Shape of You
Alright so here’s the start of a new AU!
Nesta hasn’t seen her sisters in almost a year. When she’s invited back to their lake house for a long weekend, Feyre insists she brings the boyfriend she’s told her about. The only problem is, he doesn’t exist.
So out of desperation, her friend sets her up with Cassian. Somehow a weekend filled with fake hand holding and kisses, turns Nesta back into the girl she was before Tomas had destroyed her and the relationship she had with her sisters.
“Fuck. Fuck, fuck,” I slammed my laptop shut as I threw my pen across the room. Of course my sisters would decide to have a start of summer weekend at the lake. And of course they would call me out for the lies I told them about the boy I met while here in the city.
It had been almost six months since I had last seen my sisters. I moved to the city as soon as I could, as soon as I found a job that would help me pay my half of the rent. I wanted out of that small town, I had to walk away before the memories, the ghosts haunted me forever. The city was my fresh start and even though neither of them understood, they let me go.
Feyre and I talked at least once a month on the phone. She kept asking me how I was doing and she told me that Tomas still asked about me. What she didn’t understand, even though I always changed the subject, was that I didn’t want to know about Tomas. I didn’t want to know about anyone in that small ass town because they were the reason why I left. The only reason I talked to Feyre was to check up on her and Elain.
They were the only family I had left. They were the only ones who mattered.
Sure I missed them. I missed my sisters, but it wasn’t enough to make me go visit home. I wasn’t homesick, I was content here in the city, in this new life I had made for myself. I loved my job at the bookstore. I loved the fact that I could walk everywhere and that things were open well into the night. But most of all I loved the fact that no one knew me. They didn’t know the secrets that had been whispered behind my back. They didn’t know how Tomas had tried to ruin me.
They didn’t know that he had almost won that war.
I read Feyre’s email again. Our lake house, the only thing our father had left to us. The lake house that had sat unused for years until we were old enough to realize the benefits of having that big house that sat right there at the water. The only reason we still owned it was because it was completely paid off. That and somehow Feyre and her fiancee were able to keep up with it.
The lake house where so many things had happened. So many things hadn’t happened too. There had been parties, there had been underage drinking. But mostly there had been tears. From me.
I pushed away those memories and looked at my computer. What was I supposed to do? I had started the lie to make my sister feel better. For her to think I wasn’t all alone out here in the city. Because she didn’t understand that I wanted to be alone. I didn’t want to be with someone who hurt me, who could destroy me. Not after I had been with Tomas for so long.
But I couldn’t tell her that truth. Not when I had fed her enough lies to make this boyfriend seem real. She was happy for me, she didn’t worry about me because she thought I had someone taking care of me. I didn’t need someone to take care of me. Just like I knew Feyre didn’t need her fiancee to take care of her. But it was nice knowing she had someone steady. She had someone real after the horrors that Tamlin had dealt her.
My sisters didn’t know about Tomas. They didn’t really know much about why I wanted to leave. It had been different when our parents died. I could’ve left and they would’ve understood. But I stayed until they were finished high school and then when Feyre announced she was getting married last year I up and left. I didn’t even say goodbye I just left a letter explaining I needed to find my own way now that they were both able to take care of themselves.
I pulled my hair hard, trying to stop the tears from filling my eyes. I didn’t cry, not easily. But I got teary eyed when I was frustrated. I couldn’t tell them the truth. So what was I supposed to do? I squeezed my eyes shut and the door to my apartment opened.
“Fuck me this can’t be happening.”
“Nesta!” I jumped at Rita’s voice, “you seem agitated.”
I met my roommate Rita at the bookstore. She was leaving for another job and I said something about needing a place to stay. We hit it off right away and I didn’t hate living with her. Sure our apartment was small, smaller than the home I had shared with my two sisters. But it was ours, I paid rent and I had my own room. Rita didn’t nag me about my mess and I didn’t nag her about hers.
We were good roommates. We got along and we left each other alone when we knew the other needed space. We were friends, but we were almost roommates. We didn’t get in each other’s business unless there was a reason to. I had gotten lucky.
I groaned, "my sisters want to have a long weekend at the lake.”
“Not when you’ve been lying about having a boyfriend. And they want you to bring him along.”
Rita laughed, “oh shit I forgot. Damn what are you going to do?”
I shook my head, “I’ll think of something.”
I leaned back in my chair and Rita watched me. She raised an eyebrow and smiled, “I might know someone who can help.”
“No. The last guy you introduced me to was disgusting.”
His name was Adam and he was a hipster to end all hipsters. His hair was dirty and his glasses were round. They didn’t even have frames, and he spoke in riddles. I didn’t even spend five minutes in his presence. I found an excuse to leave, I texted Rita and told her to call me, and up and left him high and dry at the coffee shop we met at.
Rita laughed, “I’m sorry okay. I thought you’d get along. But you’ll like this one. Should I have him meet you? Even if he’s not the brightest, he’s easy on the eyes.”
She wiggled her eyebrows at me and I couldn’t help but laugh. I bit my lip, was I that desperate?
“Really? Your advice is that I hire someone to be my boyfriend for the weekend?”
She shrugged as she set her bag on the counter, “it’s either that or tell them the truth, Nes. I’m not sure which is worse since you seem so opposed to letting your sisters believe you have someone in your life.”
I winced. Rita never told me what to do, she never scolded me for lying to my sisters. But I knew she was right. If I was so okay with being alone, and I swore I was, then why did I feel the need to please my little sister? I’m sure there was some therapist who would say I really wasn’t okay being alone and that some part of me wanted someone around.
But I wouldn’t believe them. Because I didn’t need anyone, I only needed myself. But I didn’t want my sisters to worry. I didn’t want them to think I left them because they were a burden. They are my sisters and I will always be there for them. But it’s my turn to have a life. It’s my turn to find where I’m supposed to be.
I looked at Rita, she was texting someone. She sat down on the couch and I looked at the picture of the three of us. The only picture I had on my desk of us when I was five and they were babies. I was always there, always taking care of them. They were my best friends, before that night drove us apart. Before that night pushed me so far away from everyone else that I couldn’t find my way back to them.
I didn’t want them to ask about it. I didn’t want them to think they needed to figure me out. If I had someone with me they would direct the attention to him. They would ask him about his life and how we met and what we did, instead of berating me with questions about why I left.
I let out a slow breath and Rita looked at me. She smiled slightly, like she already knew what I was about to say. My cheeks were red as I let the thoughts settle and I nodded my head slowly.
“Fine,” I gritted my teeth as I looked at the clock, “tell your friend to meet me at Luke’s diner in five minutes.”
“He’s already on his way. Trust me you’ll like him. He’s big and handsome,” her eyes got wide as if she had a crush on him herself, “he’s just your type.”
I rolled my eyes and stood up, “if he’s a hipster I swear to god I’ll kill you.”
Rita’s laugh followed me as I grabbed my purse and headed out the door. I walked down the steps, my heart pounding as I opened the door to our building. The sun was warm, the weather had already started to turn to summer. But goosebumps pricked my skin as I thought about hiring someone to lie to my family.
It wasn’t lying. It was pretending. My sister would bring her fiancee, I’m sure Elain had someone. I couldn’t remember if she told me about someone important. His name started with an L? Or maybe it was a C. She didn’t talk much whenever Feyre put her on the phone, but she told me bits and pieces of her life. Elain was the most upset when they found me gone.
I felt guilty every time she called.
But I knew with Feyre came Rhys and with Rhys came his friends. Azriel the quiet one who followed Rhys’s cousin everywhere she went. Feyre told me they were finally opening up to the idea of dating and while I was happy for them all, they were one big happy family, I knew that meant I would be the odd one out. I always was the odd one out, the one who didn’t fit in. The girl who stood alone and never had someone there beside her.
I wanted this weekend, now that I knew about it, to be fun. I wanted them to see me as the Nesta I always was, not the girl I had turned into after that terrible night. The night I was running from. The night I would do anything and everything to forget.
I rubbed my hands up and down my arms as I rounded the corner and the diner came into view. I realized as I walked towards it that I wanted to go home. I wanted to go to the lake and see my sisters and the family they had made for themselves. But I didn’t want to go alone.
Sue me I still had some feelings. I still had some pride I suppose.
I walked into the diner and the bell above the door sounded. Luke, the owner, stood behind the counter and smiled at me. I nodded in greeting, my eyes sweeping the tables. I knew which one was waiting for me as soon as my eyes landed on him. I stood there for a moment too long and contemplated turning around.
He was a big hulking man, his dark hair was long. He looked warm, his skin glowing in the harsh lights of the diner. His black shirt fit perfectly over his arms and his chest. He took up enough space that my eyes couldn’t wander away from them if they tried. My heart stopped, his eyes landing on me before I could make a run for it. Before I could decide this was a terrible choice and I should just tell my sisters the truth.
“Well hello sweetheart,” he stood up and half his mouth tilted in a smile. He could’ve been attractive, if he cut his hair.
I pulled my chair out, “I’m Nesta.”
He licked his lips, “you can call me Cassian,” his eyes sparkled. Like they were hiding something he was dying for me to find out.
“Right well. I take it Rita told you why I’m here.”
He coughed, “something about you being in need of a male escort to the lake this weekend.”
I winced, “a friend,” I tried wondering if I could go through with this, “to make my sisters stop asking me why I don’t have a boyfriend okay? Can you do that? Pretend?”
Amusement filled his eyes. He tried to fight the smile that tugged at his lips, but when it didn’t stop he ran his finger along his chin. He looked down at his hands and I could tell he was thinking about more than just agreeing to helping me. Hell we didn’t know each other, we had just met and I asked him to date me. Even if it was fake, even if he was helping me, this was still weird.
Me and my stupid pride. I was about to take back the offer and tell him to forget it, that I had a mental breakdown and this was all just the biggest embarrassing moment of my life.
But then Cassian nodded slowly, “you know I’m surprise you don’t have a boyfriend. You’re cute and I know a few guys who like bossy.”
I rolled my eyes, “wow that was super helpful,” I glared at him, my hands were shaking. I shoved them under my legs as I waited to hear his answer, “you can just say no. Rita said you were single and I thought maybe you’d want a free trip to the lake for a weekend. I thought maybe…”
I stopped. I almost thought we could be friends. But I bit my lip hard enough to taste blood, stopping myself form wishing for something I could never have. I didn’t let myself get close to people, not after Tomas wedged between me and my sisters. Not since that night when he destroyed all the threads of trust I had ever had.
“I didn’t say I wouldn’t help you. I just said I’m surprised you aren’t taken,” he smiled then, he liked watching me squirm. He leaned back and stretched his arms over his head. His shirt rode up slightly and I saw the dark markings of a tattoo that disappeared beneath the waistband of his jeans.
He wiggled his eyebrows, “well how can I say no when you say my name like that?”
He watched me for a moment as relief flooded through me. As much as I hated this I felt better once he said he would help me. I hated having to lie because everyone thought I couldn’t handle life without Tomas. Except I broke up with him. And I moved here, far away from my family to have the life I wanted.
"What do I get for helping you?” He finally asked, his deep voice smooth as he propped his elbow on the table, then leaned his head on his hand. He kept staring at me and it felt like his honey brown eyes could see into my soul.
I looked down at his hands. His skin was golden, a little darker. He looked like he was carved of stone, like he could’ve been a Greek god in another lifetime. A piece of brown hair fell in his eyes and I wanted to push it back. I let out a breath. I hadn’t thought this far.
“I’ll pay you,” I finally said. I didn’t have a lot but I could do something, “it won’t be much. But you’ll get a four day weekend at the lake house. Meals and showers and everything included.”
Cassian seemed to think it over. He nodded his head, "how much?”
“I know I look cheap, but I won’t act like your boyfriend for a hundred dollars, Nesta.”
He shook his head, “you’ll have to do better than that.”
I blew out a breath, “$500. That’s my final offer.”
He reached across the table and touched my hand. His skin was warm and a spark shot down my arm. He ran his thumb over the back of my hand, “well sweetheart you’ve got yourself a deal.”
“Don’t call me sweetheart,” I snapped. My eyes narrowed.
He laughed, “well I guess we should make some ground rules.”
“The first one is no pet names. Nesta,“ I pointed at me, "Cassian. Got it?”
He sighed, “sure sweetheart.”
He wasn’t going to make this easy. I could tell as he continued to smile, his eyes lighting up as I glared at him. It was like he thought I was a challenge, like he wanted to defy everything I was saying. He licked his lips, his fingers tapping on the table as I thought through what other boundaries we needed to establish. I didn’t realize this would all happen so fast. The weekend would be here in two days and somehow I had managed to find myself a boyfriend to fill the empty role.
Feyre would love Cassian. He was everything I would never want in a boyfriend. He was the complete opposite of Tomas and I couldn’t stop letting that sway me. He was big and dark, whereas Tomas was small and light. Cassian was full of mystery, but not the kind that Tomas carried with him. Cassian seemed honorable, Tomas had just been pure evil.
I let out a slow breath and pulled my hands off the table so he wouldn’t try to touch me again. I couldn’t stop feeling that spark going down my spine. I couldn’t stop wondering why exactly I had wanted this in the first place. I shook my head and finally brought my eyes back up to his.
“Okay so I’ve got some rules. First we hold hands if someone else is in the room. No touching if we’re alone, because honestly there’s no reason for it. You’re there to make me look good. You can kiss my cheek, but nothing more. We aren’t big on public displays of affection. My sister and her fiancé are, but that’s another story,” I rolled my eyes. Feyre and Rhys could barely keep their hands off each other. I hated being stuck in a room with them.
My cheeks turned pink and my mouth went dry, “we will probably have to share a room, you sleep on the floor. We don’t share the room if the other is changing. Make sure you bring enough clothes to sleep in and a bathing suit.”
Cassian nodded, "fine. But you want this to be believable. So you’re forgetting one thing.”
He smiled and it would’ve knocked me to my knees if I wasn’t already sitting. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to make it through the weekend alive. I had a feeling this new friend of mine was going to try and climb the walls I had built this last year. Like he thought he could break down the shell I had surrounded myself inside.
HIs brown eyes danced as he looked at me, his crooked smile in place, ”the story of how we met.“