PARTNERS

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Chapter 17

Scarlett's POV

The best part of revenge is knowing exactly how to attack your enemy. Knowing just what it takes to destroy them, mentally, emotionally, physically. I’ve studied my opponent for years. I know better than anyone how to bring him down.

I grab a pan from the kitchenette in our hotel room, finding the oversized metal spoon to go with it as well as a pitcher of ice cold water. I sneak into his room, seeing him splayed out like a deceased man who was hit by a bus, legs bent all crazy, hair fluffed over his face. This is my moment.

I stand close to his head as a devilish smile slides across my evil face. This is going to be great. I bang the spoon against the pan as hard as I can, leaving an extremely loud tone vibrating throughout the room. I hit it again and again until he pops up, rising from the dead as I take the large pitcher of ice water and throw it in his face.

A shriek pierces my ears as he screams out, only for me to grab the pillow next to him, smacking him in the head and knocking him back down against the bed. I bite my fist, laughing hysterically as I quickly leave the room and head into mine. I crawl under the sheets with the blanket pulled up to my neck, waiting with a huge victory smile on my face.

I hear my knob twist as the door slowly creaks open. There he stands, looking like the chick from the ring. His wet, black weave, dripping with water, down over his face as he slowly walks towards me, arms extended.

“You evil bitch.” he grumbles, then lunges, jumping on top of me on the bed.

I scream out as he shakes his hair all over me. “Ew, you smell like a wet dog!”

“Why did you do that to me!?” he yells, pushing the hair up and out of his face, leaving a strange looking pile on the top of his head.

“Payback is a motherfucker, Adrien, and after last night, you’re lucky this is how I retaliated.”

“Last night.” He repeats the words. “What did I do this time?”

My eyes grow wide. “You don’t remember!”

It’s not even a question, it’s a celebration.

“Well, shit, now I wish I did.” he touches his finger to his lips.

“Oh my god Adrien! I have to call Toren right now!” I say excitedly, scrambling through the comforter for my phone.

“Toren? Why?!”

I find my phone and begin dialing without looking at him. “Because you saw his dick last night and don’t remember.”

His mouth drops open with a gasp as he snatches the phone away from me.

“No!” he screams.

“Yes!” I scream back, throwing a fist into the air, mimicking him last night.

He places two fingers together, pushing both of them on his temples. “The data is in here. I just need to figure out how to access it.”

“Nope! That big, beautiful dick is looong gone from your memory.” I tease.

He pulls out my phone in his hands, typing away on something. I snatch it out of his hands and see him entering “How to Recover Lost Memories” in the google search.

“Really?”

“I need to figure out some sort of therapy...hypnosis, guided imagery...something to bring this penis back to the forefront of my mind!” he screams.

“You need some sort of therapy, alright.”

I look at the google screen, laughing it off when something catches my eye.

“Toren Hollingsworth seen dining with a woman who isn’t the artist SCARS last night at Masa. Is it over for them as quickly as it began?” The article reads.

I click on the link, opening up a photo of Toren at the door to the restaurant, holding it open with one hand, the other hand on the lower back of a woman I recognize, assisting her inside with a smile on his face.

Rachel.

He took Rachel to dinner after our facetime!?

“What is it?” Adrien asks, noticing my change in energy.

“Toren. Last night after our facetime, he went out to dinner with Rachel.” I bring my eyes to meet his. “Why would he do that?”

He looks back at me, his brows knit together as he shakes his head. “I have no idea.”

“What the hell!? Do you think he cheated on me? I fucking knew it! I knew something fishy was going on since that baby shower with him and Rachel! I can’t believe this right now!”

“Just take a deep breath. I highly doubt he did anything. I mean, maybe there was a group of people...”

“Look at the picture, Adrien!” I interrupt, shoving the phone in his face.

He takes it from me, looking at the picture and reading the article.

“Shit. That looks bad.” Is all he says before I get up and pace the room.

“I can’t even call him right now! It’s early in the morning! What if she’s at his place right now!? Oh, fuck this. I’m calling.”

I snatch the phone away from Adrien and dial his number immediately. It rings and rings until I get the voicemail.

“Ah! See!”

I dial it again like the psycho I’m quickly becoming. Finally on the second ring, it picks up. I hear some shuffling around and my heart drops. My stomach literally hits the floor at the idea that he’s in bed with her before I hear a quiet, scratchy voice.

“Scar? What-what’s wrong? Is everything alright?”

I woke him up. He wasn’t currently having mind blowing sex with Rachel.

“You went out on a date after we talked!” I accuse him, waiting for an explanation as Adrien looks at me, biting his fingernails.

“What? What are you talking about?” he asks.

“You and Rachel. What, are you two a thing now that I’m out of the country? Your girlfriend leaves and now you get to be playboy again!?”

I’m letting it all out. All of my anger and jealousy held in from the baby shower is bubbling over at the moment. I’m fuming.

“Scarlett, no—”

“Tell me. Tell me right now that you didn’t go on a date with her!”

“I didn’t go on a date with her!” he replies, his voice a bit defensive.

“You’re a liar. You’re a fucking liar! I saw the pictures of you two! How could you do this to me!?”

“What pictures? What?”

“And after I literally pushed Sergio off of me. I could’ve fucked him had I wanted to. But I didn’t! Because I’m in love with you! I’m in love with a liar!”

“Baby, please, calm down!” he says as my tear filled eyes stare back into Adrien’s worried ones.

I take a deep breath, remembering that this behavior is truly unlike him. Give him the chance for an explanation.

After hearing me take a breath, I can hear him sigh. I picture him sitting up against our headboard, shirtless, running a hand through his blonde, disheveled hair. A tick he does when he’s nervous or anxious.

“Do you trust me?” he asks in a calm tone.

The question is so simple yet so heavy.

Do I trust him? Do I trust anyone? Trust to me is something I’ve had a difficult relationship with. How do you trust when the people who gave you life, give you away and never looked back? How do you trust when you give your heart to someone who takes advantage of it, using and abusing you to the point of depletion? How do you trust, when the person you thought you knew best was using you as a ploy in an entirely different game, proving you didn’t know each other at all?

Trust is something that’s earned. In my life I haven’t met anyone who deserved it with the exception of Maggie and Adrien.

Besides Toren.

He’s worthy. He’s proven to me, time and time again that he’s worthy of my trust. That he deserves it. I’ve been trusting him with my heart and he hasn’t led me astray. Why would he do it now? He has my trust as hard as it may be for me at times to admit. I need to remind myself of it.

“I do.” I say softly, giving in to my love for him yet again.

“Good. Then don’t allow articles posted on gossip sites ruin us. I love you Scarlett. You’re the only one for me. That will never change. But I need you to trust me, alright?”

It must be so difficult for him. Here’s this broken, damaged girl who he’s literally being the perfect boyfriend to, but he still gets met with friction, simply because of his past? I need to realize that we can’t be anything if I don’t let go of the pieces of me that are hanging onto the past. Break the walls completely and free fall into his arms. He’s told me my heart is safe with him, he’s proven to me that it is. This is where I unhook my ropes.

“I’m sorry, Tor. I shouldn’t have accused you. I do trust you. I trust you with everything I have.” I admit as the tears fall from my eyes.

I blink up, forgetting Adrien is watching this whole thing playout. His nose is running and he’s wearing his ugly cry face.“I’m a mess.” I moan, feeling guilty.“You’re my mess and I wouldn’t have you any other way. I love you, baby.” he whispers, still sounding sleepy.

“I love you so much. Go back to sleep.” I sniffle.

“I’ll call you later. Good luck today. I’m so proud of you.” he says before hanging up.

I drop the phone in my lap, biting my lip and feeling an entirely different way. A total 360 of emotions. How could I have ever assumed he’d actually do anything with Rachel. I still want an explanation, I mean, there are pictures, but I’m trusting my man the way he deserves to be trusted.

“That was beautiful.” Adrien sniffles. “The way he just made you realize how stupid you were with one little question. Four little words, got you swallowing all that pride.”

I glare at him.

“And don’t you worry, I’ll be remembering that dick soon.” he comments in a sassy tone before I throw the pillow at his head.

After assisting Adrien in his hangover, a little hair of the dog for quick recovery, I force him to get me ready for the big day. Today we attend the exhibition. Today I stand back and watch as people from all over the world take in my artwork and let it move them.

Adrien styles me up in a gorgeous black dress with an open back and a thigh slit. He pairs it with some gladiator type sandals for the active day. He slicks my hair back into a low sophisticated ponytail and does a simple day face makeup.

After he gets ready into a black jumpsuit that tightens at the waist with an oversized hanging belt, and styles his new weave into a similar low bun. We look stylish, sleek, and totally paired up perfectly for our candid photos.

Walking through the columns, seeing the people admiring all of the creative and time consuming art I’ve thrown myself into before me, I take a deep breath and breathe it all in.

“This is incredible, Scar.” Adrien gasps, as his eyes roam the place.A small crowd gathers around us, whispering to each other as Adrien takes notice. The crowd starts growing as I look at him in nervous confusion. Ten people becomes one hundred in a matter of a few minutes.“They’re all here for you.” he smiles, turning to me.He stands in front of me. “The artist herself, SCARS.”He begins clapping and everyone starts following suit. I bite my lip nervously, then smile as my cheeks flush. Everyone claps and smiles, staring at me, at my work, and back to me again.“This is your moment. Live it.” Adrien whispers, coming up to hug my side.

Photographers take photos of us looking at one of the exhibits. We pose for a few together, Adrien needing to flip to the other side of me, his good side, as if he had one.

Sergio joins us along with a handful of the other artists as we pose for a cover photo and finish up a few quick interviews.

I thank Sergio immensely for allowing me to be a part of something so special. He insists my work itself is the stuff of masters. He promises that my paintings are going to be remembered and known long past the days I’m on this earth, and that students in future generations will be inspired by my techniques. He also promises that if I decide to come back to Venice I’ll be welcomed with opened arms.

I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of fulfilment. I’m sitting here, with everything I’ve ever worked for and wanted, with everything I’ve ever needed, riding on my heart. This trip was needed in more ways than one. It’s shown me how much I’ve grown, how far I’ve come. It’s shown me what truly matters most to me. Friendship, love, trust.

“There’s only one thing left to do.” Adrien comments to me, putting his arm around my waist and his head against my shoulder while we leave the exhibit as the sun sets in Venice.

“What’s that?” I smile, wrapping my arm around him.

“Head home.”

We smile at each other as the warmth from the setting sun on our faces matches the warmth in our hearts.

New York City...we’re coming home.

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