The Truth About Faking
Jason just wants a date with Harley.
Harley just wants a date with Trent.
Trent’s still getting over Stephanie.
When Harley and Jason decide to fake date, they uncover a school of deceptions. Trent’s got a secret, but so does Jason. And the more time Harley spends secretly kissing her fake boyfriend, the further she gets from her dreams with Trent.
Worst of all, Harley’s mom is getting cozy with her hot massage therapy student, and even Harley’s Reverend Dad can’t fake not being bothered by it. But when the masks finally come off, can everyone handle the real truth?
Harley: It all started last summer at cheerleading tryouts. I don’t count sophomore year when I was completely invisible—at least I hope I was.
No, it was a week before school started, and I’d just gotten my braces off. Shelly had insisted I try out with her, so we were all at the gym. The boys—Trent included—had been playing basketball on the half-court until Coach Taylor sent them outside. They’d pretended to be pissed, but we knew they were really there checking out the new recruits.
My turn went okay. I did some easy cheers, and then came the jumps portion. I did The Banana, and Stephanie nearly squirted cherry Icee through her nose.
Meg leaned over and giggled, “What was that?” under her breath, and Stephanie shouted “Next!” like it had been some sort of Broadway show from which I’d just been cut.
I kept my head down as I walked off the court, hoping my ponytail would hide my burning cheeks. I bit my lip, doing my best not to cry.
Usually I’m not so weak, but that had been about as humiliating as my stupid non-jump. I sat on the metal bleachers staring at my shoes until finally I grabbed my bag and decided to leave.
I’d just opened the metal door when WHAM!
Next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground with my head in somebody’s lap. A voice was saying something, and my eyes flickered open. The sun was shining right in my face, and the first thing I was able to make out was… lavender.
Trent’s head was inches from mine. My stomach flipped, and I bumped our noses as I tried to sit up.
“Hey,” he laughed, leaning back. “Harley, right? Can you stand up?”
“What?” I tried to stand, but my head felt like I’d run into a brick wall. I caught his shoulder. It felt really nice and firm.
“You ran into a brick wall,” he said. “Sort of. David had just thrown the ball, and I missed it. It kind of knocked you out.”
I reached up to touch my forehead, and as he helped me up, my face went into his chest where I caught a deep breath of the woodsy boy-smell coming off him. For a head injury, this could be worse.
“I was knocked out?” I timidly looked up at him, and he smiled.
The sun was shining all golden behind his head, and it made him look like a knight. Or one of those hot angels. Just then Shelly came outside.
“There you are. Sorry, just got my—what happened!?”
“Basketball hit her in the head,” Trent said.
I wanted to die. What a dork!
“I think she hit her head on the wall,” he continued. “She might need to go to Urgent Care.”
“Oh my god!” Shelly cried. “Bring her inside. I’ll get Coach Taylor.”
“I’m okay,” I said. My knees were wobbly, but I couldn’t tell if it was my head or Trent’s arm tight around my waist. He was holding my hand even.
Shelly held the metal door open, and next thing I knew, David had joined us.
“Hey, Harley, I’m really sorry.” He caught my other arm, and I felt Trent’s grip loosen. David’s dark head was in the shadow of the gym, and he was definitely not an angel. Go away, David.
“It’s okay,” I said, trying to smile and scoot back toward Trent. “Really, I’m fine.”
“I can drive her to the doctor,” Shelly said. I tried to give her my most discouraging look. Just then Stephanie joined the mob.
“What’s up? Harley? Are you okay?”
“We’re taking her to Coach Taylor,” Shelly said.
“Harley might have a concussion,” David said like it was the most exciting thing to happen all summer.
David was distracted by Stephanie, and I leaned on Trent’s arm. He caught my waist again and smiled, and everything turned perfect. The humiliation of tryouts, the humiliation of being beaned in the head with a basketball, none of it mattered as I stood there with Trent’s arm tight around me.
Until Coach Taylor showed up and ruined it.
She took me away and led me to the bleachers. Then she started shining her tiny flashlight in my eyes. “Do you feel sleepy? Like you might vomit?”
Nice. I shook my head, and David started bouncing the dumb ball again. Coach Taylor shouted for all the boys to get back outside and told me to sit where she could keep her eye on me. I watched the guys leave, and just as Trent was going through the door, he stopped and glanced back. It was because he wanted to stay with me, I was sure, and I tried to catch his eye. David shoved him through the opening before he saw me, and I sighed, turning back to the court. Stephanie was watching, but she quickly flicked her attention back to her sheet and called the next name.
As I rested on the bleachers, everything felt sort of soft and glowy. It seemed like music was playing somewhere—and not because of my head injury. It was because I knew Trent was The One, my hero. I tried to remember if I’d thanked him, but it didn’t matter. I was sure he’d ask me out.
A week later we all started junior year, and the next time I saw Trent, he was walking down the hall holding hands with Stephanie.
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