I know there are a lot of reviews I haven't responded to and I'm sorry, I will get to them. I've just been more focused on writing since I was MIA. I'm going to have to split this up into 2 chapters. It was getting way too long. Happy Reading :)
Cussing, Jake took a deep breath and tried for the tenth time to put his cuff link on. Finally admitting defeat, he gave up and walked out of his closet. He had every intention of asking Leah for her help. Only that didn't happen. Instead of asking for help every one of his brain synapses misfired and he stood there drooling like an idiot. Leah, who had been gone all day getting pampered and prettified with CeeCee, was putting on her thigh high stockings. It wasn't just that she was putting them on; it was how she was putting them on. Toes resting on a footstool, she was slowly pulling the sheer silk up her leg—wearing nothing but her Tiffany's bracelet and a thong.
A black. Lace. Thong.
"Spectacular isn't she." Paul quietly said from beside him. All Jake could do was nod because she was pulling up the second one and his brain hadn't quite caught up yet. "You gonna finish getting dressed?" He asked looking at Jake who was standing there in black socks, boxers, a white t-shirt and his unbuttoned dress shirt. Of course he was ready to go. Jake just snorted.
"Perfection takes time." He replied. Hearing his voice Leah turned around, her smile taking their breaths away.
"Oh good, you're both here. I need help with my dress." Both men stepped forward but Paul's hand landing in the middle of Jakes chest stopped him.
"I got this. You need to finish getting dressed, perfection remember?" Sly Bastard Jake thought before running back into his closet, now in a rush.
Paul walked over to Leah and tried to get his rapid heartbeat under control. On the outside he was calm and collected, presenting an almost bored demeanor. On the inside he was just the opposite. This one woman owned him heart and soul and if he ever lost her he would never survive. He was terrified. Winding her arms around his neck Leah pulled him against her naked chest to give him a kiss. He'd never hated a tuxedo shirt and jacket more in his life.
"You look amazing." She purred. "And you smell even better."
"You know what I think?" He asked kissing her neck and shoulder, his hands sliding down her back and resting on her bare ass.
"No, what do you think?"
"I think there isn't a word in the human language to describe how beautiful you are. I also think you should lose this." He said winding his finger around the string of her thong and giving it a gentle tug.
Once again reduced to a giggling schoolgirl, she started to…well…giggle. "I don't think so. I can't imagine running around all night with no panties, what if someone figured it out? Sorry, not happening, at least not tonight."
He could imagine it; he could more than imagine it. In fact just thinking about it was making his dick hard. It was probably for the best that she didn't agree; he'd be a walking hard-on all night. "Can't blame a guy for trying. Where's your dress, Baby Girl?" Running to her closet Leah brought back her dress. Taking it from her hands he helped her balance so she could step into it. Turning her back to him she pulled it up. As the soft matte jersey material gingerly rode up and over her hips he almost swallowed his tongue. The arched waist rose to her lower back and stopped.
"Can you zip me please?" She asked keeping her back to him. Finding the small zipper he pulled it up and confirmed his suspicions, the dress was backless. Although not as low as he originally thought it was still sexy as hell, and he hadn't even seen the front. Holding the dress to her breasts she thanked him and ran back into her closet. "Give me a second to get my shoes on and then you can see the finished product." She yelled.
"Well?" Jake asked now fully dressed, cuff links and all. "How does she look?" Not that he doubted she would be anything other than gorgeous, but she had kept the dress a secret wanting to surprise them and the suspense was killing him.
"You'll see." Just then she came out of the closet. And they both got a view of the "finished product". If Paul thought the back was sexy, the front blew his mind away. The deep halter neckline showed the perfect amount of cleavage, just hinting at the round firmness of her breasts. Her hair was a sloppy tumble of curls piled on her head accentuating the elegant curve of her neckline. She was wearing more make-up than she normally did, but it was tastefully done highlighting her beautiful eyes, delicate cheekbones and full lips.
She. Was. Perfection.
"Damn." Jake let out in a whooshed breath.
"Just wait." Paul said. In the next instant she turned giving them a view of her back with a flirty glance over her shoulder.
"Oh fuck me." Jake rasped out.
"That's not even the best part." She said lifting the floor length gown to show them her shoes. Neither man had ever seen anything like them before. The black suede, open toed, ankle wrapped sandal wasn't anything unusual. The five-inch crystal-inlaid silver heel however, was as unique as the woman wearing them. "Aren't they fabulous? I'm never taking them off." She squealed excitedly. "The sales lady said someone named Miu Miu made them? I'm not gonna lie, they were expensive but I just couldn't resist them. I hope you don't mind. You said to buy whatever I wanted." Seeing the happiness in her eyes both men puffed up. They were responsible for putting it there. They made her happy.
"Honey, we don't care what they cost. As long as you're happy, we're happy." Jake said before kissing her and whispering. "And I'm not sure about never taking them off, but they are definitely staying on later tonight. It's a good thing we reserved a suite at the hotel; it's going to be hard enough waiting to get my hands on you, the ride home would have killed me."
Clearing her throat she tried to ignore the blush covering her cheeks. Stepping back she did a little twirl.
"Well?" She asked her voice full of nervousness. She really wanted to make them proud. Jake eyed her up and down, scrutinizing every inch of her body. Paul actually walked around her. Crossing his arms Jake started rubbing his chin.
"I dunno. Its…something's not right…Paul?" He looked at his brother for help and Leah started to feel sick. CeeCee said the dress would be perfect.
"You're right. I can't put my finger on it but something is wrong. We can't take her out like this." Reaching in to his pocket he held up something sparkly. "Maybe this would help." He said winking, relief flooded through her in a rush.
"That was mean." She pouted.
"Leah, do you honestly think you could look anything other than beautiful in our eyes?" Walking around her again he held up the necklace. "May I?" At her nod he lifted the delicate chain over her head, his hands gliding along the underside of her jaw as he brought the clasp behind her neck. Securing the chain he pulled her mouth to his for a kiss. "I love you." He whispered. She closed her eyes and basked in the sensations his words created before looking at the platinum and diamond triple drop pendent hanging just above her breasts. Triple, she thought, just like them and deep down she knew that's exactly why they chose it.
"I love you, too." She said fighting the emotions filling her soul. These men took such amazing care of her. "It's perfect. Thank you."
"You're not done yet." Jake said pulling a black box out of his pocket. Opening it she saw a pair of graduated diamond drop earrings. "Your Tiffany Jazz collection is now complete, My Lady. Love you. Now and forever."
"Oh my god, they're incredible." Leaning up she kissed him, she wasn't going to think about the price. She wanted this night to be perfect for them, even if that meant swallowing her pride. "I love them and I love you, now and forever. Thank you."
"You're welcome." He said taking the earrings out so she could put them on. "So…do you know who made this sexy as sin dress you're wearing?" He asked changing the subject. Oh Shit. CeeCee had warned her about this.
"Ummm…Michael Kors?" She asked more than answered.
"Very good." Paul said. "Just say it with a little more confidence when the reporters and photographers ask you. We had our PR department release a formal statement so they will know your name and that you are with us. Remember, you don't have to answer anything you don't want to. If it gets too overwhelming just smile and let us handle the questions. Did you pack a bag?"
Since the Awards were being held at the Four Seasons, Jake and Paul decided to reserve one of the Governors Suites for the night. They both knew these things could run late and neither of them wanted to expose Leah to any more paparazzi than necessary. At least that was what they were telling her, the reality was they were both horny bastards who had every intention of fucking her senseless as soon as physically possible. The suite ensured they would be able to do just that.
"Yes, Garret already came and got it."
"Good. Well, we know you're going to be the most beautiful woman there, what about us? Do we look ok?" Jake asked. "We can't have you making your grand entrance on the arms of a couple of douche bags." She gave them a both a once over and smiled. They both looked exceptionally hot in their matching Tom Ford Tuxedos.
"Stop fishing for compliments, Jacob. You're both hot and you know it. I'm going to be the envy of every woman there."
Paul cracked up laughing. "She's got your number that's for sure. C'mon, lets go have a drink before its time to leave. I want to make sure our girl's nice and relaxed."
"Well it looks like Michael Kors designed it just for you, its beautiful and you look amazing. Tell me, how does it feel knowing you are the most envied woman in the world right now. You've caught not just one, but two of Seattle's most eligible bachelors? I know I'm positively green." the reporter gushed getting on Leah's last nerve. These people were merciless.
"If anyone's envied it's us." Jake cut in with a smoothness that earned him Leah's eternal gratitude. "Not everyone can say they found the woman of their dreams. We can."
"Is it true—" She started to ask when Paul cut her off.
"I'm sorry, Jennifer, no more questions. Its cold out here and we want to get Leah inside."
"Of course. Perhaps we can schedule an interview in the studio for a later date? Seattle would love to get to know you both and Leah up close and personal."
"You know we don't do interviews, Jennifer, and neither does Leah. Have a good night." Paul said leading them away and into the hotel. He was done. His patience with the paparazzi was limited at best, adding Leah to the mix only made it worse. They didn't care about them. All they wanted was gossip for the fodders. Their lifestyle made them prime targets where the vultures were concerned and he wasn't about to share his personal life with the whole fucking world just for their amusement.
"Well, that was fun." Leah said, sarcasm dripping off every word.
"Yeah, they pretty much suck. Are you ok?" Jake asked rubbing his hands up and down her cold arms.
"I'm fine, to be honest I was expecting it to be a lot worse."
"Yeah, me too. Are you ready for round two?" Paul asked taking her hand. On the way there they'd had her cracking up with the evenings agenda. Round one was "picture-taking piranhas". They'd then have round two, drinks and socializing with societies elite. Otherwise known as the One-Up hour where everyone tried to impress everyone else. Then there was dinner or round three followed by extreme arrogance disguised as speeches—round four. Round five was the actual awards with drinks and dancing ending the evening. Round sex was what they were all looking forward to. When Leah corrected Jake saying it was six he said "No, its sex. Because that's when we're taking you upstairs and fucking you until we all pass out." Leah—successfully distracted thinking about round sex—was quiet after that.
"Yup, one down and four to go." She flirted making both men groan.
"OK, I've got your table location and a copy of tonight's program. Let me take you to the table first and then you can go mingle. Also, Garret delivered everything you requested and your bags to your suite. How are you doing, Lee?" CeeCee asked looking completely frazzled, but totally hot in her red dress.
"Better than you apparently." Looking at Jake and Paul she frowned. "Is she going to be like this all night?"
"Just for the first thirty minutes or so, in about fifteen minutes we'll get a drink in her and she'll start to relax." Jake said laughing at CeeCee. She really was good at her job, but sometime she let the stress get to her.
"I'm glad you all think this is amusing, can we please go to your table now?"
"By all means, lead the way." Paul said extending his arm for her to lead them.
Leah was in awe as they walked around the room talking with different people. She had met several of their business colleagues who appeared nice enough but were sorely lacking any real social skills; all they wanted to talk about was work and money. Then there were the women they were with. At first she was a bit intimidated, they were all gorgeous, but when she finally had a chance to talk to several she just felt sorry for them. They were nothing but an accessory. They just stood there looking pretty in their designer gowns and million dollar jewels. Yes… a million dollars, one man actually told her that's how much it cost.
She wasn't impressed.
Then there were the blatant advances by men and women alike. It was obvious Leah was with Jacob and Paul; they kept her between them the entire time, both constantly touching her somehow. You would think that would deter anyone, but it didn't. Women would give them their phone numbers right in front of her. They refused of course, but she still couldn't believe their audacity. She did her best to ignore the lascivious looks she was getting, instead focusing on her guys and trying to keep up with the business conversation.
"Have you ever been to Italy, Ms. Clearwater?" the dark haired man in front of her asked bringing her attention back to the conversation. What was his name? Aro Voltini? Valtura? Volturi?
"No, unfortunately I haven't. I've never really been out of Washington or Oregon. I hear it's beautiful." She answered hoping she didn't sound too unsophisticated.
"That it is, but not as beautiful as you. If these two are ever foolish enough to let you go, you call me and I'll have a plane coming for you before we hang up the phone." He teased, his thick accent making her smile. And it was just teasing thank god. She didn't know if she could deal with another tactless proposition. Turning back to Jake and Paul he shook their hands. "Gentlemen, it has truly been a pleasure doing business with you. I see a bright future for us all. We'll be sure to get the contract finalized before our next meeting." Taking Leah's hand he placed a soft kiss on her knuckles. "Leah, meeting you has been the highlight if my evening. Ciao, Bella. Until we meet again. You keep these two in line. You are good for them, yes? This one, he smiles now." He nodded at Paul. "We wish you all a pleasant evening. Come Marcus, we must do as the Americans and how you say…mingle?" He said to his brother who bowed at them and walked away.
"Wow, he's a chatty one." She said referring to the tall quiet man walking away. "Did he just call me Bella?" She asked getting more than a little upset.
"Bella means beautiful in Italian, Leah. He was complimenting you. Believe me, he knows who Isabella Cullen is and he would never confuse the two of you."
"Oh…ok. Speaking of Italian…How hot is it that you speak it fluently? You've been keeping secrets from me Mr. Lahote."
"Hey, I speak some too." Jake cut in not wanting to be left out. "Not as well as I speak Spanish, but I do all right."
"Saying pizza, lasagna and Ducati is not speaking Italian." Paul said moving closer to Leah. "Tu sei tutto il mio mondo e io ti lascerò mai andare. Ti amo, Leah." He whispered in her ear making her tremble.
"Oh wow." She sighed leaning into him.
"Hey, two can play this game." He said pulling her away from Paul and dipping her. He kissed the center of her chest before his eyes met hers. "Te quiero, también, y tú sabes que eres mi mundo entero. En cuanto a nunca dejarte ir-ídem. Which means I love you, too and you know you're my whole world. As for never letting you go…ditto." Jake said translating what they both said before pulling her up.
"Ok, it's getting hot in here." She said fanning herself. "I need a minute to cool down. Look, there's CeeCee and Kim." She pointed across the room. "I'm going to go get me a glass of wine and join them. Do me and everyone else a favor and put that charm away before somebody gets hurt." They both started laughing as she turned and walked away.
"I hate these things." Kim said taking a sip of her white wine. "Some guy grabbed my ass with one hand while he shook Jared's with the other. What the hell? I just can't understand what goes through these people's minds sometimes. It's like they think their money excuses their bad behavior. And don't even get me started on the living Barbie Dolls. I tried having a conversation with one earlier and all she could talk about was everything her geriatric boyfriend had just bought for her, including her new boobs."
"Yeah, it is a little surreal. I'm actually having a lot of fun people watching, but I'm sure in time I'll dread these things as much as you do. So, how's Noah's new teacher working out?" Leah asked changing the subject. They spent the next twenty minutes talking about real life and the things that really mattered to them. They made plans to go out to lunch and even for Leah to babysit for them one night. It was nice escaping into reality, even if it was only for a few minutes.
"Leah, is that you?" A hesitant voice interrupted from behind her. A voice she never expected to hear again. Never wanted to hear again. Her heart started to pound and her blood ran cold. All she could think was "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, he walks into mine." Draining her drink she locked panicked eyes with CeeCee. What in the hell was he doing here? Bracing herself for who she was about to see, she pasted what she hoped was a convincing smile on her face and turned around.
"I told you it was her, Emily." He said excitedly to the woman standing next to him before he pulled Leah into a hug that she didn't return. "Wow, you look…just…wow. How are you? What are you doing here? I thought you were teaching at some special school? Did you change your major? Are you working in finance now?" Put off by his deluge of questions she went with manners instead of answers.
"Sam and Emily Uley, this is Kimberly Cameron and Cecilia Stone. Kim, Cecilia this is my cousin Emily and her husband Sam." CeeCee's eyes got so big Leah would have laughed if she weren't about to throw up. They'd had several lengthy conversations about Sam and Emily so she knew exactly who they were. Both women said hello and shook their hands.
"Can I get you another drink, Ms. Clearwater?" CeeCee asked slipping into PA mode and earning a weird look from Leah.
"Ummm…sure?" She answered totally confused, but handed her the empty wine glass anyway.
"It was a pleasure meeting you. If you'll excuse me." She said and all but ran off.
"I have to go find Jared, if I leave him alone to long he gets scared." She joked. "It was nice meeting you, both. I'll see you at the table, Leah." Kim said excusing herself and leaving Leah alone with her worst nightmare. She couldn't blame her, it's not like she knew.
"You look really good, Leah, really good. How have you been?" Sam asked again. He wouldn't stop staring at her and it was starting to make her uncomfortable. She really needed a drink. Like she read her mind CeeCee was immediately by her side with a brandy.
"Here you go, Ms. Clearwater." She said with a guilty smile. What had she done?
"Ms. Clearwater?" Emily asked as Leah all but downed the whole glass.
"Yes. I'm Ms. Clearwater's, PA." CeeCee said in a tone that suggested she waited on Leah hand and foot all the time.
"PA?" Emily asked again, evidently confused.
"Personal assistant." CeeCee clarified, her tone suggesting Emily was an idiot.
"Oh. Teacher's make that much money?"
"No. We don't. It's a long story." She gave CeeCee a warning glare. "What are you two doing in Seattle?" And why didn't her mom warn her?
"Oh, were just here for the weekend, maybe a little longer. I'm trying to get a job. I finally got my degree but there's not a lot of financial analyst jobs in North Bend. I was told by a couple of my professors that Seattle is a major financial hub and that events like this could help me get my foot in the door."
She didn't know what to say to that, he was right. The room was divided into two categories. The extremely wealthy and those who wanted to be extremely wealthy, the latter had been throwing themselves at Paul and Jake for the last hour. "I suppose that's true. How are you, Emily?" She asked her cousin who looked as uncomfortable and out of place as she felt. The only difference was Leah at least looked the part. Emily looked like she was trying way too hard, in fact they both did. Sam's tux screamed rental and Emily looked like she got in a fight with the Lancôme lady at the mall.
"Great. I love married life and mommy-hood." She said with a little too much enthusiasm. "In fact, Sam just bought me a new ring for our anniversary." She held up her finger so Leah could see.
Lifting her own perfectly manicured hand she took Emily's and looked at the ring, which was currently being overshadowed by her bright red nail polish. "That's great. Congratulations, on the baby and the new ring. I'm really happy for the both of you." She said with complete sincerity.
She once thought seeing them again would break her, but to her surprise it didn't. Oddly, she didn't feel a thing, nothing at all. Jake and Paul made her happier than Sam ever could. Seeing him now made her wonder why she had been so hurt in the first place. For a minute she looked at Emily and tried to picture herself in her place and she couldn't. She couldn't because her place was with Jake and Paul. A strange sense of closure settled over her and she smiled a small secret smile, she couldn't wait for "round sex."
"Holy shit, is that real?" Emily asked grabbing her attention—and her wrist. She glared up at Leah waiting for her answer but before she could respond something behind her caught Emily's attention. When her eyes glazed over with appreciative lust she knew exactly who it was. Damn CeeCee and her big mouth.
"Time's up beautiful. You can only leave us for so long before we start losing our minds." Jake purred standing behind her with his hands on her hips and kissing her neck. He never removed his eyes from the couple in front of them.
"Do you mind?" Paul said pulling Leah's wrist out of Emily's hand and kissing it before entwining her fingers with his own. "And to answer your rudely stated question, yes, it's real." Sam and Emily just stood there speechless, Emily's stare turning to ice. You could almost feel the jealousy pouring off of her.
"Aren't you going to introduce us?" Jake hinted knowing full well who they were.
"Of course, I was just getting to that. Sam and Emily Uley may I present—"
"Paul Lahote and Jacob Black." Sam interrupted. "Every financial major knows who the two of you are. You guys are like legends. What you accomplished at such a young age is mind-boggling. It's such an honor to meet you both." He said shaking their hands. "I was actually hoping I would get to meet you tonight. I recently graduated and I was told CLB has an amazing intern program."
"Yes, as a matter of fact we do, but its very competative. What was your name again?" Jake asked appearing bored with the whole conversation. He was being a snob on purpose.
"Sam, Sam Uley and this is my wife, Emily. She's Leah's cousin." He answered as if being her family would matter.
"Ahhh…Now I know why the name sounded so familiar." Paul said, moving even closer to Leah. Everything from his tone of voice to his body language told Sam that he knew exactly who he was.
To give him credit Sam looked ashamed. "I'll admit, I made a lot of mistakes when I was younger but—" He started to explain but Paul wouldn't let him.
"Never a mistake, if anything I'd like to thank you." WHAT? Five heads snapped in his direction. "Your loss is most definitely our gain." He said kissing Leah's temple. "I tell you what." He pulled a card out of his inside pocket. "Come in to CLB headquarters Monday morning. Tell our secretary that we're expecting you." Nothing but silence followed.
"Our?" Emily asked finally catching up with the conversation, her eyes shooting back and forth between the two of them. "She's with both of you?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact she is. Do you have a problem with that?" Jake asked. She just shrugged like she didn't really know what to think. "Then let me explain it this way. There are some women who deserve to have the world laid at their feet. For us, that woman is Leah. There is nothing we wouldn't do to make her happy and keep her safe. With two of us we can love her to distraction and guarantee she will never want for anything. And I do mean anything. She is our main priority and always will be. Does that clear it up for you?"
"Yes, it does." Sam said before Emily could screw everything up. He was well aware of the dynamics of their relationship. He had researched everything he could about CLB, including its founders. Even though he knew she lived in Seattle he was shocked to see Leah there, even more so when he realized she was with them. He wouldn't admit it to anyone, but he was jealous as hell. Leah was perfect and losing her had been the biggest mistake of his life, but he couldn't dwell on that now. Hopefully his and Emily's familial connection to her would help him get a job. A job he needed more than air thanks to Emily's spending habits. "I'm glad you're happy, Leah. I'm really sorry for everything, but it looks like it all turned out for the best, huh?" He said doing his best to smile.
"Yeah, it did. Better than I'd ever imagined." She said her head still spinning. What just happened?
"Now, if you'll excuse us dinner is about to be served. Enjoy the rest of your evening." Jake said dismissing them and leading Leah away. She didn't look back until Paul was pulling out her chair for her. They were still standing in the same spot. Sam, staring at her with a longing he didn't even try to hide and Emily glaring daggers at her. A normal person would gloat in the same situation, but all she wanted was for them to be gone and out of her life. She didn't even want to think about what them being there meant.
"What was that?" She asked Paul who had just sat down next to her.
"Nothing for you to worry about, Baby Girl." He said patting her hand.
"Don't." She snapped, pulling her hand away. "Don't do that. Don't try to pacify me like I'm some air headed dimwit. What are you planning?" Damn, she knew him too well.
"Do you trust me?" He asked, his eyes full of challenge. He was testing her.
"With my life, I'm just not so sure I trust you with his." Jake started laughing and Paul just shook his head. She wanted to pursue the topic further, but waiters started setting their food down in front of them. It was a conversation that would have to wait.
Leah started to stand up and cringed when every man at the table did the same. At Jakes curious look she mouthed the word "ladies Room". He nodded his head in understanding before giving his full attention back to Embry who was on stage giving a speech.
"You need some help?" Paul asked with a naughty sparkle in his eye.
"No thank you. I'm pretty sure I got it." She looked at CeeCee to see if she wanted to go with her but she was too busy hanging on Embry's every word. When Paul said it would be entertaining he wasn't lying. The second Embry Call entered the room her normally strong, independent, confidant and opinionated friend turned into an obnoxious teenager—blushes, giggles and all. The only good thing she could find about the whole disturbing situation was that Mr. Call seemed almost as enamored of CeeCee, as she was of him. Resigned to making the trip on her own she made her way to the bathroom.
"Well isn't this a pleasant surprise." The beautiful woman at the sink sneered. "I was beginning to doubt they'd ever leave your side long enough for me to get you by yourself. And now here's fate dropping you right into my little hand." Leah sighed, did she piss off a higher power in another life or something because she really wasn't getting a break tonight.
"Let me guess, Bella Cullen? I was wondering when you'd crawl out from under your rock." She said with a bravado she didn't particularly feel.
"Oh, I've been here and I've been watching you, believe me. I personally would like to shake the hand of the woman who finally got to Paul Lahote, lord know none of the rest of us ever did and not for lack of trying."
"What do you want?" She asked wanting nothing to do with the woman.
"You may be a lot of things but stupid isn't one of them. You know exactly what I want."
"Then I'm afraid you're in for a major disappointment. They're mine. And I'm not giving either one of them up without a fight."
"I'm not asking you to give both of them up, Honey, you can keep Paul. I just want Jake." She said as if what she was suggesting was that simple.
"But he doesn't want you. He wants me. He loves me. Even if I were out of the picture you would never get him back. They know what you really are. You had your chance and you blew it." Her words seemed to flip some switch in Bella.
"You think you're special don't you, but I have news for you, you're not. Do you really think you're the first girl they've romanced and professed their love to? That you're the first one to learn all about poor Paul's horrible childhood and all of his mental problems? It's all a line, Leah. And you fell for it. It's only a matter of time before they get bored and move on."
"Then why are we even having this conversation? If my times limited, why don't you just wait it out?" When Bella didn't respond it was like Leah scented her weakness and went in for the kill. "I'll tell you why. Because I'm not like the rest and you know it. You can't manipulate me, Bella. I'm smarter than that and I'm not afraid of you. I don't know how you found out about Paul's childhood, and honestly I don't care. What I do know and care about is how I found out. He told me. He told me because he trusts me and he loves me. And so does Jake. You can spew whatever lies you want but they won't matter because I know the truth. Give it up now, Bella. If they find out what you're trying to do it won't end well for you."
"Is that a threat?" Bella asked not looking as confident as she did when Leah first walked in. She hadn't expected her to have a backbone.
"What do you think? You know them better than most people. I'm sure there was a time when they were protective of you. What do you think they would have done if someone tried pulling this shit with you?" She visibly blanched. "Exactly. So this is what's going to happen. As far as I'm concerned this conversation never happened. You're going to walk out that door and this thing is over. Jake is mine. Paul is mine. They will always be mine. Nothing is going to change that. Ever. The sooner you accept that and move on the better it will be for all of us."
"This isn't over, not by a long shot." Bella snarled. She was livid. No one spoke to her that way and got away with it. She would make her pay. "You have no idea what I'm capable of."
"And I don't care. It may not be over for you, but I'm done with this whole conversation. Now, if you'll excuse me, I really have to pee." Turning her back she walked into one of the stalls and locked the door. A split second later Bella left, her mumbled threats cut off by the closing door. Sitting down Leah started to hyperventilate and tears ran down her cheeks. Oh god what did she just do? Her bravery flew out the window the moment she entered the stall and now she was flooded with regret. She should have just walked out the minute Bella spoke to her. She needed to tell Paul and Jake about what happened. Would they be mad? It took her a few more minutes, but she finally calmed down enough to actually go to the bathroom. Lifting her gown she got situated and sat back down.
Her night had officially turned to shit and she needed a distraction to get it back on track, she wasn't going to let anything ruin this for Paul and Jake and her being upset would definitely put a damper on their mood. The perfect idea came to her in a flash. Finishing up she washed her hands, fixed her face and left the bathroom only to run right into Emily. She was beginning to wonder if she was in the reality TV version of Mean Girls.
"Can I talk to you for a minute?" She asked. Leah knew the awards were starting soon and didn't want to miss them, she also knew if she was gone much longer Paul and Jake would send out a search party.
"I really need to get back to my table, Emily." She started.
"Let me put it another way. You're going to talk to me for a minute or I'm going to call your parents and tell them what's really going on up here. You think I don't know you're keeping this from them? It would break their heart to know their perfect little girl is nothing but a glorified prostitute. Sleeping with two men, two rich men. Oh how the mighty have fallen." Leah was struck stupid. "You always got everything, Leah. You know how sick and tired I got of always being compared to you. Why can't you get good grades like, Leah? Why can't you get a job, a boyfriend? Why didn't you go to college? Why? I'll tell you why. Because I'm not you! You owe me. And you're going to pay me right now by making sure Sam gets a really good paying job with you're boyfriends company."
"Or I'll tell your parents and everyone else we know what a slut you are." And that was the straw that broke the camels back. All the pressure Leah had been feeling over the last couple of months exploded.
"You know what. Tell them. I don't care. I am so over hiding and defending my relationship with Paul and Jake. It's exhausting. I don't have to justify myself. Tell them, Emily, tell them and save me the trouble. For the first time in my life I am really and truly happy and I'm not letting you or anyone else ruin that. If Sam gets a job it will be on his merit and his merit alone. As for me being perfect, trust me, I am far from it, but at least I can go to sleep at night knowing I'm honest and have integrity. What has your petty jealousy gotten you? Knocked up at seventeen? A husband who was trapped into marrying you? I'm sorry if your life isn't what you planned, but you made your bed. Now sleep in it. Now if you'll excuse me the men I love are receiving awards and I want to be there when that happens. If I missed it because I was listening to your juvenile rant, so help me god I'm going to find you and slap the shit out of you." Turning on her heel she ran right into Paul and Jake. Fuck.
"You know, I always knew she had claws, it's about time she let them out." Jake said smiling, his eyes filled with pride. "Well, let them out somewhere besides the bedroom that is."
"We got worried about you. Are you ok?" Paul asked looking over Leah's shoulder at Emily.
Emily just stood there quietly as both men coddled over her cousin.
"You can be sure I'll be discussing this with your husband on Monday, Mrs. Uley. You may have just cost the man a job. You don't fuck with what's ours. It would be behoove you to remember that in the future." Paul said his eyes cold and hard. They had heard the entire exchange and he was furious. She was lucky she was a woman.
"Hey, stop. I'm fine. Really" Leah said touching his cheek and pulling his gaze back to her. "I've got something for you."
Blindsided by the change of subject he smiled. "You do?" She just nodded and stuck her hand in his front pocket. Pulling her empty hand out she looked at her cousin.
"I'd say it was nice seeing you, Emily, but we both know I'd be lying. So instead I'll say good-bye and wish you a happy life. Give my love to your mom." With that she left the hallway and walked back into the ballroom.
"What did she put in your pocket?" Jake asked. They were both ignoring Emily now.
"I don't know." Sticking his hand in his pocket he pulled out a wadded ball of black lace.
"Is that what I think it is?" Jake said practically drooling.
Opening the little ball Paul's smile turned absolutely lascivious. "Oh, fuck yeah it is."
Snatching the thong out of his hand, Jake took off running with Paul hot on his heels.
"They're something else aren't they?"
Emily turned around to see a beautiful woman walking around a hidden little alcove in the wall. "Yeah, they are. Gorgeous, rich…it's not fair that she gets both of them."
"I completely agree. My names Bella by the way, Bella Cullen."
"Emily Uley. I'm Leah's cousin."
"Well isn't that interesting. Tell me Emily, would you like to get out of here? These things are positively boring and I know the perfect place we can go to get a couple of drinks. Get to know each other better."
"I should probably find my husband." She said getting a bad feeling.
"Oh he's fine, in fact he's talking to my husband Edward as we speak." She said pointing to Sam who was talking to a tall skinny guy with reddish hair. "We'll let them know were leaving and can meet up with them later."
"I don't know…"
"Trust me Emily, you really want to hear what I have to say. It could be very… profitable if you know what I mean." Emily looked at the woman a little closer. The necklace she was wearing alone could get them out of debt.
"Well…ok." It took them a couple minutes to gather their things and tell their husbands where they were going and then they were on their way.
"I promise you, Emily. You wont regret this." Bella promised before leading her out of the hotel. Emily looked at the limo waiting for them and her smile grew. She could get use to this; in fact she would do just about anything to make certain she did.