#123 Faking It

by Katie Cortese

In my driveway, his car ticks and whispers. I’ll ask him in if he turns it off, or smiles.

Or says something. Anything.

“So,” he says, face green with dashboard light.

Inside, I flirt with Mr. Coffee, but even before the first inky drip I am pressed against the length of him, backwards moving down the hall, shedding clothes like snakeskin.

“I never do this,” I say, though it’s not the whole truth. Twice a year, is what I mean. A handful of warm bodies from bars or bio lab; maybes who never bloomed into yes.

“Ditto,” he says, eyes slitted, nothing like the pair on the other side of our flaming saganaki, when both of us still wondered if our night would end this way, two near-strangers pretzeled limb to limb. His face is strange with effort as he lifts-me shifts-me grips-me tight-tight-tight.

“Say my name,” I whisper.

“Baby,” he says, “oh baby, oh baby,” pretending he hasn’t forgotten.

Because I am the girl who always lied through every truth in “Truth or Dare,” I work that standby name like a camera, zooming in, panning left, mugging for my close-up, then lifting my throat like the leading lady in the movie we watched tonight, whose name is known world-round.

“Baby,” he crows, “oh baby,” giving me the stage.

“Yes,” I say, star-splayed hands against his heart, that blind, bloody pumping fist. I say: “Yes, yes, yes, yes,” just like it’s the truth.

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