Chapter 13:


Annika Says No!

"Aaaand that should be it. Good job, everyone!"

Annika let out a deep sigh and sat up from her chair. She stretched her arms with a big yawn, clearly exhausted from all the work she had gone through as our leader.

After our classes had ended a while back, we had decided to finish our group project on the same day at the White Cat's Cafe. Annika decided it was best if we didn't procrastinate, so she urged us to do it now.

It was already late in the afternoon, so it was best that we head home for the day.

"Phew!" Max brushed up his blonde locks. "I'm lucky to have you as a leader, Boss! Thank you for the hard work!"

Max and Frey had decided to call her Boss, since she had been giving them instructions and directions the entire time we had been here.

"T-There's no need to call me Boss." Annika scratched the side of her head with her index finger. "You were all pretty hard-working too. I appreciate your cooperation!"

"You're too kind, Boss!" Max placed his hands together. "If it weren't for your instructions, I wouldn't be sure of what I was supposed to do!"

Frey had already magically disappeared somehow, but I'm sure he's thankful for all the help he has gotten.

It wouldn't hurt to say goodbye though….

I looked over to the cashier area, where I caught a familiar-looking barista sneaking a glance on our table. Due to the color of her hair, I decided to give her the nickname 'Matchan'. The moniker was short and cute, just like her appearance.

When she noticed my eyes, Matchan quickly hid herself under the table.

That made me realize something.

I forgot to buy the Iced Matcha Latte!

"Let's go, Kwan." Annika tugged my shirt.

Max gave us a smug look. "Are you two gonna go on a late night date or something?"



Both of us answered simultaneously, but with different responses. Annika narrowed her eyes and pinched my ear.


"We're not dating."

Max scoffed. "Whatever you say."

He placed his hands on his pockets. "A word of advice, don't forget the condoms," Max said with a wink.

"Maybe I should kick you out of the group." Annika crossed my arms.

"I-I'm sorry, Boss! Anything but that!" Max bent his body forwards.

"Give the guy a break, Annika. He's only joking," I said with a chuckle.

"Hmph! You two are so indecent." Annika puffed her cheeks. "No wonder you two are best friends."

After packing up our things, we exited the cafe and took in the fresh air of the cityscape. It was a pretty good way to wrap up for the day. I just love the satisfaction of getting through a hard day’s work, it felt like a huge load had been taken off my shoulders.

“Phew! We can finally head home for the day!” I said as I stretched my shoulders.

Max glanced at me with a look of disappointment, but he quickly shifted to a slight grin. The forced type of grin.

“Well,” he scratched his head. “I-I’m just gonna head to the bar to celebrate.”

“The bar……” I muttered.

Max awkwardly turned his back towards us and extended a wave.

A cold shiver ran down my spine. The thought of alcohol came back to my mind once more, which urged me to follow after him. I felt my body move to follow after him, but I quickly stopped myself and froze in place.

Thoughts from yesterday resurfaced back into the light. I couldn’t allow myself to be bestfriends with Annika if I continued to indulge with my vices, but I never considered the other way around. For me and Max, drinking alcohol together was our way of hanging out. If I continued to go down this path of purification, could we truly stay together as best friends?

I tucked in my lips and tightened my fists. It felt like a part of me was taken away along with Max, leaving a gaping hole on my very being.


Annika called Max out, causing him to stop on his tracks.

“Are you seriously thinking about drinking again? Didn’t you just have a hangover yesterday?”

Max looked back and scoffed. “Of course. This is something I’m already used to anyway.”

“And you’re just going to drink alone? All by yourself?”

“It’s not like both of you are coming anyway, so why bother?” Max shrugged.

Just as he was about to turn back, Annika called him out once more.

“Haven’t you ever considered stopping?!”

Max’s jaw opened slightly, not making a single sound.

Annika stomped her foot on the ground. “Does alcohol really make you happy, Max?!”

Max didn’t respond. Instead, he clenched his teeth and turned his face towards us. He looked as if he was going to lash out at any moment. He took in a big chunk of air into his lungs…….then he sighed.

“I don’t know.” He hung his head down. “It feels good. But maybe. It doesn’t make me feel happy.”

Annika stiffened her face and walked towards the man. As soon as she got close enough, she placed her hands on her hips and leaned forward.

“Then why bother doing it?”

“I just feel like I have to.”

“But you don’t.”

“It’s none of your business, boss!”

“I don’t care.” She crossed her arms.

Annika pointed her finger towards the blonde man. “Your face tells me you’re clearly unhappy with all of this. Your best friend, Kwan, has decided to quit drinking. Is there any reason for you to drink by yourself?!”

Max shifted backwards, but Annika responded with one step forward.

“That’s right. You’re addicted to alcohol and you hate it deep inside. And I’m going to help you stop it.”

“That’s not true…”

“Don’t lie to yourself.”

Annika extended her hand towards Max and gave him a smile.

“I….no…..we can help you. There’s no need for you to go out there alone. You just have to believe in us.”

Max gave her a look of discomfort, yet his arm appeared to shiver in place.

No way.

His eyes appeared to have a fire sparking up within, as if he was burning with a deep-rooted passion. Max’s arm slowly, but surely started to move closer and closer, one inch at a time. His face tightened to the max, clearly conflicted with his own mind to make a decision. Eventually, after all the mental resistance, he grabbed onto Annika’s hand.

“Max…..” My eyes expanded.

“Please help me, boss!”

“That’s the spirit!” Annika cheered. “Now come on, we have some work to do.”

Annika dragged Max over to my direction with a determined sparkle in her eyes.

What does she plan on doing?

F.C Fondness