LMDC Chapter 18 on AO3
LMDC Chapter 18 on Stars
LMDC Chapter 18 on FFn
LMDC Chapter 18 on Wattpad
“Bells, you need to breathe,” Kellan said as the door slammed in his suite. “Look at me, sweetie and breathe.”
“He left,” I choked out. “I’m alone.”
“No, Bella, he’s upset. He’ll be back,” Kellan said soothingly, cupping my face. “And you’ll never be alone. You need to breathe, sweets. In through your noise and out through your mouth.”
“Bella, Emmett called Phil. He’s coming to the hotel,” Nia said, her phone attached to her ear.
“I don’t want him to see me like this. I’m such a fucking slut. Everyone is going to see that I’m a whore,” I hissed. Kellan took my hands, tugging me close his body. “WHAT?!”
“Stop it,” he said, his eyes swirling with anger. “You’re not a slut or a whore or any other horrific name you can come up with, Isabella Marie Cullen. You are the epitome of goodness, class, elegance and style.” I opened my mouth and Kellan growled. “Don’t contradict me. I love you and the band like family. I won’t have my adoptive sister call herself those names. Do you hear me?”
“But, the world will think something else if these pictures make it out,” I sobbed.
“They won’t,” Nia snarled. “Our attorneys are working on it. Trust me.”
“You, I trust, but how were these photos taken? I thought that we were supposed to be protected,” I said, glaring at Ryan. “Didn’t you think to check for cameras?”
“We did and there weren’t any,” Ryan said, his face flushed. “It would appear that the photos from the Miami were taken with a telephoto lens. The photos from green room, I think that whomever took them got them from gaining access from the security cameras. Even if the cameras were not turned on, a hacker could remotely access them. As a result, we’re going to have one of our tech guys, Brody, come down and travel with us to monitor the security office during the performances.”
“This has got to stop,” I snapped, standing up and stomping to the window and moving out to the patio. I sat down, curling up on one of the chairs outside. The air was heavy, humid and filled with the scent of salt from the bay. I looked out, not really seeing anything. My vision blurred with tears. My stomach was churning uncomfortably and I felt so hollow. The door opened and my stepfather walked out. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, his glasses perched on his nose. “I thought you had to head back to Jacksonville.”
“I was driving back tomorrow,” he said, sitting down. “Emmett called and told me what happened.”
“That I’m this huge slut,” I snorted derisively.
“Bella, you’re not,” Phil frowned. “Your privacy was breached. You feel raw and exposed.” I shot him a look. “But, you’re not a slut. What you do with your husband is your own business. The fact that your privacy was invaded doesn’t negate the love you have for Edward. I see it. I feel it. He’d walk through fire for you.”
“And yet? He’s not here,” I said, my voice bland.
“His privacy was also invaded,” Phil said. “Bella, I get it.” Again, I shot him a look. “I may not be famous like you, but I know what it’s like to have my private business aired out very publicly. When your mom and I got divorced, our relationship was dragged through the mud and she said awful things to me, about me. Your mother made me out to be this monster, but I wasn’t.”
“You’re not,” I whispered. “You’re one of the rare good guys.”
“Thanks, Bells,” he said. “I know that you’re upset. I’m upset for you, but we’ll get to the bottom of this.” He took out his cell phone. “I called your dad. Charlie was frantic, but he wanted to talk to you.”
“He knows, too?” I choked out. “Fuck me.”
“Emmett gave him a head’s up, but I talked to him as I was in my hotel room, waiting for the Uber,” Phil said. I sighed, taking his phone and dialing my father. Charlie was angry, spitting obscenities, and vowing death upon the culprit, wreaking havoc on our lives. Hearing him that upset gave me some solace, but I wanted my husband, if only to kick his ass for abandoning me. When the winds picked up, Phil guided me back inside and we curled up on the couch. I eventually drifted off, nightmares assaulting my subconscious, as I dreamt of my fans laughing at us and critiquing what Edward and I had done.