She looked at me teary-eyed. “I can’t talk to her.”

I shook my head. “You don’t have to right now. It’s okay.”

“She’s probably freaking out,” she replied.

“So let her freak out a little. It’ll be okay. You can talk to her a little later when things calm down,” I assured. It was breaking my heart to see her in such a state. I knew I wasn’t alone in having started to develop feelings for her, and I never wanted her to be hurt.

She stood up suddenly, nearly knocking me over, but I regained my balance.

“Where are you going?” Dante asked.

“To my room. I just need some time alone,” she responded.

She walked away and both Dante and I stood staring after her, the defeat washing over us as we knew we’d put her in that horrible situation. We didn’t even say anything to each other as we started individually calling anyone we knew with some pull to start working on getting the story shut down. Most of them told us what we already knew, the scandal would just have to run its course. Feeling like we’d lost a very important battle, we quietly prepared dinner, waited for Asher, Kane, and Brix to arrive and then coaxed Sadie out of her room to come eat.

The meal was intense and silent, all up until Sadie’s phone rang. She didn’t spare a moment before answering it. “Hello?” Her tone was formal, not like how she’d talk to her mother or sister. “Yes, I understand. Thank you for the opportunity. I apologize for any problems I caused.”

She hung up her phone and set it down on the table. We watched as tears filled her eyes. She stared down at her plate in silence and the tension in the air was palpable.

Dante finally reached over and put a hand on top of hers. “Sadie?”

She looked up, her normally bright, brown eyes were dull and glistening with moisture. “I… I was just fired.”

It was another tough pill for the table to swallow.

“What?” Brix asked. “Just because of something they saw in the news? Can they do that?”

Sadie nodded. Her neck tensed and it was evident she was holding back her emotions. “They can do what they want. All my contract says is that they can’t fire me

“One call and you’ll be back,” Dante said. “When I’m through with them–”

“No,” Sadie cut him off. “I don’t want work that way. I’ll figure something out.” We resumed eating, but Sadie didn’t touch much else. Eventually, she stood up from the table, looking down at Dante. “Can we go to bed?”

Dante nodded. “Of course.”

Once they were gone from the room, the rest of us quietly cleaned up the meal and even listened in a bit as Sadie moaned gently; Dante was trying his best to comfort her any way he could. None of us left Dante’s that night. We had a silent pact between us to stay and comfort Sadie as much as she needed, and the next day, it was definitely needed. The news had gone national and was being played on every channel and website that showed current events. All of her personal business about her life, career, and family, was splashed on every screen, and journalists were spouting baseless theories about Dante pimping his girlfriend out to his friends, or her being a secret dominatrix.

She battled with everything from fleeing the country, to going home and facing her family, but she was self-conscious and afraid and in the end she couldn’t even bring herself to leave her room.

Sadie

I listened to the trilling of the phone, excited to talk to someone who may actually be able to help me deal with the situation I’d found myself in. When the other line clicked live, I felt a surge of excitement.

“Well if it isn’t the television star?” My friend, Jordan, answered the phone, her husky voice was so oddly comforting to me. “Tell me, what’s it like having an absolute smorgasbord at your disposal?”

I sighed. “It’s so much more than that, J. I mean this is serious. My name is everywhere. My parents think I’m a mobster’s whore.”

“….uh, are you?” Jordan asked.

“What? No!” I yelped, I expected her of all people to understand. “It’s not like I’m just fucking these guys. I have real feelings for all of them, and the more time I spend with them, the deeper they get.”

“Well then what’s the issue? Are they not into the sharing?” Jordan asked.

“No, they’re fine with it. They encourage it,” I responded.

“Then what’s the problem?” Jordan asked.

“I’ll direct you back to the headline of literally every newspaper and trash T.V. channel,” I said.

“You just have to wait that stuff out,” Jordan said. “It’ll blow over eventually. Someone else will do something even more scandalous and you’ll recede back into the area of fame where William Hung and ‘Cash Me Outside’ exist, except please don’t do a talk show circuit.”

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