A Complicated Affair
Isabella's path in life was set from birth. She was groomed to be a politician's wife - more accurately, she was groomed to be the wife of Jacob Black. As time passed, her marriage begins to implode. Secrets and realizations about Jacob come to light, and Isabella begins to realize that her life no longer belongs to her. As she struggles to find peace and happiness, and a way out of the life that was designed for her, she begins to find herself, and discover lust and maybe even real love.
I've read dozens and dozens of fan-fic, but this is my FIRST foray into writing it! :) This story is AH, adult, E/B. Hope it's not too awful!
2. A Politician's Wife
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“Mrs. Black! Mrs. Black!”
Isabella ducked her head, and hurried into the building, trying to ease the shaking in her hands that always came from the attention that rained on her by reporters after a debate night. The doorman, Seth, already had the elevator open for her, and she hurried through the open doors with a grateful smile. Seth pressed the buttons for the penthouse, and nodded to her as the doors drew closed. Safely inside, she leaned back against the wall and clenched her fists a few times, her fingernails biting into the fleshy part of her palm. She took a few steadying breaths.
Four years had passed since she had become Mrs. Jacob Black, but there were days when she felt that surely it had been longer, for time seemed to both drag curiously and fly by to the point where she felt unable to catch her breath.
Jacob’s political success far exceeded anyone’s expectations. The public viewed him as charismatic, intelligent, and honest. They enjoyed his youth – he was not as jaded as many of his political peers, and his political platform was based around a brighter future for all. His political team, headed by Isabella’s own father, made certain Jacob was viewed as poised and polished, but friendly and relaxed.
After the wedding, Jacob had allowed himself three weeks to indulge with his bride. They’d traveled on an Alaskan cruise, content in their newly wedded bliss. Isabella’s cold feet and doubt from before the wedding had disappeared in her honeymoon haze, and she enjoyed being a wife. More than ever during that time, she felt like her destiny was complete.
Isabella’s parents had moved her belongings into Jacob’s Seattle apartment in their absence, so when the newlyweds returned from their honeymoon, Isabella joined Jacob in his home. Settling back into reality was like being immersed in a tub of cold water for her. With the elections for state representatives right around the corner, Jacob became a stranger to his new wife. All of his actions in public were geared toward winning one of the two spots available. Isabella felt like an annoyance to him.
Sue and her mother continued to educate Isabella in how she would need to behave. When Jacob was elected a state representative, Isabella’s education in the topic increased. Isabella thought, somewhat bitterly, the education could have been summed up by someone simply telling her that her role was to smile in public and looked adoringly at her husband, and then disappears into the woodwork until and unless Jacob needed something. Oh, and look sophisticated and beautiful too, perfect at all times.
The elevator lurched to a stop, and the doors slid open. The heels of Isabella’s beige pumps clicked across the marble floor of the penthouse foyer. She pulled open the hallway closet and unceremoniously kicked the heels into the recesses of the closet, feeling oddly satisfied at the loud thuds that echoed through the empty apartment. Taking a minute to rub her painful heels, she padded barefoot down the hallway to her bedroom.
She unzipped and wriggled out of the charcoal colored pencil skirt she wore, letting it drop to the floor. She fumbled as she unbuttoned the small buttons of her black blouse, her recently manicured fingernails feeling unnatural still. Pulling the clip from her hair, she reached into the drawer of her dresser and pulled out a pair of faded and ripped jeans she’d kept since high school and a hooded sweatshirt that had FORKS, WA written on it in washed out white letters. Pulling on the clothes, Isabella felt renewed, like she’d shed a skin that was too tight and restricting. She felt like herself.
Kicking her prim, discarded clothes into the hamper, she headed to the kitchen. She pulled out a carton of left-over Chinese food. Grabbing a water bottle and a fork, she heading into the living room and sank into the comfortable sofa. She turned on the TV with the remote, and more out of habit than interest, turned on the 6:00 news to listen to the recap of Jacob’s debate the night before.
Another election year had begun, and this time the pressure was higher for Jacob, who would be turning 30 during the summer and eligible for the Senatorial position. Jacob was a crowd pleaser, and had quite a following, but his opponent was equally popular. Sam Uley had a near cult-like following, in fact. Isabella found something creepy about him, but knew she was somewhat biased.
The issues had been particularly intense as well, which made the debates heated.
Isabella gave a start as her own image came across the screen. She wondered when she’d get used to seeing her face in newspapers and on the news. Her father had used her in a new angle to promote Jacob. Since Sam Uley was recently divorced, Charlie pushed the idea that Jacob was happily married to a young, beautiful wife. Isabella found herself becoming a media darling, which Charlie and Renee loved.
Isabella snorted as she listened to the reporter on the screen. “Black’s young wife, Isabella, was unable to attend the debate due to illness.”
Illness, Isabella thought. Right. Nice cover, there, Dad. Or was that Jake’s lie?
She thought back to the argument with Jacob the night before over the phone. Isabella had planned to travel to Olympia for the debate, but Jacob had refused. At first, he had been casual about it, but as Isabella insisted she wanted to be there to support him, as well as spend some time with him, he had become hostile. The conversation ended with an icy command that she stay where she was, and he had hung up on her.
For eighteen months, Jacob had primarily been living in Olympia while Isabella remained in Seattle. At first, Jacob had told Isabella he wanted to get the home in Olympia ready for them before she gave up the apartment in Seattle. The reason shifted and changed as the months passed by. Now, it was the he wanted to wait until the election was over before she came to Olympia, because he was so busy that he wanted her to have her friends and family around to keep her company in his absence.
The election was still ten and a half months away.
Which meant that, if Isabella was to continue to stay in Seattle, she would be separated from her husband for a minimum for two years and four months.
Isabella pressed the power button as her husband’s face filled the screen, and resisted the urge to throw the remote at the wall in frustration. The phone beside her rang, and she picked it up.
“You okay?” the voice on the line chirped.
Isabella laughed. “I swear, you’re half-psychic, Alice Cullen!” Smiling genuinely for the first time all day, Isabella leaned back into the couch cushions, her mood already shifting at the sound of her very best friend.
Alice gave her tinkling laugh. “I’m good, huh? In the spirit of complete honest, though, I was watching the news. I heard you were sick?”
“Yeah,” Isabella remarked pointedly, “I heard that too.”
Alice had befriended Isabella when they’d met at a spa a year before. Isabella had been drawn to Alice’s upbeat, happy-go-lucky attitude. Life with her was a whirlwind, and Isabella felt like it was a breath of fresh air just to be caught up with it. They’d become close over the past several months, and Alice knew her well. She understood the tone in her friend’s voice. “Okay…” she said slowly, “I take it you’re not really sick…. So… what’s going on? Did you have another fight with Senator Black?”
Isabella heard the scorn in her friend’s voice at the mention of Jacob’s name. She sighed. “Hard to really fight when I see him every other week…”
“I thought you were going to go see him one or two nights a week, and he was going to come home to you on the weekends?”
“I thought so too. But last night, he was too busy with the debate to deal with me, last weekend he was traveling to D.C., the week before I had to be at a luncheon and then Renee wasn’t feeling well, and the weekend before that….” Her voice trailed off.
Alice sighed. “Buddy, this is crazy. You don’t have a marriage. Hell, I’m not even convinced you have a relationship. Jazz and I just started dating four months ago, and I think we’ve spent more nights together than you and Jake have in your whole marriage.” When Isabella didn’t reply, Alice continued. “Bella, it’s one thing that you don’t spend time together. That’s hard enough. But he’s not even nice to you unless there’s a camera on or a voter nearby. He’s even getting lazy about that…. There was a picture of you in the Seattle Times three weeks ago… He looked like he was yelling at you.”
Isabella cringed, remembering the photo. He had in fact been yelling at her. She had mentioned that she had spoken to a realtor about putting the Seattle apartment on the market and moving to Olympia, and his temper had flared. He’d quickly reined it in after realizing they were walking down a public sidewalk, but had let her have it when they returned home. Jacob had locked himself in the spare bedroom in spite of her pleading, and had left for Olympia before she’d gotten out of bed the next morning. It had been the last time they’d seen one another.
“You’re twenty-three years old, Bella. Can you really see yourself living like this the rest of your life?”
Swiping a tear from her cheek, Isabella cleared her throat. “Jake’s all I know, Alice,” she replied, softly. “My family adores him; he’s been part of my family since before I was born…. It’s not like he’d ever hurt me.”
“He might not hit you with his fists, Bella,” Alice said softly, “but it doesn’t mean he’s not physically hurting you. Have you noticed how much weight you’ve lost in the past six months? Do you see the dark circles under your eyes? You’re beautiful, Bell – you always have been. But sometimes I look at you, and you look like you’re forty-five years old. Is this the life you want?”
“It won’t always be like this,” Isabella insisted. “It’s an election year. Once November is over, it’ll calm down. It’ll get better. This is how it’s supposed to be.”
“Says who? And, yeah – sure. The election is over in November. But then what happens after that? A senate seat isn’t a life-term. And you know that’s not really the prize Jacob has his eye on. You know that he’s trying to get in McCarty’s back pocket so he can be called up as a VP bid when McCarty runs in four years.”
Isabella knew this to be true. Emmett McCarty was a current Senator from Washington. He made it clear that his intention was to give up his seat to prepare a campaign for presidency. Emmett and Jacob had forged a relationship of mutual respect, and shared a lot of the same opinions. They’d spent quite a bit of time together lately. Isabella had met Emmett several times, and thought he was great – warm, humorous, and easy-going. She genuinely liked him, although found his wife (trophy wife, as she cattily referred to her privately) annoying. Rosalie McCarty, a former model, looked devastating beautiful and devoted to her husband in public, but in more intimate parties, she came across as shallow and condescending of others.
“Let’s forget the political BS for a minute,” Alice went on, “what about sex?”
Isabella gave a small dry cough. “Excuse me?”
“Sex, Bella. S-E-X. I know it’s been awhile, but you can’t genuinely have forgotten what it is. The backbone of any good, healthy, loving relationship? If you and your hubby are living ninety minutes from one another, seeing each other every week or two, then you’re having sex, what? Four times a month? Three? Or less?”
Alice paused, and Isabella waited a beat. She raised her eyebrows. “Alice, do you really expect me to answer that?”
“Are we or are we not best friends, Isabella Black?” Alice snapped. She gave a sigh. “You know what? Never mind. Don’t answer it. I imagine I know the answer anyway. Getting you to answer wasn’t really my point anyway. My point was getting you to think about it. Let me repeat this, Bella. You’re twenty-three. Do you know what most twenty-three year olds are doing right now, on this Friday night? They’re in a bar getting hammered, or laid, or trying anyway. Not holed up in some fancy, pristine penthouse apartment eating take-out and wearing ratty jeans.”
Isabella glanced down at her six year old jeans and the carton of Chinese food perched on the couch beside her, and shook her head. “God, Alice, how do you do that? Do you have hidden cameras in my apartment or something?”
“No, Bella. I just know you.” She paused. “Do you trust me?”
“Of course I do.”
“OK, good. Then prove it tonight. I’m coming over in a bit. I’ll be there at nine-thirty. And I’m going to ask you to trust me for the rest of the night, okay? Please? Just this once.”
Isabella sighed. “Fine,” she relented. Listening to Alice’s hasty goodbye, Isabella pressed the End button on her phone, and tossed it on the couch beside her. She wondered what her friend was up to.
True to her word, Alice arrived promptly at nine-thirty, laden down with bags and grinning wickedly. Her boyfriend, Jasper Whitlock, followed her, looking just as mischievous.
“What is all that?” Isabella demanded, pointed to the bags.
“I believe one might call this,” Alice said daintily, holding up one bag, “a twenty-three year old in a bag. You, my very best friend, might better refer to it as a really great disguise.”
Alice giggled. “That’s what she said,” she quipped, making Jasper laugh. She grabbed Isabella’s hand, and pulled her through the apartment. “Be out in twenty!”she shouted to her boyfriend over her shoulder.
Once closed in Isabella’s bedroom, Alice dumped the bags unceremoniously on the bed. “Strip,” she ordered.
Isabella raised her eyebrows. “Alice, you’re going to have to let me in on your secret here. What is going on?”
Alice didn’t bother looking up from the bags she was rifling through. “Bella, we’re going out. Clubbing. And don’t open your mouth to argue. Tonight, you’re going to be a regular twenty-three year old girl.”
Isabella crossed her arms across her chest. “Alice,” she said, looking at her friend as though she’d lost her mind, “I can’t do that! I can’t go clubbing for God’s sake! What would that look like in the press? Jacob would kill me!”
Alice ran a hand through her short black hair. “Your husband should not care that you want to go have fun with your friends. If he does, screw him. And the press will not be taking pictures of Isabella Black tonight. Tonight, you’re going to be Bella. And I’m going to make you look the part.” She grabbed Isabella by the shoulders and looked at her firmly. “You said you trust me, Bella. Please. Shut up and trust me.”
Isabella closed her eyes for a moment, and then nodded her acquiescence with a resigned sigh. Blindly, she let Alice take the lead, helping only by quickly undressing from the comfortable clothes she’d thrown on earlier into the outfit Alice had picked out for clubbing. She felt like she was putting on a costume as she slid on the low-waisted black pants and strap a material Alice insisted was a shirt. It was a metallic color that draped over her chest, and tied with two strings in the back, leaving her entire back exposed, as well as the flat plain her of stomach.
“You always pull your hair back so tight and put it up,” Alice mused, tugging on a lock of Isabella’s hair thoughtfully. “Let’s leave it down. Let me just add some curl to it.” She pulled a curling iron out of her bag and plugged it in. She worked on Isabella’s make-up while it heated. To Isabella, it felt like Alice was doing a face-painting.
Alice worked on her hair next. Once she was satisfied with the loose curls that hung down Isabella’s back, she handed her some black heeled boots to pull on, and then reached into her back for one more item. She handed Isabella a box of contacts. When Isabella raised her eyes questioningly, Alice explained, “They’re colored contacts. Not prescription ones. I thought that it would be an even better disguise to change your eyes a bit. These ones are blue.”
It took Isabella a few minutes of fumbling to get both contacts in, and then she needed to blink several times for them to be somewhat comfortable. She felt like she was looking through a slight film or haze, but it was manageable.
Alice held her at arm’s length for a moment, looking her over critically. Then, her face lit up in a grin. “Perfect!” she proclaimed, clapping her hands. “But you look. You tell me what you think.”
Isabella let Alice push her over in front of the full-length mirror by the closet. When she caught her own reflection, Isabella’s mouth dropped. The reflection in the mirror, while clearly her own, looked so different from normal. The slinky outfit, the loose hair, the contacts, and the make-up enhanced her beauty, but made it more overt than she would typically allow, and made her look her age, rather than older. While Isabella recognized herself in the reflection, she knew without a doubt that others, without closer inspection, would not connect the image with Isabella Black, wife of Representative Black.
“What do you think?”Alice demanded from behind her.
“I think you’re incredible, Alice!” Isabella replied, breathlessly. She grinned in the mirror at her best friend.
“And don’t you forget it!” Alice squealed. She pressed let her chin drop on Isabella’s shoulder, and met her eyes in the mirror. “Kiss Mrs. Politician’s Wife goodbye for tonight, Bella.”