BAILEY SHUDDERED, COLD seeping in. Her eyes followed the man as he redressed, tying his tie.
Shivering, she covered her brown skin with the contrasting white sheets.
“Are you leaving?” Her soft voice was resigned, knowing the answer.
Adjusting his cuff links, Eric peered admiringly in the mirror, before turning his attention to the naive girl.
Saying nothing, she gathered the sheets closer to her in a vain attempt at modesty.
“When are you going to introduce me to your family, Eric?”
The wealthy man regarded her with a smirk, his expression smug, his tone condescending.
“Soon, honey. Very soon.”
Bailey sighed sadly.
He’d been saying that for two years.
“Bye, Hailey!” He called, just as he shut the door.
“It’s Bailey!” Bailey frowned, forcing her tears at bay. Even if she had spoken up, even if he wanted to hear what she said, the door was already shut...
Heaving a laden sigh, she got up, scrubbing her skin damn near raw. She was his dirty little secret.
And she felt dirty.
After she’d washed and changed clothes, she decided she needed air. As usual she took the steps, keeping her head down when she reached the lobby.
She knew what’s she see if she looked up. Pity. Disgust. Disappointment.
Could she blame them, really? These people watched her do the same thing for two years.
Hell, she was disappointed in herself.
Her teachers used to say, You’ve it potential Bailey.
You’re a bright kid with an brighter future.
You can do anything you want.
And she did. She got rich soon what she loved, she established a name. Not necessarily for herself, but... She’d won awards, she had buildings named after her.
Regardless of any of it, the fact that these people knew, that she knew how she allowed her self to be treated?
Well, that fact negated everything she’d every accomplished. Any success was warped into insanity.
The cold New York air blasted her back to reality. Her nose went red, and goosebumps pebbled her skin, but the blustering cold air filled her lungs with clean air.
Bailey walked down the streets, doing something she had done since she was a child. People watching.
As a child she would spend hours by her window, watching the people who roamed the streets. She’d give them names, and back stories. She’d make them fall in love, and take them on adventures they’d never know they went on.
Later, some of those adventures were published, making her a Bestselling author.
Due to the weather, there weren’t many people outside. They crowded the shops though. Starbucks was swamped, and another cafe in the area.
There was one man, she noticed on her way back home. He was standing by an old cafe, looking very irritated. His phone was pressed to his ear, cursing loudly.
Apparently, fucking Vince lost something, and he was ready to shove some things in some inappropriate places.
She giggled to herself. He was animated, if nothing else. As he cursed out whoever it was, his arms moving in wild exasperated motions, making his tattoos dance.
Abruptly, he stopped talking and looked up. Straight at her. He regarded her with a sort of cool interest, his lips parting slightly.
Tattoos peeked out, snaking up his neck, and down into his leather jacket.
Gasping, she looked down, walking home, hurrying her steps.
With every step she took she could feel him smirk, burning that curious gaze into her back.
Deciding to think nothing of it, she walked all three flights to her apartment.
Bailey walked as often as she could. As a writer, she sort most of her time in her comfortable writing chair, eating ‘inspirational’ junk food.
She was always chubby, and even now, though she had slimmed quit a bit, she wasn’t small. And honestly, that didn’t bother her.
Bailey locked her door behind her, sagging on her couch. Writer’s block. She had writer’s block. She couldn’t afford writer’s block, she was a wrote for a living!
Her fridge was empty, she didn’t have a good coat, because he couldn’t go out in public without getting ambushed by her agent!
Sighing, Bailey contemplate what to do. Just as she was about to give up and take a nap, her phone rang.
It was her mother. God, she groaned internally.
“Darling,” Her mother drawled, her initial tone one of disapproval.
“Have been sitting on your couch so long, you forgot what day it is?”
Bailey winced at the jab. Before she could answer her mother spoke.
“I assume so. It’s Friday. Your brothers and sisters have wen waiting for you to arrive.”
Clenching her teeth, she withheld a groan.
“I’m not going to be able to—”
“We’ll see you at six.”
The dial tone greeted her.
She hung up. Letting out her pained groans she hit her head on the couch repeatedly.
Portia Williams was always wealthy in mind. Not as regards to knowledge, no. She was a snob. She ha an air about her that just said: I’m-Better-Than-You-So-Why-Are-Still-Breathing-My-Air?
Naturally, she only bred the best. Expected the best. Only accepted the best. Only tolerated the best.
Portia Williams did not understand that everyone can’t be the best.
There are about nine billion people on this earth. It is unreasonable to presume that each of them must be the best at something.
There are not enough something’s to provide everyone one specialty.
But Bailey had lived with her Mother nearly all her life. By now, she knew when her Mother said best she meant perfection.
Bailey wasn’t perfect. She was too fat, too tall, too smart, too awkward. Too Baliey.
Nobody can be perfect, she chanted as she put on makeup she hated.
Nobody is perfect, she intoned, as she tugged on impossibly high heels.
You can be perfectly imperfect, but it’s perfectly impossible to be perfect, she repeated, pulling on the unseasonably thin dress.
There are too many versions of perfect, to perfect.
And though she repeated those words, the same words she’d been repeating since third grade, she still did everything she could to be her Mother’s version of perfect.
Of course, she failed.
“Bailey darling, don’t you know that dress is too tight for your...figure?”
Opening words. As she stepped into the house she bought for her family, she felt the urge truck tail and run.
Lorelei was snickering, acting five instead of twenty five.
Everyone else sat in the dining room, the first room in the house. To show of perfection, obviously. Her brother, two sisters, mother and her Father.
God, even the number of people on her family was even. Briefly she wonder what would’ve happened if they had another child?
“Princess!” Her Dad stood, pulling her into a tight hug. She squeezed back, inhaling his bakery scent.
“Hey Sis!” Peter smiled, giving her hug.
“You’re taller than me now!” She exclaimed looking up at her little brother.
He was only sixteen but he towered over Dad.
“Yeah. I grew this summer,” His voice was deep, “But you weren’t here so...”
Ruffling his hair, she smiled sadly at him.
“I know. I’m sorry Captain Pete.”
Sorry, but I’m not coming back.
“Sissy!” Her youngest sister, seven ran up to her, hugging her fiercely.
“Save me from dresses, Sissy.”
Laughing she kissed her sisters forehead. “I wish I could.”
Lia fell back in line, returning the tense atmosphere.
There stood her sister and her mother, disapproval and hatred etched on their faces, both smug.
Biting her lip she closer her eyes, holding back tears. Her own Mother wanted her to fail. Just she could laugh and say I told so.
I told you were worthless.
“Are we eating or what?”
Bailey shot Peter a grateful look.
This was about to get a whole lot worse.
BAILEY FORKED THE SALAD. She hated salad. Everyone else had meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy with rolls.
You need to watch your figure, she simpered.
“What are you wearing?” That was Lorelei.
“A dress,” Bailey replied softly, trying not to give her any fuel for the fire she was so eager to start.
But do things go Bailey’s way?
“It’s so last season,” Lorelei snarked. “I’m wearing Prada. It’s tre chic this year.”
Of course not.
Pushing a piece of dubious looking lettuce, she fought not to engage.
"That I bought.” She mumbled into her plate.
She didn’t say it low enough, because Lorelei turned as red as brown person can, and everyone but her Mother snickered.
“Mother.” Lorelei whined, eyes filling with fake tears.
Great. Here come the water works.
“Why are you so jealous of your sister?” Her Mother scolded hatefully, her perfectly lined lips turning up into a sneer. “Is it because she’s skinnier? More beautiful!”
Bailey ignored Peter and her Dad’s protest, knowing they’d die out under her Mother’s withering glare.
“No! I’m tired of her picking on my Lorelei!”
Bailey zoned out, doing the best she could to be as far away from here as possible.
What’s Cynthia doing right now? She snorted mentally. Nothing. Thanks to writer’s block, Cynthia is currently frozen mid argument with her husband.
Damn. She’s failing at this too.
Failure. An iron fist grips her throat, her belly churning as if it were being whisked.
“Portia, she is our daughter!”
“I don’t care.”
“She won’t stand for this forever, y’know.” Peter drawled his baneful glare directed at his Mother and sister.
“Eventually, she’s gonna snatch this—her house and all her money from under your manicured feet and I am going to laugh.”
Portia, Lorelei, and Charles pale.
“This worthless daughter you talk down to, provides everything. For all of us.”
Lorelei tries to maintain composure, but the truth doesn’t allow for that. Her eyes dart to Bailey who’s zoned out, with a sad expression.
Portia looks at her too.
“Can you afford to send me to private school,” The question is rhetorical. They couldn’t. “Thought not. Where will you live? What will you eat?”
Peter smirks. He knows his sister. He knows how caring, loving and kind she is. But he knew her better than anyone. And he knew that Bailey wasn’t meant to be a doormat. She was meant to be a star.
He saw her fierceness, when she would protect him bullies. She took no shit. At least, when came to him. Lia, their parents, even Lorelei.
Fire breathes, as long as their oxygen it grows. His sister had fire.
“What can any of you do? Nothing. How can you buy Prada with no house?!”
“I think you should reevaluate what worthless means. Especially cause she’s the multimillionaire, we are the parasites.”
For that moment, everyone was somber and thoughtful. That moment they semi appreciated her.
But it was only for a moment.
Getting up, Bailey blinked away tears, hugging her little brother. She dropped a kiss on her little sisters head, who looked like she was going to bite Lore’s face off.
“If you need me, or you want to come over you know the way,” she told Pete. “Bring little bit with you if you want.”
Peter grinned nodding. He was the only one with a key. In fact, he was the only one who knew his sister’s address.
Him and Little Bit. Just in case.
“I’ll swing by.”
“You better. That’s why I got you a car.”
With that, Bailey went home.
Everyone else was in a stupor not knowing what took place. Peter was happy. As soon as he could he was going with his sister.
“Peter,” Portia said quietly. “What did she just say to you?”
“She told me to come by her place.”
Portia’s eyes widened, along with Lorelei’s.
“She has a place?!”
Peter stopped taking stock of his family with disdain.
“You all disgust me. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”
The air began to shift, as the two women realized they might not have their Golden Goose for much longer.
And they had no clue what to do.
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