The Rebel - Kelsey Clayton



The pain that pierces through my head is the equivalent of being hit with a truck—not that I know what that feels like, but it sounds comparable. You’d think I would learn by now about drinking to the point where I don’t remember my own damn name. However, that’s clearly not the case. My agonizing hangover is proof of that.

I pull a sweatshirt over my head, hoping it’ll help shield me from the light peeking through the blinds. No luck. The only thing I can think of that might save me from this misery is a steaming hot cup of coffee. Taking a couple of Tylenol from my en suite bathroom, I swallow them down and head for the kitchen.

“I don’t know where she is, to be honest.” My father’s voice echoes out into the hall. Ugh. I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to see him today, or at least not until I got some caffeine in me. “One thing I can tell you, though, is she’s going to have to answer to me as soon as she gets home.”

As I turn the corner, the sight of my dad sitting at the island with my Uncle Dominic catches me off guard. He rarely comes over, let alone at ass o’clock on a Sunday morning. Still, I smile politely and try to hide how gross I feel.

“Good morning,” I tell them.

Both their heads turn to me, and my father seems genuinely surprised.

“I’ll be damned.” He focuses back on my uncle. “Hell must have frozen over if we’ve reached a day where Tessa came home and Delaney is the one who stayed out all night.”

“Delaney didn’t come home?”

Shaking his head, they both stare me down. “You don’t happen to know where she is, do you?”

“No.” Not that I would tell you if I did. “She probably slept over Savannah’s or something.”

Thankfully, my dad lives under a rock. Being too stuck up on his high horse, he has refused to have any kind of conversation with Mrs. Hayworth. If he had, he would know that Sav—Delaney’s best friend—has been living right across the street with Mrs. Hayworth and her son, Savannah’s boyfriend, Grayson. Instead, he’s too absorbed in his own little world to acknowledge anyone else.

“Perhaps. If you talk to her, tell her to get her ass home.” His tone is light but I can sense the threat lingering in his words. “And I better not find out she’s hanging around that scumbag again.”

I roll my eyes, knowing that nothing I say about Knox Vaughn, or anyone from that side of town, will get through to him. Even my own boyfriend isn’t allowed at our house because he doesn’t drive a Porsche and his name doesn’t hold a social standing fit for a king. Although, that doesn’t stop Easton from sneaking in my window late at night. What daddy dearest doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

Uncle Dom clears his throat and stands up. “Well, I came here hoping to take my two favorite nieces out to breakfast, but I can’t exactly do that when one of them is missing.”

“I’m telling Ainsley,” I singsong.

He chuckles. “I bet you will, you little shit.”

My uncle and I have always had a good relationship. He’s the only relative I have that doesn’t treat me like I’m still seven years old and still playing with dolls. It’s something I respect about him. He treats me like the grown-up I’m in the process of becoming.

“Oh well. More food for me.” Plastering a playful smile on my face, I turn to leave the room. “Let me just get dressed and then we can go.”

It only takes a few minutes for me to change my clothes and throw my hair up into a messy bun. Some girls might cringe at the thought of leaving the house without looking like they just left a photo shoot, but I’ve never been like that. Sure, I like to get dolled up occasionally. Who doesn’t? I just don’t feel like I need to put on makeup in order to be seen in public.

By the time I get back downstairs, Uncle Dom is waiting by the front door, exchanging hushed words with my dad. As soon as they see me, the conversation dies immediately, and they brush it off like they aren’t hiding anything. Typical.

“Ready to go?” my uncle asks, and I nod.

Just as I’m about to walk out the door, my father calls my name. “If you hear from your sister, tell her I want her