Perfect Illusion

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Chapter 47: As Long as You Let Me

I help Daniel take the luggage, wanting to avoid another awkward conversation with mom. I don’t know what’s gotten under her skin, and I don’t think I want to know why. Every time she looks at Daniel, it isn’t very pleasant. He notices this and when we’re carrying our stuff upstairs, he tells me about it.

“I don’t think your mother likes me very much,” Daniel mutters.

“I think she just doesn’t like me having a boyfriend,” I cup his cheek, “Chill, okay? It doesn’t matter if she doesn’t like you. I like you. So, she can suck it.”

Daniel chuckles. “I think your dad’s fine with me, though. I think he’ll be giving me the talk later about dating his daughter.”

“No, he will. Which means you got to prepare yourself, okay? Don’t say stupid shit like you normally do.”

“I do not say stupid shit!” Daniel says, getting all defensive.

“Uh, yeah you do.” I say as I open the door to my bedroom. “Ah. Home sweet home.”

Daniel enters the bedroom, carrying my stuff. He seems dumbstruck by the decorations. “This is a girly bedroom. Damn, Alex. I didn’t know you had it in you.”

“Shut up.” I punch his shoulder, only to have pain shoot through my entire arm, “Ow! That hurt.”

“Sorry, sweetheart. I’ve been working out a lot lately,” He winks at me as he sets my bags down on the bed.

“Jerk.” I mutter as I shove a pillow at him. He narrowly ducks and misses it. “God dammit.”

“You suck.” He sticks his tongue out like an eight-year old. I roll my eyes and jump unto the bed, clinging unto my sheets.

Daniel sets the bags down on the floor to make space for himself. He lays next to me, playing with the strands of my hair.

“So… where am I sleeping tonight?” He asks me, grinning.

“Definitely not in my room. Mom and dad made that very clear now that they know that we’re dating.” I shrug. “You’ll be sleeping in the guest room.”

“And where is that?”

“Next to mine.”

“Awesome.” He smiles, “Do we get a joined bathroom?”

“Hah. In your dreams, Kerrington.”

“Dammit,” He reaches over and grabs my waist, pulling me on top of him. “I was hoping we could make very good use of the bathroom.”

“I’m just going to stick to showering and cleaning. By myself, thank you very much. You’re just going to be a pretty distraction if I have you with me.” “I’m pretty, huh?” He wriggles his eyebrows.

“Fuck. I never should have said that.” I groan. “You’re going to use it against me for a long time, are you?”

“As long as you let me, sweetheart.” He grins, pulling my face close to his.

I’m waiting for his lips to meet mine, but it doesn’t. Instead, he tilts his head and starts to nibble on my ear. I gasp at the beautiful sensation of his lips on my skin. I cling unto his shoulders, mouth parted open as he continues to do crazy things to my body.

His hands are already pulling at the hem of my shirt when my mother calls us from downstairs. “ALEX! Stop whatever you’re doing with him and get down here to help me!”

Daniel sighs against my lips. “Major buzzkill.”

“Come on, stupid.” I tug on his arm as I get up. He reluctantly does so. “We can save that for another time.”

“Fine.” He grumbles and links his hand with mine.

“Sorry, Daniel.” I kiss him quickly. “Come on. We got a turkey to stuff.” I grin at him as we make our way down the stairs.

We spend the next three hours getting ready for Thanksgiving. Mom and I are in the kitchen, doing the ‘womanly duties’, preparing all the food and stuffing the turkey. I read the instructions off from the tablet while mom puts the seasoning and everything. Meanwhile, Dad and Daniel are setting up the table, making sure the candles are lit and the plates are laid.

After they finish with that, the both of them lounge on the couch, talking to each other about manly stuff that I don’t understand. But from what I gather, my dad sounds very taken by Daniel. He’s constantly making dad laugh, which is a good sign, I guess.

“Alex!” Dad calls from the living room. “Your boyfriend tells me he plays the guitar!”

“Yep.” I wipe my hands on my apron and walk over to Daniel, sitting on the edge of his seat. He casts me a thankful smile, and he links his fingers with mine. “He’s a pro.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that.” Daniel chuckles. “But I’d like to think I’m good at it.”

“You know,” my dad leans forward, arms on his thighs, “I used to play the guitar too. Tell him, Alex.”

I sigh dramatically and say in a bored tone, “he used to play the guitar. He was a natural. When he was sixteen, he got in a band called The Death Beaters.”

“The Death Beaters.” Daniel echoes.

Dad nods vigorously. “Our band was a major hit.”

“Or so he says.” My mother chimes in from the kitchen.

“Oh, she’s just jealous because I used to get all the ladies.” Dad says. “Those were my glory days, you know? Having every woman I ever desired-” “You’re setting a bad example for Alex, John.” I hear mom tsk.

“I think she’s perfectly fine, Margaret. After all, she has this young chap over here to keep her company.” Dad pats on Daniel’s shoulder.

I laugh quietly. Daniel squeezes my hand, smiling like he’s finally seen heaven.

“Margaret, when’s the turkey going to be ready?” Dad calls out.

“In a few more minutes!” She shrieks.

We settle ourselves around the table. Dad takes his usual seat, the one at the very end of the table. I take a seat next to him, and Daniel sits next to me.

“So how was the talk? With my dad?” I whisper to him as my dad checks his phone for messages.

Daniel grins. “Better than expected. He gave me the thumbs up.”

“And he doesn’t think its awkward... that we got together under these circumstances?”

“Well...” He pauses before continuing. “I doubt that he really cares about that. But he really likes me. Says that I’m a good boyfriend to you.”

I roll my eyes. “I beg to differ, Kerrington.”

“Really?” He lifts an eyebrow. “Come on. I’m an amazing boyfriend.” He trails a finger on my thigh, creating shivers through my entire body. Then, he bends down to whisper in my ear, “In and out of bed.”

“We’ll talk about this later, at night.” I place a hand on his chest and nudge him of me, fighting a smile of my face. “Meanwhile, keep a respectable distance from me, mister.”

“You heard her.” Mom materializes behind the both of us, giving me a sudden fright. She’s holding the tray with the turkey with her mittens and she’s glaring daggers at Daniel.

Daniel shifts uncomfortably in his seat. He keeps his hands off me for the entire meal.

Since my parents weren’t all that religious, we skip the whole prayer thing and get right into the food. Mom really outdid herself today. There’s baked macaroni and cheese, pumpkin soup with chilli cran-apple relish, mashed potatoes, corn pudding and of course, the brined herb-crusted turkey with apple cider gravy.

Earlier today I was taking out the trash and I saw all the huge takeout boxes littering the floor. But I don’t tell mom. I will let her have her moment.

For the first ten minutes of dinner, we eat in a comfortable silence, except for the occasional “pass me the gravy” or “is that cranberry sauce?“. I throw quick glances at Daniel and from the way he’s frowning, I can tell he’s really upset about how my mother does not like him.

I should do something about it. I have to make her like him. What’s there not to like about Daniel freaking Kerrington? I hate to admit it, but he’s good looking, funny and charming when he needs to be. I just need my mother to see those good qualities in him.

“So,” My dad starts off. “How’s your father doing, Daniel?”

Daniel gulps. he looks like he’d rather stuff a knife down his throat than answer any questions about his father. “He’s good.”

“He’s really helping us a great deal.” My dad informs us, as he cups my mom’s hand. She smiles at him knowingly. “Woods and Co have increased production and sales have been good these two months.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” Daniel merely says.

“Yes, well. We’d like to be more independent now that we are finally back afloat.” My dad says as he spoons some green peas into his mouth. “But that will take a while. But do let him know we appreciate his help.”

“Of course.” Daniel forces a smile on his face. “I’m sure he would be happy to hear that.”

“So how are the both of you these days?” My dad asks me. “The engagement okay?”

“Yes.” I swallow. “It’s fine dad.”

His eyes crinkle. “And you said that it would ruin your life.”

One of my eyes twitch. “At least it turned out better than expected.”

“I do say that you have been over-exaggerating about the whole thing in the first place, Alexandria.” Dad says, “You thought you were going to be miserable-”

“I know, dad.” I cut him off irritably. Is he really going to bring this argument back again? Really?

“Well, at least you and Daniel get along. Very well, in fact, considering the both of you are now err... together.”

When my dad says this, my mother shoots another glare at Daniel.

“Mom. Stop it.” I spit.

My mom swerves her attention to me, her eyes widening. “Stop what?” She really wants to play this game, huh?

“Stop glaring at Daniel like he doesn’t deserve me!” I slam my hand on the table. “What the hell is wrong with you? Why can’t you be happy for me?”

“Alexandria, calm down.” My dad reaches for my hand but I move it away.

“Don’t.” God, this feels like the last time my parents and I fought again. It’s happening all over again.

“Alex, I am happy for you,” My mother’s eyes sadden.

“Well, clearly not enough.” I shake my head. “What do you have against Daniel that caused you to act this way, huh?”

Her gaze flickers to Daniel then to me. “He doesn’t deserve you, Alex. I know what he’s like. I’ve read all about it in the magazines. He’s a player, Alex. He doesn’t care about you. You’ll see. Now that he’s got you, he’ll find any excuse to break it off with you. Because to him, you are not worth keeping around.”

“Just because you’ve read about him in the articles, you think you know him that well, huh?”

“I know you, Alex. You can do so much better than him.”

Daniel growls. “I’m right here, folks. Right here.”

I ignore him. “You don’t know him like I do. He’s the most brilliant man I’ve ever met. He’s nice, and he’s smart and talented and funny, and... at least cares about me more than I can say about you.” I scowl at my mother.

She gasps. “How can you even say that? I love you, Alex.”

“If you did, you would have given us your blessing, just like dad did.” I snarl.

My mom glances at dad, who doesn’t seem to stand up for her. He sinks into his seat, avoiding eye contact with her.

At least my dad is on my side about this.

She forces a smile on her face, grabs her plate and heads for the kitchen. I am just about to follow her when my dad says, “Leave her.”

“What is wrong with her, dad?” I run my fingers through my hair in frustration.

Dad shakes his head. “She’s certain guys like Daniel over here are bad news.”

“What happened to her?” Daniel asks. “I’m sorry- I’m just curious. I’ve seen anger like that before. I’ve been on the receiving end of that anger many times before. Something happened to her in the past that causes her to hold a grudge against me.”

My dad takes his glass of wine and pours the contents in his mouth, leaving not a single drop. “She’s never told me this before but I’ve heard it from a fellow colleague of mine. He said that your mother used to be very wild when she was a teenager- she drank a lot, went to parties, you know. All that stuff. Anyways, she met this guy- I think he was in some sort of band, perhaps similar to mine. He was the ladies’ man. Loved to have his way with women.”

He breaks and then continues, “So naturally, they got together. She thought that she could tame him. Of course, that’s what any girl would dream of when she had her hands on a guy like him. She swore that they were soulmates. But...” His voice trails off, “He didn’t feel the same way. Dumped her and found another girl. Apparently their break up was really nasty.”

“Your mother never talked about it with me. I think she was embarrassed. All I know is that she has this hatred inside of her for so long.” “So... she thinks Daniel will leave me?” I ask.

Dad shakes his head again. “No. She thinks Daniel will break you.”

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