Perfect Illusion

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Chapter 16: You. Are. Mine.

“You son of a bitch,” I hiss at Daniel when we get back to the penthouse.

He closes the door behind him with a huge sigh. “Great. What have I done now to call forth your wrath on me?” “You know.” I sneer at him.

He crosses his arms and faces me. “No actually I don’t.”

“You... You... kissed me on the cheek!”

He throws up his hands in an exaggerated manner. “So scandalous!”

My face is red. “Daniel, you kissed me just to prove a point to Nate. I saw him after you did it. He was absolutely wrecked.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” He throws his bag unto the floor and jumps on the couch.

“Bullshit,” I spit. “You did it just to spite him. I can’t believe you would do that. Isn’t he your friend?”

“Not really.”

“Not really?” I say, almost baffled. I always assumed that Nate and Daniel were friends because of the whole sharing an apartment thing.

“Well, we never actually got along very much,” He explains as he shuffles through the channels on the television with his remote. I heave a sigh and sit on one of the club chairs opposite from him. “He never agreed with my... ways of sexing up to women.”

I snort. “I’m pretty sure that’s a legit reason for someone not to like you, Daniel.”

“First off, everyone loves me. Especially the ladies,” He settles on some cooking channel and the both of us watch as Jamie Oliver cooks up some meat loaf. “Secondly, Nate and I... we just don’t like each other okay? There’s no way to explain it. The only reason why we manage to put up with each other is because of Simon.”

“Simon?” I echo. Then I realize that Daniel and Nate’s other roommate. Well, exroommate.

“Yeah. Red head. Hazel eyes. Gamer dude. Doesn’t like to talk much. Super antisocial when it comes to meeting new people.” Daniel tells me. “It took me a lot of balls to pluck up the courage to even talk to him when we first met. He’s a super nice and cool person. We got along pretty well. Nate and him too. So yeah, Simon’s like the glue to keeps the three of us together.”

Okay. So, another mention of this mysterious guy Simon I have never met before. If he’s Daniel’s best friend, he must be running along the same lines of crazy as him.

“So… without him... Nate and I? Probably not a good combination ever.”

“Okay. That is so not the point I’m trying to make here. That still doesn’t justify what you did to him today,” I shake my head. “I like Nate, okay? He’s a nice guy. You can’t do that to him, regardless of whether you hate him or not.”

“God, Alex.” He throws the remote on the couch and turns his attention to me now. “You don’t get it, do you? I have a perfectly good reason to why I did what I did. Nate’s still pining over you. He can’t get over you, and I need to make it very clear that you. Are. Mine.”

That sounds kind of romantic.

“So yeah, I kissed you to prove a point.” His shoulders lift. “So, he can stop believing that there’s even the slightest of chance that you will fall for him. He needs to stay the hell away from you, and from us. If he’s too stubborn to realize that you are taken, then he’s going to be a complication for the both of us.”

“He won’t be.” I breathe. “I’ll... make sure of it.”

“Good.” He says.

“So... I can’t even be friends with him?” I ask.

“Only if your friendship with him is purely platonic.” He sighs. “And even if you guys are just friends, please don’t bring him over to our place. I really don’t want to see his puppy dog eyed face following you everywhere you go. It’s annoying, you know?”

“Now you know how I feel when you have girls over.”

He glares at me. “Jesus, Alex. Let it go, will you? It was just that one time! And I told you I won’t do it again.”

“Fine. Fine. I’m sorry.” I lift my hands up in surrender. “I won’t bring him over, I promise.”

“Let’s add that to our lists of rules, shall we?” His eyebrows lift.

“I think we’re going to have to write down all of our rules, otherwise I won’t be able to keep up.” I groan.

“Good idea. Hand me a piece of paper and a pen, woman!”

“I’m not some slave you can order around, Daniel. Go fucking get it yourself.” I roll my eyes.

“Well aren’t you a ball of sunshine today.” He teases.

It takes a while for Daniel to find what he needs. He ruffles through his books for a spare piece of paper and rummages through his pencil box for a ballpoint pen.

“There we go,” He places the paper on the coffee table and starts to write down all our previous rules we have made yesterday. “Number one, no naked girls in the apartment-”

“Or anywhere else.” I add for him. He grits his teeth and write that down with much hesitation.

“No barging into each other’s rooms.” He writes down below the first rule.

“No getting involved with each other.” I chime in.

“No bringing Nate over to the apartment.” He grins.

“Really? That specific? So, I can bring other guys but him to the apartment?”

“No.” He narrows his eyes at me. “That would break the next rule: no getting involved with other people.” Dammit.

When he finishes jotting down all the rules, he counts all of them. “So, we have five rules altogether. We can add more rules later on if we need to, but no abusing that power okay?”

“Fine by me.”

He takes up the piece of paper and tapes it to our front door. “There.”

“Kind of looks weird with it over at our door. What if people see it?” Concern pinches my face.

“Maybe they’ll think we’re adorable for putting rules on our relationship.” He smiles.

“No, they’ll find it creepy.” I correct him. “Just put it on our refrigerator.”

“Fine.” He takes it down and pastes it on the door of our fridge. “Speaking of rules we have to follow, my dad has a proposition for us.” “What kind of proposition?” My interest is piqued. “He says that we should have an engagement party.” Papa Kerrington say whaaat?

I’m confused. “Wait, I thought that the whole point of having an engagement party is to announce that we’re engaged. We have already done that on the Charlize

Matson show. So why do we need to have a party?”

“I don’t know,” His shoulders lift. “I guess it’s to show that we’re happy in love or something. And to show that we care enough about our family and relatives to tell them the good news personally?” “Right.” I purse my lips. “When is it?” It takes a while for Daniel to answer.

“This Saturday.”

“What?” I shriek. “That’s less than a week away!”

“Yeah. So, we better get planning.” He casts me one of his stupid smirks. “It’s going to be at our place, by the way.”

“So I say we divide the tasks among each other.” He adds on. “Which one do you want to do? Get a DJ to spin at our party? Or do the flower arrangements?”


Cara and I are sitting at Starbucks as I tell her my recent conversation with Daniel.

It feels good to be on the same page as Cara again. After our disagreement, I’m glad we still get to do the little things we often do. Namely catching up with drinks at the nearest Starbucks.

“An engagement party?” She smiles. “That’s going to be so much fun!”

I almost spit out my green tea cream. Okay that was not what I expected Cara’s reaction to be. “What?”

“Why not?” She takes another sip out of her drink. “There’s going to be music, and cocktails, and handsome millionaire guys walking around…” “Okay you really need to get a boyfriend.” I snort.

“Yeah I will. At your engagement party! Maybe I’ll snag myself a hot fiancé while I’m at it.”

“Wait a minute... what happened to barista guy you told me about? I thought you guys are going on a date?” I ask her. “Is he not boyfriend material?”

“Unfortunately no,” she shrugs. “I called off our date. Didn’t feel like going.”

“WHAT?” I shriek. Some people glance our way. I send them an apologetic look. “What do you mean you called it off? You were really excited about it!”

“We hung out again yesterday... And I didn’t feel it, you know? The connection.” She sighs. “You know how when you meet someone, and you just instantly click.

That spark you feel that ignites your entire body…”

“Ooookay... you’ve been watching too many rom coms, Cara.”

“I have not!” She defends. “But... even if I have, isn’t it true? You need to have that connection in order to be with someone. Kind of like how you got that connection with Daniel.”

I immediately burst out laughing. Cara is really something.

“Come on, Alex. It’s not funny!”

“Kind of is.” I snicker. “That’s the most ridiculous thing that has ever come out of your mouth. A connection with Daniel? Please. I mean you haven’t even met him! You only saw him in that interview and yesterday when I was walking with him to class. You know nothing, Cara.”

“I do know about this, Alex.” She smiles reassuringly at me. “You’re right. I only saw glimpses of him this entire week. But the way he looked at you in that interview/..”

“It’s called acting, Cara.” I finish for her. Then, I lower my voice so nobody can hear us. “Look, he’s been manipulating and tricking women into sleeping with him for months- years. He knows what to say and what to do in order to get his way. The way he looked at me in that interview, sure it looked like love and all that crap… but I’m not fooled by it. It’s a charade, Cara. Nothing but a game Daniel and I have to play.”

“Alex…”

“Can we not... Talk about this?” I choke out a laugh. “It’s weird. I’d rather not talk about anything related to Daniel.”

“Fine.” She says at last. “Speaking of hotties, how’s it going with Nate?” Another sensitive topic for me.

“He’s still... hurt, I guess.” I bite my straw. “I don’t blame him. He thinks Daniel and I have been dating since last summer and that I really liked him. He thinks I played with his feelings, Cara. I don’t think that’s a small thing to just get over.”

“True. But you really did like him.”

“Yeah, I did. It’s a shame. I kind of missed him.”

“Your love life is seriously messed up.” Cara notes.

“It’s not much of a love life considering I have a fake fiancé whom I almost can’t stand, and a really nice guy who I can’t be with due to many complications.”

“You know, Hollywood should make your love life into a drama series. I would totally watch it.”

“Very funny, Cara.”

She chuckles. “I wish I was you, though. Having two ridiculously handsome guys pining over me? Now that’s the dream.”

“Daniel’s not pining over me!” I laugh. “And really? That’s the dream?"

“That’s the dream.” She smirks.

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