Brother After Dark/C4 Chapter Three
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Brother After Dark/C4 Chapter Three
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C4 Chapter Three

Normally, hanging out with a group of guys we just met would be excruciatingly uncomfortable for me. I didn’t openly support my friends hooking up with strangers. And I never imagined doing it myself. But then again, there really was something about Zach that I found interesting— apart from the fact that he was really hot!

They were all older than us. Kenzo and Michael were both twenty-three. Zach just turned twenty-four over the weekend. He and his friends were here at the concert to celebrate.

I had met a lot of hot guys. Dated some of them too. I wasn’t easily impressed, and I certainly did not get tongue-tied over a guy’s sex appeal. Usually, guys like Zach were oozing with confidence, or arrogance would be the more precise term. But Zach seemed different. He looked confident and sure of himself. But he didn’t strike me as self-centered or hungry for approval. He looked more like the take-it-or-leave-it type of guy.

He would look at me for a brief second, and then he would turn to something else. He would laugh with his friends and completely ignore me. When he bumped into me at the tent, he actually stared at me with interest, and he did look like he wanted to introduce himself. But now, he was dismissing me, acting like he found me plain and uninteresting. Usually, I would find that a relief. But now, a part of me couldn’t help feeling… a bit insulted.

We all decided to check out the games area. I saw a shooting game and couldn’t help the memories that flooded my brain. I loved target shooting. My brother and I played this a lot. He taught me how to aim and hit. Over the years, I had gone to arcades to practice shooting. And then, when I was older, I frequented a shooting club in London. It made me feel like my brother was still with me.

The guys took their turns. Kenzo scored forty out of seventy-five. Michael scored a pitiful thirty. I watched intently as Zach hit the targets with more precision than his friends. When he crossed forty, he stopped taking it seriously. He was laughing and looking away from the targets. But still, he managed to score seventy.

“Wow! You’re a sharpshooter!” Jessie said, quite impressed.

“You guys wanna try?” Zach asked. He was looking at my friends, but why did I get the feeling that he was actually challenging me?

Marie shook her head. “We don’t even know how to hold the gun.”

Z smirked, as if he was already expecting that answer.

“I’ll give it a shot,” I said boldly.

He looked at me for a second and then raised a brow. “All right. Go ahead.”

He handed me the gun, his fingers lightly brushing mine, shooting electricity to my skin. ‘What the hell is his skin made of?’, I thought, slightly frowning at my reaction to the touch.

“I’ll pay for your round,” he whispered, placing a bill at the counter.

He didn’t show it, but I knew he was undermining me, thinking all girls didn’t know how to handle a gun.

I guess today was not his lucky day, huh! Because I was pretty sure I could score more than seventy.

I aimed my gun at the easiest stationary target. Then I looked at him sideways, giving him a flirty wink, just to infuriate him, emphasizing what a “girl” I actually was, before pulling the trigger. The target went down immediately. I pointed at the next three stationary targets, taking them down easily. And then I moved on to the moving targets, hitting twenty in a row, before I returned to the stationary ones, finishing the round with a score of seventy-three.

I put the gun down and faced my friends, who were all looking at me with gaping mouths. The boys were staring at me in shock. I didn’t dare to look at Zach.

“Oh my god!” Jessie said. “Should we be scared of you now?”

I laughed. “It’s just a game.”

“A game you kick ass in!” Marie said proudly.

We walked back to the concert grounds. Michael and Kenzo walked beside Marie and Jessie. I trailed behind, and soon I felt Zach walking beside me.

We walked quietly for a couple of minutes. And then finally I dared to look up at him. He was looking at the ground with his hands inside his pockets. He had a crooked smile pasted on his face, and he looked genuinely amused for a reason I didn’t know and wouldn’t dare ask.

We found a spot on the side, under a big tree. We could hear the music loudly enough, but not too loud that we would not hear each other.

“Do you want to get something to drink?” I heard Zach ask beside me.

I looked over at my friends, who were sitting on the ground, getting cozy with the two guys. I thought a change of scene would be good. “Yeah, sure.”

“Buy us some beers, will you?” Michael said to him.

“Yeah, right,” Zach murmured.

I felt his palm on my back as he led me toward the refreshment area.

“Do you drink?” he asked. Suddenly, his attitude toward me was a little friendlier.

“If you consider water or soda, yeah, I do.”

“Breezer?” He pointed at the flavored vodka displayed in front of the bar.

I hesitated for a while, but then again, I remembered going home tomorrow. This might be my last chance to get a drink at all.

“Okay, why not? I’ll take the watermelon.”

“Good choice.” He turned to the bartender and asked for one watermelon Breezer and six cans of Budweiser.

“I thought you weren’t gonna buy them beer.”

“I wasn’t. This is all for me!” he said, chuckling.

My eyes widened, and he laughed immediately. “Kenzo is like a big brother to me. You know the bossy, pestering type? He’ll make me go no matter what.”

“And Michael?”

“He’s Kenzo’s cousin, only here for the weekend. He’s from Alaska. Kenzo and I used to go to the same university. He’s my best friend. So, I’m celebrating a turn of a chapter of my life with him.”

“Your family?”

Suddenly, his face turned serious, and I was afraid I hit a nerve.

“Sorry,” I quickly said. “Forget I asked. I wouldn’t want to talk about my family too. We go to a concert to leave our worries at home, right?”

He grinned. “Where did you learn to shoot like that?”

“I grew up with a brother who loved that game,” I replied. “He spent a lot of time teaching me.”

“You looked like you had a lot of practice,” he said.

I raised a brow at him. “Are you challenged?”

He chuckled. “Later. Let’s play one-on-one. Serious bet. Without our friends to distract us. Back then, I thought none of you could challenge my shooting prowess.”

I stared back at him. He looked serious about redeeming his dignity, so I agreed. “Sure. I have to warn you, I’m incapable of pretending I suck at that game.”

He stared at me with narrowed eyes. “Challenge accepted.”


On the way back to our friends, Zach stopped by the souvenir shop to buy a mat. When we got back to our friends, he spread it on the ground and motioned for me to sit beside him. I was glad he had the sensitivity to realize that I was wearing white pants.

“Thank you,” I said.

He opened my Breezer and handed it to me.

“What course are you taking up?” he asked. He sounded more interested to talk to me now. Maybe he realized that with his friends busy with my friends, he was stuck with me.

“Business,” I said in a bored tone.

He caught on my tone and asked, “And you don’t like that because?”

“Because it was my father’s choice, not mine. I was already taking up design. He ordered me to shift.”

“Fashion design?” he volunteered.

“Do I look like I’m into fashion design?”

He looked at my colored hair and smiled. “You look like you would rock fashion design.”

I laughed. “Thanks. You were close. I was into trinket design. I wanted to design my own jewelry line someday. But my father had other plans for me.”

He looked thoughtful. “Well, taking up a business course if you were to put up your own business someday sounds wise. Maybe that’s your father’s point.”

I smirked. “I doubt. I think he just doesn’t care.”

He was quiet for a while. When I stared back at him, he was looking at me thoughtfully. Then he smiled and drank his beer. “I guess I’m not the only one with Daddy issues.”

“Yeah. But didn’t we agree to leave our worries at home?” I asked gently. Then I turned to look at the stage where a band was playing ‘Sweet Child of Mine.’ “Oh my god, I love this song!”

The crowd started getting wild with the music. Zach stood up and held his hand out to me. “Come, let’s dance.”

We walked toward the center of the concert grounds and joined the rest of the crowd in dancing and singing with the band. Afterward, the band played ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and then ‘Wild World.’ I realized that Zach and I had the same taste in music.

It must be the music, the frenzy, or the liquor, but soon, I found myself relaxing and warming up to him, the way I thought he was changing his impression of me.

He was cute, he was hot, but it was more than the physical attraction. He was funny and witty. He didn’t pry on details I didn’t want to share. In an effort to get you to trust them, some guys ask too many questions about your personal life, even though they weren’t sincerely interested in the first place. They would do everything, pretend to be anything, just to get into your pants. Zach, on the other hand, took the information I shared and used that for conversation. He didn’t probe too much, and he didn’t come out phony.

For the first time, I was getting curious about a guy and wondering what it would be like to touch him… get touched by him. However, 98% percent of the time, Zach’s hands were nowhere near my body. Unlike his friends, whose tongues have already gone south of my friends’ throats.

It was turning dark, and the band slowed down, playing the song ‘Send Me an Angel.’

Zach took one step toward me. He grinned boyishly and held out his arms to me. I smiled before I stepped into his arms for a slow dance. He pulled me closer as his arms wound around my bare waist. I put my hand on his firm, muscular chest and rested my head on his shoulder. We swayed in silence, feeling the beat of the music. I felt him rest his cheek on my head.

“Were you really born with purple hair?” he whispered against my ear.

I giggled. “I wish. But I wasn’t that lucky.”

“I feel like I’m living one of my childhood anime fantasies,” he whispered.

“Me too,” I said. “And tomorrow, I will return to reality. My parents can’t see my hair like this.”

“It’s beautiful,” he said. “Not many girls can get away with purple and blue hair and still look smoldering hot and interesting.”

I smiled to myself. First time he ever indicated he was interested in me.

“Interesting? You were ignoring me until I beat you in the shooting game.”

He gave me a crooked smile then shook his head. “Are you sure I was ignoring you? I’m unusually good at hiding my emotions, including my curiosity and interest.”

“I probably didn’t make a great first impression. You changed your mind only when I shot some targets.”

“I didn’t change my mind,” he said. “I just cut to the chase. Because I realized, if I don’t make my move, some other guy will. And I didn’t want to spend the rest of the night in jail because I beat the lights out of some other guy trying to make a move on you.”

There was nothing boyish or unsure about the way he said that. Nor in the way his arms tightened around my waist. He was no longer pretending he wasn’t interested in me.

“You’d go to jail for a girl who looked like she hailed from a Japanese cartoon movie?”

He winked at me. “I have always been an anime fan. And this could just be a page out of my teenage fantasy.” He paused, and then he looked down on my lips and said, “And while we’re on the subject of living fantasies…” he trailed off. The look in his eyes suddenly turned hot and heavy. And before I could begin to process any thought at all, his face descended toward mine, and he brushed my lips with his.

Libre Baskerville
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