Writing Challenge: Set Them Up

By Deirdre McCluskey, Administrative Coordinator, Harlequin Series

My favourite romantic comedy of 2018, bar none, was the Netflix movie, Set It Up. It’s clever, funny, sweet and romantic, and the chemistry between leads Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell is absolutely wonderful.

If you haven’t watched Set It Up (and even if you have), I urge you to grab some popcorn and a loved one (boy, girl, dog, pan of brownies—whatever), settle in on the couch and enjoy immediately. It would also be perfect Valentine’s Day viewing, if you can resist the brownies that long.

In Set It Up, overworked Harper (Deutch) and Charlie (Powell) conspire to set up their tyrannical bosses Kirsten and Rick (played by Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs) so that the two assistants can get some time off and reclaim their lives. Kirsten and Rick soon begin a romance, not realizing that they’ve been “Cyrano’d”. It’s a fun twist on the working together and fake relationship tropes, and the basis for this week’s writing challenge!

The challenge: Your hero and heroine are on a date. In a 3-5 paragraph scene, describe the moment that one (or both) of them realize they’ve been set up.

Post your scene in the comments below any time between now and Sunday, February 10, 2019, and we’ll check back with you on Monday!

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  1. Elle Marlow

    “Never mind us, it’s just a dog taking his human for a drag.”
    Mandy let out her usual giggle as she handed the stranger’s dog the biscuit he was after. The Saint Bernard washed it down with a mouthful of slobber and then pulled on his master’s arm so that he’d have no choice but to follow.
    “Have a nice day,” she’d call after them.
    “Same time next Saturday,” he yelled back, his voice fading with his departure.
    It was the exact same conversation they shared every Saturday. Mandy sighed and then Lilly jumped into her lap. “Why don’t you ever ask that dog his name?” she asked, scratching her Pom behind her tiny white ears. Lilly stopped panting to shoot a chocolate stare right at her. “I know, I know, dogs don’t talk. But, I’m afraid it feels too weird for me to ask after all this time.”
    Lilly licked the tip of her nose and without cause fell to her side like a rock. Her eyes rolled back into her head and her tiny legs stretched straight out. “Lilly? Lilly?” Mandy breathed and then in a panic, jumped to her feet. She hadn’t realized she was crying for help until the stranger with the big dog returned from out of nowhere, completely out of breath.
    “My name is Mandy and this is Lilly. Somethings wrong.”
    The man reached out and she placed her tiny dog into his massive hands. Immediately, Lilly perked up and began to lick the man on his cheek. A knowing grin filled his features.
    “I’m Thomas, this biscuit-munching-tractor-pull at my feet is Cletus and I think our dogs are trying to set us up.”

  2. Kim Katil

    Note: mine has a hero and a hero.

    Kyle entered the seaside cottage, charmed as always by the bright colors on the walls and scattered pillows. He opened the door to the bedroom, then froze. “Claude,” Kyle breathed in surprise, shocked to see the large man looking out the windows at the beach, wearing a swimsuit and nothing else. “I, um, didn’t know you were going to be here.”

    “And why are you here, Kyle?” Claude asked, his eyes focused on Kyle’s face as he prowled forward. Kyle tried to subdue his reaction to Claude, but it was so very hard. Lust swept through him as Claude’s half-naked body was suddenly within reach. His own body thrummed with anticipation, and he desperately hoped that it wasn’t obvious.

    “Brian asked me to come. He wanted me to take pictures for his rental brochure,” Kyle said breathlessly, trying to sound normal but knowing that he had failed.

    “Now isn’t that interesting. My little brother, your dear friend Brian, asked me to meet him at his rental cottage. You see, he wanted to talk to me about why his best friend was avoiding me at all costs for the past few months,” Claude said as he reached out and traced a finger over Kyle’s face.

    “But perhaps the reason is not so mysterious after all, now is it?” Claude asked as he bent down to touch his lips to Kyle’s. The kiss was soft and sweet and everything Kyle had ever imagined. But he wanted more, so he deepened the kiss. He pulled back a bit when Claude chuckled, his heart racing as Claude smiled at him tenderly. “Oh, yeah, I think I know exactly why. And now I think we can both have what we want.”

    • I really enjoyed seeing how this scene played out. There was clearly tension between the heroes from the beginning of the story, but it was nice to see how that tension was resolved. Furthermore, they clearly needed some help, so they are lucky that Brian set them up.

  3. Set up

    “Seriously, I don’t understand why we had to meet Kel and Leila in a bar, it would make more sense to do this in your office.” Sarah said to James Harper as she drummed her fingers on her laptop. The after-work crowd in the little mountain town’s smartest bar was low on suits, so she was glad she’d gotten her outfit right, jeans, black silk shirt, flat ankle boots and a big down-filled jacket for the icy dash to the car afterwards. Not that she was on edge of course, well, maybe just a little, meeting with her most high-profile clients was always a big deal. As their advisor, Sarah had the financials nailed so the sign-off should be straightforward. Famous actor Kel Richardson and his wife Leila, were ready to finalise a personal real-estate purchase and she was meeting them, along with James, the couple’s property lawyer, who happened to be the sexiest man Sarah had ever met.

    “In fact, I’m not sure why they need us to review it again before the four of us meet with the realtor to sign, it seems odd.” Sarah pushed her laptop to one side and leaned her elbows on the table, sipped from her wine glass and snuck a look at James, who had his head down re-reading a paper copy of the sale agreement. The noisy bar had them sitting close enough for her to smell his cologne, a smoky warm fragrance she breathed in. Wow, she thought, not for the first time, I’d absolutely go there, as her vivid imagination ran straight to a scenario of his naked body in her hotel bed.

    “No, you’re right, there’s no need, and not here.” James turned the contract face down on the table, a slow smile lighting up his face. “But there’s excellent wine, and the fries here are great, so we can enjoy those while we wait.” He enjoyed the view as he watched Sarah’s face to see if she’d figure it out.

    “Really?” she said, “What do you know that I don’t? Oh!” She realised what had been bugging her all along. “I’ve been so focused on the contract that I missed it, the very private Kel and Leila Richardson would never meet us in a public bar like this no matter how elegant, would they James? They’re not coming, are they?”

    “Busted,” said James “I want to get to know you, but you’re all business all the time, so I somehow neglected to mention this meeting to Kel and Leila. Are you ok with that?”

    “And you lawyers wonder why you have a sneaky reputation,” Sarah grinned back as she raised her glass to him, “but, yes James, I am ok with that, let’s get to know each other better.”

    • Given the fact that supporting characters typically set up heroes and heroines, I liked the way that you played with the idea. It’s fun to see how the hero planned their date without informing the heroine. It suggests a shyness that isn’t immediately apparent in this scene, so I’d look forward to seeing his vulnerability elsewhere in the story.

    • Thanks Elle! Thanks Connolly! I really appreciate your feedback! I found it really tricky to keep to the 3-5 paragraph limit but it was so much fun to work to the challenge for the first time.

  4. Priscilla Verdia

    “You know, Brandi, every time you’re not paying attention, our hunky, Corporate Consultant, Trevor Bateman, can’t keep his eyes off you.” The head Barista, Kelly, had unprofessionally confided to Coffee Café’s Manager, Brandi Lee, earlier today.
    Now, here Brandi was, on a date with her secret crush: Trevor Bateman!
    Today had been eventful, she mused while checking her make-up and adjusting her sexy red dress in the ladies’ powder room at the China Palace Restaurant. Pleased with her lipstick, she slipped her mauve lip gloss back into her black sequined clutch, a satisfied smile spread across her face. She’d had a thing for Trevor ever since he’d been appointed the consultant for her coffee shop, over six months ago. But she’d never would’ve risked breaking company policy to date a co-worker. No matter how tempting, six-foot-tall, dark and yummy Trevor was. Not unless she knew that the attraction was mutual, then it would be worth the risk. So, It had been super nice of Kelly to tell Brandi about Trevor’s attraction. Especially, considering Brandi had just had to consul Kelly about her partying, and write her up for being tardy three times just last week.
    Brandi froze. ” Kind indeed!” she muttered under her breath. A tide of shame washing over her, because right after Kelly’s input, Brandi had flirted shamelessly. It seemed to her, now, that she’d batted her eyelashes and practically puffed smoke rings of her desire for him at Trevor. And she had asked him out on this date tonight. All because of Kelly’s revenge set-up.
    Brandi’s reflection was flushed and she had to admit that humiliation was not a good color on her.
    She had to tell Trevor what had happened. That this was not her usual professional manner. It would sting, but maybe she could, at least, salvage their professional relationship.
    Trevor shot a brilliant smile her way, as she sailed through the darkened dining room headed toward their cozy table for two. He must think she was so unprofessional. Worse still, she could lose her job. She sat down and Trevor’s big hands slid across the tabletop and wrapped around her clasped hands. She started to pull away, but his touch made her feel warm and tingly.
    “Is something wrong?” His brows knit over his liquid brown eyes.
    “Trevor, there has been a mistake — I mean — I made a terrible mistake! I’ve made a fool of myself! You see, Kelly said that–”
    “I know what Kelly told you. It was a set-up. I asked her to drop hints to see if you were as interested in me as I am in you.”
    “Really?” Was all Brandi could push out through her desert dry throat.
    “Brandi, I’m crazy about you. Have been for months.” His sweet warm breath whooshed past her ear setting butterflies a flight inside her belly.
    “But, what about company rules forbidding co-workers dating?”
    He flashed that electric smile again. “I’ve put in my resignation with Coffee Café. I just bought the Circle K Ranch a few miles outside of town. So, I guess, I’ll be one of your regular customers from now on.” He scooped her into his arms. Brandi hugged him back tight as she dared. Relief and happiness flooding over her.”You know what? I think Kelly deserves a raise.”

    • Patience Bloom

      What a sweet set-up, Priscilla! I was a little confused at first about how they were being set up but you do make it clear that the heroine has strong feelings for the hero. It becomes clearer and the end is very cute. Nicely done!

  5. Cheryl Anne Graham

    Faux pas Thera pas

    The wooden panelling and deep set leather chairs belied the anxiety she felt. The room was peaceful and yet had known plenty of secrets as a counselling office would and should. Julie saw the room when her sister went in to see the counsellor, Kyle Umbrage. She wasn’t sure why Kelly wanted her to come with her, just that it was essential that she did. Kelly would say how helpful the counsellor was and how she found him dashing. “Well that is transference, surely,” Julie thought. She would know as a counsellor for children herself. She was in the business to know.

    “Just come and meet him. You’ll be swept away,” Kelly said all warm and buttery, like a piece of toast ready to be spread.
    “ I don’t need to meet him. I’m glad he’s helping you. That is why you are paying him right?” Even though she was a child counsellor she didn’t hold much credence for adult psychotherapy. It usually ended up being too much for the counsellor and not enough for the client.
    “You know he’s free right?”
    “ Oh God, he didn’t ask you out did he?”
    “No! He has been completely above board and mature with me,” she sighed as though that was a bad thing.
    The door opened breaking her reverie.
    A handsome blonde haired man about 40 stepped out into the lobby.
    “Ms Beaumont would you come in a moment?”
    “Okay.” Whatever could he want?
    When she went in, Kelly excused herself. “ I just need to go to the little girl’s room. Be right back.” She said it with such a coy smile Julie wondered what was up.

    “ Ms Beaumont,” Kyle began.
    “Julie, please.” Julie answered politely.
    “Julie. Well I’m sure you know, being a counsellor can be rewarding but isn’t without its challenges, and while I appreciate that you find me captivating I don’t believe it would work because I am seeing your sister in a therapeutic capacity and I think we need to leave it at that.” Kelly had spoken previously about her sister and suddenly made Kyle wish he didn’t have to leave it at that, because the woman across the chesterfield was stunning, and obviously as educated as he, a precious combination to be sure, but he was nothing if not conscientious.
    “What!” Julie felt her cheeks burning like it was Canada Day.
    “Excuse me sir, but I hold no such illusions! What are you talking about!”
    “Well your sister said you liked me and wanted to meet me, and as you came with her today, I thought it best to nip it in the bud.” She was appalled, but he saw an opening for humour to diffuse the situation. “Usually I have to deal with my patient’s transference not their sister’s.” They both laughed at the counselling joke and relaxed a little.
    Kelly walked back in with a sheepish smile.
    Their eyes on each other and then her.
    “Kelly!” They said together.

  6. Rebeca Jones

    Parents Without Partners.

    Jessica’s abs hurt, but it was a good hurt. She forgot how to laugh. Until now. She had Mike to thank for lifting the shroud of grief away. But, in typical Jessica fashion, a flicker of recrimination invaded her thoughts. Would Kurt have approved? Oh, come on. He left four years ago. Sure, death was the only thing that separated them, but he abandoned her nevertheless. Left Jessica and her daughter to pick up the pieces of a picture-perfect life. Jennifer shook her head. Maybe she could shake off this mental cloud filled with a mixture of anger, guilt and sadness before Mike noticed.
    “I understand.”
    Too late. The tender tone in his voice let Jessica know his thoughts went to a similar place just now. The warmth of Mike’s hand covered her own like a comforter on a cold winter’s night. Jessica welcomed it. It was a good feeling to have someone understand the meandering path upon which grief took you. She sandwiched his hand between her own. A melancholy smile formed upon his lips. She wanted to kiss away any sorrow on those lips. He glanced over the flickering lights of the table; his eyes seemed to say he would welcome her embrace.
    “Well, it’s so nice to see you out and about.”
    Jessica’s hands flailed back. The “clink” of her ever-present wedding ring against the glass water goblet made her feel like a cheating wife.
    “Oh, h-hey there, Marie!” Jessica grimaced. She never wanted to smack the smug smirk from her old friend’s face more than this moment. Why did Jessica feel like a naughty schoolgirl caught necking with her boyfriend in the hallway? She cleared her throat. “I don’t believe you know, this is – “
    “Mike. Mike Fioretti, what a pleasure it is to see you again.”
    Jessica’s eyes darted between Mike and Marie. “Wait – you know Mike?”
    Marie’s hand flitted in dismissive fashion. “Of course, I do! After all, I do teach computer graphics, you know. Both of your daughters worked on a wonderful team project together.” Marie dug into her satchel and pulled out a flyer. “Perhaps you recognize the support group they created?”
    Mike and Jessica slowly turned their heads in each other’s direction. Both of their mouths flew open in surprise. An amused chuckle escaped Marie’s.
    Mike’s voice was louder than the din of the restaurant. “You mean, the ‘Parents Without Partners’ support group was a ruse to get us together?” Mike’s laughter soon joined with Marie’s.
    Jessica folded her arms into each other and chuckled. “That stinker! You just wait till I get home! Is that girl in so much trouble!”
    Her daughter was behind this! The carbon copy of her dad. Jessica sighed. Kurt would have approved, after all.

    • Rebecca Jones

      Ugh… first paragraph. I called my character “Jennifer,” instead of “Jessica.” I USUALLY read my work out loud; this time I didn’t. I hope you still like this, anyway.

    • Patience Bloom

      Dear Rebeca, This was so heartwarming. I really like the idea of the girls and her late husband setting up the heroine with her hero. It has the potential to be an emotional story–with a strong feel-good aspect to it. Nicely done. –Patience

  7. KIMBERLY A WEISS

    “Isn’t this game fun?” Allie asked.

    “Oh yes.” In truth, it was one of the stupidest games ever. You had a little dice cup, but instead of tossing dice you tossed little pigs. You got points based on how they landed, on their feet or their heads or ears. Still, it was better to play in a hospital than, say Scrabble, which had a million little pieces and took up a lot of room. You could also play this game with only one arm, which suited Allie.

    “I’m glad we’re in the hospital together,” she said. “I mean, I’m glad the ambulance took us to the same hospital.”

    She shifted, wincing as she moved her newly-pinned humerus. I coughed up some more smoke. Pretty soon it would be time for a nap, then the afternoon court shows. Being in the hospital was boring, but I didn’t want to leave. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like when I got out. My school was burned down, and my relationship with Allie’s father was. .

    Oh no. He was here. He was joking around with Rosa at the nurse’s station.

    “I’d better go,” I said, as he walked down the hall. I didn’t want to see him. No, I did. No, I didn’t.

    “Oh no, I need you. I need you to help me in the bathroom. I can’t pull up my pajama pants.”
    She practically dashed into the bathroom, grabbing a magazine with her good arm.

    Steve looked better than ever in his blue fireman uniform. Before our fight, he would have come to visit me, greeted me with a kiss. I’d be going home with him until my lungs cleared. But now. . .

    “I’m just going,” I said to Steve. “Allie just wanted me to come and play pigs with her.”

    Steve’s blue eyes met mine.

    “Thank you,” he said. “For everything.”

    “No problem.”

    “I wanted to come visit you yesterday, but. . .”

    “No problem,” I said again. I had to get away. “Listen, Allie,” I shouted, “I have to go back to my room.”

    “No!” she yelled through the door. “I need you to pull up my pants!”

    “Your father is here. . .”

    “No, it has to be a woman! And not a nurse, it has to be you! I’ll be in here for a half hour.”

    “Maybe I should give you your privacy,” said Steve.

    “No! You have to stay until the tv guy comes for his money. Neither of you can leave the room until I come out.”

    “In a half-hour,” said Steve.

    “That’s right,” she said. “Oh, oh!”

    “Maybe I should get the nurse,” I said. “This can’t be good. Does she have enough fiber in her diet?”

    Steve smiled, then whispered. “This is all an act.”

    “It is?”

    “It’s a set-up. The world’s most disgusting set-up.”

    “I see.”

    “I was worried that she had started that fire to bring us back together,” he added.

    “No,” I said. “That was an accident.” I closed my eyes and tried to block the attack of PTSD that was building. We were trapped in a burning building together and escaped. She might never by my stepdaughter, but we were bound for life no matter what.

  8. Jill Ritenour

    Wow, this is a nice place.” Charlotte placed her napkin on her lap. Yeah, it really is, a friend recommended it. Can’t go wrong with Italian she always says.” Charlote felt a hint of familiarity? What, seriously, that’s crazy, I have a friend who says that too, like all the time. It’s crazy. She is not even Italian, well, she’s my mom and has a new friend that is Italian but, yeah, she loves it. she just loves food.” Todd chuckled. “Is that even legal? It’s not food racism or something?” Charlotte took a drink of her wine. “Funny, but she actually likes the food, even though it’s not her culture, so no, I’m pretty sure she gets a pass.” Todd downed the last of his drink. “I’m sorry, when I get nervous, my jokes aren’t really the best.” “Oh, so you stay nervous alot?” “Funny, funny girl, you got me. Ouch.” Todd grabbed his side like he just received a punch. “So, do you prefer Charlotte or maybe Charlie for short?” “Charlie is fine. How bout you, is Todd good?” “Wow, you are funny. You know I was hesitant when my mom told me I should call you, but I’m glad I made that call. I’m really digging you Charlie.” Charlote was confused.”Your mom, are you use to your mom setting you up? Does she swipe right? Do I know your mom?” “I don’t think so, but somehow she knows you, or of you.” Charlotte put both of her hands to her forehead. “Of course, I know how your mom knows me! My mom’s new Italian friend, it all makes sense. Well Todd, you are not so bad yourself. Not doing too bad for a mom set up?” Todd reached for a slice of pepperoni pizza. “Seems like your mom swiped right too.” Then Charlie and Todd laughed in unison as they continued to enjoy their meal.

  9. Kristine Brennan

    Viv wondered why she bothered with Scarlet and her inability to stick to a plan. Now she didn’t want to serve feta cheese when she’d specifically asked for it from “Dane” at Fresh Acres. (“He’s so knowledgeable!” Scarlet had gushed.) She had insisted that Viv bring her the prized feta for a salad with their Saturday dinner. And then, weirdly, Scarlet had pressed and pressed about what Viv had “thought” of Dane at the cheese counter. When Viv had no thoughts, Scarlet whined, “But I want gruyere now. Will you be a bestie and get me gruyere? I love you!”
    “I thought Dane did a nice job selling me the wrong, cheese,” Viv snarled to herself through chattering teeth. The wrong cheese was suddenly an emergency?! It was 12 degrees out. Playing the part of a long-suffering best friend, Viv had put on her furry snow boots and trudged the five blocks towards the high-end grocery where she’d made her first, inappropriate cheese purchase. Viv’s phone chimed from her coat pocket. MAKE SURE YOU GO BACK TO DANE, Scarlet’s text read. HE’S A CHEESE GENUIUS.
    Once inside, Viv sauntered over to the cheese counter as Saturday evening shoppers looked for something special to bring warmth and sustenance to their tables on this winter’s night. Dane was there. “Okay, let’s try again,” he said brightly, pressing a new block of cheese into her hands. “This gruyere is very rich and complex. It’ll be delicious on a salad,”. He smelled faintly of African black soap, and Viv couldn’t help noticing the silver box chain links shining out of the V neck of his sage green tee. He made the Fresh Acres apron look crisp and powerful, and for a man who know so much about food, he was corded with muscles.
    “Thanks. I don’t know anything about this stuff!” Viv caught herself giggling and peering into Dane’s intelligent green eyes though a strand of her long caramel hair that had slipped out of her hood. “Maybe this time Scarlet will be satisfied.”
    Dane leaned over the counter and laughed, much to Viv’s confusion. “Did she tell you that I’m a genius of cheese?”

    • I really enjoyed your fresh voice and dialogue. I wanted to know more about Viv, Dane and Scarlet! Good job! You also affirmed my personal belief that cheese brings people together

  10. Lakisha Friday

    “I’ll take this side and you can have the other side with the shower. I figured you to be a shower type of guy. Stated Becca Lee.
    Nobel Pierce laughed at her insinuation. ” I like a good soak in the tub too. He said, I could just hang out with you on this side of the room. In case you need me quicker he said with twinkling hazel eyes.
    Becca Lee frowned and shook her head no. Nobel was always kidding with her in a such a sensual manner but they could never be together. They are just camping out in the woods for the chance to catch the illusive creature that’s been said to haunt the woods. They stare at each other. Temptation hanging around like two gossiping little girls at the playground.
    “Can’t wait to catch this creature. Becca Lee said. In the name of science of course. Who knows what great mysteries we’ll find.
    Nobel nodded his head in agreement. If only she’ll just go to the bathroom he thought. Hurry up Melvin! He thought. Get out the bathroom! As if on cue Melvin Carter came out of the bathroom carrying his blue tool box. He nodded at Becca Lee and let her know she could use the bathroom now that the plumbing is fixed and winked at Nobel knowingly. ” Your shower on the other hand, needs to be replaced but I will have to get it later. He told Nobel.
    Noble tips his head and thanked him for coming so far out of his way to fix the plumbing. After Melvin had left Nobel heard something hit the window which made Becca Lee jumped nervously .
    “What was that! She cried. Nobel investigates. He laughed as he saw a squirrel climb a tree it’s cheeks full of seeds from the nearby bird feeder.
    “Squirrel, he replied as Becca sighed in relief. She really wasn’t ready to catch this creature. Not by herself anyway. Nobel knew the woods like the backs of his hands and can track down anything or anyone which is why she chose him to come with her on the hunt for the illusive creature.
    “It’s getting late and we’ve got a full day ahead of us.
    “Yeah, Nobel agreed. I’m going to hit the shower, he added, care to join me?
    Becca Lee rolls her eyes and shook her head no. Seriously, why is she always thinking I’m joking with her? She needs to get out more and leave the lab for a change.
    “You are always flirting with me. Becca Lee said. Why?
    I’m just kidding you. Nobel replied, you’re always so serious about your work and you never can tell when people are always joking with you. You’re too serious. Lighten up.
    “I lighten up. How dare you insinuate otherwise. Becca Lee said. It’s just that my work acquires me to be more involved. Is all. Never know when a cure will be found for all diseases and ailments we go through.
    Nobel shrugs his shoulders. “You might be right. Anywho, I’m going to hit the shower and get ready for bed. In the morning we hunt. But…. He stares at Becca, we could start tonight. Creatures usually come out when it’s dark.
    “I’m really tired. Becca said rather quickly. We can wait til it’s daylight.
    Okay. Nobel sat down and picked up a magazine. One. Two. Three….
    There was a blood curdling scream and Nobel jumped up from the couch as Becca Lee came running into him naked holding a towel against her. She could barely talk as Nobel asked her what happened.
    “Okay. Okay. Calm down. Calm down. He spoke calmly. What happened?
    Becca Lee shuddered at the image in her mind. She breathed in slowly and released her breath. Her grip on his shirt tightened though.
    “There’s a big ass spider in the shower! Never seen such a big ass spider in my life!
    Nobel had to stifle a laugh forming in his throat. He never heard Becca say a bad word since he’s known her. He assured her he will take care of the creature. Becca Lee waited for what seemed like two hours even though he wasn’t really gone too long. Nobel came back holding the spider in his hands. Becca backs away from him yelling at him to get rid of it but she stopped pitching a fit when Nobel burst out laughing. He could not contain himself and tears ran down his face. Becca still clutching her towel could not see what was so funny and said as much.
    “I could have lost my life and you’re laughing at me? How dare you!
    It’s fake! Noble cried holding his sides. A fake spider. Battery operated in fact. Becca Lee stared at him and the spider. She gingerly touches the spider and sure enough it isn’t real. So how did it end up in the bathroom?
    Melvin! I’m going to kill him! Becca Lee cried. I could have died!
    “But you didn’t. Nobel replied throwing the spider on the coffee table. It was just a joke. Told you to lighten up.
    “So you knew this whole time?
    Yeah. I’m sorry.
    Nobel is still laughing.
    “Your parents should have named you something else cause right now Noble does not suit you but there’s other words that do right now jerk.
    “Oh come on Becca. Okay. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Happy now? Nobel reached out and pulls her to him. I’m sorry. ”
    Becca could not look at him. Instead her eyes are closed.
    ” I meant no harm. He whispered. I figured since it’s the two of us we might as well have some fun.
    “Wait. You set this up? To scare me half to death! You think I deserved that?
    No, you didn’t. Nobel said, but it did bring you into my arms. Nobel lifts her chin so she could look at him but she refused to.
    “I’m cold. She whispered. Is the window opened?
    “No. Nobel answers softly. Still holding her. You’re naked. I can warm you up though. Becca looks up at him. Something is different about him now. Serious. He snatched the towel from her and picked her up carrying her to his bedroom.
    “Let’s do some exploring of our own. Shall we?