Chapitre Vingt Quatre
Par Jo Lee
Lola’s eyes burned as they shifted frantically and systematically between Larry’s shocked gaze and Jennifer’s dumbstruck facial expression. She’d been waiting there for the past ten minutes, trying to come up with an alternative plan to get into Larry’s room, just to talk to him. He was acting even more distant than usual and she was certain once she showed him what he was missing, things would change for the better. They were so good together, even if their previous arrangement wasn’t ideal, it was worth it. And the feelings she had for him proved that. She heard quiet commotion behind the door and realized someone was in the room with him. Torn between anger and curiosity, she waited anxiously for something to ensue so she couldn’t have been more surprised to see Laurent’s girlfriend come out of Larry’s room, with Larry still half-naked.
“ESPECE DE PUTE!” (You fucking slu!t) Lola launched at Jen before anyone could even realize what was going on. Lola grabbed a handful of Jen’s hair and backed her against the wall with raging fury.
“HEY…OOHH ARRETE, ARRETE!!” (HEY STOP, STOP!!) Larry intervened quickly but Lola had still managed to accidentally rip off one of Jen’s fake eyelashes. Holy fuck, this bitch is strong. Jen was still in a daze. Less than a minute ago, she was in Larry’s room and now here she was being attacked by a 5’10 beautiful monster. How did she not see the attack coming?
“QU’EST CE QUE TU FAIS??” (WHAT ARE YOU DOING?) Larry was yelling at Lola. Jen had never heard him raise his voice in the short time she’d known him and in retrospective, realized this was the first time she’d ever even seen him angry.
“QU’EST CE QUE JE FAIS LARRY? TU ME PRENDS POUR UNE CONNE. NON MAIS VRAIMENT, TU TE FOUS DE MA GUEULE. MONSIEUR MELANCOLIE — POUR QUI? CETTE PETASSE? T’ES OUF? SERIEUSEMENT? EN PLUS DE CA, C LA MEUF DE TON FRERE! T’ES VRAIMENT SANS HONTE, PUTAIN DE MERDE!! TU OSES ME TROMPER AVEC UNE MEUF SI MOCHE — C’EST RIDICULE.” (WHAT AM I DOING LARRY? YOU MUST THINK I’M STUPID. NO BUT REALLY THOUGH, YOU’RE FUCKING KIDDING ME. MISTER MELANCHOLIC — FOR WHO? THIS BITCH? ARE YOU CRAZY? ON TOP OF THAT, SHE’S YOUR BROTHER’S GIRLFRIEND! FUCK — YOU REALLY HAVE NO SHAME. SHIT. HOW DARE YOU CHEAT ON ME WITH SOME UGLY BROAD? THIS IS A JOKE!”
“LOLA, VA TE FAIRE VOIR AILLEURS!!” (LOLA, GO FLY A FUCKING KITE!) Larry replied rather stoically.
“Lola, it’s not what it looks li–” Jen tried to jump in the middle of this chaotic scene but was cut off promptly by Lola.
“DIS MON NOM ENCORE UNE FOIS ET JE VAIS T’EPLUCHER COMME UNE ORANGE, PETASSE.” (SAY MY NAME ONE MORE TIME AND I WILL PEEL YOU LIKE AN ORANGE, BITCH.) Lola spat at her. Larry was the human barrier between them yet Jen could still feel Lola’s anger vibrating through him. All this yelling and aggressivity felt so vivid and scary. Lola may have been a model but she was acting a hoodrat to the chore at the moment and she wanted nothing to do with it.
“TU AS 5 SECONDES POUR DEGUERPIR D’ICI OU JE TE JURES TU ME PERDRAS POUR TOUJOURS.” (YOU HAVE 5 SECONDS TO GET OUT OF MY FACE OR I SWEAR YOU’LL LOSE ME FOREVER.) Larry knew she never had him to begin with but he was willing to say anything for Lola to simmer down and go away. He hated this scene she was causing and how fearful it made Jennifer. If he was trying to convince her to choose him over Lau, this was certainly not helping his chances.
Lola stepped back but not before taking one more hateful glance at Jen. She looked so threatening that Jen couldn’t help feeling the fear creep up in the midst of the hair that stood on her skin. Or was it remorse she was feeling. Lola laughed spitefully and shook her head.
“Je t’ai deja perdu.” (I already lost you) And with those words, she turned on her sky-scraper heels and marched with attitude toward the elevator. Larry and Jen stood there for a minute watching her walk away and once she was out of sight, Larry turned back to Jen.
“Jen, ca va?” A doting look she’d never seen Larry possess washed over his features and she could tell he was sorry for what had happened, even without him saying so. In that moment, he looked eerily like Laurent and Jen felt like an idiot for thinking that since they were twins.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Or I will be,” She tried for a small smile but her face wasn’t cooperating. If she was being truthful, that had been scary. Two hours ago, she embraced the thought that she might be getting into a fight but with Ayara..not with Lola. Lola had every right to me mad, or at the look of things, completely bat-shit crazy and furious. She was certain it was only a matter of time until she found Lau and told him that his so-called girlfriend was sleeping with his very own brother. And what would she do then? She couldn’t deny it if Lau ever confronted her. He deserved the truth. And so did she!
“I’m so so sorry about that.” Larry took her hands in his and apologized. She already knew he was sorry but hearing it just reaffirmed what happened.
“It’s not your fault.” Jen said cryptically. Larry knew she probably felt as if she was the reason behind all of this.
“It’s not yours Jen! Don’t think that.” He was very convincing but not enough to actually make her believe that without her, all this would’ve been avoided.
“I really have to go now,” She withdrew her hands from his and avoided his gaze.
“After that?” Larry was now getting mad at her. He didn’t care if his brother found them, the worst had passed and he dreaded the thought of letting her go knowing that Lola might still be lurking around somewhere, “I’m not letting you go. Who knows what could happen?”
“Especially after that! I’ll manage, I just can’t be here right now.” He grabbed her arms with force throwing her further off balance as he tried to shake some sense into her.
“I don’t care about anything and if you want to go, okay then go. But if something happens to you, I will be mad at myself Jen.” He threatened her, hoping that with those words she might understand just how much her safety meant to him. He let go of her arms and she stumbled against the door.
“I’ll be fine.” She couldn’t even look him in the eyes, straightening herself and walking around him to head in the hallway. Larry’s face was tense and he felt very angry. Would it be so hard for her to listen to him just once? Unfortunately, as much as he wanted, he couldn’t force her to stay so he returned in his room and slammed the heavy door.
Jen shook in fear when she heard his door slam as she approached the elevator. She understood his concern but this night had been too much to absorb. She was ready to exchange all this glitz and glam for the comfort and quiet of her tiny bed. In dire need of a shower and a proper night of sleep, she achingly pressed the elevator button and started looking through her missed calls to find the number for a taxi.
Laurent had now searched every possible guest place in this enormous hotel and was exhausted, physically and mentally. He understood that Jen was mad because he completely deserted her but she wasn’t even giving him the chance to explain himself or what happened. He was frustrated after having called her more than a dozen times — after she unceremoniously hung up on him. He didn’t want to take the chance to go all the way to her house only to realize she hadn’t gone home, and he wasn’t sure what to do because she stated she was home and then claimed she wasn’t. This night was not at all what he’d expected with Ayara latching on to him after her speech and then following him to his room. Admittedly, he flirted a lot with Ayara — it was a nice reminder of what he didn’t miss about the single life. Girls teasing you, never knowing which ones were genuine or which ones just enjoyed the attention. Lau had been around a few female artists, enough to know that the earth needed to revolve around them at all times when you were in their presence. Ayara was no different with an ego to match her alter ego, she required people to notice when she entered a room and exited. She was used to being the center of attention, even in private quarters. Being around her was like being protected from the outer world, the real world because everything went smoothly all the time, the word ‘No’ simply did not exist. Anything you wanted would be hand-delivered to you within the next business day. Ayara was her own God, that woman had lost touch with reality a long time ago…perhaps until tonight. Lau would be lying if he denied he didn’t enjoy the immediate favoritism him and his brother felt the minute they enrolled in this business deal. Ayara was always friendly to them, even if she lost her temper with the other dancers and sometimes even the choreographer. The first time they took a break, she walked over to him in a room full of well-known dancers and invited him to join her. This opportunity just keeps developing at the speed of light, he thought. Ayara hinted that she would like him to join her on every break they took and he gladly accepted. He had so many questions about the industry he wanted to ask her and admittedly, it was hardly a headache to be with close proximity of one of Maxim’s most beautiful women in the world. He was the envy of every dancer in the room, and every other man on earth.
However, when she invited him to her vacation home in the south of France, Lau started coming to terms just how much she fancied him. There was also some sly but present display of affection from her and then of course, the obvious bonus he received on top of their large salary for a few days’ work. His skepticism kicked in full time. If he was flattered before, now he was just turned off and disappointed. Did he entertain the idea of sleeping with her? Of course. Was he ever tempted to? Very much so. But if she felt the need to buy his attention or affection, that proved a few things to Lau and none of them were flattering. Lau was still in the honeymoon phase with Jen and cared about her a lot, even if time to time, he was tempted here and there. He never claimed to be a perfect boyfriend, matter of fact, he didn’t even know how to be a good boyfriend to start with. But Jen was a good teacher, without even trying, she made him feel as if everything he did was right, never pressured him or asked anything of him. When they were together, he felt really devoted to her, taking in her company and her carefree attitude. She was very bohemian in her thought-process but could turn around and grow a different yet equally interesting personality. He felt stable with her, especially because in a lot of ways she was slightly unbalanced but that was part of her charm.
He stood around the lobby, looking at his phone. No callbacks from her. He would try to call her one more time before he went to bed. This night had left him confused and tired. He wasn’t sure if Ayara was even talking to him anymore but Jen obviously wasn’t. Or Larry apparently. After briefly considering to stop by his brother’s room to vent and clear the air, Lau decided on settling for a bit of solitude tonight. Plus he hadn’t seen Lola in a while, she was probably with Larry and he didn’t feel like disturbing anyone else. He walked briskly to the elevator and waited for it to descend to the ground floor. When the door opened, Jen was standing there, head in the stars, looking tired and a lot more unkempt than when he’d last seen her.
“Jen! I’ve been looking for you everywhere,” He said exasperated and slightly relieved. She finally noticed him standing there, still looking sharp and tidy, except without his vest and jacket. He was just wearing his shirt, tucked into his dress pants. Was she the only one who’d been up to no good? It certainly looked that way.