A/N: Enjoy! I love reviews!

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Intellectual Curiosity

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He called while I was eating cookie dough straight out of the bowl.

"Max here," I said, clicking it open with one hand and balancing it on my shoulder.

"What's that short for?"

"Go the hell away, that's what. How did you get my number?"

"I'm thinking…"

"Don't hurt yourself," I cautioned.

"Ha, ha, very funny, Maxine."

"Maybe it's short for Maximilliana. How would you know?"

"Because I'm brilliant," he quipped, sounding jolly. I snorted. "Let's go get ice cream, Maxine," he said.

"I'm vegan."

"So that's a yes, Maxine?"

"No. And would you stop saying my name like that?"

"Like how, Max—"

"Shut up and leave me alone!" I bellowed into the receiver. "Not only do I hate you, but I also hate my full name!"

"I'll pick you up in ten." The line went dead. I let out a huff of frustration. Whatever. I kept eating my cookie dough, pondering whether or not to actually bake some. It's not like I was planning on driving with him, or going anywhere with him, or even answering the door if he actually showed up.

Can you tell I'm a little bitter about the whole 'let's provoke Max into a blind rage and then have sex with her' thing?

Although he did inevitably come over. I don't think he even knocked—what if my parents had been home?

"That vegan?" He asked curiously, peering into the bowl.

"Yes," I muttered grumpily. He snagged a handful. I glared. "Did you wash your hands?"

"No," he said casually. "I taste honey."

"So?"

"So, don't most vegans avoid all animal products? You're a fake vegan!"

I narrowed my eyes even further. "In case you missed the memo, bees are insects."

"Maxine doesn't care for the itty-bitty insects?"

"Would you stop with the Maxine!? And they are insects, as in, not animals. As in, I don't give a shit if they feel pain!"

He cocked his head. "Woah, harsh much?"

"Yeah, because you're so kind and gentle to all animals. You're not even an ovo-lacto vegetarian!" He was actually the most frustrating person I'd ever met.

"I don't eat fish," he volunteered.

"Wow," I said sarcastically. "You're a great person. The next level up from insects, and you give them a break. Gee, I wish I could be more like you."

"I don't like the taste."

"You're ridiculous, you know that? Get out of my house." I turned back to my cookie dough.

He pulled out a barstool, plopping down next to me. "So what determines whether or not something is an animal, and, consequently, worthy of not eating?" He asked, with genuine curiosity.

"Rational thought, a brain, and a nervous system. Possibly a spinal chord—I don't even know why I'm telling you this, it's not exactly something I think about in my free time, or even like I have to explain myself to you—"

"Shouldn't you be thinking about it? I mean, after all, aren't you all PETA-y, like, save the animals and all?" He ran a hand through his hair, ruffling it and making it fall unevenly around his face. He looked curious, amused, and slightly predatory.

I scoffed. "Yes, and PETA doesn't exactly go after farmers for harming the poor mosquitoes and bees."

"But why not?"

"Because they're not animals!" I cried for the umpteenth time. "You know, it would be so much easier to have a conversation with you if you'd listen to what I say!"

"I do listen," he replied. "You just aren't proving your point very coherently."

"Fine," I shot back. "Item one: bees are not animals. Item two: they are not animals because their brain is too small for rational thought, logic, imagination, or pain. Item three: we can therefore steal their honey with a clear conscience because, item two: they don't notice that it's gone because they don't have minds!" I kind of shouted the last part.

He simply smiled. "Well…when you put it like that," he drawled.

"See?"

"I can practically taste the smugness in your voice," he said, and his voice was suddenly husky.

"You're still disgusting," I snapped, and got up to leave my own kitchen.

His voice stopped me. "Maxine," he said, in a tone that sent a shiver rolling down my spine.

In a blur he had me pushed against the wall. This looks familiar, I thought idly. His shaggy brown hair hung around his face in a very enticing manner, and without thinking I reached up and ran my hand through it.

"So, Maxine," he whispered, lips moving against the shell of my ear. I shivered again, this time perceptibly, and felt his laughter in response. "Since fetae aren't technically rational, imaginative, or capable of much more pain than insects, doesn't that mean we can kill them with a clear conscience, too?"

His proximity was muddling my brain too much for a coherent response. "Vegan," I moaned.

He trailed his lips along my jaw, searing my skin. I resisted the urge to full-on groan and buck my hips against him. I felt the brush of his stubble again as he hovered at the corner of my mouth, teasing me.

"Unnggh," I murmured, hands intertwined in his hair, and forcibly pulled his face down to mine. He laughed, and then his lips were crushed against my own, and it was lucky for me that he was holding me up because my knees had suddenly gone weak.

I opened my mouth for him almost automatically, feeling his lips devouring my own, clashing my tongue against his. I felt his teeth scrape my lower lip, and I sucked on his tongue. He nibbled my lips and I threw my head back, giving him access to my neck.

Meanwhile, his hands had been resting on my waist. He slowly pushed them up my shirt, fingers trailing feather-light caresses over my stomach.

"Do you support abortion?" He whispered. I frowned, anger and desire warring within me. He was toying with me.

"Yes," I bit out. "Woman's choice."

"Really…?" He said, eyes dark and hooded, hands on my waist, looming over me in what I'm sure he thought was a foreboding manner.

"Rather atypical of a vegan, don't you think?" He made to kiss me again but I pushed him away.

"I don't actually care what you think, at all, but thanks," I snapped, trying to move out of his hold.

"Why?"

"No one has the right to choose for me what I do with my body."

"Who's giving the fetus that choice?"

I rolled my eyes. "It's not conscious, or even capable of rational thought! We already discussed this." He was doing it again. He was making me angry all over again. How did Tristan have the ability to bring out the worst in me, every time?

"You don't feel bad that you're killing a human? Depriving it of life?"

"No," I bit out. "Because I don't believe that it is a human at that stage."

"And you, a highschooler, should make that decision?" He pushed himself against me, and I resisted the urge to melt into him.

"Why not? It's just a fact. I define human by the ability to think rationally and make conscious decisions."

"So you could kill a two year old in a clear conscience."

"Well… if they couldn't think rationally…"

"You're supporting infanticide, you psychotic freak," he said, looking at me like I was crazy.

"I don't think we should sustain vegetable infants on taxpayers' dollars, if that's what you're implying," I rejoined. "But obviously I don't support randomly taking axes to the heads of two year olds because they don't have blue eyes!"

He snickered. "Blatant reference to Toni Morrison: The Bluest Eye, right there. You messed it up though, really. The girl just wanted blue eyes. It wasn't like she was killed for not having them."

I paused, momentarily sidetracked. "It depends on how you look at it," I countered. "She basically went insane…so technically, you could argue that a part of her died inside because she didn't have them."

"It's not the same as taking an axe to her head, though."

"No…hey! You're deliberately trying to distract me from the debate—because I was winning!" He grinned smugly.

"And it was working, too." He made as if to kiss me again.

"Tristan, stop," I bit out, pushing at his chest as hard as I could.

He didn't take no for an answer. I didn't really expect him to. I might have been disappointed if he had.

His fingers found my hips, mine wound my way through his hair (which he kept absurdly long for a militant Republican) and it all dissolved.