Perfect Illusion

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Chapter 24: Pancakes? Pancakes.

I wake up to Daniel Kerrington’s huge arms circling around me.

We’re on the huge couch, with him against the cushions, wrapped around me. We’re still wearing the exact same clothes as last night. My black gown is bunched up underneath me, but I make no attempt to do something about it.

Somehow, a blanket has been draped over the both of us, so I’m guessing he had gotten up to do that just so we can keep warm. That’s... nice of him.

Wow. Daniel Kerrington being nice. Never thought I would see the day.

I shift slightly, so I’m now facing him instead of having my back towards him.

Daniel is beautiful when he sleeps.

His face is so relaxed, so peaceful. His eyes are quiet, fluttering slightly. His cheeks are a slight shade of pink and his lips are drawn into a long, thin bow. I have never seen Daniel like this before. There is always a certain hard emotion flickering in his face, whether if he’s mad at me, or the hint of arrogance that laces him as well as his words. Now, when he sleeps, I don’t see anything at all. He’s just so calm.

And I like it.

Somehow, my hand acts on his own and start to brush against his face, tracing his jaw. My touch is light, feathery, so I don’t wake him up. After a while, I stop doing what I’m doing and just stare at him, trying to memorise every single inch of his face.

A month ago, I would have probably thrown up at the mere thought of sleeping beside him, looking at him. But now...

It’s weird. I feel weird.

Daniel’s eyes slowly open. I hold my breath and watch him.

His eyes linger on my face, and I feel so vulnerable because it’s like he’s doing the exact same thing I was doing to him just seconds ago. Staring at me. Tracing me.

Memorising me.

A lazy grin starts to grow on his face.

“Morning, sweetheart,” He drawls as he touches my hair.

“Morning.” I smile back.

Something shifts in the air, something unfamiliar yet welcoming. I think it has been there ever since last night, and I still can’t quite put my finger on it.

“So...” He says, his voice low and husky, “how was it? Sleeping with me? I’ve been told I change many women’s lives in just a single night.”

“Way to ruin the mood, asshole.” I slap him hard on his chest.

After I dress myself in something a little bit more decent, I head over to the kitchen. Daniel is at the stove in a black T-shirt and jeans that hang dangerously low down his hips. As if he notices my presence in the room, he turns back and casts me a warm smile.



I moan because my mouth is already watering from the soft crackle of the pan over the stove.

Daniel chuckles. “You love my pancakes.”

I slide into one of the seats beside the island table, and lean my head over my hands. “Is it just me or does that actually sound a little bit dirty?”

He grins at me. “You’re naughty this morning, sweetheart.”

He flips the pancake into the air and it lands directly on the plate he’s holding in his other hand. He hands me the plate and I pour maple syrup over it. Then, I fork some of the pancakes into my mouth.

I roll my eyes. “I’m just saying.”

“So... is pancakes like a metaphor for my balls?” I spit out the pancakes.

“Ewwww! That’s disgusting!” I cough out.

“I’m just saying.” He mocks me.

Damn him.

“Great,” I groan. “I can never EVER un-see that metaphor. Now every time I eat your pancakes, I’m just going to think of your balls.” I push the plate away.

He throws his head back and laughs. “That’s the whole point of the metaphor, sweetheart.”

“I’m going to go rinse my mouth with detergent now.” I announce as I head over to the kitchen sink.

“Aw, come on. I’m just joking.” He nudges me. “Truthfully, my balls are much more of a finer specimen than these pancakes.”

“Let’s add one more rule to the list of rules, shall we?” I turn to him and say, “Rule number 6: Never talk about your balls. Ever.”

“So, does this only apply to me, or the both of us?” He teases.

“I will never talk about your balls.”

“Have you even seen them, sweetheart?”

I pretend to look down at his jeans. “They’re practically non-existent.”

He slaps his hand over his heart as if he’s wounded by my comment. “Well that hurt.”

“Let’s stop talking about your balls. Please. Rule number six commences right now.”

I walk over to the piece of paper stuck to the refrigerator and scratch the latest rule on it.

“So, have you seen the news today?” I ask instead, just to change the subject. “Are our engagement party pictures slapped over the magazine yet?”

“I think you overestimate our popularity, sweetheart.” He says as he sets his plate of pancakes down, “we may be popular, but we aren’t the Kardashians. The media doesn’t actually revolve around us.”

“Right.” I say, a little bit embarrassed. “So no news, then.”

“Well...” He takes out his phone and shows me a website. “There are a few.”

I walk over to him and lift his phone so I can see it. There is a picture of Daniel and I, our arms around each other, smiling, as we dance. Daniel’s looking down at me like I’m the most beautiful woman in the world or something. I suddenly wonder if he’s looking at me like that because he actually means it or if it’s just for the cameras.

Probably just for the cameras.

Nevertheless, it’s a really good picture of us.

“So, what are they saying about us?” I hand him back the phone.

“They’re saying that we could be this year’s golden couple,” his grins, showing his dimples.

“And you said we aren’t as famous as the Kardashians.” I tease. “Isn’t being

branded ‘The Golden Couple’ a huge deal?”

“I guess so. It would mean better publicity,” he forks some pancakes into his mouth. He licks his lips, and I swear it’s the most erotic thing I have ever seen. “But I say we’re fine now, minus the whole Golden Couple thing. Most of the media has now switched sides and are believing our love story. So that’s good.”

“So no more Edgar Shermans, then.” Edgar Sherman is the reporter who wrote that ugly article about us that resulted in him getting fired by Daniel’s dad.


I grab my orange juice and clink my glass against him.

“Consider this a job well done.” I smirk.

“We should celebrate.” Daniel says. “With movies and snacks.” “Now?” I eye him.

“Tonight.” He grins. “We don’t have anything to do anyway.”

“Okay. But we don’t have snacks.” I glance over to the cabinets. Ever since we moved in, none of us had the time to do some grocery shopping. The only thing we have in stock right now is a half empty carton of orange juice, one egg, flour, and a pinch of cinnamon.

Yeah. That’s kind of pathetic.

“There’s a Walmart not too far from here. We can get everything we need there.” He grins. “Dibs on picking the movie.”

“God dammit!” I snap my fingers. “Now I have to sit through back to back episodes of Desperate Housewives. Tonight is not going to be a good night for me.”

“Actually... I was thinking more of the lines of an action movie.” He smirks. “We’ll see what I’m in the mood for.”

“Please no porn.” I groan.

“What do you take me for? A horny bastard?” He says, baffled. I give him the look. “Okay. Nevermind. Forget I said anything.”

“So, are we going to go or what?” I place my plate into the sink and cross my arms.

“Calm down, woman. I’m still eating.” He gobbles up his pancakes.

“You’re a slow eater.”

“And you’re moody. But you don’t see me complaining.” I bat my eyelashes at him.

“Okay, I’m done.” Daniel finishes the last of his orange juice and grabs his keys. “Let’s go.”

We head back from Walmart with six bags filled to the brim with food, majority of which Daniel insists we eat tonight as celebration.

Grocery shopping with Daniel is definitely something. We stocked up a lot on vegetables because Daniel needs to have his salad. (Is he being such a girl or what?).

We also spent two hours fighting over what type of ice cream to eat. He insisted on Ben and Jerry’s while I was more inclined towards Häagen-Dazs. In the end, we bought separate pints, which is a win-win situation considering that I get to eat my vanilla ice cream all by myself.

After food hunting, we went to the DVD section and got ourselves some movies.

Since Daniel called dibs on picking out the movie, we ended up with Predator and The Godfather. Very manly movies coming from a guy who watches Desperate Housewives.

We checked out at the cashier -thank god Daniel used his dad’s credit card otherwise we would not be able to pay that bill at all- and manage to arrive home around 3 so we got some time to spare before dinner.

After setting all our bags on the table, I have this sudden urge to go to my bedroom and open my laptop to continue ‘Blankets.’ I start to think about Nate and how supportive he has been about me finishing the story. It gives me a boost of confidence knowing he’s rooting for me. And... he’s right. I shouldn’t be scared about finishing it and sending it to a publisher. Who knows? Maybe someone out there might really like my story.

Just as I’m about to open the door to my bedroom, it flings open from inside. I come face to face with a very pissed off Cara. Her hair is in a huge mess, as if a

tornado had gone through it. Part of her gown had been torn at the side, and her heels had been flung over the floor.

“Oh shit.” I mutter.

I completely forgot about her! Suddenly what happened last night comes back to me in a whirlwind, hitting me hard in the face.

Cara’s so going to kill me.

“I’m so going to kill you!” She yells at me, pulling me into the bedroom. Outside I can hear Daniel shouting my name.

“Before you say anything, I just want to say I’m sorry-”

Cara whirls around to face me, her nostrils flaring and her eyes blood red. “I can’t believe you locked me in your room for the entire night! You are officially the worst friend ever!”

“Hey!” I say, “in my defence, you came to the party drunk as HELL, and you almost blew up our secret- the one I specifically told you to never tell anyone about!”

“Well I’m sorry I got a little bit tipsy at your party! I was drunk! I didn’t know what I was saying!” She justifies. “But you didn’t have to lock me up in your room like some rabid dog! Are you out of your mind, Alex? Best friends don’t do that!” “Best friends don’t almost spill each other’s secrets while they’re drunk too!” I hiss.

A muscle throbs along her jaw.

The door bursts open and Daniel stands at the doorway, looking confused as ever.

“Now’s not a good time, Daniel.” I hiss at him.

He blinks a few times, registering the situation in front of him.

“Cara.” He addresses my best friend.

“URGH.” She rolls her eyes.

Daniel stares at me. “Did I do something to piss her off?”

“No.” I sigh. “I did that all on my own.”

“Yeah you did,” she pushes me. “Imagine my horror when I woke up to this unfamiliar bed in a very unfamiliar setting. I thought I had been drugged or raped! Or or... sent to some kind of whore house or something!” “Huh?” I gape at her.

“You can’t blame me for thinking the worst!” She raises her voice, pacing all over my room. “I couldn’t remember what actually happened last night. And when I got up from the bed and took a look at the living room, I remembered. The memories of last night came rushing back to me. And I am now pissed out of my mind at you.” She seethes at me.

“You actually forgot about me, didn’t you?” She dares me to answer, “I bet you did. The look on your face just now when I confronted you says so.”

“Cara.” I frown. “I’m sorry. You have no idea.”

“Too busy sexing up to your fake fiancé over there, huh?” She fires at Daniel.

Daniel starts to speak. “Okay, um Cara. I don’t know you that well, but I think you need to calm down.”

“Calm down?” She laughs. “The guy who fought with my best friend in a restaurant three months ago is telling me to calm down.”

“Yes,” he says, making no hint that he’s bothered by the mention of our past, “I’ll make you some pancakes- And yes, I do make amazing ones.” Daniel winks at me. “We can talk about this in the kitchen when you’re not hungry and in a bad mood. Sounds good?”

I reach over for Cara. Daniel’s tactic might actually work.

She ponders for a while, and then asks, “Pancakes?” “Yeap.” Daniel confirms.

Cara looks at me, and then looks at Daniel again. She sighs.

“We’ll continue this conversation later.” She glares at me before following Daniel down to the kitchen.

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