Every time he kisses me, my heart skips three or four beats.
Having never been kissed before, Trisha's mind was swimming, and her legs threatened to give out on her from the force of Nate's kiss. Nate must have sensed her lightheadedness, for he wrapped his arms around Trisha's waist, holding her so tightly that he could feel her heart beating rapidly against his own. Very slowly, he drew away from her, leaning his head against her forehead and smiling slightly as he heard her rasping breathing. Never, in the many girlfriends he had kissed, had one taken his breath away like Trisha had.
Suddenly, Trisha leapt away from him, her face bright red and her breathing rather uneven. "How could you do that?" Nate noticed that she was trembling as she smoothed her clothes, which were now slightly rumpled due to the close quarters they had been exposed to. "You're about to get married!"
Nate smiled at her and turned around. "You can come in now, Caitlyn."
To Trisha's utter horror, Caitlyn appeared around the corner, striding into the room with her usual, graceful step. Trisha's face turned bright red all over again and she lowered her head in shame, studying the tiles on the floor intensely. She expected a torrent of hateful words, shouts and screams about cheating, maybe even a couple bursts of tears, but nothing of the sort came from Caitlyn. For a moment, all was quiet, which was worse than the yelling and screaming.
Caitlyn's designer shoes appeared in Trisha's downward line of vision, and Trisha forced herself to look up, anticipating a slap across the cheek, or something. What she didn't expect was to look up only to see Caitlyn, a huge grin stretched across her face. "Finally!" Caitlyn cried, flinging her arms around Trisha and hugging her tightly. Trisha, astonished, failed to hug back.
When Caitlyn pulled away, Trisha looked from Nate's grinning face to Caitlyn's flushed one and said with the raise of one eyebrow, "Am I missing something here?"
Caitlyn pulled out a chair from the banquet table and said, "Come sit down, Trisha."
Obediently, Trisha sat in the chair, and Caitlyn and Nate stood on either side of the chair, right in front of her. "Okay," she said hesitantly, waiting for one of them to say something.
Caitlyn began. "Nate came to me a while ago at one of the premieres, you remember that one, right?"
Trisha thought back and remembered having seen Nate shaking Caitlyn's hand. "Yes," she said softly.
"Well, he came to me asking for help on a certain problem he had." Caitlyn paused, glancing at Trisha to make sure that she was following this train of thought. "He had this friend that he'd been in love with for a long time, but she wouldn't tell him anything too deep, so he couldn't tell whether or not she really cared for him." At this, Trisha's eyes flashed to Nate's face only to find that he was watching her intently, gauging her reaction. "Nate asked me if I would make it look like I was dating him, in hopes that you would object, and then admit why you were objecting."
Trisha turned to Nate and whispered, "That was mean."
Nate gazed at her, his eyes shining with something that Trisha could not explain, but could only guess that it was love. She had never seen it in his eyes when he looked at Caitlyn, but now, it was shining forth, barely containable. "No," he said slowly. "It was the only way. So many times, I've tried to talk to you, tried to ask you if you felt the same way, but you would never give me a chance. You would always send your guard up before I could tell you how I felt." He glanced at Caitlyn and smiled at her. "Caitlyn was really the only way I could think of asking you how you felt. I mean, Shane did tell me that you loved me, but-"
Trisha's head whipped up to look at him as the words came out of his mouth. "Shane?" she asked, startled. "Shane told you that I loved you?"
Nate nodded. "Without him, I would've never figured out how you felt about me."
Trisha shook her head, but couldn't help grinning. "I'm going to kill him the next time I see him."
Caitlyn laughed, touching Trisha lightly on the shoulder. "Well I'm glad that this adventure's over," she said. "I've been getting pretty tired of pretending and sneaking around just to see Andy."
Trisha frowned. "Who's Andy?" she asked.
"My boyfriend," Caitlyn replied. She smiled at Nate and said, "My real boyfriend." She explained, "We had to make you believe that we were really dating, so I couldn't be seen with Andy. I nearly went insane!" She smiled. "I owe him big time for sticking around for so long and putting up with all my disguises and late-night outings." She glanced from Nate to Trisha, and back again. "But it was worth it," she said with conviction.
"That's what you meant that day in the park!" Trisha exclaimed, the pieces beginning to fall into place.
"What do you mean?" Nate asked, confused.
"You told Nate that he'd have to tell me something soon," Trisha reminded Caitlyn. "This was what you meant."
"Why you little eavesdropper!" Nate exclaimed with a laugh.
Caitlyn nodded. "It's true," she said. "We were both getting pretty tired of playing the game, yet you didn't seem any closer to cracking." She smiled at Trisha. "Now that you know I'm not taking your boy away, could we maybe be friends?"
Trisha smiled and nodded. "I'd like that," she said, standing and giving Caitlyn a hug. "Thank you," she said, "for everything you did." Caitlyn nodded, and Trisha added, "And tell Andy that he has a great girlfriend. He should hang on to you." Caitlyn laughed and headed out of the banquet hall to give the new couple their privacy.
Trisha sank back down into the chair, her mind racing as she tried to put all the months of activities into order, now that she was seeing them in a different light. She jumped when Nate put his hand on her shoulder. "Sorry," she said. "I was off in thought."
"I'm sorry I got mad at you," Nate said. "I wasn't really mad, but I was afraid that I would actually have to marry Caitlyn to get you to say something, and then it would be too late."
Trisha nodded, cracking a smile at the thought. "I understand," she said. After a pause, she added, "I think." She grinned up at Nate and added, "I find it very, very sweet of you to go through all of this for me. It shows that you really care." She paused for a moment and then, when something in the back of her mind hit her, she exclaimed, "So you weren't going to marry her at all!"
Nate smiled at her and shook his head, his grin growing wider as he pulled Trisha up from the chair so that he could hold her close once more. "No," he said softly. "See, there's this other girl, and she's a pain in the rear end," he said, his eyes twinkling as he bent his head towards Trisha's, "but I'm so in love with her." He kissed her again, this kiss softer, more loving than the first one.
When they finally pulled away from each other, Trisha rested her head on Nate's chest. "Nate," she said as she thought of something.
"Hmm?" he asked, the vibrations making his chest rumble.
"What are we going to do with all that food I made?"
Nate laughed as he considered that aspect. "Oh, I think I know someone that can help us, don't you?"
Trisha looked up at him, and the sparkle in his eyes suggested good, clean mischief. "I can guess," she said. Arm in arm, they walked out of the banquet hall, calling the name of the only person fit for the job.
A/N: Well, there it is. I hoped you liked it. Thank you to all of you who were such great reviewers! You guys are awesome! I'm hoping to start working on a challenge soon, so be ready for that. Don't worry though, I'll get to my other pieces soon!