Chapter 7:

Best Bros?

Annika Says No!

“Haha, you’re so funny!” Max slapped my shoulder.

“I’m serious…”

“Whaaaat?” Max’s eyebrows twitched. “The joke’s over now, buddy! Quit fooling around and let’s go! You can even bring your new girl too!”

I clicked my tongue. My heart began to sink deep down inside of me. Something screamed at me to take it all back, but I refused to listen to its desires. I was dying to say it was all just some stupid joke, yet I knew that it would completely destroy my resolve.

“Your resolve….is lukewarm,” her voice still lingers in my head.

As much as it pained me to let go of alcohol, I stood my ground. I didn’t want her to give me that look anymore. That icy cold glare she gave me when she said those words ate away a part of my soul. I can’t let Annika think I’m a weakling! I’ll show her….I can be better!

“This isn’t a joke, Max,” I said.

“No way. The Kwan I knew wouldn’t hesitate to have a drink with me!” Max placed his hands on my shoulders. “We were drinking partners! Brothers in alcohol! The greatest party duo this world has ever conceived! But now….what the hell happened to you?!”

I’m sorry, Max….

“Ahem,” Professor Juni interrupted. “Please take your drama outside. I would like some peace and quiet, thank you.”

“Fine,” Max scoffed. “Let’s take this outside, Kwan.”

Annika grabbed my hand.


“He already said he quit drinking,” Annika furrowed her eyebrows towards Max. “There’s nothing else to discuss. Let’s go, Kwan.”

Annika brushed her hair and pulled me away. She moved forward like a knight in shining armor, saving me from the clutches of the alcohol demons. I felt relieved, yet at the same time, disturbed at the thought as I turned my head back to look at Max. He watched me leave with a sullen face, which I found rather heartbreaking to look at. I looked away with a grimace, and left the classroom.

Max was someone I considered as one of my best friends. We’ve been through alot together, partied all night and drowned in all our sorrows together. With alcohol. We always had each other's backs. But now, I was left with no choice but to leave our history all behind.

I sniffed my nose and held back all the tears as we passed by a big fountain in front of the university building.

“Did you two really have to get so needlessly dramatic over alcohol?” Annika narrowed her eyes.

“Y-You wouldn’t get it, Annika. Alcohol was what strengthened our bonds as comrades!” I complained.

“If you need alcohol to maintain friendships, then there’s definitely something wrong with your relationships.”

“But he’s a dear friend of mine!”

“A dear friend would respect your decision,” Annika placed her hand on her chest. “Just like I would respect yours.”

She stopped in her tracks, right exactly in the middle of the entrance arch of the university, which had the sign ‘Gemini University’ painted in black held by two big white brick pillars. Annika tugged my shirt, to keep me from moving any further.

“You know, you don’t really have to keep your promise,” Annika sighed. “I’ve thought about it, and I realized that I’m just imposing my ideals on you.”

“You mean….”

“Yes, you’re free to do whatever you want. You aren’t obliged to follow my will. Go back to your friend if you think it’s what is best for you.”

I looked back towards the university building. If it’s all right with her, then I’ll just go, right? I can go back to Max and we can start drinking again! This is…exactly what I wanted!

My body seemed eager to run back in there, yet I didn’t budge. Something wasn’t right. I looked back towards Annika, who tried her best to find a pained smile.

“W-What’s the matter, Kwan?”

“Hmm……is this some sort of test?” I clenched my face.

Annika shook her head. “I’m serious.”

I wiped my face with my hand. “What exactly happens when I leave you here?”

Annika placed a finger on her chin. “Well, you get to drink alcohol with Max again, and we’re still gonna be best friends after that.”

That doesn’t sound like a bad deal. That’s an amazing deal! Yet why was there something eating away at my heart?

I thought about it deeply. Then it hit me.

Best friends.

“No thanks,” I turned forward and placed my hands on my pockets.

Annika didn’t follow me, but instead she looked at me in shock.

“What are you waiting for? Let’s go,” I said.

“Why didn’t you go back?” her eyes brimmed with curiosity, begging for an answer.

My cheeks flushed. “I don’t think we can be best friends the way I am now. It just doesn’t make sense. A person who indulges himself with vices doesn’t deserve to hang out with you.”

I lifted my fist up. “I’ve decided that I’m going to change for the better. Not just for you, but for my well being. That was what you wanted all along, right?”

I’m getting sick of these stupid addictions. If I had to choose between those vices and Annika, then it’s a pretty damn good no-brainer for me! I have to change, now!

“Yes,” Annika gave me a smile. “If that is what you want to do, then I’ll support you to the best of my ability!”

I chuckled.

The demons in me were outshined by her radiant smile. Their grips on me seemed to grow weaker, making my chest feel lighter. There was something about making her happy that gave me a taste of inner bliss. Even if my body wanted to scream at me for my polarizing decisions, my soul felt like it was being filled up on the inside, like an empty cup being poured with water in what felt like an eternity.

Annika skipped over to me and tiptoed to pat my head.

“I’m glad you decided to choose this path.”

“Stop right there!”

We both turned to see Max running from a distance. He stopped right after he passed through the entrance arch, and faced us both with a will of determination written on his face.

“Don’t give in to those witch’s lies, Kwan!”

“W-Witch?” Annika gasped.

“What are you talking about, Max?”

“It’s obvious! You’re just trying to get that girl’s ass aren’t you?!” Max pointed at me.

“H-Huh?” Annika shifted her head towards me.

“Don’t believe him, Annika! That’s not what I’m going for!”

To be fair, I do want to chase after her ass….but that’s not my intention here!

“Shut up, Kwan! You’re always willing to do anything to get inside a girl’s pants, that’s why you decided to ditch me and quit drinking!”

“T-That isn’t true! Right, Kwan?” Annika’s cheeks went pink.

“That was the old Kwan!” I said.

“Oh, come on! Let’s be real here!” Max rolled his eyes. “Kwan Kalor? The Master Playboy? Destroyer of Panties, Lifter of Skirts, Lord of Holes and Conqueror of Chicks? As if a man like that would ever change!”

How the hell did he come up with all those titles?!

“Well, I believe he can change!” Annika clenched her fist.

“Stay out of this!” Max screamed at her. “I know you’re hot, but this is between me and my fallen bro!”

“Cut it out, Max. This is getting out of hand,” I pinched the middle of my forehead.

“Your simpy behavior is getting out of hand!” He extended his arms. “What happened to bros before hoes, huh?!”

“Everything’s not about women, Max! This is about me quitting alcohol, okay! Why won’t you accept that?!”

“I don’t believe you! You’re definitely fallen under her spell, I can smell it!” Max sniffed intensely. “Don’t worry, Kwan! I’ll save you!”

Annika clicked her tongue. “This is getting ridiculous.”

“Get away from Kwan, now!” Max snapped. “You really think I don’t have the balls to hit a woman? Screw that! I believe in gender equality!”

“You wouldn’t dare,” I growled.

Without any hesitation, Annika walked forward.

“H-Hey, what are you doing?!” I grabbed her shoulder.

“Don’t worry, I can handle it,” Annika said. “Trust me.”

She gave me a look of assurance. There wasn’t even a single trace of fear in those deep blue eyes of hers. Something told me she had it all under control somehow. I gulped down my throat.

Did she not have any fear?

“I like your confidence, but it’s useless! Women don’t stand a chance against men in a fist fight!” Max showed off a fighting stance and punched the air.

“I don’t want to fight you,” Annika placed her hands together. “Can’t we just settle this with a cup of tea?”

“I don’t want any damn tea, I want alcohol!” Max rushed in towards her.

That idiot!

I panicked and sprinted from my spot. Is he actually serious about hitting her?!

“I’m sorry….” Annika whimpered.

Before Max could land a strike, she pulled out what looked like lipstick from her pocket and electrocuted the man on the spot.


Max fell down on the floor in an instant.

F.C Fondness