**i'm sure all of you are aware that my updates have been anything but consistent. i'd love to tell you that i'll udpate every monday && thursday or something like that, but i know i'd fail miserably =p anyway, i really hate to leave you hanging, but starting tomorrow, i'm going away for roughly two weeks && i wont be able to update ): BUT i promise that as soon as i get back, i will glue myself to this computer && give you the next chapter. i hope all of you are enjoying your summer && as always thanks for reading && commenting xoxo (:
**sorry that this chapter is so short...or maybe it only feels short because the last one was ridiculously long =p in any case, i just wanna thank you guys for all of your comments. they truly mean alot && make writing this worth while (:
Alright so that was not the way that was supposed to happen. I wasn’t supposed to get some smug attitude and I wasn’t supposed to be such a complete ass. I could have waited. I should have waited. I should have waited until Riley was ready to tell me on her own. I watched her walk away, fuming, and throw open the door of the restaurant. She was so cute even when she was throwing a fit. I just wished it would have gone differently. I wanted to tell her everything in a calm, sincere way, and I wanted her to tell me how she felt in the same demeanor. But now it was too late. I found out in the worst way possible. She wasn’t supposed to scream it at me. So that’s one special moment gone. I slowly made my exit and walked onto the sidewalk with the rest of the guys.
“We’re leaving,” Riley said curtly. “It was a wonderful lunch and we’ll see you soon.” I watched as Vero gave her a strange look and Riley mouthed ‘We’ll talk later’ before turning on her heel, linking her arm with Geno’s, and walking down the street. I watched them go, feeling my chest tighten and that all too familiar pang of jealousy every time I saw them together. Marc and Vero were the next to leave and one by one, Sid, Tyler, and Kris soon took leave. It was finally just Jordan and myself.
“How’d it go?” he asked as we began walking, with no clear direction.
“How’d what go?” I replied, playing innocent.
“Dude. I’m not an idiot. I know you were talking to Riley about something concerning your ‘relationship’ or whatever it is. How’d that go?”
“Oh that,” I began. I considered lying to him and telling him to mind his own damn business, but I didn’t. “It didn’t go so well. It actually went terrible.”
“I’m sorry, man,” he said sympathetically. “What’s the deal anyway?”
“In short, we both have feelings for each other. But she’s with Geno. So yeah,” I answered. He stopped in his tracks and turned to look at me.
“She’s into you too?” he asked with a hint of incredulity.
“Yeah…why? Is that so hard to believe?” I asked, caught off guard by his surprise.
“Well, no. It’s just that I thought you only fooled around or whatever. I didn’t think there were like real feelings involved. And not to mention the fact that Geno is probably the polar opposite of you. I mean, come on,” he answered honestly.
“We didn’t even really fool around. We kissed a few times and that was that. But we were hanging out the other night and she was drunk. And she told me that she really wanted me and not Geno,” I said as we continued walking.
“Drunken words are sober thoughts.”
“Wow. That’s really profound!”
“I know. I read it somewhere.” I rolled my eyes and continued.
“Anyway, then she came to my house and I think she was gonna actually tell me how she felt, but I had a girl over and it just ruined everything.”
“Dumbass mistake. Why would you have a girl over if you’re into her?”
“I don’t know. I just figured I had to try and get myself over her. I just assumed she’d stay with Geno and never give me a second thought. I don’t know.”
“Well, she’ll eventually realize that she has to stop lying to herself and that she should be with you. It’ll all work out in the end.” Something about his nonchalant attitude made me desperately want to believe him.
“I really hope so.”
Riley’s Point of View Alright so that was not the way that was supposed to happen. I wanted that moment to be special. And here I go, screwing it up because I’m too obnoxious to just admit my true feelings in a calm, docile manner. I really hated myself sometimes. I was so pissed at him that he had power over me like that. He drove me insane and to the edge and something about it was so enticing. He brought out the worst in me, but I liked it. So, without a glance backward I marched out of the restaurant and to a waiting Geno. His questioning glance alerted me that I must have worn a pissed expression. So, I quickly changed my face to one of mock happiness and chatted lightly until Max emerged. At that moment, I couldn’t stand to be within five feet of him.
“We’re leaving. It was a wonderful lunch and we’ll see you soon.” My voice rang fake in my ears. Vero gave me a look to which I mouthed ‘We’ll talk later’ before turning around and linking my arm with Geno’s. I was secretly hoping that this motion was eating Max alive. I knew little things like that bothered him. Geno and I walked quickly back to his apartment and when we arrived, we collapsed on the couch. I buried my head in his chest, wanting to forget the day’s events.
“You okay?” he asked looking down at me.
“Sure I’m fine,” I lied, smiling up at him. He seemed to believe this and just smiled in return.
“It was good day.” His arm draped over my shoulders.
“Yeah it was.” Then I looked over at the clock and started laughing. “It’s only three o’clock!”
“I know. I have idea. Kill time.” He looked at me suggestively and guided me towards the bedroom. So we slept together. Literally. I wrapped myself up in his arms and we took a four hour nap. This had to be one of the oddest dates I’d ever been on. I awoke to find an empty spot next to me where Geno should have been. I was too physically tired to move, but about ten minutes later Geno walked back into the room.
“How long have you been up?” I asked as he came over to my side of the bed.
“Only twenty minutes.”
“Why didn’t you wake me?”
“You look beautiful when sleep.” He bent down and kissed my forehead. The guilt sat heavily on my chest as I tried hard not to cry. At that point I honestly did hate myself. I was the worst girlfriend on the face of the earth. I wanted to tell him everything. The complete truth. But I didn’t want to break his heart. Although, by prolonging it, I was surely only making it worse.
“Oh Geno.” I took his hand in mine and closed my eyes. We sat in silence for a moment until he spoke.
“Very much so.” Geno really wanted to go out, but I insisted that we stay in. I had had enough of going out for one day. So we ordered a pizza and ate it on his couch while watching T.V. After dinner was finished I didn’t feel like hanging around, so with a kiss goodnight, I made my way out of the apartment and to my waiting car. After a short drive, I was pulling into the driveway, thankful for the bed that was awaiting me. However as I approached the front door, I noticed someone perched on the steps.
I spent the next few days thinking. Just thinking. I barely left the house, I barely ate, all I was focused on was making decisions and sorting things out. With the boys being on a Southern road trip, I was able to think freely and without distraction. Sure I got a few texts and calls, but I didn’t return any of them, except one frantic text from Max begging to know if I was okay. Other than that, I had no communication with them. I needed to do this on my own, without being distracted or having my opinion swayed. So, with all this thinking, I came to two conclusions. One, I didn’t actually feel anything towards Geno. Yeah, he was nice and sweet and pretty much the perfect boyfriend, but he wasn’t what I needed and I had to let him go. And two, I had, unwillingly, fallen for Max and I had to let him know. I figured I’d deal with Max first, so on the night they returned from the road trip, I got in my car and headed over there. I didn’t bother dressing up because it was just Max. I’m pretty sure he couldn’t care less what I was wearing, so it was just skinny jeans, flip-flops, and a fitted tee. On the way over, it started absolutely pouring, so I had to drive slower than usual to avoid an accident. Finally, I arrived and pulled into the driveway. I got out of the car and waited. I stood next to my car for about ten minutes trying to decide if this was the right thing to do and needless to say, by the time I approached the front steps I was absolutely soaked. After what seemed like another ten minutes, he opened the door. He looked so handsome. A little flushed, but handsome nonetheless.
“Hey,” I said and smiled weakly up at him. He wore an expression of shock and maybe happiness? Or maybe I imagined it because I wanted to see it.
“Riley what are you doing here?” he asked frantically. “Is everything okay, are you hurt?!”
“No, I’m not hurt, and everything’s more than okay. I just wanted to see you.” I answered simply, because it was the truth.
“Riley,” he said softly with a look in his eyes that I couldn’t quite place.
“And I wanted to tell you something too, Max I---,” I was cut off by a voice inside.
“Maxie! What’s taking so long? I’m getting cold,” the female voice floated out to us. I watched Max cringe and he stepped outside into the rain with me, closing the door behind him. I had wondered why he didn’t invite me inside and I guess that was the reason. Hearing that voice made me want to cry and I probably did. With all the rain, it was hard to tell. I slowly started to back away from him, down the steps and on to the walkway.
“Riley wait, I---,” he began, but I stopped him.
“No Max, I’m sorry. You’re busy. I should have called or something. Please, don’t let me keep you,” I said while turning to go. Before I could move, he grabbed my hand.
“What did you want to tell me?” he asked, staring at me intently.
“Nothing of importance,” I answered not being able to meet his gaze.
“Riley, just say the word and she’s gone,” he almost pleaded with me.
“Have a good night,” I said, breaking away from his grasp and making my way towards my car. I pulled out of his driveway and left him standing on the walkway, just staring after my car. Looking back wasn’t an option because if I did, I probably would have turned the car around, screamed at him to get rid of the girl, and taken my rightful place next to him on the couch. But I wasn’t going to be the weak one. That wasn’t me. So without a glance back, I drove home (a little too quickly for the slick roads) and crash landed on my couch. I didn’t even have the energy to make it upstairs. I just cried and cried on my couch. And finally, when I couldn’t possibly cry anymore, I felt empty. Like there was nothing to cry for anymore. I was just Riley. Just another girl who was stupid enough to believe the shit that Max said. Stupid enough to think that I was any different from the other girls he picked up. He just liked the thrill of the chase because I was unattainable. I had a boyfriend and I was willing to leave him to be with Max. Not anymore. I had to distance myself as much as I could from Max. No matter what that meant. Being cold towards him, avoiding him, whatever it took. I had to get myself off of whatever fixation I had with him. So without further contemplation, I decided to stay with Geno. It was almost like I was punishing myself, but I didn’t care. Geno did deserve better than me and I really should have let him go, but I made a promise to myself to be the “trophy girlfriend” so to speak. I would be perfect and everything he asked me to be. I’d be there for him, supporting him every step of the way. It’s what I had to do. It’s what I owed him. The next day I got up bright and early, went to the bakery, and packed up breakfast into a basket before making my way over to Geno’s apartment. He seemed surprised to see me but not unhappy.
“Good morning, Riley,” he said sleepily. It was easy to tell he had just woken up.
“Hey Geno,” I answered giving him a quick peck on the cheek before making my way inside. I walked over to the kitchen table and placed the basket down.
“What’s in there?” he asked pointing at the basket.
“Oh, just breakfast,” I smiled as I began to plate the food. I took out a variety of scones, bagels, and muffins along with orange juice and apple juice. “I wasn’t sure what you liked.”
“I like everything,” he answered coming up behind me and wrapping his arms around my waist. “This so nice. Thank you.” I quickly imagined how Max would have reacted if I had done this for him. He probably would have snickered and complained about how it was all “girly” food. That ungrateful son-of-a-bitch. Ugh. I was letting Max ruin my day and he wasn’t even here. No. I wasn’t going to think about him. I couldn’t. It hurt too much. So, I pushed all of those thoughts to the back of my mind and had an enjoyable breakfast with Geno.
“What time is practice?” I asked as I washed the dishes.
“No practice today. Have no plans today,” he answered chugging the last of the orange juice.
“Well, now you do. Go take a shower and get dressed. We’re going out,” I said with finality. He smiled at me and trudged towards the bathroom. I took a seat on the couch and about twenty minutes later he came out, his hair still dripping. That look was actually quite becoming on him. He leaned on the kitchen counter.
“Ready,” he said, smiling at me. I got up and walked over to him, slipping both of my hands behind his neck.
“You look so good,” I purred into his chest. I had to admit, he was quite easy on the eyes. Learning to fall in love with him couldn’t possibly be too difficult. He leaned down and let his lips meet mine. I kissed him back hungrily and let my head rest on his chest. It took a great amount of my will power to pry myself off of him and hold his hand instead as I lead him to the door. He reached for his sunglasses, then his car keys, however I made him put the keys back. “Nope. We’re walking.” We made our way out onto the street and proceeded to walk until we were in the downtown area. Every now and then someone would stop and ask for an autograph and then a group would form, but overall most fans were too polite to ask or didn’t even notice. Eventually we made our way to a park and shared a bench. We were sitting, just watching the people pass when I thought I saw a familiar face.
“Hey Geno, isn’t that Marc?” I asked tugging his arm and tilting my head towards the left. Sure enough Marc slowly approached with a beautiful girl on his arm.
“Hey guys!” he said happily standing in front of us.
“Hi Marc,” I answered brightly for the both of us.
“Riley, this is my girlfriend, Vero,” he said introducing us.
“It’s so nice to meet you,” I said smiling up at her. “I’m Ryan’s cousin and---”
“Geno’s girlfriend,” she finished. “I’ve heard quite a bit about you.” She laughed lightly.
“Oh?” I asked. “Well I guess I may have caused some trouble these past few days.”
“Don’t worry, everything I’ve heard has been good,” she assured me.
”We were just heading over to meet some of the guys for lunch. Care to join us?” Marc asked. Geno looked at me for approval and I nodded happily.
“Yeah, okay,” Geno replied. So Geno fell in step with Marc ahead of myself and Vero. I found that conversation came to us naturally as if we had been friends our whole lives. She was so easy to get along with and fun to talk to that I barely noticed when we entered the café. But when I did take a minute to look around, I kind of wished I hadn’t. We had approached a rectangular shaped table at a far corner of the restaurant. Sid was sitting at the head of the table and to his right was Jordan, next to him was Max, next to him was Kris, and next to him was Tyler. They had left all four chairs on the opposite side vacant. So, Marc took a seat all the way at the far end, across from Tyler. Geno took a seat at the other end, across from Jordan. Vero obviously sat next to Marc and across from Kris. And I was left sitting in between Vero and Geno. Across from Max. Got all that? Anyway, when I went to sit down, I could feel Max’s eyes on me, but I wouldn’t look at him. I was not giving in that easily. Surprisingly throughout the lunch, conversation carried on easily and without strain. Everyone seemed to be having a really good time. Jordan was cracking jokes like there was no tomorrow and everyone was in a great mood. I was enjoying myself so much that I happened to glance up at Max. He gave me a smile and I only looked away. I couldn’t fall back under his spell. About five minutes later Vero excused herself to the restroom and I joined her.
“So, what’s up with you and Max?” she asked while fixing her hair in the mirror.
“What? Nothing,” I answered a little too quickly.
“Come on Riley. He won’t stop staring at you. You won’t even look at him. Did something happen between you too?” she continued. In the short time that I’d known her, I felt that I could trust Vero completely so I told her everything.
“And now, this is where we stand,” I finished.
“Wow. It seems like you and Max both have it pretty bad for each other,” she said.
“Is that all you can take out of this story?” I asked in mock anger. She laughed and leaned against the counter.
“Well, I can tell you that you should probably tell Max what’s what. When the time comes of course. And Geno. I don’t know if you can make yourself fall in love with him. It has to happen. And to tell you the truth, I think you already have fallen in love. With Max,” she said with finality. As if it was the simplest conclusion in the world.
“Vero, I haven’t even known him a month,” I answered.
“So? Love at first sight?” she asked. “It actually does happen. And you two seem perfect for each other. Just give it time. It’ll work itself out.” Everything she was saying sounded so reasonable. I just wish it was as simple as that. We made our way back out to the table where the guys just finished paying the check. Everyone was getting up to go when suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder.
“Can I talk to you for a minute?” Max asked when I turned around to face him. I looked over at Geno who was standing a few feet away watching us intently.
“Go ahead, babe. I’ll meet you outside,” I said. Geno smiled, nodded, and walked out the door. Max took a seat at our table and motioned for me to sit next to him.
“Yes Max?” I asked once I was seated.
“You don’t want to be with him,” he said simply, as if he was reading my mind.
“Um, of course I do. That’s why I’m with him,” I said. I heard the edge in my own voice.
“No, you really don’t.”
“And just who do I want to be with then?”
“Me of course.”
“Ha! Max that’s a good one, really. What would ever make you think that?”
“Oh I don’t know. Maybe the time you kissed me. Or both times you kissed me.”
“I was drunk. You know that.”
“And the first time?”
“I told you that I felt sorry for you. We’ve been over this.”
“I feel sorry when someone punches Sid or Jordan, but you don’t see me running over to them for a quick make out session the first chance I get.”
“And what? Those kisses were all one sided? I came onto you completely? You didn’t do a thing to lead me on at all?”
“I never said that. They definitely weren’t one sided. I wanted them.”
“So stop making it seem like I’m the aggressor here! You know damn well you want me too!”
“Too?” A smug look of satisfaction spread over his features.
“This conversation is over.” And with that, I picked up my purse and stormed out of the restaurant.
I opened my eyes, straining against the sunlight and stared at the ceiling. It took me a minute to get my bearings but I soon realized I was in my own bed. I wondered if my texting Max last night was all a dream and if I really did go driving with him. I moved to sit up, but the sharp pain in my head was enough to alert me that last night was very much real. I looked to my left and saw a bottle of water sitting in a bowl of ice that had mostly melted and next to that were two aspirin. I smiled a little when I saw a note from Max next to that on the nightstand. “Treat that hangover well and get a lot of rest. I’ll talk to you soon.---Max.” It even had a ridiculous smiley face at the bottom. I took the aspirin with the water and laid back down, trying to remember what happened last night. Only bits and pieces of it were coming back to me though. And then suddenly, a fear gripped me. Had I said or done anything insane? Oh my god! Did we sleep together? Not quite wanting to face the world just yet, I pulled the covers over my head and went right back to sleep.
When I awoke a few hours later, it was nearing three in the afternoon. My headache had subsided and I was now able to move around without a pounding in my brain. I took a quick shower and changed into a different pair of sweats and a Rays t-shirt this time and headed downstairs. I grabbed my cell phone out of my North Face, which had been placed so neatly on the back of the couch, and sat down. I had one text from Max that read “call me when you wake up. i wanna know your okay.” I took a deep breath, afraid to find out exactly what went on last night. Finally, I mustered the courage to call him.
“Hello?” he answered groggily. I was immediately mad at myself. I should have known he was taking a nap at this time.
“I’m sorry! Did I wake you?” I asked apologetically.
“No…well yeah, but it’s okay. I had to be up in a little while anyway,” he said. I heard him trying to stifle a yawn. “How are you feeling?”
“Better. My headache’s pretty much gone. Thanks for the aspirin,” I said, biting my lip. My nervous habit.
“Yeah, no problem. I just wanted to make sure you were okay,” he replied. Then the awkward silence ensued. I waited for him to say something else and when he didn’t, I decided to change the subject.
“So, how’s Geno?” I asked nonchalantly. I heard him sigh heavily on the other end. I could picture him closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. “What?”
“Nothing,” he said, “Geno’s fine. We’re all fine. Everything’s fine.”
“Max,” I began, “what’s wrong with you? Did I say something? Is it because I mentioned Geno? Max, come on. I’m with him, not you.” I could hear Max trying to control his breathing on the other end.
“But that’s not what you---,” he cut himself off mid sentence. “Nevermind.”
“That’s not what I, what?” I asked, fearing the answer he would give. “What happened last night?”
“Well…we kissed,” he began quietly, “and you…you said some stuff.”
“What kind of stuff?” I asked, gripping the phone with both hands.
“That you…that you wanted me,” his voice was almost a whisper now and I wasn’t even sure if I heard him correctly. I closed my eyes and all of a sudden everything that transpired last night came flooding back to me. I could remember, clear as day, telling him that I only wanted him. I remembered calling him “Maxie”. And most of all, I remembered his answer when I asked him why he didn’t have a girlfriend. The silence on my end of the call had gone on too long. “Riley?”
“Um, I gotta go. Bye,” I said quickly, then threw the phone on the other side of the couch. Oh man! If it took me getting completely drunk to admit my true feelings for Max, I certainly didn’t want to admit them to myself when I was sober. Sure I had some type of attraction to Max, but that was natural…right? He was so good looking and charming and sweet and sensitive and…no. I could not fall for him. I was with Geno. Geno, Geno, Geno. He was my boyfriend. Not Max. But something inside me always drew me to Max. I couldn’t stay away from him and that was an issue. It’s like I was looking for trouble. There were a million other people I could have texted last night, but something made me text him. And then, what he said about why he didn’t have a girlfriend. That was about me. And it made me feel special. That was it! He made me feel wanted and needed. That had to be the reason why I liked being around him so much. I closed my eyes and tried to sort out all my thoughts and when that failed, I decided I needed a distraction. So, for the next four hours, I unpacked every last box that I had been neglecting. And when I finished, I had such a feeling of accomplishment. At around 7:30, with pizza in hand, I plopped myself down in front of the television and settled in for the game. Pittsburgh killed Nashville 5-1 and it was actually a pretty interesting game. Geno scored twice, Max scored twice, and Ryan scored once. Great, some creepy, weird scoring competition now. Maybe they weren’t consciously aware of it, but still. That night I decided to turn in early so I grabbed my stuff and headed up to the bedroom. No sooner than when my head hit the pillow did my cell phone start vibrating. I contemplated ignoring it, but once I saw that it was Geno, I answered.
“Hello?” I asked, even though I knew full well who it was.
“Hi, Riley,” he said gingerly. “How you today?”
“I’m doing great,” I answered. “You played awesome tonight.”
“Oh thanks. I glad to hear you good. Miss you,” he said sweetly. My heart ached in my chest and I wanted to, again, throw my phone on the other side of the room. I didn’t deserve him. He was too good for me. I suddenly felt the urge to cry.
“Miss you too, Geno,” I choked back sobs as I spoke. And I really did miss him. He was my comfort zone. I needed him. I could almost see him smiling on the other end.
“Well, we get ready to go out. Just call to say goodnight,” he said.
“Goodnight babe, I’ll see you soon,” I replied.
“Goodnight.” And the called ended. Before I could stop myself, I felt the tears begin to leak out of my eyes. I was crying way too much these days. However, as I sobbed silently into my pillow, my phone began to ring again. Max this time.
“Hello?” I tried to clear my throat before answering, but it was no use. I still sounded as if I just finished crying.
“Riley?! Are you crying?” Max asked frantically.
“No,” I lied into the phone. “I don’t wanna talk about it.” I could feel myself pouting and I hated that quality.
“Okay, I understand,” he answered. Awkward silence.
“Well?” I asked, finding myself getting more annoyed by the second. And not so much at him. More at the fact that I secretly was hoping he called. I just wanted to hear his voice. And when I let myself realize that that’s what I had been waiting for all night, I got even angrier at my stupid, confused, can’t make up my mind, feelings.
“I just wanted to see if you were okay. You hung up kind of quickly before. I mean I understand if you don’t feel the same way at all as what you said last night. I mean, I told you you’d regret it today if you remembered…,” he trailed off and I felt the heat rising to my cheeks.
“Oh, no. I don’t know,” I admitted, my head swimming with confusion. What the hell did I want?
“We don’t have to talk about it now, or ever if you don’t want to,” he said in a reassuring voice. And the truth was that I did want to talk about it. I wanted to tell him everything. I wanted to be myself. I wanted to be honest. Maybe I did want him the way I did last night. Or maybe that was just the liquor talking. Before I could even answer I heard Ryan’s voice in the background.
“Who is that?” he asked severely, obviously meaning the call.
“None of your goddamn business,” Max retorted.
“Is that Riley?!” he shouted.
“Could be, could be not,” Max answered smugly.
“Hang it up!” Ryan shot back.
“Come over here and fucking make me!” Max replied. Honestly, they sounded like third graders.
“I’ll do it for you. Goodnight Max,” I said, hanging up the phone. And just to release some tension, I threw it to the other side of the room and went to bed.
I heaved myself out of bed and stood in front of the mirror. I was really in no mood to go out especially when I looked like this. I took out the loose knot I had made and ran my fingers through my hair, thankful that I had straightened it earlier in the day. I threw on a pair of sweatpants with “PINK” emblazoned across the back and an old Maple Leafs t-shirt and made my way downstairs. I had just made it into the kitchen when I heard the low rumble of an engine in my driveway. I put the ice cream back in the freezer, rummaged through the pantry, then threw on my North Face before heading out to meet Max. I opened the passenger’s door and threw a box of Pop-Tarts into Max’s lap.
“Pop-Tarts?” he asked looking at me quizzically.”Who brings Pop-Tarts on 1 AM car rides?”
“Um, they are the perfect late night snack,” I retorted.
“Well, I have a bottle of tequila in the back to wash them down,” he said, smiling mischievously.
“Well who randomly has that in their car?” I asked as he eased out of the driveway.
“I’m always prepared,” he said turning off my block.
“Where are we going anyway?” I asked, rolling down my window and letting the night air fill the car.
“This place I know,” he replied speeding along steadily. We were silent for a moment until I had an idea. I climbed into the back and rolled down all the windows, then rolled down my own window, then leaned across Max’s lap and rolled down his window. “You know, I can’t really drive like this.” He looked down at me while I just shrugged and pressed the button to take the top down.
“That’s so much better!” I said, feeling my hair floating freely behind me. The full moon shining overhead gave me such a sense of relaxation that I didn’t even mind when Max reached across the center console for my hand. He took it tentatively, almost testing the waters and I could swear I heard a sigh of relief from him when I didn’t swat his hand away. We drove the remainder of the way in silence and finally he pulled up to the “place”. He had followed this gravel road to a clearing in a field of some sort. It actually looked pretty sketchy, but I guess once you got past that initial feeling, it had the potential to be cute. A brook babbled aimlessly down on one side.
“Well?” he got out of the car and waved his arms around.
“Well,” I repeated. “Is this where you take all your conquests?” I stood beside him as he looked over the field.
“You,” he began, “are not a conquest.” His expression was suddenly serious. I turned away from him and made my way back to the car.
“Where’s the tequila?” I asked going to the back seat.
“I thought you’d never ask,” he said coming over to help me. We both found a spot of comfort in his backseat. He with his feet perched on the center console and me on the opposite side with my feet in his lap. We talked about everything. It was so easy to be myself with Max. I didn’t have to try and impress him and he seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say.
“Who was your first love?” he asked breaking off a piece of Pop-Tart.
“Hmmm, this guy Brien. When I was sixteen,” I recalled. “What about you?”
“You,” he answered without hesitation.
“Stop!” I made a lame attempt at kicking him to which he just laughed. My alcohol intake didn’t help my already poor coordination.
“Alright, alright, my first love was this girl Tanya. When I was fifteen or sixteen,” he answered. “Now it’s your turn.”
“Why don’t you have a girlfriend?” I asked taking a swig from the bottle of tequila. Max was silent for a minute, thinking about how to answer.
“I’m waiting,” he began carefully.
“Waiting on what?” I pressed. I watched as Max closed his eyes as if preparing for a long answer.
“Waiting on someone who doesn’t want to be with me because of who I am. Waiting on someone who I can be myself around. Someone I can talk to about anything and trust completely. Someone who has a sense of humor and understands my sense of humor. Someone who I can laugh with but also be serious with. And to tell you the truth, I think I’ve found her. Actually, I know I have. We can’t be together just yet though, but I’m willing to wait. She’s worth it,” he looked down then back up at me. I suddenly felt all the tequila rushing to my head. I got up and crawled over to where he was seated.
“She’s very lucky,” I whispered letting my head fall on his chest.
“No, I am,” he corrected me and I felt his arms close around me and I relaxed into him. We stayed like that for a moment until I propped myself up and looked at him.
“Maxie,” I said looking into his eyes. I didn’t quite know what I was doing and I certainly wasn’t in the right frame of mind. Without thinking I attacked his mouth with my own. I didn’t expect to be pushed away either.
Max’s Point of View I had no choice but to push Riley away. I couldn’t take advantage of her when she was like this even though every part of my body was screaming “Yes! Just do it!”. My mind won the battle. I watched a look of hurt play across her beautiful features, tears filling her eyes.
“Don’t you want me, Maxie?” she asked. There was that word. Maxie. She never called me that until tonight and I liked the way it sounded. It was endearing. I looked into her eyes and saw the glassy effect the liquor had on them. She had far more to drink than I did and it was showing.
“Of course I want you,” I began, taking her hands in mine, “but I can’t let you do this. You’ll regret it in the morning. It’s not what you want.” I hated how the words sounded.
“I do want you!” she half shouted at me and then she was back in my lap. “I want you Maxie. I really really do. I promise. I do. I want you.” I felt her nuzzling my neck and my body involuntarily arched towards her. “And you want me too.” Her mouth was back on mine and this time I gave in. I kissed her back like my life depended on it. She let herself fall in my arms and I tightened them around her in an attempt to keep her upright, but that’s not what she wanted. I felt her pushing me back, into a reclining position. Her weight on top of me was such a welcome feeling that I wanted to remember it forever. I reached up to stroke her face, but it was moist. I pulled back and squinted in the dim moonlight to see that she was crying. I abruptly got myself upright and positioned her next to me.
“Why are you crying?” I asked taking her face in my hands.
“I…I don’t know,” she looked down then back up at me. “I’m sorry, I ruined everything. And I had way too much to drink and I can’t even think straight and I want you and…I don’t know. It’s confusing.” She then placed her head on my shoulder and I wrapped my arms around her. I was actually glad that something had interrupted us. I certainly didn’t want to go any further with her if she wouldn’t remember it. Hell, she probably wasn’t even going to remember this.
“You didn’t ruin anything, okay? Listen, I’ll take you home and we can talk about this tomorrow….if you remember,” I added. She nodded and placed a fleeting kiss on my lips.
“Thank you, Maxie,” she said and laid down in the back seat. I hopped into the front seat and put the top back up. I left the windows rolled down though to afford Riley some fresh air. The ride back to her house was quick and by the time we arrived she was passed out in the back. I grabbed her keys out of her pocket, picked her up, then carried her inside. I had never been inside Riley’s place before and it seemed so her. I assumed that her bedroom was upstairs and I was right. I put her down on the bed, removed her shoes, and tucked her in. I really didn’t want to leave her, God forbid anything happened, so I drove back over to my place, grabbed my packed bag, came back to her house and slept next to her until I had to leave.