The restaurant was so fancy that Owen worried the food was going to end up being decorative. It was a good thing Gavin had given him new clothes to wear here, because nothing he owned would have been anywhere near nice enough for this.
Gavin didn’t even tell the waiters who he was, he just strode right to the back, stepping up a step to a partitioned off area with a table behind it, because his family wasn’t only rich enough to eat in the fanciest restaurant in the city, they were rich enough to eat in the exclusive, rich section of the fanciest restaurant in the city.
Jesus. Owen should have insisted on more than fifty bucks for going through with this. Gavin could clearly afford it.
Two people who were obviously Gavin’s parents were seated at the table already, the man dashing and attractive, his suit jacket over the back of his chair, and the woman in a power suit that could cut Owen in half, resplendent, if that was even a thing people were allowed to be at one o’clock in the afternoon. “Sorry I’m late,” Gavin said to them. Owen pulled out a chair for him and he plopped into it, batting a folded napkin off his plate. “Just kidding, no I’m not. Mom, dad, this is Owen.”
“Nice to meet you both,” Owen said, wishing they didn’t look like they could eviscerate him with their eyes. “Gavin’s told me all about you.” He sat down as well, hoping he didn’t break anything.
“No doubt that’s a lie,” Gavin’s father said, sounding amused. He looked really familiar—both of them did—but Owen was having trouble placing them. “I’d be scarcely surprised if he told you he was adopted until we insisted on meeting you.”
“Something like that,” Owen agreed, and Gavin kicked him under the table.
“In any case, nice to meet you, young man. I’m Gerard ven Sancte.” He held out his hand to shake.
Owen felt a shock go through him. Fuck. Gerard ven Sancte was the rich businessman who was also the fucking mayor who Owen’s parents had campaigned against. Owen shook his hand firmly. “Owen Trapp, sir.” God, hopefully he didn’t recognize Owen’s last name.
He transitioned to shaking Gerard’s wife’s hand. “Georgina,” she told him, as if she was just Georgina, and not Georgina ven Sancte, owner of an international textiles conglomerate. “You look rather terrified suddenly, Owen.”
“Gavin forgot to tell me that his parents literally own the city,” Owen said, smiling his charming smile.
“Owen,” Gavin hissed.
“Really?” Georgina asked, a suspicious eye on Owen now. “You’ve been dating three weeks now and he didn’t mention his last name?”
Oops. Owen shrugged. “You know how much he adores being dramatic. Probably kept it from me on purpose just to laugh at this moment.”
Gavin was assuredly not laughing, but both of his parents did, and the point was to impress them. “I honestly wouldn’t be surprised,” Gerard said, glancing down at the menu. “Considering he didn’t tell us your name until just now, or indeed anything about you. What on earth we did to earn such secrecy I’ll never know.”
“Might be the constantly trying to manage my life,” Gavin suggested, reading the menu himself. Owen looked at it, saw the prices and got freaked out. Maybe he’d just have a glass of water, even if Gavin’s parents were paying.
If his parents found out that he’d let Gerard ven Sancte buy him lunch, Owen was going to get disowned.
“Oh, we’re not trying to manage your life, son, we’re just parenting you,” Georgina told him, though the way she said it made it clear that they were one and the same. “Owen, I’m very sorry about his attitude.”
Owen smiled. “I can’t say it’s ever bothered me, ma’am.”
“My goodness, you must have the patience of a saint,” she told him.
“Mom,” Gavin said, rolling his eyes. It was funny how much less in charge he seemed now that his parents were here.
“It’s worth it,” Owen explained.
“He lets me drive his car sometimes.”
Gavin’s parents laughed. Gavin himself looked like he might stab Owen with a credit card. Fortunately the point was to impress Gavin’s parents while impressing upon them how not-single Gavin was, and this was how Owen would talk about his real boyfriend if he had one, which he didn’t.
Owen had had two different girlfriends, who were currently dating each other instead of him, but he hadn’t felt it necessary to tell Gavin that for the purposes of whatever all this was.
Owen wondered what was going to happen in a week when Gavin didn’t have a fake boyfriend anymore. Maybe he was going to use all of this to say they’d broken up. If so, Owen was going to fake-dump him before Gavin could do it. Hopefully he didn’t want a dramatic break-up at the table.
If they fake-broke up, Owen still wanted the money. And the blowjob, that was important.
“Are we ready to order, sirs and madam?” a sticklike waiter asked, preying over to the table in a penguin suit. Owen had only ever been called sir once before and it had been by a person in a bank who’d mistaken him for a porn star.
“Yes,” Gerard said, and then rattled off the names of various things that were, in Owen’s professional opinion, probably not actually food.
Georgina did the same, and then Gavin did too, and when it was Owen’s turn, Owen just said, “A glass of water would be great, thanks.” Even that probably cost thirty dollars. It was probably imported from Mars or something.
“Don’t be silly, you haven’t eaten all day.” Gavin took the menu from him, glanced at it, and ordered something that Owen had never heard of.
“Nervous about my parents paying for your lunch, I know,” Gavin said with a wave. “Owen is all about being self-sufficient. It’s cute.”
Owen was pretty sure this relationship was destined to fail. “Mostly I’m just not sure anything on the menu here is fit for normal people to eat,” he said, tone teasing. The waiter had already discreetly left.
“You’ve a point there,” Georgina said, clearly amused. “You might accidentally catch the wealth.”
“It’s not the wealth I mind so much, sir,” Owen said, just figuring he’d do what his dad would do in this situation. “As it is the modern-day aristocracy.”
“Stop being silly, Owen,” Gavin said, hand on Owen’s wrist to make clear that by that he meant ‘stop making me want to kill you.’
“You make aristocracy sound like a bad thing, son,” Gerard said, arch. He was smiling.
Owen shrugged. “I just think that people like me used to behead people like you, sir, and that worked out pretty well.”
“What, you told me to be myself.”
“That is absolutely not what I told you to do,” Gavin insisted. He stood up, pulled Owen with him. “Excuse us, mom, dad.”
And he pulled Owen away to the men’s room, which had plants in it. Owen looked around as the door swung shut. “I figured I’d get the blowjob after the date, not in the middle of it.”
Gavin punched him in the kidney. “What the fuck is wrong with you? You’re supposed to be a good, well-behaved boyfriend who my parents will like, not some thug in want of a guillotine!”
“They do like me,” Owen said, hands in his pockets as he pretended that Gavin’s punch hadn’t hurt.
“You just threatened to behead my dad,” Gavin stressed.
“Well, yeah,” Owen said. He had done that. “But he’s out there telling your mom how much he likes me.”
“He’s very much not doing that. Why can’t you pretend to be a normal person for two minutes? That was all you had to do.”
“Gavin,” Owen said, rolling his eyes. It was kind of funny how much Gavin didn’t get this. “Your parents are like billionaire business whatever people or something.”
“That’s the stupidest way I’ve ever heard it described, but yes,” Gavin said with a sigh.
“So they’re used to people trying to make them happy—people bullshitting them to get money or cake or whatever out of them. Which means they can see through it, and they’d see right through me, and they’d know in two seconds that I don’t know you from Steve.”
“You don’t know me from Adam,” Gavin muttered, looking less angry. “I guess you have a point. But you could tone down the threats of murder.”
Owen shrugged. “Okay. Tell you what. You go out there and talk them about me. They’re going to tell you they like me, but in weird rich people talk. I’ll be out in a few minutes, and then we’ll both know I was right, okay?”
Gavin sighed, headed for the bathroom door. “You’re insufferable. I don’t know why I started fake-dating you.”
“Why did you pick me?” Owen asked, out of curiosity. “Out of everyone in the food court, why me?”
Gavin blushed, then opened the door. “No reason. You just seemed desperate,” he said, fleeing.
Owen blinked. Oh well. He used the washroom, washed his hands, took a second to look at himself in the mirror. He looked silly in this suit, he thought. But whatever.
When he got back to the table, the food was already being set, and it just kind of looked like a modern art piece put on a plate. “Owen,” Gerard said. “We were wondering if you’d gotten lost. Or perhaps you were planning the revolution on the back of some toilet paper?”
Owen smirked, taking in Gavin’s vaguely sullen expression that told him he’d been right. “Nah, it’s all in here,” he promised, tapping his heart as he sat down. He was having fun, actually. Best fake relationship he’d ever had.