He feels bad about that, I can tell. And it’s kind of sweet.
“Is the job interview finished?” Wade asks amusedly.
I smile. “I think so.”
“Am I worthy?”
I tap my index finger against my chin as I watch him. “Still contemplating.”
“Well, while you’re contemplating, it’s my turn to ask you a few questions.” He clears his throat as he leans forward, his hands linked in front of him. He looks very serious, like he really is about to interview me. “Where did you grow up?”
“Texas. Here in California. Everywhere.”
Wade raises a brow. “You traveled a lot?”
“Sort of.” I don’t want to tell him too much. I don’t want the poor little rich girl judgment. Not that I think Wade would be judgey, but I don’t know. People treat you differently when they realize you come from wealth.
“Brothers or sisters?” He’s totally copying my earlier line of questions.
“An older brother. Gabe. My parents are still together, but we think they hate each other.”
“That sucks,” he murmurs with a slight shake of his head. “You’re nineteen, right?”
“Yes.” Unease trickles down my spine. What else could he ask me? I have a few secrets, and I’m not big on revealing them, especially to a stranger. Even Drew and Fable don’t know everything about me. How I ended up with this job is kind of embarrassing.
As in, everyone was doing me a favor.
“Do you go to college?”
I look away from him, my brain scrambling to come up with an excuse. “I’m saving up for college right now. I can’t really afford it.” I meet his gaze once more, trying to appear confident. More like I didn’t go, I lied to my parents that I was, and that lie ruined everything.
And there’s no one else I can blame but myself.
“I understand that. Luckily enough, I got a football scholarship.”
“You must be really good.”
Yet another shrug. “I’m all right.”
He’s so modest too. This guy is almost too good to be true.
“We should do this. We should help them,” I tell him before I chicken out. “We’ve got nothing to lose. How hard can it be?”
“So I guess I passed the test?” He smiles and the sight of it makes my heart race.
He is really too good-looking. I don’t know how I’m going to spend time with him and act like a normal human being. Of course, maybe it’s good that I won’t act normal. I’ll be a starry-eyed dork instead. Maybe that’ll be more convincing.
“Did I pass your test?” I ask him.
The appreciative glow in his eyes as he studies me is obvious. And it makes me warm. “Oh yeah.”
“Okay then.” I take a deep breath and stand, resting my hands on my hips. “Let’s go inside and tell them we’re going to go through with this.”
I seriously cannot believe we’re going to do this.
Wade and I have spent the last week going over stuff, collaborating our stories, making up our newly formed, shared background. Well, more like Fable and I have been putting this stuff together while Drew and Wade are at intensive practices, and then I share the info with Wade via text or when he comes over to the house. For days now Fable and I have been spending time with the kids and creating my make-believe relationship with Wade. In the evening, I talk with Wade, letting him know what we’ve come up with. He just nods and agrees, never protesting, but never offering his opinion either.
I think he’s distracted by practice, by the upcoming game. It’s the last preseason game and he’s playing. Deep down, I think he’s petrified he’ll get kicked off the team. This is the final make-or-break moment for him, and he’s nervous. Edgy. So I do my best to talk to him and soothe his jangled nerves.
I don’t know if it’s working or not, but at least I’m trying.
It’s been kind of fun, making up this entire dream-like relationship between Wade and me. How we met each other the day Fable hired me (truth) and it was love at first sight. We’ve been seeing each other ever since (truth—as in we do literally see each other quite often since he comes over to the Callahan house all the time). So it’s not like we’re lying…
But then again, we so are. Everything about this situation is fake. I mean, yeah, I think Wade is attractive. I’m guessing he finds me attractive too. But can we really pull this off? Can we really convince the media—the world—that we’re madly in love and only have eyes for each other?
I don’t know.
We decided against Fable or Drew doing any sort of formal announcement. It felt too forced and we were afraid the media wouldn’t buy it.
Honestly? I still worry they won’t buy what we’re trying to sell them. A relationship with Wade looks awfully convenient, doesn’t it? I’m fully prepared for the media to ask me a lot of questions. And I think my answer to most of them is going to be…
“What was Wade like when he was younger?” I ask Fable while we’re hanging out in the kids’ playroom upstairs on Friday afternoon. Jacob is toddling around picking up plastic blocks and throwing them back down onto the ground. Autumn is sitting at a tiny table with a coloring book open and a box of crayons spilled all around her, coloring as if her life depended on it. The grim determination on the girl’s face almost makes me want to laugh.