Page 63 of Buying the Bride

She claims that she had to go to rehab for anorexia and get psychiatric help because he abused her. Further, she claims that any person associated with him, especially models, are in danger.

Bullshit. I’ve seen the way Andrew treats his models. He’s the ultimate professional, and I’ve never ever seen him tell anyone they were fat or that they needed to lose weight. He hasn’t locked me up or ever tried to control my everyday life. I’m not sure why she’s doing this, but it’s not true. None of it. I know it in my gut.

Andrew comes back into the room, already half-dressed and still on the phone. “Yeah, I’ll be there as soon as I can. Hold all the media requests until I get there.” He hangs up the phone and is buttoning his shirt.

“Are you all right?”

“I have to go to the studio, I need to get ahead of this.”

“Of course,” I nod. “I should go home for a little while, too. I could use some fresh clothes. But I’ll see you later?”

He kisses me briefly, though I notice he doesn’t meet my eyes. “Of course.” Grabbing his phone and a jacket he heads out the front door. I take my time getting ready. I root around in Andrew’s workshop until I find something more casual to wear that won’t have me doing the two-day walk of shame in that party dress. But I take the dress with me. No way in hell I’m letting that go.

I haven’t answered Fleece, and I know that she’s freaking out, so I decide to stop by the Blind Scorpion on the way home. The minute I walk in she’s on me, “What the hell is going on?”

I drop onto my perch at the bar, even though it’s way too early to drink anything. “Honestly, I don’t have a clue.” I fill her in on everything that happened over the last days, from the incredible sex to Maya confronting me.

“So what are you going to do?” she asks. “Are you going to break it off? Stop working for him?”

“Why on earth would I do that?”

Fleece gives me a look. “I’m not dumb. I read the article.”

“And you actually believed it?”

She has the good sense to look a little embarrassed. “Like I told you before, I’ve heard things. I wouldn’t put what she says past him.”

I shake my head. “I’ve never seen him do anything like that. And you’ve seen me? Has he tried to control my life? No.”

“That’s true…” she says, wiping down the bar with a cloth even though it’s already clean.

“I don’t know why Maya is doing this, and Andrew left too quickly for me to ask, but there’s more to this.” I grab my bag, suddenly determined to find out what’s really happening. “I’ll let you know when I find out.”

Fleece gives me a small smile. “For what it’s worth, I hope you’re right.”

It doesn’t take me long to swing by my apartment and grab the few things I need before I’m on my way to Xellum Studios. I should have made Andrew tell me exactly what this meant this morning. My phone is continuously buzzing with questions from friends and notifications of new articles surrounding it. People are asking questions about me, and whether Andrew is subjecting me to the same ‘abuse.’ He hasn’t been answering my calls. Directly to voicemail every time.

Whatever it is that Maya was trying to do, so far she’s been successful. There was an announcement that Whitman & Crown are considering dropping Andrew’s line because of the ‘revelations.’ If they drop out, other companies will too.

There’s a crowd of reporters outside the studio. Up till now, I haven’t been afraid of the press. But fighting my way through the crowd who’s shouting my name and pressing microphones into my face is scary. I finally break through and the security guard lets me inside. For a second, I just lean against the door and catch my breath. This is insane. Absolute madness.

The studio seems oddly deserted. I don’t hear the usual hum of noise that is the sewing shop and the other assistants bustling around. Upstairs is quiet too. I head down the hallway towards Andrew’s office, and I hear his voice and also May’s. I come around the corner and May is at her desk. She sees me and freezes mid-sentence on her phone call. “I’m going to have to call you back,” she says into the receiver. “Delia, he can’t see you right now.”