Shoulda Known Better


Now, let me tell you this before we even get any further into my story. I had the full intention of going home and sleeping when I left the bar with Brian. I was actually a little tired; the alcohol was definitely taking affect of my judgment skills. Which is probably why, when Brian suggested I come with him to check out these awesome new shirts his band-mate Zacky was working on for his clothing line, I begrudgingly said okay.

So that’s why, here I am, sitting in the passenger’s seat of Brian’s SUV looking straight ahead at a large home I could only assume to be Zack’s. What the hell was I doing? Zack is literally the only person I never want to see. He gives me anxiety, pardon my French, up the ass. Legitimately, I couldn’t see why I agreed to come, but like I said I was inebriated, Brian was good looking, and for some unknown reason all night whenever he smiled at me I basically gave in without hesitation.

Brian pulled the keys out of the ignition and turned to me, smiling once again. “Ready?” he asked, opening the front door, giving me a cue to do the same.

My hands were a little fidgety, which I chalked up to my nerves. Which, might I add, were not as severe as the last time I ran into this man. Maybe, it was because this time I had actually had the previous knowledge that he was going to be in my presence instead of it being sprung on me like a rabbit in April.

“Actually, I think I might have one more cigarette, if that’s okay with you.” I replied, knowing that some nicotine would definitely calm my nerves. “You can go on ahead. I’ll just knock on the front door when I’m done.” Brian’s brows furrowed a little bit, most likely at the idea of leaving me outside alone again. I gave him a small smile, letting him know it was all okay. “I promise, I’ll just be a second.”

“Well, alright then.” He conceded, finally taking a step out of his car, and me following suit. We both slammed our respective car doors at the same time, and while I hung back and leaned against the black automobile, Brian moved forward to head inside.

As I lit up my cigarette, I saw Brian give me one last glance before knocking on his friend’s front door. A second later the door was opened, and the unmistakable tone of Zach’s voice floated through my ears. Brian gave me one last furtive glance before stepping through the threshold and disappearing into the house. I exhaled loudly, letting a stream of smoke pass over my lips.

Its understandable that my first instinct, once I was left alone with the silence of a summer night, was to run as far away as possible from Zack’s home as my drunk feet would take me. But, after looking around at the surrounding houses, I realized I didn’t know this part of Huntington Beach, and I would be utterly helpless at finding my way back to my flat.

With a dejected sigh, I stubbed out my cigarette and made my way towards the front door of Zack’s home. “Time to face the music.” I muttered to myself, not really ready for the situation that I put myself in.

Just as I went to rap my fist against the front door, it opened before me, and I was met with a pair of startled green eyes. Zack’s face held complete surprise that I was standing before him, at his home, which I’m sure he was wondering how I knew was his. I could only assume Brian did not tell his friend that I was with him.

“Um, hi.” I greeted, pathetically. This man consistently had me at a lack of words. I shuffled from one foot to another awkwardly.

“Hi.” He replied, the confusion not hard to miss in his tone of voice. “What are you doing—“

Just as Zack was about to question my presence, Brian walked up behind Zack and cut him off completely. “Hey man, I couldn’t find your cigs but you can just bum one of mine. Oh! Hey Evangeline.” He displayed his teeth as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Apparently, Brian didn’t feel the uncomfortable energy in the doorway, because he just pushed forward past Zack and out the door. “Your cig made me want a cig, and then I asked Zacky and he wanted one too so I figured we’d join you. But, I guess it looks like you’re finished, huh?”

I glanced between him and Zack once again before giving him a sheepish nod. “But I can stand out here with you if you’d like.” I offered, trying to shake the uncomfortable feeling coursing through me.

Without another word, the three of us piled out onto the front porch. The guys each lit a cig, and took a seat on the steps leading up to Zack’s home. I stood by them, fumbling with my fingers, not really knowing what exactly I should do or say. Thankfully, Brian noticed my awkwardness, finally.

“Zacky,” he started, “have you met Evangeline? She’s the girl from the coffee shop, remember?”

Instinctually, my eyes moved from Brian who was speaking, over to Zack who was once again staring at me with those green eyes, an emotion floating through them I couldn’t quite place. “Yeah, we’ve met.” He offered. I knew full well what he meant, and I turned my head away from him back to Brian, who looked a little confused now.

“Really? You two know each other?” he questioned further, not realizing exactly what he was doing to the two of us. I saw Zack open his mouth to reply, but I beat him to it, before he could dig a hole for the two of us.

“His mother lives next door to my mother.” I explained, “I’ve run into him from time to time.” That’s as far as I went with that explanation. Brian didn’t need to know any more in my opinion.

Unfortunately, it seemed Zack wasn’t so delicate as I. “Yeah, run into each other is one thing you can call it.” He let a small smirk slip onto his lips, giving me a knowing look. “Evangeline here smokes like a chimney.”

I let out a small huff as Brian turned to me in surprise. “Cigarettes?” he asked, letting the same smirk that graced Zack’s face a minute ago fall onto his. “Or more? You’re not a druggie, are you?” He gave me a discriminating look, trying to figure out exactly what I smoked. I couldn’t help letting out a small chuckle at Brian. I was starting to like him already.

“Do I look like a druggie, Brian?” I questioned, putting my hands on my hips and shifting my weight to one leg.


“Right,” I continued, “there’s nothing wrong with a girl who likes to smoke a little herb every once in a while.” At my justification, Zack snorted back a laugh. Both Brian and I turned to him in question. “What?” I asked, not knowing what exactly could be so funny to this man.

“Every time I’ve ever seen you, you were outside on that front porch taking a bowl to the face.” He commented, as if he had seen me more than the two times that I’d run into him. I scoffed at him, completely ready to retort something back, but Brian beat me to it.

“Do you have anything on you now?” His tone almost sounded hopeful. I couldn’t help giving into the tug on my lips at how these two were acting. It was quite amusing to me, probably more so now that I still had a few drinks in me.

I opened my mouth to reply, first turning towards Zack and raising my eyebrows. “First off, Zack, I don’t remember seeing you besides those two times I smoked you up. And if I’m remembering correctly, those were jays both times.” I spun a little and turned on to Brian. “And not on me, but we can smoke sometime if you’re interested.” I gave him a much more welcoming smile than I did Zack. “I like smoking with people, but I mostly smoke alone.”

Brian nodded his head at me, agreeing that one day soon he and I would smoke. At this point, the boys had finished their cigarettes, unceremoniously tossed them over the stoop and got up to head back inside. I followed behind them like a lost puppy.

The minute I entered into Zack’s home, the first thing I noticed was the smell. It wasn’t the usual man-cave type of smell, but something about it was oddly familiar and I realized it must have smelled like him. I small pang of anxiety flew through me, as my mind flashed back to a glimpse of me burying my face in Zack’s neck on top of my kitchen counter, inhaling the inherent scent of Zack. I quickly shook my head and rid myself of the thoughts of Zack’s and mine bodies tangled together.

We all made our way into the kitchen, me trailing behind the two other men. Zack walked up to his fridge and pulled out three beers, popping open their tops, and handing one to Brian and then the other to me. He kept one for himself, and took a larger swig of it.

Brian followed suit and I took as big of a gulp as I could muster. I couldn’t help wondering what Zack thought of me being in his home. I mean, obviously, he had already been inside mine, but this felt different. I felt like I was treading in territory that I shouldn’t be. Are men usually okay with one of their one-night-stands showing up on their front stoop close to midnight? I never stuck around long enough with a guy to try to find out.

Brian and Zack seemed to be talking about something, but I was off in my own little world, thinking uselessly about the same things over and over again, not coming up with any answers for myself. I guess it had been a few minutes that I was thinking because I was brought out of my daze by a tattooed hand flying back and forth in front of my face. I instantly snapped my gaze over to Brian who was giving me one of those smiles again.

I felt a blush creep its way over my face. “Oh, I’m sorry.” I apologized, realizing someone must have said something to me. “What did you say?”

Brian chuckled at me for the millionth time that night. “Dazed and confused, Evangeline? I just was saying that we’re going to head upstairs to check out some of those t-shirt designs I mentioned.”

I nodded my head, understanding as we all made our way out of the kitchen and to the stairs. As we were walking up, I followed Brian with Zack behind me. Halfway up the stairs, I decided to ask Zack about his clothing line. I slightly turned my head to meet his eyes. However, when I turned, Zack’s eyes were intently staring farther down on my body, and I realized he must have been staring at my ass as I was walking up the staircase.

“Zack” I said, getting his attention and snapping his eyes in my direction. He looked up at me like a deer in headlights, “Brian says you have your own clothing line.” It was more of a statement than a question, but it was hint for him to tell me more.

“Oh, yeah.” He nodded, and I turned my attention to the landing on the second floor we had now just reached. “I started it a few years ago. It’s my baby. It’s called Vengeance University.”

I nodded nonchalantly, realizing Zack wasn’t going to offer up much more information until we saw the clothing ourselves. Brian continued in the direction of a room that I could only assume held Zack’s clothing. He seemed to know where it was already.

I honestly did not know what to expect of Zack’s clothing, what it would be like, or in what taste it would be. I didn’t know the man very well. Well, you could argue that I got to know him better than most people could claim, but that’s not the type of knowing I’m referring to.

Anyhow, I was simply blown away at his designs. They looked like something I would wear on a regular basis. As he took out each new article of clothing and passed it to Brian, muttering little tidbits of information, I felt as if I was gathering an image of Zack I had never before glimpsed.

He was a person.

Well, I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t that fucking obvious Eva? Great observation skills.

I just hadn’t really taken the time to think like that about him before. I had never set Zack aside in my mind as a human being, with feelings, passions, and concerns just like myself. In actuality, I didn’t often do that for most people. I guess you could call it selfish, or morbidly naïve. Either way, I hadn’t really bothered to look at Zack in this transcendental light that was now shining down on him as I watched him point to different articles of clothing and his eyes lit up in a flurry of excitement.

I must have zoned out into my thoughts of Zack once again because I felt both men’s eyes cast upon me. I shook my head to rid my thoughts and plastered a small smile on my face. “I must be sleepy.” I confessed, giving them both my most sheepish look. “My mind really can’t stay focused for shit tonight.”

I maneuvered my eyes quickly over Zack again; still a bit flustered at this new perspective I developed about him. His eyes, when they met mine, held something I could not quite place. Curiosity, maybe? I couldn’t tell. I didn’t know him well enough to be able to quite yet.

“Do you want to head home, Evangeline?” Brian questioned, his voice slurring a bit at the end. I hadn’t really noticed how much he’d had to drink since we got to Zack’s but, it seemed to be having an effect on him now.

“Can you drive?” I questioned, bluntly. “I don’t really know where I am, but if you can’t drive maybe you can just tell me how to get home and I’ll walk. I don’t really want you to put yourself in danger in anyway, you know. What with the alcohol-“

My ramblings were cut off by Zack. “You two can stay here if you’d like.” I whipped my head to look at him at the same time Brian began to defend his sobriety. In my honest opinion, if you had to defend your sobriety, it was usually because you weren’t convincing anyone. And that includes cops.

And I don’t know if you know this about me or not, as the avid weed-smoker that I am, but cops and I don’t mix. Ever. Period.

“Brian, man” Zack said, putting his arm on his friend’s shoulder, “You’re unconvincing. Just sleep in my guest room, it’s fine. You guys can just leave in the morning.”

“Can I drink more now, then?” Brian questioned, appearing to mull over the whole idea in his brain. I couldn’t help the giggle that escaped my lips at his question. He noticed and shot me a devilish smirk. “Does Evangeline get to stay with me too?” he pressed, in a drunkenly flirtatious manner.

At this question, I stopped my giggling and shot a sideways glance to Zack. His eyes momentarily burned with some emotion I, once again, could not quite place, before returning back to their normal smoldering green. “If she wants.” He gave a shrug for good measure, and I was certain he felt no minor attachment to me for what we had done together in the past. And why should he? It was a one-night, two-round go between us.

It means nothing, right? At least not to Zack…
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The reciprocation of this story is lack-luster at best, which makes me even more inclined to wait months to post updates.

Sorry for the wait. I feel like once school ends, I'll have more time to dedicate to the FUCKING AWESOME plot line I've created for this story.

Let me know your thoughts, if there's anyone out there that's still reading.