Chapter Five

It takes me a long time to quiet down. Then it suddenly occurs to me that my eyes are all red and puffed. Feeling embarrassed, I slightly push him away.

“Can you not look?” I said in a whisper.

“Your eyes are what you are worried about?” Great, the sarcastic version of him is back.

I heave a long sign and groan, “Please let me know if you are going to begin the judging. So I can be prepared.”

He glares at me. But I’m not afraid. Somehow his angry face makes me want to laugh.

“Glad to entertain you.” He taunts.

“…Sorry.” I manage to push my lips down, “How did you find me?”

He signs. “Your mom called me. I don’t think you would take the taxi. And there’s only one bus stop near the house. So I followed the route, searched every bus stop.”

My heart twitches with guilt. What I did was childish. And he’s right, if he didn’t get here in time, something horrible could have happened.

“Maybe I should call mom.” I stutter.

I know I should call her and put her mind at ease. But my head is still a complete chaos and it’s terrifying just thinking how she would react to tonight’s event.

Eason notices my reluctant. “I can call her. If you don’t want to.”

“Really? You would do that?”

“Sure.” He shrugs, “I’ve done you two big favors today. Why not make it a third?”

I laugh and I know he’s right.

He walks away to make a quick phone call. Moments later he comes back, and I am nervous.

“What did she say?” I ask, “You didn’t tell her about the—about what happened did you?”

“No. She just asked me to keep you safe.”

I’m relieved. I can deal with mom and whatever she has to say tomorrow. Tonight I’ll be fine.

“I guess you don’t want to head home right now, do you?” he grins, “I’ve got a plan for us. Hop in.”

He goes to open the door for me.

I’ve never ridden a sport car before. The space is restricted, making my whole body tightly anchored to the seat. Guess this car isn’t built for comfort.

I shift uncomfortably in my seat, fumbling for the seatbelt. Eason gets in the driver’s seat, both hands on steering wheel, squinting at me with a frown on his face.

“What?” embarrassed, I mutter. I’m a bit worried that he’d make fun of my ignorance.

The next second, he suddenly leans forward, cornering me between his chest and the seat. I immediately stiffen. His presence is so apparent, making the already confined room even more crowded. He’s so close that I can literally count his thick long eyelashes.

“Why? What do you want?” I stutter.

A slight smile touches his lips. He leans in even more and grabs something from behind my side.

“Nothing.” he sits back and chuckles quietly, “Just getting your seatbelt for you.”

I feel stupid of having my head all swirly around him. But he’s way too attractive that sometimes I forgot he’s my stepbrother.

The drive is quiet at first. None of us speaks up. But Eason seems to be in a nice mood, since he’s been tapping rhythmically on the steer wheel. When we are finally on the free road, he turns around and asks me: “Ready for something fun?”

My guard is up. His version of “fun” can’t possibly mean the same thing as mine. “Maybe, what do you have in mind?”

He grins at me widely and then turns on the music. I immediately cover my ear. The sound is unbearable! It shouldn’t be called as music, just loud, annoying, frantic noise!

“Turn it off! Now!” I shout.

“You will be thanking me soon!” he shouts back over the sound.

Suddenly he hits the pedal to the metal.

I feel my body being thrusted forward, like a truck has hit me from behind, and snapped back to the seat. The roaring engine, the howling wind and the heavy metal music are almost deafening! It’s like being thrown on a goddamn rollercoaster!

I scream on top my lung. “What the fuck! Stop!”

He slightly releases the gas, but the speed is still so fast. “Relax! Just enjoy it!”

How can I possibly enjoy it?! It’s more like torture!

But after the initial panic passes, a strange electricity runs down my spine. My mind is completely blank and my body so light that it almost feels like flying. I don’t want to admit it. But he’s right…this is thrilling!

He notices my change of expression and shouts to me over the wind. “Having fun?”

“Eyes on the road!” I scream and he laughs.

The ride is shorter than I expect. Before I realize, we have already exited the free road and pull into the city. My heart is still pounding from earlier excitement as he smiles at me, “You like it?”

“Yeah.” I admit, “But next time give me a head up.”

He laughs. “Already planning on our next ride? I’ll see how my schedule fit to it.”

I laugh along, but then suddenly realize, I must not be the only girl he has brought to a car-racing before. In fact, this sport car is such a woman killer that he must have pulled this act a thousand times.

My heart sinks a bit thinking of this. I’ve always knew Eason is popular among girls, but it has never bothered me as much.

Maybe because he has changed so much, and I’m still not used to it.

“What’s on your mind?” he can be so observant sometimes.

“Nothing.” I lie and look up. We are pulling into the driveway in front of a fancy building. “Where are we?”

“My place.” Eason kills the engine and clears his throat, “I thought…I don’t know. If you don’t want to go back home, you can stay here for tonight. I have extra rooms.”

He’s nice to me again. I look to him directly and sincerely say, “Thank you Eason.”

He casually shrugs, as if it’s no big deal. But I can tell that he’s not so use to other’s gratitude. I smile to myself and follow him into the building.

His apartment is on the top floor, the penthouse of course. When we exit the elevator and he opens the door, I immediately take in a sharp inhale.

I’ve imagined his place to be huge. But I’ve never pictured…this.

The living room is shockingly spacious, featuring a glazed wall overlooking the entire city. Soft lights come to life as we step inside, illuminating the light-colored room décor. The brown leather sofa and ivory hardwood floor are very harmonious to each other. This room looks like a picture from a home design magazine.

“Wow.” I don’t know what to say, “Wow!”

He chuckles and gesture me to come inside. “Thanks for the compliment.”

I walk around and carefully put my hand on an ornament sitting on the table. “This looks nothing like a house for a student.”

“Yeah well. I didn’t want to stay in the townhouse. So this is what I get.”

I snort a laughter. “Most student rent a studio with shared bathroom or live on campus if they don’t want to stay with parents. They don’t get this.”

“And I’m glad you like it.” He smiles as he opens the fridge and tosses me a bottle of ice beer.

I really shouldn’t be drinking. But thinking about everything that happened today, I decide that I deserve a sip.

Eason pops up his can and sits next to me, “Do you want to talk about why you stormed out this afternoon?”

I fall into silent. I still feel hurt, but I don’t resist the idea of telling him.

So I told him, from how I plan to surprise Zack on his birthday to how I got kicked out by my dad.

“That means…you are staying?” he asks. For some reason, his tone sounds odd, as if he’s trying to suppress some strong feelings.

“I guess.” I groan. “I can’t believe this. I’m so used to Miami now and I can’t imagine I must start over on my senior year.”

He doesn’t seem to be so happy. “You are only in Miami for 3 years. You were born in Boston.”

“Yeah, still.” I turn around at him, “But you know what? If I stay, I might end up in your school. That’s not so bad, is it?”

He looks at me with a gentle gleam in his eyes. Gradually, he curls his lips and forms a smile.

“Yeah, that’s not so bad.” He grins.

That smile is probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I know he’s my stepbrother and everything, but my heart race still quickens because of him from time to time.

Without thinking twice, something slips out through my lips. “Can I ask you something?”

He raises his eyebrows. “Sure.”

There’s no turning back. I take in a swallow.

“Why do you hate me?”

He looks at me for a long time, face unreadable. I suddenly feel nervous under his gaze. I want to change the subject, but he suddenly leans in and closes the gap between us.

His voice husky and gentle. And he asks me, “Why do you think I do?”

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Esther Enuabanosa Akioya
babe girl don't trust your brother
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