I look away, blushing. That was almost too intimate to witness.
“He really does know all of my secrets,” Wade whispers close to my ear, making me squirm. I swear his lips touched my skin, tickling me.
“Are they that bad?” I turn to meet his gaze, my breath stalling in my lungs when I discover the way he’s looking at me. Like he cares.
“Nah. Most of them are typical teenage bullshit.” His face turns serious. “Though some of the stuff I did in my past was stupid. Borderline criminal.”
“I don’t care,” I say, wanting to reassure him. “We’re all dumb when we’re young, right?”
“You still are young.” He touches my cheek, his fingers drifting across my skin. “Don’t know what you’re doing with an old man like me.”
I roll my eyes. “You’re not an old man. You’re three years older than me. Big deal.”
“You still have a lot of life to live, though. From nineteen to twenty-one, I was going out almost every night, partying and having fun.”
Been there. “Maybe I don’t want that.” Should I have said that? Screw it. Too late.
He lifts a brow. “What do you want?”
I part my lips, ready to say I want him, when we’re interrupted.
“You two look waaaay too serious over there,” Owen teases. “Are you boring her already, Knox?”
“Not as much as you’re boring me, Maguire,” Wade returns.
The two of them have given each other grief all night. It’s been nonstop and lots of fun. It’s helped me to get to know the two of them even better. Plus, Chelsea and I have talked a lot too. I like her. Despite my earlier worries, we really do have a lot in common. I think we could be friends.
I feel a tap on my shoulder and I turn to find Fable sitting next to me, her expression solemn, her green eyes wide.
“Everything okay?” I ask her.
Fable nods, her smile tremulous. She’s warned me she gets emotional when she’s pregnant, and I think she’s ready to bust into a full on emotional moment right now. “You two are perfect for each other,” she says, her voice low. “You and Wade? I knew that would happen.”
“You knew what would happen?”
“That you two would be a perfect match. That your fake relationship would turn into something real.” Her eyes grow misty. “That’s how Drew and I fell in love.”
“What?” I frown. She’s not making any sense.
“I shouldn’t admit this. Hardly anyone knows the truth.” She glances across the table, where Drew sits with Jacob in his arms and Autumn pressed against his side. He’s talking to Owen, his children hanging all over him like he’s a jungle gym, and none of it fazes him. Fable’s staring at him like she wants to reach across the table and attack him with her lips.
“What are you talking about?” I am so confused.
“Drew and I. We met when he hired me to pretend to be his girlfriend.” At my wide eyes she hurriedly explains more. “Not like I was a prostitute or anything like that. I worked in a bar as a waitress. My mom was addicted to drugs. Owen was only thirteen. I needed money so I could take care of him and the amount Drew offered me sounded like a million dollars at the time. So I said yes. Best decision I ever made.”
I’m in shock. Drew really hired her to pretend to be his girlfriend? Sounds like something straight out of a movie—or a book. “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“No crazier than what you guys are doing.” She grabs hold of my hands and squeezes them, her gaze boring into mine. “So don’t let the craziness fool you into thinking what you and Wade have won’t work. It can. It happened to me. And who cares how you two met? It doesn’t matter how it all started. What counts is where you end up.”
Her words stick with me the rest of the night. I’m floored that she told me such a private detail about her life with Drew. More than anything, I can’t help but compare her situation with mine.
Is she right? Does it really matter how we met? She and Drew are proof of that, if her story is true. And why would she lie to me about something like that? Look at how much in love they are. Maybe someday I could have that kind of love, too.
Luckily enough, paparazzi are waiting for us when we exit the restaurant, and all of us pose like one big happy family. There is no denying that Drew and Fable are together. They hang onto each other like they never want to let go, and the way they gaze into each other’s eyes…ugh. And swoon.
Wade is perfect too. He wraps his arm around my shoulders and hauls me in close, both of us beaming as the photographers keep taking endless photos. The corners of my mouth start to quiver, I’m smiling so much, and I can’t wait for it to be over. We give them a two-minute photo opp before Drew’s yelling that’s enough, it’s time for us to go.
So we do.
I’m quiet when we drive back to Drew and Fable’s house. Owen and Chelsea are riding with us, Owen and Wade talking nonstop while I sit in the passenger seat and stare out the window at the city lights as they pass by. My mind is full of outrageous thoughts, all of them dealing with Wade. I want to talk to him. Tell him how I feel, though I’m still a little unsure about that.
I start scrolling through my phone, looking up articles about myself and Wade and the Naughty Nanny story. I stop at one particular article, going completely still when I read what’s written.