99% Faking It (Dating Dilemma)(13)

By: Chris Cannon

“Yes. I finally did. But she hasn’t answered me yet.”

Lisa tilted her head and studied me. “Are you sure you want to leave the friend zone?”

I nodded.

“Okay,” she said. “We’ll give it a try.”

“Oh, that’s so exciting.” Clarissa slid into the bench seat next to Charlie. He was giving me the you’re-an-idiot look. Had he overheard our conversation? Probably. I never thought of keeping anything from him. I knew he’d never rat me out. Maybe it was a twin thing.

“We still have a few things to figure out,” Lisa told her. “But I think this might work.”

Clarissa smiled. “I don’t know what took him so long. Anyone can see you two belong together.”

I snorted. “I wouldn’t go that far.”

Lisa glared at me. “Do you want this to be the shortest relationship in history?”

“Just joking,” I said, even though I kind of wasn’t.

“He’s always been a little slow,” Charlie said.

“I could point out that you needed Nina to get Clarissa’s phone number.” I toasted him with my drink.

“Doesn’t matter.” Clarissa leaned into Charlie and he put his arm around her shoulders. “It’s kind of cute that he was too shy to ask me himself.”

I snorted. “Yeah, he’s freaking adorable.”

“I am,” Charlie said. “Apparently I’m the twin with the looks and the brains.”

Lisa chuckled. “What does that leave Matt?”

“He’s better at coming up with dumb-ass schemes,” Charlie said. “So there’s that.”

I flipped him off.

“Enough male bonding,” Clarissa said. “I’m off work and I want to get out of here.”

Charlie and Clarissa slid out of their side of the booth. We followed along, heading out to the parking lot.

Chapter Seven


Had I lost my freaking mind? That was the question that played on repeat in my head as we followed Clarissa and Charlie out into the cool evening air. What had I just agreed to? Why had I gone along with this? Maybe I’d been lulled into a false sense of serenity from the sugar and chocolate in the brownie sundae. That, combined with my body being too close to Matt’s, had messed up my brain waves.

I wasn’t sure which bothered me more: the fact that Matt only thought I was good enough to pretend-date or the fact that I considered keeping the truth from Nina.

We said our goodbyes to Clarissa and Charlie and then Matt followed me over to my car. With every step across the parking lot, doubt bounced around in my brain. The pessimistic part of my personality wanted to tell him to forget this whole crazy scheme because no one would give a crap we were dating. My positive side pointed out that Clarissa had noticed, so other people might pay some attention, too. It was interesting that I wasn’t the only person who thought Matt and I would make a good couple. Anyone who’d been wondering why we weren’t dating would take note of our new situation. That could propel me into the datable range for people who might never have paid attention to me before. So even if Trey wasn’t influenced by this strange dating experiment, other guys might see me as someone they’d want to ask out.

Was this idea insane or genius? I didn’t know. At least it was better than the non-datable friend zone area I’d been living in lately. Still, I needed to talk to someone about the strange detour my dating life had taken to get some perspective on how bat-shit crazy this idea really was. And there was only one person I’d risk confessing the truth to. When we reached my car, I said, “I’m not going to lie to Nina.”

“Your choice.” He stood there awkwardly with his hands shoved in his front jeans pockets.

He didn’t have to look so enthusiastic about the situation. This was his stupid idea. I felt like giving him some grief or throwing him off balance so I said, “If we were really dating, you’d kiss me goodbye.” How would he react to that statement?

He came closer and reached out to run his fingers down my cheek in a light caress that made my skin tingle and my heart beat faster. His eyes locked onto mine and his gaze drifted down to my lips and then back up to my eyes. “No, I wouldn’t,” he said, “because if I really liked a girl I wouldn’t want our first kiss to be in some crappy parking lot.” He dropped his hand and stepped back from me. “See you tomorrow at your locker.”