Did you just click the little arrow thingy next to the title? Well, I have news for you: in order to make up for that ungodly wait, I uploaded two chapters at once.

If you've already read chapter sixteen, then I hope you enjoy seventeen now!

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All's Fair in Love and Lies

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Chapter Seventeen

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Luckily, this time, I managed to finish my work before I was ambushed. I was sitting on a nearby bench, thinking about which crops I should plant next, when Luke entered the scene. Or catapulted into it. Whichever you prefer.

He slammed his hands on the back of the bench, causing me to jump almost a foot into the air. "I did it!" he cried. "I did it, Ange!"

"Did what?" I said, making sure that my heart hadn't exploded from the shock.

"I found out why Gill likes you, of course," he said. A broad grin stretched across his face.

For the first second I didn't register it. The second, my face burst into red. At last in the third, I snapped, "Don't say it so loud! Ugh!"

"Don't worry," he said. "You're not going to have to keep it a secret for much longer."

"Answer me this, though," I said with narrowed eyes. "Did you already know?"

"Huh? No. I would've told you."

"Then how did you find out so quick?" I asked. "Kathy called you two hours ago." He opened his mouth to speak, but at the last moment I cut him off. "Forget it. Never mind. I don't think I want to know, do I?"

"Oh, it's nothing bad," he said, shrugging. He casually jumped over the back of the bench to sit down. "I bumped into Julius about an hour ago, and he apparently saw what happened."

I cocked my head to the side. "Who's Julius?"

"Julius?" Luke said, giving me a look like he was surprised that I didn't know. "He works at the blacksmith. I thought you met him before."

"No, I don't think so," I said, shaking my head. "What does he look like?"

"Purple hair, red eyes, dresses like a chick..."

I was silent. The description sounded familiar...

At this, he blinked as if something had just occurred to him. Then he burst out laughing. "YOU ACTUALLY THOUGHT HE WAS A WOMAN, DIDN'T YOU?".

"What?!"

"Nothing, nothing, nothing," he said quickly. "I can't believe you—"

"Wait," I interrupted. "You mean Julie..."

"I won't tell him," said Luke. "Don't worry."

I slapped my hand onto my face. "Well, anyway," I said loudly. "What is it that you came here to tell me?"

"Oh yeah." He suppressed a chuckle. My first instinct was that he was still laughing about my mistake, but before I could accuse him, he said, "Honestly, it's shocking that you don't remember. You were the one who did it."

"Did wha..." Before I could finish the sentence, I felt my face grow pale.

So it was that.

I stayed silent for a few seconds, and then cleared my throat. "So, Juli...us...saw that, you say?"

"Yup."

"Great." I sighed. "I just...I thought that Gill forgot..."

Luke grinned yet again. "Well, he didn't."

-o-

It was clear that I still had a lot to learn about farming. Two weeks into summer, and suddenly all of my crops—which had stopped producing anything of value anyway—suddenly shriveled up in the heat. Candace had had to tell me that spring crops couldn't survive in this season (which was totally not obvious at all, by the way) and that I should get better seeds from Anissa. So here I was, at the Ganache Mine District, I almost bumping into someone as I rounded a corner.

"Sorry!" I said, quickly stumbling back a little. "...Wait, I know you. Aren't you the mayor's son?"

The boy—I think his name was Gill—glanced up from his omnipresent clipboard to see who was speaking. "Yes, and you're the new girl who dropped my paperwork all over the Square."

I frowned at his description of me. First impressions weren't exactly my best friend. "Anyway," I said, "I have to head over to Anissa's. Bye."

"Good luck."

I stopped. "'Good luck'?"

"You're going to need it to get in on the day it's closed," he said without looking up from his work. "Also, you're going the wrong way."

"...Oh."

I waited for him to suggest an alternative, but he continued to write away on his clipboard. I wondered briefly why he went to all the trouble of coming out here when all he was going to do was more paperwork.

I decided to stop waiting and just ask. "Is there anywhere else I can get some seeds for my farm?"

"You could call Taylor," he said, somehow managing to make his suggestion sound very unhelpful. "But he's studying in the Forget-Me-Not Valley at the moment, so the delivery could take a few days. It's easier to just wait until tomorrow for the Souffle Farm to open again."

"Hmm." I folded my arms, trying to think. Even though it was just one day, I didn't want to wait at all when I had already wasted so much time. That was one more day's worth of smirking from Craig when I showed up at his store, asking for something I should have two weeks ago.

Gill scribbled some more, either unknowing or uncaring to the fact that I wanted another suggestion.

That was when I remembered something that Luke had mentioned. "Hey, doesn't your family have a garden?"

He stopped writing abruptly. "We do."

"Do you think you could lend me some seeds?" I asked hopefully. "I promise I'll pay you back. Please?"

"I don't have any," he said, still not looking at me.

I blinked. "What? Why not?"

"It's not my... It's my mother's garden."

"Oh, okay," I said. Come to think of it, I hadn't met his mother yet. "Could you ask her, then? Or maybe you could just tell me where she is right now so I could—"

"She's dead."

With that, we both fell into silence.

"She's...?"

"Dead." He neither looked up nor continued writing.

Slowly, I uncrossed my arms. "I... I'm sorry, I didn't..."

He didn't say anything.

For the next long minutes, I didn't even know what I was thinking. I simply stared at him, not knowing what to say but not wanting to just walk away. Finally, after probably getting fed up with feeling my eyes on him, he looked up and scowled. "What?"

"Nothing." I realized that my eyes had begun to sting, so I quickly turned away, hoping he hadn't seen. It was a little ironic, me being the one blinking back tears instead of him.

"What?" he repeated.

"Nothing."

He narrowed his eyes angrily, but retreated back to his paperwork.

This would have been the best time to leave. In fact, I really, really needed to leave. But my legs wouldn't move at all, as if they were telling me to say something. But what could I say?

Gill sighed exasperatedly and looked up again. "Is there something you—"

Without thinking, I put my hands on his shoulders and kissed him.

He stiffened instantly and dropped his clipboard, almost as shocked as I was. But I didn't pull away. I wrapped my arms around his neck, tightening the bond. Several seconds passed before, suddenly, I felt his hands on my waist, and he was kissing me back.

I don't know how long we stayed like that before we broke apart, but it was no surprise that we both fell once again into an awkward silence. I looked down at my hands, trying to think of something to say.

"Angela..." he said softly. "Why...?"

"I'm sorry about your mother!" I blurted out, and then ran.

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And thus, another wait for the next chapter begins... *dodges ninja stars*