Brother After Dark/C2 Chapter One
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Brother After Dark/C2 Chapter One
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C2 Chapter One


“So, what shall we do in my last day of freedom?” I asked Jessica and Marie as we took our bags from the overhead compartments.

We had twenty-four hours in Charleston. After that, we would part ways and probably see each other only once a year. My friends would go back to London. And I would go back to my prison cell called home.

“I want to remember this day! I want to get wasted, fool around, lose my V-card to a hot guy I just met and will never see again,” I said dreamily.

“Oh my god, who are you and what have you done to our friend?” Jessica asked, wide-eyed.

Marie, on the other hand, laughed. “Shut up, Jess. I like this plan! I have been waiting for Blaire to say something wicked since I met her.”

Of course, I was kidding! I wasn’t brave enough to fool around with a stranger. And I certainly was not stupid enough to lose my V-card to some random guy, no matter how hot or how charming he was.

However, I felt like I should make this day count. I had the best life in six years, living away from home. Not seeing my parents also meant I didn’t have to see them treat me like a ghost or see their disgusted expressions every time they look at me.

Jessica and Marie were my best friends ever since freshman high school. Having them was like having a guardian angel and devil at the same time. Jessica was smart and old-fashioned. Marie, on the other hand, was liberated and playful.

I spent the summer traveling with them. On our last days together, they agreed to come with me to the States to watch the Red Festival Concert in Charleston. I have this last day, and then I would be going home to my parents’ house. I would be back to the life I left behind six years ago, which was hell—literally!

I didn’t understand why I had to go back. I was already studying design in a school in London. I had ad talent for jewelry and fashion design. My ultimate dream was to put up my own brand of jewelry someday. But all that went poof when I received a call from my father’s secretary telling me that I was going to study business management at a university back home.

My father owned a couple of businesses in Florida. Maybe he wanted me to take over them someday. I was shocked because as far as I could remember, my parents never really cared about me. That was why they sent me to a boarding school in London. They wanted nothing to do with me.

After checking into a motel near the concert grounds, I immediately hit the showers.

My friends always teased me for being a germophobe. Well, I was cautious not to catch some virus. I had always been sickly since I was a little girl. I was type 1t1 diabetic, and if I missed a shot, my life would be in peril. Maybe that was one of the reasons my parents hated me. I wasn’t perfect. I was frail and flawed.

My parents never loved me the way I knew they loved my brother. While they celebrated the day they sent me away to boarding school, they grieved the day my brother was taken away from us. I believe they’re still sad about it until now. Because I still am.

My hand went to my chest where I knew my brother’s locket would be, but I only touched wet skin. Then I remembered taking it off before I took a bath.

I had worn that locket for years. I always felt uneasy when I wasn’t wearing it, like a huge part of me was missing. It was the only thing that I had left of him—the only person in the world who ever made me feel safe and loved… the only one in my family who made me feel that I had a family at all. And even though he’d been gone from my life for fourteen years, whenever I touched that locket, I would always feel like he was just right there beside me.

When I came back to the bedroom, the necklace was not on the bedside table either.

“What the fuck?” I cursed under my breath, starting to feel nervous.

I checked under the bed but found nothing.

“Have you seen my locket?” I asked Jessie and Marie.


Jessie couldn’t look at me straight. Then she patted Marie’s back, telling her, “Your funeral.”

“Nobody. Fucking. Touches my brother’s locket!” I said, raising my voice.

“Easy, girl!” Marie held her hands up. “I’m holding it ransom, and it’s safe.”

“Give it back!” My tone was grave. I meant it when I said that I didn’t like anyone touching that locket.

“I will,” she said. “But you have to do something for me first.”


“Come on, Bee. You’re always tense, cold, and guarded.”

“You mean, I’m always sane.” I raised an irritated brow at her.

“Yes, and you are driving me insane!” she argued. “Why don’t you let yourself go tonight? Let loose. Have fun.”

“By have fun, you mean have meaningless sex with a stranger like you do, right?” I shook my head. “No, thanks.”

Jessie stared at me and smiled ruefully. I had a feeling that she was in the same boat with Marie on this. My two best friends ganging up on me? Wow! Am I seriously that boring?

“Bee, we’re not asking you to be a slut… like Marie,” Jessica said.

“Thanks!” Marie rolled her eyes.

“All we’re saying is… you should open yourself up to possibilities. Look, there’s no perfect guy. Sometimes, it’s their imperfections that make them more interesting. We know you have major trust issues because of your parents, and the one person who ever made you feel loved also went away. I know it’s not easy. But you know what, you got to start somewhere. Otherwise, you won’t get anywhere.”

I knew what they were getting at. I was twenty-two years old, and I never had a boyfriend, never even had a real connection with a guy. I had major trust issues. I was always looking for something that I knew I would never find. I wasn’t even sure I knew what I wanted.

“Can’t you just enjoy the company of a guy and not believe it will be disastrous for once?” Jessie asked.

“Meet a guy. Flirt. Enjoy the next twelve hours together. Don’t expect him to call you. What happens in Charleston stays in Charleston,” Marie said, her eyes twinkling.

“Don’t expect anything beyond. Just enjoy the moment,” Jessie added.

“You will never know. By lowering your guard, you can let somebody in, and you just might have the most amazing night of your life!”

Jessie nodded. “You don’t have to have sex with the guy. Just… experiment. Expect nothing. Enjoy everything.”

“Why are you doing this to me?” I asked desperately.

“Because it’s your last night of freedom. Tomorrow, who knows what will happen? You’ll be back to the house you hate, live with the parents who hate you. You need all the good memories you can get, eh?” Marie said, smiling at me widely.

“What does my brother’s locket have to do with anything?”

“Well, it’s an insurance that you will hold up your end of the bargain,” Marie replied.

“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure she’ll keep it safe,” Jessie assured me.

“You know what that locket means to me!” I said, quite annoyed. “And you’re saying that you’re keeping it hostage unless I go out there and get cozy with a guy I barely even know?”


“Pretty much!”

“And if I do not agree?”

Jessie shrugged. “We will keep the locket safe in a safety deposit box in London and mail you the password.” She looked at me innocently. “I assume your parents will still allow you to travel to London, right?


I would hate for them to win. I could just walk away from this. But I wasn’t even sure what my life back in my parents’ house was going to be. Who knows? I may never be allowed to travel outside Florida for the rest of my life. And Jessie always kept her word. She never backed out on a bet. She always made good of her threats. I could ignore them, but then…

How am I going to survive without that locket?

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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