I watch Travis guide Ryann away from the trailer and, most importantly, away from a potential fight with Martha. I could hear Martha’s insults across the lot. She talked loud enough for everyone to hear, and Ryann was throwing it right back at her. I could tell Ryann was ready to snap, and I wasn’t sure what she’d do. The last thing I wanted was for her and Martha to get into a physical altercation because I know precisely what Martha would do. She’d play the victim game and have the world paint Ryann as a villain.
I couldn’t have that because I don’t think she could survive another scandal like that.
As I watched Ryann walk away, I wanted her to turn back around, just once. I needed her to see that I’ll be with her shortly, but she refused. I knew she was hurt when I yelled at her with a tone I’ve very rarely ever used towards her. Fuck, if it’s not one thing today, it’s another. And Martha is just the fucking icing on the god damn cake.
Turning my attention back to Martha, “I told you to leave me the fuck alone. Why are you here?”
Martha returns her icy cold glare to me as her hands go to her hips. “I wanted to see for myself why I was being denied. No one can say no to this.”
I arch a brow with her statement. “Many can say no to that,” I say, waving my hand up and down. “You may have the looks Hollywood wants, but you’re empty inside. Maybe you should work on that.”
“I’m just as empty as you are,” Martha coos as the tip of her finger runs down the material of the shirt. I bat her hand away, where it falls limply to her side. “What the fuck is your deal? Get yourself a new play toy....”
“Watch it,” I fucking growl. “You’re skating on very thinned ice Martha.”
Again the only thing Martha does is smile, “Or what? I mean, she’s a great play toy to have around. I wouldn’t mind having Ryann as an assistant.” She states with too much cheer. “Now, when you get bored with her, send her my way. I could think of some fun times with her, and I bet she’s a blast to party with.”
With each word Martha is speaking, my teeth are grinding out my rage. I can’t lay a hand on Martha, and she knows it. So I’m stuck standing here, listening to her insult Ryann like she knows her. But I allowed one woman to insult Ryann before; I won’t let her go undefended again.
“Let me break something down in your little self-absorbed world. You come near Ryann again, I’ll tell Xayla.” Martha’s eyes go wide with my threat as she nervously starts to look around her surroundings. Xayla isn’t even in Vancouver, but the one fight they did get into was enough to put the fear of God into Martha. “Stay the fuck away from Ryann unless it’s to apologize to her. You got it?”
“Apolo-apologize for what? I didn’t...” Again, the one thing Martha is good at. Playing the damn victim.
Rolling my neck from side to side in an attempt to release the growing tension, “Don’t give me the victim bullshit. I heard you. The whole fucking lot heard you. Stay the fuck away from me and stay the fuck away from Ryann. Do you understand?”
I watch Martha straighten and square her shoulders with a fake confidence that isn’t convincing. “Or what? You won’t do anything.”
She’s not wrong. There isn’t much I can do. If she were a guy, we’d be going toe to toe right now, but I can’t touch her. Nor would I want to, but that doesn’t mean Martha can say or do whatever the fuck she wants. Especially to the woman I love. “I’ll make sure you’re not cast in another top-paying movie.”
“You can’t do that,” she squeaks out. “I’m more well-liked than you. Who do you think the media will believe? Me or you?”
I shrug a shoulder, “And who do you think the media will believe, you or Xayla? The truth of the matter, they don’t care what the truth is as long as they have a juicy story. I mean, you’ve blown your way to the top of the A-list stardom. That isn’t a secret among the cast and crew. But what would happen if that got out?” Martha’s face falls in sheer shock that or she’s that good of an actress. Plus, I would never release this information to anyone. No amount of money could entice me, but it won’t stop me from threatening her with it. “Doesn’t feel good, does it?”
Martha quickly turns her head away from me as she wipes a tear, “Wha-what doesn’t feel good? Having your career ruined or being blackmailed?”
Sighing, I’m usually not one to feel bad for being a dick, but considering I don’t know Martha’s story. For all I know, it could be similar to Ryann’s. I feel guilty for throwing that back in her face. “I’m not going to ruin your career, but it doesn’t feel good having something thrown back at you, does it?”
“No,” she whimpers.
“Then we’re in an understanding. You won’t bother Ryann anymore, and you’ll move on from me?”
Martha nods as I watch her sites go over to the black sedan waiting for me. Turning slightly, I see Ryann standing out of the car, waiting for me now. I’m not sure how much she’s heard, but I can tell by her posture, she’s furious, hurt, and she’s been crying.
“What makes her different?” Forcing my gaze from the woman I should be going to, I find an inquisitive Martha still staring in the direction of the car and Ryann. “I know you two are dating.” I look at her as if I have no clue what she’s talking about. “Don’t look at me like that. A woman doesn’t speak like she’s ready to attack you for no reason, and Ryann was ready to kill me.”
“You insulted her. What were you expecting? A warm welcoming and to hug out your differences?”
Martha shakes her head, “This was different. She’s been this way for a while now. I mean, she always at your side, and I think this is the first time I’ve seen her tucked away safely.”
“She was attacked in broad daylight. I take the safety of my employees seriously. She’s needed when she’s needed, and I did not need her to follow me to an interview today.”
Martha hums as she looks back towards the sedan. I watch her for a moment before daring to even look off towards the car. My heart sinking slightly when Ryann is nowhere to be seen. Instead, Travis is standing guard outside of the vehicle at the back passenger door.
“I see. So you won’t have a problem giving me one last kiss. A goodbye kiss since you seem to be bored with me.” I watch Martha step closer, and I immediately put my hands up, stopping her. Finally, Martha accepts an unspoken truth as she takes a few steps back. “I see. You love her.”
Running a hand through my hair, I’m starting to feel overwhelmed and unsure what to say. As soon as I got on set, Martha was throwing herself at me. Trying to get me to sneak off with her and doing everything in her power to be provocative, and I know I’m to blame for some of her behavior. Before Ryann, I had no shame in using women who wanted to be used. Who wanted that quick and unattached fuck. But I think Martha was hoping for something on a deeper and more intimate level. Something I could never give her.
“I’m sorry if I ever gave you the wrong impression, Martha. I told you that nothing would ever come out of what we were doing.”
Martha frowns slightly, “You did, and I agreed. You only wanted casual, and I thought I could do the whole it’s only sex with you, but I made a mistake. And clearly, you’ve moved on. I think you moved on the moment she started working for you.” She says, pointing off towards the awaiting car. “Anyway, I won’t bother you or Ryann anymore. But please, don’t....”
Shaking my head, I hold my hand up, “I won’t say anything. I’m not that person.”
“No, but Xayla would,” She says with worriment.
“Xayla wouldn’t say anything either. The only thing you would have to worry about is her heel flying at your head.”
Martha lets out a light laugh, “I saw the video of a red heel flying during your last interview. The shoe barely hit the guy, and he’s trying to seek emotional and medical damages. Ridiculous. I’m guessing he pissed her off.”
I would say that is a water-down version of how Xayla felt. She was enraged, and she threw her shoe like a fucking ninja throwing star. “You could say that.”
I turn back around to see Travis calling me from the car. There is this slight fear that Ryann has taken off and won’t be in the car when I get there, but I’d hope if that were the case, Travis would be chasing after her instead of just standing outside of the car.
I hear Martha’s voice just as I turn my head, and her lips are on mine for a nano of second before I push her away from me. A malicious smile gracing her lips as she turns and walks away back towards the studio. I hear her humming her pleasure because she played me like a fucking fiddle. Played on my emotions and knew where to fucking strike. She doesn’t care if it’s known that she’s blown her way to the top. She lives for the god damn drama, and she just ignited a fucking fire.
Fuck, I should have seen this coming. Martha has no conscience. She could care less who she hurts in her path of destruction. But I thought, maybe, just maybe, she had a soul after all.
Walking towards the sedan, I see an expressionless Travis standing guard at the backseat. Leaving the passenger side door open as if I’m going to ride in the front seat. “Move, Travis,” I demand, knowing he’s going to tell me what I fear. Ryann saw the kiss, and now she doesn’t want to be anywhere near me. If she could, she’d be in a separate room just to get away from me, but she can’t. She’s stuck with me not only in the car but at the airport and on the plane. She can’t give me the silent treatment for the rest of this trip.
“I’ve been given two commands. One by you and one by Ryann.” Travis says. His tone is authoritative and unwavering. “You, telling me to move and Ryann saying you either sit upfront or she’ll take a separate car. The choice is yours to make.”
Running a hand through my hair, I pull at the roots with frustrations, “It wasn’t my fault.” I plead with Travis hoping that Ryann can hear me, but I’m sure she’s shut herself down. “I didn’t kiss her back. I pushed her away.”
“I understand that, but I don’t think you understand the hurt Ryann is feeling right now.”
Groaning out in frustration, “What the fuck was I supposed to do? Huh? Tell me?” I nearly yell.
Travis barrels towards me, taking hold of my arm as he pulls me away from the car. I pull out of his grasp, pissed that my head of security would take it upon himself to escort me away like some sort of trespasser.
“Stop your yelling,” He warns. “You may have defended her, but that still doesn’t stop the hurt from what she saw. She heard Martha ask if you two were dating, and you avoided the question and....”
Throwing my hands up in the air, “What was I supposed to do? Confirm our relationship with that manipulative woman? We agreed to keep our relationship hidden, and if I had told Martha, her family would have found out before she could tell them. And that kiss was nothing. It meant nothing.” Again, I plead out.
“I know that, but I think she just needs a moment to gain her thoughts and to calm down. She’s riled up and hurt. So just give her the space she needs.”
“In the front seat.”
Nodding his head, “In the front seat. Unless you want to take two separate cars.”
Fuck that shit; she’s not leaving my sight. “I’ll sit in the fucking front seat,” I say, sulking off towards the car. “Is there anything left in the trailer that I need to get?”
Travis shakes his head, “No, sir. It’s all in Ryann’s bag, and your two suitcases are still in the trunk of the car.”
Perfect. Now get us the fuck out of here.
Slamming the passenger door shut, I buckle my seat belt and turn slightly to find Ryann curled up in the backseat on the driver’s side of the car. Her head resting against the window of the car with her legs pulled up into her chest, creating a small ball. She’s in her teal zip hoodie with the hood coming over her face and shielding her, but I can tell by the raggedness of her breaths, she’s crying.
I know Travis told me to give her space, but I can’t just sit in the front seat and watch her cry. “Ryann?” I whisper as I reach out to her.
“Do-don’t,” she stutters. “Leave...leave me alone.”
I catch Travis sliding into the seat next to her out of the corner of my eye, and I can already feel his glare warning me to back off. So, for once, I do.
Slouching into the front seat of the car, I run a hand through my hair again because I have no clue how to fucking fix something I had no control over.
I was played, and what’s worst, I was played at Ryann’s expense.