99% Faking It (Dating Dilemma)(14)

By: Chris Cannon

As Matt walked away, my heart fought to return to its normal rhythm. That hadn’t worked out how I expected it. He was supposed to be thrown off kilter, not me.

I climbed into my car and drove home in record time. Once I was in my room, I dialed Nina and told her everything, ending the gush of information with, “So what do you think?”

A slightly judgmental silence came through the phone for a moment before Nina said, “You still like him, don’t you?”

My brain replayed the sensation of his fingers caressing my cheek. “No. I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Have you thought this through?” Nina asked. “Because there are so many ways this could go bad.”

“You think I don’t know that?” I practically yelled into the phone. “Best case scenario, Trey sees me as datable and asks me out after Matt and I break up. Worst case scenario, Trey doesn’t give a rat’s ass I’m dating someone. Matt and I break up, and then I have to spend the rest of my senior year pretending to be okay with just being Matt’s friend.”

“Maybe there’s another way this could go,” Nina said. “Matt could realize you two are meant to be together. And we could have a lot of fun trying to push him in that direction.”

My brain felt fried from running through all the terrible ways this could explode in my face. “What do you mean?”

“There’s nothing to say you can’t continue trying new looks…maybe sexier looks…looks that will make him regret that what’s going on between you isn’t real.”

I laughed. “Maybe if I was some sexy femme fatale, but I’m not.”

“You could be,” Nina said. “He’s the one suggesting you act like a couple. I say play it up for all it’s worth. Who knows, maybe both Matt and Trey will be into you and you’ll get to choose who you want for your boyfriend.”

“Yeah, right. In case you can’t tell, I’m doing a major eye roll.”

“If you don’t want to try and reel him in, then you need to squash your crush.”

“I thought I had.” I moaned and lay back on the bed. “Then he touched my face and smiled at me and my crush reared back to life.”

“On the plus side, we can officially double-date now,” Nina said.

“By all means, ignore my emotional upheaval and figure out how this benefits your agenda.” I was only partially joking.

“Hey, I’m trying to look on the bright side. Think of it as a social experiment.”

I stared up at my ceiling. “Maybe I could write a paper on it. The Theory of How Guys Are Idiots and Only Want What They Can’t Have.”

“Whatever you do, don’t let Matt know you told me the truth.”

“Why not?”

“Because if I think the relationship is real, then he’ll have to act out the part.”

“Huh.” That wasn’t a bad idea. Then again, I wasn’t a good liar. “Life is complicated enough. I’m going to stick to the truth.”

“Well, I’m still going to give him crap.”

“I never doubted that for a second.” I laughed. Nina’s favorite form of entertainment was arguing. When I wasn’t the one she was arguing with, it was kind of amusing to watch.

“There’s one thing you have to remember,” Nina said.

“What’s that?”

“If it starts to feel real for you but it’s fake for him, you need to break it off.”

“How will I know if he has any real feelings for me? It’s not like he’s the chatty type.”

“No, but from what I’ve seen, he’s honest.”

“Pointing out that he’s a good guy doesn’t help the situation because it only emphasizes the fact that someone who is boyfriend material doesn’t see me as girlfriend material.”

“It’s not too late to back out,” Nina said. “It’s not like you signed some contract.”

“I know, but if I don’t try this then nothing changes. What’s that saying? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If I want my life to change for the better, I think I need to switch it up a little bit.”