Alarm makes my spine stiffen. Wait a minute. There are multiple articles about Drew and me? Talk about surreal. And the tiniest bit frightening. “What are they saying?”
“That you and Drew are involved in a mad, passionate affair and I’m nowhere to be found. I’m a horrible wife and mother who’s neglecting my husband’s needs, as well as the children’s. So that leads him to seek out a much younger woman—the newly hired nanny.” Fable rolls her eyes. “So ridiculous.”
“Right,” I say slowly, studying her. She doesn’t look mad, but sometimes you can never tell. My mom is good at that. She can pretend everything’s fine, but really she’s furious. “You don’t believe what they’re saying, do you?”
“No, of course not!” She sounds offended by my question. “I know my husband. He would never cheat on me.”
Whew. Glad she’s so firm on that subject. “Well, I have absolutely no interest in your husband whatsoever.”
“Oh, I know, Sydney. And I appreciate you saying so.” She smiles, but it’s strained. “We’re hoping we can ignore this and the rumors and speculation will eventually die down. That’s what’s happened before.”
Yikes. This is something they’ve had to deal with before? How awful. “But what if it doesn’t quiet down? What if they keep talking about it? About…Drew and me? What then?”
“Well, Drew has a publicist, and he’s pretty savvy. I’m sure he’ll help us figure out what to do next.” Fable smiles brightly and it almost feels—false. As if she’s trying to convince herself everything’s going to be just fine. “I’m not too worried, so you shouldn’t be either!”
Her casual enthusiasm is almost reassuring, but it feels a little off. What if this bogus story really does become a big deal? When it’s a slow news day or week the media tends to grab hold of something and never let it go. They can turn a false rumor into a bigger deal than it was ever supposed to be. I don’t want my face splashed all over tabloids and gossip websites.
Talk about embarrassing.
What if my parents find out? I’m almost certain they will. Mom loves to read those gossip sites. And once they find out, they’re going to be furious. They don’t even know I’m working this nanny job. They’ll jump to conclusions first and ask questions later. They’ve always thought the worst of me, especially my mother. It’s their automatic response, when I’ve never given them reason to doubt me or think I’m some sort of pathetic loser.
But that’s how they make me feel—like a loser. The moment they hear about this, they’ll probably demand I come home so they can take care of me.
Heaven forbid I learn how to take care of myself. This so-called punishment they’re putting me through is supposed to be some sort of test. They want me to cave and come running back to them.
I won’t do it. No matter how much bullshit is thrown at me, I won’t give in.
I won’t let them win.
“Should I say anything?” When Fable frowns, I continue. “To the media. Should I make some sort of statement?”
“No way.” Fable shakes her head. “The safest thing to do is ignore it for now. Like I said, most everything you read online and in the tabloids is completely false. You can’t trust the media. If you were to talk to them, they’d twist your words around and proclaim you’re in love with Drew or something stupid like that. Please don’t talk to them.”
“Okay,” I say with a nod. “I hope…I hope you’re not mad at me.”
The shock on Fable’s face is obvious. “Why would I be mad at you?”
“The photographers last night—we weren’t expecting them. It was a total fiasco. But I was so focused on getting the kids out of there, I really didn’t pay them that much attention. And then I fell and it looks like I caused even more problems.” My knees are bruised this morning, and a little scraped up, but it’s no big deal.
No, the real big deal is the photo, and all the articles about my supposed affair with Drew. I’d always heard that so much of the celebrity gossip is false. Now here’s actual proof.
“You’re okay after the fall, right?” Fable asks, pushing me out of my thoughts. “Do you need to see a doctor?”
“Oh, I’m fine. Really. Just a little bruised.” I shrug.
Fable smiles, though it’s faint. She still looks tired. “Thank you so much for taking care of our children last night. Drew and I appreciate it—you—more than you’ll ever know.” She grabs hold of my hand, giving it a light squeeze. “You’ve gone above and beyond your duties these last few weeks since you’ve been here. I hate that you’ve had to go through this, but it’ll pass. I know it will.”
I smile at her in return, but it doesn’t feel real. I hope I haven’t upset her. I hope she’ll still believe me in a week or two. Or even in five. I don’t want to have an affair with her husband. Despite the chemistry between Wade and I last night, I definitely don’t want to start anything with him either. A relationship, even a casual one, will be nothing but a distraction at this point in my life.
A distraction I absolutely don’t need.
It doesn’t pass. A week goes by and it’s all the tabloids can talk about. That one same photo is splashed everywhere. Every. Where. In black and white, in full on color, in HD—hell, there’s even a video that stupid TMZ somehow got of the two of us fleeing the restaurant with the children, looking like we’re together when we are so not. Unfortunately, luck isn’t on our side, and nothing big happens in the celebrity world to take their attention off of us.