Her Little White LieBy: Cj Howard
“I thought you were sick?” I turned to him.
“So did I, but when the guys said they were coming over to watch the game I suddenly felt better.”
“I was worried about you. I bought you soup.”
“Great, I'm starving.” He undid the top of the silicone mug and drank the entire contents of beef broth without stopping. “Great, did you bring croutons?”
“No I didn't bring croutons. Why did you lie? You know if you keep taking days off like this, you'll lose your job and how you gonna pay the rent on this little penthouse suite you got going here? And when the hell are you ever going to clean up this place.”
“Grace, stop sounding like my mom. Is that why you came? To soften me up with soup and then attack me?”
There was a loud cheer from the other room. Mikey looked at the closed door with a sad expression.
“It's all right,” I said. “I can see you're busy. I better go.”
“No, no, no, no, no. Don't go. I don't even like the Giants. You know I'm a Bears fan all the way. You look kind of down. Let me clear a space for you to sit.”
He pulled the sheets over the bed and waved a hand for me to take a seat.
“Do I have to sit on your underpants, Mikey?”
“Oh, sorry.” He bent to pick them up off the bed and threw them across the room so that they landed on a pile of CDs. “It's okay, they're clean.”
“How would you know?”
“I'm sorry.” I sat on the edge of the bed and he sat beside me.
“Tell your uncle Mikey all about it.”
“Mikey, I'm in big trouble. You know how I told you about my fiancé?”
“He wants to break it off with you – I'll kill him.”
“This isn't funny. It's the girls at work. They've gotten it into their heads that he's coming to the Christmas party.”
“No, you don't. They'll all be waiting for this guy called Red to show up with me and if I turn up on my own, they'll all know I've been making him up.”
“I told you, Grace. I told you lies would catch up with you.”
“Don't, Mikey. I can't face going in again. What if I call in sick and say I caught something off my boyfriend and we're both laid up in bed?”
“Or you could go in and tell everyone the truth, you made it up because you don't want to work Christmas and why you should, when you been working every Christmas for the last six years. No one can be mad at you for that.”
“Oh, Mikey. If only you knew what it was like. The girls would laugh at me, Damion and Ramon would use this against me for the rest of my life. That's it!” I got up abruptly.
“I'm going straight out of here and I'm going to throw myself off the Brooklyn Bridge.”
“Gracie. Don't be so dramatic. Can't you find someone who can pretend to be your boyfriend for one night?”
There was another loud cheer from the guys in the other room. Mikey smiled, looked at the door and then back at me.
“Oh no. Not one of them.” I started waving my hands.
“Why not? I'm sure Frank would love to go to a party with you.”
“I'm sure he would, but they think my fiancé is white.”
“White? What did you tell them that for?”
“I didn't. They dragged this made-up guy out of me and he came out white with red hair, I call him Red but his name is Mikey. Mikey Kucher.”
“Wait a minute, he's got red hair and his name is Mikey. Grace, are you secretly obsessing over me?”
“Don't flatter yourself. You're not a redhead.”
“But, I'm a strawberry blond, you said so yourself. Do you want to marry me, Grace?”
“No I don't want to marry you but...”
“What about it, Mikey? You do it. You pretend to be him.”
“I can't, I'll mess it up. I've got terrible social skills. You know that.”
“Mikey, I wouldn't ask unless I was desperate. It's you or the Brooklyn Bridge. You decide my fate, Mikey. If you say jump, I'll jump.”
“Jesus Christ, Grace. All right, I'll do it. But you owe me, big time. You got that? And if it all goes horribly wrong, you've only got yourself to blame. Okay?”
I threw my arms around Mikey and spotted a few broken corn chips in his hair. I flicked them away and kissed his cheek.
“Quit it, Grace. Now make yourself scarce. I've got a game to watch.”
“I love you.” I opened his bedroom door and blew a kiss. The other guys started punching Mikey in the arm, calling him a nasty freak and asking him to have his booty calls after the game in future.