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Chapter 5

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Anna pulled Sean into a tight hug, which he gladly returned when he'd found her and Reggie. "You look like you're feeling better already, Cuz." She had to raise her voice some for him to hear her.

"I am," Sean confirmed with a nod. "How've you been, Reggie?" he questioned, looking up at the man with his arm around his cousin.

"Pretty good, ya know. Can't complain."

Sean supposed that thing about women picking guys like their dad had to have some validity to it. because his uncle and Reggie Preston did share quite a bit in common. Everything from their laid-back attitudes, and booming laugh, to their dark, smooth complexion, broad stature, and clean-cut features. Though he got the feeling that his uncle wasn't the biggest fan of Reggie. But what man wouldn't be tough on the kid dating his daughter?

After some small talk about when Reggie would be off to California for college, Sean decided it was time to look for one of those coolers of drinks he saw around and voiced as much. Reggie pointed him in the right direction before leaning down to plant a kiss on Anna's temple.

"We'll be around," she'd called, prompting Sean to wave that he'd heard her. He definitely wanted to walk back into town with them later. He didn't think he had another mini-marathon in him.

As he was fishing a hard lemonade out of an open cooler, Sean noticed two unfamiliar faces getting a lot of attention towards the center of the party.

With his long black hair, dark clothing, porcelain skin, and trademark pentacle belt, Kaiden looked like he belonged at some gothic, vampire convention. But his dark brown eyes and warm smile somehow overshadowed his otherwise off-putting style and made him plenty approachable to several of the girls at the party.

Nate's overall look was very similar, but more contemporary punk, with his designer hoodie, skinny jeans, and brand-name boots. But the black did offset his bluish-green eyes, which seemed to look straight through anything he fixed his gaze on, and right now, those sharp eyes were cutting a path right through the crowd to Sean.

Kaiden was effortlessly mingling when he noticed Nate staring off into the crowd. He gave his younger cousin a nudge.

"Love at first sight?" Kaiden wondered with a cocky grin.

Nate's nose wrinkled at the comment. "Pft, I'm so far out of his league," he said, his arrogant tone almost bleeding into sarcasm. "Besides, he looks straight as a razor blade," Nate added before he took another sip of his drink.

But Kaiden knew Nate, and he knew that tone. He was the type of person that always sounded harsher than he really was, especially when he didn't want to admit someone was suitable.

The desire to avoid some of Jesse's friends drove Sean closer to the two strangers. The person who ended the relationship was always the bad guy. It just seemed to be some kind of unspoken rule, and Sean wasn't feeling up to that. He might have also been just the slightest bit curious since the shorter of the two guys was definitely staring at him. That much was made very clear as he approached him.

The stranger was more intimidating up close, but much more attractive, too. His hair was a similar length to Jesse's, only it hung loosely, barely brushing the top of his shoulders. "Hi," Sean said with a smile, only now noticing a few faint red roots, or maybe they were blond... Either way, they were an easy tell that this guy's too-dark hair was artificial. His mom and cousin had ruined him on hair stuff. Sean couldn't not notice details like that now. But the dye-job did suit him and made the guy's pale skin and light eyes seem even brighter. "Are you new to Aspenview? You don't look familiar."

Nate smirked at the comment.

"Oh really? I was just about to say the exact opposite," he lied brazenly. "Didn't we meet last summer? I was up here visiting my grandparents."

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