The Universe Hates Me

Chapter 18

MAX

I sent both Lissa and Fang a text, letting them know the plans for our date Friday night. I told them we would all meet up at Putt'n'Play for a round of mini golf and then grab some pizza right afterwards.

I couldn't help but notice that Lissa had been acting more civil towards me, even when Fang wasn't around. All week she had constantly complimented my hair and shoes. She even went so far as to compliment my clothes. Yeah. That's how different she was acting. It was as if we were suddenly best friends. I felt the urge to roll my eyes at how two faced she really was, and got the vibe that Fang did, too.

He'd been acting weird all week. He was in a bad mood and something seemed to be bothering him. Every time someone mentioned Sam, he would tense up, fists clenched at his sides. If I didn't know him any better, I would say Fang was jealous... but that was just wishful thinking.

I hadn't really seen much of Fang during the week. He was constantly slipping away with Iggy, talking in hushed tones. I didn't have the best feeling about it, whatever it was.

Nudge had insisted she come over to help me look fabulous for Sam. Before I'd even had time to dump my backpack that Friday afternoon, she'd jumped me, blindfolded me, and guided me to my room. She set me down in a chair with nothing to do but twiddle my thumbs.

And swear.

Profusely.

After what seemed like hours of Nudge plucking, spraying, curling, poking, and tugging, she was finally done, and did she finally take that godawful blindfold off. With a satisfied sigh, she slowly turned the chair I was sitting in toward the mirror. I gasped as I took in the image of the girl reflected in the mirror. There was no way in this world that she was me; she was gorgeous. Her hair was curled in loose ringlets, hugging her face, her outfit was simple and comfy yet flirty and stylish, dark wash skinny jeans and a flow-y royal blue tank top. Her makeup was just enough to notice but not overpowering - a smoky-eye look, making her milky brown eyes stand out. There's no way that even Nudge could have pulling something like this off... right?

I started at the refection in the mirror, raising an arm and lowering it, watching in awe as the girl in the mirror did the same. The girl was me... and I was... I was... damn, I was beautiful.

Nudge leaned against the doorway, crossing her arms as I continued to stare at the reflection in disbelief, gently touching my face and watching my refection do the same.

"Just admit it, I did good. I could totally be one of those celebrity stylists; I mean, seriously, I am that good."

"I look - I mean, I - wow. Nudge, you really outdid yourself," I mumbled.

"You look hot, babe. Sam isn't going to know what hit him. He's gonna think he won the lottery when he sees you!"

I smiled at her, biting my tongue to prevent myself from saying what I really wanted to; that I wish it were Fang I was dressing to impress, that it was him that would be feeling like he was the luckiest man alive, that it was him who didn't know what hit him. I wanted it to be him that I was spending so much effort on, but I knew it was a waste of time. There was no reason to get my hopes up, so I fought to keep my mouth shut as I grinned and beared it.

"OK, well, I better get going. It's almost seven now. Wish me luck." I gave her a quick hug before grabbing my cell phone, some cash, and my car keys and heading out.

I climbed into my car and started it up, before backing out. I waved one last time at Nudge, and took a deep breath.

I really hope tonight isn't a complete disaster. Please, let's not have another Dylan incident.

FANG

I spent the rest of the week trying to avoid Max. And Lissa, for that matter. I knew if I spent too much time around Max, she'd take notice of my sour mood and question me. And, honestly, I can't lie to Max; she'd have our plan out of me before I could count to ten.

It took all my willpower - and Iggy subtly restraining me - to stop me from ringing Sam's neck every time he passed me in the halls.

Iggy came home with me right after school to show me the blueprints. Yeah. He seriously made blueprints of Mission Impossible: Completely Sabotage Max and Dickweed's Date So Max Falls Completely In Love With Mr. Emotionless & Make Hot & Passionate Love to Him, Giving All Credit to the Ruler of the Universe, Iggy.

Obviously, Ig came up with the name. I suggested we change it, but since he was 'in charge' of this 'delicate operation', he got to choose everything. Including my current codename: Corporeal Snuggle-Bunny-Fluffykins.

As horrible as the names were, I had to say, the plans were pretty dang good. And, well, plain evil. Once it was finished Sam would be running away with his tail, or nonexistent manhood, between his legs, wishing he'd never considered asking my Max out on a date.

There was just one small factor we may have overlooked in our 'flawless planning'. Nudge. I hadn't considered the fact that my makeup-wizard/diva of a sister would offer - psh, as if; more like demand - to get Max ready for her date.

Let's face it - we were screwed. After Nudge got her well manicured hands on Max, she would look drop-dead gorgeous. Not that she didn't already, but Nudge had the envied - not by me, of course - power to make her look even better.

I felt a tug at my heart as I thought about Max, Max wanting to look beautiful to me, Max spending extra time getting ready for me, Max... Max being with me.

I shook my head, clearing away all absurd thoughts of Max and I dating as I finished getting ready - basically just running my hands through my hair - as Iggy finished downloading the walky-talky Apps onto our phones, so we could communicate more 'effectively' tonight.

After going through the plan one last time I was ready to go. I grabbed my keys and hopped in my car, pulling out and driving down the street, Iggy at a safe distance behind.

About six minutes into driving, Iggy decided to test out the walky-talky App by humming the Mission Impossible theme song loudly, his voice filling my car with his melodramatic off-key humming.

I rolled my eyes, shaking my head and knowing he could see me from his car. I pulled out my phone from my pocket and held down the walky-talky button before speaking into it, "Iggy, knock it off."

I released the button as it made a beep-beep sound, waiting for his reply.

"Gah! No! You just blew my cover, dude! We have code names for a reason, Corporeal Snuggle-Bunny-Fluffykins!Over."

"Fine, knock it off Major Pain-In-Ur-Ass, or I'll make you. Happy?" I said irritably.

"Thank you Lieutenant I-Screw-Ur-Mom. But, seriously, you're no fun. We're on a freaking secret mission for God's sake, the least you could do is have a little bit of a good time. Over."

"Iggy, Knock. It. Off."

"Ahem! You mean Sergeant Bit-"

"Iggy!" I hissed, already tired of his crap.

"OK, OK, jeez. Something bit you in the ass, Sir Talk-A-Lot," he mumbled into the speakers, just clear enough for me to hear him, rushing to add, "Over," afterwards.

"Can we just get on with the plan, please?" I asked, slightly annoyed with him as I pulled into the parking lot of Putt'n'Play, spotting Max stepping out of her car. She was beautiful.

"OK, I spot the Sparrow. I repeat, the Sparrow is in the Nest. Copy?" Iggy's voice said through the speakers.

"Yes, Professor Einstein Junior. I can see her, thank you very much." I said, before stepping out of the car. "OK, I'm going in. Cover me."

Oh, God, I couldn't help but feel like we were on one of those cliché undercover cop shows. Or maybe just in the middle of some really bad, really cheesy teenage romance novel. Psh.

"Rodger, over. Good luck."

With that, I slammed my door shut and shoved my phone into my pocket as I approached Max in all her beauty. I had just crossed the parking lot, steps away from Max, when I heard a low wolf whistle. Max's head snapped up as well as mine, to the direction of the piercing sound. Sam.

God, I hate him. (Beta A/N: Lol... I find it funny that Sam is your best friend's name, Kenzi. Also, I'm imagining you shouting at your Sam, the guy who asked me a whole load of fudged up questions, that he's a douche. After all, those questions were pretty... inappropriate. Then again, my questions were weird too... Hehe...)

He smiled a slyly, taking in her appearance and practically undressing her with his eyes. It was enough to make me want to punch his lights out right then and there, but that would blow our entire plan. And, really, where's the fun in that?

I bit my tongue, drawing blood, and tried to keep my cool while Sam approached Max, who was now a bright shade of scarlet. I watched in disgust as he grabbed her hand and bent down to kiss it, causing her cheeks to redden even more. What a wiener.

I was about to comment on his tool-ish ways when I felt two steel-taloned hands grab me by the waist.

I tensed as she started kissing down my neck from behind, purring in my ear, "Hey, baby."

I nodded stiffly in response before suggesting we head inside and get started, desperate to escape her claws. Everyone agreed and we headed in, paid for a round of 18 holes, and picking out our clubs and balls.

"OK, who's up first?" the Douche asked.

"Oh! I wanna go!" Lissa said, swinging her putter back and forth dangerously as she wobbled up to the first hole in her stripper heels. Why the fuck would you wear those to play Putt Putt Golf?

We nodded, telling her to go.

"OK, so, like, I just put the ball here? And swing, and try to get it in the hole, right?" Lissa guessed smartly.

"Yeah, that's typically how mini-golf works," Max said, straight-faced.

Lissa rolled her eyes at Max before repositioning herself at the starting point and swinging wildly, completely missing the ball. She pouted and glared at the ball, still in the same spot she had placed it. Max snickered at her failed attempt.

Max tried to cover up her laughter by coughing, but it didn't work.

Lissa lined herself up again and swung hard, whacking the ball and making it fly into the mini pond in the middle of the course. This time, Max didn't even try to hide her laughter, leaning on Sam for support as she cackled.

Sam looked like he wasn't sure what to do, so he let out a quick laugh before stopping. I rolled my eyes as Lissa whined about her ball. It was long gone in that pond and I sure as heck wasn't going in for it.

"Fang, my ball is in the pond! What do I do now?" Lissa said, pouting.

Annoyed, I answered, "Just go inside and ask for a new ball. We'll put you down for six this hole."

Lissa stuck her bottom lip out again, before agreeing and stomping off to the counter.

Max's giggles had died down by the time Lissa left, and she said, "OK, Sam, why don't you go while Lissa is getting a new ball?"

Sam nodded in agreement before positioning himself, and, with a gentle stroke, he hit his ball, making it about halfway down the first hole. He walked over to his ball and hit it again, guiding it closer, just inches away from the hole, but not quite in. With one last tap, he guided it in, giving him a final tally of three.

Max smiled at him, telling him he did a good job as I wrote down his score on the scorecard. By that time, Lissa had returned with a new ball.

"OK, who's next?" I asked, finishing scribbling down our names and the scores so far.

"You go, babe! I bet you'll do really good, like, get twenty points or something!" Lissa enthused, twirling a piece of her fiery hair with her finger.

I stared at her, raising an eyebrow. She couldn't be that stupid, could she? Max snickered, and Lissa snapped at her, "What?" as she - Max - kept on laughing.

I just shook my head at the both of them, lining up my putt.

After Max got her laugher under control, she answered Lissa, "Um, Lissa? You want to have the least about of points in mini golf. If Fang got twenty points on just this hole alone, he would be losing, especially since this is supposed to be the easiest hole."

She stared at us, just blinking, still looking confused.

"Oh." Lissa frowned slightly. "Well, that's so stupid! That, like, goes against all the, like, rules of sports, you know?"

Max snickered again behind her back, Sam standing there stiffly not sure whether to laugh or not, as I swung, hitting the ball with a good amount of force, but not too much. It landed about two inches left of the hole, and easy shot. I strolled over to my ball leisurely and tapped the ball, sending it in. I scribbled down my score on the card and moved to the side.

"Alright Maxie, it's your turn," Sam said. My fists clenched. No one called her Maxie except immediate family and close friends. Sam was neither.

Max stepped forward, lining up her club. She was about to swing when something caught her eye. Max turned to face a post suck in the ground with writing on it, something we'd all missed.

"They have goofy golf here!" Max shouted gleefully. "I want to play! OK, so this one says, 'Hole one: stand on one foot and hit the ball.' Sounds easy enough."

She lined herself up again, now standing on one foot and smacked the ball, yelling, "FOR NARNIA!" as it went soaring towards the hole, landing right on the edge of the hole, rolling around the rim before stopping right on the edge.

Being a smartass, she hopped on one foot all the way down the course to her ball. She tapped it in easily, giving her a score of two, tied with me for the lead, Sam following in second, and Lissa in last with six.

After Max retrieved her ball, we headed to the next hole. It was Lissa's turn again.

"I want try that goofy golf!" Lissa said as she started to balance herself on one foot, wobbling back and forth, getting ready to swing, but Max stopped her.

"No, wait, Lissa! They change every hole. You have to see what hole two says to do."

"Oh, OK." Lissa strode over to the next post to see what it said, but her, judging from her expression, I took it that she had rethought her desire to play goofy golf.

"Ew! I am not doing that! They actually expect you to lie on the ground? No way!" Lissa said, rolling her eyes as she strutted over to the starting point of hole two. She lined up, swung wildly, but this time she actually hit it and it didn't go in the pond. After another eight swings, she finally managed to get the ball in the hole.

I scribbled down her score as Sam took his spot on the course. Right before he swung, I caught Max mutter under her breath, "Finally! Took you long enough." I smirked at her, but directed my attention back to the course, making sure Sam didn't cheat.

He swung easily, making it in the hole in two strokes this time.

I handed the scorecard to Max to hold as I took my turn, making a hole in one, much to my pleasure. I retrieved the score pad from Max as she got ready for her turn, reading the next goofy golf requirements.

She looked at Lissa exasperatedly, "That's what you were freaking out about? Wow." She shook her head as she got ready for the shot, but she surprised me when she laid down flat on the stomach, lining up the handle end of her club with the ball, closing one eye to get a better angle.

"What're you doing?" Sam asked, looking at her as if she had three heads, but she shushed him, finishing lining up her ball with her club. That's my girl.

I watched her, smirking, as I realized what the sign must've said. After Max had lined up her shot, she slid the handle end between her fingers, hitting the ball so it landed inches from the hole. She got up and made her way over to her ball, lay down again, and copied what she'd done previously, guiding the ball in. Well, she was always good at pool.

"What'd the sign say?" Sam asked.

"Hole two, lay on your stomach and hit the ball with the handle end of your club, pretending you are playing pool," Max said, already heading off to the next hole.

I smirked as I walked past Sam, unable to resist making a comment.

"Duh."

Sure, it was stupid and immature and not very eloquent, but it was enough to make him glare at me.

Mission accomplished.

The next six holes were pretty much the same as the first two; Lissa sucked, her score being 54. Max had slipped into third, with a score of 28, because she was playing goofy golf, and some of the things she had to do were ridiculous. Sam and I were neck-and-neck, him on 18 and me on 16. I had to admit, he was pretty good.

While the others trudged ahead to the next hole, I quickly grabbed my phone from my pocket and clicked the walky-talky App, deciding to start The Plan, worried that his good golfing would woo Max or something.

"Major Pain-In-Ur-Ass, commence Phase One. I repeat, commence phase one." I walked slowly over to the others, waiting for his response.

"Rodger that, Chief I-Luv-Max. Over." I rolled my eyes, shoving my phone back into my pocket as I walked joined Max, Sam and Lissa.

Lissa had already gone while I was talking to Iggy, adding another eight points to her card. Now it was Sam's turn, and time to start the plan. I just hoped Iggy was ready.

"Hey, Sam? Why don't you try the goofy golf thing on this hole? It sounds fun," I suggested, praying that he would agree.

He looked at me suspiciously before nodding slightly, "Um, OK. Sure. What is it?"

I walked over to the sign and read it to him, "Hole nine: smack the ball as hard as you can and still try to make it in the hole."

Sam shrugged before lining himself up, as I crossed my fingers behind my back, hoping that this would work.

He swung hard, smacking the ball. Just as he did, Iggy, who was hiding behind the bushes, threw a matching ball at the back of Max's head, and not necessarily softly, either.

"Ouch! What the fuck?" she hissed, clutching the back of her head. "What the fuck was that?"

Sam looked worried as she continued to hold her head where a golfball-sized lump was already forming.

I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from snickering at what was about to happen. I picked up the blue golf ball off the ground just as Max demanded what had hit her.

"Um, Max? I think it was Sam's ball…" I trailed off, handing it to him as he started at me wide-eyed, glancing back and forth between Max and I. Oh, this guy was done for. Max looked pissed, and I had to use every last bit of my willpower not to do a full-out happy dance right then and there.

But then Max did something I had not planned for.

She closed her eyes tightly and took a deep breath before opening them again, her expression a little softer. "It's OK Sam. It was an accident." He looked grateful as I was stared, my mouth open slightly. Well that didn't go as planned.

After Sam apologized about a million times, Max directed her words to me: "Hey, Fang? Will you take my turn on this hole? I'm gonna go see if they have any ice."

I nodded, sending Lissa with her to make sure she was OK, before going back to the game. Sam had refused to finish playing his turn on this hole and just told me to give him a 6. Fine by me.

I had finished both Max and my own turns by the time the girls returned, getting us both a hole in one. Sam continued to apologize every five seconds, but Max just waved him off. I gotta say, it was getting pre-etty dang annoying.

Finally, we were on hole eighteen, the last hole. Sam and Lissa had already gone, and Sam, out of sheer luck, had got a hole in one, making it through all the twists, turns, drops, and obstacles in the way. Fluke! I wanted to yell. It was a freaking fluke! But Max would probably think me an idiot.

"Wow, Sam! That was awesome. How did you do that?" Max asked. In response to her words, Sam got a mischievous glint in his eyes.

Oh, hell no, please tell me he isn't going to try that.

"I can show you better than I can tell you," was his sleazy reply - yeah, I could tell he was trying to be all slick. He was failing majorly, too. How could Max not see that?

Sam positioned her off to the side, coming up behind her, pressing himself into her back and taking hold of her hands and positioning them.

She giggled as he whispered something into her ear, grinning like a fool.

Wait.

What?

Max doesn't giggle. What the hell is he saying to her?

I was about ready to punch the kid's lights out when his hand "accidentally" brushed Max's boob, and I nearly snapped my club in half.

After a few practice swings, he released her and I took my position on the course, fuming. He was dead. So fucking dead. I pictured Sam's head as the ball as I swung with all the force I could muster, completely pissed off. It went soaring over head with a loud 'smack', landing somewhere in the batting cages, on the completely opposite side of the course.

I rubbed the back of my head, realizing that I'd hit it with... well, a tiny bit more force than I should have, definitely.

"Jeez, Happy Gilmore, the 'whack the ball as hard as you can' hole was back a while ago," Max said dumbly.

I just shrugged before musing, "I may have over shot the hole a bit," all the while avoiding Max's gaze as she stared at me. I could tell that she knew something was up.

"OK, well I'm just gonna put down a six for this hole. Max, you're up," I muttered, not looking up from the paper.

She nodded before taking her position. Sam offered to help her with her shot, but she declined, glancing at me as she did.

Crap, she knew.

I pretended not to notice the looks Max was giving me and continued to write on the score card.

After four shots, she made it in, the hole swallowing her ball and sending it back to the counter inside. Our game was over, thank God.

I finished writing down everyone's scores and told them to shut up and listen, even though no one was really talking. I just felt like it.

"OK, the winner is - drum roll, please - Max with 37, Sam and I tied with 41 and Lissa in last with 123 points," I announced as we walked back inside to return out clubs.

"BOOYAH!" Max yelled in triumph as she did a horrifying happy dance, receiving multiple weird looks from the people passing. But she didn't care, because she's just so... Max.

I grinned at her; Max always knew how to lighten the mood.

The girls went to the bathroom right after returning our clubs, and Sam went down the street to get us a table at the pizza place. I stayed to wait for the girls. As I waited, I walked over to a secluded corned and messaged Iggy.

"Phase One failed. We really need to step it up at dinner. Get ready to commence Phase Two. This time, we go all-out. Bring on hell. Over," I added hastily, before I could forget.

A few seconds later he beeped in: "Copy. Phase two commencing. Bringing on hell. Over."

I smirked at his serious yet creepy voice, shoving my phone back into my pocket.

"Ready, ladies?" I asked, meeting them as they walked out of the restrooms.

They nodded and I walked them out to our cars, opening and closing their doors from them, because I'm a gentleman and all.

I smirked to myself as I got into my own car, following them, as I thought about our plans.

Welcome to hell, Sam.


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