Chapter Twenty-FourMature

Chapter Twenty-Four

“So...”I said into the uncomfortable silence settling on the car. I instantly regretted the decision.
“If you two make noise, I will shout through the wall,” Amber said. I felt my cheeks flush and shifted slightly on the back-seat. Zack just let out a deep chuckle.
“Jealous?” he asked and Amber snorted. Probably the most unladylike gesture she'll ever make in front of me.
“I could have any guy I wanted-” she began with a smug grin.
“But it isn't a guy you're eyeing up Amber,” the light hearted tone he'd used earlier was gone. I got the distinct feeling I should not be in this car during this particular conversation.
“It doesn't matter,” she replied stiffly. I wondered what part of the situation she was talking about.

“Lily is my best friend Amber. If you hurt-”
“Shut up Zack. Anything we had ended today. So how about you leave the gallant white knight crap somewhere else? Maybe you can throw more charity Michael's way if you need to feel good about yourself so badly,” Amber growled, spitting the last part out. I felt my cheeks burn and wished I was anywhere else but here. I'd never really thought about how Zack might look when he was mad. The way his eyes narrowed into slits and his jaw clenched told me it was quite scary. Maybe he should try giving Lewis that glare next time he bugs us. I tried to ignore my own indignation at the comment, because a small part of me wondered if that was exactly what was going through Zack's mind. It wasn't until he knew my living situation that he'd shown interest in me. At least, I don't think he was flirting or really curious beforehand.

“Amber, just because your dad is a selfish and mean, doesn't mean you have to,” Zack finally signed. The words took her by surprise. She shook her head slightly and turned her attention to the window. And I thought my family was complicated? I wished I hadn't thought that. Now I was remembering the man that wanted me to meet him. Why should I care about someone who ignored me? Just because I had half their crappy DNA.
“Your scowling, I hope the comment didn't offend you too much,” Zack said, pulling me from my thoughts.
“It didn't. I think if she knew the truth she might feel some guilt,” I replied, choosing to ignore her presence for that comment.

“Maybe,” he said with a shrug. If Amber was listening to us she didn't show any signs of it. Eventually the limo pulled to a gentle stop, Amber was the first to get out. She had already disappeared somewhere when we walked in. I tried not to gap so obviously at the size as I had the first time.
“Where did she go?” I asked, the distant click-clank of her heels still echoed somewhere nearby.
“Probably to find Sandra and do more planning for her party Friday night,” Zack replied, heading into the main area. I hadn't seen anywhere else but his room and wondered where he was taking me this time.

“I'd forgotten about that...I thought it was happening at her place though,” I said. Also remembering that Derek had gotten me invited to the thing. I'd probably avoid it now since Lewis would be bound to show up.
“Yeah, but with her dad going on a business trip suddenly she moved it to here. My dad doesn't mind. As long as the place isn't set up until the day. He has his own thing planned tomorrow night,” Zack signed at the last part.

“Why so annoyed?” I ask as Zack opened a door.
“I have to go, all part of learning the ropes and blah. Maybe you should come with. Make things less boring for me,” Zack joked at the end but I wasn't really taking in his words as I saw the room. Floor to ceiling bookcases went along the walls to my left and right. The far wall was made up of glass, with a bench under it for a person to sit on. There were also sofas and an armchairs dotted around the floor.
“It's mostly non-fiction crap because of my dad. But you seem to be the booky type,” Zack said and I stifled a laugh.

“Are you trying to give me a reason to spend more time around here?” I asked, already approaching the nearest row of books and examining spines.
“I thought me alone was a good enough reason,” Zack said after making an offended noise. This time I laughed.
“It's impossible to believe you and Amber are related...” I trailed off. Zack shifted uncomfortably and found the nearest sofa. I raised a curious eyebrow and joined him.
“Amber really wasn't always this bad. She just...doesn’t know any other way. She spent most of her childhood here, since her parents lived abroad but wanted her schooled in England. Then they moved back when she was eleven and it all kinda...went downhill. Truthfully the whole divorce thing should've happened years ago,” Zack finished the rant and shrugged. As if the non-committal action could push aside all he'd just said and act as if it was nothing to worry about.

“Why doesn't she just stay here?” I asked. Zack blinked for a few seconds, his eyes wide.
“That' one's thought of that...” Zack said, he turned to give me a studying look, a smile tugging his lips.
“What?” I asked, feeling my cheeks blush under his heated gaze. He didn't reply with words, instead he kissed me, closing the small distance between us on the sofa. It deepened, his moan reaching my ears. When we pulled apart I'd somehow ended up laid out flat, Zack's body covering mine like a warm blanket. I opened my mouth, though I had no clue what to say. He interrupted me with a second kiss, his hands moving to tug my shirt off. I pulled away, making myself sit up.
“Wait, slow down,” I blurted without thinking, pushing him away with a hand on his chest. He pulled back a little, eyes confused.

“I thought you-” Zack started, then stopped with a small “o” on his lips.
“You've never done anything before, have you?” he asked. He said it gently but I still felt embarrassed. I should've just kept my mouth shut. Zack backed all the way to the other side of the sofa, running a hand through his hair with a deep breath.
“I guess I should've realised that, sorry,” he muttered, his hand running down his face to cover his eyes.
“You don't need to apologise,” I said, pulling my knees up and wrapping my arms round them. Zack's hand left his face and he turned back to watch me.
“Want to watch Rent? Least you can claim we do some kind of homework if your parents ask questions,” Zack said with a small laugh.

“Just a Mum, and she knows about me,” I replied.
“Just a dad here, he knows. For the most part he's okay with it. Though he doesn't like my...more eccentric habits,” Zack replied with a laugh, he pointed at his hair as an example.
“Really? Dying your hair is considered eccentric by him?” I asked with my own laugh. I remembered what Zack had said about his mother being in the army and wondered what happened to her. But right now he was too happy so I didn't ask any questions.
“The long hair alone gives him a headache,” Zack said with a shrug. Without thinking I reached forward and started running my own hand through it.
“I like it,” I murmured. Then took my hand away, feeling a little awkward. Zack kissed me again, but this time it was quick and when he pulled away there was a childish grin on his face.
“Come on,” he said, standing up and holding out a hand. I took it and followed him through the labyrinth.

The End

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