Troubled Sincerity

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Chapter 2 | Dinner with Mark

“Come on love, we’re going to be late.” Dylan smirks from the living room of my apartment. The girls are off exploring the city, while Dylan and I are going on a date.

We aren’t labeled anything, but I do enjoy spending time with him.

He’s been my breath of fresh air, ever since this summer.

For the first few days of our summer vacation, I didn’t really have much motivation to do anything. The girls kept pressuring me to go out with them, so eventually I did.

That same night, is when we met Dylan and his friends.

“Naveah, let’s go, we’re not leaving you here alone again.” Callie sighs from the kitchen of the hotel room.

“I’m almost finished, give me a second.” I sigh from the bathroom. After I finish applying a coat of lipstick, I grab my bag and head out to join the others.

“Ready for some fun?” Lucy smirks.

“Sure am.” I fake smile. “Let’s go!”

After we stop at our first pub, the girls and I walk inside and find a booth near the back. The lights are dim and there is music blaring from speakers all around.

Sweaty bodies are dancing on the dance floor, and I look up to see a server wanting to take our orders.

“Oh my God, look over there.” Lucy points from beside me. I look over toward the bar, and a man is staring directly at me. “He’s hot. You should go talk to him.” Lucy whispers in my ear.

“No way. He’s a complete stranger. What if he’s a bad guy or something?” I say back to her, leaning over enough so she can hear me.

The entire time, the man and I keep eye contact.

A few seconds later, another server walks over to our table, and sets a drink down in front of me.

“From the nice gentlemen at the bar.” The server smiles before walking away.

I look over to the bar and see the man smiling at me.

I smile back and lift the drink to say thanks.

After the girls and I drink and dance a little, Lucy pushes me toward the bar and almost makes me crash into the man, who laughs once he sees me.

“Well hello love.”

“Hi. Uh, what’s your name?” I ask shyly.

“Dylan. You?” He extends his hand, taking mine and gently kissing the top as I answer.


“Beautiful. Did you fancy the drink I sent over?” He smiles.

“Absolutely. What’s that cinnamon taste? Fireball?” I ask.

He only nods.

“Well, thanks, bye!” I wave awkwardly.

Before I can walk away, Dylan reaches out to grab my hand.

“Aren’t you going to ask me to dance? I think you want to ask me to dance.” He smirks playfully.

“Right. I do. I mean, sure, let’s dance.” I smile.

As I turn and guide Dylan to the dance floor, I spot the girls watching from our booth across the pub.

Lucy is smiling, while Riley is smirking. Callie is talking to a man sitting at the booth next to ours, which makes me smile as well.

I’m happy she’s trying to move on from Red. Their breakup wasn’t easy for her, even if she tries to pretend that it was.

As the beat gets faster, I begin swaying my hips in rhythm. Dylan is pressed against my back, his hands firmly on my waist. I slowly turn around, and as the beat gets even faster, time seems to slow down as Dylan leans in to kiss me.

To me, this is moving very fast, but I don’t try to think about it. I don’t want to think about anything.

I lean in to meet his lips, as I press my own to them. They’re soft, and welcoming. I wonder how many times he’s picked up girls from this exact pub. I wonder if I’m the first one or the last one for tonight.

“I don’t normally do this.” He smiles while pulling away.

“Really?” I ask, surprised. “You seem pretty comfortable here.”

“Yeah, the mates and I come here often, but normally I just keep to myself.” Dylan shrugs. “Something about you was just different. I can’t really explain it.”

“Well, I can’t exactly argue with you there.” I say a little softer, our faces only an inch apart.

We kiss again, and electricity soars through my body. I’m not sure if these feelings are real, or only strengthened due to the alcohol in my system, but regardless I don’t want it to end.

“Want to bring your friends over to our booth?” I smirk.

“Sure, I’ll meet you there love.”

We pretty much spent every other night together after that. His friends showed us around the different sites and hotels, all while Dylan and I got to know each other.

Whatever this is, I like it.

“I’m ready!” I smile as Dylan and I leave the apartment. I climb into his car, and then he’s driving down the road.

“I found this restaurant on google, and I haven’t had a chance to read any reviews yet.” Dylan admits with a soft chuckle. “This could go really good or really bad.”

“Fine by me, I like adventures.”

“Well that I know.” I look over to see the smirk on his face as he concentrates on the road ahead.

Twenty minutes later, we arrive at a restaurant called Ashlynn’s.

“It’s supposed to be Italian.” Dylan shrugs as we walk up the path to the door.

“I didn’t know you liked Italian.” I say as he holds the door open for me.

“There’s quite a bit you still don’t know about me love.” Dylan replies as we both walk inside and wait to be seated.

“Guess I can’t argue with you there. There’s still a lot we probably don’t know about each other.” I shrug.

“Well that’s because in Europe, we didn’t really do that much talking.”

I hear the huskiness in his voice, and my cheeks turn a slight shade of pink as I reminisce.

“Table for two?” The host asks.

“Yes, thank you.” Dylan says in reply, as we follow the host to a table.

Dylan pulls my chair out for me, and I take my seat as I scoot closer to the table.

“Thank you.” I smile.

Dylan takes his seat and we both begin looking at the menu.

This place is definitely Italian. My mouth is watering at the different pasta options.

“Hello, my name is Mark; I’ll be your server today. Can I start you off with a drink?

My stomach immediately drops as I slowly lift my eyes.

“Shit.” I say as I look directly into the eyes of Mark Chase.

“Great.” He mumbles under his breath.

Dylan must recognize Mark from earlier today in the cafeteria at school, the smirk on his face giving me that notion.

“Well hello there old chap. The lady here would like a glass of your finest tea, while I’ll have a chilled cola.” Dylan says too enthusiastically.

Mark narrows his eyes. “Cola? What kind of Cola?”

“Just uh, coke is fine. Whatever you Americans call it.” Dylan smiles wide.

“We Americans?” Mark raises an eyebrow.

“Alrighty then, yes, I’ll have tea and Dylan will have a coke.” I say to Mark who brings his gaze back to me.

I notice how his eyes darken.

“Splendid, I’ll be right back with your drinks. Cheerio!” Mark fakes a smile as he uses a horrible British accent and then walks away.

“I’d say he just mocked me.” Dylan comments.

“Well, I think it’s safe to say we aren’t coming here ever again.” I sigh as I lean back in my chair, finally able to relax.

A few minutes later, Mark returns with our drinks.

“And are we ready to order? Or should I just answer to whatever Sir Dylan says.” Mark smiles, but it’s still completely fake.

“I’m sure Naveah can decide what she wants to eat on her own.” Dylan smiles to Mark.

After Dylan orders a simple salad and side of breadsticks, I begin my order.

“I’ll have the chicken parm over pasta, with a side of broccoli and cheese soup.”

“Extra cheese in the soup.” Both Mark and I say in unison.

Dylan narrows his eyes as Mark and I stare at each other.

“Yes, thank you.” I mumble as I look down at my drink.

Suddenly, tea seems very interesting to me.

I forget that Mark knows me. Probably a lot better than I know myself.

Dylan certainly notices.

“I take it you two have history?”

Mark scoffs. “That’s an understatement, isn’t it Nave?”

The sound of his nickname for me sends chills down my spine.

“Mark, you should go put our food order in, yeah?” I say calmly.

“Whatever.” He sneers before turning and storming away from our table.

“Care to explain that?” Dylan asks, eyeing me carefully.

“I think we should just enjoy our dinner.” I say, taking a sip of my tea.

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” Dylan says as he drinks his soda.

“This soda is piss warm, bloody hell!”

I watch as Dylan spits his soda back into the glass.

I want to laugh, but that would be inappropriate.

Dylan motions for the attention of another server, explaining the warm soda, and asks for a new one.

The young woman apologizes and takes the glass of warm soda away, promising to bring a fresh and cold one.

Once Dylan has his cold beverage, Mark brings our food out.

He places our food in front of us, purposely giving us each the others food, and gives us another fake smile before walking away again.

“Lad must not be over you.” Dylan comments while taking his salad and giving me my pasta.

“What?” I ask as my eyes widen.

“Nothing love, I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”

What a lovely date this was.

| Mark’s POV |

I can’t believe the nerve of her. Coming to my restaurant with her new brit boy toy.

I glare as I smash dishes into the sink.

Tony, the dishwasher, catches my attention.

“Try not breaking the plates, would ya?” He smirks.


“What’s got you so pissy?”

“Nothing, I’m fine.”

Tony sighs playfully. “What’s her name?”

My eyes widen in fake surprise, but then I just deflate and admit defeat.


God, it’s been forever since I’ve said her name out loud.

After my car accident, I swore to myself that I was done with her, with the drama.

When I woke up from my coma, Connor explained to me what had happened. The last thing I remembered was storming away from Naveah, leaving her alone at the park.

When he told me that Naveah found me, and literally dragged me out of my upside down car, I couldn’t believe it. She risked her own safety just to save me, and like a coward, I shut her out.

I couldn’t face her without falling apart. She broke my heart with her rejection, and I couldn’t give her that satisfaction.

Maybe I should have let her explain herself, maybe then I wouldn’t have been in the accident at all.

Maybe things could be so different right now, but that isn’t being realistic.

Things are definitely different, but not in the way that I wanted them to be.

She made her choice, and now she’s happy with the Brit. I suppose she met him during their summer in Europe, and things went well enough that he followed her to the states.

The only reason I know about her summer trip, is because of Connor.

Apparently, Lucy mentioned it to him one day, and he decided that I should know, though I don’t know why. It wouldn’t have made any difference even if I didn’t know.

She still went. She still met another guy.

A guy that will never be me.

“The pretty blonde by the window?” Tony asks.

“Yeah.” I nod.

“I saw her walking into work a little bit ago. She’s a looker, that’s for sure.” Tony smiles.

That is the understatement of the year.

Naveah has always been drop dead gorgeous. I’d be a fool to deny that.

“Now you see my problem.” I chuckle.

“You still sweet on her?” Tony asks suddenly, and my stomach drops for a split second.

“I can’t be. We’re done, for good.” I sigh. “We’ve both made sure of that.”

“I don’t know kid, you’re both still young, and you’ve got your entire lives to figure it out.”

I look at Tony who gives me a hopeful smile in return.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen, Tony.” I say.

“Why’s that?” He asks.

As if on cue, my phone rings. I pull it from my pocket and read the caller ID.


“Sorry Ton, I gotta answer this. Cover me?”

“Sure thing.”

I walk to the back of the kitchen and answer the call.


“When will you be back?” Jessica says seductively into the phone.

“Later. I’m still at work.” I sigh.

“Well see if you can leave early. I want you now.” She giggles.

“I can’t leave work early. You’re just going to have to wait for me.” I reply.

“Fine, I suppose I will.” Jessica sighs.

“See you later. Oh, and don’t walk around naked again, I don’t need Greg filing another complaint.” I say sternly.

“Whatever, your roommate is a prude.”

Instead of arguing, I hang up.

“Troubles?” Tony smiles as I walk back over to him.

“Something like that. Just this chick I’m seeing.” I admit.

“Let me guess, she’s not what you want.” Tony teases as he finishes rinsing another plate.

I glance over toward the glass doors leading out to the dining area. I spot Naveah sitting across from Dylan, a genuine smile on her face. I softly bite my lip.

“Not at all Tony, not at all.”

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