Few warnings: This is cheesy. Really cheesy. Also, it's unedited. So forgive me for the big mess it is.
I often wondered why my boyfriend stuck with me for so long. Not that I was ugly or a bad girlfriend or anything like that. Max just wasn't known for his fidelity in any relationship before. He wasn't known for relationships, period. He was the one night stand man; a man whore before we even graduated high school.
So why was I so different that even after seven months, he was still calling himself my boyfriend and me his girlfriend? And why was it that after seven months I still couldn't bring myself to trust that he wasn't cheating on me and hadn't been this whole time?
It didn't help that my best friend trusted him less than I did.
"I saw him flirting with Jolene the other day."
"I don't want to hear it," I said, tired of Andrea's gossip. I knew she didn't like Max, but I thought she liked me enough to stop whining about him all the time.
"Laura, I understand that it will hurt if you find out he's cheating on you, but wouldn't you like to know?" she asked me.
"No," I said shortly. I was trying to write an essay for English and her constant nagging about this issue wasn't helping me get it done. Usually my shortness would put her off and she'd go sulk until I apologized, but apparently she wasn't going anywhere today.
"I would," she said, picking up the book I was supposed to be writing the essay on and flipping through the pages. "If Troy ever cheated on me, I would want to know so that I could break up with him as soon as possible and move on. I would know if he was cheating, though. I know him better than I know myself. We tell each other everything."
I gave Andrea an annoyed look. She constantly bragged about her relationship with her boyfriend, who also happened to be Max's best friend. They were together longer than Max and I, but they were the most disgusting couple I've ever known. Always kissing and hugging and holding hands, calling each other sick pet names and such. Max and I saved the physical stuff for when we were alone and I was fine with Max calling me 'babe.' Sweet and simple.
"Max isn't cheating on me," I said, snatching the book from her hand rudely. "If he was going to cheat, he would have done it already."
Andrea looked hurt but she just put her hands in her lap and continued. "Who's to say he hasn't cheated already?" she asked. "How do you know that he hasn't been cheating since day one?"
"Because we were together all day and night on day one," I said dryly. "Unless we had a threesome without my knowing, I highly doubt that he's been cheating that long."
She made a face in disgust. "But you haven't been with him all the time. He could be cheating on you right at this moment."
"Are you trying to break us up?" I demanded, fed up with all the things she kept accusing him of. I loved my best friend, but sometimes she went too far. "Do you really hate us being together that much?"
"No," she defended. "I'm trying to save you from heartbreak. I just want you to be happy."
"I am happy with him! And unless you have hard evidence that he's cheating or has cheated, I don't need you to treat my relationship with him like a soap opera."
Andrea stood up, obviously upset. "Shouldn't all his flirting with every girl but you be proof enough?"
"That's just how he is," I told her, turning back to my computer. I wasn't very happy with her.
"Deny it all you want," she said angrily, "but don't come crying to me when you walk in on him with someone else."
I didn't say anything as she stormed out of my room. The thing was that she was voicing everything I was afraid to say myself. I didn't want to think about Max cheating because I didn't want him to be cheating. I was in love with him and I wasn't sure I could handle knowing if he was cheating or not. I wanted to trust him and that meant no games and no jumping to conclusions.
I just wish that Andrea would leave it alone.
I turned and beamed at Max who was leaning against the locker next to mine. We met here every morning, even if we'd spent the night together, but I was always happy to see him. And he always looked so good. It wasn't a surprise he'd been such a player before we became a couple.
"Hey," I said, giving him my usual once over. He was wearing his regular jeans and t-shirt, his arms folded across his broad chest and the usual grin spread across his face. "I missed you last night."
"Not as much as I missed you," he said quietly, also giving my body a glance. He never said things like that loudly, as if he were afraid someone would overhear. I figured he was just being the regular commitment phobic Max. "What'd you do without me?"
"I was up all night writing that essay due in English class," I said, pulling it out of my backpack and showing it to him. It was a measly two pages, but Mr. Spencer wasn't expecting much more than that. I knew that I had more than Max did anyways.
"Is this my essay?" he asked jokingly.
I rolled my eyes. "No, I didn't do your homework. I'm your girlfriend, not your slave."
"There's a difference?" Max acted surprised, giving my paper back to me without much of a glance at it. I wasn't expecting him to read it or anything. He would have been bored before getting past my name.
I lightly punched his shoulder at the joke and felt smug that Andrea was wrong about one thing: Max did flirt with me. He couldn't not flirt.
"Let's go before the bell rings," I said, zipping up my bag and slamming my locker shut. We both had English class first thing in the morning. We didn't start out in the same class, but Max switched into the one I was in shortly after we became a couple.
I looked at Max and he was giving me a look I recognized. "I'm skipping," he said like he didn't care, but I could tell he was waiting for me to lecture him about all the bad things skipping would cause.
"Because you didn't do the essay?" I asked. "Did you even read the book?"
He smirked. "What do you think?"
I shook my head and hefted my ridiculously heavy bag over my shoulder. "How are you going to graduate? How do you even expect to pass?"
"Mr. Spencer will let me make it up," he said, pushing off the locker as the bell rang. "I'll see you at lunch." With a final smile, he turned and walked away from me.
I watched Max saunter down the hall toward a group of his friends, including Jolene; the same Jolene that Andrea claimed she saw Max flirting with the other day. I observed them for a few seconds, but Max seemed to be more interested in what Austin was saying than Jolene. I felt better and turned to go to class.
But just as I turned, something caught my eye and my head whipped back to look at Max and Jolene. Jolene's hand was resting on Max's arm and Max was looking down at her. I was too far away to see their expressions, but I didn't need to. I watched as Max took her hand off of his arm and hoped for a second that he was rejecting her, but he didn't drop the hand. They stood there, hand in hand and talking to each other.
I was shocked. I shouldn't have been. I'd been waiting for this since we became a couple, but I hadn't expected him to do this in public. And I was hoping that I was wrong, that he loved me as much as I loved him and wouldn't dream of cheating on me.
But I was wrong. And the longer I stood there, looking at Jolene holding my boyfriend's hand, the angrier I became. I wasn't going to let him get away with this. I wasn't going to just turn around and act like this didn't happen and then maybe break up with him in private.
Oh no. If he was going to make his cheating public, I was going to make our break up public.
I stormed down the hall, my eyes on the scumbag and whore. Austin saw me approaching and out of the corner of my eyes I saw him take a step back.
"Woah, someone's pissed," he said, sounding amused.
I shot him the deadliest glare I could muster, turned to the two people who were causing my anger and then punched Jolene.
"What the he—"
Max didn't have time to finish his exclamation before my fist was headed for his face. Unfortunately, he took a step back and my fist only grazed his nose. Max righted himself from the recoil and grabbed my hands, looking incredibly surprised and concerned.
"What's wrong, babe?" he demanded, glancing at Jolene who was getting off the ground, clutching her nose.
"Don't call me babe," I snarled in his face. "We are over." I ripped my hands from his grip, gave a final glare at everyone now staring at me, and stormed away.
In hindsight, I overreacted a bit and shouldn't have gone around punching people, but at the time I was beyond pissed. I'd never felt that way before and as I sat in the principal's office waiting for him to suspend me, I realized that I never wanted to feel that again.
I suddenly understood why so many people died from heartbreak.
"You got suspended?"
"It's not a big deal, Mom," I said, not even looking at her. "It's only for three days and it's the end of the year so there's not much we're doing in class."
"But this goes on your record!" She paced around my room and it looked like she was about to rip her hair out. I thought I overreacted when I punched Jolene, but Mom was definitely overreacting about my suspension.
"What about the girl you punched?" she asked, giving me one of her signature 'this better not be as bad as it sounds' look. "What did she do to bring on this kind of treatment?"
"She was holding Max's hand," I told her truthfully. Guilt welled up in me when I realized that this was as bad as it was sounding. Not only did I punch someone for something as stupid as holding someone's hand, but Max was no longer my boyfriend. This was the worst day ever.
"She was holding…" Mom stared at me in disbelief and I looked everywhere else, trying not to cry. Dad was going to be so pissed when he heard about this. And Mom was going to make it sound even worse when she told him.
"Did you break up with him?" Mom finally asked after a few minutes of silent staring.
I looked at her in surprise, not expecting the question and saw that she wasn't looking angry anymore. She was now looking sad and concerned. The sudden change in mood and the sight of her looking at me like that finally got through my defenses. I broke down crying and nodded my head down to my hands.
"Oh honey," Mom said, coming over to give me a hug.
"I knew he was going to do this to me," I sobbed into her shoulder, wishing I didn't feel so crappy. "I knew but I still went out with him and became his girlfriend. I'm so stupid."
Mom rubbed my back soothingly. "Sometimes love can make people do stupid things."
"But I didn't love him when we got together," I said, pulling away and wiping my eyes. My nose was running, too, but I didn't have anything to wipe it with so I just settled with sniffing. "He wasn't even really nice to me when we got together."
"Well there must have been a part of you that loved him if you agreed to be his girlfriend even when he wasn't nice to you," Mom reasoned. "You're much too smart to be dating boys who aren't good to you."
I thought back to the day when he asked me to be his girlfriend and blushed. "He was charming, saying all these cute things," I mumbled, feeling weird telling this too my mom. "He promised he wouldn't see other girls, but I should have known that it wouldn't last long."
Mom raised her eyebrows. "Seven months isn't long?"
I shrugged. "For all I know, he's been cheating on me for that long."
Mom tilted her head and scrunched her nose. It was something both of us did when we were thinking hard. Max told me it was really cute and always laughed when I did it. My eyes stung at the thought of him again, but I managed to hold the tears back.
"I don't think he's been cheating on you for that long," Mom finally said, looking at me again. "And are you sure that he was cheating on you this time? I mean, it was just holding hands."
I got mad again at the reminder of Jolene and Max holding hands. "He's not supposed to hold hands with anyone but me," I snapped at her. "And he doesn't even do that. Not in public anyway."
Mom raised her eyebrows again. "Has he held hands with girls in previous relationships?"
I shrugged my shoulders and then shook my head. "I never paid attention before and he was never into relationships, always moving on to another girl within a week or two."
I thought about the question Mom was asking and tried to remember Max before our relationship. I never saw him hold hands or even kiss anyone publicly, with the exception of Andrea when he was trying to keep her and Troy from finding out they loved each other. I figured that was because he was too busy hooking up with different women to focus on one, but I was starting to realize that it was because he didn't like public displays of affection. So why was he holding Jolene's hand?
"I don't understand," I said softly, still lost in my thoughts of Max and PDA.
Mom patted my leg and stood up. "I'll just let you figure things out while I go make dinner." She started to leave, but paused to say "And you're still grounded for getting suspended."
I sighed and felt dread at the period of no electronics I was going to have to endure, but I knew that being stuck in my room with practically nothing to do for the next three days was going to give me a lot of time to think about what I did. I think that was the point of the punishment, but I had a feeling that I would need all that time.
It was day three of my suspension and I wasn't allowed to be out of my room for anything other than going to the bathroom, but I knew that if I didn't get out I was going to die from isolation. Being grounded in my house meant being grounded. I couldn't use the phone, my computer, or watch TV. To top it all off, Andrea wasn't even allowed to visit.
My brother got grounded enough that he was used to spending all day long in his room. I, however, was the good girl in the family and only spent my day in my room if I were mad or with Andrea.
When my mom left the house on the third day to run errands, I didn't waste any time in getting out of the house. Dad was at work and my brother was in class, so I knew I would have at least an hour to get back into my room before anyone came home.
Of course, I couldn't get far since all the cars were being used and I would have to walk to wherever I wanted to go. Andrea's house wasn't that far away, but it was still morning so she was in school and her mom would call my mom if I showed up. When I made it out of the house, I decided that the best course of action would just be to go to the park.
I was walking past Mrs. Gill's yard and waving to her, hoping that she wouldn't say anything to Mom, when a car that I hadn't noticed was sitting on the curb honked loudly. I jumped out of my skin and nearly peed my pants, but when I turned to see who it was, I forgot I was scared.
"Get in the car, Laura."
I stared at Max in disbelief as he stared at me from the driver's seat through the passenger side window. "How long have you been sitting there?" I asked him, not moving from my spot on the sidewalk. Mrs. Gill was glaring at us from her garden, probably wondering why some strange car was parked in front of her house and honking at her neighbor.
"A while," Max answered my question. "Now get in."
I straightened up and folded my arms, glaring at him. "I'm not going anywhere with you. I'm grounded."
"From me?" he asked with raised eyebrows.
I rolled my eyes. "From everyone. I'm not even supposed to be out of my bedroom until my suspension is over."
"Well then break one more rule and just get in the car," Max demanded, sounding exasperated. "We need to talk."
"We've already talked," I said, turning on my heel and beginning to walk away.
He was having none of that. He got out of his car and stormed angrily toward me until he was blocking my way. I tried walking around him but he just kept getting in my way again. I sighed and looked over at my neighbor to see if she was going to do anything about this, but she was already back to gardening and ignoring us.
"We didn't talk," Max said, trying to look me in the eyes, but I looked everywhere but at him. "You punched Jolene, tried to punch me, and then broke up with me for no reason."
I snorted at that. "No reason? You were cheating on me!"
He looked confused for a second, but then it dawned on him. He looked like he wanted to cry and laugh at the same time and I can't say it made him look attractive. Ok, it actually made him look adorable, but I was still mad at him and none of this was funny. So I glared at him and tried to unsuccessfully to get around him again.
"Laura," he said, his voice sounding a bit strained. "I wasn't cheating on you."
"Then what were you doing holding Jolene's hand?" I demanded to know. "You don't even hold my hand!"
"That was all Jolene," he defended. "I was taking her hand off of my arm and she wouldn't let go of my hand. She was saying something about us when you punched her."
I scowled, wanting to believe what he was saying, but not wanting to give in so easily either. "That's what they all say," I told him, finally looking in his eyes. It was the wrong move because suddenly I couldn't look away and I no longer doubted his honesty. Stupid eyes.
"Well, I'm telling the truth," he said and I believed him. But I wasn't about to make this easy.
"What about all those other times when you flirted with other girls?" I asked, remembering when he once flirted with a blonde named Mary at a party we went to together. He also flirted with waitresses or with the girls at cash registers. I noticed that they were always the ones to start the flirting, but he didn't need to encourage them.
He sighed. "I'm sorry I flirt all the time. I'm still getting used to this—"
"Even after seven months?" I demanded.
"Yes!" he said, putting his hands on my shoulders, his eyes getting wide in determination. "I've never been with someone for so long. Before you, I didn't do relationships. I flirted, I had sex, and I moved on. I can't just break a habit out of the blue. You just have to trust that I like you a lot more than anyone I might happen to flirt with."
"You're not bored of me?" I asked tentatively. "Even after seven months."
"Babe," he said with a laugh, but I could tell he was still completely serious, "you're anything but boring. I feel like I have to keep up with you, that I'm becoming the boring one. Even though you don't demand attention, I feel like giving it to you all the time. You keep me on my toes and I'm always anticipating what you're going to do next. And I always want to be around you. When you leave the room, I have the urge to follow you. Babe, I think I actually like you." He smirked and I recognized the glint in his eyes. "Plus, the sex is f—"
"Ok, I get it," I said, slapping my hand over his mouth. I looked over at Mrs. Gill to see if she's heard what just came out of Max's mouth. She didn't give any indication that she had, so I turned back to Max. By now I had an uncontrollable smile on my face. His confession made me unbelievable happy.
"Fine," I told him, taking my hand away from his mouth. "I won't overreact when you flirt with other girls." He nodded. "But if I think it's going too far, I reserve the right to punch one of you, depending on who I think deserves it most."
Max grinned, leaning toward me. "That's hot." His eyes flicked over my shoulder toward my neighbor. "Now let's give that old lady something to talk about at her next bingo game."
"But you don't like PDA," I reminded him leaning back a little before he could fully close the distance between our lips.
He smirked and adjusted his grip so that I couldn't move away from him any further. "Yeah, but I just got my girlfriend back and I would really like to kiss her now, whether people are watching or not." He was about to lean in again, but paused. "Actually, I would like to kiss you in front of the whole school if I could. That way everyone would know you're mine again."
I laughed as he bent down and kissed me. It felt good to have Max back and I knew we would be okay, even though Mrs. Gill was sure to tell my parents about Max groping me in front of her.
I couldn't leave them alone. I just really like Max and Laura. And this is just another one-shot. It's unlikely that I'll write anything else with them in it.
I hope you liked this. It's the first thing I've been able to finish since before November. I felt really happy that I could finish something, but I haven't reread this because I just don't have the energy.
Let me know what you think.