Troubled Sincerity

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Chapter 15 | Dylan Strikes

It’s now been two weeks since Mark and I made things official. I go and see him during his lunch breaks at work, and I even met his work buddy, Tony.

Mark has been spending the night at our apartment almost every night, only spending nights at his dorm whenever he and his roommate Greg need to study.

If Lucy or Riley are annoyed by Mark’s sleepovers, they haven’t shown it yet.

“Wake up.” I sling my arm to slap Mark’s chest.

“Christ woman, do you have to be so violent in the morning?” Mark huffs while rubbing his bare chest. “I didn’t sign up for beatings, unless there’s whips involved.” He then winks at me.

“Oh whatever. Get up, we’re going to be late for class.” I roll my eyes, tossing the blanket off my body and walking over to my bathroom. I get into the shower, since I was already naked to begin with, and begin washing myself and my hair.

Just as Mark steps inside the shower to join me, I smirk at him and step out, grabbing my towel and wrapping it around my body.

“You’re evil.” I hear Mark say over the running water.

“Fap it out and let’s go.” I say before leaving the bathroom and heading over to my closet.

I just barely hear Mark curse a few choice words as I make it to my closet. I laugh while picking out a simple pair of high-wasted jeans and a red tank top. I pull on my black sandals and start on my hair.

I straighten it out completely, but then add a few curls all over, brushing them out to give a nice wavy look. I apply very light makeup and then put my phone and wallet into my over the shoulder bag.

Mark finishes his shower, and exits the bathroom with a smirk on his face.

“Please tell me you cleaned up after yourself.” I sigh.

“Of course, babe.” He nods with a laugh, before grabbing a spare set of clothes and getting dressed. He practically owns his own dresser drawer here.

I leave Mark to finish getting ready, and head out into the hallway to enter the kitchen.

I stop dead in my tracks when I see Dylan and Riley making out against the counter.

“You do have a bedroom, you know.” I say loud enough to inform them of my presence. They spring apart, Riley with a smirk on her face once she sees me.

Riley isn’t one to get embarrassed over PDA. Dylan, however, has a slight shade of pink resting on his cheeks.

“Sorry.” He mumbles.

We make eye contact, and it feels strained. Riley notices, because soon after she pulls Dylan out of the kitchen and into the living room with her, leaving me to myself.

I pour a cup of coffee, and add a little creamer before taking a long sip.

“Where’s mine?” Mark muses, walking over and kissing the top of my head.

I nod toward an empty mug on the counter, letting him know he can pour himself a cup.

“Dylan is in the living room.” I whisper.

Mark looks over at me and raises an eyebrow. I nod and he sighs.

“Maybe I should just be nice to him?” Mark says, catching me off guard.

“What? Why?”

“Because if he and Riley become serious, we’re going to be seeing a lot of him and I don’t want things to be awkward or stressful around here.” Mark whispers, both of us trying to keep our voices down.

“Maybe, it’s just weird.” I admit.

“Believe me, I know, but we at least have to try.”

I sigh and Mark smiles before pecking my lips. “I’ll see you later today, I gotta get to campus early for a test.”

I nod and follow Mark out into the living room.

“Hey Dylan.” Mark waves as he pulls the front door open.

“Uh, hey.” Dylan says back, clearly confused as to why Mark is suddenly being nice to him.

Mark turns and kisses me one last time, before he leaves and heads to campus.

I close the apartment door and turn back around to face Riley and Dylan.

“Hey.” I smile sheepishly.

“What’s up?” Riley asks.

“Nothing, he had to go take a test this morning, so I’ll be riding to school with you and Lucy.”

“Well, Dylan is giving me a ride, so it’ll just be you and Luc.” Riley shrugs.

“Great.” I smile, before heading back into Lucy’s room.

I barge in and she jumps while standing in front of her mirror.

“Wow, knock much?” She glares while clasping her bra in place.

“Oh please, like I haven’t seen tits before.” I roll my eyes.

“What’s up?” She laughs, pulling a white T-shirt over her head.

“Mark and Dylan just spoke for the first time since ya know, everything went down. It was weird.”

“Well, what did they say?”

“Well, Mark said ‘Hey Dylan’, and then Dylan said, ‘Uh, hey’.”

Lucy gives me a deadpanned look. “That’s it?”

“Yep.” I nod. “Weird right?”

Lucy stares at me blankly for a second, before laughing.

“What?” I gape.

“They literally said hey and you’re all worked up. Just relax. Dylan and Riley have been dating for two weeks now, and you need to accept it. Mark is actually being the bigger person here and trying to make things less awkward.” Lucy says while brushing her hair up into a high ponytail.

“I just really hope this doesn’t end ugly.” I sigh.

“It won’t if you relax.” Lucy grins. “Always the over thinker, huh Naveah?”

“You’re right, I’ll stop.” I roll my eyes. “By the way, it’s me and you riding to school today. Riley is going with Dylan.”

“Alright, I’ll be out in a minute, just gotta brush my teeth.”

I nod and leave her room, heading back into the kitchen to finish off my cup of coffee.

“So, that was odd.”

I freeze, and slowly turn around to see Dylan standing in the doorway.

“Sort of.” I shrug.

“I suppose if Mark can be the bigger person, so can I. I really like Riley and don’t want what happened with us to ruin it.” Dylan says.

“I agree. Let’s just leave the past in the past. Water under the bridge. Everything is fine.” I smile, trying to convince myself more so than anyone else.

Dylan suddenly takes a few steps toward me.

“Sure, love. Water under the bridge. Unless…” He trails off, closing the distance between us and stepping directly in front of me.

He takes my almost empty coffee cup from my hands, and places it into the sink.

“What are you doing?” My eyes widen.

“I see how you keep looking at me and Riley. You’re jealous, aren’t you?” He smirks.

“What? Why would I be jealous? I’m with Mark.” I scoff, trying to place some distance between us.

“Oh please, everyone knows that’s never going to last.” Dylan rolls his eyes. “You’re just buying time.”

“Buying time for what?” I ask incredulously.

“To finally realize that you should be with me.”

“What the hell is wrong with you? You’re with Riley. You literally just said that you really like her.” My eyes have never been this wide before. “If you’re just using her then tell me, because I will gladly give her the message.”

“Nonsense, besides, she’d never believe you anyway. She’d just think you were jealous over our new relationship. She knows how you operate. After all, she saw how you cheated on Connor all last year with Mark. Once a cheater, always a cheater, right?” Dylan chuckles before leaning in and placing a simple kiss against my lips.

I immediately push him away and he laughs again. He steps away from me and smiles, before leaving the kitchen.

“Hey, have you seen my red lipstick?” Lucy asks just as she enters the kitchen.

My eyes are wide, and I’m frozen in my spot.

“Hello? Earth to Naveah?” Lucy snaps her fingers in my face twice, and finally I look at her.

What the hell just happened?

“Sorry, it’s in my bag, here.” I open my bag and take out the red lipstick, giving it to Lucy. “I barrowed it.”

“Gee, thanks for informing me.” She teases with a playful glare. “Now, let’s go, I don’t want to be late.”

Lucy and I pass the living room to get to the front door, and Dylan is sitting alone on the couch. I assume he’s waiting for Riley to finish getting ready. We make eye contact and he smirks at me, before looking back down to his phone resting in his hand.

How the hell am I supposed to deal with this? I can’t tell Mark, it’ll just piss him off. Then again, if I don’t tell Mark and he finds out from someone else, that will just make it look a thousand times worse.

I hate you Dylan.

Once Lucy and I get to campus, I try to steer clear of Mark. I can’t tell him what happened yet, and I can’t see him or it’ll probably be noticeable that I’m trying to hide something.

I need to talk to Dylan again before I talk to Mark and Riley.

I need to handle this situation delicately. One wrong move, and everything is ruined.

| Mark’s POV |

“What’s up man?” Connor says as I greet him in the café.

“Not much, just left Naveah’s.” I smirk, reaching for a couple pancakes and a pile of bacon. Connor does the same and we pay for our food before grabbing a table.

I have some time to spare before my test.

“You’ve been spending a lot of time there, huh?” Connor chuckles.

I only shrug. “I’m a man, and a man has needs.”

“Yeah, whatever. You’re totally in love with that girl.” Connor teases, passing me the syrup for my pancakes.

“I saw Dylan this morning. He’s been hanging out with Riley a lot. It wasn’t too bad.”

“That’s good. We’re all adults and we should all be civil toward each other.” Connor nods.

I nod just as I see Lucy dragging Naveah into the café. Naveah and I immediately make eye contact, and something about her face seems off.

I wave them over and Lucy practically drags Naveah over to our table. Lucy sits beside Connor, and Naveah hesitantly moves to sit beside me.

I pull her into my side, kissing the top of her head.

“I thought you had a test this morning.” She says.

“Yeah, in like ten minutes. I just wanted to eat something first.” I shrug. “What’s up?”

“Nothing! What do you mean?”


“Did something happen?” I raise an eyebrow.

Naveah looks down to her hands, a clear sign that she’s hiding something.

I glance at Connor, who gives me a knowing look.

“Naveah?” I ask again.

“Everything is fine.” She smiles suddenly, leaning into my side like normal. “I’ve got class though, so I’ll see you later.”

She gets up and drags Lucy back out of the café, leaving me and Connor baffled.

“What the hell am I supposed to make of that?” I look to Connor.

“I don’t know, but you need to talk to her. That was definitely classic Naveah.”

“You don’t think she’s…” I trail off, not even wanting to say what just popped into my mind.

“Listen, I don’t want to bring you down, but I thought absolutely nothing of it whenever you and her were fooling around behind my back. It honestly caught me off guard a little bit when I found out the truth. You should be upfront with her and ask her. I’ve seen a lot of good changes in her this year, but I would just make sure for everyone’s sake.” Connor says genuinely.

I nod. “Sorry about all that, again.” I rub the back of my neck. “I’ll never forgive myself for that.”

Connor waves me off. “In the past. Forgotten.”

Nobody deserves Connor’s loyalty and friendship. He’s too pure.

“I gotta get to my test, I’ll let you know how it goes. Hey, if you see her before I do, can you try talking to her? See if you can figure out anything?”

I can’t believe I’m asking him to spy on my girlfriend, his ex-girlfriend.

I feel so childish, but I need to know what that was all about.

Our relationship can’t be over already, right?

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