Brother After Dark/C5 Chapter Four
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Brother After Dark/C5 Chapter Four
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C5 Chapter Four

Electricity flowed from his lips to mine. He gave me one chaste kiss, and then he pulled back before leaning in again, waiting to see if I would meet him halfway. Well, he did mention we were living fantasies, right? So, I tiptoed so I could kiss him back. He tightened his arms around me and deepened the kiss. We lost ourselves while the song ‘You and I’ blasted on the speakers.

We didn’t care. It was the perfect song, the perfect moment… the perfect kiss. It sent tingles down my spine, making me want to feel more. I was glad that he was strong enough to hold me because I didn’t think I would be able to stand on my own.

Fireworks erupted above us, and the crowd cheered louder. He leaned his forehead against mine as he sucked in a deep breath.

“Wow…” he said softly.

I closed my eyes and smiled as I felt his arms around me tighten, as if he were afraid to break the connection we just had.

I turned around toward the stage. He wound his arms around my waist and pulled me to him so that my back was resting against his chest. He held me like that, and it felt comfortable and safe, even though he was a stranger. I hadn’t been this close to anyone before, and yet Zach’s arms around me felt real… and right. It felt familiar, like I’d been held like this before, and at the same time, strange, like it was the first time I was discovering these feelings, this sense of thrill and surge of emotions.

I didn’t know him, and yet I felt like I could trust him, and it wasn’t like me to trust easily. I still kept a lot from my best friends. I never appeared vulnerable to anybody. That’s why I never had a boyfriend before. I wasn’t comfortable opening up and trusting anybody. To trust is to show weakness. And the weak never survived—not in my world. To believe that a person would come back for you is pure stupidity. They never did.

I put my arms over his, and I felt him pull me closer. We listened quietly to the music. I savored the feel of this stranger’s arms around me. He leaned his cheek against my head.

“What’s your real hair color?” he whispered.

I giggled. “Don’t you like it the way it is now?”

“I do. But I think you’re the first rainbow-haired girl I’ve ever been interested in.”

I laughed. “What do you usually fancy? Blondes? Redheads? Brunettes?”

He was thoughtful for a while, and then he said, “I didn’t really pay attention to that. But now that you asked, I think I have a certain partiality for girls with ash-blond hair and big brown eyes.”

No shit!

I was tempted to tell him my real colors, but I stopped myself. This night was about adventures and fantasies. Maybe if we see each other again after this night, I will just take him by surprise.

“I guess you’ll remember me as the odd one someday.”

He gently spun me around. When I looked up at him, his brows were drawn together. “Why? Have you no intention of seeing me after tonight?”

In fairness to him, he sounded disappointed.

I smiled. “Anime chicks don’t exist in real life, stud. I only exist tonight. Tomorrow, I’ll be wiped out.”

In a way, that wasn’t a lie. Tomorrow, I would be back to my old life. This six-year reprieve was over. And so was my life as I had known and loved it. It’s pointless to drag Zach into the mess I would be coming home to.

“I have a feeling you won’t give me your phone number either,” he said.

“Were you going to ask for it?”

“Hell yeah!” he replied without hesitation.

“Too bad,” I said, giving him an apologetic look.

He shook his head. “Well, this party will last until morning. I have until then to change your mind.”

“I highly doubt that, stud. I’m unusually stubborn.”

“And I’m unusually persistent,” he said evenly.

I laughed. “Let’s see. Otherwise, let’s leave it up to fate.”

He shook his head. “I’m more of a make-your-own-destiny kind of guy.” His eyes drifted on my arm where my temporary tattoo was. “But maybe fate is in my favor this time.”

“What do you mean?”

“What are the chances that you got a tattoo with my initial on it a few minutes before you meet me?”

I laughed. “Don’t be absurd. It’s not your initial.”

“Last time I checked, Zach starts with Z.”

“Well, yeah. But…” I was thinking of somebody else when I had it done. “It just happened to be my favorite letter in the alphabet. Meeting a guy whose name started with a Z was just purely a coincidence.”

“It’s fate. Considering that Z is the fifth most uncommon initials for guys.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Coincidence. I was thinking of somebody else.”

He paused for a while and then carefully he asked, “You don’t already have a boyfriend, do you? I don’t have to steal you from some other guy? I took a vow never to covet some other guy’s girl. But for you, I just might make an exception.”

I laughed. “Relax. I’m not dating anyone. Relationships don’t come easy for me.”

He raised a brow. “Why? Your parents are strict?”

I shook my head. “My parents couldn’t care less about me.”

“Overprotective big brother who will punch the lights out of any guy who attempts to corrupt you?” he asked playfully.

Suddenly, my mood changed. It made me sad thinking that, yes, my big brother was protective of me. I think he would be overprotective and paranoid with the guys I would date. No, he wouldn’t make it easy for me to have a boyfriend. But it broke my heart to think that it was only just hypothetical now. Because my brother wasn’t really my brother anymore. Not biologically. Not even legally. I had no right to call him my brother at all. Right now, we were nothing but unrelated strangers.

“Did I say something wrong?” he asked.

I shook my head. “No.”

“Well, in any case, no brother of yours could ever stop me from doing this,” he said, and without warning, he leaned forward and took my lips in his. This time, he wasn’t gentle. He invaded my mouth. He tightened his grip on my bare waist as his skin sent infinite shocks of electricity to my body.

I was feeling hot, and my body was tingling all over. Suddenly, I forgot we were in the middle of a crowded place. We made out like we were the only people on the concert grounds. He tightened his arms around my body, holding me against him, touching me only in places he knew were safe to touch, careful not to scare me, drive me away, or turn me off.

Fireworks shot up the sky for the second time that evening—literally and figuratively. I looked up as thousands of colors burned above us. Then I stared into Zach’s expressive blue eyes. He was smiling back at me. And I just knew he felt the same magical feelings I did.

The band played the song ‘All I Wanna Do.’ He stared back at me and grinned. “Nice song,” he said in a teasing tone.

I couldn’t say that I wasn’t thinking what he was thinking. After that mind-blowing kiss, it was difficult not to wish we could go further.

I had never felt anything like this before. Usually, by this time in a date, I was plotting three levels of escape already. Any excuse that would not hurt the guy’s feelings but would make him never call me again.

But with Zach, I seemed to be drawn more and more. Like I wanted this evening to last forever. I felt neither safe nor in danger. I felt excited and thrilled. And for the first time, I wanted to explore more with him, because I had a feeling I could trust him.

Zach spun me around and wrapped his arms around me. I rested my head against his shoulder again as we watched the wonderful display of fireworks around us. I felt him nibble gently at my ear.

“You’re beautiful,” he whispered. “But I guess you’ve heard that already.”

“I don’t believe everything I hear.”

“Good girl,” he said. “But believe me when I say that you are gorgeous. I don’t get attracted to a girl at first sight. Especially if her hair isn’t ash blond. But there’s something about you that pulled me in, right there at the tattoo shop. When you ran off, I was afraid I would never see you again.”

“Maybe we’re meant to meet tonight,” I said.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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