The sheikh had finally returned to join us after taking a business call in the study, and I couldn’t help making a face at the way Dahlia immediately started talking to him in a sweet, shy voice. “You have such an incredible place, sheikh.” A tiny pause, and then her lips formed this provocative little moue as she asked, “Do I really have to call you that?”
“Don’t tell me Story calls you that, too?”
“Even…in bed?” My teeth gnashed at the way her eyes suddenly went wide and playful, and I had to clench my fists against the urge not to strangle her from daring to flirt with Raj in front of me.
“I’m afraid that’s private.”
My annoyance vanished when I saw the way Dahlia blinked in confusion. She had obviously expected the sheikh to play along, and I nearly snickered. This was probably the first time in her entire life that she had come across someone as close-mouthed as the sheikh, and when I saw the way Raj’s eyes gleamed in amusement as our gazes met…
I quickly looked away, but not quickly enough apparently, with the way anger once again flashed in my twin’s eyes.
And just as predicted, Dahlia went on to double her efforts to win the sheikh over, flattering him to no end, and when that didn’t work, she tried seducing him outright, with the way she’d practically shake her boobs every time she spoke. But this didn’t work either. None of it worked, to the point that I could see Johnny was feeling just as embarrassed as I was, at the way Dahlia was working so hard to impress the sheikh.
“Sorry about this,” Johnny muttered under his breath when Dahlia finally managed to get Raj to give her a little tour of the second floor.
“Dahlia’s used to being the center of attention,” I opted to say diplomatically.
“That’s one way of putting it.”
An awkward silence followed, and despite everything, it still made me feel sad that things had so drastically changed between Johnny and me. But honestly, looking at him now…it wasn’t that Johnny became less attractive in the past two months. He hadn’t changed at all, really. Rather, I was the one who changed.
Because of Raj.
I’ve been so stupid, I acknowledged to myself with an inner grimace. A part of me had half-expected, half-dreaded seeing Raj eventually fall victim to my twin’s charms. I mean, it’s not that far-fetched. Johnny had known me for years, and he had still ended up betraying me.
But obviously, I was wrong.
Or so I thought.
Once a naïve fool, always a naïve fool, and I had been so focused at worrying about Raj being attracted to Dahlia that I had forgotten how deviously good my twin could be at making trouble. Idiot that I was, I thought that everything was fine now, and Dahlia could never come between us. And while I was right on that score…
“I promised the sheikh I’d prepare my special brand of mocktails for us,” Dahlia was saying as she and the sheikh came back. “How about we do it together, so you and I can have some sisterly bonding time?”
I nodded reluctantly, not seeing any graceful way out of this. But the moment we were alone in the kitchen, I lived to regret it right away.
“You bitch!” Gone was the innocent Dahlia of earlier, and in its place was someone so bitter and spitting mad I couldn’t help laying a protective hand over my womb. Unfortunately, Dahlia saw this, too, and it seemed to enrage her even further that she actually took a sudden step towards me, her hand already lifting up as if to strike me.
“Don’t!” I didn’t want to get into a fight and risk having my baby hurt. “If you leave a single mark on me, the sheikh won’t let you get away with it. You know that.”
Several moments passed, and then Dahlia finally lowered her arm. “You think you’ve had the last laugh, don’t you?”
I shook my head. “This isn’t a competition—-”
“I bet you cried and fed him all kinds of bull about me,” she spat. “But tell me, big sis – is it worth it, throwing away your precious principles,” she sneered, “just to get back at me?”
“I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about—-”
“DON’T BOTHER PRETENDING,” she snapped. “I obviously made a mistake by missing out on marrying your sheikh, but I bet you’re still willing to trade places with me. After all, Johnny is the love of your life—-”
“I don’t love him,” I denied right away.
“Johnny seems to think differently,” Dahlia taunted. “And let’s face it, sis. Goody-two-shoe types like you don’t just fall out of love right away, and as much as it disgusts me to say this – I know you’re not with the sheikh for the money. So it can only be one thing—-”