Welcome to another #WritingWednesday, everybody! I feel like I shouldn’t write a long, flowery introduction, so I’ll just cut to the chase and tell you what I have in store for you today.
As you can probably guess from the title, this excerpt is from Betrayed. This chapter isn’t on Wattpad because I wrote this chapter AFTER posting the first few, so this’ll be a the first read for everybody. In this chapter, Skylar Rose gathers her Vanilla Squad for what they believe is a regular slumber party. Nothing’s “regular” when Skylar Rose and Marquilla Guzman are in the same place.
Hope you enjoy this week’s excerpt and have a great Wednesday. See you next week for another! xx
Before the industry can reclaim everyone’s lives and whisk us back into work mode, Skylar gathers our “Vanilla Squad” for a sleepover. Everyone believes this is regular girls’ night in—a normal slumber party. It won’t. Knowing Skylar, she’ll incorporate business since certain events recently popped up on social media, and she’s not too pleased with what people are saying.
I don’t see why else she’d assemble her faithful four, last minute, for a sleepover unless there’s more than baking and karaoke involved. There’s definitely an ulterior motive.
The five of us—Elle, Farah, Sima, Skylar, and me—convene in the kitchen to bake cupcakes and brownies. Before we can dig into the baking bonanza, we’re forced to sit around the counter for a so-called “talk.”
Something tells me this meeting is about the squad’s rules, and Skylar will use this opportunity to reinforce them on us. Okay, maybe I’m the only one who needs to be scolded, but she won’t single me out in front of them.
Skylar’s favorite cat, the fat orange one named Pikachu, sits on her lap as she strokes him. She’s like Giovanni, the Team Rocket boss. The comparison is striking when Skylar has an irreputable authoritative air and that stupid cat is ALWAYS by her side when she’s home.
“I know you guys are dying to start baking,” Skylar announces. “But I have a few issues to address. However, I’d like to welcome you to the New Year! Now begins a new era in our lives. For example, Marquilla and Jason split for good. I’m in a new relationship, E—”
“That’s totally PR,” Sima interrupts.
Skylar glowers and Sima shrinks back. The girls are the same age, but there’s no doubt Skylar is frightening and has the upper hand. It’s common sense that you don’t cross Skylar Rose. That’s why anyone who comes for her ears bad press. Her team is one of the best in the industry, and they will make you suffer the consequences.
“Anyways, certain…problems have risen,” Skylar digresses as if the pause was nothing. “These PROBLEMS are horrendous. They’re totally fake accusations. I don’t know why people would say those things!”
“That you’re meant to Danny and Marquilla didn’t really have lupus because she was in rehab for drugs?” Elle guesses. She’s practically spot on.
“Exactly!” Skylar cries, pounding a fist on the counter so hard, she scares Pikachu out of her lap. “Who the hell is spreading this? Oh, this also reminds me that the rules need to be reinforced. I can’t have more scuffufles when my reputation is on the line. Do you know what’s at stake here? Or do you think your actions have no consequences?”
Skylar briefly regards me. The accusatory gaze isn’t something I should take lightly. I fucked up. She wouldn’t be surreptitiously singling me out had the coke not controlled me.
“I can’t believe anyone would accuse me of being mean or any other expression of unkindness to Danny!” she frustratingly continues. “I’m the nicest person in the industry!”
“I dunno,” Elle doubts. “Jason’s super sweet a—”
“SHUT UP, ELLE! JASON FLAMEL IS NOT NICER THAN ME!” Skylar protests, sending Elle into a cowering retreat. “Tell them how much nicer I am than your ex, Marquilla!”
The exposing rats are right. Skylar is one of the most controlling and frightening people in the industry. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen her look this villainous before. She stares at me with such intense authority, there’s no way I can deny her hold on me.
“She’s right,” I conform. I quickly glance at Skylar and breathe a sigh of relief after seeing her resume normal composure. “She’s nicer to me than Jason ever was. Plus, she knows how to take criticism on board.”
“Jason ignored her when he was touring,” Skylar adds. “He knew about Marquilla’s lupus to some extent, but didn’t acknowledge her until after the fact.”
“Are you sure?” Farah questions, furrowing her brows in confusion.
“A hundred percent. That’s why whoever’s spreading these lies will be punished. I refuse to let this rest. If you guys know who did it, speak up!” Skylar voices, scanning each of our faces. She rises and slams a fist on the counter, startling everyone. “SPEAK, DAMMIT! WHO DID THIS?”
Nobody says a word. Everyone lowers their gazes. I know for a fact it wasn’t Sima. If Farah or Elle started either rumor, Skylar will kick her out and make her life living hell. They know the rules by now, but it appears they need a reminder so this doesn’t happen again.
“S-some of my model friends want to know how they can be seen with you,” Farah nervously mentions. “They’re wondering i—”
“Nope. No more models!” Skylar insists. “No way am I being seen with another model! Do you know what people say about them? There are rumors they do coke, Farah. I know it’s true. All of your stupid model friends do it! I’m not naïve; I know it’s true. I think you and Audrey are the only clean ones. I don’t comprehend how you can associate with them outside work. No, I’m not being seen with one of your friends!”
“They’re nice people,” Farah reasons.
“That doesn’t change the fact that they still do drugs! You know how bad it is for you. They’re VILE! They can destroy your life! Why should I boost a druggie’s career?”
I know it was unintended, but again, I feel like Skylar’s spiting me with her words. She knows that’s why I was in the hospital last year, and she won’t let me forget it. I’m fortunate to get off easy with a formal warning. I could be shunned, belittled, and attacked right now if she didn’t throw me this lifeline. I’d definitely be ruined if she knew my relationship with my deal isn’t exactly over.
“Skylar won’t have to worry about that,” I join the conversation. “We have background checks for a reason. Nobody hangs with Skylar unless they’re clean. Everyone knows how one photo with her can get people talking.”
“They’d have to follow my rules and sign a contract, anyways,” Skylar adds.
“Skylar, you know Elle and I would never do or say anything to disrespect you,” Farah pleads. “We actually like you for you and don’t care about those perks. You know that!”
“Other people do,” Farah comments. “Which is why we’ll be picky about anyone who wants to join. I promise we’ll be strict.”
Pleased with everyone’s dedication to her cause, Skylar rises and nods, signaling the meeting is over. Everyone follows suit and waits for her next move, as if Skylar is the Queen of England. Well, it appears Her Royal Highness is finally ready to bake now that she’s wearing an apron.
“Let’s get baking, girls!” she excitedly declares, clapping her hands together. “We’ll show everyone how fun a Skylar Rose slumber party can be.”
Everyone immediately heads to work on the goodies while music plays in the background. Our teamwork gets the job done—half are on brownie duty while the others work on cookies—but that doesn’t mean Skylar’s working us like a factory. The once pristine kitchen is proof we’re having way too much fun mixing ingredients than we should.
“STOP THROWING FLOUR AT ME! YOU’RE WASTING PRECIOUS INGREDIENTS!” Sima yells as Farah continuously shoots handfuls of flour her way.
“That’s payback for the eggs!” Farah voices in defense. “I know you did it on purpose, too!”
I shake my head and chuckle at the squabbling girls making caramel brownies. I’m glad they’re having more fun arguing to notice Jason’s “Thought of You” is now playing on the radio. Too bad Elle and Skylar, who are manning the cookies with me, noticed the song change. It’s funny how the singers and non-singers are together. That’s purely coincidental, not planned.
“We need a video to show Instagram what we’re up to,” Skylar informs us. “My baking parties are always fun!”
“Not with this song in the background, we’re not!” I protest before hastily popping chunk of cookie dough in my mouth. “Wait until this song is over or change the station so I’m not forced to hear is voice.”
“That’s why I am gonna film us!” Skylar sweetly says. “Have fun. Camera’s about to roll.”
Skylar wasn’t lying. Seconds later, everyone except me jams as they work and Skylar records her Instavid.
“The girls are over for a sleepover, and we’re having a baking party!” she squeals to her millions of followers. “Oh dear…Farah and Sima are all covered in flour and eggs. It’s getting out of hand. Hope you’re having a great time. Love you guys!”
Once Skylar sets her phone down, I grab the bag of brown sugar and pour it over her head. The girls stop joking around and stare at me. Skylar tenses and turns on her heels, hands balled up. I shoot her a wide grin, intentionally not hiding my guilt, and wait for her to yell in my face or something. But Skylar doesn’t do that. Instead, she glares, cocks her head to the side, and pours milk over me.
“The milk, Skylar? Really?” I angrily ask as I shiver from the cold liquid trailing down my body.
“Everything else is too far away,” she innocently counters, batting her pretty lashes. “I just wanted to get even, Marquie. And now we are. End of discussion.”
I sigh and cross my arms, irritated. I’m cold, wet, and in dire need of a shower. This may be Skylar’s place and she’s the boss, but she’s totally gonna get it. I’ll let the cookies and brownies bake so te house doesn’t burn down, but after that, it’s game on.
“Marquilla, you should jump in the pool if you want to get rid of that milk,” Elle suggests. “You kinda stink and it’ll make you feel less sticky.”
“I’m not stepping a foot in that pool,” I grumble as I take a brownie and take a nibble. “Water’s cold and I’m eating.”
“You might as well,” Skylar voices in agreement. “Milk can really smell sometimes.”
The girls can taunt me all they want, but I’m not getting in that pool even if it’ll clean me up and eliminate that God-awful stench. It’s not my fault I smell and look like this, it’s Skylar’s! If anything, I should give her a taste of her own medicine and see how she likes it when she’s involuntarily drenched. It can’t be obvious; the girls sense I want revenge. I need a good excuse to do something.
Who are you kidding? I ask myself as I eye Skylar, who’s speaking to Elle about her songwriting methods. Skylar played dirty. That gives you the right to do the same. She knows what milk does. You should totally ambush her into the pool. Or you can gain revenge in another way before you do that.
Whoever decided to play a Sofia Gigante song is either trying to test my temper, or they don’t know the extent of my loathing for that girl. I scope out the area and see Skylar touch her phone after the song ends. There’s a simple explanation for Jason’s song “Girlfriend” playing. She’s definitely trying to wind me up. There’s only one thing to do.
“You look like you’re scheming,” Sima observes.
She pulls up a chair and sits. I don’t understand why she’d want to be near me when I’m doused in milk. Sima chuckles as I scroll through my music. I can tell she thinks I’m being juvenile without a single glance at her face. Someone’s judgemental.
“Don’t blast a Bo Bros song when you know Skylar will flip,” she warns.
“All the more reason to do it,” I maliciously retort. “I can do whatever the hell i want, Sima Drake. Don’t tell me what to do. I’m covered in milk and she’s playing Sofia and Jason songs. She declared war, not me.”
The first note of “Fever” grabs everyone’s attention, especially Skylar’s. She can’t kick me out because I basically made her, but I’m no stranger to her wrath. As Skylar’s glare intensifies, I increase the volume and smirk. Elle and Farah sit on either side of Skylar, eyes wide with horror at my ballsy move. If I were anyone besides myself, I’d be that scared, too.
“Turn it off,” Sklar hisses. “Turn it off if you know what’s good for you, Marquilla.”
“Sky, I thought everyone would like a change,” I voice in a sickeningly sweet voice. I stand and slowly walk towards the trio. “I’m sure they’re tired of hearing Sofia and Jason by now.”
“You’re treading on very thin ice right now. I’m gonna ask you again. TURN. IT. OFF. NOW.”
Without warning, Skylar runs straight into me, knocking both of us into the pool. We both come up for air, but I dip us back under so nobody can see me kiss her. I think we’re okay now. Skylar bites her lip as she regards me once we resurface again, which must mean she’s not angry anymore.
The other girls stare, unsure of what to do. It’s simply, really. They should jump in and join us.
“Are you gonna stare at us, or are you gonna join us?” Skylar barks.
Elle, Fara, and Sima jump in without question. They attack Skylar and me, surrounding us for a playful water fight. I dive under to swim away from the chaos, but with no luck. Someone grabs my leg and pulls me back before I can escape.
I recognize the turquoise nail polish immediately—Sima. I swear she can’t leave me alone for long if we’re in the same room! The girl has nerve, especially since she knows I’m in a bitter mood.
“Skylar seems to enjoy dictatorship,” she quietly says. “So do you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I snap.
“You like people who are equally as bossy as you. No wonder you dumped Jason for her! Her star power matches his, too. But…you never planned Skylar, did you?”
“No. I-it naturally happened. Skylar hooked me up with Jason. Of course this was never expected! Everything just escalated. We didn’t know it’d end up like this.”
“So what you’re saying is you never mean to manipulate Skylar like she’s doing to those girls and you did to Jason?”
“She’s not manipulating Farah or Elle,” I deride.
Sima shoots me a questioning look. I sigh and dip y head in the water for a few seconds. Skylar isn’t manipulating anyone. She’s merely using her celebrity to help others who want a career boost. Elle and Farah are her legit friends—everyone else scrambles to Skylar for popularity. Skylar happens to be a control freak, which is why it might seem like she manipulates her squad.
“I’m serious, Sima! She’s just a control freak!” I insist.
The so-called control freak merrily circles Farah and Elle like a shark surrounding its prey. Okay, Skylar can occasionally derail when she doesn’t get her way and her attacks can be brutal, but that doesn’t mean she’s a master manipulator. I take full responsibility for what she’s become.
“Once Skylar realizes certain…things are true, you’ll have an enemy,” Sima cautions. “Marquilla, don’t let the drugs win. I know you still do it a—”
“WILL YOU GUYS STOP BEING SO WEIRD AND JOIN US?” Skylar yells. “We have big decisions to make over a movie and junk food. C’mon, let’s head back in!”
Sima and I look at each other and shrug before following the girls out of the pool. There’s a lesson for me: Skylar Rose is very much the leader of the pack. I can attempt outwitting her, but goodness knows anything I try will bite me in the ass. That’s why she’s in charge, not me. I’m just her faithful girlfriend and sidekick without my own hidden secrets.