, than it wasn’t anyone’s place to say otherwise.
Liam, of course, was making the most of it.
Even though a lot of parties had graced the Kingston household through the years, the ones that Ethan threw were kept to the backyard and the basement, and away from the main house. The rest of the family was left mostly alone and separated from the craze that came with all of it.
Fern and Hawk, his two best friends, were right beside him. They were laughing, drinking, and each had their arms around a girl who’s name they could not quite remember. Two in Fern’s case.
“Your house is so smash!” the girl in his arms had said, her eyes slightly glistened already from more than the beer can she had open in her hand.
“Yeah,” Liam grinned leaning back against one of the patio pillars. “I designed most of it myself.”
“Bullshit!” Fern fake coughed into his hand.
Liam lifted his hand, proudly presenting his friend with his own response.
“I still remember your eighth grade bridge structure,” Matthew Hawkins shook his head. “That was the most pathetic design ever. I still don’t know have a clue how Mr. Acorn passed you!”
Liam rolled his eyes. The truth there was that as much as Liam had tried to get himself in trouble, as often as he tried to warner some kind of oppositional response, most of the time the school let him be. No one ever called his father in, and while his mother would have likely taken the time to go in and talk about him, she had been dead six years then and it would have taken more than a miracle.
Sometimes, however, the school let his big brother know. And those were the times Liam would wish he had behaved better. Ethan still didn’t know about the bridge incident, and Liam certainly wasn’t going to bring it up.
“Fuck off, Hawk!”
His words were slurring and he drunkenly had taken the girl’s hand in his. She had been smiling and laughing the whole time, her eyes showing him just how interested she was.
As soon as he had reached out to her, that was all the invitation she would need. Liam wasn’t even sure if she went to Chester Prep, probably wouldn’t be seeing much of her anyway. Her arms wrapped around his neck and her lips found his. He certainly wasn’t complaining.
“Fuck, you’re so hot!” she had growled, nibbling at his ear.
“You ain’t seen nothing yet!” he growled back. His arms were strong from a summer of wrestling and weightlifting and swimming in the family pools. They easily took the whole of the girl’s weight up and off the ground.
Her legs, whatever her name was, came around his waist, her ankles locking her in against his ass. Her lips found his again, but he had to shake her off enough to see where he was going when he started to move.
“Attatiger!” Fern said from somewhere in between the two girls’ attention.
Liam glanced over at him. Fern was the most experienced of the three friends sexually, and he wasn’t shy about it. Already he was sitting in a lawn chair, shirtless with one girl seemingly messaging his chest from behind him while the other sat in his lap and started to work his jeans off.
Liam gave his friend a thumbs up.
Hawk was seated at the other end of the table. Him and his girl were making out, but were still each in their own seats. He wasn’t paying Liam or Fern any attention.
Liam moved to the porch steps. As they passed people, they moved out of their way. He bumped the girl into one of the patio chairs, having not seen it and she hissed.
“Shit! That hurt,” she groaned as he lowered her once again to her feet.
“Sorry,” he shrugged. “Can’t see through you!”
“That’s probably going to bruise,” she turned to him, her lips pouting.
Liam grinned. He leaned in, kissing at her bare shoulder.
“I’ll think of something to make it all better,” he returned, placing a kiss further up her neck after each few words.
Her hands came up to his shoulders again. She giggled.
“Like what?” she breathed against his ear.
“There’s a raving bonfire down by the beach,” a voice came that made Liam cringe.
“Dan has the Barbeque going,” he could hear Sean’s grin as he spoke. “He makes a mean chicken.”
Liam groaned. He dropped his arms from around the girl and turned around. Sure enough, just on the inside of the conservatory doors, his big brother and right hand man stood with large grins on their faces.
To anyone else, they wouldn’t seem the least bit put out of place. Anyone would think that they found the whole of the situation funny and were just teasing him.
Liam was not just anyone else, however, and he certainly knew better. They were pissed.
“Hi, Royal,” the girl grinned, probably not even noticing how she was straightening out her skirt and fidgeting on her too high heels. “Hi Ross.”
“Hey,” Sean grinned back.
It wouldn’t be the first or last time that a girl approached him just because he was Ethan’s little brother. And since starting at Chester Prep, the attention had been thrice fold.
Ethan had even warned him, numerous times.
Sean walked forward and got his arm around the girl. His short black hair was sticking up in so many directions, Liam would bet that either the guy had been just sleeping, or he had just left a precautious situation.
Not that Liam was blaming him. Someone should be able to enjoy themselves during these things.
“What were you kids up to?” Sean leaned into her. His bare chest grazing against her arm and making the teen blush.
“Nothing much,” she was losing all of her spunk, something that Liam had also been witness to a number of times. While girls might think him and his friends were a stepping stone to being in with Royal and his friends, they weren’t always so confident once the opportunity arose.
Liam hadn’t wanted such an opportunity just then.
“I’m sure you guys have better things to do,” he sighed, crossing his arms.
Royal glared at his brother for a moment. Liam doubted that the girl even noticed, Sean was doing a damn good job of being a distraction.
“Dan said something about trying some new vegetable thing,” Ethan commented, grinning with such a smirk that he was in full ‘Royal’ mode.
Liam was not fooled.
“Sounds enticing,” Sean added, not looking away from where he and the girl had locked eyes. “Want to check it out?”
“Um,” she had the decency to look Liam’s way then. She was blushing, so she probably had forgotten about him until just then. After all, Liam Kingston wasn’t as built, tall, strong, old, or experienced as Sean Ross.
“Go ahead,” he shrugged, knowing there was no use in trying to keep the girl around. Sean would find a way to get him alone with his brother, one way or another.
It was just much better to give in than to have to be made obvious.
“Uh, okay,” she grinned at him, but it was a cautious grin.
At least she had seemed a bit interested in him, even if she was probably a senior in her own school.
“Come on then,” Sean used his hold on her and his body to turn them towards the steps that they had just gone up.
“I’ll grab you guys some too!” he added as an afterthought.
“Sure you will!” Royal laughed as he watched his best friend lead the girl away.
Liam didn’t even look their way.
But he knew the moment that they had reached the stairs, and that Sean wasn’t going to let the girl out of his sight for at least the next hour. The whole of Royal’s face lost its easy going demeanor and he started frowning. Ethan glared at him and nudged his head towards the house.
He turned and left the door open behind him. Liam wasn’t foolish enough to think that would be the end of it.
Ethan went through the conservatory and back into the rec room. Instead of heading this time towards the theater room, he turned to the right and into the mechanical room. He left that door open behind him.
In the back of room, behind a false shelving, there was a set of stairs that led up. He waited just enough for Liam to enter the room, closing the door behind him, before he turned and headed up the steps.
On the main floor, the stairs lead to the back of one of the foyer closets. The main house was dead silent. Upstairs, everyone was well and truly into their third of fourth dreams. Their father wasn’t home and their stepmother had gone with him, and their youngest brother, Malcolm, had gone with them.
Not that the party would have been a surprise to them. Ethan did try to keep the craze away from his stepmother. Stephanie was used to a much simpler life, and while she had been living in the Kingston Estate for five years, following two years of dating, he didn’t expect her to be adjusted. Cole was seven, but he barely remembered the time when his parents weren’t together.
Walking further into the foyer, he could look all the way down the left and through the great room’s twenty foot windows some forty feet away, and out onto the unoccupied deck area. Further out, he could see the beach’s edge and just the barest glimpse of the bonfires and a few people moving about. The sounds of the party outside were absent here.
“Where are you taking me?” Liam sighed.
“Library,” Ethan pointed to one of the two doors that were on either side of the entry.
With a groan, the sixteen year old turned around and lead the way this time into the large family library space. It was almost as large as the one their school had, boasting many first editions and latest bestsellers alike.
Entering the library, Ethan closed the French mahogany doors. Liam was stretched out at one of the tables, his feet up and the chair leaning back against two legs.
“Sit Right!” Ethan growled, passing by his brother and smacking his head hard.
Liam hissed, dropping once again to four legs and grabbing at his head. He said nothing though, since that was such a little thing against what Ethan was going to be talking about.
“Goddamnit Ethan,” Liam glared. “I’m not a little kid!”
“You’re sixteen,” he countered.
“Yeah, and?” Liam frowned. “You’re only two years older!”
Ethan sat down in the chair across the table from his brother.
“My sixteen year old self and you right now, are worlds apart, kid,” he shook his head.
“I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” Liam rolled his eyes.
“William Richard Kingston,” Ethan’s deeper voice sent a shiver down the younger teen’s spine. “You want to rethink that statement?”
Liam leaned back in his seat again. He almost got back up on the hind legs, but thought better of it.
Wisely, Liam remained silent.
Ethan waited a moment more, just to be sure.
“Were you drinking?”
Liam’s shoulder’s slumped.
“I’ll take that as a yes.”
“We’re at home, E,” the sixteen year old sighed. “This is your party. You got the beers. And I bet you were drinking!”
“You are sixteen,” Ethan reminded him.
“As if you weren’t drinking by then? You started drinking just before you turned fifteen! You forget, Ethan, I know you!”
Ethan shook his head.
“I don’t care what you know. I’ve never denied that. I drank a hell of a lot more back when I started than I do now, too. And by the time I’m actually twenty-one, I probably won’t be drinking at all! That’s the great irony here!”
“Ironic hypocrisy,” Liam rolled his eyes.
“If I can’t drink at home, with you-
“I’m going to stop you right there,” Ethan held up his hand. “I’ve already explained all of this to you!”
Liam shook his head angrily.
“Right! King Royal dropped his decree and all of his lowly court must follow,” Liam scoffed. “I’m not one of your pathetic little wanna-bes! I’m your brother!”
“Which is exactly why I don’t want you drinking, Will!”
Ethan was the only one who still called him William or Will. Other than his grandmother, Cordelia, most people had dropped his full name once their mother had passed away. He wasn’t really sure why that was, but Liam hadn’t wanted anyone to call him that, and had stopped responding to anything but Liam. And all but Ethan had acquitted.
“Because it makes you look bad,” the younger teen shook his head.
“Because it leaves you vulnerable!” Ethan corrected. “I don’t let myself get drunk. I rarely have more than one or two beers at these things anymore. But if I did, I know Sean and Brick and the guys have my back.”
“Hawk and –
“I know Fernando and Matthew have your back,” Ethan interrupted him. “I’m not questioning that. Do you honestly think I would have allowed them anywhere near you if I didn’t think that they were being worthy friends?
“What I mean is that you, none of you, are prepared for the kind of shit that can come your way. Kids want to fight with us all of the time. Guys whose girls I’ve been with, other schools, rival football teams, any idiot I let my own stupidity overtake and punch at. I’m not exactly a nice guy to people, Will.”
“Neither am I,” Liam crossed his arms.
“I know,” Ethan nodded. “You’re growing quite the name for yourself, and I’m not saying anything about that. I know I won’t be able to watch you as close next year, but I am going to expect you to look out for Aaron. And there are going to be kids that are juniors this year looking up to you, just because of who you are. Do you really think it’s a good idea for their idea of you to be a drunken mess?”
A moment’s silence, but Ethan just sat back waiting it out.
“I guess not,” Liam replied, once he realized his brother wanted an actual response.
“I would think not. You’re a smart kid, top of your class-
“Not as high up as you,” Liam added.
“Top Five is nothing to frown at,” Ethan insisted. “And you have three whole years of getting your grades up if you do want to be the valedictorian. It’s all up to you.”
“Unless it’s about drinking,” the teen frowned.
“There are rules, William,” Ethan reminded him. “Everyone has them. Even me.”
Liam looked at his brother skeptically.
“Yeah right,” he snorted. “When was the last time you followed rules?”
“I obey traffic laws, most of the time,” Ethan pointed out. “I follow the school rules
“Usually, if it benefits you,” Liam added.
“And I make damn sure not to cause enough trouble with the cops that anyone would think about taking you or the other kids out of here!”
It all boiled down to that. Essentially, even though Ethan Kingston could be a world class jackass, everyone seemed to know and accept it. Most of the time, he left people alone if they left him alone. And if they messed with him, with his family, Royal Kingston made it painfully known that it would not happen again.
“We’re home,” Liam insisted.
“Where we set the tone,” he told his brother. “Where I have had the confidence that you aren’t going to make an ass of yourself and bring trouble unto our home. And where, essentially, any one of the kids could see you.”
But the kids wouldn’t see anything. If Ethan was really worried about that, he probably wouldn’t do 75% of what he did. The kids, like Liam, knew that he did things that he would rip into them for.
Apparently though, Liam had forgotten.
“Man, I’m not even drunk!” Liam countered. “I just had a few drinks.”
“Enough to try and take a girl into the house with you,” Ethan glared at him.
Liam once again lowered his face.
“You’re no virgin, Ethan Kingston,” the younger teen countered.
“I’m not,” he nodded. “But you’re not going to lose yours to some Courtland girl, or just any girl you drunkenly nab and decide to screw!”
“You’re such a damn control freak!” Liam frowned. “I was just fooling around, Ethan! It is a party!”
“Not for us,” Ethan shook his head. “I told you earlier. There are certain things that are expected. The parties, mainly; the drinking and the screwing around is what they want to do. It was what they think we’re all about. But you know better, brother.”
“I know it sucks to have you as a brother, brother,” the sixteen year old glared.
Ethan nodded slowly. He was used to the harsh words and the hatred glares.
“You’re calling it a night,” Ethan informed him.
“Bullshit!” Liam yelled. “It’s barely midnight!”
“William,” Ethan glared at his brother.
“NO! I have every right to be out there! My friends are there, and I’m not one of the little kids, Ethan. This is bullshit! When are you going to take me seriously!?”
Ethan stood up and walked over, getting to Liam’s side. He grabbed the younger teen’s arm and yanked him to his feet. Liam cringed, his body tensing.
“I’ll take you seriously when you start acting like you’re supposed to!” Ethan growled into his ear.
“I’m sixteen,” Liam frowned, his voice slightly lower. He didn’t want to make Ethan angrier. He wanted to go and have fun, not be sent back to bed like one of the kids.
“You of all people know you’re not supposed to act your age,” Ethan told him.
Ethan set quite a high standard. For his friends, for the other kids in the ‘Court”, and most especially his family. Most people wouldn’t think it, but Ethan was incredibly smart and dedicated to making certain that nothing happened to his family that he couldn’t control.
Unfortunately for the oldest Kingston, Liam was becoming one of those things that he couldn’t control.
“Can’t all be Ethan King,” Liam muttered.
Ethan shook his head. His little brother was becoming quite an ass, and the few drinks that he could clearly smell on him weren’t making the kid any more pleasant.
“You’re going to your room,” Ethan told him. “And be thankful that’s all I’m going to do.”
Liam leaned back and yanked his arm free, but only because Ethan allowed it. He couldn’t stand his brother at times like these and he didn’t make it a secret either.
“I don’t need a father, Ethan,” he muttered. “You’ve done fine without ours, I don’t see why you think I need you telling me what to do all of the time!”
“I can’t talk to you when you’re like this,” Ethan turned towards the door. His bare feet moved across the glossy wood floor without a sound.
“I don’t have to listen to you!” Liam yelled at his back.
Ethan stopped with his hand on the door handles.
“If I see you down there, I’m dragging you back in by the ear, straight back here, where I will beat obedience back into your ass. Am I clear enough for you?”
Liam could feel his whole face flush red. He didn’t need to hear his brother’s threats, he had lived them plenty of times before. Luckily for him, Ethan was pretty good at not embarrassing any of them, but dragging Liam by the ear would leave him with incredibly negatively low cool points. His reputation would be in jeopardy. This wasn’t a Royal Court party, where at least the rules stated that no one talked about anything that happened there.
“Ethan,” he groaned.
“Am I clear?” Ethan repeated, his head barely inclining towards him.
“What if I spend the rest of the night by you?” he tried instead. It wouldn’t be the first time he had to be within Ethan’s sight at a party, though it would be the first on King’s Landing.
Ethan turned around and crossed his arms.
“No girls. No beer. Arms length from you at all times,” Liam persisted.
“I was in the theater, watching the news,” Ethan informed him.
“It wouldn’t kill you to spend time at your own parties.”
Ethan stared at his little brother. He didn’t even like his own parties any more. They were a means to an end. He was more of a figure head, a name that brought people over. When he had started at the Prep school, being the center of attention was a means of getting away from all of the things at home. He was already popular, richest kid in town, his mother a famous Hollywood producer, his father a hot shot lawyer to athletes. But Ethan was determined to make his own name.
“One hour,” Ethan finally conceded, smirking at the beaming grin on the kid’s face.
Mornings were always insane.
Almost like clockwork, every day, rain or shine or weekend, just a few minutes before the clock struck six in the morning, Ethan Kingston was opening his eyes and rising for the day.
Ethan walked over to the window and looked over at the cars still remaining. A few had left, mostly those on the streets. The last to arrive were the first to leave. The ones that stayed the longest were the ones that Ethan was more likely to actually know their names.
He was in a loose gray sweatshirt and black boxers shorts as he walked from the library on the first floor and over to the kitchen. He would call in some breakfast platters for his friends still camped outside or the guys sleeping in the basement, Sean and Brick and whoever they had kept at their side that night. At least for Brick, who would grab it to go and head home so that his mother wouldn’t worry.
For his family though, he was going to make French toast and eggs. Sean would likely send his girl Friday away and join them upstairs for breakfast. He would maybe even spend the rest of the day with them. Sean was never in a rush to head home.
That was the easy part.
As he finished off a loaf of bread into the batter, he heard the first of movement coming from the mud room off of the family room. It was a bit much for most people the size of the Kingston house, but for Ethan it had always been home. And now, the house seemed smaller than ever.
A part of Ethan realized this had to do with the fact that when he had been little, it had just been him and his two brothers. When his father remarried, and his mother’s passing, the house felt both empty and over packed. Now at eighteen, he had five little brothers. Well, four little brothers and a little sister that totally kicked ass.
The first in the kitchen was a smirking Bear. At eight years of age, Bethany Kingston was a ninja in training with a high specialty in black mail. The only girl in the house and Bear seemed to know about everything.
“Smells outstanding,” she grinned, hopping up onto one of the countertops. “Cinnamon, vanilla, ginger…”
“And?” Ethan grinned, not looking away from the griddle that had ten pieces of bread laid out.
“Nutmeg?” Bear frowned.
“Allspice. How’d you sleep?” he looked over his shoulder to see her leaning her head back against the cabinet doors and raise her feet up and onto the marble.
“Both eyes firmly shut!” Bear was taking after himself and a large part of Ethan was proud of her sass and outgoing personality. A larger part of him worried about what that would mean four to six years from now, when she wasn’t such a cute little kid and was instead moving into the independent, teenaged stage.
Almost instantly, though at a much slower pace, another pair of feet descended in through the family room. The main stairs were rarely used by the kids. The mud room steps went straight up to the bedroom suites that the kids’ shared.
Usually, the first one up, beside Ethan himself, would be the youngest Kingston, Malcolm. Cole had so much energy, and combined with him being the first sent to bed most nights, it was common place to see him up and about around six in the morning. Ethan wasn’t sure which of Cole’s parents he got that from. Their father wasn’t exactly a morning person, though James Kingston could be counted on to work long hours and overtime. Cole’s mother, Stephanie, was a very energetic and happy person, but she wasn’t a morning person either. Don’t talk to the lady if she hadn’t yet finished her morning cup of coffee.
Aaron appeared, his short hair up and unruly. His shirt was an old one of Ethan’s own freshman days, claiming him as a Chester Prep Cheetah. He had long ago outgrown the shirt, and while they weren’t lacking in the financial region, his younger brothers seemed okay in taking in some hand-me downs. What surprised Ethan was that William had given the shirt away.
A few steps behind the eighth grader, was their resident prankster, Owen. In their family and throughout Port Chester, Owen was known as Lion. Not only would the kid one day inherit the Kingston title, but he was a bit of a loose cannon. Though, in all honesty, Ethan found the kind more to be a hyena and monkey hybrid, the lion thing worked pretty well too. And along with his sister, Bear, the ten year old proved to be a force to be reckoned.
But this early in the morning, the two just dragged their feet and walked over to the dining area off of the kitchen. Already Ethan had juice and fruits and eggs set out there with the first batch of French toast. Not that either brother took much notice as they mumbled “Morning” and “Good morning,” and laid their heads down on the table.
The only Kingston missing at the table now was Will.
Ethan sat reading the paper. It was ridiculous and it made Liam groan to see him. His brother, who everyone considered the pinnacle of cool and manly and awesome, was actually a total and complete nerd.
Liam just wished he couldn’t say the same thing about himself.
Though, in that aspect, it wasn’t by choice. Everything came easy for Ethan Kingston. His movie star looks, his model physique, his girls love him charm and his melt hearts smile. Things weren’t too different for Liam, but it was all with the added knowledge of being second best to Ethan.
Breakfast was already over. Most of the cars were driving out of their property, the egg sandwiches and pancake platters that Ethan had ordered for their so-called friends were long devoured and tidied up. Liam was following a few steps behind Sean Ross and leading the way for Fern and Hawk.
This was the first time that they had stayed over.
Hawk thought that the whole thing was beyond cool. Fern was trying to act like it was no big deal, but the truth was that as famous and legendary as Ethan’s parties were becoming, allowed to stay overnight was like a golden ticket to the in crowd that so few were likely to receive.
Liam couldn’t see what the big deal was, but he liked the attention it warranted him.
While he knew he was supposed to sleep in his own bedroom, that he could have easily taken his best friends up there with him, being able to stay down below made Liam feel like he was finally actually in.
“I hope you grabbed some food downstairs,” Ethan glanced up from the National Headlines.
“Like three platters,” Sean scoffed, leaning over and helping himself to the sports section.
Ethan and Aaron were lounging out in the family room as the four teens entered in from the mud room. Ethan’s eyes remained on Liam, while his two friends entered behind him and moved over to sit on the far end of the couches.
Liam stayed standing by the doorway. He nodded at Ethan.
“Everyone leaving down there?”
Again, Liam nodded. He knew that he wasn’t in charge of making certain that their guests left that morning, or that they didn’t leave a large mess behind. Most people there had stayed before, and they knew what was expected of them. If they didn’t, Sean and Brick had made it loudly clear before Brick ran off to babysit his sister.
Ethan’s frown and concern was even perfect. Not a hair was out of place in his brother’s combed-over hair and he was already dressed like he hadn’t had a party into the late hours of the morning and could easily be headed out for the day.
“Fine,” he shrugged.
He had talked Ethan into letting him return to the party, but his falling asleep in the basement with his friends and a hair’s throw from a few junior girls wasn’t planned. Liam had slept far away from the girls, but he was positive that his brother had either gone to check on him, or had had someone report back how he was behaving.
The fact that he hadn’t been awakened and dragged back upstairs probably meant that he had acted well enough the previous night. At least after his talk with Ethan.
“Why don’t you boys go down to the pool today,” Ethan suggested in his very un-stern but strict way. “Take Aaron with you.”
“Where are the kids?” Liam asked, glancing around the otherwise barren family room and hearing no sounds from the surrounding ground floor.
“Pee-Wee, Swimming and then they’ve got a birthday party,” Ethan told him.
That figured. Ethan always had a way of keeping everyone busy. Just because he had had a party, didn’t mean that the eighteen year old wasn’t on top of things.
Aaron had his own group of friends, of course, two very best friends and a handful of others he talked with. But he would be entering the eighth grade in a week. Royal Court territory. Things would be changing for him.
Liam finally moved to sit himself down.
Ethan’s eyes followed him and Liam could sense questions and lectures in that gaze.
“Sounds like fun.”
Ethan rolled his eyes at him and returned to his news reading with a smirk.
They sat there for a moment, and while Liam was tired enough not to care about what he was doing just then, realizing that they were all just sitting about and waiting on his big brother to finish what he was doing and give them some kind of direction forward was a bit eye opening.
And a lot annoying.
After all, Liam rationalized, he was sixteen. He would be getting his license soon enough, and a car maybe and then he would be practically an adult. In two short years, he would be graduated, able to vote, and completely in charge of himself. He was looking forward to it, especially after moments like this. Waiting on Ethan.
Waiting on Ethan.
He wondered if his big brother even noticed them. Noticed that they were waiting around for him. Aaron was just so used to it, and Sean was into his own reading. Not that Sean Ross wouldn’t drop the section the second Royal Kingston suggested it.
Hawk and Fern were glancing from one guy to the other to each other. They weren’t too used to being around the Royal Court. Especially Ethan.
Most people saw them, the Kingstons, as some kind of untouchable force. They were Port Chester’s royalty, moving around the town and most of the state like they owned it. Though, in the case of Port Chester, that was partially true.
Liam was stuck between wanting to be able to blend in with his friends and not stand out in the crowd, and hating the thought of having to follow someone else’s lead. Even if he did technically follow Ethan’s lead, his big brother was always going to be a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps the money gave them some power, but it was mostly Ethan’s demeanor that had the other kids either utterly jealous or emulating him.
Ethan stood up, and Liam couldn’t help himself as he straightened up as much as his friends did. Aaron too seemed to tense, but probably from a different reason. The younger Kingston hadn’t yet ever seen their oldest brother ‘in action’ within the admired halls of the high school realm.
“Melissa still after you?” Ethan asked Sean with a raised brow.
Sean glanced up with a thoughtful look.
“You mean, Mindy?”
“That Portman girl,” shrugged Ethan.
“Mindy Porter,” corrected Sean.
“Whatever,” Ethan sighed. “You with her or not?”
“Not lately,” Sean looked back down at the paper.
“Call her up,” Ethan said, moving towards the door. As he passed Aaron, he ran his hand through the short red-brown hair without much thought. It was the kind of thing that Ethan just did without even thinking about it. He ruffled their hair, dropped his arm across their shoulders, hugged them and kissed them and made them feel loved. It was embarrassing and kind of irritating, but it was the kind of constant affection that the Kingston kids didn’t get from their parents, especially their father.
The fact that Ethan didn’t even think about it, meant that Liam tried to make sure those kinds of affection did not happen to him when anyone else was around. As casually as he could, he slouched down in his seat before Ethan could do the same to him.
“Have fun today, boys,” he said leaving them behind.
“Sure,” Hawk nodded.
“Thank you,” Fern added, a quick grimace crossing his face.
“You going to be home later?” Liam asked, wondering exactly what kind of day was ahead of him.
“I’ll get the kids late,” Ethan said as way of responding.
Which meant, whatever he was going to do, Liam wasn’t going to hear about it.
“Ugh!” Sean got up from the chair, grabbed the full glass of juice from in front of Aaron. “Fine, let’s do this thing then!”
Royal drove fast. It was like the world around him just wasn’t moving fast enough. Like the whole of the humanity was just going too slow and had no idea what they wanted to do and they just had to get in his way.
Sean had long gotten used to being in the speedster. He was on his cell phone, trying to strike up a conversation with a girl he had gone out with a few weeks back. And it wasn’t that she was horrible looking or evening annoying, but the fact that Royal needed her kind of bothered Sean.
Mindy Porter was nice enough, but she wasn’t from the Prep. She studied at the public school and she had a few connections in both ponds, so to speak. She was good for Intel on either side.
“She’s at Chloe’s party tonight,” Sean said.
“Marin or Russo?”
“Chloe Russo,” Sean hung up his cell phone. “What are you planning?”
“Last night, Sarah let it slip out that Mindy’s brother was transferring into Munroe.”
“Who did what?” Sean frowned.
“Munroe,” Ethan repeated. “It’s what the police call the trio of buildings that house the diCarlo boys.”
“Okay,” Sean sat up, looking at his friend. “How do you even know these things? And why do you need to see Mindy?”
“I know this guy, Parker.”
“Your in with the cops?” Sean stated, his eyes widening as he heard the name. It was just a bit of a rumor. Even within the Royal Court themselves, even as Ethan’s best friend. He knew that Ethan was trying to keep them all safe and protect his friends and family.
“Well, he’s heard a few things,” Ethan pulled the car to a sudden still.
“And he told you why?”
“Let’s just say. I have invested interest in keeping the area safe.”
Sean looked down the road that they were driving. They were heading away from the nicer, rich part of town that Sean knew like the back of his hand. It wasn’t that they weren’t known to go into the other parts of town, but this was the first that Ethan had ever talked about gangs or cops.
“What are you taking me into, E?”
Ethan grinned over at him.
“We’re going to see Mindy and try and get a clue as to where her brother is.”
“To do what, exactly?” Sean frowned. “Dude, are we going to attack some college gangster? diCarlo’s boys aren’t exactly choir boys.”
Ethan shrugged. “You’ll see.”
With Ethan and Sean gone, Liam had the run of the house. Aaron mostly kept to himself, so Liam wasn’t worried about him.
Hawk and Fern followed him out to the basement, where they headed to the pool. The whole of the space was cleaned up almost as good as the days that their maids would do. It was probably the only house ever where a teenager could throw a party and the guests were expected to clean up after themselves.
And that they actually did it too.
“Your brother’s intense,” Hawk had said as they changed into their trunks.
“You’ve met him before,” Liam rolled his eyes. “He gets so full of himself.”
His friends knew better than to take him too seriously, or to repeat the things that he said. He might be annoyed with his brother, but who wasn’t? It was part of being siblings. It just so happened that Liam’s sibling was on par to run the town. Ethan certainly already had most people under twenty under his command.
“The party was pretty awesome,” Fern insisted. “I can’t believe Parker got all those girls into a wet shirt contest. Freaking God!”
Liam smirked. “Last year, Sean Ross got the Simmons twins, and that blond one that looks like a young Brooke Shields into a wet tee-shirt concert.”
Hawk groaned, shaking his head.
“Liam! How could you not got us into these things before!”
Liam rolled his eyes.
“I watched from the windows. My brother’s a jerk, remember,” he tossed his towel over to the one of the lounge chairs beside the pool. “I’m surprised he let me come, let alone bring you guys.”
“Dude, it’s your house too,” Fern shook his head. “You could just head on down here!”
Liam shook his head. His friends didn’t get it. They didn’t take his complaints seriously, and most of the time Liam was exaggerating. But the part about how overprotective his brother was? He couldn’t make things like that up.
“Sure, hey next time you want to defy Royal Kingston, you go right ahead,” scoffed Liam.
“I will,” Fern shrugged.
“You won’t” Hawk, laid out on another of the chairs.
“I could,” Fern frowned at him.
But they couldn’t no more than Liam could openly disobey. It was ridiculous. Royal was known all over town as a trouble maker and careless guy that was more than sure of himself. But while he might act like he had no cares in the world, Liam knew better.
Ethan always knew. It didn’t matter what it was that they were doing, Ethan found out. And then, there was always trouble.
As a leader, Ethan felt that if Liam was going to take up his mantle after he got on to college, he needed to be a leader. Thoughtful and thought provoking.
He wasn’t in the mood for thought provoking.
“There are better ways to defy my brother,” Liam smirked as he got up from the pool and grabbed his towel.
His friends shared a look.
“Do we get a clue to what you’re talking about?” Fern called out.
Liam turned with a shrug. “Up to you!”
Sharing their own smiling look between them, they hopped out of the pool and followed Liam through the attached gym and into the conservatory that Liam was still walking through.
“You’re not going to trash his room or anything, are you?” Hawk frowned.
“Ethan’s not your brother Stephen,” Liam rolled his eyes, opening the double doors that led into the large rec space. “Ethan would kill you boys and kick my ass. No thanks.”
Liam walked over to the kitchenette.
“You’re going to overdo your allotted carbs?” Hawk pulled a seat up against the peninsula.
Liam rolled his eyes. He went to the bottom of the bar and pulled out a small bottle of cognac.
Fern’s eyes widened. He was known for taking a few drinks himself, Hawkins was a lot calmer than either other boy, but they both knew that Liam wasn’t supposed to be drinking.
“Dude, I thought you said that your brother was pissed last night.”
Liam tried not to think about the fact that it wasn’t exactly a lie that his brother was going to lose his shit.
“He was hitting up bars by the time he was our age,” he scoffed. “He was selling fake IDs and hooking up with college girls by the time he was sixteen. But he treats me like I’m some snot nosed idiot.”
Liam tossed the small bottle over to Fern, who caught it with both hands.
“Isn’t this your dad’s?”
“So what?” Liam scoffed. “Do you seriously think he even knows what he has stashed around the place?”
“Dude,” Fern looked up from the bottle. “This shit is top notch.”
Liam bent down and pulled some more bottles out.
“Liam, man,” Hawk shook his head. “I don’t know about this.”
“Dude,” Liam stood back up, scotch and beers in his hand. “I’m not gonna force this shit down your throat. What kind of friend do you think I am?”
“The getting crazy kind,” Fern scoffed. But he still pulled the bottle open. “You got any glasses over there?”
Liam only shrugged.
“Why make dishes dirty? Just drink from it.”
“How classy,” Fern held up the bottle and took his first sip of it.
Hawk looked at both of his friends. Fern was always up to whatever crazy thing was currently going on, and Liam was, well Liam. He was a Kingston, and that meant that he was always living up to the name of Ethan and even some instances where people knew about James, his famous lawyer father, or the legacy of Karen Kingston, who was still beloved by many in their town.
Liam sat down beside his friends and held up the scotch bottle.
“Liam, your brother is going to come home,” Hawk insisted.
“He’ll be back late. Don’t worry so much.”
Liam took a big gulp of the scotch and then promptly started coughing.
“Take it easy,” Fern started patting on his back.
“And maybe quit while you’re ahead.”
Liam rolled his eyes.
“Dude, I’m not going to make you drink with us, but don’t be such a buzz kill either.”
So Hawk sat back and watched as Liam and Fern clinked their bottles together. He watched as they each took a drink from them and grimaced.