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Home > The Fill-In Boyfriend(5)

The Fill-In Boyfriend(5)
Author: Kasie West

“Are you okay? Upset about the whole Captain America thing?”

I took a breath in through my nose, making sure my voice didn’t sound wobbly when I said, “Nope. I’ll be fine. We obviously weren’t that serious. It was a short, long-distance relationship. Nothing big.” I wasn’t sure if I was trying to convince him or me with that speech.

He was quiet for so long that I looked up to see if he was still listening. His eyes were on me, searching for something I wasn’t sure I possessed. The song ended and a fast one took its place. I took a quick step back. “So. Your real name is?”

“We can’t afford any slipups tonight, right? As far as you know, my real name is Bradley.” Finally he looked away and I could breathe again. He extended his hand to me and when I took it, he spun me around once then pulled me back into his arms, swaying with the beat.

“You’re not half bad at this,” I said.

“At what? The acting or the dancing?”

“Well, both, but I was talking about the dancing.”

“It’s because you’re the fifth girl who’s asked me to fill in for her date at prom. It’s forced me to brush up on my dancing skills.”

“Whatever.”

“So, Gia Montgomery.”

“Yes, nameless boy?”

He gave a breathy laugh. “I don’t believe you offered me money for this. Do you go around offering people money for random services often?”

“No, usually my smile gets me what I want.” I had actually been a little surprised he was so hard to talk out of that car.

“What kinds of things has it gotten you so far?”

“Besides you in a suit?”

He looked down at his clothes as if my mention of the suit reminded him he was wearing it. “This wasn’t because of your smile.”

“Then why?” I was very curious. He had gone from trying to roll up his window to agreeing to be my date in a single breath, it seemed.

“Gia!” I turned toward my name and a girl with long blond hair waved at me. “I voted for you!” She pointed up toward the stage where a sparkly tiara sat on a stool, waiting for its wearer. I smiled at her and mouthed thank you. When I looked back at my date, his eyes sparkled with amusement.

“What?”

“I didn’t realize I was dancing with royalty.”

“No one has been crowned yet, so that statement is completely premature.”

“Who was that?” He gestured back toward the blond girl.

“She’s in my history class.”

He took my arm in his and said, “Guess we better get back to your friends.”

The others had moved to an open table with chairs and were sitting around talking about leaving early and doing something more exciting. It was the “more exciting” part they were all trying to agree on. I glanced back up at the stage, knowing I couldn’t leave until the royalty was announced. Jules didn’t care about that, though. That’s probably why she wanted to leave early. She was bitter she hadn’t gotten nominated. It wasn’t something she admitted out loud—that would be too obvious—but I saw her lip curl every time someone brought it up.

Laney whispered, “Sorry,” when I reached her side. I wasn’t sure what she was sorry about . . . maybe the months of not believing me about Bradley? I slid around the back side of the table, still holding tightly to my date’s hand, and we sat down facing the dance floor.

Jules stood and held up her phone. “Everyone get closer together, I want to take a picture.” We did, and when she got to three, I felt my fake date move behind me a little more, probably using my head to block his face. Jules studied the picture but didn’t ask for a retake. Then she turned her attention to fill-in Bradley. “So, what do college guys do for fun? Aside from pick up high school girls, that is.”

He didn’t flinch at all from the comment. Probably because it didn’t really apply to him. “Well, Gia and I are going to a party after this, but it’s invite only so that’s not very helpful, I guess. Is there an arcade or something you could all go to?” He said this all in the nicest tone so it almost seemed like he was trying to be polite. But he squeezed my knee under the table and I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. I could’ve hugged him for saying that to her. “I don’t live around here, so I’m not sure what there is to do.”

I swear Jules was like a bloodhound, her senses perking up at the first drop of blood. She should be a detective when she grows up because she picks up on the slightest inconsistency of any story. “But if you don’t live around here, how did you get invited to a party here?”

Fill-in Bradley was just as quick with his response. “Who said the party was around here?” Then it was like a battle of wills because they both stared at each other. Jules looked away first and I took a small sip of air in relief. I just needed to get through tonight. If she was already sniffing around for trouble, she was bound to figure out that the guy sitting next to me wasn’t who I claimed he was.

My date must’ve seen the worry on my face because he leaned in close with that I’m-in-love look I’d told him to give me and brushed his lips softly against my cheek. My throat tightened. He was a really good actor.

“Don’t look so worried,” he whispered. “You’ll give us away.” He tucked a piece of hair behind my ear. “Now giggle like I said something funny.”

I did. It wasn’t hard to do, but that’s when I saw something on the dance floor that stopped my giddy laugh in my throat. His sister. Staring straight at us.

CHAPTER 4

Her eyes squinted in confusion and then she said something to the guy standing next to her. He looked as well then nodded his agreement. With that, they both headed our way.

“Incoming,” I whispered.

Fill-in Bradley’s gaze followed mine and he smiled like it was no big deal. “I’ll take care of this.” He stood. I wondered if I should follow him or just sit here and watch. I went with the sit-here-and-watch option.

When he reached his sister she spoke first, pointing at his clothes. He said something back. Then her head whipped to me, a look of anger there. So much for being cool about this.

“What’s going on?” Jules hissed. Of course she was the first one to notice. This was all about to blow up in my face. I knew it. I probably deserved it too. I’d done something stupid and it hadn’t lasted for more than an hour. I should’ve just come clean right away: Bradley broke up with me. Claire and Laney would’ve understood. They would’ve believed me. They probably would’ve even taken me to drown my sorrows in ice cream like we did with Claire when she got dumped last year. But I was being insecure.

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