Perfect Illusion

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Chapter 38: That's Why I Like You

“I’m sorry I totalled your car.” A pause.

“By totalled, I mean keyed the sides. And destroyed the bumper. And lost the car plate.”

Another pause.

“And gave you two parking tickets.” Another pause.

“I know that the paint job won’t come cheap. And I guess I went a little too far with the whole ‘destroying’ your car thing. Because it’s a fucking wreck.” I snort not too subtlety but Daniel doesn’t think it’s funny. He just glares at me, his eyes as hard as stone. “Sorry. No I really am. I went too far.”

“You went too far.” He repeats it, like he’s trying to convince himself too.

“Yeah, I did,” I shrug, my fingers digging into the sand. “I got some money saved up. I’ll pay for the expenses, I swear.”

He shakes his head. “It’s okay. I got it. I deserved what was coming anyways.” He glances briefly at the car. No doubt it looked like a wreck, but it was still functioning and had managed to get us here. Where is here you ask? The beach.

Yep.

Tonight is a good night to be at the beach. The night sky is an explosion of stars, casting a soft glow over the waves that splash against the shore, the only sound accompanying us. Daniel and I are both sitting on the sand a few feet away from the waters, burying our feet into the sand.

Neither of us was in any mood to get back home since I trashed his Lambo. I felt the adrenaline still pumping in veins, and didn’t feel like going to bed anytime soon.

Whereas Daniel didn’t feel like sleeping early and waking up the next day having to deal with the car, so he thought he’s prolong the night by driving us to the beach.

He’s still pretty mad at me about the whole car thing, and he does have a good reason. I may have gone a tad bit too far (and when I mean a tad bit, I mean a whole shit load too far), but I think all is fair in love and war.

“I’ll think it’s about time I get a new car anyway. Ditch this piece of shit.” He tells me, chuckling softly.

“Come on, it’s a perfectly nice car,” I say, “with a few repairs-”

“Do you know how much it will cost me to do the front alone?” He eyes me. “It’s costly. Very. It will be better if I just get a new one.”

“Oh come on, you’re making me feel really guilty about it,” I pout.

“No, it’s okay.” He waves me off, eyes meeting mine. Then, he smirks. “My dad has to pay for this. He owes me big time after that killer engagement party I threw for him.”

I throw my head back and laugh. Daniel’s eyes sparkle with humour.

“I can’t believe I trashed your car.” I smirk.

“I can’t believe I creased your books.” He replies, “you looked like you were about to shove a knife down my throat and give it a good twist.”

“I was!”

“But I believe I paid dearly for those books the moment my car hit that lamppost this morning. Over and over again.”

I look down, my face hot. “Sorry about that.”

“Remind me never again to cross you. Ever.” He chuckles.

His voice gets drowned by the crashing of waves against the rocks. As if on instinct, I scoot closer to Daniel, my hands propped behind me, and my legs brushing against his. He sucks in a sharp breath when his skin meets mine.

The both of us stare out to the ocean, falling into a comfortable silence. Eventually, I rest my head against his shoulder, needing to feel closer to him. I think he feels the same way about me too because he slides his arm around me, cupping my waist.

He sighs deeply after a while, his eyes locked on the ocean. “My father- I mean, Harry, he used to take me here sometimes with my mom during the summer holidays. That was when my mom was still healthy, and Harry and her were deeply in love.”

I lift my head so I can see him. He clenches his jaw tightly, as if the memory still cuts him deeply.

“Those were good times, you know?” He continues on, “those were the times when mom was still around and Harry hadn’t hated my guts. I used to think that life couldn’t get any better than that. I had a mom I loved unconditionally and a nice stepdad to provide for the both of us.”

I used to think that Harry was Daniel’s real dad. I bite my lip in curiosity. “What happened to your biological dad?”

“He died before I was born,” he winces, “My mom said he was a fire fighter and he had died trying to save a family from a burning house.”

“Oh.” I can only manage to say. “I’m so sorry.”

“That’s okay. I got over it,” he shrugs like it’s no big deal, “I only had the memory of him to cling unto my entire life. Mom would tell me that my father would be so proud of what I become.”

“He should be,” I nod in agreement.

Daniel shakes his head. “He shouldn’t. I mean, what have I even done that would make him proud anyway? I cower behind my stepdad, allowing him to assert power over me because I’m so fucking desperate for someone to give a damn about me. I fuck girls and I don’t give a shit about them after wards. You know that, Alex. You told me I’m a horrible person that night when we met.”

“No,” I say quickly. “I was wrong to judge you like that. Back then, I was a complete stranger. It was wrong of me to say those things.”

“Don’t apologize,” he murmurs, his hand stroking my hair, “I deserved what you said to me that night. Every single word. Because I am not a good person.”

“No, you are.” I face him this time, my fingers tilting his chin so his eyes level with mine. I only see sorrow and despair in his irises, and that makes my face fall. “You are a good person. I’ve seen you. The real you. Not the guy who’s a womanizer, the guy who fucks around. I don’t give two flying fucks about that guy. I’ve seen your heart, Daniel Kerrington, and it’s beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.”

I continue. “You’re the guy who loves with your body and your soul, the guy who no matter how many times you get screwed over, you stand up stronger than ever. You’re the guy who’s passionate, passionate about playing the guitar and writing songs because you love it. You’re the guy who never fails to put smile on my face when you tease me or joke around. So, you’re wrong that you think your father won’t be proud of you. Because he’d be fucking pleased to see the person you’ve become.”

Daniel stares at me with utter disbelief. His mouth parts open like he’s about to counter me, but eventually, he clamps it shut and a huge grin forms on his lips.

“That’s why.” He smirks.

“That’s why what?”

“That’s why I like you.” He whispers, his face close to mine. My heart leaps out of my throat when I realize how close he is. “You see the best in people. Even the worst people like me.”

“Christ, Kerrington. You’re talking a whole load of bullshit here,” I say, hiding the fact that I actually like his compliment.

“And there’s the fact that you’re so damn stubborn,” he rolls his eyes, “even when someone is trying to compliment you.” My cheeks are flaming red.

He lifts his hand and cups my cheek, his fingers trailing along my skin. “Fuck, Alex. You have no idea how much I want you. And I’m talking about wanting you physically- with you naked in my bed, because that would be fucking awesome-” “Daniel!” I say, horrified.

“I want you in any way you let me,” he leans closer and his lips brush against my cheek. I gasp at his kiss. “I want your brilliant mind, your weirdness, your cocky comebacks, your smiles- damn, your smiles. Everytime I make you smile, I feel like I’ve won the fucking lottery. I want you so bad, and I don’t ever want to share you. Not even if Nate wants to have another chance at owning your heart. Because I want it.”

I’m at loss for words. Because whatever he has just said melted my heart, turning my legs to jelly.

“I want to say I feel sorry about him breaking up with you but I don’t.” He rambles on, “I’m so fucking happy right now if you told me to go fuck myself, I wouldn’t even care.”

I laugh shakily.

His lips still linger on my cheek, and I can feel him smiling. “He doesn’t deserve you. You know that. Because you know who does. It’s me, Alex.”

If I move my head even just a little bit, our lips would meet. And I want so desperately to be kissed by Daniel right now, in fact, it’s the only thing I’m thinking about right now. How it would feel to finally has his lips on mine. I’m so tempted right now… If I can just turn a little bit to my left-

“I can’t do this right now, Daniel.” I blurt out. “I can’t. It’s not fair to Nate. Not when I just broke up with him three hours ago.”

He sighs, knowing that I’m right. “You’re right.” He moves away from me, and the absence of him near me washes over me in despair.

“I’m sorry.” I murmur. “I can’t do it right now. Otherwise, the thing that Nate and I have- no matter how short it was- would mean nothing. And I can’t do that to him.”

He nods his head, pain filling his eyes. “It’s fine. I understand.”

Needing reassurance that he was okay, I cover my hand with his. “We’re okay.” He forces a smile on his face. “We’re okay.” He echoes.

Instead of leaning against his shoulder, I take his arm and slip it over my shoulder so I can feel his embrace. We stare out into the ocean for another good ten minutes before Daniel checks his watch for the time.

“We should go.” He groans. “It’s way past midnight and we should get some sleep. We have classes tomorrow.”

“But I feel so comfy like this.” I pout.

He shakes his head, chuckling. “Let’s go.” As he stands up, he gives me a hand. I pat off the sand from my jeans and the both of us try to find our shoes that we’ve ditched before we entered the sand.

Once I’ve slipped my sneakers on, I feel a drop of rain hit my forehead. My eyes widen.

“Is it just me or is it about to rain?” I whirl around and ask Daniel.

Before he can even answer, more droplets of rain start to fall and next thing we know, it’s a torrential downpour.

“Oh my god,” I look up to the sky and laugh. Our clothes are drenched, but I don’t think Daniel cares. He brings his hands up, relishing the feel of the rain over his body. I laugh and kick a puddle of water, drenching him even more.

“Hey!” He calls out when the water hits him. He casts me a hidden smile before kicking water at me too.

“KERRINGTON!” I shriek as water seeps into my sneakers. “You’re going to pay for

this!”

The next half an hour is spent on jumping in puddles and laughing our asses off.

Daniel decides to get cocky and jump on a huge puddle of water, but he slips and falls unto the puddle instead, covering himself in mud and tiny pebbles. I burst out laughing.

“You idiot!” I scream over the rain. I extend my hand and help him up. He merely grins, his hand still in mine, and then he yanks my hand and places it over his shoulder. Then he slides another to the back of my body, resting above my hips.

Our bodies are pressed together, our clothes stuck unto our bodies like band aids. We’re gasping for air, the rain pelting over us. Daniel leans forward so our foreheads touch. He grins mischievously.

“Dancing and playing in the rain? What a cliché.” He murmurs, and I can barely here him from the loud thundering of rain. “I bet you know what comes next.” I close my eyes. I know. Kissing in the rain.

“You’re not kissing me tonight,” I shake my head.

“Maybe not on the lips,” he says seductively. He leans even closer and then presses a light kiss on the edge of my lips. It’s enough to make me feel like my heart is about to explode. “There.” He pulls away, and takes my hand.

I blink at him dumbly.

“Let’s go home, sweetheart.” He winks before pulling me towards the direction of his trashed Lambo.

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