Chapter 14 – Dinner Date

Another painfully awkward three days went by after the hotel room incident. Nick and I hardly talked, and I couldn’t help but feel liked he was avoiding me. I mean it wasn’t as though I was actively seeking him out either I guess, but still things were definitely not normal between us.

And how could I expect them to be? I’d dropped a huge bomb on him and if there was anything I knew, it was that Nick didn’t deal with girls well. Oh sure, he had tons of girls all over the world at his feet, but that didn’t mean he had to really talk or interact with them. They weren’t interested in getting to know him on a personal level, if you know what I’m getting at.

Either way, we still had to pretend to be dating in public. That made things even weirder because while we were being all cuddly and cute I really just wanted to melt into the floor and cease to exist. Overdramatic? Yeah, but what can I say? It’s awkward!

Case in point, last night. A bunch of us went out to some fancy schmancy restaurant after the show. I guess the guys have to keep up appearances and all that. Or maybe Kevin thought enough was enough with the fast food in their hotels rooms. Either way, we’d all wound up at some Italian place with a name I couldn’t pronounce.

I had been lying on my hotel room bed, and as per the usual I was whining to Bev about the situation at hand. She’d given me the same advice she gave me every night, and I quote “Just fucking jump his bones already!”

See? She wasn’t much help. Anyway, so as I was lying there complaining, there was a loud knock on our door.

Bev and I exchanged glances, both thinking the same thing. Was it possible that Nick had finally made up his mind and was going to stop avoiding me? Could he have come to his senses? I scrambled off the bed to answer the door and lo and behold my prayers had been answered. There was Nick.

“Hey!” I said, almost too eagerly.

But it seemed as though Nick wasn’t there to confess his undying love for me. “Uh, hey Dani.” He said, not making eye contact with me. He drew in a deep breath. “Am I interrupting something?”

“No.” I said quickly. What would he have been interrupting? Girl talk with Bev? Hardly. Besides, there’d be much more for us to talk about once I went out with him. “What’s up?”

“Kevin’s getting the whole group together for some nice dinner…. and um.. since they think that you and I are…you know…” He explained, and my heart sank. So he was only here for the sake of the plan. For the millionth time, I cursed myself for ever coming up with it. It had only gotten us into trouble, and had really messed up our friendship.

“Yeah, I’ll go with you.” I replied, trying not to sound too disappointed. After all, a night with Nick was a night with him, right? Well, not really. This wasn’t the way I wanted things to be at all.

And so we went. Sitting awkwardly at the dinner table, trying to make conversations with the others. I nervously sipped on my drink and tried to remember the advice Bev gave me before I’d left.

“Just act like you would if you were really dating him.” She’d said. “Show him what your relationship would be like. Make yourself irresistible.”

She’d certainly played up the irresistible part, lending me this slinky black dress of hers. It was something I never would have worn on my own accord, but she insisted. I found it itchy and uncomfortable. But I guess if it got Nick to get his head out of his ass it’d be worth it.

I think.

“Dani?” Nick whispered in my ear, and I jumped about a foot. I guess I really hadn’t been paying attention.

“Hmm?”

“Do you want to share an appetizer…or something?” He asked. Appetizer? I couldn’t care less! All I could think about was that Nick’s face was once again inches away from mine. And since we were out to dinner with everyone and supposed to be dating, it wouldn’t be such a big deal if I leaned over and kissed him. Except for the fact that I was way too shy to do that. So I just nodded my head.

“Sure.”

We shared another couple minutes of awkward silence until the waitress came by to take our orders. Nick brushed his hand against mine as he ordered, and I instinctively intertwined my fingers with his. He glanced at me and gave me a small smile before kissing me on the cheek. Yeah, it was all for show but I had to admit it felt pretty nice.

“So Dani, are you going to be joining us after the tour?” AJ asked, cutting into my thoughts.

I hadn’t really thought about that, and wasn’t sure how to answer. By the time the tour was over, I was sure that all these issues would be resolved and Nick and I would either be together or not be. He couldn’t keep me hanging forever, could he?

Thankfully, Nick saved me. “We hadn’t really talked about it much. We’ll just see how things go.” He grinned, looking over at me for approval.

“Yeah.” I agreed, not knowing what else to say. Nick and I weren’t even together, so I didn’t have anything to add. And his response to AJ didn’t give me any indication as to what his decision on our relationship was.

AJ seemed satisfied with this answer, but still gave Nick a look that I couldn’t read. Was he on to our little plot? No, that couldn’t be it. Nick and I were pretty careful about letting our secret get out and tried not to let the awkwardness between us show.

I sighed, leaning my head on Nick’s shoulder. He looked down at me for a moment, but didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what else I could do to show him that I really did like him and that we really would be good together. Maybe it was time for me to move on and give up on him…

“I’m going to go to the bathroom.” I said, and promptly left the table.

It really was a nice restaurant, the bathroom even had an attendant who handed you a cloth towel. This was an aspect of Nick’s life I definitely wasn’t used to, I very much preferred eating Burger King in his hotel room to this.

I stared at myself in the mirror for a minute or so. I had foundation caked all over my face, Bev had given me mascara and eyeshadow, and my lips had this shimmery pink colour covering them. My hair was curled and fell around my face. On the outside I looked exactly like the type of girl Nick normally dated. Yet he knew me and knew that I was more the female equivalent of him than some blonde bimbo.

So why couldn’t he see that?

I reluctantly began walking back to the table, lost in my thoughts and unsure of what to do. Because I was so focused on my Nick problem, I didn’t even notice Brian right in front of me.

“Hey, Dani. You look lost.” He chuckled, and I grinned. Trust Brian to always make me smile.

“Yeah.” I admitted. “These places aren’t really my style.”

“Me neither.” He replied. “You get used to them after a while though.”

I nodded. “I didn’t even know what to order. There’s no burgers. No fries.”

“Well you’re in luck, because I happen to know the best burger place in New York and we’re here for another day.” He said, averting his gaze from my eyes. “So if you want, I’ll take you there for lunch tomorrow.”

Wait, what? Did Brian just kind of ask me out? And why shouldn’t he? It’s not like Nick was making any moves to claim me for his own.

I guess I took too long to answer, because Brian started rambling on nervously. “Sorry, I mean… I don’t know what your status is with Nick, but I figured it wasn’t a big deal…”

I grinned. Maybe going out with Brian would be better. He actually liked me, and wasn’t acting like a wishy washy indecisive moron. It wasn’t like I had to marry him… one date wasn’t such a bad idea.

“No, it’s not a big deal.” I said. “In fact, I think it’s a great idea.”

“So it’s a date then.” Brian smiled as the two of us walked back to the table.

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