Caitlin Hampton was already having a bad day. She had woken up late that morning after her alarm failed to go off, and in her morning rush she had ended up spilling an entire cup of iced coffee all over herself. Of course she hadn’t had time to shower so her best solution was to simply throw on the last dirty shirt that she had managed to fish out of the hamper of the clothes she had meant to wash last night.

Now she was cold and sticky, and dealing with the absolute last person she wanted to see. Of all the diners in the city, Asher Hale just had to have walked into the one that she worked at. 

Caitlin resisted the urge to scowl as she dug her notepad out of her pocket and readied her pencil in her hand. “You ready to order?” She asked, putting on the perkiest voice she could muster. Maybe he wouldn’t recognize her, she figured. 

Asher lowered the menu that he was grasping and looked her up and down. “Caitlin, I didn’t know you worked here! I thought you were an actor. Is this some kind of role that you’re practicing for? Method acting?” 

Caitlin felt her eye twitch slightly and she kept her fake smile plastered on her face. “I go to auditions now and there, the diner gives me flexible hours and it pays the bills. I’m an aspiring actor.” 

“More like struggling actor.” Asher pointed out as he pretended to look at the menu once more. 

“Did you want to order anything or did you just wake up this morning and decide that you were going to come into my workplace and insult me just for the fun of it?” Caitlin shot back before she could stop herself. As soon as the words left her mouth, she gasped slightly and quickly looked over her shoulder to make sure her boss wasn’t within earshot.  

The smugness on Asher’s face all but revealed the amusement that he was getting from their conversation. “Correct me if I’m wrong, and I wouldn’t know because I myself have never had the pleasure of working in the food industry, but I don’t think you’re supposed to talk to paying customers that way.” 

Caitlin could feel the fury building up in her veins as she eyed the bottle of syrup that was sitting on the table. She could picture herself throwing it all over Asher and ruining the nice designer brand shirt that he was wearing. As much as she would relish over seeing the smug smile be wiped off Asher’s dumb face, she couldn’t afford to be fired. As much as she hated being a waitress, she needed this job. 

All she wanted to do was be an actor, but after spending year after year going from audition to audition and never getting anything other than callbacks that lead to nothing, she was starting to lose out hope.  This diner job was the only thing paying her bills at the moment. 

Caitlin let out a long deep breath and mentally readied herself. “I apologize for my little outburst, that was rude of me.” She said as sweetly as she could even though it killed her. “Would you like to hear about our breakfast specials?” 

“No, but if you sit down and have coffee with me, then I promise I won’t tell your boss about how disrespectful you were to me.” 

Caitlin dropped her pencil. “I’m sorry….what did you just say?” She asked. 

“You heard me.” Asher said. “I just want coffee and I want to talk to you.” 

“I…I’m working right now.” Caitlin managed to stammer out. Her mind was running wild as she struggled to comprehend what exactly was going on. “I can’t just sit down and drink coffee in the middle of my shift with a customer.” 

“Have you taken your break yet?” Asher asked, and then taking her silence as an answer he gestured at the empty seat across from him. “Consider this your break.” 

Caitlin groaned as she ripped off her apron and sank into the booth. “Fine, but if I’m on a break then I’m not getting you coffee.” She huffed under her breath. 

“Fine, no coffee then.” Asher lowered his voice as he scanned the nearby booths to see if anyone was listening in. “Look, I’ve got this proposal for you. Hear me out, ok?”  

“A proposal?” Caitlin repeated. 

Asher nodded and pulled out his phone. “Have you heard about this new show, Sinful Paradise?” He opened up Instagram and showed her a post that displayed the show’s logo. 

“Isn’t it that reality dating show?” Caitlin asked, completely bewildered and confused about why he was bringing it up. “Where couples spend a few weeks on a deserted island and they have to see if their relationship is strong enough to withstand all the hot single people that are milling around?” 

“I’m glad you’ve heard of it.” Asher grinned. “This’ll make what I’m about to say way easier for you to understand.” He took a deep breath before continuing. “I need you to pretend to be my girlfriend and go on Sinful Paradise with me.” 

Caitlin laughed. A million thoughts were running through her mind, but her first gut reaction was to laugh so loud that the people sitting all the way on the other side of the diner shot her a dirty look. She laughed so hard and for so long that eventually Asher’s grin faded from his face. 

“What’s so funny?” He demanded, his face grew slightly red. 

“What you just said is the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard.” Caitlin finally managed to spit out once she composed herself enough to speak. “Why would I ever say yes to something like that?” 

“Because you’re an actor.” Asher shot back. “At least that’s what you want, right? You don’t want to spend your whole life working here at this run down crappy diner that only serves burnt food.” 

“Word of advice, if you want to convince someone to do something for you, don’t insult their life choices.” Caitlin huffed as she crossed her arms. 

“Ok, I’m sorry.” Asher said, and for once he actually sounded like he meant it. “Caitlin I think you have the potential to be a great actress. Sinful Paradise could be your ticket to fame. Just think about it, if we convince everyone that we’re in love and we outlast all of the other couples this would be the greatest acting audition of all time!” 

“And all I have to do is pretend to be in love with you?” Caitlin questioned. “For a few weeks, on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere?” 

“Are you saying that you don’t think you can pull it off?” Asher asked. 

“I didn’t say that!” Caitlin snapped. “It wouldn’t be an easy role to play but I could do it.” 

“Oh really?” Asher asked, the corners of his mouth peaked up in anticipation as the barest hint of a smirk slipped out. “So is that a yes?” 

Caitlin leaned in, a move so sudden that Asher looked like he wanted to jump back but before he could her lips crushed onto his and her arms found their way around his neck. Even though the act disgusted her, she put as much passion as she could into the kiss in order to prove to him that she could definitely act. 

After a few seconds, she pulled away and looked at him triumphantly. “I think we’re going to Paradise.”

January 29, 2022 04:57

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Kate Winchester
16:23 Feb 01, 2022

This is great! I loved the humor and the end was perfect. I would love to see how this plays out. Could this be continued in the enemies to lovers prompt? Lol 😉


Laura Jarosz
23:10 Feb 02, 2022



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W.D. Pierce
03:15 Feb 03, 2022

A very fun, light-hearted read! Would love to see this as a book!


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Laura Jarosz
23:09 Feb 02, 2022

Cute, fun, and well written! The characters are very relatable!


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