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Romance Fiction

From the producers of the show Love’s Second Chance, comes the new show Lovely Reality. A reality show where we see which couple’s love will get them to the $50,000 cash prize. So, do you think your love is strong enough to win?. To apply, visit www.lovelyreality/my love is strong.com

         Less than a minute after seeing the commercial, Sara’s best friend Carter called her. “Did you see it?”

         She rolled her eyes even though he couldn’t see her. “Of course, I saw it. It another one of those stupid reality shows. Remember when we watched the last show, Love’s Second Chance, one of the couples didn’t even appear on the show.”

         Carter laughed. “Yeah, but this is different. Did you hear that they are giving a $50,000 cash prize? Do you know what we could do with that money?”

         Sara shook her head, nearly knocking the phone out of her hand. “No, Carter. We are not going on the show.”

         “Why not,” Carter asked.

         Sarcasm played into Sara’s voice. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s the fact that we aren’t dating.”

         “We could be,” he teased. “But seriously, you and I have both taken acting classes. We can simply act.”

         “We took one acting class because it was free. We hardly belong on Broadway. Besides, there is no way we could convince them that we are dating.” But as she thought about it, she realized that the idea held merit. They were best friends and knew everything about each other. Surely, they could pretend that they were lovebirds. Plus, with that much money, she could buy a new car and he could put it toward the business he wanted to start. They had nothing to lose, except a bit of time, but so much to gain.

         Carter must have noticed the moment that she started considering the idea because he asked, “Are you ready to sign up?”

         She smiled. Somehow Carter always managed to convince her to do these types of things. “Yep, where do we sign up?”

***

         Carter and Sara stood along with the five other couples at the house used for the filming of the show, Lovely Reality. Sara was surprised that they had been accepted on the show, but she was happy nonetheless. The only thing that bothered her that day was the fact that they were perpetrating a lie. They, unlike the other couples, were not a real couple. But, no one knew that, she reminded herself. They just had to be convincing enough.

         Carter grabbed her hand and squeezed it. She almost pulled her hand away, but then she remembered. So, they were starting their act already. She turned and sent him what she hoped looked like a loving smile. He grimaced and whispered in her ear, “If you keep looking at me like that, everyone will believe you are repulsed by me. Try to look happy.”

         “I am trying,” she whispered back.

         “Well, then maybe try a bit less. Just act as you act when we are normally together. Oh, but maybe add a bit more affection.”

         She nodded, but didn’t try to smile again.

         A moment later, the host of the show walked in along with the camera man. “Welcome, couples, to Lovely Reality. I will explain the show to you and then we will introduce all the couples.”

         Everyone nodded.

         The host motioned to the camera man. “Hello and welcome to Lovely Reality. I’m your host Todd Blanker. On this show, our six couples will have to battle it out to see which couple has the strongest love. Each week, our couples will face a challenge together or apart, some challenges will be to earn special privileges, others will end with an elimination. Today, our challenge will be an icebreaker challenge and no one will be going home today. But before we begin our challenge, let’s introduce our couples. We will go left to right. Say your names, how long you have known each other and how long you have been dating.”

         A tall man with bright red hair and a nearly as tall and slender woman spoke first. “We are John and Monica. We have known each other for five years and have been dating for three of those years.”

         A brawny man with black as night hair and a petite blonde went next. “We are Peter and Lisa. We have known each other for seven years and have dated for one year.” Lisa continued talking. “We met back in school and it was love at first sight, well at least for me. It took Peter a bit more time to come to that conclusion, but he did. We started officially dating on…”

         Todd Blanker cut her off. “Thank you. Next couple please.”

         Carter and Sara went next. “We are Carter and Sara. We have known each other almost all our life and we have been dating for…” They both trailed off and looked at each other in alarm. They had never considered what their story was supposed to be. Carter laughed a little. “Why it has been so long that I hardly know when we started dating. What would you say, sweetheart, about five years or was it six?”

         Sara nodded, grateful for his quick thinking. “Yes, I would say that it has been around five or six years.”

         Todd Blanker nodded and motioned to the next couple.

         The last three couples were Ron and Cynthia, James and Alexa, and Christopher, who insisted on being called Chris, and Mary.

         After they had all been introduced, Todd Blanker explained the first challenge. “You will be doing a which couple knows each other better challenge. I will take each of you aside and ask you the same questions, then we will all return and answer the questions. The winning couple will get a romantic dinner on the rooftop tonight.”

         The couples all exclaimed over the idea of a rooftop date. Carter and Sara exclaimed too, but not because they were excited for the possibility of a date, but because all the other couples were doing it.

         They traded a smile. Unlike most of the other couples who had only known each other for a few years, Carter and Sara had known each other almost since birth, so they knew everything about each other.

         Six people walked out of one of the rooms and came up to each one of the ladies. Todd explained, “They will ask you ladies questions first, then they will come out and ask the men.”

         Sara and the other ladies nodded. Then they were each led to a separate room. Sara sat down and answered the questioned asked.

Questions such as, what is your favorite food? What is a color you would never wear? What is your biggest pet peeve? And so on.

         As she answered the question, she thought not only of her own answers, but also the answers that Carter would give. After about half an hour, everyone had answered the questions and they were regathered in the living room.

         The room was different now, for during the time they had been answering questions, someone had arranged the couches so that they now faced three chairs. Presumably, one for the host and the other two for the couple on their turn.

         The first couple took their place in the chairs and answered their questions. Their combine score equaled to 10/20. The next group got 14/20. It went so on until Carter and Sara’s turn.

         “Sara, your last question is what are the three things Carter would bring if he were on a deserted island?”

         Sara smiled. She knew this one just as much as she knew all the other ones. She winked at Carter and then turned back to the host. “Carter would bring me, food, and a private jet.” The other couples laughed at this thinking that she was joking.

         Todd Blanker turned to Carter. “Now tell me, Carter, what were your answers?”

         “I would bring Sara, food, and a private jet, in that order.” Carter’s interviewer nodded to confirm his answers.

         Everyone including the host looked surprised. Todd stood. “Well it looks like we have a winner for today’s episode. Carter and Sara with a perfect score of 20/20. Well, get ready because in half in hour you will have your rooftop date.”

         Everyone left the room, and Sara and Carter both took the time to get ready for their “date.” At exactly 8:30, they went up to the rooftop followed by the camera crew for their rooftop date.

         Sara walked up and gasped. The roof looked beautiful. Candles lined the floor in a path that led to the linen covered table. Flower petals littered the floor and got swept up in the breeze. And even though, they were not actually dating, Sara couldn’t help feeling like it was a real date.

         They sat down to a dinner, or dessert rather, of molten lava cake and ice cream, which the camera crew filmed. But once, they were done eating, the camera crew left them alone to talk.

         Carter smiled at her. “See, I told you it would be that bad.”

         “You were right. Now all we have to pass the next round.” Since they were on a reality show and had no idea where cameras might be lurking, they made sure to avoid mentioning their fake relationship.

         Carter grabbed her hand and squeezed it. “We will pass it and then…well you’ll just have to wait until the next episode to find out.”

November 13, 2020 17:21

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3 comments

Lydi B
22:29 Nov 20, 2020

I appreciated the relationship between these two buddies. You had some strong connections in here, and I could tell how deeply entwined they are, especially at the question and answer bit. The ending felt rushed, though. It felt like you were hoping to spark something more between them, but didn't have enough time. I know it's tricky to fit everything into short stories, but you can focus more on what matters and less on, say, the other contestants to really draw us all in. Strike that balance, and this story would be a well-rounded piece...

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Thora Porter
23:14 Nov 20, 2020

Thank you Lydi for your comment. I definitely agree with you over the rushed ending. I feel like that tends to be one of my biggest struggles as far as writing short stories and something that I definitely want to improve on. I will definitely take your pointers and use them in my next stories. Also, I would be happy to read your stories.

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Lydi B
18:59 Nov 21, 2020

It's still a struggle for me to find that balance in such a short time, too. I'm used to writing novels, hah! Still, we can all help each other grow. Keep at it.

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