Lynne watched her sister walk in the front door and groaned. Already her promise to tell nothing but the truth for the next seven days would be put to the test.
“What do you think of my new haircut?” Dory twirled in the foyer and gave her a goofy grin.
Okay, Lynne couldn’t lie, but she didn’t have to be mean either. “It looks easy to take care of.” Never mind that it made her look like a Q-tip. “Is it what you wanted?”
“It’s exactly what I asked for. And I think after I wash out all of this goop, it’ll be more natural.”
That was easy.
Her encounter with Harry the next day, not so much.
“Hey, want to get a drink after work?”
How many times did he have to ask before he got the hint? Lynne took a deep breath. “No, thanks.”
“Oh, you have plans already, huh?”
Excuses automatically raced through her mind. I have a lot of work to do. I have to meet my sister later. I already have a date. I have to wash my hair. “Um, no.” She faced him, her palms sweating. They worked together. Life could get awkward. But she’d promised. No lies. “Look, Harry. I like working with you, but I’m not interested in anything more than that.”
He pulled his head back in surprise. “Oh.” Then he smiled. “Well, I appreciate you telling me. I might have wasted a lot of energy thinking I had a chance.”
That hadn’t gone as expected at all. She was almost disappointed at how well he took it. Had her little white lies in the past only made things worse? In her attempt to protect the feelings of others, had she been doing more harm than good? Or maybe she’d been selfish, protecting herself from the potential discomfort and confrontation?
Maybe her professor was right. Maybe total honesty was the best policy. Or at least the avoidance of outright lies.
Two hours later, her coworker Marian poked her head into the office, her face bright with excitement. “Guess what?”
Lynne smiled. The woman’s mood was infectious. “What?”
“Todd and I are getting married.” She waved her diamond-laden hand in front of Lynne’s face.
Oh crap. Todd was the biggest a-hole on the planet as far as Lynne was concerned. Selfish, elitist, and shallow. She never did understand what Marian saw in him.
The woman looked at her expectantly. “Isn’t it exciting?”
Lynne chose her words carefully. “You’re positively beaming.”
“I know! I have to go show Carole,” she said and bounced out again.
Another close call that had ended well. The experiment was easier than she’d expected. She didn’t always disclose her thoughts, but she never lied. Not even a little bit. It was actually invigorating and freeing. When she was late, she took responsibility. No excuses. If she didn’t want to do something, she just said so.
Two days in, and her life was simpler already.
Later that evening, she ran into her hot neighbor, Darren, in the corridor of her apartment building.
“Hey, Lynne.” He gave her a blinding smile. “How’s your experiment going?”
“Not bad actually, though I’m sure I could get into trouble if I were asked for my opinion on gay marriage while in Mrs. Prokiev’s apartment.”
He laughed and crossed his arms. “Easy, huh? Then maybe it’s time you were tested.”
Was it her imagination, or were his hazel eyes twinkling?
“Do you like my haircut?”
“Oh come on.” Why did everyone always ask that? She swallowed and met his gaze. “No.”
He frowned. “Why not?”
It’s too short. “Because I like your hair better when it curls at the ends.” Heat flooded her face, but she stood her ground. How many times had she imagined running her hands through his curls?
A surprised grin flashed across his face, and he took a step toward her. “If I’d known, I wouldn’t have gone so short. I should have asked a long time ago.”
“I wouldn’t have told you the truth back then.”
His face turned serious and he placed his hand on the wall above her head, leaning in close enough that she could smell his peppermint gum. “Can I kiss you?”
Her heart thumped against her chest. “Only if you mean it.”
He bent low to press his lips to hers, and she melted into his arms with one fleeting thought: Forget telling the truth for a week. She was never going to lie again.