99% Faking It (Dating Dilemma)(3)

By: Chris Cannon

Nina snorted but didn’t bother responding. Then she picked up a pair of socks with an owl and wand pattern. “You can never have too many pairs of socks and they take up much less room.”

I sighed and checked the price on the bag. It was more than I wanted to spend. So, I reluctantly set it back down. “Don’t worry, dear. I’ll be watching for you to go on clearance.” I grabbed a pair of socks decorated with the Sorting Hat and Harry Potter spectacles and checked the price tag. “These are cute and much more budget friendly.”

My job at Crazy Crafts kept me in yarn and books with a little left over for fun money. I crocheted scarves and sold them on Etsy, so in a way one of my hobbies paid for itself.

Now that we were headed into warmer weather, my scarf sales would drop. That was okay. I could crochet and stock up for next winter.

“Good choice. I declare tomorrow Harry Potter sock day,” she stated like it was a new holiday.

“Works for me.”

Chapter Two


Lisa wasn’t wrong about me waiting to make plans until the last minute. It wasn’t because I couldn’t commit, it was because I liked keeping my options open. West would make plans for us, and I could sit back and chill out. Why work when someone else would take care of it? Work smarter, not harder was a motto for a reason.

Not that I was afraid of hard work. I worked with my dad in our family landscaping business. I could dig up old hedges and shovel mulch all day, as long as I was outside breathing fresh air. When it came down to it, I wasn’t a people person. I mean I liked some people, but loud, crowded places weren’t my favorite.

I checked the kitchen clock. Jane was coming to pick up my sister Haley soon. I wasn’t going to fall all over myself staring at her, but I wanted to say hello. A few months ago, I would have made sure to wait for Jane on the porch swing so I could intercept her before she came into the house and talk to her while Haley was getting ready. I was done playing that game, which is why I was in the kitchen warming up a hot pocket when Jane knocked on the door. It’s not like I had some sort of radar that let me know when she was close. I saw her walking up the front porch through the picture window.

“Come in,” I hollered.

She opened the door. “Hey, Matt.”

“Hey.” It was best to keep conversation to a minimum. “Haley’s up in her room.”

“I could have guessed that.” Jane headed up the stairs as my fraternal twin brother Charlie came down. They nodded at each other and then he joined me in the kitchen. My phone vibrated with a text. I checked the message. “West says he’s meeting us at Clarissa’s.”

“That’s the plan.”

“Cool.” Charlie’s girlfriend had a big backyard, which was perfect for barbecues. Even if there were a lot of people, it would be outside, which was better than being crowded into someone’s living room or basement.

Once we reached Clarissa’s, I found a lawn chair on the far side of the patio and surveyed my options. There were half a dozen couples and a few single girls. No one I was interested in. Too bad Lisa was off doing nerd-girl activities. She was always fun to hang out with.

West showed up and sat by me. “So how much fun are we having tonight?” he asked.

“I think you should text Nina and tell her we’re at a Harry Potter party and that chick who played Hermione is here, and she wants to meet them.”

He grinned. “Yeah, that would get them out here.”

“Seriously,” I said. “How long can they look at books?”

“For hours. Thank God they have a cafe in the bookstore. I’ve learned to go grab a coffee and wait while I read on my phone.”

“You read on your phone at the bookstore…where they sell books?”

“You’ve seen my house,” West said.

“Right. Sorry.”

West’s mom was a hoarder. They’d tried to find her help. She’d seen several therapists, but that didn’t stop her from filling their house from floor to ceiling with random junk. West’s dad was OCD, so he organized all the crap in plastic tubs. Sometimes I wondered how West kept it together.

Two blondes came toward us. “Hey, West,” blonde number one said.

“Hey,” he responded.

“Are you still dating your neighbor?” she asked.

He nodded.

“Too bad.” She giggled and walked on by. Blonde number two’s cheeks were red. As she walked past me, she said, “Being a wingman can be embarrassing.”

I grinned and nodded. She smiled and kept on walking.

“Go talk to her,” West said.