@RaderBull595: The Calloway girls are hot, but that tall one is such a bitch. I’d bang Lils though.
@TVDFan70008: Have you seen the way Lo looks at Lily? *swoon*
@thefieryheart: Brb building a shrine for Ryke and Daisy!
@RealityXbites4: I loooove this show!! #TeamScott
@SlightlySpoiled: Can’t wait for Rose to dump Connor. Fry his dick! #please
The reviews for the show have been much better than any of us could ever expect. Even though we’re labeled “foul mouthed, rich, and conceited” most of the articles congratulate us for being real. For not trying to put on fake faces in front of the cameras. Daisy burps, Lily says sexual comments on accident, and I threaten to castrate men. Some people like us for our flaws. Others still see us as caricatures. But I try not to let those comments bother me.
You can’t please everyone.
@Fashion4Goddesses: Just received my Calloway Couture dress! Gorgeous!
My heart swells at that tweet. Soon after the first episode aired, my sales skyrocketed. And they have continued to grow exponentially with each new episode. Fizzle has even seen a spike in its stock. Hopefully the success will last.
The bells on the door clink together, and I quickly pocket my phone in my purse. My mother struts through like she suddenly bought the entire store. Her nose upturns at a vase of half-wilted daisies.
“You’re early,” I tell her. Ten minutes to be exact.
“So are you,” she replies. “Where’s your sister?”
“She’s not coming.” I don’t use the stomachache excuse since I’ve overdone it already. Instead I try the truth. “She doesn’t like how you talk to her.”
“Lily has a voice of her own,” my mother snaps. “If she doesn’t like how I speak then she should tell me herself.”
I don’t say anything. I don’t tell her that she’s not the easiest woman to talk to, and it takes practice and skill—that even I come away feeling more neurotic and unspun.
“I already picked out the flowers,” I tell her.
She doesn’t seem surprised. “Then we have to choose between mine and yours because I already called in arrangements this morning.” Of course. She walks haughtily to a cabinet where white and orange lilies are gathered together with teal ribbon.
“She specifically said no lilies,” I say angrily. “I’ve already told you this ten million times.” Not only that but orange and teal. Really? Maybe for Daisy but Lily is more…subdued.
My mother huffs and fingers the string of pearls on her neck. Her greatest tell. When she’s particularly stressed or annoyed she touches them as though they’re rosary beads, praying to the Holy Father for her argumentative daughter to be docile and content.
“What’s wrong with lilies?” my mother asks. “Olivia Barnes’ daughter had them at her wedding and they were just gorgeous.”
“Her name is Lily,” I say. “She doesn’t find the pun as amusing as you do. And when she sees lilies everywhere, she’ll be upset.” Not to mention that we receive unsolicited bouquets of lilies along with fan mail almost every week. From men that fantasize about my sex addicted sister. Those flowers are tainted in her mind.
“I already ordered them, so what do you want me to do?” she says. “I can’t very well cancel, can I?”
“Yes, you can.”
“I don’t understand why you’re so bent out of shape over the flowers.”
I stand my ground. “I know Lily better than you,” I remind her. “We’re going to accommodate her one and only request.”
My mother mumbles something that sounds like but she’s not even here to voice it herself. Her eyes flit around the room before she huffs again. “What alternatives do you have in mind?”
I show her the white and pink roses I picked out.
She gives me a look. “Don’t make this about you, Rose.”
My lips press into a thin line and I’m sure my nose flares. “My name and the flower are not synonymous, Mother.”
Poppy, my older sister, has never had trouble talking to her. Most of the time she just agrees willingly so that arguments don’t begin. Same with Daisy.
I can’t be agreeable with someone I know is wrong, regardless of her being my mother or not. I’m not sure when I had the courage to say no. But she still doesn’t understand that my opinion isn’t less because I’m her child. I’m twenty-three years old. She may see me as a little girl who stands behind her at dance recitals, who tugs on her arm for advice about other girls in school, but I’m an adult now.
I appreciate her advice, I do, but I also have the right to disagree with it. And yet, this direction only causes arguments and fights. Neither of us can win if we’re in the same room.
My mother stares at the roses with narrowed eyes. I remember Daisy’s advice when I couldn’t get my mother to stop arguing with me. “Tell her you love her,” she said. “That always works for me when I want something.”
I give it a shot. “I love you, Mother—”
“Oh, don’t even start, Rose. I haven’t heard you say that in five years.”
I suppose she’s right. Since I rarely show affection to my mother, it makes sense that Daisy’s I love yous seem like blinding rainbows in comparison.
She spins on her heels and her eyes hit mine. They haven’t softened. “You can cancel the order,” she says. “But I’m not done discussing the flowers or the centerpieces. God knows we both can find something better than an ice swan.”
I try to smile. “That sounds good.”
“How is Daisy doing?” she asks.
“Good.” I don’t elaborate. She talks to Daisy enough. Whenever my sister is on the phone, it’s usually with her. And I have no right to keep Daisy with me after the reality show wraps. There’s nothing I can do but wait until Daisy’s older—to see if she’d like to live with us and distance herself from our mother a little more. To finally breathe the way I know she wants to. It’s going to be a long wait, but I’m willing to suffer through it.
“Good.” She nods.
I pause for the rest of her question, but it never comes. “You’re forgetting your other daughter.”
“Lily is twenty-one,” she refutes. “She’s lying in the bed she made for herself.”
I shouldn’t have said anything.
“How can you plan her wedding if you’re still bitter over the scandal?” I ask in detest.
“Because this wedding is the only thing that will return her reputation, and it’ll wipe the stain she’s set to the Calloway name. It’s more important than my bitterness. It has to be perfect.”
She looks me over, as if reminding me that the perfect element of the wedding is my job. “We need to schedule a venue by the weekend. I’ll send you my top choices. Keep your phone on.” She gives me a tight, rigid hug before leaving the store. And leaving me feeling more overwhelmed than before.
So much shit to do. Like planning a bachelorette party. I would have hired male strippers—but for a recovering sex addict, that’s not the smartest theme. I think Lily and Lo want to have a joint bachelor and bachelorette party anyway.
As I head out the door and find my Escalade on the curb, my mind reverts back to everything that’s been happening with Connor. His thumb. The shower. Love.
Loren may believe that Connor won’t be there for me at the end of the line, but that night at the screening party made me realize how much I do trust him. How much I do know him. Lo was wrong on so many accounts, and that’s only because Connor has let me see more than a couple sides of his life.
Whether Connor says it or not, he loves me enough to let me in more than halfway. And I know it’s time for me to do the same on a different kind of level.
I pull out my phone and send a quick text to Connor.
Bring wine tonight.
Since Lo is sober, we try to keep alcohol out of sight, so I have a trunk in our bedroom that I’ll store our stash in. I pause to think about my choice of alcohol. Wine? I’m probably going to need something stronger.
I take a breath and wait for the text.
Is there a reason we’ll be drinking tonight? – Connor
Surprise. I reply back.
Can’t wait ;) – Connor
[ 20 ]
Frederick has spent the past ten minutes giving me the silent treatment. He sits behind his desk and pretends to be interested in The New York Times on his computer. He’s pissed that I’m still taking Adderall. But I can’t function without it.
I finish texting Rose and lean back in the leather chair. Frederick hasn’t looked up yet.
“I’m not paying you to ignore me,” I tell him.
His eyes remain on the computer screen. “You’re right. You’re paying for my counsel, which you are clearly not interested in.” He starts typing on his keyboard, the pounding more aggravating than I’ll let on. He has a squared jaw, tousled brown hair and broad-shoulders—in his thirties, fairly good looking, but he never married. His work is his wife.
I press my fingers to my lips in thought. “And you’re not even the slightest bit interested in what Rose texted me?” I try.
His fingers falter as he types, but he regains fluidity. Frederick enjoys talking with me, whether he’ll admit it to himself or not. I’m his most interesting patient.
“She asked me to bring home wine and tequila.” I don’t say anything else.
I watch the curiosity build in Frederick’s eyes until he lets out a sigh and rolls his chair back, his body angled towards me.
“You’re too easy,” I tell him.
“So you’ve told me.” He pauses. “How far have you been with her?”
I hesitate to reveal this, which surprises even me. I’m usually open about everything with Frederick, but being with Rose makes me want to keep every moment close to our chests, so no one can share what happens but us. It takes me about a minute to finally say, “She sucked my cock.”
Frederick’s brows rise in surprise. “You got her to blow you?”
“Rose had the choice.” I don’t want one of us to lose with sex. We both need to come out successful and fulfilled.
“How kinky?” Frederick asks.
I let out a mock sigh and stare at the ceiling. “We’re not there yet.” I tilt my head. “Give her time, Rick. She’s a virgin.”
“I’m surprised you’re not pushing her harder. For years, you’ve talked about how you want to—”
“I’m going to push her as far as I think she can go without having her run out on me. She’s packed a suitcase before, remember? She stayed in a hotel in the Hamptons for a week just to prove a point. And we weren’t even living together then.”
Frederick laughs. “I remember. You were both fighting about the Theory of Relativity.”
“She loves to disagree with me.” We argue a lot about theories because they’re easily debatable, but we always, somehow, kiss in the end. When she finally returned to Princeton, I spent the day with her in bed, sucking on her neck, gently easing her to go further. She was too scared to do more. But I think, for once, she will now.
“When she went down on you, you didn’t let her use her hands?” he suddenly asks.
“No.” These questions are annoying me more than usual.
“Did she like it?”
“You’re very possessive of her,” he states, taking out his notepad.
“How can you tell?”
“You sound irritated.”
“Did you go down on her afterwards?”
“No.” I shift my jaw, trying to get my words to cooperate and not come out so damn coarse.
“Because you didn’t have time?”
“No,” I almost snap at him. I clear my throat as Frederick scribbles something down.
“Because she wouldn’t let you.”
I stay quiet since he phrased this one as a statement, not a question.
“She’s frightened to let you touch her. The alcohol she wants you to buy will lessen her inhibitions and reservations. If she’s afraid in the first place, maybe she’s not submissive, Connor.”
My eyes narrow, a territorial feeling boiling inside of me. “She responds the way a submissive would. She shudders in pleasure when I take full control. But she’s still horrible at it; I’ll admit that. I’m trying to get her to a place where she can accept what turns her on.” I pause. “Outside the bedroom, you’re right, though. She’s not submissive. And she never will be.”
“And you like that?” Frederick asks, his pen hovering over the notepad.
“Why does that appeal to you so much?”
“You know why.”