"So…you gotta boyfriend?" Samuel L. Matherson stared at me from behind his thick prescriptions with a smile that scrunched up his nose and puckered his mouth. Freckles and acne dotted his pasty white skin, along with patches of what would eventually be a beard – maybe. It was sad he fit so stereotypically into the 'nerd' category, and I felt bad for labeling him so.
To be honest, I wasn't really into Samuel as anything more than a lab partner. It wasn't because of his looks – although let's face it, they weren't bearing any similarities to Brad Pitt – but because his entire personality was completely awkward. As it was, I wasn't the most out-going girl in twelfth grade.
I didn't think about it, really. "Yeah, but he's already graduated." It was an unconscious lie, one that I managed without batting an eyelash.
"Oh yeah." Samuel pushed his glasses further up his nose. "What's his name? Maybe I know him."
I was pretty sure that whoever I mentioned would most certainly have not been in the same social circle as this guy, but I didn't want to voice that aloud. "Um…Thor." I blurted and tried to smile; it came out flat. Who in their right state of mind named their kid 'Thor'? It sounded like the name of a barbarian.
He laughed loudly and stifled it to mere snorts as the class glanced momentarily at him for his outburst. "Thor?" he asked in disbelief once he'd composed himself.
I glared. "For your information, Samuel,it happens to be a very noble name. He was named after his great grandfather, okay?" If I was going to pull this off, I had to at least feign offence. Great grandfather? What the hell was I thinking?
Samuel blinked and pushed his glasses up again. "I…Okay. Sorry, it's just an uncommon name. I thought maybe you made it up."
Why had I thought of Thor? I wasn't sure exactly. It had reminded me of a bad eighties hair band, or a metal band of some kind. As Biology classes went on it became known that Thor did not play in a metal band, but an indie/alternative one. He was on tour most of the time because his band was about to break into the indie scene "big time". The band's name? The Boxcutters. Why? At the time of questioning I'd been holding a scalpel and using it to dissect a fetal pig. This visual association would later come back to haunt me. I was officially the biggest liar in the universe, or, at least, my universe.
"Sage, you never told me you had a boyfriend!" One of my closer friends, Audrey, exclaimed one afternoon at lunch. I didn't really have a best friend, but Audrey was around enough that I considered her a friend.
I blinked and tucked a strand of short wavy black curls hair behind my ear. "Who told you that?"
Audrey shrugged, her brown locks bouncing. "That Samuel kid. He told me he hasn't asked you out yet because you said you have a boyfriend." When I didn't answer, pretending to be enthused with my soup, she continued to press, "So when did you get a boyfriend, and why was I not informed?"
I should have told her the truth, that Thor was merely a fictional character to get me out of dating Samuel "my face is a bacterial wasteland" Matherson, but for some reason I didn't. Instead I shrugged and told her about him. I told her that he was tall, not extremely hot, but cute in a boyish way, with messy blond hair that made him look like a vagabond off the street, warm brown eyes, and dimples. He played guitar and liked to wear funky sneakers, ragged skinny jeans, and old vintage thrift store t-shirts.
Typically, I didn't go for boys like the one I had described, boys like Thor. I went for smart guys, the ones who played sports, got straight A's, and could carry on an intellectual conversation. I wanted a guy who was going somewhere with his life and ten years down the road could take care of a family – not that I was looking for that lifetime partner, but it was a trait that I admired all the same.
"Aw, he sounds like a sweet heart." Audrey gushed when I'd described my supposed boyfriend.
I smirked and blushed a little because she'd believed my lie. Audrey probably mistook it for one of bashfulness. "Uh…yeah, he is."
It was after that moment that I began making up more lies about Thor and I. He became my excuse for every party I didn't want to attend, the reason I hadn't answered the phone, the one who would beat up any boy who dared touch me – when he was around of course. Most of the time he was in the city where he lived with most of his bandmates in a house somewhere on Baltimore street.
By the end of the semester I had more than two people convinced that I indeed had a boyfriend named Thor. Audrey thought it was "simply adorable", while Samuel supposedly moved on to Sandra Lee, a girl in his math club. I was left with my lie hanging over my head, and no matter how much I wanted to tell someone that Thor did not exist, the idea of him kept me stubbornly refusing. To be honest, it was kind of nice to have a someone in my life.
All of it began to unravel in one morning when I spotted a flyer for a concert that was coming up the next Friday. On it was a list of the four bands playing: I 8 the Robot, Missy Prissy, The Boxcutters, Markus and Elise. I gulped, rereading the black and white slip of paper to make sure I had read it right.
See, what I hadn't noted was that when staring at the scalpel and telling Samuel that my fake boyfriend played in a band called The Boxcutters, I was really thinking about a conversation I'd had with my sister the day before. She had been telling me about an up-and-coming alternative band called the Boxcutters, and she'd been washing a knife while doing so. Damn stupid visual associations. Damn those stupid Boxcutters.
"Why didn't you tell me that he was playing in town?!" Audrey waved the advertisement in my face and grinned. "You must be so stoked."
"Thrilled." I muttered, wondering how I could get out of this one. Feign illness? But what if Audrey then spotted the first blond-haired boy playing in the Boxcutters and began going on about the "us" that didn't exist? "Hey, um…Audrey? About that concert…" I sighed.
"Tell me you got us in for free. There's no way I can come up with ten dollars by the end of next week – I don't get my allowance until the end of the month. Don't you get a 'groupie' pass or something?" Audrey had told me once that her parents wouldn't allow her to get a job because they were afraid she would lose focus on her studies. Meanwhile she still received a meager allowance every month.
I blinked and twisted the strap of my book bag. "Uh…yeah, well…that's what I wanted to talk to you about. I have an extra ticket, but…we have to go a little later than everyone else." Lie, lie, lie. Was there a separate section of Hell reserved for the best liars? If so, I would be calling it home.
For the rest of the day Audrey talked of nothing else.
I arrived early to the show decked out in some raggedy old jeans and a t-shirt – nothing special. Not too many people had shown up yet, though it was no wonder as there was still about half and hour before doors opened. The boy at the door gave a friendly smile as I walked up to the tilting table he sat behind.
"Uh, hi. I have a favor to ask." I began, my cheeks turning a nice shade of red, like they always did when I talked to strangers.
Suddenly I heard my name being called and Audrey came rushing towards me with a beaming smile. My eyes widened at the sight of her, not because she looked fabulous – she did – but because she was early. She was early and she wasn't yet on the guest list. And neither was I.
"Audrey…hi?" I squeaked, still dumbstruck. "You're early. A lot early."
Audrey shrugged as if it were nothing out of the ordinary. "My mom had to go to a meeting and she was my only ride. So, where is he? I want to meet this boy of yours."
I glanced to the boy sitting at the table, observing us blankly. "Um…"
Audrey stepped in before I could get a word out. "Hey, we should be on the Boxcutter's guest list."
The boy looked down at a sheet of paper marked up in black jiffy marker. "Name?"
"Um…Sage." I managed weakly. This was a bad idea. I could feel my face burning a nice shade of red already.
I watched as he triple checked. "Nope, not on here."
"We're on the list," Audrey stated firmly. "Her boyfriend plays in the Boxcutter's. Maybe he forgot to add us or something."
"Uh…Audrey…" I tugged on her sweater but she ignored me.
Door Boy rolled his eyes. "I'll ask." He stood and opened the door to where the sound of tuning guitars could be heard over loud speakers. I didn't hear, but he called to someone and came back out, plopping down on his seat. "Someone's coming."
My eyes widened even further. This was terrible. This was a nightmare come true. My lie was coming back to bite me in the arse and it was entirely Samual L. Matherson's fault! Well, I supposed I should have blamed myself. "Audrey, I have something to tell you. Just don't hate me, okay?"
"What is it?" Audrey looked half-distracted and slightly impatient at having to wait.
"I don't –" but I was cut short when the door swung open and there stood…a boy.
He was tall, not extremely hot, but cute in a boyish way. Blond hair swept about his head in a messy fashion and his eyes twinkled a warm brown. He wore a vintage tee with worn out black skinny jeans, holes forming at the knees, and bright neon sneakers. He was exactly who I'd pictured when creating Thor in my head – the same Thor that didn't actually exist. Was I dreaming?
"Hey, what's up?" he looked at Door Boy before spotting Audrey and I standing there, his eyes lighting up in sudden recognition. "Sage!"
All air left my lungs as he scooped me up into a hug and lifted me off the floor, twirling me once before setting me down again. Tucking some hair behind my ear he leaned down and kiss my forehead affectionately. A tingle shot down my spine. "I missed you."
"Aw you two are so cute!" Audrey gushed with a sappy smile on her face while I stood there looking like a gaping fish.
He seemed rather amused by my reaction and kissed my forehead again before turning to Audrey, holding out his hand. "Hey, I'm Thor."
"Audrey. Sage has told me so much about you," Audrey shook his hand warmly and continued grinning.
This was a joke. This was a sick joke. Wasn't it?
I had no time to contemplate any more as I was being tugged by a very persistent fake boyfriend past Door Boy and into the main concert area. The venue was a large multi-purpose hall with makeshift black wooden risers and a small table off to the side where the sound man resided. Merchandise booths had been set up near the far right wall, and seemed to be the main hang out spot for the bands.
Audrey grabbed my free arm and looped her own around it, staring 'round as if she'd never been to a concert before. I wasn't sure if she had or hadn't. Truth be told, I didn't know all that much about Audrey, except that she seemed to like me as a friend. That was all. I was not only a liar, I was also a terrible companion. I sighed suddenly, feeling completely overwhelmed and confused by the boy and girl who had sandwiched me.
"I have to sound check, but I'll be back in a sec' okay?" Thor gave me a quick peck on the lips, leaving me stunned, and headed towards the makeshift stage where a few other guys already waited.
Audrey sighed rather dreamily and nudged me. "I hardly know him, and I think you two are adorable already."
I attempted a shrug. "I…guess."
"Don't deny it, you guys have obvious chemistry!" She smiled a cherubic smile and said she had to use the ladies room.
While she was gone, I used the time to find a far off back wall to sit against and figure it all out. Thor existed. That fact sunk in and caused my brows to dip towards each other. Thor had never existed. I'd never met any of the members of the Boxcutter's in my life, that much was certain. Or was it? The more I thought, the more muddled I became, and finally I pulled out a book and buried my nose into it with frustration.
As the Boxcutters sound checked, various kids began to trickle in. The room became louder, but I tuned them all out rather easily, a talent I had acquired early in life.
Suddenly I felt a warm body sit down next to me, so close that our arms touched and my personal bubble was notably invaded. I realized that the sound check had stopped and now the echo of teenaged voices bouncing off the walls and a CD over the PA system dominated.
"Trying to hide again?" Thor pulled up his knees near his chest and rested his arms comfortably on them. He had a few tattoos running across his forearms and a couple on his wrists.
I shrugged, still uncomfortable with the fact he thought himself my boyfriend. "I don't like big crowds."
He snatched my hand and rubbed his thumb across my knuckles, sending jolts of electricity down my spine. "Don't worry," he said with a sympathetic grin, "I'll protect you."
"Right," I muttered with a roll of my eyes.
"Hey, I saved you from those pigeons, didn't I?" he quirked an eyebrow and stared expectantly.
I just about choked on air. He was referring to a story I'd told about Thor – the one where he and I had been at the park feeding pigeons. They'd ambushed me and he'd scared them away. I'd been so shaken up about it that I hadn't been able to make it to a party I'd been invited to. My stomach roiled with uneasiness and guilt. How had he known that?
"Come on, the guys want to say 'hi'." He popped up and held out his hand.
I packed my book into my bag and stood without his proffered hand, still trying to figure out what dimension I'd landed in that my dreams and lies had become reality. Instead he slung his arm around my shoulders with a cheeky grin and winked at me when I cast him a confused stare. He said nothing as we wound through the growing crowd to the side of the room where the merch tables sat, enticing more than a few teenagers already.
Several boys sat on old orange plastic chairs with litre-large bottles labeled with various pops, though I had a feeling that they contained more than that. Audrey sat with them, seemingly already introduced and perfectly at home with the strangers. I didn't recognize any of them, though they appeared to light up with familiarity at the sight of me.
Within a few minutes of awkward conversation – mostly from me - I grabbed Thor's hand and found it in me to eke out a sentence or two. "Can you excuse us? We have some, um…some catching up to do."
"Don't be long," Audrey winked and accepted a Seven-UP bottle from one of the boys, taking a swig seemingly without care of its contents.
I dragged Thor behind me into the handicapped washroom where I knew we could be alone and I could interrogate him properly. Whoever had set him up to this was going to get ferreted out or else.
"Slow down a little," Thor chuckled as we burst into the bathroom and I locked the door behind us, spinning around and leaning against it as if it would prop up my gelatinous legs. He grinned a little, dimples forming as he leaned forward and –
"Stop!" I held out my shaky hand and swallowed down the butterflies wreaking havoc around my insides.
This had not been how I'd envisioned my master plan. I had been going to pay for Audrey to get in free ahead of time. She would have thought she'd been on the list and I'd have been home free, claiming that Thor and I had had a fight and weren't speaking to each other. We would have left early. I would have been safe. Instead I found myself staring into the intense brown eyes of a boy I had never met…or at least…I was fairly certain I had never met him.
Thor seemed bemused and perplexed at my reaction. "You okay?"
I swallowed hard. "No."
His lips brushed softly against mine before I had time to push him away. My face heated up as he pulled away, slight traces of surprise entering his eyes. He blinked them away with a smile. "Better?"
"I…I-I thought you were a dream." I managed, heart still racing erratically. Inwardly I cursed myself for sounding like an idiot.
He chuckled. "I haven't been gone that long, have I?"
I pinched myself, just to make sure. No, it was real. My brows furrowed in utter confusion. "You - You're, I mean – you don't exist – I mean, I made you up. You were just make believe. H-How are you here right now? How do you know me? What is going on?"
His brown eyes clouded with confusion. "Sage, you're freaking me out. Are you sure you're okay?"
I pushed past him and sat on the closed toilet lid, pressing my hands to the side of my head, propping my elbows on my knees. "Just…Just indulge me for two minutes, okay? How did we meet?" I turned to catch his gaze, only to find him staring at me.
He smiled with seemingly fond remembrance. "You were in the park reading your book and not watching where you were walking, as usual. I skated by and knocked you over in the process. You scraped your hand and I had some band aides in the van...," he shrugged. "I took you for lunch and asked to see you again... Seriously, Sage, what's going on?"
I felt as though I was going to throw up. That was the story I had fed to everyone, in exact detail. My heart began drumming in my ears, or perhaps it was whoever had started playing, and I was feeling my chest tighten with every beat. Hyperventilation seemed the only logical next step.
"Hey, hey," suddenly he was crouched in front of me, holding his hands over mine, still pressed against the sides of my head. "Talk to me."
I shook his hands off and burst, feeling tears welling up in my eyes. "You are a lie! I made you up so Samuel wouldn't ask me out, alright? You don't exist in real life! Do you understand now? You're fake! Who put you up to this? Was it Samuel? If it is can you just tell him I'm sorry? I'm sorry!"
He didn't seem to notice my rant of questions, just frowned pulled me up so we were standing. "You're shaking," and with that he wrapped his arms around me and rested his head atop mine, "Just breathe for a second and then we'll sort this all out. I promise."
As much as I wanted to freak out and search for Audrey – because surely she would know what was going on – I unconsciously obeyed and found myself taking deeper breaths, resting my head against his chest and feeling a sense of calm. My thoughts seemed to sort themselves in clearer patterns. Guilt coursed through me just as strongly, however. Then I knew what was going on. The pieces clicked into place with clarity.
"Audrey put you up to this, didn't she?" I asked quietly, still pressed up against Thor's chest quite comfortably.
He paused rubbing circles on my back. "She might have."
For some reason this didn't shock me as much as it should have. I might have expected something like that if I'd taken the time to get to know her more. "Who…Who are you in real life?"
A light chuckle rumbled in his chest. "In real life? In real life I'm just Trevor Thorne."
I leaned back to stare at him, eyeing him critically. "Trevor Thorne?"
He nodded with a quirked lip. "Honest to goodness truth. You can check with my mother."
"And the band?"
"The band is real, but they were playing along too. Audrey's my cousin." At my widened eyes he laughed a little.
"I guess I shouldn't have lied to her in the first place. It's just…" I trailed, finding my reasons for doing it rather pathetic.
"It was nice to have someone for awhile?" Th – Trevor filled in for me and I nodded.
A loud succession of knocks rapped against the door and cut off anything Trevor might have been going to say. I realized I was still in his arms and pulled away quickly, unlocking the door to find Audrey standing there.
"I'm sorry I lied." I blurted immediately.
She glanced past me to Trevor who motioned that I knew about everything. A sigh escaped her lips. "I can understand why you would lie to a guy like Samuel, but honestly, Sage, why would you lie to me?" Audrey looked…hurt. I'd never really hurt anyone before, physically or emotionally.
I didn't like the feeling of guilt that overcame me. "I…" My eyes fell to the ground where I pushed a few bits of paper towel around with my shoe. "I guess I just liked the idea of having…someone – a real friend."
"A real friend? What am I?" The more I talked, the more I seemed to hurt her.
"I didn't mean it…like that." I tried to correct. "I just mean…I… - I don't know."
"Sage, the reason you don't consider me a friend is because you won't let me near you. You keep yourself so closed off from everyone else with your stupid books that no one could ever be your friend." She sighed again. "Not even me…"
We stood in silence for a moment before I looked up. "I'd like to be your friend, Audrey. I just…don't know how. I'm sorry."
Her arms were folded, but after a few moments she suddenly squeezed the air out of my lungs in a bear hug that I had no time to react to. "Just don't do it again."
"Promise," I wheezed and felt my lungs re-inflate once more.
"Well," Audrey stated, looking to Trevor, "I suppose I should introduce you – this is my cousin, Trevor. The only reason he went along with this plan was because he said you were cute."
My face flared immediately and I barely glanced at the boy, nodding instead and inwardly smiling. He winked when he caught my eye, unabashed at the fact. "I think I'll keep my hair blond," he said, running his fingers through his mop as we began heading back towards the concert.
The rest of the night went on less oddly than before. I was formally introduced to the rest of the band and we had a good time laughing and joking around, listening to the bands that went on. The Boxcutters eventually made their appearance as well. They weren't half bad, actually. Audrey coerced me into dancing with her. She was a spunky little thing, as was her cousin, which I found a little overwhelming but comforting all the same.
At the end of the night Audrey and I said goodbye to the boys with no promise of another meeting in the near future. I couldn't help smiling though. Out of a silly lie I had managed to make more friends than I'd ever had.
"You just needed to get out more," Audrey grinned, nudging me with her elbow. She couldn't have been more right.
Samuel heard the rumours, the gossip, that spread rampant through the halls. In an instant it seemed he began making more conversation than usual, attempting to flirt, though it was a sad sight to behold. Audrey had tried to help, though it was hard when Samuel was around almost constantly. I knew he was simply working up the courage to ask me out, and I dreaded it.
The day did arrive nearing the end of lunch one afternoon. Audrey and I sat in the cafeteria, a large open forum with large windows that let in the sunshine.
"Don't look now…" Audrey warned in a sing-song-y voice, nodding behind me.
I knew already and stood quickly, gathering the remnants of my lunch and heading towards the nearest garbage can. I heard Samuel's awkward footsteps before I saw his face.
"Hey, um, Sage," Samuel called out. "How was your lunch?"
I shrugged with disinterest. "Fine." My eyes still wouldn't meet his, too busy being distracted by the cleaning of my tray and its safe return to its family stack.
Samuel pushed forward with a clearing of his throat. "So, I was just…wondering if maybe – well, if maybe…-"
"Sage!" a familiar voice cut through the awkward question attempting to jump out of Samuel's lips. "There you are. I've been looking all over for you."
I turned and had barely a second to notice blond hair and warm brown eyes before his lips came crashing lightly to mine. The kiss wasn't overly passionate or dramatic, it was genuine and…real. I blinked as he pulled away and grinned, turning to a gaping Samuel. "Hey, I'm Thor. You must be Samuel." He held out his hand and shook it firmly with the shell shocked lab partner.
"But I thought…" Samuel sputtered, staring from me to Thor and blinking in more confusion. "Well…I," he took a deep breath and felt bad for him. "I'll see you in class then."
I watched him go before turning to my fake boyfriend. "What are you doing here?"
He shrugged. "Audrey said you needed some help… And I may or may not have wanted to see you again."
Dimples formed again as his eyes twinkled. "I like you – a lot. I mean, I know that I don't know you that well, but…I like being your boyfriend – even if my real name isn't Thor."
My face heated and I knew it had turned into a nice cherry tone. "…Oh."
He had to bend down to see any expression as I was anxiously staring at the floor. "You can call me Thor if it really means that much to you…"
I laughed a little and shook my head. "No, Trevor's fine."
"He is," he agreed with a little puffing of his chest, "Very fine. But you would absolutely make his day if you said he could pick you up Friday night and take you on a date. It probably wouldn't be anything fancy seeing as he's a starving musician – but he promises it'll be very entertaining."
My smile stuck in place. I nodded. "You can tell Trevor that um – that would be great."
"Great," He leaned in and kissed my cheek sweetly, sending my face into a new shade of red. "Until then."
I stood there and watched him go as if he was the only one in the room. Audrey's presence registered in my peripheral several moments later. She nudged me with a knowing smirk.
"Looks like you have a boyfriend named Thor after all."
A goofy grin turned up the corners of my mouth, one that I knew looked utterly ridiculous but I didn't care. "Yeah, I guess I do."
A/N: When the writer's block hits, fluff is the only answer (so says I, the invisible one). I have a few very good excuses for not updating on any of my other stories - I'm serious, they're really fantasmic. If you'd like to hear them, please review and tell me if this fluffy bit made you a) want to gag, b) want to go to a metal concert in order to find a boy named Thor, c) want to track me down and poke me with knitting needles for writing such disgustingly cute drivel, or finally d) all of the above.
I haven't really gone over it a tenth time to edit fully so feel free to critisize any errors you find. It drives me crazy when writers don't do this - seriously, raving lunatic crazy.
p.s. This story was based on a similar fabrication I told my overprotective father, who once asked me about this boy I was hanging out with at school. "Yes, dad, that's Thor. He's my boyfriend and he plays in a metal band..." etc etc.