Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating(9)

“Seems like you two were chattering away for the entire film,” Dee adds.

I smile tightly, not sure how to break the news to them. Fionn was definitely chattering away during the whole film. So much so that I barely have any idea what the movie was about.

“He’s okay, I guess,” I mumble.

“Just okay?” Dee asks. “I thought he seemed really nice. He’s one of Colm’s best friends, you know.” That’s funny, considering Colm and Dee have been dating for a whole year and I’ve never heard of or seen Fionn before.

“I don’t think we really clicked,” I say. “I mean … we didn’t have much in common. I don’t know.”

“He seemed to fancy you.” Aisling smiles. “You can say it if you fancy him too, you know.” She nudges me with her shoulder like I’m just being too shy to confess my feelings for him or something.

“Was this supposed to be a set up?” I ask. “Because I don’t really appreciate that.”

Aisling rolls her eyes now, while Dee casts me a nervous glance.

“Come on, Maira,” Aisling says like I’m being unreasonable for not wanting to have a random set up with a random white guy sprung on me. “Fionn is well fit. And you haven’t had a boyfriend in ages.”

“Is it because you’re Muslim?” Dee asks in a low voice. “Your parents will disown you or something if they hear you’ve been on a date with a boy?”

I bite back a retort that I know will cause tension, and instead heave a sigh. “No, my parents wouldn’t mind … it’s just …” I can’t even remember the last time I’ve been into a guy like that. Right now, all men seem overwhelmingly unattractive—except the ones on the Netflix shows I watch. Sometimes I think that maybe I like guys more as a concept than a reality. And girls more as a reality than a concept.

I’ve spent the better part of the last year trying to figure out how to say that to Dee and Aisling.

“You should give Fionn a proper shot,” Aisling says. “You’re just too resistant. He fancies you, and you … haven’t even tried with him. At least try shifting him before you make up your mind.”

The idea of having to shift Fionn to make up my mind about him sets my stomach roiling. If not Fionn, though, I bet there’ll be other guys. I wouldn’t be surprised if Aisling and Dee have an entire roster of guys they plan to set me up with. They’ve been talking about it for a while now, and since I’ve been less than enthusiastic about the idea now they’ve just gone ahead and done it without my permission. I doubt there’s an end to this.

“The thing is …” I say slowly. “I’m not … really into guys right now. I mean—”

“You’re a lesbian!” Aisling says, looking at Dee with delight. “I said so, didn’t I?”

I have to pinch myself to keep from saying something I’ll regret.

“I’m … bisexual,” I say. “And I mean … I don’t know … I guess I don’t really find boys all that appealing right now. Does that make sense?”

“No,” Aisling says, at the same time that Dee nods and says, “I guess.”

They exchange a glance, and I’m not sure what exactly it means. Then Dee sighs and says, “Hey, I’m sorry we flung the whole Fionn thing on you without asking. We didn’t know you were … bisexual. Just … we thought …”

“I know. I’m not mad or anything.” Even though I am a little bit mad. “I just don’t really want to do the dating thing right now, you know?”

Aisling sighs. “So why say you’re bisexual instead of just that?”

“Because … I am bisexual,” I say. “And I also don’t want to date right now.”

“Have you even kissed a girl?” Aisling asks.

“No,” I mumble. Unfortunately, I have kissed way too many boys—most of them unpleasant experiences.

“Then how can you say you’re bisexual?” Aisling asks.

I rub the sides of my arms, even though it’s not cold, before answering. “That doesn’t mean I can’t know. Liking someone isn’t about kissing. I mean, you don’t only like Barry because he’s a good kisser, do you?”

Aisling shrugs, like maybe she does. I feel a little bad for Barry then, even though I barely even like him.

Dee stares at the ground instead of looking up at either of us. I’m not sure whose side she’s on here—though it seems she isn’t on mine, because she’s letting Aisling just go on and on.

“I just don’t know how you can turn down guys like Fionn when you don’t even know how you feel about girls. And when you’ve kissed plenty of guys who aren’t even as fit as him.” She says this as if Fionn is some great catch, like he didn’t spend half the film worshipping Woody Allen.

“I do know how I feel about girls,” I insist, because that seems like it holds more weight than the Fionn thing. He’s just some guy, at the end of the day. If it wasn’t him, it would be another guy—though ideally someone with less problematic taste in film directors.

Aisling rolls her eyes, looking like she definitely doesn’t believe me, but she doesn’t say anything else for a few minutes.

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