22 | I Hate Her
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
- Abraham Lincoln
After Callum’s obvious rejection, I spent the rest of my day with a dejected mood. I wanted to hate him for saying the things he said but I couldn’t. We both wronged each other, hurt each other in so many different ways. I think this is the only thing we do anymore - I hurt him, he forgives me and then he hurts me.
What a horrible cycle.
So when the weekend finally rolls over, I couldn’t have been happier. Callum had blanked my very existence the rest of the days, pretending I wasn’t here. Every single person in the group noticed it but didn’t point it out.
By Friday, I wanted to bash his skull against a locker. He is impossible! I think he noticed my anger because the corners of his lips curled upwards. He was fighting a smile, fighting his amusement. He enjoyed my torment. That made me even more furious.
So now that I don’t have to see his satisfied, triumphant eyes for two days, I’m feeling a bit better.
The only problem is: I have to face Jason. Yeah, I’ve been avoiding him for a few days. He hasn’t tried to approach me, knowing I need space. When I do eventually gather the courage, I will thank him for doing the one thing nobody has done in a while - given me space.
I think I will speak to him before Monday.
The reporters have been hassling me all the time like that one stalker I had last year. I’m happy to say that he was arrested. I also have a restraining order against him. Hopefully, I will never see his creepy face again.
Casey has been on my case, trying to get me to contact Lulu. I’m not going to lie, I have been pretending I have no idea what she’s talking about. For example, last night at dinner, when she brought up the topic, I told her I couldn’t hear her because I had my headphones plugged in. Oddly, she didn’t pursue it.
I think she knew I was lying but let me get away with it, knowing she had all weekend to pester me.
So on Sunday morning, whilst I was fast asleep, curled in my comfortable bed, a loud knock resounds on my door. Rather sluggishly, I lift myself off of my bed and head over to the door. I swing the door open, only to meet the gracious face of Lulu. With her lips pressed together firmly and her eyes narrowed like slits, I can definitely say with a smile that she just made my day one hundred times worse.
Lulu barges past me, eyeing my cleanroom. She goes over to a seat by my dressing table and lowers herself on there, posing herself elegantly. I shut my door and go and sit on the end of my bed, crossing my legs together.
“Good morning, Whitney,” Lulu says in a clipped, calculated tone. She regards me with disinterest and boredom. It appears the both of us don’t want to be here right now.
“Mornin',” I reply, dryly.
“Right so,” Lulu clears her throat and looks down at her manicured nails. “We have a few things to discuss.”
“It appears we do,” I note, staring at her handbag hanging on her shoulder. More specifically, the brown envelope inside. I can pick out a few letters of the word on the envelope - ‘tract’. Instantly, I know what this meeting is about - me signing a contract.
Lulu follows my gaze to her bag and rolls her eyes, mumbling ‘nosy little wrench’ under her breath. I bite my lip to control myself from insulting her back. Deep breaths Whitney, take deep breaths.
“Let’s just get down to business,” I say, bluntly. I’m not in the mood for an argument with her today, the sooner we get this done, the better.
Lulu stiffly nods her head and takes her shoulder bag off, putting it next to her on the ground. “I’m here to talk about you and Jason.” She begins, shrugging off her white, Chanel coat. “For the past couple of days, you two have been the centre of attention with them. I’ve had all sorts of people calling me up, asking whether you are dating. Because of this, big brands have been offering deals. Big deals.”
I swallow, piecing together where she is going with this.
“Vogue has called and have asked me if you are dating. They love the two of you together, especially since your last shoot with them. They offered you a deal - for their big summer campaign. They want the two of you to be at the centre of their campaign.” She pauses, watching my reaction with her icy blue eyes. ”But.” I knew there would be a but. “They are only willing to go through with this if the two of you are dating. They admire the chemistry you have together and want to promote some sort of romance in their summer campaign.”
“So, to put it simply, Jason and I need to pretend to the world that we are dating.” I summarise in a bitter voice.
“Precisely,” Lulu answers, the corners of her lips curling upwards proudly.
The anger in my boils. I can’t do something like this, not now. Callum hates me, he thinks I’m dating Jason. If I go through with this, he will think I lied to him and will never forgive me. I will lose any hope of feeling at peace.
“No, I’m not doing it. Vogue can go and stick that deal up their sophisticated asses.”
Lulu pinches her lips together, glaring at me with incomprehensible hatred. Her composed features falter, a vein on her forehead beginning to burst.
“You will do this,” Lulu says, coldly. “This is a deal of a lifetime, Vogue don’t just hand out stuff like this easily. This will promote you and make you more well known.”
I shake my head and assert: “no, I won’t.”
Lulu stands up, storming over to me. She stops a few inches from me, with laboured breaths. “Listen here you spoiled brat. You may think you have control here but you don’t. You are going to do this.”
I match her glare, with just as much ferocity. I will not do this. I’m not going to let Lulu bully me into this.
“You may be Hollywood’s golden girl now but remember, I got you there. I can just as easily take this away from you. Do you want that Whitney?” Lulu threatens.
My determined expression falters as her words register. A cold smirk passes on Lulu’s face as she registers my state. She already knows I will agree.
I can’t lose my fame, I can’t be hated. I worked so hard to get here. I will not let Lulu take this away from me.
With a look of hatred, I stand down. Her icy-cold eyes light up in success and she turns on her heel to sit back down, acting as if we didn’t just have a glare off.
“Good, it’s settled. You will sign this contract,” she pulls out the envelope. “It says you and Jason will be in a ‘relationship’ for five months, whilst the campaign takes place. When everything dies down, we will announce your split due to busy careers. The two of you can remain friends after that.” Lulu explains, getting the sheets of paper out. “It’s easy. The months will fly by.”
No, they won’t. I think, with distaste. I can’t believe I’m letting this happen. What will everyone think of me?
“Can I at least tell my friends that it isn’t real?” I ask Lulu in hope.
“Absolutely not.” She snaps, outraged that I even suggested it. “There will be a risk of discovery. You are forbidden from telling anyone. Only Jason, you, me, Casey and Jason’s agent know about this deal. And it will stay that way.”
My shoulders slump in defeat. I’m imagining the hurt faces from everybody. All I seem to do is hurt everyone.
“Now, you need to sign here. Jason has already signed his document.” Lulu informs me, dropping the sheet I need to sign on my desk. Begrudgingly, I walk over to the desk.
My eyes scan the piece of paper, absorbing the words. Before signing contracts, I always make sure I read what it says. Casey once told me about an actor who didn’t check what it said. He ended up signing a deal with an agency for them to take him on for six months. After that, they dumped him and left him jobless and agentless.
When everything checks out, I take a pen from my pot and hover it over the dotted line. Once I’ve signed this, it’s done. For five months, I will have to act like I’m in love with Jason.
It feels like I’m temporarily handing my soul to the devil - the devil being Lulu in her Chanel outfit with Prada high heels.
“Just sign it,” Lulu barks from behind me, in a frustrated voice.
Slowly and reluctantly, I do.
The whole time writing my name, I feel a wave of guilt crash into me. Callum’s green eyes flash in my head. I’m a monster.
Lulu snatches the sheet from the table once I’ve finished, letting out a satisfied grunt when she’s see’s everything is in order.
“Good Whitney, now, at school tomorrow, you will let Jason drive you. He will open the car door for you and will kiss you. You will let it happen and look happy. Got it?” Lulu orders, leaving no room for argument.
Numbly, I nod my head.
Lulu smirks. “Perfect. I’m off now, toodles!”
As soon as she slams my door shut, I grab a pillow from my bed and throw it at the door with as much as power as I have. Pathetically, it hits the door and drops to the floor.
And pathetically, I collapse to the floor. My once perfect life is falling apart, piece by piece.
It feels as if I have already lost so much. I hate it. God, I hate it. I'm losing control. I'm losing Whitney.
And now I'm going to lose everyone again.
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