By: Jondy Macmillan
A/N: This is one hundred percent inspired by Cruel Intentions, but it's not based off of it. Like, what happened to Ryan Phillipe in that movie will not happen to James. The pairings are Kendall/James (of course), and James/James's stepmother, and there might be hints of Carlos/Logan, depending on how I feel. Enjoy!
The jacaranda trees line half the streets in the neighborhood, clouds of lavender and indigo. He crushes fallen blossoms beneath his feet as he walks, hands shoved deep in his pockets. The air smells like flowers, fragrant and cool in his lungs. Up ahead, the hotel looms, a stately building with latticework balconies.
It's all very picturesque. His dad obviously had nothing to do with booking the place. The man could care less for scenery; he'd be every bit as comfortable in the No-Tell Motels that line the Pacific Coast Highway as he would be in this little slice of quiet suburbia.
James snorts and stomps onward, relishing the thud of his boots on the pavement, interrupting the otherwise quiet street. When he reaches the lobby, he doesn't spare a glance for the tasteful art deco interior. He doesn't stop to talk to the concierge. He already knows where he's going.
He stands in a black and white hallway for ten minutes, knocking out the beat to a Smoky Robinson song against thick, solid wood. James is rapping out a new tune when his hand hits empty air. His stepmom's standing in the doorway, dressed in nothing but her lacy underwear. She steps back, letting James inside, and he watches her butt while she makes her way back to flop onto rumpled bed, pristine comforter falling to the wayside.
She's not a traditionally pretty girl; her face is broad, jaw strong, and all of it perfectly symmetrical. Her eyebrows are always plucked into arches, and she's never without this matte lipstick that makes her look like an old school movie star. She's all long, athletic limbs and coppery skin, and James can see the outline of her muscles as she stretches.
Those muscles let her run like the wind. James knows. He's spent the past three years chasing her.
He tries to look away. The hotel's pretty nice; floor to ceiling windows letting in all this Northern light, plush carpeting, and sturdy wooden furniture, carved for that extra hint of elegance. The TV's a plasma, great long Windex streaks running across its glossy surface. On the screen, the sky reflects back electric blue and deep fuchsia.
"I hate this heat," James's stepmom says, stretching long and lithe against the bed. "It makes me feel so-" she looks up at him suggestively "-restless."
Her voice is throaty, roughened by cold winters and too many cigarettes. James's mom says it sounds like a warning, but Brooke Diamond speaks honey sweet, and she's spent her entire life trying to perpetuate perfection. She doesn't understand that there is a certain beauty to damaged things.
James's stepmom's voice is like that; simultaneously hard edged and sexy. It resonates in James's bones
"I can help you with that." It's a blatant come on. James settles on the side of the bed, stroking his fingers over her ankle. She grins, cat eyes and the assuredness of a girl who is used to getting what she wants.
James smiles the same way. This is familiar territory. He inches his fingers up her calf, past her knee, waiting to see if she'll cave or if she'll stop him. Her lips quirk, and she halts his fingers when they're pressing high into her upper thigh. "You're father's going to be back soon."
James rolls his eyes. He loves his dad. A lot. He really does. But it's hard to take a man seriously when he marries his son's ex-girlfriend.
"Diana," he pleads, testing the strength of his finger tips against her hand and her resolve. "I'll make you feel so good."
She crooks a finger at him. "Don't be cocky. It's unattractive."
James makes a disparaging noise. He sprawls across the king sized bed, half of his body pressed into half of hers. "No it isn't."
"You and your father. Does your self confidence ever falter?"
"Why should it?" James leans forward and nuzzles at her neck, nipping soft at the skin there.
"What? You used to like it."
She rolls her eyes and pushes him away, the movement playful. "You're such a little boy."
"I'm barely four years younger than you," James scoffs, trying to surge forward again. She holds him off, and he respects it. He's so used to playing this game.
James met Diana when he was in high school, running track on a day when the sky had ripped open, rain hitting the ground like artillery. It hurt against his skin, but James was waiting for his dad to pick him up from hockey practice and the man never liked getting out of his car. He got bored though, standing in front of the gym. When he saw a girl racing like lightning through the mud, he couldn't help his curiosity.
She laughed at his dumb jokes and she had no idea who his mother was. It was enough to charm James into asking her on a date. She was eighteen, three and a half years older than James and at the time, it seemed, so much wiser. The first time they went out, she told him about all the ways she was broken, about how her family had gone to shit and how graduation loomed around the corner, but she had no destination in sight. She would look out at the horizon like she wanted to take it into her hands, like the world would belong to her if she could just get at it.
Leaving Minnesota was her dream. They had that in common.
It didn't take very long, after that, for James to fall head over heels for this girl, this whirlwind of a person who seemed to know so much, who was so much more than James had ever dreamed of being. And she looked at him like he was something precious, like he was worthwhile. Of course he loved her.
His dad ruined everything. His dad was very good at that.
Mr. Diamond was an established businessman. He had a future, he had stability, and best of all, he had the kind of cash that Diana would never have to figure out what she wanted to do with her life, at least not until she was ready. It helped that he was an attractive man; James never worried about getting old when his parents had aged so gracefully.
It wasn't just about the money or the stability, of course. Diana isn't a gold digger. She was just swept away in the whole whirlwind of a powerful man's affections. James had been trying to win her back ever since.
"I'm bored, Jamie. Let's play a game."
"What kind of game?" James asks, because they have so many. "Is there chocolate sauce in the fridge?"
"Not the game I was thinking about." She gives him a look, all half-lidded bedroom eyes and smolder and oh. James knows exactly what game she wants to play.
"Last time we played, you said that it was too easy."
"Last time we played, it was too easy. It's not fair to sic you on these poor, delicate girls. They fold every time."
"It's not their fault. I'm irresistible." James grins, propping himself up on his elbows. He tilts his head to peer down at wear she's sprawled, dark hair haloed across a too-white pillow. He wants her so badly.
"You think so?"
Confident, James replies, "I know so."
Diana smiles, the expression feral. Her perfume is cloying. It's this overpowering, syrupy sweet floral scent like the trees outside. She arches up, her mouth hovering close to James's, and she breathes, "We're going to put that to the test."
Then she pulls away, falling back onto the pillow. James slumps down onto the bed, stifling a groan. The stepmilf is such a cocktease.
Whining a little, he says, "We have put it to the test. Repeatedly. Dude, my friends are calling me a manwhore."
"And that's completely my fault?" Diana raises a skeptical eyebrow. James sluts around even without her little challenges.
"Alright, no," James concedes, "But it's no fun going after all these innocent girls. It's like hunting bunny rabbits with a shotgun. I don't want them. I want you."
"Didn't I say this time would be different? We're going to bag you a mountain lion."
Despite himself, James is interested.
"What do you suggest?"
"I'm thinking tall, blond, and, hmmm." She licks her lips, crossing and uncrossing her legs while she draws out the thought. "Good at hockey?"
"Dude, if you could find me a girl like that, I'd do it on my own."
"Oh, sweetie. Who said anything about a girl?"
James doesn't get it.
Diana winks at him.
He still doesn't get it.
"What?" he repeats.
She smoothes a hand over his thigh, a sensual caress that makes him squeeze his eyes shut and wish he had more control over his hormones than he actually does. Scraping her nails against his inseam, Diana instructs, "Someone who really commands your attention. Think about it."
James understands in flashes; a crooked smile and green eyes, dimples and the broad span of shoulders.
"Kendall?" He asks dumbly. Diana nods, turning her face to give him a sly look.
"You're brighter than you give yourself credit for."
"But- dude. No. My friends are off limits," James says, feeling a rush of over protectiveness. Kendall, Carlos, and Logan don't know about any of this; not the ongoing fucked up relationship he has with his stepmother or the callous way he uses girls like chess pieces to get to the queen.
He doesn't want them to know. Not ever. They'll look at him like- James doesn't want to think about it.
Diana loops a leg over James's thighs, pulling her body in close so that she can cuddle against his chest. "If you insist."
Well, that. That was too easy.
"That's it?" he asks suspiciously, burying his nose in the scent of her hair, all shiny and sweet.
"That's it," she confirms. "The game's all about seeing how far you'll go, Jamie. If you're scared, I'm not going to push."
Immediately, his hackles go up.
"I'm not scared."
"It's okay, James. I'm not judging."
James tries to figure out if this is some kind of trick that he's supposed to be clever enough to figure out.
"Fear has nothing to do with it. If I tried to-" James worries at his lip, scraping his top teeth over soft skin. "-Kendall would hate me."
"So what you're saying is that you're scared of pissing off your best friend," Diana mumbles into his pectoral muscle, laugh muted.
"No," is what James says. He hates looking uncool in front of girls.
He hates looking uncool in front of Diana even more.
"Then what's the problem?"
It's. Just. She has to see the problem here? What sane person wouldn't?
"Why a boy?"
"Boys are the new frontier. Don't you want to pioneer some new territory?"
"But- can't it be some random guy?"
"James," Diana strokes her fingers down the side of his face, feather light. "You're so pretty. Possessing a penis isn't going to make someone immune to your charm."
"Heterosexuality might," James points out. Diana snorts.
"Maybe," she singsongs, "But won't it be so much more challenging if it's someone who knows you? So well that they're not even interested?"
"Hey. He could be interested."
James wants to argue, but she's got a point. The girls who've captured Kendall's interest romantically are usually way less shallow and self absorbed than James could ever hope to be. They've also never punched him in the jaw over a stolen slice of pizza.
"Why him? Why Kendall?"
Diana purses her lips. "Because Logan and Carlos are half in love with you already. It wouldn't take much."
"They're my friends."
"Do you want your friends, or do you want me?"
If it came down to it, it wouldn't be a choice. James loves Diana, but he'd give her up in a heartbeat if it for his buds. The thing is, he'll never have to make that choice. Even if he does this. Even if he hurts Kendall this way.
After all, there's nothing that James can do that his friends won't forgive.
"What do I get when I win?"
The way the game works is this: if James can seduce a target, he gets a kiss. If the target's a real challenge, he might get more. He's never gone after anyone as tough as Kendall. Not once. Not ever. He figures if he's going to put one of his oldest friendships at risk, he deserves more than a simple consolation prize.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I'll do it. But you have to give me something in return."
"I always do."
"The usual isn't going to be enough." James strokes a finger over her stomach. "Make love to me. I know you miss it."
He huffs a sigh. "No sex, no deal."
After all, Kendall won't be caged. He won't be content to let James wrangle him into a fling. He's golden and proud. Diana has it right; he's a mountain lion, and James is going to have to shoot to kill.
Diana peers up at him from beneath her eyelashes, all sooty and full of lust. Her lips curve into a feral grin and she purrs, "Fine. Make him fall in love with you James. If you do that, I'll do you."
She arches up like she's going to kiss him, but James knows she's just teasing again. He hops off the bed, clapping his hands and saying, "Great. So I have to get to the studio."
"Already? Your dad's gone all day. Can't we just, I don't know-"
"I have to go," James replies, and he looks away. He doesn't want to see her disappointed. His hands clutch into involuntary fists, because how could his dad drag her out here and abandon her? James dreams about putting his fist through his dad's face sometimes.
The Diamonds: putting the fun in dysfunction.
James leaves the hotel room, leaves Diana sprawled on the bed in her air conditioned haven. He makes his way out onto street, with the jacaranda trees and the relentless sun. A heat wave is rolling into California; that's what all the news channels say.
Okay, that's what Logan says, because James doesn't watch the news. But he can believe it. The air smells like sulfur and sewage. It tastes like cooked cabbage on his tongue; cooked cabbage and the heady perfume of flowers.
James shoves his hands in his pockets, wondering if, when this is all over, he can tell Kendall that the heat's to blame. Mr. Garcia told him once that hot weather drives people crazy. Murder rates go up. People start driving like psychopaths. Theft shoots through the roof.
If the sun can be used as an excuse for shooting your neighbor, why not fucking your best friend?
A/N: Please let me know what you think!