“I caught you on a date with Bernard but yet the thought of me being unfaithful to you somehow got you shook,” his voice was calm as if they were discussing the weather. “I never cheated on you, by the way. Thank you for the trust in me.”
“It wasn’t a date,” she defended, “and I explained that already.”
“It was a date and your deer in the headlights look when I caught you two explained everything,” he replied, “and yet you’re going out to lunch with me?”
“Free lunch and you’re buying,” she countered, “I would be stupid to turn that down.”
“You didn’t have to come at all, you know this.” He slightly raised his voice. “You could’ve hung up on me.”
“And you would’ve called and called until I spoke to you,” she met his glance, “am I right?”
“I know my limits, Mari,” he shrugged, “believe it or not, when a woman says no, I do listen.”
“Is that right?” She smirked.
“Have you actually said no to me?” He asked. He waited a few moments and Mariana’s silence was deafening. “I thought so.”
“I can say no in different ways without actually saying it,” Mariana thought of their BDSM play. She’d only muttered the word red once and Scott firmly stopped. “So yes, I have said no to you.”
“I can turn around now and take you back to work,” his voice was rife with irritation, “I didn’t offer to take you out just to argue on how big of an asshole I am. We both know I am.”
“You want to know why I’m pissed off at you, Scott?” She yelled.
“Please?” He yelled back.
“I’m pissed because you left me high and dry, not once but fucking twice! Come to think of it, you did that our entire fucking relationship! When I finally get back on my feet, you sweep in like you’re a fucking white knight and then you disappear like you’re fucking Casper the Asshole Ghost! And you do this repeatedly; you keep stringing me along without stating exactly what it is that you want. And then you helped me to get a job that I don’t even want and once again, there goes Scott the Almighty doing something for Mariana the Weakling! I hate you and you can kiss my Black ass! Fuck you and your fucking White privilege!”
“Me and my fucking White privilege helped your Black ass a lot, didn’t it?” He sharply replied. “I did things for you because you deserve it, not because I expected anything in return. You could’ve turned down the Molina & Prior position. You could’ve declined every motherfucking gift I have ever given you. I don’t see you writing a check for – how much money was in your account, again? – oh, that’s right…for the fucking fifty thousand I had given you. So fuck me? No, Mariana, fuck you!”
“When will you understand it was never about the damn money?” She shouted back. “I don’t care about the money. I don’t care about the trip. I don’t care about any of that! It was never about that, Scott!”
“Then what was it about?” He demanded. “You’re launching all of these allegations towards me and I don’t know what it is that you want me to say?”
“I wanted you to say that you wanted me, Scott!” Hot tears streamed down her cheeks and her voice broke into heavy pauses as she spoke. “Not Erin, not Caprina, and not any of these other bitches that throw themselves at you. I wanted you to say that it was me you wanted and it was me you wanted to fight for. Instead, you pushed me away! I did everything for you. Even you said it yourself I was the perfect submissive and girlfriend. And what do I get? A trip to Tiffany’s to see a ring that you never gave me, which I’m convinced, you did that for shits and giggles. Instead, I get everything else but the one fucking thing I wanted from you the most! You think I want all of those goddamn shoes? All of those fancy clothes? You know what they are? They’re consolation prizes for what you didn’t want to give me and what’s worse is that you know what I’m saying is true.” Scott walked over to her and grabbed her arm, but she pushed him away. “No! I hate you!”
“Mari…” he begged.
“No! I hate you!” She cried. “I hate you!” He walked over to her and she slapped him, before crying into his chest. “I hate you,” she cried.
Scott swayed softly from side to side as his ex cried into his shirt. He gently stroked her hair and rubbed her back. He slightly pulled away and brushed his lips against hers, tasting a mix of tears and her natural sweet flavor. Their tongues touched as they held each other, delving more into the kiss.
The love between the pair exploded as their kiss deepened in the sunny L.A. afternoon. Scott softly pulled away and rested his forehead against his ex-girlfriend’s. After a few minutes, he finally spoke. “I’m sorry. I’ll make it right for you and for us, I promise.”
Mariana held onto her ex-boyfriend as he softly rocked her. She finally received a long-awaited apology admitting to seemingly everything and absolutely nothing. “Thank you.”
This is actually one of my favorite scenes within the entire series. Scott and Mariana, up until this point, never really fought. They’ve had their arguments and slight disagreements, but they never really had a showdown like the one above. It was imperative to the story for a few reasons. One, to show that Mariana does have a backbone and she’s not completely oblivious to what Scott has done. Two, to show both former lovers are still passionately in love with each other.
It was a passionate scene to write and even re-reading it now, it does something to your soul. You have Mariana complaining that Scott is always meddling in her life (and she’s right to an extent). You have Scott complaining Mariana wasn’t appreciative of everything he’s done for her (and he’s right to an extent). So you have a scene where both parties are essentially right in their arguments and feelings.
The ‘White privilege’ line suddenly came to me one day. I knew Scott would say it but I didn’t know in what manner. Scott Reed isn’t one for cultural appropriation. He understands his life has been pretty easy due to his race and background (he comes from old money). He’s the type of person who took an African-American studies course in college. He pledged to a Black fraternity. He counts Teddy Pendergrass and Jodeci as two of his favorite artists. He knows more about Black history than Mariana does. If there are protests, he’ll be in the streets marching as well.
You see where I’m getting at? He’s not the type to say that line.
So when Mariana throws that line at him, he naturally retorts and gets on the defensive by saying it right back. I have to credit my husband (who’s also been a frequent collaborator on the books) for helping me with this idea.
The original ending to this scene didn’t involve a kiss. I think one of my betas (not sure if it was Shikara or Victoria) wanted a bit more closure to that scene. The kiss was added to show that despite what they’re doing, the games they’re both playing, there is still a lot of love between Scott and Mariana. Their reunion is pretty much inevitable; it’s just a matter of when at this point.
S&M IV, Part 1 is available now. Part 2’s release date TBA soon.