Maxine's like the guys of the neighborhood. She walked, talked, thought, and, for the most part, dressed like a guy. Loved sports, fighting and she fought so she would be respected. No one really saw her as anything other than a guy, or so she thought. Dressed as usual in baggy jeans, a black tank top, and black sneakers, she was playing basketball and James as usual kept trying to grab her.
''Damn it James! Could you like not molest me for a day!'' James laughed at her.
''Oh Maxine! Your no fun!'' he said imitating a girl. She glared at him.
''Didn't I tell you never to call me Maxine!'' she demanded. He nodded, looking at the ground. Everyone stopped playing and looked at them, waiting for a fight to happen, just like every other time Max got pissed off. Just as Max was about to punch James, Danny, Max's best friend, came to his rescue.
''Max, c'mon leave the poor kid alone. He needs all the brain cells he has.'' he turned to James. ''You think you would learn after being beaten by Max so many times.'' he shook his head. Max was glaring at Danny, fire in her eyes. You could just tell that someone was gonna get hit. Danny just looked at her. Her fists tightened, teeth clenched. Her arm muscles flexed at she restrained from hitting him. Danny just laughed. ''Go ahead Max, hit me.'' Everyone was dead silent waiting for what would happen next. Max, in a calm voice, said, ''Dan, Come here.'' Danny walked in front of her. She moved closer to him. She could feel his breath and him hers. Their noses touching, they were so close they could kiss. He whispered, ''What ya gonna kiss me?'' She grinned slyly, ''No.'' She kneed him in the balls. His eyes closed and his hand immediately went to his groin as he lowered to the ground. Max smiled. Eventually, after recovering, Danny pulled Max over to the side of the court, up against the building next to the court, away from everyone. Everyone else returned to playing as they talked. As soon as they were out of earshot Danny said, ''Damn it Max. That hurt!'' She grinned.
''You said I could hit you'
''I said hit me, not knee me in the balls'
She rolled her eyes. ''Whatever'
She smiled at him, making him annoyed. ''If I didn't have enough sense not to, I would hit you.'' He growled. She patted the top of his head. Smiling she said, ''Good dog.'' Max laughed and Danny couldn't help but smile. A look appeared in her eyes, a look that said she had an idea. Danny's smile disappeared. ''Max?'' he asked cautiously, ''What are you thinking?'' She smiled slyly.
''Maybe I should make up for kneeing you.'' ''Oh yea... How'
''A kiss.'' she joked.
''Why don't you then?'' Dan asked, playing along.
Max walked around Dan, and he followed, they stayed face to face. Until Dan was pinned up against the wall. Her hands holding his hands pushed up against the wall. She moved closer. Their noses were nearly touching. She tilted her head a little. Their lips were almost touching. She stopped leaving him so close, yet so far away. After a couple of seconds she kissed him. They started making out. She started teasing him. Finally she pulled away. Danny frowned, ''C'mon don't leave me hanging like that.'' She grinned. ''Sorry for kneeing you before'
''That's what that was for'
She nodded. He was still pinned against the wall.
''Not that that wasn't great and all, but a simple I'm sorry would have worked just fine'
She shrugged. They both laughed, walking back over to be included in the game again. Soon Ed started teasing them. ''I saw you kissing, oooo. Daniel and Maxine sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G'
Max looked at Dan, he nodded. Max slowly and calmly walked up to Ed, who backed away slightly. ''Ed... first of all, I'm Max not Maxine, you don't call me Maxine. Second of all, Shut the fck up!'' Ed rolled his eyes. Max punched him. You heard his nose crack. ''Shit that hurt you bitch.'' Ed yelled. Ed's nose was bleeding, but he tried to hit Max anyway.
He kept trying to hit her and she kept dodging the hits. Jim yelled from the side, ''C'mon Ed! Your fighting like a girl'
Max laughed at the joke. ''No he's fighting like a wimp.'' she corrected.
Max stopped. ''Ok Ed, I wont move. Now hit me'
Ed punched her in the stomach trying to knock the wind from her, but she just stood there. ''Was that supposed to hurt?'' she questioned.
Ed threw up his hands, ''Forget it, I give up'
He then walked away, to tend to his nose. Max walked over to Dan.
''I really need to teach that boy how to fight'
Dan laughed, ''You taught me and you can still kick my ass'
Max shrugged. ''Good point. But who said I taught you how to fight well.'' She stressed the word well.
''Thanks.'' She smiled. He pushed her.
Max grinned, Dan laughed. Max turned around to see her brother walking up the street. Her eyes widened with fear. She pulled Dan over to the corner of the court. Dan looked confused. ''What are you doing Max'
''Act like we're making out'
''I can do better than act'
''Dan don't e'
He cut her off, they started making out... again. A few minutes later he pulled away.
''How was that'
''You need to work on'
''No... not that, hey wait what do I need to work on'
She laughed. Pushing past him, she took a deep breath. Everyone was oo-ing at them Max glared at them and growled. ''Shut the fuck up'
All but one stopped. That one was John. The only person in the group Max couldn't beat up. ''Shut up Maxine.'' He stressed on her name, Maxine. She hated that name.
Her hands tightened into fists but she remained silent.
''What's the matter Maxine? Afraid I'll kick your ass?'' Again he stressed her name, he always did because he knew he could. Her anger level was rising. He started to circle around her, like she was hunted prey. The tension mounted. After a few minutes John said, ''C'mon Maxine, you scared. Oh no the great Maxine scared.'' ''I'm not scared'
''Then hit me'
''Maybe I will'
''C'mon Maxine. I'm right here.'' he challenged.
She punched him. He cracked his neck. ''C'mon Maxine. You can do better than that'
She punched him as hard as she could. Her knuckles cracking from the impact. John looked surprised. Blood dripped from his mouth. He spit. ''So you were always going easy on me. Huh'
She didn't do anything.
''I guess that would make two of us.'' he said. He drew back and punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground. Max stood up but didn't hit him back. She just stood there. Blood dripping from her mouth and nose. She just stared at John. John hit her again. This time in her stomach, she gasped for breath. Once she regained breath she just stood there, like before. The group of guys around her and John were urging her to hit him back. She didn't. ''Max if your not gonna fight back this will be way to easy'
''You called me Max.'' She replied quietly. ''Yea... well- I- So'
She laughed.
Dan cleaned the cuts on Max's face, arms, shoulders and back. ''You should have fought back'
''Why not'
''It wouldn't have don't anything'
''Well if you fought back John wouldn't have such an ego right now'
''Whatever... I don't know why your bothering cleaning these cuts'
''If you don't there's a good chance theyll get infected'
''So... that wouldn't be good'
''I dont care'
''Well I care'
Dan sighed as he finished cleaning the last cut. ''Go lay down, you look horrible'
''I'm fine'
Max almost cried out in pain when she stood up to walk over to the couch. She stifled her cry and somehow managed not to wince. She layed gently and carefully on the couch. She was so tired. Shed had a long day. She heard someone enter the apartment, but she didnt find out who it was, she was asleep.
Dan laughed as John entered the apartment.
''Man I think you did something to her head when you hit her. Shes acting weird'
''How so'
''Shes taken on a mellow, I dont care, attitude'
''Max isnt like that'
''And you assume thats my fault'
''Well yea. You just beat the shit outta her'
''She let me!'' John was defensive.
''You didn't have to hit her'
''She's always been one of the guys. That's how I think of her that how I treat her.'' he plainly stated.
''But she's not a guy. We all know that'
''What so you treat her differently when all she wants is to be treated the same'
''Well yea'
''Apparently I'm the only one who really respects her'
With that John left the apartment. Dan stood there as he took in what John had just said. He was right. John was the only one who really respected her. The rest of them just made her feel like she was respected. Made her think she was thought of and treated the same way. Truth was John was the only one who treated her like a guy at all.
Max woke up surprised to find herself still on the couch in the apartment. She sat up and looked around. Apparently she was either the only one up, or the only one in the apartment. She swung her legs over the side of the couch and dropped back from the shooting pain up her leg. She bit her lip and got up stifling a cry. She forced herself to look as if she was fine. She heard someone enter the apartment and turned to see John. He glanced at her and said, ''You might wanna fix your shirt a little.'' She looked down to see half her boob hanging out. She blushed slightly and adjusted her shirt. She walked over to the fridge and grabbed a water bottle. John watched her. ''You should sit down.'' She looked at him confused. ''Why?'' ''Cuz your in pain you dumbass.'' ''What makes you say that'
''I beat the shit outta you'
''That doesn't mean I'm in pain'
''Ok then run down the hallway and back'
''No. I'm not gonna do anything'
''Because you know you cant'
''That's not it'
''Then do it'
''You know your hurt. Just sit your ass down'
John walked closer to her.
''Don't make me carry to over to that couch'
''Before you do anything. Would you tell one of the guys to do that? Would you carry one of the guys to the couch'
''Actually I probably would'
''Sure you would.'' She said sarcastically.
''No really I would'
''You only want me to sit down because I'm a girl'
''That has nothing to do with it! Your hurt and in pain! Sit your stubborn ass down! Now!'' ''No'
John walked over to her and picked her up.
''Damn it John, put me down'
''Your gonna sit down on that couch whether you want to or not'
John dropped her on the couch and sat next to her holding her arms to prevent her from getting up. Max sighed. John smiled.
''Happy. I'm sitting'
''One of the guys would sit down if he were hurt'
''No he wouldn't and I'm not hurt'
''You are hurt'
John leaned back onto the couch. Dan emerged from his bedroom.
''What the hell is going on out here'
''Nothing.'' both Max and John said in unison.
''Now I know its not nothing.'' Dan laughed.
''Max wont stay on the couch when you can clearly see she's in pain when she stands up.'' John explained.
''So let her be in pain.'' Dan shrugged.
''I'm not in pain!'' Max argued.
''Not now. You are when you stand up.'' John stated.
''I will not be in pain.'' Max yelled.
''Just let the damn girl get up.'' Dan said.
Max got up, barely being able to hide the fact that she was in pain. Dan watched her.
''Max your in pain. Sit down. Stop trying to be so tough.'' Dan said.
Max growled.
''See I told you she was.'' John said in a sing-song voice.
Max giving up dropped next to John on the couch.
''Let me see your leg. Maybe I can figure out what's wrong.'' John said.
''No. Nothings wrong.'' Max argued.
''Then let me see your leg'
''Then look at my leg'
She turned to lean against the arm of the couch, putting her legs across Johns lap. John rolled her pants leg up to reveal tons on scraped and bruises.
''Damn. Either you play rough in sports or you fall a lot.'' John exclaimed.
Max sat there silent. John continued examining her legs. ''Hey, Dan can I have a wet towel'
Dan wet a towel with water and threw it at John. John wiped her left leg, cleaning off what ever blood was on her leg. John continued examining her legs. He pressed a spot near her knee on her left leg. Max bit her tongue to keep from making a noise.
''You did something to your knee. You tensed when I put pressure on it'
''That doesn't mean anything'
''It means it hurt'
''No it didn't'
John looked Max in the eyes and pressed the same spot on her knee. Max bit her tongue. ''See'
''Fine it hurt. So what'
''So you probably need to get your knee looked at'
''Give me an ACE bandage and it'll be better in a few days'
''No it wont. You need to get it looked at'
''No I don't'
''Yes you do'
''Max it cant hurt to get it looked at.'' Dan said interrupting them.
''Whatever.'' Max said with an exasperated sigh.
Later that day after Max had her leg looked at. John carried her into Dan's apartment. ''You don't need to carry me.'' Max laughed.
''They told you to stay off your leg as much as possible, so that's what you're gonna do.'' John stated.
''What are you gonna hold me up in the shower to?'' she joked. John laughed.
''If I have to.'' he joked back.
John gently laid her on the couch.
''I'm gonna get fat if I have to sit all the time.'' Max complained jokingly. John sat in a chair next to the couch. Max took a small notebook out of her pocket. ''What's that?'' John asked.
''Its nothing.'' ''No really, what is it?'' John insisted.
''Its a notebook.'' She dumbly stated.
''Duh. I meant what's it for.'' John seemed a bit annoyed.
''Me to write in.'' ''Whoa. Wait. All might Maxine has a journal?'' he joked.
''Yea. What's it to you'
''You just don't seem like the journal type.'' John laughed.
''And what type do I seem like?'' Max asked, interested in what he way saying.
''I dunno. The tough tomboyish, fighting, sporty, bitchy type.'' John guessed.
''Just cuz I act that way doesn't mean that's my type.'' Max pointed out.
''You guys don't know everything about me. I do have secrets ya know'
''You mean how you like Dan.'' John asked.
''Now that's no secret.'' Dan put in.
''Everyone can see I like him.'' Max laughed.
''So what kind of secrets?'' John asked.
''The kind you don't know about.'' Max laughed.
''And you cant tell us?'' Dan asked.
''My secrets.'' Max said possessively.
Dan and John laughed at her. James and Ed came in interrupting the conversation. James and Ed sat on the smaller couch that was facing Max. Dan who was before standing behind Max, sat on the couch next to her. There was a long silence. ''Anybody got a pen?'' Max asked, interrupting the silence.
James threw a pen, that he took out of his pocket, at her. ''Thanks.'' Max said. Then Max started writing in her notebook. She didn't notice, but John was reading over her shoulder.
I really wish I didn't have to go home. Joes gonna be really mad. I haven't been home for days now. I'm gonna hafta come up with an excuse for whatever new bruises and cuts I get. I have to explain them somehow. You know someone's gonna ask where they came from. Maybe I could just hide them, then I'll blame them on the next fight I get into. I doubt anyone would notice. Dan never noticed, he assumed all my cuts and bruises were from John. That wasn't anything really, Joes done worse, a lot worse. Damn it my own brother. I cant believe he does this to me. Maybe he wont be home, or maybe he'll have a girl over. I really hope he hasn't been getting drunk again. Maybe I could just leave him a note and leave before he notices I was home. I really wanna get some of my stuff. Maybe if I ask Dan he'll let me move in with him. But then I would have to explain why. Maybe not I'll ask, maybe come up with an excuse for it, maybe I got into a fight with my brother. Or my brother kicked me out. He hasn't really minded that I crashed here the last few nights, he never asked questions, but that's different from me moving in here. Oh well, I guess I'll talk to Dan about it later. Maybe I could ask John, no, although I've noticed ever since he really kick my ass he's a lot nicer to me. Why did I let him? Oh well I'll think about it later. Max threw the pen back at James, then closed her notebook.
Chapter 3 Max had talked to Dan, he didn't ask any questions. So she left her brother a note saying she left to live at her friends house, took her stuff and went to Dan's. No one really asked why she was now living with Dan. No one really wanted to ask. Everyone really made sure she stayed off her leg as much as possible, it was starting to annoy Max, but she dealt with it. Now Max was sitting on the couch, reading one of the books she brought with her. Dan brought her out of the fantasy world in her book.
''What's that?'' he asked.
''A book'
''What's it about'
''Its about Sorceress Tabitha who meets an ungifted one named Charles. He falls in love with her, but she loves another. The one she loves is Wizard Damian. But the love between Tabitha and Damian cannot be, they are from two different lands. Tabitha is from Asmeth and Damian is from Sernowa. The two lands are at war from the recent assassination of Asmeth's ruler, King Joseph. But Tabitha and Damian still manage to meet in their secret place, a stream in the woods of Tabitha's land, with the help of Charles'
''Sounds... interesting.'' Dan said. Max laughed.
''Sounds like a cheesy romance novel to me.'' said John from the doorway. ''Max can I talk to you?'' he asked.
''Yea sure'
''Alone.'' John looked at Dan.
Dan got up. ''I'll be in my room'
Dan left the room and John sat next to Max on the couch.
''So... what's up?'' Max asked.
''I wanted to ask you something'
''Ask away'
''Why did you let me beat you up'
''John that was days ago. Why does it matter?'' she asked.
''Its been bugging me. I know you could at least defend yourself against me, but you didn't'
''I- I don't wanna talk about it'
''Max just tell me. I want to know'
''I- Y- You reminded me of someone'
''So... why would you let me beat you up. I still don't get it'
''It doesn't matter.'' she insisted.
''I want to know, Maxine. Tell me. Now!'' he demanded.
She drew back a little. Her angry voice was laced with fear.
''You remind me of my brother'
''What does that matter?'' ''Like you don't know. I know you were reading over my shoulder, I'm not stupid. I may not have noticed right away, but I noticed. I thought the 'Oh well I'll think about it later.' would have been the clue.'' she nearly yelled.
''Don't yell at me! I was asking a question!'' he yelled standing up.
Max drew back in fear, closed her eyes and tensed half expecting him to hit her. She opened her eyes and relaxed when she realized he wasn't going to hit her. John went to say something but Max cut him off. ''Get out. I moved here for a reason, I don't need to deal with you instead of my brother. If I was going to I would have stayed with my brother. Get out'
John stood there, unmoving. ''So now I'm your brother? I'm not gonna hurt you Max.'' ''You will. I know it, just like my brother, I'll get you mad and you'll hit me. I know you will'
Tears were threatening to fall from her eyes. She forced them back. ''If I was going to hit you I would have already'
''No you wouldn't, I haven't gotten you mad yet, your just trying to scare me'
''Well its working'
Dan's bedroom door flung open.
''John. Get out.'' Dan said calmly.
Max wasn't surprised, she knew he was listening. John glared at her as he slowly left the apartment. Once the door closed Dan sat next to Max.
''I'm sorry I was listening.'' Dan apologized.
''I knew you were. You wouldn't leave me completely alone with John, I'm not stupid'
Dan laughed. He kissed her forehead.
''You know your allowed to have emotions. Everyone does.'' he said gently.
''I don't'
''You do.'' he said softly.
Dan kissed her forehead again. Then he hugged her. Max turned so she was leaning against Dan, and had he head resting on his chest. Dan stroked her hair. Soon Max fell asleep. When Max woke up she noticed she was still on Dan's lap. Rubbing her eyes, she looked up. Dan smiled at her.
''You look so peaceful when you sleep. Its a nice change from the usual Max.'' he laughed.
''How long was I asleep?'' Max questioned sleepily.
''Only an hour or two. I wasn't really keeping track'
''You could have gotten up and left me here'
''I didn't wanna wake you up'
Max messed up his hair. Dan laughed and ran his hand back through his hair in an attempt to make it look less messy. Max stood up, wincing from the pain that shot up her leg. Dan was watching her closely waiting to see if she needed help. She knew this and said,
''Dan I got it chill'
Dan didn't believe her and continued watching. She limped her way to the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water. Then she reached over and grabbed a box of cookies of the counter. She then limped back over to the couch and sat next to Dan.
''That's the most you've let me do since I got hurt.'' Max stated.
''Your legs never gonna get better if you walk on it.'' ''Dan I'm not a little kid, I know it wont get better if I walk on it too much. But sometimes is ok. I need to keep my leg somewhat strong.'' Dan sighed. Just as Dan was about to say something Alison, Dan's younger sister, came into the apartment. ''Alison! What are you doing here!?'' Dan yelled out. He jumped up, grabbed his little sister in a bear hug and swung her around then finally placing her feet back on the ground, both of them were laughing.
''I came to ask if I could stay here for a few days'
''Alison your 15. Why do you need a place to stay? You've got moms house'
''That's just it I got into a fight with mom and she kicked me out.'' Alison explained.
''What did you do'
''I- umm- I- I'm pregnant.'' she said hesitantly.
''What?!?!? Who got you fucking pregnant? I'm gonna go have a little talk with him!'' Dan yelled.
''Dan, c'mon calm down. Let her explain first.'' Max said, ''By the way I'm Max and I guess your Alison'
''Yea. Hi. Who are you? His girlfriend?'' she asked.
''No... I'm just living here. Its a long story. Once we calm him down I'll explain'
Dan was pacing across the floor yelling at Alison. Max stood up wincing in pain and walked over to Dan.
''Dan! Chill! Let her explain!'' Max yelled.
''Sit down! Your legs never gonna get better if your standing on it!'' he shouted.
''I'm not sitting down unless you let your sister explain first'
''Fine!'' he said through clenched teeth.
All three of them sat on the couch. Alison started talking,
''I've been going out with him for two years already and he said he would be there for me if anything happened. He knows he hasn't left me but I cant stay with him because his parents don't believe the kid is his. I just need a place to stay. If I cant stay here I'll go somewhere else and I swear Dan if you hurt him I'll never talk to you ever again'
''What's his name?'' Dan asked as calmly as he could. Alison seemed hesitant but she finally said, ''Pete'
''You can stay here, but I need to talk with Pete. I wont hurt him'
Alison seemed relieved.
''So who is she?'' Alison asked.
''As I said before my name is Max. I'm just a friend of Dan's and I needed a place to crash for a while'
''Why'd ya need a place to crash?'' ''I-'' Dan cut me off, ''Its none of your business'
''Dan, I can tell her. Its ok.'' I assured him.
''Tell me what?'' Alison asked curiously.
''That the reason I needed a place to crash is cuz my brother knocked me around'
''You mean like, hit you?'' she asked.
''Oh...'' Alison didn't appear to know what to say.
''Where is Alison sleeping?'' I asked Dan.
''My room. Its only a two bedroom apartment and Jinx has the other room'
''Who's Jinx?'' Alison asked.
''Yea who is Jinx?'' I asked.
Dan laughed.
''Jinx is my roommate. She never really comes out of her room but I don't ask questions. She always gives me her half of the rent and the cops haven't shown up yet'
All three of them laughed.
''Get rid of Jinx, I could get a job, and Alison will have the room until she leaves.'' Max stated.
''Who's gonna give you a job Max?'' Dan asked.
''I'll find someone. If I can find a job will you get rid of Jinx.'' Max bargained.
''Yea.'' Dan turned to Alison,'' Call Pete invite him over, warn him. I wanna talk to him'
''Don't worry Alison I'm gonna be around to keep Dan's temper'
Alison laughed and Dan glared at Max. Alison stopped laughing when Dan gave her a look. Alison called Pete and invited him over. Someone knocked on the door.
''That must be Pete. No one else knocks.'' Max laughed. Everyone else laughed with her and Alison answered the door. More than just Max, Dan and Alison were in the room. John and James both felt like Alison was there little sister and they were there to. Pete looked really nervous. Everyone smiled politely at him. Everyone met everyone and all that stuff. Everyone was now sitting down. Dan, Max, John and James on the bigger couch and Alison and Pete on the smaller couch. Dan smiled, being as friendly as he could be, even though he wanted to jump over and rip the kids dick off.
''Hi. I'm Dan, Alison's older brother'
Pete smiled nervously. ''Hi'
Max smiled, being polite. ''Don't worry, he wont hurt you, I think. I'm Max, Dan's friend, the other to are James and John'
James and John just sat there.
''So... Pete. Do you have a job?'' Dan asked.
''Uh... no.'' Pete answered nervously.
''How are you gonna help support this child?'' Dan asked.
''I- I'm l-l-looking f-for a j-job.'' Pete stuttered.
''Ok. Do you love Alison? Are you planning to marry her? Are you going to make sure she finishes school and goes to college? Are you going to finish school and go to college'
''I-I love Alison. I want to m-marry her. W-We are both finishing school. A-and hopefully going t-to college.'' He managed to stutter out beneath Dan's intense glare.
''Dan, can I talk to you. Please.'' Alison and Max said in unison.
Max and Alison looked at each other. Then back at Dan.
"Max your not getting up. And I'm not finished talking to Pete"
"Talk to him after and I'm getting up. Your room! Now!" Max stood up.
"Max sit down. Your gonna hurt your leg"
"Dan I need to talk to you"
"I said sit down. Now!" Max winced as Dan raised his voice.
"Dan get your ass in your room now. I'm talking to you now. Don't make me hurt myself dragging you in there"
"Sit down!" Dan yelled.
Max grabbed Dan's arm and started pulling him to his room. Dan grabbed her wrist tightly. Max winced from the pressure. She released his arm, he still had a tight grip on her wrist. Dan roughly picked her up and dropped her back onto the couch.
"I said sit down!" He yelled.
Max closed her eyes. Dan was more like her brother than John. John, who was sitting next to her, noticed something was wrong.
"Dan I need to talk to you." John said. Dan glared at him.
"I'm busy"
"I need to talk to you. Now"
"I said I'm busy"
"Dan. Now. It'll only take a minute"
John led Dan to his room.
"Dan, you're acting like her brother"
"I am her brother"
"I meant Max's"
"I am not." "You are. If you haven't noticed, she's scared of you"
Dan looked out the door at Max, who still had her eyes closed on the couch. He turned back to John.
"Oh God. You're right"
"I know I'm right. So calm down. Let Max and Alison talk to you"
"I'll go get them"
"Hey John… Thanks"
"No problem"
John left the room and returned carrying Max with Alison trailing behind, John laid Max on the bed. Max looked angrily at John, but didn't say anything. Alison sat quietly next to Max. John left the room. Max was looked down at the floor.
"Dan can you relax on Pete. You're gonna scare the guy to death." Alison started.
"Alright. I'll try"
Alison left the room.
"Look at me"
Max hesitantly looked up into Dan's eyes. You could she the fear, she was desperately trying to keep hidden, deep in her eyes.
"I'm sorry"
"What for"
"You know what for"
Her eyes went back to the floor and her hand to her wrist.
"Did I hurt you"
She shook her head.
"I think I did"
"You didn't"
"I'm going back inside"
"Don't walk on your leg"
"Then how am I getting inside"
Dan picked her up and felt her tense.
"Relax." He whispered into her ear.
She relaxed a little bit but was still quite tense. Dan set her gently on the couch and began pacing behind it.
"Tell me about yourself Pete"
"I'm 16. I have good grades. I like to play soccer. Umm"
"What about your family? What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any brothers or sisters"
"My family is my dad, mom and little sister. My little sister is three. I've been helping out with her since she was born, so I'm good with kids. In my spare time I normally watch TV or sleep"
"You're not gonna leave my little sister"
"Okay. Bye"
Dan went to his room and closed the door. He laid on his bed and stared up at the ceiling. Meanwhile everyone in the living room sat in stunned silence. Finally Pete said,
"I guess I'll go then"
"I'll go to Pete's for a while." Alison said.
Then Pete and Alison both left. Max looked at James and John and they looked back at her. What the hell was going on with Dan. Earlier he wanted to kill the guy and now he's calmer and knows hardly anything about the kid. Max stood up and John pulled her back down.
"Stay off your leg"
"You guys are getting annoying. James can you leave? I wanna talk to John"
James said goodbye to them both and left out the door. John turned to Max.
"What's wrong"
"Dan's more like my brother. And you're not. I'm sorry for jumping to conclusions. And… don't tell anyone about this apology"
"Got it"
"Thank you. Okay, this is out of the ordinary, but can I have a hug"
"Yea." They hugged.
"You give really good hugs." Max stated.
"Thanks?" Max laughed at him.
"John… what did you say to Dan"
"Nothing important"
"He's not himself now. You must've said something to make him feel bad, or start thinking or something"
"I didn't say anything important"
The was a pause.
"I wanna go shopping." Max said randomly.
"So you are female." He joked.
"Shut up." Max said smiling. "Can you tell Dan we're going shopping"
"Who said I was coming"
"I did. I need a guy to help me find out what I look hot in. I don't really go shopping, except for underwear, but that's different. Everything else was my brothers"
"Okay. I'll go"
"Thank you"
As soon as they told Dan they were on their way. They walked into a store.
"What size are you?" Max shrugged.
"No clue"
"What are the jeans you're wearing"
"I don't know"
"Oh God. You're the worst girl trying to be a girl I've ever seen. Lets try a three"
John pulled three pairs of jeans off the shelf and shoved them at her.
"Go in, put on, come out." Max nodded.
She went in and took off her jeans, then pulled on a pair of the jeans. She walked out. The jeans fit her perfectly but she seemed embarrassed, and nervous.
"They fit you perfectly, and you look awesome." John smiled.
Max looked at herself in a mirror.
"They're so tight though"
"That's the point"
"Oh. Okay"
"Do you like them"
"Not really, but I'm changing… so"
"How about a skirt"
"No! No way in hell"
"Try one. Please"
"Fine. But we're not buying it"
John threw a skirt at her.
"Oh my God. It's so short"
"Just try it on"
She sighed and changed into the skirt.
"Wow…. Max… you- your… hot." Max blushed.
"All might Max blushes"
"Shut up"
"Go find shirts. I'll help"
They both started searching through the racks.
"What about this"
He pulled out a really low v-neck red tank top. Maxs eyes got huge.
"What are you nuts?!?! Me in that"
"Just try it"
"No way. No, no and no"
Joe walked into the store with one of his girlfriends.
"Okay. I'll try it"
She dashed into the changing room. John turned to see what made her run so fast. He took a deep breath and was about to go talk to Joe when he heard Max.
"Don't even think about it"
"Get me some more cloths"
"You have to try on everything I give you or I'm gonna go hurt that brother of yours"
"What makes you think I'll object to either one of those"
John picked out some cloths.
"Open up." He said, knocking on the door.
He shoved himself into the changing room with her when she opened the door. He shut the door behind him.
"C'mon. I'm not gonna change with you in here"
"Just change"
"Ugh. Fine"
She pulled off her shirt. John was staring at her breasts.
"Oh please. Get over it"
"I'm sorry. I forgot you had boobs. And the fact that you're a girl." He laughed and she pulled on a low cut pink t-shirt.
"I'm still surprised how hot you look"
She pulled open the door and walked out of the dressing room. Her brother walked quickly over to her. John walked out and stood next to her, he was glaring at Joe. He head was down and she began to fuss with the skirt she was wearing, pulling it down. Joe stopped in front of her.
"Look at me"
She quickly looked up at his face, but avoided his eyes.
"Who is this?" He asked nodding at John.
"John." She said softly.
"Tell him to go away. I need to talk to you"
She turned to John.
"John, go look for more clothes. Joe needs to talk to me"
"But-" She cut him off.
"Go John. Please"
John turned to Joe.
"No. I'm staying with Max"
"Get lost kid"
"I said get lost"
"John we're in a public place he wont hurt me"
"I'm not going far"
John walked over a little. Just barely out of earshot.
"You little bitch. You left"
"And you left a fucking note. You wimp"
"I'm not as bad as you think I am. I was being a good brother"
"You friggin beat me. And more than that on occasion. How is that being a good brother"
"You little bitch. If we weren't in public"
"You would hit me? Beat me? Rape me? What? I left because I was tired of this shit and I found my way out. I don't have to be tough anymore. I can be me. So get lost"
She turned to leave and he grabbed her arm tightly.
"That hurts"
"Look at me you little bitch"
His grip tightened. Max turned with her eyes closed.
"Open your eyes"
She opened her eyes.
"Don't you ever talk back to me." He demanded.
"Let go of me"
"I'll let go of you whenever I want. Not when you tell me to. You're mine whether you like it or not. Always will be"
His grip tightened more.
"Joe. Let go. That hurts"
His grip tightened even more. She was forcing herself not to cry out or whimper at the pain and fear creeping through her body. She began to tense expecting to be hit, but instead the hand lifted from her arm. A hand encircled her waist and she jumped.
"Shhh. It's just me. It's John. Calm down"
She relaxed a little and he kissed the back of her neck.
"Shh. You're okay. He's gone"
She slowly opened her eyes. He was gone. For the first time in years, Max began to cry. John turned more to her and pulled her into him. "Shhh. It's okay Max. Its okay. Calm down"
John kept talking. Trying to calm her down. She leaned her head against him and slowly she calmed down. She pulled away and quickly wiped at her eyes.
"What happened?" She asked, "What the fuck just happened"
"Don't worry about it. But he wont hurt you again"
Max locked herself in the dressing room and quickly changed her cloths.
"John can I have your sweatshirt please"
He threw it over the door at her.
Max pulled it on and pulled up the hood. She walked quickly out of the store and John followed her.
"What about the cloths?" He asked.
"Go buy them. I'll meet you back at Dans"
"I'm not letting you walk around alone. Come back with me, we'll buy them and then ill follow you around. Please"
They turned around to go back to the store and went and bought the cloths. She started walking again.
"where are we going?" john asked.
"my place"
"and wheres that"
"a park"
"and its yours"
"I'm the only one that goes there"
"its my aunts"
They walked to a large white home and stopped. Max took a deep breath and walked through the front door. She walked through the house and out into the park yard to a large park. "I hate that house." max muttered "why? It looks like your aunts rich"
"she is"
"why don't you live with her"
"I hate her"
Max sat down on a swing and began swinging.