Why did I have to show off to that moron, Silvan, and allow Lexie to meet Charlie? I wanted to upchuck the contents of my dinner just thinking about Lexie getting her Chucker fantasy. The moment Charlie swept her off her feet (and out of the bathroom) sealed my fate in the friendzone.
After we’d finished dressing for bed, Lex cornered me in the bathroom and gushed, “Jenny…I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you. I mean. GOD! THE Charlie Tsui is texting me! I can’t believe I’m living out one of the Heartthrob’s songs: Smush Me, Baby.”
Man, I knew our cheesy ass lines would come back to haunt me.
“Yeah, well…I’m happy for you, dollface.” My voice didn’t sound sincere. Hell, I was in a war with Charlie Tsui for this girl and it was like he was armed with nukes and I only carried rocks. It wasn’t freaking fair.
Her eyebrows rose in pity. “Oh…I’m sorry about your brother. And honestly, I was actually thinking about caving…”
This shocked me. “You were?”
“Yeah, but…now Charlie is actually going to ask me out. How would that be fair to James?”
“He wouldn’t care. If you would just give him a chance. He’s a lonely guy.”
She rubbed my arms and lifted the side of her mouth. “I’m sure there are a bazillion girls that would salivate at the chance to date him if he’s even a tiny bit like you. Now come on, babe. Could you play with my hair tonight and style it a bit more like me, but…what did you call it? Sophisticated? I want to use a new style for my date with Charlie. Well…when he asks me.”
I shrugged and sighed, following her to my vanity table.
Sifting my fingers through her hair, I gazed at her gorgeous green eyes. If only I’d told her who I was when we’d first met…maybe things would have been different?
“What’s wrong, Jenny?” she asked. “It’s a wreck, isn’t it? I’ve never been able to do much with it. That’s why I pull it up most of the time.”
“No…it’s…um…manageable. I’ll just lift some of it up and see how that looks.”
Twisting it into a tight knot in the back, I brushed her hair until all the tangles came out. “There, sweetheart. How’s that?”
She threaded her fingers through some strands and said, “Wow. You’re a genius. I love it.”
“I really do. I love you, babe.” Lifting her cheek to mine, she gave me a kiss.
She started calling me “babe” on our date tonight and she hadn’t stopped since. It was all I could do not to tell her who I really was, pull her close to me and give her a real kiss. But I knew that wouldn’t end well.
Guilt crashed down on me until panic beat on my chest. I had to tell her. I couldn’t keep doing this one more night. How could I explain it to her?
I was hosed.
Man…why did I open my big mouth? When I first started rooming with Lexie, I’d offered my whole closet to her, but it didn’t matter because she wouldn’t touch any of of my stuff. Said it wasn’t her style. Fast forward to her date with Charlie and now she wouldn’t wear anything else.
I didn’t realize the cut of some of my dresses were…
…revealing as holy hell.
They sure didn’t look like that on me. I guess it helped to have a real rack.
I kept thinking about how Charlie was going to get to be with her tonight. In a sexy dress with her sparkling green eyes mesmerising his.
“So, you’re not going to leave me alone, okay?” Lexie asked, breaking me out of my thoughts.
I sat on the bed and she followed. “You think I want to leave you alone with Chucker the…”
“Hey! No insults!” she cut me off. “I thought you’d at least be happy for me.”
“I am, sweetness. I just don’t trust him. He’s a man. They’re animals. All of them.” I should know.
Her eyes grew. “Is he…like a manwhore or something?”
“No…” Damn. Why couldn’t I lie? I’d been doing such a great job at it up to this point. One more lie wouldn’t make a difference.
“Then what’s all the ‘he’s-a-freaking-animal’ bit? It’s not like we’re going to sleep together the first night.”
“What about the second?”
“Jenny…come on. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re acting like…”
“Like my overprotective dad. Seriously, I can take care of myself. I just need you to be my wingman. Okay? I know I’ll get nervous when I first see him and I really can’t take being alone with him. Not until I’ve gotten to know him better. Is that okay with you? You won’t want to be alone with your date that much, right?”
Damn straight. My date was my best friend, pop star, Colin Atwood-Baek. (Although his pop star name was simply CAB). He was even more famous than I was…well, I always joked that I had more merch, but he had the fanbase of a few more years. He was discovered on WooTube when he was seventeen, taken on by one of the famous rappers, Gold Tooth, and then he sold out at one of the biggest venues in San Myshuno the following year. They say his star was waning as he’s almost 23 now, but he still had tons of fans. And they weren’t as creepy as mine since many of them were in their twenties.
One thing his fandom didn’t know was the guy was gay. He wouldn’t mind pretending to be my date. And since we were friends, he’d have my back with the whole Jenny act.
I wasn’t looking forward to it, though. But I’d do exactly as Lexie asked. I’d be on her like our bosoms were glued together. She could count on it.
Believe it or not, I was nervous for this date. Lexie was very charming in our texts, but in person, she was a bit of a nervous nutcase. I’d hoped she could get control and be herself around me. Otherwise, our relationship was going to end tonight.
She’d asked that we meet up at her house and insisted on a group date. I actually was going to suggest this as it’d take the pressure off both of us. But since my bros were also Heartthrobs (plus a hugely famous pop star, CAB), we’d draw a crowd in seconds anywhere we went. I had to rent out a roller skating rink and wanted to surprise her. She’d told me she was very clumsy, and I thought it might be romantic catching her and holding her stable as we skated around.
When we arrived, James ushered us in. I tried to say hello when Lexie squeaked, “Oh. My. God. I’m gonna puke.”
James laughed and said in his ridiculous falsetto, “No you’re not, honey, just take a deep breath. Remember how we practiced?”
He was such an obviously manly girl, in my opinion. I didn’t understand how she couldn’t see through his mirage. And I felt put out by having to go along with his charade. What if she blamed me for knowing about it, too?
Then some deranged looking girl said with a creepy look in her eye, “It is the Ides of March! Gather thy blades!”
What the hell?
“Oh my god, oh-my-god…I can’t…I just…” Lexie looked as if she was going to hyperventilate.
Damn. She was losing it. I’d seen Chuckers cry, send me tearstained letters, but I never had one who had a “fear-of-Charlie” whenever I approached. It was so strange.
“The Ides of March!” Nathan hollered behind me. “From Game of Bones! I love that series!”
“You do?” the deranged girl squealed. Well, at least someone made a match.
James looked thrilled that his girl was afraid of me.
“H-He’s right in front of me…Charlie Tsui…” Lexie went on.
Giggling, James said, “Yes, honey. And that terrifies you, doesn’t it? Well, we tried.”
Glancing at his smug face lit a fire in my gut. I wasn’t about to give up.
“Hey, whoa, Lexie…it’s okay. Can we just sit down for a second? We don’t even have to leave if you don’t want to.”
With a fearful nod, she took ten deep breaths and seemed to calm down.
And the look on James’ face put a grin on mine.