Journal of Thane Parker
November 28

I honestly have no idea what's wrong with me.

Tessa's wedding went wonderfully. She and Brad are now on their honeymoon in… I don't remember, wherever they are. Harlan's been sharing my room.

Which is what started all this nonsense. Edith was dancing and playing with Harlan all night at Tessa's reception, and rode home with us; she carried Harlan into the house while my dad got his stuff. She put him into bed and stayed there until she was sure he was asleep.

I'm not even sure what happened next. She came out into the hall with me and I said… something. I don't remember. But then we were really close, and our faces were so close together that our noses were touching. I don't know what she did, but I have no idea how I got there. I backed up as fast as I could and she left.

I doubt that she told Haley about it, but somehow she figured something out. We went over to their house yesterday and Haley spent the whole time giving Edith and I weird looks, snickering at us and making weird comments. I don't know what she was thinking. Probably about the same thing she was thinking when she misinterpreted Edith's responses to my phone call. It's a good thing I knew better than to believe her.

I don't know what was going on; it was a moment of insanity for both of us, and I know that it's a good thing that I snapped out of it. Who knows what would have happened?

I won't even think about it. It's too disturbing.

At least they answer my calls. Adriana won't even talk to me anymore unless she's here. I've been trying to call her almost every day since she left, and I've gotten nothing. I'm actually starting to think that what Edith told me was right.


I stormed up, throwing costume jewelry onto the floor at Thane's feet. "What is this?" I demanded.

Thane, and the other four guys standing with him, turned and looked at me. I was glad that this was play practice, otherwise the presence of the other guys might have scared me down. "This is not the time, Princess," Thane said coolly.

"What is this?" I asked again, my voice more firm, insisting that it be addressed now.

Thane sighed in a long-suffering fashion, turning to the guys with him. "We will resume this discussion later, gentlemen," he said. The other men left, some of them snickering to themselves, and Thane turned back to me. "What is so important that you felt you had to interrupt my meeting, Isabelle?"

I pointed to the jewelry on the floor irritably. "I am not your pet, that you should send me trinkets," I snapped. "Nor am I a whore to be bought off with gifts!"

Thane sighed, rubbing his temples. "They were a peace offering, Isabelle," he told me.

"So you sent me a necklace that could feed three families for a month?" I demanded incredulously. "Did you honestly think that would please me, Frederick?"

He frowned at me. "It has pleased many women before you."

My mouth quirked slightly. "Well, I am sorry that I do not live up to the standard of lover you are accustomed to," I said.

"That is not what I meant." Thane's voice took on its own hint of irritation.

"I really have no care for what you meant," I replied, crossing my arms over my chest. "You are a king. There is no better thing that you can do with your wealth than try to buy me off?"

"I was not attempting to bribe you!" Thane argued.

"Oh, no?" I asked. "Then what would you call it, your majesty?"

"I…" Thane growled low in his throat. "Why must you be so frustrating?"

"It is in my nature, I'm afraid," I told him coldly. "Next time you have a notion to waste your money, try wasting it on your people." I turned and marched off of the stage.

I knew that Shane walked out from the other side after I left, looking at Thane sympathetically. "What else am I meant to do?" Thane asked, his voice torn between annoyance and actual confusion.

"You're good," Meagan, my understudy, said as I walked off of the stage.

I looked at her, trying to decipher her words; I could never tell if she was being sincere or sarcastic. I knew that she had wanted to be Isabelle, and had not taken replacement well, but at times she seemed sweet. "Thanks," I said at last, unable to think of another response. "It's easy with Thane."

"He brings out the best in you, huh?" Meagan said conversationally.

I laughed, and my voice was joined with another. Thane had finished his scene and walked off after me. "Did that scene look like the best of anyone?" He asked Meagan.

Meagan smiled brightly at him, clearly as infatuated as all the other girls in the school. "It was good acting," she replied.

"That wasn't acting," I said with a glare at Thane. "That was an example of just how much of my bad side Thane brings out."

Meagan seemed quite confused. "Oh," she said simply. "So you two… you're not dating?"

"What?" I yelped. Thane just stared at her, completely dumbfounded.

"Well, I'm friends with Keith," Meagan explained. "He knows your sister, and she told him that the two of you were a thing."

"A thing?" I demanded. "There's no thing here."

Thane looked thoughtful for a moment, and my eyes narrowed. What was he planning? We hadn't said more than two words to each other since the incident after Tessa's wedding; we'd been too awkward. And now this girl had assumed that we were dating and he had no response at all? That seemed suspicious.

Do you have any idea how irritating it was that, even though we had moved out of Thane and Perry's house, we still practically lived together?

His dad picked us up from school, Harlan in a carseat in the back. "We're having a family dinner," he explained.

I blinked, slightly confused. When had my family and his family combined? I ignored it, though, as I climbed into the back seat next to Harlan, who greeted me with a wide smile and an enthusiastic cry of, "Edy!"

"Harlan!" I replied just as excitedly, buckling myself in.

We were at my house within a few minutes, and I walked in, dropping my bag by the door as I usually did, Harlan holding onto my other hand. He let out an excited squeal and ran forward to greet Dog as though he hadn't seen him only days before.

I grinned, looking to my right, to see Thane looking at me. My smile faltered slightly. What was his problem?

"Hey," Mom said with a smile, walking out of the kitchen. "How was rehearsal?"

"It was good," Thane said. "Edith and I need to go practice, though." He took hold of my arm and pulled me into the hallway and to my room.

"We need to what?" I demanded, pulling my arm from his once we were in my room. He closed the door behind us. "What are you doing?"

"I need to talk to you," he told me.

I swallowed, though I kept the irritated look on my face. Was he going to talk about what had happened the other night? And if he was, what was he going to say?

I shouldn't have worried, though, because he didn't want to talk about it any more than I did.

"I have a proposition for you," Thane told me. I arched an eyebrow at him, confused. "Adriana won't take my calls anymore."

I rolled my eyes. "Big surprise," I muttered.

He tightened his lips. "I remembered that you were talking about how the only way she'd be interested is if she thought that I wasn't interested anymore."

"I don't think those were my exact words," I said dryly. "But yeah."

"Well, I think I came up with a perfect plan to make her think that I'm not interested."

"You're going to stop being interested?" I suggested, raising my eyebrow again.

Thane ignored this question. "I want to pretend to date you, so that Adriana thinks I've moved on."

I blinked several times, just staring at him, dumbfounded. "What?"

"You heard me, Edith," he said, folding his arms over his chest.

"Don't take that tone with me, Thane," I said. "You're the one who wants something here. What are you thinking? It would never work."

"Sure it could," Thane argued. "You heard that girl in the theatre; she thought we were dating."

"Adriana knows that I don't like you," I reminded him.

"So?" He asked. "People change their minds."

I shook my head. "That's ridiculous. It would never work. We'd have to have all kinds of people in on it- you know she'd ask."

"All we have to do is fake it," Thane told me. "We're both good actors. People would believe it."

"You want me to pretend to date you until Adriana comes back?" I demanded. "Are you kidding me? I can't pull that off."

"If at first you don't succeed…" Thane said.

"Oh, I so don't want to hear that crap," I told him. "Everybody has advice for the beginning, but what about at the end of the day when you still suck? Huh? This isn't going to work."

"It could work!" Thane retorted. "It wouldn't be that hard."

"Are you kidding me?" I asked. "We argue with each other all the time. We can barely stand being civil with each other. How are we supposed to convince people that we're dating?"

"Some couples fight all the time," he said.

"Then what good is that?" I asked. "I mean, if Adriana thinks that you're in a bad relationship it won't make a difference."

"Come on, Edith," he said, his voice as close to pleading as I had ever heard it. "Just until Adriana visits again."

I stared at him; it was hard to believe that he was serious. Considering how obsessed he was with Adriana, however, it probably shouldn't have been. "I don't see what I'd get out of it," I said at last.

"It would boost your popularity," he suggested. I just looked at him, and his optimism dropped. "Oh, yeah. You're probably the only girl I know who doesn't care. Your mom would get off your back."

I considered this; it was probably true. "I don't even know if she would believe it," I said.

"Are you kidding me?" Thane scoffed. "She's been begging for it for so long that she'll jump at the thought."

I hesitated. "I still don't think that we'd be able to fool everyone," I informed him.

"I think we could," he replied. "Come on. It would really be helping me out."

I grimaced. "George would think that he was right."

Thane made a face nearly equal to my own. "Who cares what George thinks?" He asked. "And then when Adriana wants me back we can break up and your mom wouldn't bug you about me anymore."

I thought this over for a minute. He had a point; I didn't particularly care about helping him with Adrian, but my mother getting off my back would be nice. I didn't know if Haley would believe it, but she wouldn't say anything, either. People at school would stare and whisper, but I was used to that; it might actually show George that I didn't care about his suspicions.

Plus, I could smell an opportunity for leverage, and possibly even a little mischief. You couldn't go wrong with that, right?

"Fine," I said slowly. "But there have to be terms."

"Of course," Thane agreed quickly.

"First, it's only until Adriana comes back, whether she wants you back or not," I said firmly.

"That's fine with me," Thane said. "We shouldn't get all mushy or anything, either."

"No," I said with a shiver. "That would be weird. Plus I think it would tip people off."

"See, Edith?" Thane said. "We're already on the same wave-length."

"You have to stop calling me Edith," I told him. "Nobody calls me Edith. It's not exactly affectionate."

"I call everyone by their whole name," Thane said easily.

I looked at him. "You don't call my mom Frances."

"I call her Mrs. Dawson," Thane said blankly.

"You have to call me Edy," I reiterated firmly.

"Fine," Thane said.

Then we just stood there, looking at each other. "So, how are we going to tell the parents?" I asked after a moment.

"We could let them figure it out themselves," Thane suggested.

"I'm not good at giving subtle hints," I replied.

"It's not that hard," he said, rolling his eyes. "We'll hold hands at the table, hug before I go home, spend more time alone together…"

I wrinkled up my nose. "None of that was mentioned earlier," I protested.

"What did you think was going to happen?" He asked, frowning. "Look, I don't exactly want to hold your hand, either, but it's going to have to happen. Otherwise nobody will believe that we're dating."

I let out a sound that was something between a sigh and a whine. "I don't like this already."

"You'll be fine," Thane said with another eye-roll. "Now, we should probably-"

"Dinner's ready!" Ma called.

I frowned. "Why are we eating so early?" I asked. Thane just shrugged, and we ventured out of the room.

He sat beside me at the table, and about halfway through the meal he reached over and took my hand, holding it, leaving our entwined hands resting on my lap. I tried to keep myself from wincing.

Haley, across the table, somehow noticed the movement. I have no idea how she could possibly have seen him grab my hand, but she did. Her eyes widened and she looked at me, her face looking curious, shocked, and accusing at the same time. I just looked at her sheepishly, trying to communicate my wish for her not so say anything.

Ma glanced over at us as well, but I couldn't tell if she had noticed.

When we were done eating we discovered the reason that we had eaten so early; Ma and Perry were going out to a movie. "I think I'll stay here and hang out with… Edy." There was a slight hesitation before Thane could make himself say my nickname.

Perry looked at him oddly. "Oh… okay.

Ma looked at Haley. "Are you going out tonight?" She asked her.

Haley was still peering at me suspiciously. "No, I think I'll stay home."

"Alright." Ma seemed curious, but she picked up her purse and jacket, heading out the door with Perry.

The three of us left sat at the table, looking back and forth between each other awkwardly. This was going to be a fun night.

Thank God for Harlan. "Edy, come play a game with me!"