“I guess not,” she said softly. Her stomach was in knots. Beckham had never mentioned that he was dating anyone. He had never mentioned anything though. Why was she even surprised?
“Well, it fizzled out for a while, but it looks like they’re back on. Maybe that’s why he’s not fucking you,” she said crassly.
Reyna paled. “We’re not like that, Sophie. Whether he’s with her or not.”
Sophie patted her hand again sympathetically. “Whatever you say. But I’m glad I’m not competing with…that.”
That was the understatement of the century. Competing with Penelope Sky was like competing with the sun.
Reyna tried to pull her attention from them, but she couldn’t help but watch him. He leaned down to whisper in her ear, the easy way that his breath hit her skin, the way she smiled up at him like a lover…with the effortlessness that came with intimate familiarity.
She had about had her fill when Beckham seemed to notice her stare. Their eyes met across the room, and her cheeks heated. Then he smiled, a dangerous wicked smile, and started walking Penelope across the room…straight toward her.
“Reyna,” Beckham said, “I’d like you to meet a friend of mine. This is Penelope.”
Reyna swallowed back all of the anger and frustration that lanced her body in that moment. Beckham did not belong to her. Not in any way. One kiss didn’t mean anything. She was his employee. And they may have a strange…slightly unprofessional relationship, but he had made it clear this couldn’t go on.
“Hello,” she said softly.
“Penny, this is Reyna.”
Both women assessed the other. Reyna didn’t know what Penny saw when she looked at her. The woman’s face was a mask of serenity. Which was even more infuriating. It didn’t help that she was prettier up close. Her eyes were as clear blue as the ocean, and she had the slightest dimple in each of her cheeks.
When Penelope realized that Reyna wasn’t going to say anything, she spoke up. “I’ve heard so much about you, Reyna.”
“Really?” Reyna asked. She turned her attention to Beckham and arched one eyebrow.
“Yes! I was so glad when you first got here. So good for Beckham to have someone always around for him. And good for you too from what I’ve heard.”
Reyna refused to be embarrassed that this woman clearly knew her history. She couldn’t believe that Beckham would tell her, but there was nothing she could do about it at the moment. Her insides were on fire and some part of her wanted to scream.
“Yep. So good for Beckham. Just what he wanted,” Reyna said.
Penelope either didn’t hear her sarcasm or refused to register it. “He was telling me last night about your interest in my city.”
Last night. He had been out with her last night? While she had been in her room wondering what he was doing and why he was avoiding her…he had been with this woman.
“Oh, my father is the mayor,” Penelope said proudly.
“Uh-huh. Forgive me. It’s funny how this is the first time I’ve heard about you at all.”
Beckham made an exasperated face at her. Sophie covered her laugh by coughing into her hand.
“Well,” Penelope said, “I’ve been busy at university. We’re on break now so I’ll be around a lot more.”
The way she said it made it sound like a threat. But why should someone like Penelope even have to threaten her? The woman was drop-dead gorgeous and seemed to be a perfect match for Beckham…for anyone, honestly.
While Reyna stood before her in clothes she hadn’t paid for, with her hair and makeup done by people she hadn’t hired, working at a job that Penelope could hardly understand. There was no need for Penelope to feel threatened.
“University?” Reyna asked, latching onto the one thing she could comment on. “That must be nice. To be able to afford to go to college.”
“I feel very fortunate.”
Reyna had to restrain herself from laughing. Of course she did. Reyna would have felt very fortunate to be able to go to college too, but instead she was here, working for Visage.
“So…how exactly did you two meet?” Reyna prodded.
Penelope looked up at Beckham with a big smile on her face. “Oh…well…” And then she flushed lightly. “It was at a political event. Beckham was there on behalf of Visage.”
He gave her an amused look. Reyna could see from a mile off that something about the story was off.
“You remember, don’t you?” she asked, nudging Beckham in the side.
“Yes, Penny. I remember.”
“You spent the entire night avoiding me like the plague. I thought I smelled funny or something. I mean, how did you ever resist this face?” she asked with a giggle. Penelope leaned her head against Beckham, but Reyna had had enough of watching that.
Reyna turned to look at Sophie. She wore a pitying expression, but didn’t say anything. Reyna shouldn’t have asked about them. She didn’t really care. Nothing was going on between her and Beckham. But still he had brought her here tonight. If he had preferred to show up with Penelope, then he shouldn’t have brought Reyna along. Sitting at home with her pictures was better than feeling left out of the inside joke between him and his whatever girlfriend.