Killing Time OST – 20a – Dinner

<< 19c – Inception

“You’d think an assassin leading a triple life would be more confident about her lying skills,” Vexx laughed when I put the phone down without dialing for the second time. His derision didn’t help my situation at all so after a menacing grunt, I moved my operations upstairs. Getting the unwanted audience out of the equation was probably a good idea even without taking the nasty comments into account.
Nightshade and Alice didn’t qualify as lies in my head. They came closer to make-up: smartly hiding a part of me to reveal only a specific set of strengths. I arranged situations to my advantage and omitted key elements from conversations every now and then; I made sure I had a reason to be in Subcutaneous Wonders and didn’t say I was canvassing their security.
I led everyone to believe I went on a long vacation with my boyfriend, which wasn’t entirely false since my surgery did put me out of touch and Vexx accompanied me through it. By most standards, we were a couple if not by romantic ones. I manipulated the truth when Naomi asked me how my time away from society was.
Everyone did that. Even the apostles did. It was as old as the world.
Vexx had a point though; an outright, ‘make up a whole story’ lie wasn’t too far out of my league. However, something about further darkening myself – the real, original ‘Lorelei’ persona – annoyed me. I didn’t want to have my dad over for my birthday and there was no way I could manipulate that truth to justify inviting him for dinner.
So, I froze.
I asked Julia to brew me some chamomile before I made another attempt away from Vexx’s smirk. At first, I had tried to stick the phone call duty on him; it made perfect sense that my new boyfriend would organize me a surprise birthday dinner.
But damned him, he saw right through my plan – which didn’t help my confidence to pull this off.
When he realized I wanted to avoid lying, he went postal. He launched himself into a symphony of ‘how are you supposed to make it through dinner if you can’t even lie to them on the phone?’ Even Frogster croaked its approval so I had little choice but to bow.
My relaxing infusion in hand, I decided to call Naomi first. She didn’t stab me in the back which made her a less risky test drive.
She picked up after the first ring and gobbled up my story about wanting to be at home after a long vacation abroad. Less than a minute later, she promised she’d be there with her boy toy of a fiancé. She sounded a bit distracted but I chose to ignore the fact that it facilitated my lying. I hung up, convinced my irrational fear had completely waned.
That was, until I started dialing my dad’s number.
The lump in my throat forced me to put the phone down. The world spun and I steadied myself on the corner table. After a moment, the deafening marching band of questions and accusations faded in the back of my head.
So many things needed to be said, so many secrets to bring to light, how could I push through them all long enough to add yet another lie to this pile of shit?
After a couple of deep breaths, I decided I was ready for take whatever-the-number. I hardly had any choice if I wanted this mess to ever become a fading memory. It was a clear case of ‘dike it all or drown’.
Black and white; I was good at that.
“Hello honey!” my father said as my brain caught up with the mechanical dialing of my fingers. “I was about to go have dinner with Emma. Wanna join us?”
His enthusiasm wiped my mind clear for a second.
“No, thanks. I feel like spending some time at home these days. In fact, I’d like to have a small birthday dinner this year. Here.”
“Oh! Good thing you called now. I wanted to send the invites tomorrow. Just you and me then?”
The sheer thought contracted my muscles. “No. Vincent will be here. And Naomi with Ian. You can come with… Emma, is it?”
“Great,” he didn’t sound as enthusiast as when our conversation started. I held my breath. “Are you sure you’re okay, kitten?”
I cleared my throat – great tell, Lorelei, way to go – and jumped on the explanation closest to reality. “It’s the nightmares. They’re particularly real and overwhelming these days.”
“Oh! Why don’t you come back to your old bedroom for a few weeks?”
I cringed. I had done that a couple of times in the past, back when the presence of my dad nearby soothed my worries instead of feeding them.
“Thanks Pa but I yearn to be in my things.” I bit my lower lip, waiting for the reply. If he insisted, I’d hang myself for sure.
“If you say so.” Deception seeped through his tone. “See you Saturday at seven then.”
“Yes!” And now the finale. “Love you Pa!”
“Love you more, honey.”
I forced myself to wait for him to hang up before I slammed the phone back in place. I couldn’t count this as a victory. Not in a thousand years. In a face-to-face conversation, my body language and facial expression would have screwed me thrice over. And not the pleasant, filled with moans way.
I couldn’t do this.
“What would Nightshade do?”
I turned to Vexx leaning in the doorframe of the secret stairs.
“Stretch and try it again?” How could I practice lying to my dad? With a lifelike hologram?
“And?”
I cocked an eyebrow, swallowing back an outburst of annoyance at the last moment. He was my friend. My rare, desperately needed friend. And he seemed to have a plan to get me through this. I couldn’t afford to alienate him.
But what the hell did he want me to say?
“And?” he murmured in a tiny microphone. It burst in my head and with it, the very conclusion he wanted me to reach.
She’d find the perfect song.

20b – Dinner >>

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

6 responses to “Killing Time OST – 20a – Dinner

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