The Kings of Charleston (Vol. 1) - Kat H. Clayton

I stopped at the second floor and walked across a well-worn oriental rug on the landing. I made my way down the dark, narrow hallway, and peeked into the bedroom at the end of the hall. The walls were minty green with light pink silk drapes. I cringed and moved on. The next bedroom wasn’t much better, with busy red and white wallpaper that looked like something Grandmother Livingston would pick out for a china pattern.

I walked back down the hallway and entered the bedroom closest to the stairs that continued to wind up to the third floor. It had delicate pale gold wallpaper, and drapes that were done in a soft blue. The bedding on the king-size bed was a soft blue that matched the drapes. A plasma television hung above the fireplace. The room felt like an ethereal and calming piece of sky. I instantly felt a sense of peace I hadn’t felt since I found out about the move.

I dropped my backpack on the floor and walked into the attached bathroom. The floor and the walls were done in a soft cream tile, and matching blue bath mats were on the floor. They were just like the ones I had had in my bathroom. I seriously thought about hiding them under the bed to keep Mother from taking them away.

There was a large picture window over the Jacuzzi tub, which let in lots of light. I stepped into the tub with my shoes on and stared out into the very green, but disappointingly small, yard. It reminded me of a tiny English garden. There were several large oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, which looked like they were guarding the tiny yard with their skeletal limbs.

I drifted back into the bedroom, picked up my backpack, and pulled out a silver picture frame. I placed the framed picture of me with Wendy, my face nuzzled against her long mane of hair, on the white marble fireplace. My chest became tight as I stared at the photo and realized I wouldn’t be able to see any of the horses any time I wanted.

I heard the front door downstairs creak open and some chatter, then the stomping of feet up the stairs. I exited the bedroom to see Mother coming toward me, her necklaces jingling against her chest.

“Come downstairs, Casper, Mr. Roman and his family are here to meet us,” she said, batting her eyes at me.

Ah, I thought, Mr. Roman must have a wife, which is the reason for my mother’s sudden buzz of excitement. It must be someone she could build social circles with and use to start her party life all over. Great, I was now the only loner in the family.

We descended down the spiral of stairs. She clutched my hand, giving it a squeeze as the front foyer came into view. A man and a woman were chatting with Dad. As we walked closer, I noticed another individual standing in the shadows behind them. He was tall, handsome, and my age.

As we approached, Dad waved his hand out toward me. “Tyson, this is my daughter, Casper.”

“Hello,” I responded, and extended my hand to the debonair man.

He took my hand into his warm, dry grip and shook it like a well-trained politician. He would have definitely fit into the category of hot older men, along with Brad Pitt and George Clooney. I was immediately drawn to the sharp jaw line of his square face. He was very tan, which was only made more apparent by his white dress shirt. His eyes were a piercing light blue and his hair was a nice shade of dirty blonde.

“Hello, Casper,” he said in a commanding voice. He had a thick Southern drawl that reminded me of Bill Compton, the vampire from True Blood, but a little more elegant and genteel. He let go of my hand and waved toward the woman beside him. “This is my wife, Jillian.”

The elegant woman stepped forward. She was a tall, slender woman, who was a good two inches taller than me and my mother. She was wearing a linen suit that complimented her olive skin. Her face was shaped like a heart, with long black hair billowing around her elegant neck. I couldn’t help but stare at her Angelina Jolie lips and violet Elizabeth Taylor eyes. She took my hand and shook it once before letting it go. She didn’t say a word, but smiled, revealing her perfect white teeth.

Finally, the boy standing off to the side came up to me and I let out a heavy breath. He had definitely inherited his parents’ glamorous, beautiful genes.

“Hey, I’m Cal,” he said in a husky Southern accent.

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Genre – YA / Mystery / Suspense

Rating – PG13 (No sex scenes, some violence)

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