Shoulda Known Better



The voice sounded vaguely familiar, but I was in the middle of a comfortable, dreamless sleep and I didn’t feel much like opening my eyes just yet. Besides, my pillow was ridiculously comfy and the fabric softener I must have used last on my sheets was to die for.

“Wake up fuckers!”

There it was again. I let out a small groan and snuggled deeper into my pillow. If I ignore it, it will just go away.

Wrong. Within seconds I could feel what I would assume to be a tip of someone’s shoe poking me in the middle of my back. It hurt. I groaned louder now, trying to let whoever was waking me up to just give up and let me sleep in peace.

“Evangeline.” Why did I know that voice? Better yet, how did they get in my home? “Zacky.”

That one caught my attention. The wheels in my head started turning immediately. I wasn’t at home at all. I was still at Zack’s. We had spent the whole night talking and must have passed out after dawn. I couldn’t even remember passing out. Once everything came flooding back to me and I reluctantly lifted one eye open. I was blinded by the light of day. “Ugh,” I immediately turned my head further into my pillow. However, I instantaneously noticed that my pillow was breathing slowly. Lifting my head to investigate, my eyes locked directly onto Zack’s chest. I noticed a small damp circle on his shirt where I must have been drooling on him. His arm was casually wrapped around me, and my legs had become entangled in his.

Despite my confused sleep-state, I was desperate to remove myself from the position as soon as possible. As I slowly attempted to pull myself away from the contented spot, I heard a chuckle from my side. I turned my head further and met Brian’s amused expression.

“Yeah?” he said, as the edge of lips pulled into a smirk. His hands were crossed over his chest and he was giving me an all-knowing look, as if he could guess how the two of us came to be so wrapped up in each other overnight.

My eyes still hadn’t quite adjusted to the light, and I continued my frowning squint at this man who had unceremoniously woke me from my slumber. “What the fuck is so important?” I grumbled, trying to rub the sleep from my eyes as I finally took a full sitting position.

“It’s like three o’clock in the afternoon.” Brian explained, coming to sit down next to me. We both glanced over at Zack, who had just begun to groan and wake from his own sleep. “I thought you two would have woken up hours ago, but I guess I was wrong. Did you two stay up all night?”

His tone was rather suggestive, and I picked up on it immediately. However, I was rather grumpy from sleeping on a porch all night and didn’t feel the need to dignify his question with a response. Instead, I simply began digging through my pockets for my cigarettes before lighting one up in front of him.

“Jesus, you’re just asking for cancer, aren’t you?” he questioned sarcastically, as he lit one for himself. I watched him curiously as he took a drag from his own bogie. I don’t think, no matter how many times I looked at this guy, I could get over his attractiveness. I had never known a single man who could be classified as pretty in the same way that Brian was. It was kind of ridiculous. It also kept me on my toes around him. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he wasn’t my type but that didn’t mean I couldn’t appreciate the view.

Dragging my cigarette, I exhaled with a deep breath, half expecting to feel a familiar searing pain in my temple. Surprisingly, I felt nothing. That was weird. I was almost certain my lack of sleep, drinking, and anxiety would have kicked a migraine into full swing at this point.

“Evangeline?” A groggy voice from my side tore my attention away from Brian and myself. I looked over to my side to see that Zack had decided to finally get up and was now staring at me with a questioning glance. He opened his mouth to speak but, I cut him off already knowing the question.

“I think we fell asleep out here.” My voice felt rough and hard admitting it to him. I looked up at his jade eyes and when they met his for a second, I began to recollect the intimate conversation of the night before. I could feel a burning in my face as I started to remember all the things said between us. The sex. The frustration. The whole virginity thing. And I couldn’t help but turn away from him to avoid him seeing how uncomfortable I felt.

“Oh.” His voice sounded distant and flat, as if he too was remembering everything from the night before.

“Are you blushing right now?” I had almost forgotten Brian was on the other side of me. Thank goodness he felt the need to make his presence known again. I felt his fingertips graze under my chin and turn my face to look at him. The motion was almost tender. I reluctantly turned my eyes to his brown ones. The amusement in them was clearer than when he had initially woken us up. My blush deepened and I attempted to remove my chin from his grasp to avoid further embarrassment. “She is! Zacky, my man, what happened after I fell asleep last night? Must have been a hell of an evening to get our brooding babe to turn so red.”

His words made my insides twist with discomfort and I desperately needed to escape this conversation. Before Brian or Zack had another chance to breathe, let alone reply, I shot up from my place on the porch and flicked my cigarette away. I didn’t even care that there was an ashtray sitting two feet away from me. “I’m using the bathroom.” I removed myself from the back porch and went to find a toilet.

By the time I finished up in the bathroom and came back outside, the guys were now in the kitchen. They had seemed to be muttering to each other, but immediately stopped speaking the minute I returned to the room.

“Jeeze, don’t stop the party on my account.” I muttered, running a hand through my tousled hair awkwardly. They made no move to reply so I continued further. “Brian, are you leaving anytime soon? If not, could you just point me in the direction of the bar we were at last night. I’ll try to figure my way back.”

Brian opened his mouth to respond, but Zack beat him to the punch. “I can drive you home, Evangeline.”

Apparently that seemed curious to both Brian and I, because we both raised our eyebrows in confusion at Zack’s suggestion. Not really wanting to debate it, and badly wanting to return to the comforts of home, I nodded my head at him. “Okay, Zack. Would you be willing to take me home now?”

He nodded and made a motion to stand up. Brian followed suit. They both grabbed their keys and wallets and proceeded to walk right past me to the front door. I followed like a lost puppy. I had had a very interesting night, and there were a lot of things going through my mind. I could only imagine what those men were thinking about.

We stepped back into the afternoon air, and I made an attempt at an awkward goodbye with Brian. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

“Are you going to disappear for good this time, or can I expect to be seeing your pretty little face again soon?” he questioned, giving me another one of those dazzling smiles that had such a strange effect on me. I nodded, not actually knowing what the future held for me. “Well here, give me your number so I can’t lose you.” He pressed, taking his phone out of his back pocket.

I gave a stray glance to Zack, noticing the flirty tone Brian was now using with me. Is he like that with every girl? Zack’s expression was, as per usual, utterly unreadable. “Okay.” I acquiesced, before rattling off my phone number to him. “If you want to smoke sometime, just hit me up.” I offered for good measure. Brian sent me another toothy grin before he scooped me up in his arms for a hug.

It was strange, the hug. I don’t get many very often. I don’t usually have physical contact with many people unless I want it. So, his giant bear hug threw me for a loop. “I’ll be texting you soon, Eva.” Brian muttered close to my ear, using my nickname I hadn’t even bothered to suggest to him. I nodded once more, removing myself from his arms and shooting him one fleeting grin before turning back around towards Zack.

His expression, though I still wasn’t sure I could place it, looked to be a little disgruntled. The two of us silently watched Brain’s car pull out of the driveway and drive off down the street. I continued to watch his fading taillights until I heard Zack clear his throat beside me. I turned and noticed him standing against the side of his car. “Are you ready to go?” he asked, to which I nodded.

The ride back to my home began in silence, with only a few muttered directions on my part as to where I lived. Zack informed me that he knew exactly where my apartment was located and that I didn’t need to direct him any further. That’s when the car ride grew to a much more uncomfortable silence after his admission. I wanted to say something to him, anything really just to break the silence but my mind was completely drawing a blank. We had opened up to each other so much the night before, but I was starting to realize that might have been the THC talking, and I still wasn’t fully comfortable being around Zack sober.

“Sorry about Brian.” Zack muttered, not removing his eyes from the road. I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion, and when he glanced over at me he continued. “You know, the flirting and teasing. That’s just the kind of guy he has always been. I hope you weren’t uncomfortable.”

“I wasn’t uncomfortable. I figured as much.” I replied in a quiet tone. Zack glanced at me once again through his peripherals.

“You did?” he questioned. I nodded in reply, but instantly knew he was hoping for a larger explanation.

“I just assumed that is what he would be like. You know, he’s got the whole pretty boy thing going on with him.” I explained, shrugging my shoulders. “Men like him don’t flirt with me unless it’s in their nature.”

“Men like him?” he pressed, obviously confused at what I meant.

“You know,” I replied, vaguely “attractive.”

At this admission, Zack let out a sputter of a laugh, as if he was dismissing my commentary as simply ridiculous. I, once again, felt myself furrowing my eyebrows at him. “What?” I questioned, while he was shaking his head.

“Nothing.” He dismissed, waving his hand at me. I ran my hand through my hair again, awkwardly.

“No tell me.” I pushed, wanting to know what was going on behind those pretty green eyes of his.

“I just think that’s a load of bullshit.” His blunt response floored me for a moment. I didn’t know how to respond, and I just kept opening and closing my mouth like a fish out of water. My silence must have seemed like a signal for him to continue because he soon started rambling. “I mean, no offense Evangeline, but you must have men tripping at your feet all day. I can hardly believe that men don’t flirt with you everywhere you go. I just don’t believe that for a second.”

I clenched and unclenched my jaw. “I didn’t say that men don’t flirt with me. I just said attractive men don’t flirt with me.” I explained, putting all my attention on Zack’s facial expressions. I can’t tell you what caused me to want to explain myself further to him, but I continued on. “The way I’ve always seen it, I appeal to a certain group of men. The rest of them…Well let’s just leave it at I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.”

Zack turned to look at me with a serious expression etched into his face. He his eyes went to the road quickly before again turning back to me. His expression had not changed. “You’re serious?” His tone was completely baffled.

“Well, yeah..” I trailed off again, feeling heat begin to rise in my cheeks. I was starting to have that uncomfortable feeling of embarrassment forming in the pit of my stomach. Maybe I shared too much with someone I wasn’t close with yet. Then again, I didn’t really have anyone that I could consider myself close with. These past few weeks of interactions between Zack’s friends and myself are as close as I’ve gotten to real friendship in years.
I turned my face to the window, not wanting Zack to catch on to my embarrassment.

“You’re beautiful.” He muttered, so quietly I almost thought I misheard him. I turned my head back around to him in confusion.


He shrugged, resolved in not repeating himself. “You heard me. Did someone not tell you that enough growing up?” His question immediately had me recollecting my childhood with my mother, merciless and emotionless when it came to raising me. I just shook my head. “What?” he questioned again, wanting me to clarify. I shook my head, deeply, trying to let him know without words that it was embarrassing for me. “C’mon, Evangeline” he continued.

At this point we had reached my apartment complex and he was pulling into a parking spot. I had hoped that our arrival would signal the drop of the subject, but once Zack shut of the car and turned his body and full attention onto me, I knew he was waiting for a response.

“It’s embarrassing.” I muttered, avoiding eye contact with him as much as possible.

Taking a page from Brian’s book, Zack slipped his calloused fingers under my chin and turned my face to meet his gaze. “Evangeline” he whispered, causing me to bore into the unreadable expression in his eyes, “You can tell me. I swear, no judgment.” The hand that was not cupping my jaw raised into the air and he sent me a small smile for good measure. The look in his eyes, mixed with the deafening sound of my heartbeat racing had me blurting out the words before I could think twice.

“It was you, okay.”

“What?” That seemed to be our favorite phrase today.

“It was you.” I repeated, the continued. “That night at my mother’s house, in the middle of…it. You told me I was beautiful. That was the first and last time I had heard someone say that, except for today.”

At my admission, I tried to tear myself away from his touch. I didn’t want to see the pity in his eyes, and I couldn’t stand hearing it in his voice. I felt so vulnerable and exposed in that moment I could barely contain my anxiety. I had to get out of the car. I needed to be apart from Zack in this moment. This kind of stuff was just too much to handle, my emotions were going haywire.

“I-I need to go.” I stuttered, still moving my eyes in any direction that would not connect them to Zack’s. I undid the seatbelt of the car, and began opening the door to get out of the car.


I had heard him but I couldn’t stand to look at him. I didn’t want to see it, the pity. I pulled myself up and out of his car without a backwards glance. “Thank you for the ride.” I muttered, shutting the door behind me.

“Evangeline!” I heard a second car door and I knew he had removed himself from the vehicle as well. I just continued up my driveway to the front door in a hurried pace. I started fumbling with my keys and that’s when he finally caught up with me. “Evangeline, wait, please.” He sounded so sad, I couldn’t help but pause my actions. “Look at me.”

“I’d rather not right now, Zack.” I admitted, fiddling anxiously with my keys.

I heard him sigh and could see him step closer to me out of my peripheral vision. His hand gently reached out and grabbed hold of my forearm and I felt as if my skin was melting from his touch. I couldn’t help but glance up into his eyes. There was no pity anywhere to be seen. Instead I saw so much intensity behind those dark green orbs, I froze on the spot.

“Please, Evangeline. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. Please don’t run away from me.” It sounded almost as if he was begging, and I was curious as to why he even cared at all if I had gone inside. I didn’t make a move to reply so he continued. “Have I really been the only person who’s told you that you were beautiful?” he questioned, an almost pained expression mixing into his face.

I nodded slowly.

I can tell you here and now, I don’t know what clicked or changed inside that man’s mind. Before I even knew what was happening, I felt his lips crush themselves onto mine. The force of his actions had me falling back into my front door for support. Zack’s hands snaked their way around my face and he was kissing me, over and over again. It only took a second for my mind to catch up with what was happening before I felt myself melting into his touch and giving into his caresses. I molded my lips into his and pulled his body even closer to myself, if that was at all possible. The only sound between us was the heavy breathing that came in sputters when our lips parted for a moment.

Suddenly, Zack pulled away and looked down at me with that same intense expression. His hands were still cupped around my face. “Can I come inside?” he breathed out, before leaning in and pressing his lips to mine once again. My lips felt electrified from his kiss.

It was more of a moan than a whisper, my response. “Yes.”

And with that simple permission, Zack fell into my arms and, after, into my bed.
♠ ♠ ♠
WOOHOO. Been waiting to write this chapter for a while now. I'm sure someone out there is gonna be like 'I WANT THE SMUT' and to you I say, there will be smut, just not quite yet. I want this to be a long and glorious story with all sorts of twists and turns. I just don't think we're at the smut portion of this story yet.

Please let me know what you think of it!

I'm sorry for such delayed chapters, I've had a lot of term papers to write in the past month and I've still got a few more before the end of the semester.