Sorry for the wait! I feel horrible. I just finished summer school and I'm in the middle of packing and picking up on lost time with some friends. I hope this isn't too disappointing. Personally, I like it but my judgement has been off lately.
Confessions of Danny Zuko
Chapter EIGHTEEN:The Decoy
"As in another girlfriend?" Caitlyn narrowed her eyes at me, and suddenly I was afraid that she was going to get upset and somehow take this the wrong way.
"It's just a suggestion. We don't have to do it." I let go of the hem of my shirt and sat up straight.
Emma and Taylor peered in with a worried look on their faces.
"Everything alright?" Emma asked.
Caitlyn stood up and made her way to a window to look out, "Um ask Nate."
Maybe I shouldn't have taken this so lightly. What was I thinking? A decoy to replace Caitlyn? She must hate me now. I wanted to punch myself seeing her react like this. Taylor, being the sensitive one, ignored everything and turned on the TV that rested on the wall. We were soon treated to a special hit gossip story starring none other than me.
Emma scolded Taylor and pushed him to turn off the television, but three of us were already fixated on the screen.
"In theory, we can cross Alex Russo off the list. We just received word from a reliable source that Alex is currently dating Chad Dylan Cooper from MacKenzie Falls. It looks like that past romance is staying firmly in the past." The Gossip Reporter grinned, "But before we narrow down the list, we have to add on that Nate could be possibly dating one of the girls from Grease other than Caitlyn, who is reportedly single."
I closed my eyes, "Fantastic."
"As for the Emma/Taylor/Nate love triangle, we have evidence that disproves that theory as well."
Emma growled, "How could anybody have even thought that was a possibility?"
"This picture. It isn't much but if there ever was a love triangle, I don't think those four would be around each other acting like friends."
A picture of Emma, Caitlyn, Taylor and I on the beach flashed onto the screen. It was of the beach party we had after the Oprah show. It must have been one of the neighbors who leaked that out.
Mental note to move somewhere with better neighbors.
"The options are still open for Hannah Montana and Caitlyn. Personally, I think Nate and Caitlyn are hiding something."
"What!" Caitlyn yelled. I looked at her. Her mouth was wide open in shock.
"How can they still link us together?!" She complained, "I mean I said I was single and you didn't. They can't just put us together without any evidence!"
Emma sighed, "Caitlyn but there is plenty of evidence. Even if you try and pretend otherwise, the chemistry is obvious."
Confused, I asked, "How?"
Emma sank to the floor and leaned against the couch, "I think I need to remind you they've linked you back since Grease. Those cute hugging pictures? Not to mention the disaster in London. Remember the Caitlyn, Rupert, Nate love triangle? And those tabloid didn't help the cause even if most of them were false. Then, Caitlyn somehow shows up at your beach house, hangs out with your brothers and stays for a couple of days. It doesn't directly point to a relationship, but it certainly doesn't rule it out either."
Caitlyn frowned, "But I said I was single!"
Taylor shook his head, "Think of how honest some celebrities are about their lives. I mean, you weren't exactly telling the truth about your status."
Caitlyn came to my side and hugged me, "This sucks."
I buried my face in her hair, "I know."
"So what's the deal with the decoy?" Emma asked, crossing her arms.
"It's just a cover up. Jason said I already messed up confessing I was dating someone. What makes it worse is that when I show up to events alone or keep this mystery girl faceless it could back fire." I mumbled out, breathing in a sea of cinnamon. My insides lurched and I held Caitlyn a bit tighter. "And I don't want to push Caitlyn to do anything until she's ready."
Taylor grinned, "A decoy huh? Who would be willing to help besides one of your millions of fans?"
Fans? Something inside me stirred. I wasn't quite sure what it was. Emma quickly excused herself to check up on the cake. Seconds later she called for Taylor who disappeared into the kitchen. Caitlyn and I stood still. I felt her small body press against mine as I nuzzled my face deeper into her hair.
"She could be a friend. Someone we trust." Caitlyn suddenly mumbled.
I let her go and looked at her, "We could come up with something else. We don't have to use some girl because of something stupid I did."
Caitlyn shook her head, "It's fine. A decoy will take the speculation off me for a change."
And she was right. If Caitlyn was willing to take a back seat while I pretended to date someone else, I guess I could handle a fake relationship. Who ever this decoy is surely isn't going to be as great as Caitlyn is but whatever it takes to keep Caitlyn around I will do. I smiled down at Caitlyn.
"You're too good, you know that?" I kissed her forehead.
"I do now." Caitlyn lightly punched my gut and laughed, "I'm sure you don't even have to say your decoy is your 'girlfriend'. Seeing how crazy the media is, I'm sure they'll just assume."
A light bulb went off in my head. I could have kissed Caitlyn in gratitude. She was a genius.
"You're right!" I laughed, "That's a great idea. All the media needs is a couple of pictures of me and some girl together, and they'll think it's her. And we can push it as far as the end of January before showing up at some 'date place' and that would be the end of speculation."
Caitlyn scoffed, "And the start of your 'relationship'. Now that I think about it, I could possibly let it slip that you needed a girl to nurse your broken heart and this girl bounced into your life just when you were about to be suffocated by the ropes of singlehood."
"You're dramatic." I rolled my eyes.
"It'll be great. I mean I'm going to be busy for the next, I don't know, four or five months? And you'll be out and about with his new girl and they won't think we're together until I'm ready." Caitlyn beamed, "Do you think Marcie would help us out? No wait, what about Hannah? Do you still talk to her? Can we trust her?"
My hand flew to cover Caitlyn's mouth as she muffled out more things.
"I'm not going to ask an ex-girlfriend." I stated, "That will complicated things a lot more than they already are. I'm not saying she not trustworthy, but there's something off about a girl who wears a blonde wig."
Caitlyn's eyes widened, "She wears a wig?"
I forgot for a moment that most people didn't know Hannah Montana's real identity. Heck, I wouldn't have found out if I hadn't walk in just as her hair stylist combed her bangs away from her face, allowing me to catch a glimpse of dark wavy hair sticking out beside her ear. I asked her about it later on.
I chuckled, "I'll tell you that long story some other time."
"We've got no word from Nate's camp. His publicist is keeping quiet, insisting that Nate will introduce his new lady when they're ready. Unfortunately we have no word from any close sources as to who this lucky lady is. Moving on, we have a dating expert to give us her personal opinion on exactly who Nate might be dating based on his past relationships. Karen?"
Caitlyn cocked her head to the side and stared at the TV as it showed some prim and proper lady smiling widely at us. I shivered. Caitlyn looked back at me and grinned.
"I wonder if her expert opinion can describe me." She joked.
"There's got to be more important things in the world for them to discuss than who I'm dating! Like the economy. Or a war somewhere." I couldn't believe that the network tracked down a relationship expert to talk about me. This was ridiculous.
I pulled Caitlyn away from the TV and sat her on the couch. I seated myself close to her, enjoying how Caitlyn instinctively leaned into me as I put my arm around her.
"Judging by Nate's past relationships, it's anyone's guess as to who he's dating at the moment. "Nannah" or, and many people like to say, "Hate" was a young, naive relationship. It was nothing more than innocence and self discovery. Alex proved to be something much more serious than Hannah. Many of us adored the pairing and were more than shocked to hear about the crumbling of that relationship. So based on that, I really believe that it's possible that Nate's tired of the celebrity-like girls. I strongly doubt he would try to reunite with one of his past relationships which is why there are so many speculations as to who he is dating. If I could narrow it down, I would choose Caitlyn. There just has to be something there. And to top it all off, she's completely new to this celebrity thing which I'm sure Nate finds attractive."
Caitlyn groaned, "So it wasn't my dazzling personality or ravishing good looks that reeled you in? It was because I'm the opposite of Hannah and Alex?"
I grinned, "I thought you knew. Of course, it doesn't hurt that you're overall amazing."
Caitlyn poked my side, "I was kidding."
"Well I wasn't." I winked.
Emma pranced in, "Anyone up for a warm slice of cake? Taylor already ate half."
For the next few days, Caitlyn was busy preparing for her new internship with Madonna. I helped out a bit by messing up some of the tracks on purpose. Caitlyn found it amusing. Emma begged Caitlyn to make a track that she could dance to while she cleaned. Taylor and I weren't too concerned with making 'dancing while cleaning' songs. We messed around with her computer program until we created a hip hop clip.
"Oh she would love that." Caitlyn dryly said, "I can imagine Madonna rapping about being a virgin and vogueing."
Taylor snickered, "Madonna is the ultimate chameleon! Otherwise there's no way she could have stuck around for so long."
Caitlyn bit her lip, "How about a ballad? She hasn't done those in a while, has she?"
Today, Shane had joined in on the fun. He didn't want to be alone at the hotel while Jason drove over to the airport to pick up Alice. He fiddled around with the remote control until it slipped from his hands and flew across the room.
Shane frowned and shrugged, "I don't know, Cait. You got a hard job ahead of you. I mean creating Madonna's spanking new album? That's tough. How can you be so relaxed when you're about to collaborate with a sensation like her?"
Caitlyn glared at Shane, "Thanks for the encouraging words."
"I'm being honest!" Shane whined, "What hasn't she done yet?"
I shrugged, "She hasn't done 80's in a long time. I bet tons of the older fans would love to hear her original sound again."
A second later I was attacked.
Caitlyn was jumping up and down as she hugged me, "Nate you are a genius! I can't believe I didn't think of that myself! Taylor get off my computer!"
Caitlyn kissed me before she shoved Taylor off her laptop. Dazed, I shrugged and gave a sloppy grin to Shane and Emma who were just as shocked as I was.
"What can I say?" I laughed out.
Emma rolled her eyes, "I almost forgot I'm in a room full of musical talent. Caitlyn, I'm still expecting a tune I can dance to."
Caitlyn nodded her head, her eyes glued to the screen, "I won't let you down!"
Proud that I inspired Caitlyn with my ingenious idea, I crawled into the kitchen to dig into the fridge. I resurfaced with a can of Pepsi in my grubby hands. I walked back into the living room when there was a knock on the door. Without thinking, I headed for the door, but Taylor beat me to it. He opened the door and was greeted by a high pitched scream. Startled, I glanced over my shoulder to find three bodies pouring in; I immediately understood the commotion that came when Taylor opened the door. Jason and Alice stood in the middle of the apartment with a hyperventilating Casey. Her eyes were wide as she scanned the room. Her glance shifted between Caitlyn, Emma and Taylor.
"Oh my god, It's....it's- Alice! It's Grease! I mean they're from Grease!" Casey stuttered.
Emma looked up at Jason.
"Everybody, this is Casey, Alice's cousin. I think I should have warned her that we were coming here." Jason flustered, "Sorry. She loves the new movie."
Taylor stuck out his hand and introduced himself, "Taylor. It's fine. I think it's pretty cool to hang out with a fan."
Casey nearly fainted when she touched Taylor, "Big fan. Yes, huge fan."
Emma warmly hugged Casey, "Welcome. I'm Emma, and Cailtyn's over there. She's a bit busy."
Caitlyn's head snapped up from her computer, "Am not!"
Casey's eyes widen more at the genuine welcome she was receiving from the superstars in the room. Caitlyn closed her laptop and made her way over to introduce herself.
"Nice of you to join us." She smiled, "We're usually really boring but I'm sure we can find something to do. We really can't go out. Somebody here stirred up some trouble."
Caitlyn looked right at me.
Casey sighed, "Right! Nate's secret girlfriend! So can I know? Or am I going to have to wait along with the rest of America?"
Caitlyn and I exchanged glances. I let out a nervous laugh, along with everyone else in the room besides Casey. I wasn't sure if I could really trust Casey. Sure she seemed to be a nice girl but I didn't want to broaden the amount of people that really know who I was with.
"Nate it's fine." Alice spoke up, "You have no idea what kind of a secret keeper you have here."
Casey beamed, "I haven't even told my own friends that my cousin is dating THE Jason Grey. And I've been dying inside to brag that I spent Christmas with you three but I can't."
I was more than impressed. Shocked?
Casey began to name a couple of contenders, "I was convinced that you were dating Caitlyn for the past year but I'm not too sure now. Umm, is it perhaps Marcie? She's really pretty. Oh no wait, could it be Jennie? Is she the one that's already dating someone else? Never mind. One of my friends is hoping you were dating a fan or something. She thought it would be romantic."
I almost laughed at how right on Casey was about me and Caitlyn- minus the amount of time we've actually been together. Caitlyn didn't think it was so funny. Her arms were crossed, and she had stuck out her hip. I'm sure she was mad that everybody thought that our attraction was obvious from the beginning. Still, I was hesitant to just tell Casey about Caitlyn.
So I took the easy way out.
"Casey," I began, "You'll find out soon enough. So is anybody up for charades?"
"NO ummm, TIGER!"
"Shane, why didn't you pick a decent animal?!" I yelled.
For the past few minutes, Alice, Emma, and I had been trying to figure out what in the world Shane was acting out. He had claws for hands and he was running around like some dinosaur. Then it clicked.
"T-REX!" I jumped on my feet.
Shane tackled me into a hug, "Finally."
Emma frowned, "How was that a T-Rex?"
Shane flipped his hair out of his eyes, "When you're as a good of an actor like us Grays-"
"Don't start." I lightly pushed Shane into a chair. Caitlyn jumped to her feet and stuck her hand in a bowl where we had a collection of pieces of scrap paper. She picked one and read it. A smile spread across her face as she prepared herself for her team. I wouldn't have been so anxious if it wasn't for the fact that we were losing by a single point. I'm a bit competitive, so what? It's really the only reason why I have fun with these simple games.
"Ready? Set. GO!" Taylor set the timer and the two minutes began slowly counting down.
Caitlyn simply reached her arm out, grabbed an invisible ball, and bit the space in her cupped hand.
"APPLE!" Jason yelled.
Cailtyn grinned and bowed as the other team cheered for their quick victory.
I wasn't having any of it.
"That's not fair! You're cheating!" I stood up, crossing my arms.
Caitlyn sighed, "Nate, it's not our fault you have Shane."
Shane gasped, "I will not work under these conditions!"
I marched up to Caitlyn, "Let me see your paper."
Caitlyn laughed, "No! What for?"
I whined, "Just let me see it!"
Caitlyn smirked, "Face it Nate, you're going to lose. We've been at this for more than two hours and you still haven't been able to pass us even once."
"You're doubting our strategic skills? The whole point is to make you feel like you're winning when in fact, we're just waiting for a perfect time to bury you in the ground and win." I quickly made up.
"Oh yeah, so exactly when do you plan on winning? Tomorrow?" Caitlyn began to laugh and gave me her scrap piece of paper which had the word "apple" scribbled on it. I frowned.
"One more round." I said. Everyone else in the room quickly replied by groaning.
Emma patted my back and sighed, "Nate just accept defeat while we're still alive."
"But we're so close!" I pointed at the score card that was littered with tallies and a final number. 77-75. Alice stood up and walked into the kitchen and was quickly followed by Jason. Taylor was dozing off and Casey was alertly looking at me.
"How about we continue tomorrow?" Emma suggested, "We'll have all day."
Caitlyn frowned, "Oh, I can't! Taylor and I have to make a video and post it online."
"What?" I asked.
Caitlyn beamed, "Nate you want to be in the video? We're just wishing our fans a Happy New Years for E! News' collection of celebrity holiday wishes."
I made a face, "E!? We're associating with the enemy?"
Casey quietly excused herself and dodged into the kitchen.
Taylor shrugged, "It's nothing really. Unless you two want to make it public."
Caitlyn smacked Taylor on the arm.
Emma sighed, "They don't have to do it but Taylor and Caitlyn thought it would be a nice idea."
"Are you going to be in it?" I asked Emma.
"I suppose. We could make a cameo, right?" Emma asked.
Taylor threw his arms around Emma, "Whatever you want."
They looked into each other's eyes lovingly and Taylor lowered his head towards Emma. Embarrassed to watch them about to kiss I turned away. Caitlyn sighed and searched for her laptop once again. I looked back at the couple and saw that they only touched foreheads as they rocked back and forth in each other's embrace. I followed Caitlyn into her room where she was composing another song. She'd been able to polish up a total of four songs already. I'm more than proud for her. Caitlyn was my musical genius and I felt my heart pound as she looked up at me and grinned.
"Still upset from your defeat?" She teased.
I threw myself on her bed, "We let you win. It's only right."
She laughed, "Is that what you're calling it now? You're a sore loser, Nate."
I sat up, looking over her shoulder at the computer screen, "Am not!"
Caitlyn looked at me before running her hands through my hair. I shivered slightly. She kissed my forehead lightly before returning to her work. Unsatisfied, I placed my head on her lap trying to get her attention back. Caitlyn didn't look down at me once so I was surprised to hear her tell me to 'stop it'.
"Stop what?" I bit down on my lip, innocently.
"That." Caitlyn glanced down, "Stop biting your lip; it's like you're trying to seduce me."
"Is it working?" I laughed.
Cailtyn joined in on my laugh before I pulled her down for a warm kiss. I'm not sure how much time passed before Caitlyn pulled away, red in the face.
"Is that what you wanted?" She scanned my eyes.
"Possibly," I sighed pulling her in for another kiss. It never happened. Our lips lightly touched once more before I heard a gasp and I was knocked away. I sat up just before the door slam shut. Caitlyn stood up and raced for the door. Bewildered, I scrambled to my feet and followed her out. Emma and Taylor looked alarmed as Casey turned a scarlet red and began pouring out an apology.
"I didn't mean to walk in. Honestly! Jason asked me to fetch Nate so we could go back to the hotel since it was so late." She babbled, her eyes glistening with tears. Jason and Alice walked in the living room and began staring Caitlyn and I down as if we were the ones who walked in on her. Shane was the only one who wasn't glaring at me. He stood up and joined my side, hooking his arm around my neck.
"Relax, Casey," Shane sighed. "You're not the first to walk in on these two."
He proceeded to punch me.
Taylor began to laugh as he realized exactly that happened. Emma lightly blushed but kept a stern face.
"But before you threaten me, can I say how really sweet you are together?" Casey brighten up, "I can't believe I found out first hand!"
Shane scoffed, "If you stick around some more you'll probably catch the proposal."
This time, I was the one who punched Shane.
Jason laughed, "I could only imagine what you saw, Casey."
"Can we leave?" Alice lifted her heavy eyes, "As much as I would love to discuss what Caitlyn and Nate were doing, I think we should leave that for tomorrow."
Casey frowned, "I was about to tell them how I caught you two-"
"And we're leaving!" Jason nervously announced, "C'mon Shane. Let's go Nate."
We stuffed five bodies in the back seat of a taxi cab. It was horrible to be squeezed between Shane and Casey. Shane had something in his pocket that was lodged into my thigh. Casey was in an awkward position with her elbow shoved into my gut. And I was too nice to say a word. You can imagine how relieved I was to get to the hotel without any injuries.
The hotel staff escorted us to a back entrance. The best part about that particular hotel was the tight-lipped staff; not even the threat of atomic bomb could make them speak. There was never a photographer in sight when we were around and it was great. Still, we had to take precautionary measures to insure that a stray eye didn't catch a glimpse of us. Once we were in the elevator, I smiled at Casey. I was curious as to how she caught my brother and Alice together.
"Sorry," she whispered to me. "I have terrible luck. I don't sneak around hoping that I'll catch couples in action."
I laughed, "It's no big deal. As long as Alice trusts you, I guess I should too."
Casey blushed and looked at her feet.
"But if you want to make it up to me," I gave Jason a smug look, "I would love to hear how you caught my brother-"
"Nate!" Jason yelled. Alice shot a glare at Casey who pressed her lips together to show she wouldn't tell a soul.
Shane rolled his eyes, "Grow up."
Once we reached the floor where we were staying, Casey pulled me into the room that she shared with Alice much to her horror. Jason and Alice were pounding on the door the second it was locked shut. Casey worringly looked behind me, staring at the door as if it could be knocked down at any moment.
"I'm only saying this once. The first summer they were together. In the pool at my house, nearly five times worse than you and Caitlyn were." Casey said with a nodded, "I haven't said a word to anybody since then."
I made a face, "And I'm glad you didn't go into detail."
Casey opened the door to let in a furious Alice and Jason. I merely grinned at both of them before heading out. The moment I was in my own room I heard my phone right and without looking at the caller ID, I answered.
"Please tell me she isn't going to tell a soul!"
I grinned at the panicked voice of Caitlyn's.
"You can doubt her but I'm sure she won't say a single word." I kicked my shoes off and laid on the bed making 'bed' angels to get a feel of how comfortable my bed really is. "I just found out how she caught Jason and Alice."
"How?" Caitlyn said with a sudden interest.
"Can't say. Family secret." I teased.
She groaned, "You're horrible. But are you sure? I mean she's obligated to keep Alice's secret because it's her cousin! What about us? We're not exactly related to her! I don't blame her if she accidently slips some information out..."
Feeling that the bed was engulfing me into a sleep I mumbled something to keep her assured that there isn't going to be any leaking involved. Casey is pretty cool and I'm sure that once she hangs around out a bit more, she'll know that we arn't any different than she is.
An uncontrolable laughter was ringing in my ears. My eyes snapped open and I cleared my throat.
"What's going on?"
After Caitlyn controled herself she giggled, "Nothing, you should go back to sleep. I want to see what other nonsense you're capable of saying."
I'm not going to lie- hearing her say that just got me paranoid. I could have said anything. From how stunning she looked this morning when I saw her fresh faced and glowing to how much I wanted a pile of ribs to chow down on.
"Heh, what did I say?" I tried to calmly ask.
Caitlyn snorted, "You really want to know?"
"Yeah, sure." I shrugged.
"It was something along the lines of... 'Mmmm, I love you pillow. Everything's gonna be 'right. You won't be leaked on. I'll take you out one of these days... flowers and chocolates... you'll love her. You'll love each others ribs.' It was sort of sweet, Nate. It's like you really care for that pillow of yours. I only wish you liked me half as much as you like your pillow." Caitlyn cooed.
I chuckled, "I guess I should go before I spill anymore details on this pillow of mine."
"As disappointed as that makes me, I should go too. Promise she won't tell a soul?"
"Promise," I mumbled out.
"Great, I expect you here tomorrow. Bright and early. Don't forget we have a video to make for the holidays."
I groaned, "The video for the enemies?"
I sighed, "I'll be there at eight."
"And there'll be some eggs and bacon that will be waiting for you."
And I really don't remember the rest. I think I fell helpless to my sleep that I woke up in the middle of the night to find my phone charging beside my bed and I was tucked in bed. I squinted into the night and shrugged. I guess I'll have to asked Caitlyn what other ridiculous things I said.
Before I knew it we were all crammed into Emma's and Caitlyn's apartment anxiously watching tv and glancing outside at the glow of the huge party going on in Time Square. The cheers were as clear as crystal and we were about fifteen blocks away from the real party. As much as I rather be looking out the window to watch people frantically run towards Time Square I was squished inbetween Taylor and Emma as we watched E!'s Very Merry New Year's Bash. Caitlyn nearly squealed when suddenly the tv bash introduced a video we made around two days ago. Caitlyn thought it would be fine even though I did point out that with this video they could link us together again. She didn't mind. She toyed around with my potential fake girlfriend and she said it was enough.
"Hi this is Taylor and Caitlyn! We just want to wish everybody a safe New Year's!" Taylor waved into the camera. In the background, Emma and I were dancing like fools.
Caitlyn grinned, "And before we let you see us dance like our feet are on fire we want to thank all of you that made this whole year a fantastic experience."
"Ready Cait?" Taylor narrowed his at Caitlyn.
A marquee of "Happy New Year's" scrolled across the screen as the four of us dance to a wild beat that Caitlyn created at the last minute. Jason and Alice were having trouble breathing from the pent up laughter. Shane was on the floor hyperventailating. Casey was looking around looking disappointed as if she didn't get the joke. I patted her back.
"I don't see why it's so funny." She frowned, "It was sweet and entertaining but..."
"Ah Casey, maybe you can join in on the next video." I smiled.
She brightened up. And I don't want to sound like some creepy guy but I continued to stare at her. It felt like there was something that was trying to connect in my head but I just couldn't. The moment I thought I had it I was distracted. Caitlyn rolled on by and smacked me with a couch pillow.
"Quit staring at Casey, you're making her nervous." Caitlyn rolled her eyes.
I looked at Caitlyn and then back at Casey. I switched glances between the two girls until it finally clicked. Caitlyn looked horrified at the sudden grin I had on my face. I merely shrugged and returned to the party. It was New Year's after all wasn't it?
So, you can guess who the decoy is for now. For those who are really worried, don't be. The drama won't be surrounding the fact that Nate has a decoy. Believe me, I don't want things to get messy this early in the game.