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5. A Liar, an Ass, & a Blast From the Past

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He looked up at me, giving the smallest of head nods to the camera, his expression a warning. We'll talk about this later. Play it cool.

I couldn't argue with his logic. It probably wasn't a good idea to hash out the strange circumstance of our meeting again in front of a national audience. I blanched and tried my best to backtrack, to act normal.

"I mean, er," I cleared my throat. "It's nice to meet you, too, Da-Patrick." Stupid, stupid. Get it together.

"Just Pat, please," he gave me a winning smile that the cameraman would be sure to capture.

"Alright, then, Just Pat, we've only got 5 minutes, so, talk. What's your story?" 

"What's my story? What is this, an interrogation? Sorry, officer, you've got the wrong guy." He chuckled lightly. 

I raised an eyebrow, not impressed with the facade. 

"Well, I'm from a neighborhood a little south of here, it's called Palm Springs. I grew up with my mom and dad, and I have two older brothers. In high school, I always thought I would be a professional surfer, or something like that. Maybe a marine biologist. But then I realized-"

"-marine biologist jobs aren't as common as you thought they were?" I interrupted.

He laughed, a real laugh this time, not just for the camera's sake. "Yeah, something like that. Right now, I work as a chef at this little restaurant right on the beach. It's not exactly a fine dining place, it's more a cross between a café and a diner. But I love it there."

"What's it called?"

"Carter's Corner. It's not on a street corner, but, alliteration, you know."

I laughed despite myself. "That's false advertising. Who's Carter?"

His smile dropped and he looked ill at ease. "No one important, really." I could tell it was someone important. He recovered quickly, re-molding his face into a carefree mask. "What about you, though? Where are you from? What do you do?"

What do I do? I sit on my sofa binging hours of television and wallowing in self pity.

"I'm an accountant, for a firm in Chicago." I was an accountant, and now I was hoping that my boss, the same boss that had fired me, wasn't the type to watch reality dating shows.

"Me and my ex, Dylan, we, uh," I continued. "We just went through a breakup. He's moved out to West Africa now, and I'm here in California, doing... whatever it is we're doing."

There was a funny glint in his eyes that made me think he was making fun of me in his head or something.

"Well, I hope that whatever it is we're doing, we can keep doing it." He winked for a split second, so fast I almost thought I imagined it. The cameraman waved his finger in a circle, signaling five minutes was up. "Patrick" must've been timing us; that was too perfect a line to just happen to leave it on. I looked at his wrist- no watch. Impressive, that he could count in his head while holding a conversation. Just like flirting with some random girl on a plane without thinking of your girlfriend back home, I thought.

He got up and leaned forward, taking my hand from my lap and kissing it. I involuntarily recoiled a little, but he just smiled wide.

"I really did mean that, you know. I hope I get to know you a lot better, Lyra Kennedy," he said, his voice barely above a whisper.

In circumstances where I hadn't met him on the plane three days ago, and where, even if I had, he had given me his real name, and where, even if he was Patrick from the plane sans the girlfriend, I might've thought this was sweet. Given the current circumstances, though, I was a little freaked out. This didn't stop me from admiring his smooth personality (and ok, maybe his butt) as he walked out and another man walked in.

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