Home > Fake It 'Til You Break It(9)

Fake It 'Til You Break It(9)
Author: Meagan Brandy

I throw the croissant in the trash, set my Gatorade down with a hard slam, and walk out.

I’m not going to do this with her right now.

She knows Nico’s family is wealthy, and now that she’s seen his physical appeal, she’s interested in learning more so she can come to a shallow decision of whether or not she’ll hound me about him constantly or warn me to keep my distance.

My dad mentioned a long time ago Nico and his family inherited a huge estate from one of his mom’s late aunts or something that set them up for life and landed them here in Santa Cruz.

It must have been when Nico was a baby or something, because for as long as I can remember, he and I shared a fence.

Now we just happened to share a lab table, too.

There is no way it would ever be more than that.



Having Leadership first period is as equally awesome as it sucks.

Now that the voting is over and the class president and what have you has been picked, most of our time will be put into event planning, prep, or tear down, meaning most of our days will be spent outside of the classroom. The weather here is typically on the chillier side, so it’s a lot of hoodies and iced coffees all year long.

Thankfully, I had dance this morning and my blood is already pumping and I can manage staying warm while we wait for the sun to eat up all the coastal fog.

“How the hell did we get stuck with the worst job when we did the most work to set this shit up?” Alex laughs as he moves along the fence line, peeling the tape left over from the campaign posters we just got done tearing down.

I grin. “I know, and whoever tied these stupid ribbons made them so tight, I can hardly get the damn scissors beneath the material. I’ve only made it through the V. At this rate, they’ll be a lone T.E left on the fence tomorrow.”

Alex sets his trash bag down, pulls off his gloves and throws them inside before walking my way.

“Here.” He rubs his hands on his jeans, gently reaching for the scissors. “Why don’t we switch for a little bit.”

“Are you sure, you basically already did the hard part.”

“What kind of guy would I be if I let you struggle when I can do it for you?” He grins, flashing a smile that’s almost too perfect.

“Okay,” I tease. “No need to lay it on thick.”

He laughs, moving his attention to the ribbons, so I grab his bag and follow along the fence.

He really did get two times as much done as I did.

Like me, Alex joined the leadership team freshman year, so between now and then, there’ve been dozens of opportunities for me to make a move on him, but I always chicken out. At the end of the day, it’s simple. I can’t gauge the guy.

Today is a perfect example. He’s been talking nonstop, laughing and smiling and teasing, but it’s not anything new. He’s always friendly when we work together, flirty to the point of being cheesy sometimes, but I’m pretty sure it’s a part of his personality.

He likes attention, loves making girls smile or blush. It can be someone’s first day, and his turn as welcoming committee and he acts the same toward them, but it’s only ever while he’s in class or when we’re doing class-related work outside of it.

In any other setting, it’s a friendly smile or nod and that’s it.

And there lies the problem, his assumed interest only lasts from one bell to the next.

I get to the end of the fence, stepping out from behind the bleachers and pause.

Alone on the field and running full speed from the opposite end I’m standing, Nico flies yard for yard. Every ten or so he spins or does some fancy footwork and slants one way only to go to the next, until he’s breezing past me to the end zone, where he slows, only to dart back the way he came.

He stops at the fifty, doing a little roll as if he’d just dove over an invisible defender coming for his legs, and then hops up, jumping from one foot to the other and a light laugh leaves me.

So he practices his showboating moves.

Why is he even out here? Weight training was zero period, he should be in class by now.

He reaches up, stretching his arms over his head before folding them behind it.

Alex slides into view in the same second, blocking Nico from me completely.

“Hey.” His eyes bounce between mine. “All done.”

“Yeah, I’m done.”

“No.” He laughs. “I’m saying I’m done.”

My mouth drops open with a light laugh. “Shut up.”

He nods his head. “Yup.”

“Oh my god! How the hell?” I smile, shoving him a little. “I don’t believe you.”

“Go see for yourself.”

“I’m about to,” I say, taking a step around him, Alex slides back with me, blocking me again.

“Let’s walk behind, do a quick double check on our way back to make sure you’re not a slacker,” he teases as he moves toward the fence.

“You wish, then you’d have a chance of getting a higher grade than me this year,” I shout, but just before I follow behind him, my eyes slide to the field.



Once Alex and I get done throwing the garbage away, we walk toward the faucet to wash our hands.

“Hey, so I didn’t get a chance to clean up my notes from chem, you think I can snag a copy of yours maybe?” he asks.

“Yeah, I have them on me, but I’d need them back by the end of the day, so I can work on some review.”

“Cool. I’ll make a quick copy and get them back to you in chem?”

I smile. “Yeah, that works.”

“Thanks, you’re a lifesaver.” He grins and walks off ahead of me, even though our destination is the same.

Once again, I’m nothing but an awesome classmate.

I’m annoyed as my next few classes go on, and even more so when I end up running a few minutes late for chem thanks to an issue with the computer system in the class before. By the time I get to the room, only the aide is left.

Josie’s sharp eyes follow as I set my stuff on the lab table, holding mine as I make my way back to her.

My brows lift expectantly, but she still doesn’t tell me where I am supposed to go.

She leans forward, her cleavage pushing against the top she’s wearing. “Interesting, you stay and talk to Mr. B yesterday and lo and behold, today’s class is on the football field.”

“We’re on the field?”

Thanks, Mr. Brando.

Josie purses her lips. “How are your little ‘getting acquainted’ sessions going, Demi? He still ignoring you the best he can?”

“Sure is, Josie. Is he still walking away from you in the halls?” I snap back but don’t stand there to catch her response.

She told me where I needed to go, and I’m not interested in her drama.

I quicken my steps, easily spotting Nico sitting against the goal post and drop beside him.

“Sorry,” I rush out, but when he doesn’t so much as acknowledge my arrival, I don’t explain further.

We sit there in annoying silence for a few minutes, and in that time, I can’t help but notice the way his gaze continues to roam the length of the turf.

He must be running plays in his mind like I was my routine yesterday. Every few seconds his eyes tighten, then snap to another area, like he’s playing it all out, visualizing every move, maybe the ones I spotted him practicing earlier.

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