Perfect Illusion

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Chapter 12: Living with the Asshole

For what seems like a really long time, neither of us said anything. Nate stares at me, his eyes blinking. He, like me, also seems to be at loss for words after what Daniel has said.

I know I shouldn’t be pissed at Daniel for telling Nate about the engagement. It is my fault in the first place for not telling Nate about it sooner. He is still my friend (perhaps maybe more) and it had completely slipped my mind to talk to him about it.

Now, I have to face the consequences.

I expect Nate to yell at me, or unleash his anger, but his actual response is not quite what I expect.

He throws his head back and laugh.

Really, really laugh.

Like he finds this situation hilarious.

Daniel and I exchange glances. We don’t know what to say.

“God, that’s funny. Really funny!” Nate continues to laugh for a good thirty seconds before he realises that the both of us aren’t joining in.

He stops laughing. The amusement in his eyes quickly fades away.

“It’s not a joke, Nate.” Daniel says, “We’re actually engaged.”

Nate’s whole body goes rigid, like stone. His eyes harden as they flicker to meet Daniel’s, then mine. His face unravels before me, the last of his sanity crumbling away to oblivion.

“No,” He whispers as he presses his hands over his face, ”No.”

Daniel tightens his arm around my waist. I fight the urge to tear away from his grasp.

“I don’t believe it,” Nate breathes. “I refuse to believe that the both of you are... engaged.” He takes a second to say the last word as if he can’t quite understand it.

I know how he feels. I can’t understand it either.

My first instinct is to tell Nate that it isn’t real, that it is just some deal my parents had made just to save their company. I want to tell him the whole truth, the one that I had already told Cara.

Daniel will probably kill me if he knows I told Cara. It’s a total violation of the contract. But I couldn’t keep this big of a secret from my best friend. After she found me crying my eyeballs out last weekend, she demanded to know what had happened. I couldn’t hide it from her. She will see right through me.

After I had told her what really gone down, I made her promise that she wouldn’t tell anyone about it.

I trust Cara. She always keeps her promises.

I trust Nate too, and I really want to tell him... but is it wise for me to do so? When Daniel is standing right next to me?

“Is it true, Alex?” Nate’s eyes search mine.

Shamefully, I nod.

I feel like a fucking hypocrite.

I can hide from Daniel, the fact that Cara knows, but I can’t hide this.

I have to play along.

He takes a few steps back to register everything.

“That’s not possible.” He frowns. “No, it’s not possible. I didn’t even know you guys knew each other!” Then, he turns to me, “You didn’t even tell me you knew Daniel. I mentioned him so many times-”

“How nice of you to do so.” Daniel says sarcastically.

“-But you never even gave me any hint that you knew him.” Nate furrows his eyebrows. “He’s your fiancé for god’s sake, Alex. Even if that topic never came up between us, you could at least have the decency that you were freaking involved with my roommate!”

Ooookay. Yeah. He’s pissed as hell.

This whole situation is really fucked up.

I wish this wasn’t happening right now. I’d give anything to reset time and relive any good moments that occur before this whole fiasco went down.

“We shared moments, Alex.” Nate looks down, his dark hair flopping over his face.

His voice eventually softens because I think he’s actually more hurt than angry.

He exhales slowly, and continues. “We had a good two weeks. I made it very clear I liked you and... for a while, I thought you liked me too. Hell, you even agreed to go on a date with me.”

“Nate-”

He lifts a hand to stop me. “So this... this thing we had,” He gestured to the space in front of us. “Was it all a lie?”

“No!” I say almost immediately. I push away from Daniel and stand in front of Nate.

“No, it’s not!”

“Then, what? Help me understand because I’m just so confused.” His voice breaks when he says that.

I open my mouth to speak but Daniel beats me to it. “You know what? Let me explain.”

Of course. Daniel Kerrington butts in at the absolute worst moment.

Nate glares at his roommate. “No. Because I’m pretty sure anything that comes out of your mouth is pure bullshit.”

“Now, that’s not a nice thing to say about your bro.” Daniel’s lips thin.

“Isn’t it true, bro?” Nate walks to his direction. “You’ve lied your way through every girl you’ve been with, so why stop now?”

“Well, I-”

Nate completely ignores Daniel. His attention is focused on me now. “I don’t get it, Alex. Why on earth would you want to be engaged to Daniel? I’ve been rooming with him for at least two years now and I know all about his wild ways with women. You don’t know him like I do. I’ve seen him at his worst and he isn’t any better than when he is at his best. He is a player, trickster, and a manipulator.” Don’t I know it.

“And you want to be engaged to someone like him?” Nate laughs. “I never knew you could be this naive, Alex.”

“How... could you say that to me?” I croak.

“Because it just doesn’t make any sense! I know you, Alex. I may not know you for a long time, but enough to know that you being engaged to him doesn’t add up. It just doesn’t.” Nate shakes his head. “Either you’re lying to me, or there’s something else you’re not telling me.” I want to tell him.

I can’t tell him.

But I want to.

But... I can’t.

“There’s nothing else, Nate.” I try to blink back tears.

He just stares back at me.

“Then, I got nothing left to say to you.”

“I’m sorry, Nate.” A small tear slides down my cheek. I make no attempt to wipe it away. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“A little bit too late for apologies, Alex.” He says. “You know what angers me the most? It’s that I thought you were different.”

“I am different!”

“You’re just like the rest of them.” Nate chuckles to himself. “They always get involved with him.” He glares at Daniel.

Daniel blows out a breath.

“And you’re the worst of them all. Because you’re going to spend the rest of your life with him.”

My mouth gapes open.

Nate doesn’t say anything else.

He just disappears.


“Well that was the shittiest breakup I’ve ever seen.” Daniel says as we watch the truck with all my things speed away.

I brush a stray lock of hair behind my ear, not meeting his eyes. I don’t want him to see that I’m hurting. Now that Nate has just up and left, there’s nothing more I can do. Part of me wants to run over to him right now and tell him the truth. But I know I can’t, and it’s so frustrating.

I don’t know what this will mean for Nate and I. I’ve left him with so many unanswered questions and I don’t think he will be coming to me with open arms anytime soon.

He seemed absolutely wrecked and what bothers me the most is that I can’t even do anything about it.

“It wasn’t a breakup. We weren’t even together.” I sigh.

“Right.” He replies, slipping his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Though he acted like you guys were together.”

I’d like to think that we were together, but we haven’t even gone on our first date yet.

Whatever thing Nate and I had for the past two weeks died so quickly.

“Can we please not talk about it?” I say, irritated. “I really don’t want to be talking about boy problems with my fake fiancé.” A low laugh escapes from Daniel.

“As you wish, sweetheart.” He winks at me.

“You’re so annoying.”

I glance around and notice that we’re just standing on the sidewalk with nothing to do and nowhere to go. “So, what do we do now?”

Daniel takes out his car keys from his pocket and dangles them in front of me. “We’re going to the penthouse.”

We walk towards the carpark, side by side. He doesn’t make any attempts to touch me, nor do I. I spot my car from the corner of my eye and start to walk towards it, but Daniel reaches forward and grabs my hand.

“What the hell?” I pull back from him.

“We’re taking my car.” He nods to the other direction.

The sight of his car almost knocks the breath out of me.

“Of course, you have a Lamborghini,” I note, “You’re the son of a multimillionaire. Of course.”

“Yeah, so you should be honoured I’m inviting you to take a ride in this beauty,” His eyes roam over the cockpit of the car.

“I’ll pass on your offer.” I purse my lips.

As much as I want that car to rock my world, the last thing I want to do is to be sitting next to Daniel Kerrington for god knows how long.

“What?” He cocks his eyebrow in confusion.

“Did you not hear me? I’m not taking your car.” My voice echoes through the entire parking lot. I take out my keys from my bag. “I’ll drive there by myself.”

Daniel knits his eyebrows. “You don’t even know where the place is.” “I’ll figure it out!” I shoot back.

“Damn, you are the most stubborn woman I’ve ever met,” he mutters, loud enough for me to hear. “I can believe I’m going to be stuck with you for the next three years of my life.”

“Well, deal with it, Kerrington.” I tilt my head sideways. “Just text me the address to the penthouse, and I’ll be there.”

“Just fucking take my car, Alex.” His eyes challenge me.

“No thank you.”

“Alex!”

“Why the hell do you insist on carpooling?” I fire back.

“Look, if we carpool, it saves fuel, alright?” He says, as-a-matter-of-factly.

This is hilarious.

“Daniel Kerrington, giving a damn about Mother Earth? Now that’s unheard of.”

His face crinkles. “Just because I’m an asshole to girls doesn’t necessarily mean I’m an asshole to the environment.”

That has got to be the weirdest thing that has ever come out of his mouth.

And trust me, he has said some weird ass things.

“Just get in the fucking car, Alex,” he repeats again. “I know you don’t want to have to put up with me during this car ride, and trust me, I don’t want to have to put up with you either. But it’s easier this way and it saves a lot of time.” “And fuel.” I add, just to make sure he didn’t forget that.

“And fuel.” He nods.

“But... What about my car?” I gaze at my baby.

“Give me your keys. I’ll get someone to fetch it later.” He sticks out his hand.

“Are you for real right now?” I eye his hand. “I’m not going to let someone touch my baby.”

He snickers. “Your what?”

Oh jeez. I’m never going to live that one down.

“My car.” I correct him. “Nobody’s touching my car but me.”

“Fine! I’ll drive you tomorrow morning to campus, and you can get your baby.” “Fine.”

“Fine!”

“Fine.” I lift my hands up in surrender. “I’ll get in your stupid car.”

We arrive at the penthouse in about half an hour. I’m secretly glad it isn’t that far off from campus. We take the elevator up to the 5th floor of the second building, and we stop at the second door.

Daniel produces the house keys and hands me one. When he opens the door, my breath catches.

The penthouse is beautiful. It boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, which are hung with dramatic ice-blue silk curtains. The floors are a rich, dark, hardwood, with Persian rugs adorning them, and the walls are a white taupe.

In the living room, the large brown leather sofa compliments with the two matching leather club chairs that are angled next to the huge fireplace.

It’s like the ultimate book lover’s dream to be reading in this kind of atmosphere. Sitting on the leather sofa with a hardcover in my hand and a cup of steaming coffee in the other, humming softly to the classical music escaping the sound system...

Yeah that’s the dream.

“You look a little weird with that orgasm face you have going on right now.” Daniel smirks as he sets the keys down.

My face falls. “Way to ruin the mood, Kerrington.” “So I’m guessing you like the place?” he asks.

If I seem too overeager, he might tease me about it. So I just shrug. “It’s alright.”

“Bullshit, you love it.”

Whatever.

He places his hands over his hips and stare at the space. “I’m surprised that it looks this good, considering the fact that dad had it bought and furnished only two days ago.”

Whoa. Cara has serious competition to deal with if she wants to maintain her title of ‘ultimate apartment decorator.’

“Our things will be arriving soon.” He glances at his Rolex on his wrist briefly. “Right about now, actually.”

The door immediately bursts open and the movers start pouring in with boxes.

“Nice.” Daniel murmurs before he’s lost in the sea of people.

So, Day One of Living with The Asshole That Is Daniel Kerrington has officially begun.

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