The Dating Department
8. The Boyfriend Test“Now...” my mom began, as soon as we were all seated in the dining room. “Explain.”
I swallowed audibly in the deathly quiet room, and twined my fingers together nervously under the table. All eyes were on me: Mom's brown ones, Dad's blue ones, Paul's green ones, Aiden's hazel ones, and Charles' piercing grey ones.
“Well, um, to put it simply... I'm kind of dating all of them...”
I flinched when my father's nostrils flared, he didn't like the idea of me dating, much less three guys at one time.
“Uh... I guess it all started when Amber needed a job...” I went on to tell them about how Amber had decided to start a business of her own and that I would be the guinea pig. “So you see, it's all for a good cause... right?” I attempted a smile, but all that met me were stony faces.
“Boys, leave.” My dad commanded, in his deep baritone voice.
All three of them stood and walked out of the room, Aiden sending a worried look at me over his shoulder.
“Riley...” my mom sighed, shaking her head from side to side slowly, eyes closed and forefinger and thumb pinching the bridge of her nose. “Why couldn't Amber have chosen someone else?”
“Well, Danny already has a boyfriend, and Amber's been bugging me for forever to get a guy, so--”
“But three? That's overdoing it, don't you think?”
“Mom, if you want to know the rules, you're going to have to ask Amber. Even I don't know what the heck is going on.” I sighed, making to get up and follow the guys out of the room.
“Hold it right there, miss.” My dad interjected, standing as well. “If you're going to be causing my poor hair even more stress and turn it white, you will do it with my approval.”
“Oh no... Daddy.... you wouldn't!” I bluffed, hoping that I was right.
“I would, and I will. All three of them must pass the boyfriend test.”
“This is non-negotiable Rayella.” I cringed at the use of my full name, he was serious now. “Each of them will pass my boyfriend test or Amber will have to shut down this little institution of hers, and you can face her wrath alone.” He scanned my face with his sharp, blue eyes. “Deal?”
I sighed, before taking his proffered hand. “Deal.”
All three of us walked into the living room where the boys were waiting patiently. The blond, the brunette, and the slightly-red-head. It felt like a set up for a bad joke.
“Hey guys,” I greeted, waving one hand at them before shoving it back into my pocket.
“ 'Sup?” They all greeted, with that weird sup-nod thing.
“Uh, before you go... you kinda have to...” I sighed and kicked myself inwardly for what I was about to say. “pass my dad's boyfriend test...” I trailed off a little bit at the end, mostly because it was so gosh-darn embarrassing.
I think there's a reason behind this boyfriend test thing, and that reason would be: “You've got to be kidding me!” Charles scoffed, rolling his grey eyes and tossing his blond hair slightly.
Somehow, I don't think Charles is going to make the cut.
Anyways, back to the reason: to weed out the jerks, dweebs, or otherwise unwanted people in the group.
“You think I'm going to sit here and go through a test for you? As if.” Ladies and gentleman, I present to you: the dweeb. “You're not worth it.” If only you knew how much you sounded like a girl right then, Charles, dear... if only you knew...
“Then by all means, dude, leave.” I commanded, pointing towards the door, not bothering to walk him there. If he was going to be a jerk then whatever, I didn't really like him anyways.
He stood, tossed one last single, haughty—and kinda girly—look of disdain over his shoulder at us and exited my home.
“Well then.” I began dusting my hands off and turning back to the two remaining boys sitting on my couch. “If you would come with me, we can begin.” I smiled innocently at them, and beckoned at them to follow me back into the dining room so that my dad could conduct the test.
When we got into the kitchen, two button up, collared shirts and ties were sitting on two chairs. I motioned them to the chairs where they looked at the clothes curiously.
“They're for you to put on.” I explained.
Sure, no one had ever needed to go through this test before, but my mom had explained how it would work.
The guys put the shirts and ties on and sat down hesitantly, clearly wondering what the heck was going on. I smiled slightly, if Mom's descriptions of the Boyfriend Test were anything to go by, this was going to be good.
Hurriedly, I slipped up the stairs and into my room, changing into a nice dress and some jewelry before sprinting down the stairs and back into the dining room, just in time to see my mom flicking the lights off and lighting some candles.
I sat down with the guys and smiled at them from across the table.
They smiled hesitantly back.
We talked for a few minutes, before my dad came out with a pot of piping hot spagehtti sauce, and my mom with a bowl of noodles. They set it down in front of us before disappearing back into the kitchen.
“Uh, dinner?” Aiden asked, raising an eyebrow at the dishes in front of him.
“Just wait.” I smirked, as my mom came back out with a roll of wax paper.
This was where it gets fun.
With a elegant flourish, my mom tore off a piece of paper and set it down in front of Paul, then did the same with Aiden and myself.
Paul looked down at the paper in front of him, a confused expression plastered across his features. “Riley... what--” He was cut off by a loud splat as my dad plopped some pasta down and covered it with sauce.
Paul's facial features quickly rearranged themselves into shock as he stared down at the messy meal in front of him.
“You've got to be kidding me...” He breathed, green eyes wide as saucers.
Aiden looked like he was about to laugh until he was given the same treatment.
When each of us had been served some spaghetti, my parents stepped back.
“Well? Dig in.” My dad commanded, motioning at us to eat.
The guys looked down at their makeshift plates and messy meal, “What about forks?”
“What about them?”
“Well...don't we...need them?” To me it sounded like they were beginning to question their very sanity. As if their mental stability relied on the use of utensils to eat.
“I don't see why...Riley, why don't you demonstrate to these boys how it's done?”
Grinning, I took my hands, and picked up some spaghetti. “It's easy, guys.” I smiled, before eating the pasta in my hand.
Now that they knew what to do, both guys dived into it with a flourish. They looked like they were having fun too. Tomato sauce stained the cuffs of the shirts they were wearing, but they didn't seem to care.
Okay, so that was a lie. Only one of them did that. And that one was: Aiden. Of course.
One look at Paul and you could tell he was kind of uncomfortable with what he was supposed to be doing. He was picking up the spaghetti tentatively, and being as careful as possible not to let the sauce touch the shirt fabric.
He looked so ridiculous, I fought the urge to laugh. Granted, Aiden and I probably look equally silly, but I couldn't see myself and at the moment, I didn't really care what Aiden looked like, I was so distracted by the mess Paul was making while trying to avoid a mess.
Ah, irony, you never fail to amuse me.
When we had finished our spaghetti, we were free to wash up and change out of our spaghettied clothes, before the second and final round of the boyfriend test began.
I quickly changed out of my stained dress and back into my tank top and jeans then rushed down the stairs and plopped down on the couch between Paul and Aiden, my dad across from us, a pair of glasses settled on his nose and a piece of torn and wrinkled paper in his hands.
My dad cleared his throat and the boys snapped to attention on either side of me.