99% Faking It (Dating Dilemma)(4)

By: Chris Cannon

He grinned. “Yeah, that would get them out here.”

“Seriously,” I said. “How long can they look at books?”

“For hours. Thank God they have a cafe in the bookstore. I’ve learned to go grab a coffee and wait while I read on my phone.”

“You read on your phone at the bookstore…where they sell books?”

“You’ve seen my house,” West said.

“Right. Sorry.”

West’s mom was a hoarder. They’d tried to find her help. She’d seen several therapists, but that didn’t stop her from filling their house from floor to ceiling with random junk. West’s dad was OCD, so he organized all the crap in plastic tubs. Sometimes I wondered how West kept it together.

Two blondes came toward us. “Hey, West,” blonde number one said.

“Hey,” he responded.

“Are you still dating your neighbor?” she asked.

He nodded.

“Too bad.” She giggled and walked on by. Blonde number two’s cheeks were red. As she walked past me, she said, “Being a wingman can be embarrassing.”

I grinned and nodded. She smiled and kept on walking.

“Go talk to her,” West said.

I shook my head. She was cute but I wasn’t interested.

“Why not?” he asked.

Time to change the subject. “Is it my imagination or do more girls flirt with you now that you have a girlfriend?”

“Seems like it.”

Charlie and Clarissa came toward us with a guy I’d never seen before. He definitely wasn’t from around here. He looked like he thought he was trying out for the role of a rock star or a rebel in a movie. His hair was short on the sides and long on top so it flipped over and almost hid one of his eyes. His ripped jeans screamed, I’m trying too hard.

“Hey guys,” Clarissa said, “this is my cousin Trey.”

I held out my hand. “I’m Matt.”

Trey shook my hand. “Charlie’s twin brother.”

I nodded. “And this is West.” They shook hands.

“Trey just moved here,” Clarissa said. “He’s a little obnoxious, but once you get past his hair, he’s okay.”

Trey laughed. “You wish your hair was as cool as mine.”

“Right,” Clarissa said.

“Please tell me this isn’t all there is to do in this town.” Trey gestured at the patio and everyone sitting around it.

“If you’re looking for excitement, you came to the wrong place,” I answered.

“I was afraid you were going to say that.”

“What are you talking about?” Clarissa said. “You can go see a movie, go out to eat, hang out at barbecues, or go play golf at the country club.”

“Do I look like I golf?” Trey asked, like he was disgusted by the idea.

I laughed. Maybe this guy wasn’t so bad.

The smell of hotdogs drifted through the air.

“I can’t believe I’m about to say this,” Trey said. “But those hot dogs smell awesome.”

“Watch out,” Clarissa said. “You wouldn’t want anyone to think you liked being here.”

“Don’t worry,” Trey said. “I’ll scowl while I eat.”

They headed over to the grill.

“Do you want to go grab a pizza?” West asked. “Because I had hot dogs for dinner almost every night this week.”

I knew his mom didn’t cook, but that was sad. “Sure.”

The Slicery was crowded, but we only had to wait about ten minutes for a table. We were halfway through our sausage and pepperoni thick-crust pizza with extra cheese when Nina and Lisa walked in the door.

Nina spotted us and headed over with a big smile for West. Lisa followed along behind her like she knew the situation was inevitable.

“Did you know we were coming here?” Nina asked as she sat down next to him.

“No,” West said. “I was trying to avoid hot dogs.”

Lisa sat in the chair beside me. “So, what did you guys do tonight?”

“Barbecue…it was kind of boring,” I said.

“You should have come to the bookstore,” Lisa said with complete sincerity.

“Because it’s never boring at the bookstore?” I asked.