Chapter 10:

Alcohol Makes Me Happy

Annika Says No!

“Who’s this hot chick supposed to be?” the buzzcut man complained.

“That’s not important. What is important is that you should stop fighting,” Annika demanded.

What is she thinking?! Does she really just expect them to just stop?

“You can’t tell us what to do, missie. This isn’t a place for the ladies.”

Annika scoffed and walked closer to us. “I already called the cops here, so I don’t think you have much of a choice.”

“You did what?!” one of the men shivered. “Damn it! Let’s get out of here!”

The five men panicked and sprinted past us.

“This isn’t over!”

After they went out of sight, the alley fell silent. Out of impulse, I grabbed Annika’s shoulders and scolded her.

“You shouldn’t have been here! It’s dangerous! You could have gotten yourself hurt!”

Annika’s eyes widened, and she furrowed her eyebrows.

“Same goes for you!” She poked my chest. “Were you seriously planning on taking on all of those guys with just the two of you?”

“I can handle it just fine!”

“You never know, Kwan!”

“Stop underestimating me!” I lashed out on her.

Annika shifted her body backwards and looked away with a grimace. I realized I was being harsh on her, so I bent my body downwards.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to….”

I felt a hand rubbing the top of my head. I leaned back up and watched Annika’s eyes turn into a sparkling crystal blue.

“I’m just worried about you. Every time you got into a fight, you always got hurt one way or another. Didn’t I already tell you before? I hate it when that happens!” Annika slammed her hands gently against my chest.

I held her arms and sighed.

“You did the right thing. I was in the wrong. Thanks for helping us.”

“It’s no problem,” Annika said as she let out a slight grin.

“How did you find this place anyway?”

“I followed you.”

“You did? How did you keep track of me?”

Annika giggled. “You’re a pretty tall guy, way too easy to spot from the crowd.”

“I guess so,” I scratched my head.

“Ahhhhhh, I hate this! I hate this so so so much!”

Max yelled as he laid by the wall in an awkward position. He tossed and turned and rolled around, then he started dropping tears.

“Ugh, I feel sick. I’m about to-”

I won’t get into the details of what he did right after.

Annika turned away and gagged. I massaged my forehead and took a deep sigh.

“Come on, Frey. Let’s help him ou-”

I turned to look at him, but he was nowhere to be found. Not even a single trace of him was left. No sound, no goodbyes, just thin air. I narrowed my eyes and grumbled.

I’m not even surprised, he does that a lot.

“All right Max, I’m taking you back home.”

I moved to carry Max on my back and lifted his weight upward. He wasn’t that heavy for me, so I had little trouble walking.

“Are you gonna be fine?” Annika asked.

“Yep, I can take it. I’ve done it before.”

Before I could take a step further, I stopped and raised an eyebrow.

“Wait a minute, didn’t you call the cops?”

“I lied,” Annika stuck out her tongue.

I sighed. “I knew it.”

Once we left the dark alleyway, I immediately caught eyes looking in my direction. A grown man having a piggyback ride on another man is definitely a rare sight, so I could understand. Or maybe it’s just my charming looks. Still, it was a little nerve-wracking, having all the attention drawn towards you.

Fortunately, the streets leading back to our apartment were in the more peaceful suburb areas, so I didn’t have to deal with that for long.

“Kwaaaaaaan!” Max cried. “Why did you have to leave me all alone?! I really wanted to have a nice drink with youuuu!”

“I can’t do that anymore Max. I’ve decided to quit for good.”

“Ehhhhhhhh? Then who am I supposed to drink with? What’s the pooooint anymore?! It’s not fun without yoooooou!”

I winced at the thought. I always thought Max was a socialite, so I figured he’d have no problem finding other people to drink with. Yet why does he sound so lonely?

“I just want to have fun with everyooone! But it never feels like they genuinely want to hang out with meeee! You’re just the same as them, Kwan, aren’t you?!”

“What about Frey?” I asked.

“Who cares about Freeey?! I can barely feel his presence!”

I’m starting to feel bad for Frey at this point…..

“My heart….it feels so empty. So lifeless. So lonely. Why?! I’m doing everything I can to have fun, but why do I still feel this waaaaaaay? Why, Kwan? Tell me! Tell me!”

A sudden realization sank down on my chest. He’s never been like this before. I always thought he was a happy-go-lucky guy who’s living the good life, coming from a rich family who lets him do whatever he wants. For as long as I could remember, he was always smiling when we were hanging out. How much did he drink exactly……?

“Alcohol doesn’t make you happy, that’s why,” Annika spoke out for the first time in a while.

“It does! It does!”

“You don’t sound happy though.”

“I’m happy! And sad!”

This guy’s a lost cause.

“You’re contradicting yourself,” Annika poked his cheek.

“Oh yeah? Good night.”

Max dozed off, with saliva drooling down my pants.

“Ugh, Max! Gross!” I said.

Annika moved away from me and covered her mouth. It doesn’t look like she’s ever seen a drunk person up close before.

“Sorry, Annika. Our date was cut short because of all this.”

“Just to be clear, we’re not dating, just hanging out. It’s fine.”

I hung my head down my shoulders. Can’t believe I got carried away again…

We had finally arrived at my apartment, and I decided to leave Max on my bed. I didn’t know where he lived, so it would be best if I ask him when he’s sober. I left my apartment and checked on Annika, who was staring silently into the air by the balcony. Her snow-white hair was brushed by a gentle breeze, with its ponytail flying up like a mini flag. I joined her and gazed at the skyscrapers from a distance.


“What is it?” I turned to look at her face.

Her fair skin appeared clean of any blemishes, seemingly smooth to the touch, with just the right amount of plump on her cheeks. Yet it wasn’t completely perfect, as a tiny black mole stuck underneath her left eye. For me personally, I found that part quite cute.

The way her lips moved as she spoke felt pleasing to watch, but also….strangely familiar.

“Are you even listening to me, Kwan?!” she said.

“Ah-uh-oh! Sorry,” I blushed. “What was that again?”

“Your friend Max. He drinks alcohol because he wants to feel happy, right?”

“Pretty much. Why?”

Annika let out a breath of fresh air.

“What about you? What’s your reason for drinking alcohol?”

I felt the corners of my mouth pull down.

“Um…..because it feels good?”

Annika shook her head and stared into my eyes. I looked away from her azure gaze.

“I don’t think so, Kwan. That answer’s too shallow.”

I shrugged. “Come on, Annika. Alcohol is pleasurable for me, that’s why. I don’t have to think so deeply about it.”

“People do many things for many reasons. A lot of the time, there’s an underlying reason hidden beneath all the excuses.”

I let go of the railing on the balcony. “It’s an addictive substance. That’s all there is to it.”

“Addictions are commonly associated with stressful life experiences. You can’t tell me that’s all there is to it.”

I gave her a smile and made a heart-sign with my fingers.

“I don’t think my addiction to you was caused by a stressful life experience,” I clicked my tongue and pointed my finger guns.

Annika puffed her cheeks and pouted.

“Idiot Kwan.”

“See you later,” I winked. “Gotta take care of Max.”

F.C Fondness