The sound of my sandals slapping across the damp grass made Patrick turn his gaze upon me as I walked up to him. He was still leaning against the railing, beer in hand, a lazy smile on his face as if he had not a care in the world.
"Hello, there," he said casually. "How're things with you, Miss I-Don't-Listen-to-Dream-Theater-But-I-Actually-Do?"
We weren't going to play games, then. He was offhandedly acknowledging his lie from the get go. It didn't seem to bother him, so I wouldn't let it bother me.
"Oh, about as well as yourself, Mr. I'm-Going-To-Make-Up-A-Fake-Name-From-These-Books-You-Just-Spilled-In-My-Lap," I said, my tone laced with more venom than I had intended.
He just smiled, looking rather proud of himself. "So you got to the bottom of my little mystery, there? I was proud, that was quite quick thinking on my part."
It was quite quick thinking, but I would never admit that. I noticed a camera crew a couple meters away, but I couldn't be sure if they were recording us or not. At this point, I didn't much care if they were.
"Proud?" I asked incredulously. "Why on earth did you give me a fake name? What the hell is that, Patrick? Or, should I say Dallas? Huh?"
He scratched the back of his neck and shifted to his other foot, seeming like he finally gained the decency to look a little sheepish.
He didn't answer right away, so I took his silence as a license to continue.
"We had literally just met, for God's sakes. What possible reason could you have for lying to me, basically, from the very beginning? What is that? Who does that?" He looked surprised, a bit taken aback by the caliber of my vitriol, but then again, I might've been taking my confusion at his weird choice of faux-introduction expressing it through my anger at seeing that Samantha girl come up on his phone. It shouldn't matter that much that he'd given me a fake name, I was just a little dumbfounded as to why.
"Well, to be honest with you, the reason I gave you that name instead of mine was..." he paused. I opened my eyes wide and cocked my head to the side, opening up my hands as if waiting for him to continue his explanation.
"It's because, well, after you gave that impassioned little diatribe about how stupid those stupid fame leeches on that stupid excuse for a show were, it kinda made me... I don't know, not want to associate myself with the show that was the object of such an affront." He bit his lip, which was extremely attractive. Another attractive thing was his word choice. He talked like an adult, not the beachfront boy, SoCal surfer bro that I originally took him for. I wanted to distract myself with all that, but I couldn't hide the blush gathering in my cheeks. He had a point. I hadn't thought of the way I'd verbally attacked Dating Democracy when the advertisement came up on the plane TVs. His excuse made sense.
"I mean," he continued, shifting his stance against the railing, "I'm not incredibly proud of being here, either, I doubt any of us are. I just hit a rut at work, and at life, in general, and this promised me a change, same as you. So when you took the side of the general populace in pointing out that this show isn't exactly Oscar-worthy, I agreed with you rather than defending something I wasn't too proud of, myself. I figured I'd never see you again, and so, yeah, I pulled a Usual Suspects and fabricated a story. I didn't want you seeing my name in headlines or anything later, and then gathering that I was lying, because even though it wouldn't matter at that point, I don't like when people think badly of me. So imagine my surprise when I see that pretty girl from the plane at the filming of the very show that she had bitched out to me not 24 hours earlier..."
At this point, the slight pink tinge to my cheeks was a raging scarlet inferno, I was sure of it. He was right, of course. This was my fault. But my guilt at being mad at him for that did nothing to quell my anger about the whole Samantha situation.
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As Seen On TV | [2018 Wattys Winner]ChickLit
**WATTYS 2018 WINNER!!!** "Are you sure you want to go through with this?" He whispered gently, between both of our feverish gasps for breath. "With what?" "All this." He gestured around to the bedroom, but his expression said much more- it include...