The Universe Hates Me

Chapter 15

Max's POV

I sauntered into school, messenger bag slung over my shoulder, and as soon as I stepped through the doors, a horrible shrill noise from down the hall attacked me, giving me a major headache. I groaned and snapped my gaze to the left to see who - who - the hell I would be punching to make it shut the heck up!

I watched as Iggy ran down the hall, wearing a ridiculous - like, so whacked up it made me embarrassed to know him - fireman hat with a siren - it looked as if he stole it from a gay stripper! - with his arms flailing madly. I think he hit a few people in the face as he passed.

I should have known. There was something seriously wrong with that boy - he must've been dropped on his head when he was a child - I ought to ask his mom; it'd explain so much.

I was going to go up and demand why, exactly, Iggy was making a complete dick of himself - 'cause last time I checked, it wasn't Dress Up Like You're About To Give A Guy A Lap Dance Day - when I noticed Nudge falling back, looking mortified that she actually knew him.

Smart girl.

I watched as Iggy screeched to a halt in front of Fang's locker. For some reason, Fang looked relieved that Iggy had shown up. I shook my head - men. Best not to interrupt.

Although I'm a curious - nosy - person, and questions as to the boys' odd - majorly whacked up - behavior were running through my head, I turned away and made my way over to Nudge, who was hanging by her locker.

I waited until I was right in front of her before saying, still somewhat - completely - weirded out, "OK, so either sleep deprivation has seriously jacked up my vision, or I just saw the Igster running down the hall in a firefighter hat - with a freakin' siren."

Nudge gave me a this is what I put up with on a daily-freaking-basis! before answering, "Nope, you've got perfect vision, my friend."

"So... obvious question: why in God's green earth is Ginger Snap over there rushing down the hall looking like a wannabe stripper?" I demanded, waving in the vague direction of Iggy and Fang. I leant against the locker beside Nudge's, watching as the two boys chatted - rather intensely, too.

Nudge rolled her eyes and shrugged. "Like I know - Iggy never tells me his reasons for anything. All I really know is that he picked me up, and he was all frantic. So when he told me he needed to grab something from his house real quick, I didn't mind much - until he came back out in that godforsaken hat. Then he said Fang texted him - Igs was ranting about code MGP, or whatever the heck it was - and he said the hat was necessary. So, in short, I have no idea."

I wanted to say, Why couldn't that have been 'in short' at the beginning of the explanation? but I didn't, because I was too busy wondering if code MGP had anything to do with this morning. Oh, God - did I ruin our friendship? No...

I was in the middle of scolding myself - whilst using every profanity I could think of - when Nudge snapped me out of my thoughts, bringing me back to reality.

She looked at me, her face concerned. She put a reassuring hand on my arm before asking hesitantly, "So, what's up with you? Did something happen? You know you can always tell me, right?"

I thought about it for a minute - maybe some girl talk would be good for me. I wouldn't use Fang's real name - God knows how Nudge'd react - but I decided I might as well go for it. "Um, well... there's this guy..." I said lamely, looking away from here, slightly embarrassed.

Nudge squealed. Yes. That's right. She. Squealed. Dear God...

"ZOMG! WHO? WHO?"

I looked down at my feet, feeling my cheeks heat up - damn blush.

She nudged me, still bouncing 'round on her feet, coaxing, "Come on, Max, you shouldn't be embarrassed. I mean, I'm dating Iggy - you can't do much worse than that, right?"

I thought about what I'd say to her; OK, Nudge, you see, I have this totally creepy, squealtastic tween-y girl crush on my bestest friend in the entire world - who just so happens to be your big brother. It's gotten to the point where I want to freaking rape him in his sleep and claim those sexy-ass abs ALL TO MYSELF. Riiiiight. Tell me that's not embarrassing now, huh?

Yeah, because I'm that stupid.

But Nudge was doing the whole puppy-dog eye thing, so I inhaled sharply and settled on compromising, "Well, OK. Here's the situation - no names, just the situation. Comprende?"

Nudge nodded - giving herself the effect of a bobblehead - eagerly, and I sighed before starting, "Well, I like this guy. We're friends, right? Well, I like to hang out with him as friends and everything, but lately, I've been feeling all these weird emotions around him and stuff. Like, more-than-friends feelings. So, we were hanging out and we, um, sort of had this 'moment' and it felt just so right and I could swear he feels the same way, too. But... it's been all awkward ever since, and we haven't talked about it."

I glanced up at Nudge, who looked about to explode in a volcano of questions and exclamations. Wonderful analogy, Max. Her eyes were wide as dinner plates, and I knew she'd break in three...

Run, Max. Run while you can!

Two...

Now's your chance! Go! Don't look back!

One...

MOVE IT, MAX, BEFORE SHE BLOWS-

"ZOMG! I cannot believe this! That is so cute! And, well, sad, because of all the awkwardness and stuff, but I think it's still cute, too, because, I mean, if you think about it, you guys - mmhmmphh." I sighed in relief as I slapped my hand over her mouth - I swear I could still feel her lips moving!

Seriously, Nudge? I just needed advice.

She smiled sheepishly from under my hand, and I dropped it cautiously to my side.

"Sorry! Back on topic. OK, well, honestly, I think you should go for it - I mean, him. If you said there was something there, well, there must've been something there. I mean, this is the twenty-first century - you don't need to wait for the guy to ask you out! Make a move, girl!"

She was so excited, she was - quite literally - bouncing up and down.

I gave her a weak half smile before I dropped The Bomb - well... one of them. "One problem. He. Is. Taken."

Nudge stopped her bouncing and squealing immediately. She looked at me in shock, her eyes sympathetic. "What? No! AH! No fair no fair no fair! LIFE SUCKS! I bet she's a total freaking slut! Is she a slut? I bet she is. THAT SLUT! Well, maybe he'll realize he doesn't want her, and wants you - I think it still might be worth talking to him about..."

Although Nudge is a motormouth, she really can give you can when you need it. She was smiling at me, encouraging me to declare my love for this guy - who just so happens to be her brother. And my best friend.

Fan-freaking-tastic.

But you know what? I am sick and tired of playing this little gam with myself - and Fang. I needed to know, once and for all, if there was something bigger than friendship between us - and I was determined to find out.

I gave her a grateful smile before engulfing her in a big hug. "Thank you, Nudge. Really."

"Any time," Nudge smiled. Shortest. Sentence. Ever.

Nudge smiled brightly before grabbing her books and turning to head to class. Before she left, she threw over her shoulder, "I'll see you later, and I want a full report on how it goes! But now, I must find Iggy and make him take that damn hat off before he makes me regret dating his sorry ass!"

I chuckled as she sauntered off to find - kill - Iggy.

But then I took one last, deep breath before heading off to class, because I knew I had to find Fang and confront him.

Now or never.

I took one last deep breath before heading off to class, and then I would find


After the longest hour of my life, the bell finally rang, signaling class was over.

Oh, God, this is it. Off to find Fang and confess my love for him. Oh, God, I'm

going to be sick.

I shoved my notebook and pens into my bag before hurrying out the door, determined to find Fang before I lost my nerve.

I continued taking deep breaths to calm my nerves. In through the nose, out through the mouth. OK, I can do this. I can do this.

I had just succeeded in calming down as I flashed around a corner, and a glimpse of black hair caught my eye.

Fang.

I smiled at the thought of finally getting my feelings out there, in the open - finally being truthful with him and me.

I felt my stomach start to do back flips as butterflies danced around in my stomach as I turned and bravely walked over to where I'd seen him, head held high.

I can do this.

I had just turned the corner, ready to do it, when I stopped dead in my tracks.

No, no, no, NO!

My heart dropped out of my chest, down, down, down to the ground, shattering at my feet. Fuck, I don't know how much more of this I can take!

I stood there like a complete idiot, staring at the sight before me. I was unable to tear my gaze away, despite my breaking heart, from the terrible, horrified, dream-shattering image that was right there.

I stood still, eyes wide, as Fang held on to his girlfriend. They were devouring each other's mouths with hot, feverish kisses. That mouth that kissed mine this morning... oh, Fang... no. No...

I felt like curling up and dying. Why did I ever listen to Nudge? As if Fang would ever have feelings for me! I was just a stupid childhood friend. And I'd just set myself up for - more! - heartbreak that I could not handle. WHAT WAS I THINKING? Well, I obviously wasn't freakin' thinking!

Seriously! There has got to be someone Up There, laughing hysterically at my misfortune. What did I do wro-ong?

I felt tears gather in my eyes as I bit my lip, refusing to let them fall. I will not cry because of him - I. Can't.

After staring at them for what seemed like a lifetime, I snapped out of it and ran away quickly. I needed to be far, far away. Anywhere but there.

I didn't pay attention to where I went as I ran down the hall, fleeing as fast as I could as I swiped angrily at the tears on my cheeks.

I was halfway down the main hallway when I ran into someone, knocking us both over in the process.

I fell onto his chest, knocking the wind from him as my full body weight came crashing down. Way to make me feel fat.

I saw his face as I lifted myself up, and recognition flashed through me as I scrambled to my feet, offering a hand. He accepted gratefully, and I pulled him to a stand.

"God, Sam! Sorry! I wasn't paying attention to where I was going... Sorry, I am such a klutz!" I said, rushing the words as I bent to pick up his books I'd knocked out of his grip.

"It's OK, Max," he chuckled, winking. "I love running into you." It was horribly cheesy, but after the day I'd had - it was still early! - I was past caring, and I felt the slightest bit better.

As I handed his books back, Sam caught sight of my tear streaked face. Before I could turn away, he cupped my cheeks, making me meet his eyes. He was concerned and serious - and another look I couldn't place.

"Max, what's wrong?"

I forced a smile. "Nothing. Just being a stupid girl."

I let out a humorless laugh, and his expression hardened. "Seriously, Max. You sure you're OK?"

"Couldn't be better." I hesitated when he gave me a look that said don't-give-me-that-crap, but played it off with a silly shove. "Seriously, I am fine."

Sam shot me a skeptical look before dropping it. I turned to leave, giving him a small wave goodbye when he said, "Max, wait!"

I turned around to see what he wanted, but he was looking at his feet nervously. Why was he nervous?

"Yeah...?"

Sam stole a glance at me before taking a deep breath and saying, "Um. Well. I-I was wondering if maybe you could... uh, um..."

He seemed to be having trouble spitting out what he wanted to say, which was slightly cute, but also irked me somewhat.

"Yeah, Sam?" I urged, trying to get this show on the road - I did have a class to get to.

Sam looked at me before staring at the ceiling tiles - oh, jeez.

"I was wondering if you'd go out with me this weekend," he rushed, just trying to get it over with, his face hopeful.

My eyes widened and my jaw dropped - unattractively, may I add - as I tried to process what he'd just said. Did he seriously ask me out? I didn't know what to say, really. Part of me was yelling YES, while the other part wanted to curl in a ball and wail about Fang.

Sam seemed to pick up on my hesitation, because his face fell a bit before he added quickly, "We could make it a double date if you wanted everything less... awkward. You can invite a friend and have them bring a date."

I stood there, with Sam awaiting my answer as I thought about hit. Sam was pretty handsome, and he had some nice muscles himself - nowhere near as droolworthy as Fang's, but decent.

Eh, what the heck!

I gave him a small smile. "OK, sounds great."

Sam grinned. "Great! So, I'll pick you up at six-ish Friday night. We can go to the Putt 'n' Play mini golf and eat pizza there. Sound cool?"

"Yep. It sounds awesome. I'll see you Friday night!"

Sam nodded, smiling, and I turned and walked in the opposite direction, pondering who to ask to join us. My first thought was Nudge and Iggy, 'cause they'd definitely make things less awkward, and Nudge would have no problem being my safety call, lest my date go downhill. Seemed logical enough.

But then a far, far better idea struck me.

Payback's a bitch.

I laughed manically - in my head, of course - and had an urge to rub my hands together like a supervillain as I strolled over to Fang's locker, "innocently".

This oughtta be fun.


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