What Lies Beneath

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Can You Read Me?

The next morning I couldn’t stop thinking about Eric. I couldn’t stop thinking about the way he rubbed his thumb on my hand as he held it or the way he smiled every time I spoke.

I was tired from the late night but I forced myself to get up at eight.

In the barn Jesse was mucking out the stalls, “How was your date?”

“It was good,” I said.

“That’s it? It was good.”

“Well we took a stroll in town, held hands and when he took me home he kissed me good night,” I said giving him a glimpse of my night.

“A kiss on the first date?” he asked.

“I usually don’t but he deserved it.”

I could see the skepticism on his face. The thrill was that I wasn’t lying about it.

“What did he do to deserve it?”

“He had the guts to ask me out,” I said smugly as I went to get a rake.

“So is there a second date?”

“I don’t know,” I glanced at him, “Why?”

“Just wondering.”

“Are you sure you are not jealous?”

He shook his head, “Me? Jealous? I don’t get jealous, especially over you.”


“Are you working with Woody today?”

“Yeah, they should be here soon.”

Around nine Eric and Susan showed up in the barn. Eric placed his hand on my waist as he kissed me on the cheek.

As I watched Susan and Woody bond and get better, Eric and I continued to get to know each other. Jesse and I continued to joke around, but it wasn’t the way it was earlier this summer. We chatted everyday but always about irrelevant and repetitive things until Friday night rolled around.

“What are you doing tonight?” Jesse asked, “Are you going out with your boyfriend?”

“He’s not my boyfriend… yet,” I pointed out, “and no we are not.”

“Why not?” he asked.

“I told him I was tired, which I am. What about you?”

“I’m feeling sort of tired too so I will probably just go home.”

I didn’t want him to leave, “Can you teach me?”

“Teach you what?”

“How to read people?”

He smiled, “You want me to teach you to read people?”

“Yes,” I clarified, “The way you can.”


“Maybe I want to read you,” I said, “and Eric, and my father. It could come in pretty handy I think.”

“Okay, but I can’t do it here,” he said.

“Why not?”

“You can only learn how to read people when you are out in public.”

“Okay so let’s go somewhere.”

“I thought you were tired.”

“The truth is I’m not that tired. I just didn’t want to go out with him tonight, not on a date. I don’t feel like dressing up and making sure I say all the right things.”

Jesse tried not to smile, “You are crazy but alright, let’s go out.”

I told my father I was going out and met Jesse at his car as he opened the door for me. We drove most of the way in silence but once we got to town and entered a café he began to talk.

“Okay, so see that couple over there?” he said as I nodded, “He is so not into her. He’s only there because he wants to screw her.”

“Are you sure?” I asked, “That is harsh.”

“I know but it’s the truth.”

“Okay so how do you know that?”

“He’s not even looking at her when she’s talking. He’s playing with his hands instead of holding hers and his eyes keep lingering, not on her eyes.”

As I watched him I noticed everything he said was right, “Okay what about that couple?”

“They are in love,” he said.

“They are not holding hands,” I questioned.

“I know but their whole body position is saying otherwise. Look at how he is sitting, leaning towards her, in a couple seconds he will reach for her hand.”

He was right, “Wow,” I faced him, “How did you learn this?”

“I met a lot of people when I was travelling, a lot of scam artists so I just kept my eyes out for people just like them.”

“Alright so what about Eric?”

“What about him?” he asked.

“Is he really into me?”

“I wouldn’t know; I haven’t spent much time with him.”

“I am sure you have seen us together,” I pointed out, “What does his body language say?”

He sighed, “He likes you and clearly you like him.”

“I like everyone,” I said.

“This is how I see it, you have been on what, four official dates? One more and he is going to ask you to be his girlfriend. So why didn’t you want to go out with him tonight?”

“Do I have to have a reason?”


“Okay well I am not sure if I want to be his girlfriend.”

“Why not? You guys are already kissing, holding hands and whatever else you are doing. You might as well just be a couple.”

“Maybe we should.”

“Okay so it’s your turn. Why don’t you try reading that girls mind over there?”

I looked at her, “She looks lonely.”

“What else?”

I watched as she glanced across the room to the guy sitting on his own, “and she is so into that guy.”

“It’s all about what you see, I can’t actually read minds. Anyone who takes time to see what is in front of them will see the truth.”

I smiled as I leaned closer to him, “So what am I thinking right now?”

He watched me for a couple minutes, “I’m not getting anything right now.”

“I’m thinking I want to go home.”

He nodded as we headed towards the car. Again he opened the door for me.

“Thank you,” I said before getting in.

I wondered what he was thinking as he drove me home so I asked him, “What are you thinking?”

“Why don’t you tell me?”

“I think you are thinking about getting home so you can get to bed.”

He laughed, “Yeah, that has crossed my mind.”

As we got home he walked me to the door. He played with his keys as they jingled by his side.

“Now you are either nervous or bored.”

He stopped playing with his keys, “Maybe it wasn’t such a smart idea to share my talent with you.”

“So which is it?” I asked.

“I’ll never tell,” he said drawing near.

I shook my head.

“So what are you going to tell Eric?”

“About what?”

“When he asks you to be his girlfriend?”

“See, I’m getting the impression that you are jealous,” I nudged him.

He grabbed me by the waist and pulled me into him, “and I say you are wrong.”

“I say you’re bluffing.”

“I say you might be right.”

I didn’t expect his response. He brought his cheek to mine and his hand slid up my arm. I closed my eyes as I felt his hot breath against my ear. He put his hand behind my neck and tilted my head to look into his eyes.

He glared into my eyes before pulling away; he dropped his hands by his side and took a step back.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he simply said before taking off.

I was left standing on the porch for a while confused. I didn’t understand what happened, I didn’t know if I missed something, or if I did something wrong. Finally I went inside still feeling the touch of his cheek against mine and his arm around me. I frowned as I couldn’t stop seeing the image of him pull away. What sort of mixed signal was that?

He was about to kiss me, I know he was. Maybe he felt wrong knowing I was dating Eric, which in a way was a good thing.

Eric and I were not meant to be, if we were, I wouldn’t have been hoping that Jesse would have kissed me.

So now the only thing left to do was to tell Eric how I felt. I dialed his number and we began to talk…

Once we got off the phone, I felt relieved. He wasn’t angry; he said we could still be friend which I was looking forward to.

I didn’t tell Eric it was because I was in love with someone else; I didn’t want to hurt him that way. He was a really good guy and the last thing I wanted was to ruin a perfectly good friendship.

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