“Oh, don’t scare him, Drew.” Fable comes to stand beside her husband, a welcoming smile on her face. She looks a lot better compared to the last time I saw her. “We have a—proposition for you.”
I glance over at Sydney, who’s still standing behind the kitchen counter. She looks as lost as I feel, so I’m guessing she has no idea what they’re talking about either. “What sort of proposition?”
“You want to have some lunch first, and then we’ll discuss it?” Fable suggests brightly.
“Maybe we should discuss it now.” I’m not one for prolonging conversations. When someone tells you, “we need to talk,” it’s usually bad news. I’d rather get it out right away. No use waiting.
Drew and Fable look at each other before they turn their attention onto me. “Okay, let’s talk now then,” Drew says easily. “You ready, Sydney?”
“Yeah.” Her shaky voice makes me turn and study her closely. Her eyes are wide and unblinking and she looks petrified.
How the hell is she involved in this conversation?
All four of us go to the small table in the breakfast nook. Drew and Fable sit across from Sydney and me, and it almost feels like they’re our parents about to rip into us for our bad behavior.
Sounds crazy, I know, but my imagination is wandering.
“We know this is going to sound odd, but please hear us out,” Fable starts. “We came up with an idea to distract the media, and it involves both of you.”
We both say nothing and Fable takes that as her cue to keep talking.
“Everyone keeps talking about Drew and the ‘Naughty Nanny’. “ She even adds air quotes. “Now, the four of us know the stories aren’t true. We were there that night, and we all know what really happened. We want to keep the fainting incident out of the public eye, because first, it’s no one’s business what happens to me, and second…” Her voice drifts and her eyes start to shine. Like she might burst into tears at any moment.
Ah, hell. I hope she’s not going to give us bad news.
Drew rests his hand over his wife’s before he turns his attention to us and says, “Fable is pregnant again. Her doctor thinks that’s why she fainted.”
Wow. Another baby. That’s unexpected. “But this is good news, right?” I watch them carefully, noting the worry in both of their gazes.
“It’s great news,” Drew says as he looks over at Fable. “We’re thrilled. But Fable’s pregnancy with Jacob wasn’t the easiest, especially near the end. She had some minor problems and her doctor warned her they could become worse if she gets pregnant again. She’s going to need to take it easy with this pregnancy. We don’t want her to end up on bed rest. Or worse, in the hospital.”
“So how do we come into this? How can we help?” Sydney asks, her eyes wide. She seems a little stunned at the pregnancy announcement so I’m figuring she didn’t know.
“Well, Fable is going to take it easy these next couple of weeks and stay close to home. And while we appreciate all that you do—”
Sydney doesn’t even let Drew finish his sentence. “You’re firing me, aren’t you.” She’s not asking, she’s stating what she thinks is the obvious. Then she lays her head down on the table, burying her face against her arms.
If she starts crying, I’m going to lose it.
“We’re not firing you,” Fable says, her voice gentle. “I definitely need you around, especially right now. But I have another task for you as well.”
“What sort of task?” Sydney’s voice is muffled by her arms since she won’t lift her head.
“We want you to pretend to be Wade’s girlfriend,” Fable says, her gaze cutting to mine.
Say freaking what?
Sydney lifts her head, her expression incredulous. “You want me to pretend to be Wade’s girlfriend? Why?”
Damn. Why does she sound so offended? I don’t think I’m the shit, but come on. I’m okay looking, an NFL team drafted me, and if all goes well, I’ll have a solid income for the next five to ten years that could set me up for life.
I’m not a bad catch, especially if you’re just playing pretend. So what’s her deal?
“It would be a great distraction for the media,” Drew explains, his gaze locked on Sydney. “They’d forget all about me and you and how we’re supposedly having this wild affair. They could focus on your relationship with the new wide receiver for the Niners instead, right? We could even possibly make a special announcement—”
Fable interrupts him. “No. A special announcement is a terrible idea. They’ll just twist our words around and make us look even guiltier.”
Fable’s right. I totally agree. So I decide to speak up.
“You don’t think the media will be suspicious that we’ve made up a fake relationship to cover up your supposed affair with Sydney?” When Drew directs his thunderous expression toward me, I throw up my hands. “I’m not saying the affair is true. I know it’s not true. But I’m talking about the public perception. Will our newfound relationship look like some sort of publicity stunt to take the focus off of you and Sydney together?”
“It won’t look like a publicity stunt if you two really play up the fact that you’re crazy about each other,” Fable points out.
I look over at Sydney, whose cheeks are turning a bright pink. She’s embarrassed. She’s probably not down for this idea at all, despite all that attraction we had buzzing between us a few nights ago. And hey, when I take my personal feelings out of it, I understand. Why should she agree? Why should I? What do we gain out of this? Absolutely nothing. What they’re proposing is insane.
Yet despite the insanity, I’m still intrigued.
“I know this sounds ridiculous, but hear us out.” Drew leans forward, resting his forearms on the table. “The media is on a total rampage in search of a scandalous story. They’ve targeted me, and they’ve targeted Sydney, and they act like they never want to let our supposed affair go. So let’s give them an entirely different story. Let’s manipulate the situation so it looks like the two of you are together.”
“But how do we convince people we’re together?” I ask. “And who really gives a crap if we are?”