Hope you all are enjoying the story so far. :)

School is starting to geta little busy, but I will try to keep the updates consistent!

Enjoy!


Chapter Three—

The next night, Pryce was annoyed with Richard, who wouldn't stop trying to pry some information from Pryce. He went to stay at Logan's, where he could tell her every detail in perfect detail, and it was the only chance he'd gotten to really talk about the date.

"He seems great!" Logan told him. "So, you're going out again?" She sat down beside Pryce on the bed and took her hair down. It was sleek and black, cascading down her back in soft waves, made by the braid she wore her hair in all day.

"Friday," Pryce said, standing. He changed into a black t-shirt and a pair of dark grey, cotton pants before slipping under the covers. Logan smiled as she pulled on a sweatshirt, the hem of which hung past her shorts. She got under the covers as well and pulled her hair back up.

"Going to another movie?"

Pryce rolled his eyes. "I hope not. I think we're going to the beach."

"Aw," Logan cooed, though it sounded slightly disingenuous. "Is he planning this one as well?"

"I guess," Pryce said. "Which is fine. I don't have much dating experience."

She sat up, pillows cushioning her back against the headboard while Pryce lay flat on his back, hugging his pillow to his chest.

"You could go rock climbing!"

Pryce quirked a brow. "I don't know if he's ready for that," he laughed. "He isn't very athletic. He already gave up on running, and he's back to smoking."

"You always go for smokers."

Pryce chuckled, looking up at her. "It's not intentional."

"I think that's the worst part," Logan giggled. "But I'm just teasing you."

Pryce shook his head. "So. I'm fucking tired of band camp every morning. And living with Richard; like, please, fucking shoot me already. He is so nosy."

"I assume you're coping in your usual way?"

"What's my usual way?" he asked, frowning.

Logan raised her brows. "Alcohol and sleep?" she provided. Pryce looked off, twisted his mouth in thought, and huffed.

"Maybe you're right," he grumbled, raking a hand through his hair. He put his pillow under his head with the other one and let out an exasperated sigh.

"You typically have some sort of alcohol on hand," Logan continued.

Pryce pinched the bridge of his nose. "I understand. I have slight alcoholic tendencies."

"Slight?"

He squinted at her. "Don't push it. I'm not even tipsy that often, so-"

Logan cut his off with another laugh. "I'm kidding. You're not an alcoholic."

"I know!"

She pulled him into a hug and kissed his cheek, leaving it sticky with lip gloss. He wrinkled his nose. "You're so sensitive, Peris."

"Don't even." She knew his middle name was off-limits, and he literally had zero tolerance when it came to being called "Peris."

Logan hummed. "Is it time for Mr. Grumy-Wumpy to go to sweep-sweep?"

"Time for you to fuck off," he half-laughed as he flopped onto his side to face the wall. Logan was practically cackling.

"Night, Peris."

"Fuck you."


Richard was very concerned as to when Pryce was coming home, but Pryce refused to give him an answer that wasn't ambiguous, just tot keep himself entertained.

No, but seriously. :c When?

Pryce laughed to himself and put his phone away; he wouldn't be home anytime soon. He was at the beach with Logan, Brian, and Ross (unfortunately), with a huge travel mug full of lemonade, vodka, and a lot of ice. No, he was fine here, even if he was in the company of Ross, Logan's dick boyfriend who disliked Pryce for no apparent reason other than the fact that Pryce was smarter than him. He didn't quite understand the animosity, but he didn't really care.

"Why'd you have to bring your gay along, Logan?" Ross asked as Pryce took a long drink and Brian patted his back comfortingly.

"You're the only person I know who doesn't like Pryce," Brian told Ross.

Ross looked enlightened. "Wow, thanks for telling me; that has changed my opinion a full total of zero percent," Ross said sarcastically.

Pryce made a little cup holder in the sand and placed his cup in it, a smirk on his face.

"It's okay, Ross; I hate myself just as much, if not more, than you hate me," Pryce promised, repositioning his sunglasses.

"I really don't think you hate yourself more than I hate you."

Pryce quirked a brow. "That's a problem."

Logan shook her head. "Ross, don't talk to him like that. You can go home if you can't stand to be around him." Ross merely rolled his eyes.

"Whatever," he mumbled, like a child who had just been chided for not going to bed on time.

Brian shook his head and looped an arm around Pryce's shoulders. "Why are you wearing a shirt..?" he asked. Brian rarely wore a shirt, so the concept of wearing one on the beach was surely exceedingly odd to him.

"I don't have a football player body?" Pryce guessed.

Logan scoffed. "No, you just have a sickeningly hot runner's body." Ross shot her a glare, but she didn't acknowledge him. Pryce looked down, shrugging.

"Uhm. Thanks," he coughed.

"Also, you've lived here since you were 15, and you're still like, vampire pale," Brian told Pryce, who looked up, frowning, his eyes narrowed behind his sunglasses. He was certainly not that pale, but perhaps to Brian, it seemed like it. Brian was the epitome of California, after all. Maybe a little more bicurious.

He rested his head on Pryce shoulder and squeezed him gently, Pryce's body tense in his one-armed embrace.

Probably definitely a lot more bicurious than Pryce had estimated him to be.

Pryce took another drink and shrugged Brian off so he could lie back in the sand.

"I can't believe you actually like California," Brian continued to ramble. "You seem so Oregon still…."

Pryce didn't think he was quite that granola, like, at all, but what did Brian really know about Oregon?

"I just hated living with my grandparents," Pryce sighed, closing his eyes.

Everyone was quiet for a few minutes, then Logan said, "Ross is gone. He went to swim or something."

"The fuck did I ever do to him?" Pryce asked, sitting up.

"I think it's cause you're smarter than him."

Pryce rolled his eyes. "He needs to get a grip. Seriously."

Brian shrugged. "You're, like, crazy smart. Where're you going to college?"

Pryce scoffed. "Uh. Fuck if I know. I'm not even a senior yet. Give me a few weeks. I don't even know what I want to be."

Logan laughed. "Just be a house husband for your hunky, future husband." Brian nodded, nudging him. Pryce raised his brows, and Brian winked.

"You're implying you're my hunky, future husband," Pryce stated, nodding. "I understand."

Brian blushed and laughed softly, ducking his head. Honestly, Pryce really wasn't sure about Brian's sexuality; he didn't think anyone was, actually, not even Brian.

"I can't cook or anything though, and that's part of being a house wife or husband. Cook and clean and fuck."

Logan covered her mouth as she laughed loudly. "Just hire a chef and a maid. Then, you can drink and shop with me and fuck your husband when he comes home from his incredible job."

"This is the weirdest conversation I've have in…oh, so long," Pryce mumbled, shaking his head. "I'm not. No."

"It'd work just a well with a wife," Brian told him. Pryce took another long drink.

"Well…."

"Are you gay?" Brian asked after a second. Pryce looked at Logan over his sunglasses, but she just looked away and shrugged.

Pryce sputtered. "I. Uh. Uhm. Yes."

Brian gave him a tight hug. "We love you. And I won't tell anyone."

Logan let out a tiny aw, and Pryce hugged back, smiling softly. "Thanks, Bri. Means a lot coming from a preacher's son."

"Are you being sarcastic?"

"No," Pryce laughed, pulling back. "No. Thanks."

"What're you drinking?" Brian laughed, pulling away.

Pryce pushed his sunglasses higher on the bridge of his nose. "It's vodka and lemonade. Is that okay with you?"

"Are you drunk?" Brian's eyes widened and he pushed a few stray hairs out of his eyes. Pryce pushed up the tip of his nose with the rim of his cup and groaned, lowering the rim of his cup to his parted lips, and he took a drink before asking, "No. Do I seem drunk?"

Brian chuckled, shaking his head. "Nah!"

Pryce was going to say something else but was distracted by someone screaming, "Pryce, hey!" to his left. He squinted at the figure heading toward them. Preston. Fuck.

He had to deal with Preston and his smart-ass remarks every weekday from 7 to 11:30 at band camp, where Preston incessantly whined that he should be drum major and Pryce only had it because Richard was his uncle, not because Pryce was a musical prodigy or anything, which he was. He didn't hate Preston the way he hated Ross; he actually found him pretty humorous most of the time, but he talked too fucking much and had an overwhelming tendency to be a dick.

He plopped down beside Pryce, who cocked his head at him and put his cup in his sandy cup holder.

"Oh. Hi, Preston. Long time, no see. It's been-what?-almost two hours since band camp let out?"

"Just nearly," Preston agreed. He looked over at Brian, who offered a tight-lipped smile. Pryce pushed his sunglasses on top of his head and rubbed his eyes.

"I think I have a hangover already."

"You had a hangover this morning," Preston reminded him.

Pryce nodded. "Right, that's why I'm medicating." He gestured to his cup, and Preston raised his brows. His red hair had started to curl in the heat, but Pryce hardly noticed because he was shirtless. Shirtless and freckled and fit. Annoyed, Pryce remembered that Preston also played soccer, despite his asthma. And it showed. Nicely.

"With?"

"What?"

"Medicating with what?" Preston asked, though he was not looking at Pryce. He was staring at Brian, but who could blame him? Preston was also gay, and Brian was very cute. Especially when he was half naked, which was most of the time.

Pryce just frowned. "Uh. Hard lemonade." Preston smirked and looked back at him, and Pryce pushed his sunglasses back down. "So. I'm an alcoholic. What's new?"

"You're so cavalier."

"Yes, well, I was joking."

Preston laughed, running a hand through his hair.

Brian exhaled slowly and stood. "Wanna get some lunch?" he asked Pryce, averting Preston's gaze. Pryce smiled up at him and hummed, drinking the remainder of the liquid in his cup as he stood.

"Yes."

He mumbled a goodbye to Preston and kissed Logan on the cheek as she headed toward the shore. He and Brian slowly headed to Brian's car, and the silence was heavy between them, especially since when he was with Brian he could hardly get a word in edgewise. He shot Brian a wayside glance and dumped out the ice in his cup as they approached his car.

"Are you okay?" Pryce finally asked. He sat in the passenger's seat and buckled his seatbelt. Brian started the car and smiled softly.

"Yepp. Why?"

Pryce shrugged. "Are you gonna put a shirt on?"

"Maybe. Wanna get fish tacos at Liles's?" Brian asked. "I am so craving a fish taco right now."

"That's fine," Pryce told him. Liles was a small, beachy restaurant that sat on the boardwalk and only had outside seating around high, round tables, all painted various bright colors and slightly worn from rain. Pryce liked it, and they did have amazing tacos.

Incidentally, Brian did not put a shirt on, which left him in only blue swim trunks and flip flops, while Pryce remained in his white v-neck and black swim trunks and flip flops that honestly should not be near water or else the leather would get all messed up. Oh, well.

"Bless everything-the fishes today are Mahi Mahi, Talapia, and Salmon. Who wants a salmon taco? Ew," Brian mumbled.

"Go order," Pryce snorted, nudging Brian, who stepped forward and ordered two Mahi Mahi tacos and two Cokes. Pryce handed the cashier some money, and Brian made an indignant sound.

"I so would've gotten mine!"

"It isn't a big deal," Pryce assured him. They took their drinks and table number and went to sit at a magenta table.

"So, do you like anyone?"

Pryce made a face. "Uh, well. Sort of. I had a date a few days ago…and we're going out again on Friday."

Brian's face lit up. "Who is it?"

Even if Craig did go to their school, Pryce wouldn't tell Brian who he was casually seeing; Brian was CEO and chairman of the Hinton-Palmer High Rumor Mill, which was sort of required given that he was in show choir and would be editor of the yearbook once senior year started. Being on the football team didn't hurt either; boys talked.

"He's out of high school," Pryce told him before realizing that was probably not a smart thing to say.

Brian raised his brows. "How old is he?"
"He's nineteen," Pryce mumbled.

"That's not bad; you'll be eighteen in November, so."

"So." Pryce smiled. "His name's Craig Dawson. He's a photographer."

Brian cocked his head to the side.

"He's had people, like, commission stuff from him, and he's done weddings, senior portraits…and then he's just taken a lot of photos he makes prints of and sells. He's really good, Bri."

A waiter brought their food and took their number. "Enjoy," he said half-heartedly. Pryce and Brian exchanged amused glances and began to eat.

"Well, that's really cool," Brian said through a mouth-full of Mahi Mahi. He swallowed thickly. "I'm not with anyone. Kristen was boring."

Pryce frowned. "Aw, sorry."

Brian groaned. "Ugh, I so don't care. She was…whatever."

"So. What about Logan and Ross? I mean, I know you guys are friends, but…."

"Oh, they're terrible for each other. But. Y'know…they've been on and off since, like, seventh grade, so."

He rolled his eyes at Brian's excuse. "He's a dumbass."

They finished eating, and Pryce looked at his phone and groaned.

"I gotta get back to Richard's. Drive me?" He walked with Brian to the trash can, where they disposed of the scraps of taco that remained in their baskets. Brian nodded.

"Duh." Brian made him listen to Paris Hilton the entire way home, which made Pryce want to puncture his eardrums, as it would have been less painful than hearing Miss Hilton's attempt at song.

"See ya. You suck. I hate you," Pryce told Brian as he climbed out of the car. Brian laughed and waved, driving off. Pryce glared at Richard's car in the driveway as he headed inside, where he practically ran into Richard, who nearly dropped the stack of mail in his hands.

Pryce blinked, startled, and stumbled, his back hitting the door.

"Oh. Hey."

Richard took a step back and quirked a brow. "Hey. You okay?"

"Great. Went and had lunch with Brian."

Richard smiled. "That's fantastic."

Pryce squinted at him. "Yeah, it was grand." He rolled his eyes and walked past Richard to head upstairs.

"Whatcha up to?"

Pryce looked back over his shoulder, his hand on the railing. "I'm not 'up to' anything," Pryce sneered, using air quotes as he turned around and let his left side lean against the wall.

"What's your deal?" Richard asked, walking up the stairs to stand a couple of steps below Pryce, who shook his head.

"I didn't expect you to be home, and I didn't expect to walk into you as I walked inside. And I've been with people all day. And I want to be alone."

Richard cleared his throat. "Well, you didn't have to go hang out with your friends all afternoon after band practice."

Pryce ran a hand through his hair. "Yeah, cause I would've rather come home to watch What Not to Wear with you. No. Thanks." He turned away and took a step before Richard grabbed his wrist. Pryce looked down at him, an eyebrow raised expectantly. He yanked his wrist away. "No."

Richard huffed and followed him upstairs. "Pryce!" Pryce ignored him and jumped the next three steps up and strode quickly to his room. "Hey, who's Craig?"

Pryce spun around, scoffing. "None of your goddamn business!" He slammed the door in Richard's face as he approached Pryce's room. Pryce frowned, locked the door, and flopped onto his bed.

"Open the door!"

"No! Go away!" Pryce groaned, throwing a pillow at the door, which, obviously, didn't really do anything, but he was annoyed.

Richard was quiet for a moment. "Uhm…you want Shake n' Bake for dinner?"

Pryce was on the verge of ripping his hair out. "Go. Away."

There was a heavy sigh from Richard, but then he left. Pryce didn't hear from him for a few hours, when he came back to ask Pryce about Shake n' Bake again.

"Please open your door?"

Pryce obliged, though he was barely decent, clad only in a pair of black boxer briefs.

He pulled on a t-shirt that had the Deathly Hallows symbol from Harry Potter printed on the front in black and opened the door. "Yo," he said, voice deadpanned as he leaned against the doorframe.

Richard smiled softly. "Shake n' Bake?"

"Hell no. I want macaroni."

"Well, I make macaroni with it."

Pryce shook his head. "Nah. Just order some Chinese. I want a pint of vegetable lo mein."

Richard pinched the bridge of his nose. "Okay. Works for me." He headed downstairs and left Pryce alone until the food got there, when he called Pryce downstairs to eat with him.


Friday finally arrived, and just before sunset, while Richard was at Target, Craig picked Pryce up in his pick-up. It had been washed, much to Pryce's pleasure. In the last week, Craig stubble had come back, but Pryce didn't mind, really; he rather liked the look, especially on Craig.

"You and your truck look mighty fine tonight," he told Craig, who smirked and leaned over for a kiss, which Pryce gave him, rather hesitantly. Looking satisfied, Craig pulled away.

"You don't look too bad yourself."

"Well, thanks," Pryce mumbled, blushing. He really didn't dress up; they were just going to the beach, so he just had on a red, hooded pullover and a pair of black jeans. It was finally getting to were it was nice and cool outside once the sun set, and he took advantage of that. He definitely missed Oregon weather; even in the summer, it was blissfully cool.

"I brought picnic stuff," Craig told him. Pryce nodded and hoped he would like the food Craig brought; he was really picky and didn't want to be rude.

"That's cute," he hummed. "What'd you bring?"

"I got some apples and, uh, packed a few sandwiches-there's turkey and ham, cause I didn't know which you liked-and there are some chips cause I'm bad at being healthy; I don't like apples," he laughed. "And I got some sparkling grape juice. Cause I'm a loser."

Pryce laughed. "No. It sounds great." And it did; that was perfect.

They got to the beach, and Pryce carried the blanket while Craig got the basket and they found a nice, empty spot close to the shore. Pryce put the blanket down, and Craig filled two plastic champagne flutes with sparkling grape juice. They sat, and split a turkey sandwich but each had their own bag of chips.

"I'm so not healthy," Pryce laughed. "I just run. I eat horribly."

Craig rolled his eyes. "Well. It doesn't show. You look incredible." Pryce smiled softly and finished his glass of grape juice, which was way too sweet, and turned to Craig, who beamed.

"How long have you lived in California?" Craig asked.

"I moved here right before I turned fifteen, so almost three years. I lived with my grandparents in Oregon before that."

Craig frowned. "Why'd you live with your grandparents?"

Pryce puffed up his cheeks. "Uhm, well. When I was a kid, my parents got divorced, and my dad took my little brother with him to California. My mom actually travels more than he does, except in the summers, so he sent me to Oregon to live with his parents. Then, out of nowhere, eleven years later, my dad calls my grandparents, and they sit me down and tell me I'm moving to California to live with my father." Craig raised his brows, and Pryce nodded. "I know, right? Part of it was that they were tired of me living with them, and the other half of it was I think my dad might've actually felt bad for ignoring me for eleven years." He shrugged.

"That sucks. So are things good with you guys now?"

Pryce rolled his eyes. "Ha. No. Right after I moved here, he got me braces as a welcome present, and I guess that's supposed to make up for the time he didn't talk to me. Except, now I live with him and he still hardly talks to me. And he got pissed a couple of weeks ago when I asked if I could move out."

Craig made a face. "That's crazy! What's your dad do again?"

Pryce smiled softly. "It's so refreshing when people don't know who he is. He's a big-time lawyer, and he owns a bunch of law firms worldwide; that's why he's gone so often."

Craig nodded. "My dad owns a hunting supply store in Georgia."

Pryce raised his brows. "So I guess you know what it's like to have a family business, huh?"

They laughed, and Craig changed the topic. "You're going to be a senior, yeah?"

"Yepp," Pryce sighed. "Can't wait."

"I hated high school," Craig told him. "I was really only good at art."

Craig was sure cute, but Pryce was finding he really wasn't much of a scholar. He poured himself some more sparkling grape juice while Craig lit a cigarette.

"It's getting dark," Pryce noted. "I probably have to go soon. I told Richard I'd be home at a decent time from this date." He smirked, and Craig nodded, laughing.

"Probably not a bad idea."

Craig finished his cigarette, and they packed up and left. Pryce had to endure some sort of country yodeling on the way back to Richard's, which sucked because he wasn't much of a country music fan. At all. He parked outside of Richard's and gave Pryce a hopeful smile.

"Do I get goodnight kiss again?"

Pryce leaned over as Craig's hand cupped the base of his skull and pulled him closer, pressing his lips to Pryce's. Humming, Pryce kissed back, moving his lips against Craig's before shyly parting his lips, allowing Craig's tongue to slip into his mouth. He gasped softly, sliding his tongue alongside Craig's, shaping the ridges of his teeth and pulling him closer.

"God, do you have to go inside?"

Pryce smirked against Craig's mouth and tried to pull away after another moment of kissing since, yes, he really did have to go inside. Craig made a sound of protest, pecked his lips against sweetly, and cupped his face.

"Please tell me you wanna go out again."

Pryce scrunched up his nose and laughed, wiggling out of Craig's hands.

"I want to go out again. And again and again and again."


Let me know what you think! I hope you all are liking it.

R&R please! I love to hear what you think. :)

if you haven't checked out my other book, Violet Skies, I try to update it around the same time I update this. Check it out if you like.

Thanks for your support!

Caroline