Creating the Perfect Boyfriend
Chapter 7: The Infatuated's Infatuation
Wednesday, January 14 & Thursday, January 15
The doorbell rang.
I dropped my spoon into my empty bowl of cereal and headed towards the door. Before I could even answer it, Aubrey came flying down the stairs. Her eyes were gleaming and her smile nearly took up half of her face. She hurriedly threw the door open, snatched the packaged away from the mailman, and then seated herself in the middle of the hallway. I assumed she spotted the delivery man from upstairs. As she began tearing up the package, I reopened the door to take the other mail from the man so he wouldn't have to shove it into the small mail slot on our door.
"It's finally here!" Aubrey cheered as she held up a romance novel by an author named Laurie Tran. She grabbed the other copy of the book from the box and shoved it into my hands. "This one is for you! Ever since I heard about this new book, I've been waiting for this for months. This one is about a girl getting a fake boyfriend."
I nearly gagged.
"The girl dies in the end," Aubrey said, inappropriately giddy "I can't wait to read about her tragic death!"
I gave myself a mental reminder to write my will tonight.
Just in case.
"Aubrey, dear, what did I tell you about sitting-" Grandma Dawn entered the hallway from the living room. The moment she saw what her granddaughter was holding, her stern tone dropped but her expression hardened. She had a look of disappointment on her face and even though it wasn't directed at me, I felt a pang in my heart. "I'll be in my bedroom, taking an...evening nap if anyone needs me."
Grandma Dawn disappeared into her room near the back of the house. I tucked the book under my arm while I glanced at the other mail. The moment I saw the familiar handwriting on one of the envelopes, I slyly slipped it into the novel to hide it from my sister. I didn't have to worry much about Aubrey seeing the letter anyway. She was preoccupied with the novel. In fact, she had already opened up the novel and began reading it.
Casually, to avoid suspicion from my sister, I went to my room. I put the new novel besides the other untouched novels by the same author on my small, wall shelf. I opened my closet to retrieve a box on the top shelf. I dropped the letter into the box and released a heavy sigh. The letter camouflaged perfectly with the other white envelope letters.
"Jayne." I turned my head to the direction of the voice. My dad stood in the doorway, leaning against my door. His eyes were trained on the box I was holding. He opened his mouth, about to say something regarding my behavior, but didn't. Instead, he smiled at me. "I finished making dinner. Tyler is coming over too. I'm heading back to my study now."
"What did you make?" I said cheerfully as I bounced over to him.
He laughed lightly. "There's beef and broccoli, lasagna, and oatmeal."
I made a disgusted face. "Oatmeal?"
"It's good for you!"
"Then you eat it."
"Then there wouldn't be any left for you."
We looked at each other and grinned mischievously. "We'll give it to grandma," I said.
Dad started jogging towards the bathroom. "I'll hide her fake teeth so she'll have no choice but to eat that!"
"Matt, give me back my dentures—my fake teeth."
"Just 'cause I put 'em in the toilet last time doesn't mean I wanna touch 'em again!"
"I'm guilt-free this time. I can get my dog to help you chew up some food if you-"
"Hand me the oatmeal."
There was silence over the other line and then the voice came back. "You want me to meet you at the park tomorrow?"
"No, of course not. I told you to meet me there for the fun of it," I responded in a low volume out of politeness. It was eleven thirty at night and the entire house was asleep.
I was on the verge of falling asleep, too. I couldn't even add a decent amount of sarcasm to my previous comment because of the wave of exhaustion I felt. My blinks were lasting longer and occurring less frequently. Every now and then, I would lapse into a moment of blankness before Aiden's voice brought me back to a state of barely-awake. It didn't help that I was comfortably snuggled under my covers with my pillow wrapped around my arms. My head was rested against the mattress but I didn't feel a tinge of discomfort. In a matter of seconds, I would be sound asleep.
On the other hand, there was Aiden, who sounded fully awake, causing me to wonder what time he slept at. The only reason I dialed his number was to inform him that I wanted—more like, needed-to see him tomorrow. The list that Kiera and I created was sitting in my bag. I needed to thoroughly explain to Aiden about his duties as my pretend boyfriend and prepare him to meet my (kind of) non-threatening family.
"But why?" Aiden questioned.
He acted as if he didn't hear the comment I threw at him when he became reacquainted with his 'long lost friend'.
He wasn't acting. I knew he didn't hear what I said. But I was much too tired to explain anything right now.
I mumbled something incoherent.
I heard the sound of a deep, light chuckle. "I'll talk to you tomorrow, Jayne."
"Are you going to-"
"Yeah. I'll be at the park."
"And...I'll help you with that...girl...soon."
"Don't worry about that."
"Just go to sleep."
"It's almost as if you...don't want me to..."
My cellphone screen lit up as the call ended. I left my phone on my bed since I lacked the energy to move it to my nightstand. I was about to drift off when I heard several soft footsteps in the hallway. My back was facing my bedroom door but I could hear it gradually creak open. Quickly, I snapped my eyes shut and pretended to be asleep. I easily concluded that it was Matt and Aubrey entering my room. If it was my Dad, he would've hesitated before entering my room because he would feel guilty for disturbing me. If it was Grandma Dawn, she would've stormed here and then charge into my room.
"Jayne," Matt whispered as he lightly shook me.
"She's faking it," Aubrey said sternly. "Jayne, get up."
"I think she's really-"
My covers were pulled away from me and my best friend of a pillow was thrown onto the ground. Seconds after my back had to face the coldness, I felt my sister's weight on top of me as she rapidly shook me. I kept my expression serene, still trying to pretend that I was asleep. Unfortunately for me, Matt joined in on the abuse by using his tiny little fists to punch my back while repeating my name over and over again in a whiny manner.
"Okay! Get off of me! I'll get up!" I shouted as I pushed my sister off of me. She crawled off my bed and smiled in victory. I threw a grey cardigan on and wrapped it around me tightly. "What do you two want?"
"I'm hungry," Matt said while Aubrey chirped, "I couldn't sleep."
I twitched. "So, why did you have to wake me up? Aubrey could have made the food for you, Matt."
"I wanted you to join our midnight adventure!" My sister had too much energy.
Matt wrapped his hand around my wrist and dragged me towards the kitchen. Aubrey followed, skipping with her legs and arms flailing. I repeat, she had too much energy. All three of us quietly (as quietly as we could, at least) entered the kitchen and flipped on the lights. The light blinded me for a few seconds and erased a large amount of my drowsiness. I hushed everyone since there were still two other people in the house that were sound asleep.
"Heat the leftover lasagna," I commanded as I retrieved the frying pan. Aubrey bobbed her head before bouncing to the fridge. "Pass me an egg, too. I'm going to make eggs for Matt."
"No, no, no," Matt said, inserting himself in the space between his two sisters. "I don't want eggs. I want lasagna and cookies."
"I only knows how to make scrambled eggs, boil water, and microwave already-made food. What would you like?"
"But but but..."
"What is going on here?"
The voice startled the three of us and as we whipped around we saw a deep frown directed towards us. He was leaning against the doorway of the kitchen. His hair was a complete mess and there were a few ink markings on the side of his cheeks, telling me that he had fallen asleep in his study. Dad entered the kitchen, his arms crossed and his scowl still intact. He glanced around at the open fridge and the prepared-to-go frying pan which led to his forehead creasing in discontentment.
Matt rushed towards him and started tugging at his shirt with a pout etched on. "I'm hungry and I want spaghetti and I want cookies too but Jayne only knows how to make scrambled eggs and water and microwave food."
"Jayne's in charge of cooking?" Dad quirked an eyebrow. His serious expression disappeared when a wide grin appeared on his face. "You three are basically asking for food poisoning and for the house to burn down."
I glared at him. "I'm not that bad."
"Yeah. I'm the one who set off the fire alarm last time," Aubrey said haughtily.
"Why do you sound proud? That isn't an accomplishment," Dad laughed as he headed over to the stove. He started pulling ingredients from the cabinets, filling a large pot with water, and reheating the lasagna with the oven. He gave Aubrey a mixing bowl and the recipe for chocolate chip cookies that he made up himself. He smiled at Matt. "Spaghetti and cookies, right?"
Matt nodded excitedly. "Can I help too?"
"Of course you can!" Aubrey said. She placed the bowl on the table so that Matt could reach it by climbing up on a chair. She handed him the measured ingredients that needed to be mixed. "Butter, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract...okay, and here's the baking soda!"
"I'll sit and watch," I declared, content with not having to do anything.
Over Matt's head, I caught sight of white hair. Undoubtedly, it was Grandma Dawn. Her eyes were trained on Aubrey dipping her finger into the cookie dough and chatting aimlessly about nonsense with the dough in her mouth. Grandma turned her head away so that she was facing nothing. I was about to invite her to join our cooking session when I noticed that look in her eyes. Her eyes seemed almost regretful but before I could clearly distinguish the expression on her face, she quickly turned away and headed back towards her bedroom.
"You're just like your mom," Dad nodded at me. He shot me a soft smile before returning to check if the noodles for the spaghetti were ready. "I would have a heart attack every time I saw her attempting to cook. She usually sat around the kitchen while I did all of the cooking-she never even offered me a hand!"
"Daddy," Aubrey said with a glint in her eye. "Can you tell us the story of how you and mommy met?"
Dad chuckled lightly with his eyes trained on the food. "Hmmm...We use to sit next to each other in class. I never noticed her until the day when we were taking a test that was worth thirty percent of our grade. She blatantly tried to copy the answers off of my test. The woman lacked slyness and grace. She was practically falling out of her seat trying to a get a peek at my work!"
Aubrey's eyes twinkled in delight. "And you let her copy because you thought she was beautiful?"
"No," Dad smirked maliciously. "I bubbled in all the wrongs answers and purposely allowed her to copy that. She turned in her test, feeling mighty confident in herself, before I did because she thought I was double-checking my work. I was changing my answers."
Matt and I laughed.
Aubrey, however, seemed disappointed. "You're not a very nice man, daddy."
"I am very nice!" Dad defended, shooting a stern look at his second daughter. "On that same day, she tripped over her own feet and fell onto the ground in front of the classroom door. I made sure not to step on her as I left."
My sister remained expressionless as she said, "I think I love you less now."
I halted, wondering where the voice was coming from. I waited a few seconds to see if the voice would return. It didn't. I shrugged it off, deciding that it was just my imagination. I resumed to putting my pants on. I glanced in my full body mirror on the back of my bedroom door and adjusted my outfit to my liking.
I darted to my window and glanced downwards. Cody was standing in front of my house with a wide grin on his face. I noticed that his car was parked a house away.
"It took you long enough!" Cody called out. "I woke up early today so I'll drive you to school. Now, open your door and let me in."
After retrieving my phone from my bed, I followed his orders.
"Why didn't you call me or ring the doorbell?" I asked him as I guided him to my kitchen.
"I did call you. Several times, in fact," Cody said. He opened my fridge and pulled out the carton of orange juice. I glanced at my phone and noticed that I had five missed calls. Oops. "I also didn't want to wake up your grandma."
Unlike Eric, Cody wasn't afraid of my grandma. He liked her. That was probably the reason why my grandma loved him so much. In fact, Cody was the first person that Grandma Dawn tried to make me fall in love with. I was four years old. Grandma Dawn thought he would be the perfect boy for me because he was polite, sweet, and protective. Unknown to her, when he was away from adults and in the school yard, he would push down kids and steal their toys (he eventually grew out of it and even apologized to some of the people he bullied).
I had rebelled against her by avoiding Cody for the rest of my childhood. Then, Cody let me borrow his pencil in eight grade and wouldn't stop bothering him until I considered him a friend. Fortunately for me, Grandma Dawn had given up trying to make me fall in love with Cody. However, she would occasionally pester me about considering Cody as a potential husband.
"I think shouting my name at the top of your lungs is equivalent to ringing the doorbell," I pointed out as I grabbed two glasses from the cupboard. "It doesn't matter though. She's not home. She went to my uncle's house."
He shrugged to dismiss the topic. "I met your boyfriend-"
"Eric and I went out to eat with him and his little sister after you disappeared yesterday. He's a decent guy."
That was Cody's way of showing his approval in my taste in pretend boyfriends. A part of me was a tinge upset that he met Aiden though. I was trying to remain out of Aiden's personal life because I knew our 'relationship' was only temporary, yet, he seemed to be becoming friends with my friends. I didn't necessarily mind but I was expecting him to fall of the face of the planet (figuratively speaking, of course) once I 'broke up' with him.
I poured myself a glass of orange juice. "Why are you befriending my pretend boyfriend?"
Cody shot me a teasing smile. "What? Afraid I'll steal him from you?"
I rolled my eyes. "Once my grandma realizes that she doesn't have to worry about finding me the perfect life companion, Aiden will be out of my life."
He raised his eyebrows. "And when's she going to realize that?"
"One day," I hoped. "I need to help Aiden get the girl of his dreams too."
"I find it hard to believe that Aiden actually wanted you to help him with his love life," Cody said.
"And you know this because you've been friends with him for, what, one day?" I took a sip of my drink before adding, "Besides, why would he help a random stranger if he wasn't getting anything out of it?"
Cody looked as if he wanted to say something but he kept his mouth shut.
I was in my calculus class when he walked in.
Mr. Stunning from yesterday couldn't even compare to him. He was Mr. Stunning Times Two. He stood in front of the class, standing besides Mr. Kendall. Every single pair of eyes in the classroom were on him. I wasn't sure how everyone else was reacting to the appearance of the new guy but I did hear Maria Brooks say 'that hottie is going to be mine' and a low whistle coming from Keene. He had dark green eyes, light brown hair, and a smile to die for.
I pretended that the smile etched on his face was for me and only me. I ignored the fact that his smile was smug. The way he stood with his legs slightly apart and had his hands stuffed in his pocket with his thumbs sticking out was enough for me to deduce that he felt superior.
"Class, this is Damon Sanders," Mr. Kendall introduced with an unenthusiastic tone. The entire class greeted him with a warm 'hi'. "He moved here from Florida because his parents had a job transfer. Damon, you can sit wherever there's a seat available."
Damon nodded and seated himself in the third row, third column. He was two seats diagonal from me.
I leaned over to the seat next to me and lightly hit my best friend's shoulder. "Kiera, I want him," I said in a child's voice. "Wrap him up and give him to me as a present, okay?"
"You have Aiden," Kiera reminded me.
I held up a finger to put her on pause. Mr. Kendall turned his back to the class in order to write the notes on the white board. Seizing the opportunity, I sneakily dialed Aiden's number. Kiera tilted her head, confused by my actions. My fake boyfriend picked up in three rings.
Once the ringing stopped, I said, "Do you mind if I get a real boyfriend?"
"Planning on cheating on me already?" Aiden said with a light-hearted tone.
I let out a dreamy sigh. "He's really good-looking."
"How considerate of you to ask for my permission."
"I am a bundle of sweetness."
He chuckled. "Then, sure. Go and win Mr. Good-Looking's heart."
"It's Mr. Stunning Times Two," I corrected.
"Shouldn't you be in class?" Aiden asked.
By the way he wasn't whispering, I knew he wasn't in an educational setting. "I could say the same to you," I said.
"I went to my first period class and then decided to skip the rest of the day," Aiden responded.
I recalled him telling me that his grades consist of A's and B's. Despite missing his classes at least twice a week, he managed to have decent grades because he would study on his own at home. He obviously cared about his grades. It just didn't make sense to me why he couldn't simply stay in school and learn the material there so he wouldn't have to self-study. It was also probably more difficult to learn the material on his own.
"Go back to school," I said before hanging up. I flashed a smile at Kiera. "I have permission to cheat."
"On what, exactly, Jayne?" A shadow fell over me. That would be Mr. Kendall...and he was glaring at me.
"Myself," was the first thing that came out of my mouth.
Kiera's eyes crinkled in amusement. "Jayne's in love with herself but she decided that it's time for a change."
"And I didn't want to break up with myself because that would hurt my feelings," I continued. "So, I came to the conclusion that I should cheat."
The entire class was staring at me. Eighty percent of the students were amused and the other twenty percent were annoyed that I was disrupting the class. From the corner of my eye, I saw Damon's green eyes trained on me. He was in between bewilderment and amusement. He probably thought I was least I was able to catch his attention.
"She made sure that it was okay with herself first," Kiera added. "She told herself that she wanted to explore her options."
I grinned at my teacher. "I was completely fine with letting myself be with another person while still being with me."
Mr. Kendall's eyes twitched as they darted from Kiera to me. He didn't say anything about what had transpired. Instead, he sighed loudly before heading back to the front of the room. "Eyes back on the board, everyone," he commanded.
I entered the park and took a deep breath to inhale the fresh air. The park was a thirty minute bus drive from my house but it was only a five-minute walk from the two high schools and elementary school nearby. Aiden attended one of those high school. I would've told Aiden that I would meet him in front of his school but I didn't want to admit to myself that I had already forgotten which high school he attended. He may be talented in remembering facts but I was not.
Because I lived in another area of the city, I had never visited this specific park. There was a large mall on this side of the city so whenever I took the bus to get there, I would see the park from the window. There was a large sand area with the play structure situated in the middle of it. The yellow, blue, and red play structure was large enough for forty kids to comfortably play around. Surrounding the sand area was a strip of concrete which had green benches lined up against the border. There were also four basketball courts and two tennis courts. Other than that, the rest of the park consisted of recently mowed grass and large, wide trunk trees.
My gaze wandered from the large blue slide that was begging me to run towards it to the shadows of the tress in the sand. There were parents and grandparents relaxing in the benches and basking in the afternoon sun. I stared past the play structure and noticed that there were a total of seven picnics set up in the grass area. In that expansive field, I spotted a little girl trying to climb up a tree, a group of teenage boys running around, Aiden strangling a child, a mother handing a sandwich to-
Aiden was strangling a child.
Before I even realized it, I was running towards the soon-to-be-killer.
"I asked a killer to be my boyfriend. I asked a killer to be my boyfriend?!" I wanted to cry. "Shit, shit, shit."
A wave of relief swept through me as I neared. Aiden wasn't strangling the little boy. No. Aiden had twisted the blonde haired boy's shirt around his hand and lifted him up. He was clearly unhappy. Aiden's eyebrows were furrowed and his knuckles were white from clutching them so tight. However, he wasn't yelling. He was speaking to the boy in a threatening, but calm, tone.
"Give it back," Aiden glared.
"Lemme go!" The kid whined as he attempted to harm Aiden with his little kicks.
"Put him down!" I stood only a few inches away from the bully.
"Hey, Jayne," Aiden greeted.
I tugged at my hair, stressed. "Don't casually talk to me when you have an elevated kid in your hand!"
"He told me that I should pick on someone my own size," Aiden said with a shrug. "So, I lifted the brat up. This way, we would be on eye level which I figured would help him feel as if he was my size."
"How does that make sense?!" I shouted before I shook his arm. "Let him go."
"I will..." Aiden promised. "once he gives me back my wallet."
The little kid stared at me with his large, green eyes. "Help me, pretty lady."
"He shoved it into his pants," Aiden informed me.
My attention fell onto the square shaped bulge on the front of the boy's bottoms.
I decided not to comment on it. "Even if he did steal your wallet, he's still a kid. You shouldn't-"
"I don't care if he's a kid or not," Aiden interrupted. "He's the person that stole my wallet. That's it. He knows that he shouldn't steal. The only thing that would've prevented him from being in this position right now was if he was my mother or father. And maybe if he was a ferocious animal that wouldn't hesitate to eat me."
I sighed. "Put him down."
"But-" Aiden pouted.
"Put. Him. Down."
Aiden lowered him until his feet were touching the ground. Once Aiden released his hold on him, the kid tried to sprint away but I grabbed the back of the shirt to stop him. I used one hand to whirl him around. Aiden stood behind the kid to make sure he didn't try to escape again.
"Hi, there," I said, sweetly. "Are you okay?"
"Get away from me, ugly!" The kid ordered. Aiden stifled his laughter.
I twitched but kept my smile in place. "Please insert your hand into your pants and pull out the object you stole from this bully."
"If you want it back so badly then you take it!" The kid smirked, jutting out the lower half of his body.
"Sure." I stared blankly at him. I pretended to reach for it.
"Jayne," Aiden warned. "That isn't legal."
My fingers were mere inches away from the little boy's pants.
Aiden's eyes widened. "I'm sure what you're about to do falls under the category of-"
Aiden never finished his sentence. In a matter of seconds, the little boy had stumbled backwards and retrieved the wallet. He was about to drop it in my hands but I quickly moved it, letting it fall onto the grass. I did not want to touch it. After that, the little boy kicked Aiden in the shin and then scampered off. I out rightly laughed at Aiden's pain before directing my attention back onto the boy to make sure that he wasn't alone at the park. From a short distance, I saw the little boy run into the arms of a pretty female that was around my age. The girl made eye contact with me before she started heading my way.
Her green eyes seemed oddly familiar...
I gasped and started repeatedly hitting Aiden's arm. "Hey, hey, hey. It's her! The tissue to your runny nose!"
Aiden used the sleeve of his navy blue shirt to pick up his wallet. "The what?"
"The frosting to your cupcakes!" I cheered.
"Huh?" Once the wallet was secure in his pocket, Aiden wiped his sleeve on a nearby tree.
"The milk to your cereal!"
"I like my cereal without milk."
"Oh, you fiend," I clutched my heart in mock pain. "I can't be associated with you anymore."
Finally, Aiden turned around to see what my attention was directed at. I assumed that Aiden would've been pleased to see her so I was surprised when he muttered a string of curses under his breath. By the time he was done spewing out profanity, the girl had stopped walking. She stood right in front of us. The little boy was holding her hand and I visibly winced because it was the same hand that dove into his bottoms to retrieve the wallet.
The infatuated's infatuation smiled at the person next to me. "Hi, Aiden."