After she calmed down, Reyna walked through the doors and into the boutique. The place was bigger than it appeared and it was breathtaking. The walls were lined with evenly spaced white gowns in every shape and cut imaginable. Some were the starkest white while others were a dark cream or off-white. Glitter and lace and sequins and crystals adorned the gowns. Gossamer and tulle and silk and satin and all kind of brilliant materials made these incredible creations. Reyna couldn’t stop staring at them. The cost of one of these amazing gowns could likely feed the entire warehouse district for a day.
But of course Beckham could afford it, and he was footing the bill.
She tried to ignore Penelope and went to help Laura pick out a dozen dresses. Luckily, her baby bump wasn’t showing yet. The only real issue was that the dress had to fit her perfectly, because there was no time for alterations. At least she was tall. Reyna would have been screwed. All of the dresses would have been several inches too long.
Olivia hustled Laura and her many gowns into the enormous dressing room. She stayed inside to help her change and Reyna took a seat near Penelope, who was texting away on her cellphone, oblivious.
Reyna cleared her throat in the awkward silence. “I wanted to reiterate how thankful I am. Truly. It means a lot to Laura to have a dress.”
Penelope slowly turned to look at her. Up close like this, the damage from the burns was even more noticeable. Plastic surgery was a miracle considering what she had gone through. And she didn’t look any less beautiful. Her fine white scars were actually endearing. But by the expression on her face, it was more like they had rotted away at her core.
“I really appreciate you doing this for Laura,” Reyna added when Penny said nothing. “It’s very nice of you.”
“Oh please,” Penny finally said with an eye roll. “Let’s not pretend that I’m doing this for anyone but Beckham.”
“Well, then, thanks for doing this for Becks.”
Penelope shot her an amused face. “Becks?”
“Have you seen that man? He’s hardly one for nicknames.”
Reyna couldn’t stop the smile that brushed her lips. It was all she could do to keep from laughing. Penelope was right. To 99.9 percent of the world Beckham was not the kind of person to have a nickname. But her Beckham, the man he showed beneath the monster, was most definitely Becks.
“Okay,” Reyna said.
“Does he let you call him Becks?” she asked, her voice low. Her doe-shaped eyes were round with concern as if she had missed something big about Beckham that she couldn’t quite mask.
“Ugh!” Penelope said, turning away from her. “I don’t even know why I bother with you. Or why he does, for that matter. You’re like all the other girls who came before you. I was the one who changed him. I’m going to be the one at his side in the end.”
Other girls? Reyna knew that she shouldn’t ask Penelope what she meant. She knew the other woman was baiting her.
But she couldn’t completely keep the confusion off of her face.
“You do know about the other girls, right?” Penny asked in a sickly sweet tone. Reyna bit the inside of her cheek. “I mean…has he told you anything about his past?”
“I don’t see how our relationship is any of your concern.”
Penelope laughed a short little chirp. She seemed as if she were back in her element. “I see. So, he hasn’t. Well, if you’re not dead in a couple of months, I’ll be shocked. I guess getting kidnapped appears to have prolonged your life. Go figure.”
Reyna’s temper flared. “It’s one thing to insult me and to insinuate that you know Beckham better than I do. It’s quite another to suggest that when I was kidnapped it was a good thing. Perhaps it was good for you, Penny, because you were able to continue living in your deluded world where you believe Beckham actually wants to be with you. But news flash, he doesn’t.”
Penny pursed her lips. “Things were better before you showed up.”
“I have no intention of apologizing for that. I didn’t ask for this life. This life came to me. But now that it’s mine, don’t think I won’t go down without a fight. You might think that you saved Beckham. That he changed because of you,” she said with an eye roll. “But then you’d be just like every other woman in history who thinks that a man changed because of them.”
“You weren’t there when we first met,” Penny said, jumping to her feet. “You don’t know what it was like. Harrington sent him to me to test him. And considering he didn’t kill me or turn me into a vampire”—Penelope made a face of disgust—“it’s obvious that he passed. He’s a different man now than he was then because of what we went through together. The fact that you now get to reap the benefits is so fucking ridiculous.”