Chapter 15: An Engagement Sham
The next morning, my phone goes crazy every few seconds with tons of messages from distant friends and relatives.
You’re engaged to a Kerrington?
So lucky, Alex! OMFG
Snagged yourself a fiance and you didn’t say anything?
Call me ASAP. Why didn’t you tell me that you’re getting married?
Wedding bells in the air! Pls let me be ur bridesmaid!
Need to see you and your gorg fiancé!
You sneaky little bitch! Engaged to the hottest bachelor ever?
Aaaaaand there’s about 19846712503 more messages like that.
I take another sip of my cup of coffee and sigh as I turned my phone off. Ever since yesterday, the news of Daniel and my engagement has hit everywhere. I didn’t even know news can spread so far so fast. I’ve checked all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Apparently, the recent attention I’ve been receiving got me five thousand more followers and a LOT of hate mail from angry thirteen-year-old girls.
So I guess I’m liked and hated by almost everyone in America. Regardless, they all know about me.
Being engaged to Daniel Kerrington sucks donkey ass.
Daniel slaps three magazines on the coffee table and I almost jump.
He smirks at me. “So, we’re famous now.”
I glare at him and take a look at the magazines. We’re on the front pages of tabloids, and smacked all over featured articles. They use the photos of us when we were on the Charlize Matson show- the most used photo is a picture of me kissing Daniel’s hand and him gazing adoringly at me. The photo actually looks legit, like we’re actually in love and happy to be engaged.
That photo is a lie.
But the media doesn’t know that. And hopefully, they won’t ever find out.
“So they bought it,” I say as I flip through the magazines. “They bought into our engagement.”
“Of course they did,” Daniel rolls his eyes as he takes his seat opposite from me. “I was such an amazing actor on the show.”
I want to tell him that he’s so full of shit, but even I know that that’s not true. He was a good actor. He fed Charlize and the audience great lies about our love life that even had me fooled for a moment there.
“So, is your dad pleased with our... charade?” I ask. He shrugs.
“He called me this morning. Said that we put on a good performance.” Daniel takes a bite out of the pancakes that he had just made. “But...”
I groan. “There’s always a ‘but’ when it comes to him.”
“There are some that don’t believe us.” He points out as he takes out a few more magazines. This time I realize they’re tabloids. God, I always hate these. “Just take a look for yourself.”
I cast him a wary glance before examining the tabloids. One of the headlines read ‘Daniel and Alex: An Engagement Sham.’ I gulp nervously.
“They can do this?” I question Daniel.
“Tabloids can do whatever they want. It’s the people that choose to believe them or not.”
I take a closer look at the article.
By Edgar Sherman
Don’t deny it. We almost teared up when the multimillionaire’s son, Daniel Kerrington told the story of how he met his one-true-love, Alexandria Woods in the restaurant that is Basil Kitchen. We don’t exactly need a recap on that. But how true is their love anyway? In the past few months, Daniel has indeed been spotted with many different women, especially during the summer before he was shipped off to college. Many know that Alexandria had not been in the picture then. Both Daniel and Alex were never seen out together, even some friends of his can vouch for that. Either the both of them have been really discreet about their relationship, or they’re lying.
But why would they lie about their great love affair? Why does their engagement seemed a little bit rushed? If Alex and Daniel had indeed started dating during the summer, it would mean they were together for less than three months before he popped the question. Seems very suspicious. Personally, I don’t buy it. I don’t think they’re love is as true as what they say it is. There is something fishy there, and it won’t be soon before it comes blowing up on their faces.
“Oh god,” I close the magazine. “This dude, Edgar Sherman-”
“Just got fired by his company.” Daniel leans back and crosses his huge arms over his chest. “Of course, it is all thanks to my beloved father.” I take a look at the article again.
If there were more people like this that think that our engagement is fake, it is time to step up our game.
“We have to try harder, then.” I say finally. “We have to make them believe that this engagement is not a sham, and that we’re really in love.”
“Just hearing you say ‘love’ makes me want to puke out my breakfast,” Daniel shakes his head.
“Come on. We have to do this,” I insist. “I don’t want your father to get shit pissed at our performance and then having him withdraw his loans to my parents’ company. Everything is riding on us, you know that right?”
“Fine,” His voice sounds gruffer, deeper. “Maybe we have to do a little PDA.” “PDA?” I lift an eyebrow.
“You know, public display of affection?” He says, “Maybe we can... hold hands or something.”
Holding hands? Dear god.
“That’s weird.” I murmur.
“You said we have to step up our game, right? Then we have to do this.” Daniel smirks. “It will be fun seeing you squirm under the slightest of my touch.” I am totally regretting this decision a lot right now.
I take a deep breath. “Okay. Holding hands. What else?”
“Fine. But no longer than five seconds.”
“You’re really funny, sweetheart.” Daniel drawls. “How about kissing? That would totally make a statement.”
“Nope. No kissing. No way.”
“Come on, Alex. It will be fun.” He grins. “I’ve been told I’m a great kisser. These lips...” He gestured to his, “Are very talented.” My cheeks turn pink. “Absolutely not.”
“Kiss on the lips. No longer than three seconds.”
“No kiss. At all.”
“Two seconds, then.”
“Kiss on the cheek. Three seconds.” “Fine.” He says.
“Alright let’s do this.” He cracks his knuckles and grabs his backpack slung over his chair.
I withdraw back. “What? now?”
“Let’s do it. On campus today. Everyone will be watching us for sure.” He notes.
My face falls.
“You scared, sweetheart?” He teases. “You were the one who suggested doing this in the first place.”
He’s right, I did. So, I can’t be a pussy.
“I’m fine,” I hide my emotions, “Let’s go do this.” Today is going to be a loooong day.
As I said earlier, being engaged to Daniel Kerrington sucks donkey ass. That much is true.
Just as Daniel had predicted, when we had arrived on campus, everyone’s eyes are glued to us. Their eyes follow us as we walk from the car to the hallways. Some whisper amongst each other. I catch a few words like ‘engaged’ and ‘too young’ and ‘fake’.
Daniel is totally fine with it though. In fact, I think he is enjoying the attention that is directed at him, regardless of it being positive or negative. Me, on the other hand... not so much.
Most of the people staring at us do no harm. They just watch silently as we walk to class. I think their attention is more focused on the huge rock on my finger.
Daniel hand brushes against mine. I close my eyes.
“That disgusted by my touch?” Daniel laughs quietly as we pass by a random group of girls glaring at me.
“Shut up.” I growl.
Daniel chuckles as he slides his hand in mine. Our fingers weave together, and I suck in a deep breath.
“See? Not as bad as you think, right?” He smirks.
He’s right. There’s something calming about his touch, how it hums through my entire body. I feel better now about having the attention on me. For once, Daniel has done something good.
I’m so not going to admit that to him.
“I don’t like them staring at me.” I say instead.
“Sweetheart, from this day forward, they’re always going to stare at you. So, I suggest you get used to it.”
“Easy for you to say. You love the attention.” I snap back.
“It’s nice. Makes me think that I’m very desirable.” He says.
One day, I’m going to rip his huge ego into shreds.
I fold my arms over my chest and continue to walk. But before we enter class, Daniel stops at his tracks.
“Why are we stopping?” I ask him.
He doesn’t answer. Instead he pulls me to him and now we’re mere inches apart. His move his so sudden I gasp.
Our faces are lined together, the both of us breathing hardly. I don’t know what he’s about to do. One of his hands lift to tuck a stray hair behind my ear. There is no air left in my body.
“Easy, sweetheart. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” He murmurs. “I only want to do this.”
Then, he tilts his head slightly to press a kiss on my cheek, close to my lips.
“There.” He says after he pulls away from me.
There. There are no words to what he had just done. The shadow of his kiss still lingers on my skin, sparking my entire body.
He smiles at me before he takes my hand again and drags me back into class. I wonder why he had just kissed me like that. There isn’t much of a crowd to see his latest display of affection towards me.
I have the sudden urge to look over my shoulder. Taking a sneak glance behind me, I now figured out why.
Nate stands by the side-lines, his hair tousled and his face hard. This is the first time since our last encounter that I have seen him. His eyes lock with mine and I feel the intensity of his gaze down to my bones.
“Nate.” I breathe his name.
He looks down and shakes his head.
I want to run over to him and throw my arms over him. I want to tell him that I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry and I still want to be friends please I want that so much
But I don’t say what I want to say to him.
Because I know he’s hurting inside and I know I’m the cause of his pain.
I will hurt him even more.
So, I just watch him as he walks away from me.