Chapter 2: So Good - B.O.B
I knew what I was doing when I stood up for her at the airport. I could have I remained in our alternate reality if I remained quiet and kept my distance. I did not do it because if it got out anyway, it would have appeared as though I was ashamed of her. I was far from it. I was proud of her strength – her ability to keep her head above water when she had every right to break down. With that said, I still was not looking for the aftermath of my latest stunt. I was geared up for a mellow summer. Having to scrap that and replace it with one filled with interviews, photo opportunities, and speaking engagements was a tough pill to swallow. I did not allow myself to picture the drastic change that we would encounter at SMA that fall. I did not want to be seen as Prince Milo there, but I knew I would be. I had all summer to brace myself for it.
When Izzie walked aboard the private jet, I rose to my feet. She ran to me at full speed. I hugged her as soon as she arrived, spinning her around. She kissed me the moment she was on the ground.
“I couldn’t resist surprising you.” I smiled against her lips.
“Good. I didn’t know how much longer I could go without seeing you.”
We made ourselves comfortable in two of the seats in the back.
Izzie shifted in her seat to get a better look at me. “Are you okay?”
“There are already complaints about us being together. This is exactly what you didn’t want.”
She looked down at herself for a moment and tucked her hair behind her ear. “Who?” She returned her eyes to me as she asked.
“Most of the advising staff, my family, Osha’s family –“
“Who?” She interrupted.
I averted my gaze. “Please don’t get mad at me.”
“I can’t agree to that. I don’t know what you’re going to say to me.”
I sighed and rubbed the back of my neck. “My grandparents arranged for me to marry her years before I understood what that meant. She comes from a family rooted in high society. The advisors have been grooming us to be together for years. Neither I nor Osha want to get married. We’ve never been together in any sense of the word.”
“But you’re engaged?” She questioned in a small voice, hurt visible in her eyes.
“No, Beautiful. I promise. My father canceled the arrangement months ago. I don’t belong to anyone other than you.”
She looked down at her hands in her lap and started meddling with them. “Are you bringing me home to rebel against them?”
“No. I want to be with you.” I tried to take her hand into mine.
She pulled it away. “Did we make love while you were engaged?”
“I was never officially engaged.”
“Fine, was the arrangement still in place the night of our first date?”
There’s nothing I could say that would make it better, so I remained silent, preventing myself from saying something stupid.
“I was a dirty mistress?” She growled through gritted teeth with her eyes closed.
“Iz, look at me.”
She refused to budge.
“Isabella!” I practically shouted.
“What?!” She cried in frustration, finally looking over at me.
“I was no one’s fiancé. I haven’t so much as kissed her. She sees other people and you know I do the same.” I stated firmly, using my eyes to convey that I was telling the truth.
Her expression softened a touch. “No more secrets. Tell me all of it so that I don’t show up there and make a fool of myself.” She requested with a twinge of anger still present in her voice.
“What do you want to know?”
“All of it.”
She was still hurt. That was clear, but I appreciated that she was willing to hear me out.
“My romantic exploits are common knowledge. I --”
“I’m aware.” She interrupted, not wanting to hear details.
I shook my head. “I -- uh -- I was with Osha’s sister Penelope once.”
She pushed me. “No wonder she hates you.”
“I am not proud of myself! You wanted to tell you everything. Do not judge me as I do it.”
“Would you sleep with Audrey?”
“Absolutely not. That is not even comparable. Osha and I were not together. Essentially, Penelope is just a girl I grew up with.”
“How long ago was it?”
“Almost two years ago. She is a little older than us.”
“How much older?”
“She is 21 now, so three years.”
She sighed heavily and looked up at the ceiling.
“You are judging.” I pointed out.
She looked over at me. “Are you still into that -- the older woman complex?”
“I would not say I am into– that is not the reason I found her -- no. Are you still attracted to whatever category Phil falls into?”
“That was different. He was the closest thing I had to a friend. I lost my virginity to him.”
“Who said I did not do the same?”
Her expression immediately softened. “You --?”
“Everyone has to have a first time. I did not want performance to be publicized. I trusted her not to give me a hard time. We never dated, nor wanted to. She likes to believe my future is set in stone. I need to hold on to hope of the contrary.”
“What have I walked into?” She thought aloud.
“A mess I made long before I met you.”
“You don’t have any kids, do you? Baby mama drama is where I draw the line.”
“I have fifteen, but I don’t see them much. Their mothers are not allowed to talk to me – restraining orders. We’ll be in the clear.” I joked.
She breathed out a laugh. “I want to stay mad.” She admitted, glancing in my direction.
“But…” I coaxed.
“It all happened before we met. You’re not holding my past mistakes against me. I don’t want to be a hypocrite.”
I smiled and placed my hand on the side of her face. “I love you.” I stroked her cheek with my thumb.
“If you withhold things like this from me again, this is over. I swear. I need to be able to count on you to be honest with me. All of this is based on trust.”
“I won’t.” I leaned in and kissed her lips. “Do you still love me? You did not say it back.” I asked lightly after pulling away.
“I would’ve turned this plane around if I changed my mind about you.” She fought off a smile.
“Still need you to say it. I do not want to go to bed with you mad at me.”
“I love you, Jackass. As a heads up, you should be scared if I’m not willing to fight with you. Doing it means I care enough to resolve a conflict.”
I smirked. “Okay, I will keep that in mind.”
She rested her head on my shoulder. I kissed the top of her head.