"Ring" the school bell rang the ten minute warning to homeroom. Students filled the hallways, milling around before school started for the day.
Making her way down the hall was an eleventh grader, skillfully navigating the crowds with her nose in a book and coffee in hand. As if by intuition, she stopped by a locker without looking up where two boys were waiting.
"Good morning campers," she ruefully looked up from her book at the boys, closing and handing the book to the tall dirty blonde teen next to her and her coffee to his dark hair, pale companion.
"Morning, Max. Did you finish your coffee yet or still grouchy?" Lip chuckled while taking the book from Max. He's known Max since the third grade therefore knowing her habits. Max lived off of coffee and Lip had had one too many run ins with her before she'd finish the coffee; he could only describe the experience as frightening but somehow entertaining.
"Cute," Max shot Lip a look as she transferred her books from her bag to her locker. She took her book back from Lip to put away and then turned to the other boy who was swishing her traveling mug back and forth.
"Nope, sounds all gone. Too bad, looks like you could use some more-ow!" Dean pulled his hand back when Max slapped it, taking back her mug. Dean should have known better than to mock Max about her coffee.
"You are just so funny. Really."
"Why thank you. So why did you want to talk before homeroom? You seemed excited in your message last night," Lip had been curious all night. He recognized Max's tone in the message; she had been planning and he couldn't wait to know what she had been thinking about.
"Oh, ya. Well, I've been thinking," Max spoke slowly as she pulled out the books she needed. "I think that it's time for Red-5 to make an appearance." She slammed her locker shut and turned to look at Dean and Lip with her head cocked playfully to the side.
Lip and Dean froze at first, expressions of shock all over their faces, not believing what they heard. Max waited, smirking. As per their agreement, it had been two years since that name had been uttered out loud and no one, including her, couldn't believe that it was finally time.
"Got to get to class, you boys coming?" Max grinned and walked away. She always knew how to get a response from others, or the lack of one in this case. Max has perfected the manipulation of people simply through the use of her voice. She couldn't remember the last time she got in trouble for something that she did do.
Max slid into her seat in homeroom as the bell rang, saying hi to other students around her. She counted to fifteen in her head, looking to the door as Dean and Lip slid into the classroom.
Too predictable. Max shook her head at them as they took their seats, giving them an unreadable expression as they glanced at her.
Dean took out his iPad as he turned towards Lip.
"Hey, did you have any idea that Max was thinking about...you-know-what already? I mean, I realize that it's been two years and all but, that seemed completely out of the blue, right?" Dean was confused, not that it was hard not to get him that way. People have always puzzled Dean and Max was definitely no exception. He could never read people very well and it always took him a while to understand people. Lucky for him, Lip was an open book, leading to them being best of friends. Max, on the other hand, he's only ever learned how to read her moods, kind of.
Lip sighed, "No man, no clue at all. Something must of triggered an idea for Max for her to not have hinted at this beforehand, it's weird." Dean furrowed his brow at Lip's comment.
"Not that I'm not excited or anything. We've been waiting for this for too long and I know Max is going to come up with something beyond sweet."
"I know what you mean, I can't wait to get started with this," Dean was already occupied with his iPad, setting up encrypted files with prepared documents, ready to go for whatever Max would need and keeping it safe. One thing that Dean knew for sure was how to work computers. The only person that knew them better maybe was Max but it was one talent of hers that she preferred to keep quiet.
Lip glanced at the tablet and knew that Dean was done with the conversation. Lip drummed his desk lightly while staring at the back of Max's head. He knew that something was going on with her, Max was being extremely secretive, as was her norm. But this time, something was off this time. Lip had pulled plenty of pranks with Max in the past and could tell when she was keeping something to herself and this morning, she could barely look him in the eye; there was a problem.
During the next class, the trio shared a table in the back of the room with Max in the middle. Unfortunately for her the class was biology, her favorite, but both Lip and Dean kept trying to get Max's attention. Dean was trying to steal her notes from the last class and copy the homework while Lip was attempting to subtly extract any useful information from Max.
"Dean, what are you trying-Lip why are you asking about my parents?" Max hissed as she smacked Dean's hand away from her notebook. They were driving her crazy in the one class she actually enjoyed.
"I'm just wondering if everything is going okay at home."
"What?!" Max whipped her head from Dean to Lip at this question. What does he know?
"Why would you ask me something like that in the middle of class?" voice low and cool, Max fixed Lip with a guarded but terse look.
Lip swallowed heavily. "Just making conversation is all."
"We are in the middle of class. There is a time and place for arbitrary conversation and this is not it. Especially stupid arbitrary conversation that has no meaning since you were at my house three times this week and therefore saw my parents" Max arched her brow at Lip giving him a pissed face, all the while reaching into her folder and handing Dean her notes behind her. Max was if anything, collected and in charge at all times. Even if she was screaming in panic in her head at the same time.
"S-sorry, I'm just bored is all," Lip muttered and turned away, ducking his head to his notes. Wow, smooth move Phillip. Act like a complete noob and blow it before I even get any ground. What has Max been teaching you all these years? How to be a moron? Lip shook his head as he silently scolded himself. Asking such a stupid question, rookie mistake. To get any sort of information from Max he would have to be smarter, much smarter.
The three friends sat in silence the rest of class, each lost in their own thoughts. The bell finally rang and the three made their way to lunch. Max sat at a table in the far corner while Lip and Dean made their way through the lunch line. Max ate a sandwich as she read her book by herself.