Perfect Illusion

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Chapter 39: Falling is the Best Part

The next day, instead of Daniel taking me to campus in his Lambo, I have to take him in my car, because he says and as I quote ′I can’t bring this piece of shit to school. I’m a son of a multimillionaire. I have standards.′

This earned him one of my famous eye rolls and a response that went along the lines of ′who the fuck cares about your trashed Lambo? You have a trashed reputation anyways.′

OOOOOOH BURNNNN!

Daniel however, did not find it funny. At all. In fact, when he gave me the silent treatment for the entire morning. It was absolutely horrible. He kept giving me sour looks every time I would ask him a question, and this earned a couple of weird looks from people on campus. Someone even went up to me and ask what’s going on between the both of us. I merely told her that it was a ‘lover’s quarrel’ so she would know what to tell the paparazzi if they ask if we’re breaking off our engagement or something.

Yep. The media tends to come up with those kinds of bullshit.

After apologizing for that comment about his reputation, Daniel finally gives in and starts to talk to me. We banter back and forth during class about whether the comment was actually offensive or not or it could just be depicted as a joke. But before we could settle the argument, our lecturer stops teaching and glare at the both of us.

“I don’t tolerate noise making during my class, Daniel and Alex.” She shakes her head. “I don’t care if the both of you are engaged, please settle your wedding planning arguments after you are dismissed.”

That earned a lot of glances from the rest of the class. I feel my whole face turn scarlet.

“No worries, Mrs. Stemming,” Daniel smirks then looks at me. “She was just about to give in to me.”

I snort. “As if.”

“Sweetheart, you know I’m always right.” Then, he presses a kiss on my cheek, which makes my whole face burn even more out of embarrassment that everyone’s watching us.

Mrs. Stemming sighs and resumes her class. Shooting a death glare at Daniel, I mouth to him. I hate you.

No you don’t. You looooove me. He winks and turns his attention to our lecturer.

After class, Daniel and I both decide that we’re sort of tired of seeing each other’s faces, and we go our separate ways for lunch break. Cara spots me from a mile away and runs to my direction, trying to catch up to me.

“Hey,” she smiles, and it’s a gleeful one. “What’s up with you?”

“What’s up with me?” I lift a curious eyebrow as I notice she’s practically glowing. “What’s up with you?”

“What do you mean what’s up with me?” She brushes a lock of blonde hair away nervously. “I’m fine. Totally fine. Why would you think otherwise?”

“Well, your smile is as bright as the fucking sun,” I note, “and you’re happy. Like not just happy. Ecstatic. So, what’s up with you?”

“Oh… Nothing./.” She mumbles, looking down. Her whole face is flaming.

“Not fair. We’re best friends. We share everything with each other. So spill the beans, Cara. Let me know who’s been in your pants.”

She stares at me, clearly shocked at what I had just said. “ALEX!” and then she turns even redder.

“OH MY GOD. SO SOMEONE HAS BEEN IN YOUR PANTS!” I slap her shoulders repeatedly, excited about what happened with Cara. “OH MY GOD. WHO IS IT?” “I’m not telling!”

“Is it a one night stand thing? HOLY SHIT HE BETTER BE HOT. LIKE CHANNING TATUM HOT. Let me see a picture-”

“No!” She clings to her bag as tight as possible, swinging it away from my grasp. “DON’T YOU DARE-”

“Gimme that!” I go from behind her and make an attempt to grab at her bag. She squeals and ducks from my grasp, kneeling on the floor and hugging her bag. “Okay! Okay! Wait!” She puts a hand out to stop me. “It’s… It’s... Simon.”

“OH MY GOD! SIMON! SIMON? Really?” My face is scrunched up, unsure of how to feel about this. I guess I should be happy that Cara likes Simon, but how do I feel about him? He’s fine I suppose, but there’s something about him that confuses me. If Cara really cares for Simon, I guess I should make an effort to get to know him better.

“SHHHH!” She places a finger over her lips, “JESUS CHRIST, ALEX. I THINK THEY CAN HEAR YOU ALL THE WAY FROM CANADA.”

“OPPS!” I cover my mouth instantaneously. “Sorry.” I mumble.

“I’ll tell you all about it later. Let’s go Caffeinated.” She tugs my hand and starts to walk to the direction of the cafe.

“You read my mind.” I smirk.

It’s a five-minute walk from campus (thanks god, I don’t take suspense very well) and when we reach there, we go over to the counter to grab our drinks. One of the male baristas notices Cara, and when he’s making her drink, he tries to flirt with her. Cara dismisses his attempts and tells him he’s not really interested. I shoot a confused look at her. “What happened to my best friend?”

She casts me a puzzled look. “What do you mean?”

“Come on. You never shoot down any attempts of flirting. What has happened to you?”

She merely shrugs.

When we finally get settled down, I take my seat opposite from her and slam my drink down. “Okay. Talk.”

She frowns, knowing that I will never let this go. “Fine.” She says, “so I kissed Simon.”

“Okay. That much I predicted.” I lean forward, eager to know more. “So how did it happen?”

“Well... we were talking about Call Of Duty... you know, the game with the guns... and he told me that he had the game. So he invited me over to play.” She tells me.

“Play, huh?” I wriggle my eyebrows.

She rolls her eyes, trying not to laugh. “Anyways, we were having such a great time. I beat him twice, something that apparently, no one has done before. Simon still had more wins than me, but whatever. He told me that I was pretty impressive. We continued to play until it was really late. Probably around midnight.”

“And where the hell was I when you were off doing Simon?” I exclaim.

“I don’t know. You haven’t been around much lately.” She sighs, “anyways. We stopped playing because I was getting super tired. So, I ended up lying on his bed.”

“I think I know where this is going...”

“And then, my mind acted on its own. I pulled him unto the bed with me.” She says, her cheeks flushed. Her smile is so wide, I can see her pearly white teeth. “We started talking for a while. Not just gaming though. About life. And college. And friends. And about our families. And then... Well... I leaned over and kissed him.” “Gasp!” I say dramatically.

She swats my shoulder. “Shut up, okay? Mind you, it was a great kiss. He was so sweet and gentle with me, unlike all the other guys I’ve dated who was always in a rush to get to third base. Simon really took his time with me, and it was nice. Really nice. I really like him, Alex. I do.”

I nod, happy for her. “So, did you guys do it?”

She shakes her head, frowning. “No. I... uh... It wasn’t time. He understood, of course. He wanted to take me on a real date first before we got to that stage.”

I clasp my hands together. “That’s great, Cara. I’m so happy for you.” If I had to force myself to like Simon, so be it. He made Cara happy, and I want her to be happy.

“Thanks,” she murmurs, “speaking of dates and such, how’s NATE?” She wriggles her eyebrows. “I bet you’ve been pretty busy with him lately, huh?” My face immediately falls.

“Um...” I mumble. I completely forgot to tell Cara about how things had gone between Nate and I yesterday. “Nate and I broke up.”

She gasps loudly. “WHAT?”

I take a sip of my coffee, pouting. “Yeah. We decided we would be better off as friends.” I say.

“But… I don’t understand.”

“Didn’t you say that my relationship with Nate was going to crash and burn anyways? It did.”

For a while, there is silence. Cara just stares at me, her mouth gaping open.

“I just... I didn’t expect it to end so quickly.” Her voice trails off, uncertainty lacing her tone, “so ... how do you feel about it?”

“A little bummed, I guess,” I shrug. “But mostly, I feel okay. I knew it wasn’t right. It wasn’t meant to be.”

“Of course, it wasn’t meant to be,” she rolls her eyes as if it is so obvious. “Nate and you didn’t have the connection.”

“Not this again,” I lean against my chair and cross my arms over my chest. “You and your connection bullshit.”

“I’m serious!” She rasps, “you and Nate didn’t have that! And see where that led you two? A nasty breakup-”

“It wasn’t that nasty.” I tried to justify but Cara ignores me.

“You guys broke up because there was no connection! But you and Daniel on the other hand, there’s some serious connection going on there.”

I laugh and Cara eyes me curiously. “You’re not denying it.” She says.

I stop laughing. “What?”

“You’re not denying that you have a connection with Daniel.”

I open my mouth to deny, but the words get lodged in my throat. Should I tell Cara? That I have feelings for Daniel? But that just means... Cara’s right. She told me I would fall for Daniel. And if I were to admit it...

Oh god. It will be torment.

I merely smile. Time to change the subject. “Soooooo... I got a voicemail from my dad.”

I wince, thinking that she will know that I’m trying to steer the conversation away from Daniel. But she doesn’t. She widens her eyes at what I said.

“Really?” She furrows her eyebrows, “you haven’t talked to your parents since-”

“The engagement party, I know.” I finish for her. “I told them I didn’t want to speak to them again. But now... I don’t know. I think they’re really sorry about what they’ve put me through.”

“What did your dad have to say about it?”

“He said he finally understood why I’ve been so angry.” I tell her, “and he invited me over for thanksgiving.”

“But I thought you were coming to Friendsgiving at my place!” Cara says.

Friendsgiving is basically thanksgiving with friends. Cara got the idea from that one episode in Vampire Diaries and now she swears we have to have one during thanksgiving. She had invited Simon, Daniel, Nate and I just last week. I had almost forgot.

“I know… But...”

“It’s okay,” she shakes her head. “You should spend Thanksgiving with your parents. It’s only right.”

“But if I show up next weekend on their doorstep, it’s like I’ve already forgiven them.”

Cara sighs, her head shaking. “Isn’t it time that you do? You’ve been holding a grudge over them for so long. I think you’ve punished them enough.”

I glare at her. “I hate that you’re the better person.”

She winks at me. “At least I’m always there to set you straight, Alex.”

I laugh. “You’re right. I’d be lost without you.”

Cara snatches my phone on the table and hands it over to me, a hard expression on her face. “Call your parents back. Tell them you’re coming to Thanksgiving.”

I sink down to my chair. “But-”

“No buts, missy,” she squints her eyes. “Call them back.”

Is it finally time I let go of the grudge I had over my parents? It’s been a month now since the whole fiasco with the fake engagement thing happened. Since then, I have finally come to terms with it. I had gone into the engagement thinking that my life would be over because Daniel would make my life a living hell. Now, it seemed like I can’t stop thinking about him everywhere I go. He’s constantly invading my thoughts with his sexy smirks and cockiness. I never thought I would be able to actually like him.

But I do. And he means so much more than I thought he would be. He makes me want to be a better person.

I like the person I’ve become when I’m with him. He is my strength. He makes me feel wanted and cared for.

I’ve definitely fallen too far.

But... I don’t care.

Falling is the best part, isn’t it?

Without my parents... I wouldn’t have met him. Somehow that very thought makes my heart sink. At least I have something to thank them for.

I take the phone out of Cara’s hands and put on a huge smile. “Thanksgiving with my parents. Great.” I say sarcastically. “What could possibly go wrong?”

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