True Confessions of Star Crossed Lovers

Chapter 11

Fang's POV

After the game, I drove Iggy back to his house to get his boardshorts, and then back to mine. He was grinning all the way, yelling about his-our-victory to random-unfortunate-girls on the street. I was feeling a bit bummed, though that didn't stop me from obliging Iggy every time he asked for a high-five. His celebrations were totally called for-we did totally whip their asses.

I should have been celebrating. I should have been happy. Yet I didn't want to do anything but crawl into my bed and sleep 'til noon tomorrow-and not just because I was exhausted, although that was part of it-but Iggy was having none of that. He even stooped as low as to bribe, blackmail, and, in a last ditch attempt, threaten me to go to the part. He made it clear that he fully expected me to attend-and enjoy myself-or, so help him, God, he would make me have a good time.

And that's quoted.

Not that Iggy's threats really had an effect on me, but I decided to humor him and just go, at least for a little while. On the up side, I'd get to see Max.

But... it just wasn't the same without her. It felt so weird to win a game and not have her jumping down from the bleachers, speeding right at me like a train on crack. I could remember what she'd do-she never changed her routine-after we'd win.

Everyone's cheering, but I hear her voice the loudest. High soprano, young, and probably the happiest in the crowd. Happier then me and the guys, too, and we're the ones that smashed the other team's butts. But I like it better when she's the bubbliest of us; it's her job, so to speak.

I look up to see her headed straight for me, a huge grin ready. I hold out my arms and she squeals in delight, jumping in and allowing me to spin us around.

"We won! We won!" she crows. I love how she says 'we', and not 'you'-as if she's part of the team. Which, really, she kind of is. The guys all adore her; it's hard not to.

"No," I tell her, "You won. You're my good luck charm, after all."

I was brought out of my-somewhat depressing-thoughts as Iggy rang the doorbell. I shook myself from my reverie, trying to avoid Iggy's worried gaze. No need to go all emo, I told myself sternly, That was then. This is now. Some things can't be changed.

After waiting for a few seconds, the door swung open to reveal a rather chipper Ari. "Hey, guys. Great game, huh?"

Iggy and I agreed-well, I nodded, and Iggy shouted a whole-hearted YEAH!-before Ari let us come in. We didn't need a tour, or anything; after all, we'd been here quite a bit, just... not while Max was around.

We were in the kitchen, helping ourselves to some Coke-the drink! Don't do drugs, give hugs!-when Angel bounded in cheerfully. I winced when I saw her in her blindingly bright onepiece and Barbie floaties. Looks like Nudge got to her-at such a young age! Poor child...

Angel wrapped her arms around Ari's legs in a hug. He patted her hair and gave her a grin, a look I knew all too well in his eyes-the adoring big brother look, saved only for the precious little sister.

I looked away before I did something I'd regret. Namely, stealing Angel and pretending she was my sister. No-pretending she was her.

My gaze returned to them as Angel pulled back from Ari, still smiling.

"Hey, sweetie," Ari said. "You look cute."

"Thanks," Angel answered, giggling.

"Where've Max and Nudge gotten to?" he asked, lifting her up to sit on the kitchen island.

"They're in Max's room, I think. When I left, Nudge was chasing Max and trying to force her into this swimsuit. I don't think Max wanted to wear it." Angel frowned. "It was kinda weird-looking. Like, really tiny, like the stuff I wear. Except it was black, not pink or purple."

My eyes widened, and I bit my lip to keep from smirking at the thought of Max in a skimpy bikini. Dear God... Ari, too, had gone wide-eyed, but probably not for the same reason as me-more like he was dreading seeing Max ogled at by horny jocks. Who could blame him though, honestly?

As if on cue, we heard some banging and yelling from upstairs. I winced as I heard Max shout in horror, "No way, Nudge! Nuh-uh, no way. In your freaking dreams, my mental friend!"

"Put this on, Max, and don't even try to complain, because if you do-well, you won't know what the hell happened before you're on your knees begging me to stop what I have planned if you resist. Now put the damn bikini on!"

There was a thump, and some more screaming-I worried for Nudge's safety momentarily-before there was some more muffled arguing, and everything died down.

With a furtive look at Ari, Iggy leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Oh-oh-oh, cat fight! I'd love to see those two dressed in bikinis, mud wrestling. Dude... cold shower time..."

I rolled my eyes at him; screw Nudge, just the thought of me and Max mud wrestling-in only swimmers-put me in the need of a below-zero cold shower.

Iggy cocked his head, probably waiting for more fighting noises, but all was quiet. I smirked as I thought about how Iggy was going to be the forty-year-old virgin. He sure as hell ain't crashing on my couch, I decided firmly. He'll have to make do with a dumpster.

Iggy glanced at me, obviously waiting a response. I whispered back, "Max would totally kick her ass, we both know it."

He shrugged before he refilled his glass again, and Ari went to answer the doorbell-it had been ringing for a while now; whoever it was was having a blast screwing around with it-as I stood there awkwardly, not quite knowing what to say to Angel.

Ari returned a few moments later, relieving the weird silence, with Gazzy, Connor and Eric at his side.

We talked for a while before Angel poked Ari in the ribs. He jumped slightly, and then looked down at her.

"Can I go swimming now, Ari?" she asked.

Ari smiled at her and started to nod before the doorbell went off again. "Sorry, sweetie," he said. "I have to get the door, so you'll have to wait a bit."

She frowned at him, obviously not happy with his answer.

"Hey, Ari! I'll take her out there to swim if you like," I offered.

Angel smiled at me, and then pleaded with Ari, using the infamous Bambi eyes. Ari hesitated before agreeing, "Sure, Fang, thanks. Go for your life, Ange."

Angel grinned again, before grabbing my hand and dragging me outside to the pool. She was a lot stronger than I'd originally thought. A few guys laughed at me as I was dragged around by a six year old. I flipped them off, under the pretense of scratching my ear, and they shut up.

We made our way outside, and I sat down at the edge of the shallow end. Rather than jumping in, Angel copied me. We sat in silence before she said expectantly, "Who're you?"

"I'm Fang."

"Oh, OK. How do you know my brother and sister?"

"I've known Ari since grade school," I answered reminiscently. "And I met Max the first day the girls started attending PCA. She ran into me and fell over, I think, then she tried out for b-ball and made the team."

Angel smiled at me before saying, "Oh. Well, I think Max really likes you." She paused thoughtfully, and then added, "But Ari... not so much."

"Why not?" I asked, surprised. We'd never had a problem before.

"I think it's because you and Max are so close now. He's worried you'll get too close."

"Ah." I nodded in understanding. Damn this kid is pretty smart for a six-year-old.

Just then, Gazzy, Connor, Iggy and Eric came running outside, Gazzy not bothering to stop as he ran toward the pool, screaming, "CANNONBALL!" and splashing everyone within a five foot radius.

Everyone yelled at him in complaint as they dried off, but I just shook my hair out at Angel playfully.

She giggled and returned the favor, before saying, "You guys are funny. I wish the boys in my class were more like you, but they're all mean."

Oh, God, she's just like her. The way she pouts, and gets hung up on those sorts of things; the boys not liking her-as if anyone could do that! She's so carefree... just like her. God, I miss her so much.

I smiled sadly at her, and, for some reason, I felt the need to reassure her, just like I'd've done for my... for her. "Hey, they're just being stupid boys. They're probably worried about cooties or something silly. But you wanna know a secret?"

Angel nodded, and looked at me curiously. I smiled and leant in to whisper conspiratorially, "You can't catch cooties from girls!" I was going to add, But you can sure as hell catch other things from girls, but I figured Ari and Max would have my head for saying that.

I smirked at Angel as she looked shocked. "You can't?"


"Those liars!" Angel said, annoyed.

"Don't worry, those boys'll come around. They just need time. Wait 'til middle school, they'll wanna be best friends then." Angel looked confused, so I continued, "Just tell me if they're messing with you, OK? I'll make sure they stop."

Angel smiled brightly and thanked me. I was about to ask her more about these boys, when I was interrupted by a shriek.

We both looked around to see Max being manhandled by Iggy and Gazzy. They were swinging her back and forth over the pull-and she did not look happy about it.

Oh, God. Do those two have a death wish?

Angel started giggling beside me, while everyone laughed along as Max pleaded with them to let her go-bad choice of words. The idiots dropped her into the pool, and she shrieked, but was cut off as she plummeted into the water. When Max broke the surface, she looked about to raise the dead-or add to the dead's ranks.

I guess I'll have to start on my funeral speech, I thought. Dear friends, family, and loved ones. I'd always those these two would die during an explosion gone wrong, but the thought of death-by-teenage-girl never occurred to me. They could risk their lives messing with nuclear explosions-illegal in over a hundred countries-but when it came to screwing with Max, they were goners. Let this be a lesson to all.

Yeah, that was a good start.

I watched in amusement as Max punched Gazzy, causing him to keel over. She then tackled Iggy, and he fell, very... ungracefully.

Damn she has a mean left hook.

I was so intrigued-and slightly turned on-with Max kicking major ass that I didn't notice Angel get up and leave, until she meandered over to Max, asking for food. Max directed her inside to Ari, and I felt another pang as I watched Max and her sister. The way Max looked at her... I used to get that look in my eyes; I used to love someone that much. But from what I learnt, love doesn't always last-it may feel amazing when you have it, but eventually, you'll lose the one you love.

I was so deep in my-rather emo-thoughts, that I didn't notice Max sit down beside me, until she said, "Boo."

I glanced at her, and said, "Hey."

"What're you thinking about? I bet it's something Deep & Meaningful," she teased."

I thought about telling her. I honestly did. I wanted to confess everything. But... I hadn't talked about it since the day it happened-I hadn't been able to talk about it; it hurt too much. I really, really wanted to tell her, but... maybe when we're alone, I decided.

I snorted, before answering, "Hardly. I was just thinking about how hard Ari's gonna kick their asses for staring at you." I motioned to the group of boys that were pretending not to notice Max and her soaking wet shirt-which was stuck to her skin as if someone had glued it there. As Max followed my gaze, I took the opportunity to take a peek myself-I'm a guy, OK?-and observed-more like ogled-how her shirt clung to her skin, revealing every curve.

When Max denied the staring-she just couldn't see the covert looks they were giving her-and asked why they would be, I felt my eyebrow go up and a smirk form. I nodded down at her chest, and she followed my gaze, her face paling as she realized how flattering it looked on her.

Much to my disappointment-or Fang Jr.'s, anyway-she pulled at the material, so it no longer stuck to her. Damn I feel so horny-teenage-boy-like... crap... I'm turning into Iggy!

"And no one told me about this before why...?" Max hissed at me, her face flushing.

I looked at her incredulously. She seriously couldn't be this dense. "Max. They-we-are teenage boys. And you expect us to tell you about your... situation?" And lose the good view? Honestly...

Max got to her feet, glaring. "This conversation is getting really awkward and I'm seriously about to punch you." Max glanced up, shaking her head. Something caught her eye, and she yelled, "OI! CONNOR! Get off Eric! Now! You'll break his neck!" I followed the direction of her gaze, and smirked when I saw Connor sheepishly climbing of a red-faced Eric. I looked at Max, just as she yelled, "ONE TWO THREE FOUR, I DECLARE A SHOULDER WAR!" I thought that was for thumb wars...?

Max smiled brightly as everyone cheered, helping me to my feet. Not that I needed it, but her hand in mine felt really nice. When Max told-told, not asked-me that she'd be on my shoulders, I couldn't help but smirk at her. Score... hot girl on my shoulders... booyah!

Iggy shouted that he was going to get Nudge, and to wait for him. I saw Max wink at him, and asked, "What was that about?"

"Iggy likes Nudge! Iggy likes Nudge! Iggy likes Nudge!" she crowed, as if we were in elementary school.

I rolled my eyes at her childish behavior, and yanked my shirt off, tossing it over at a chair. I turned back around to see Max... staring at me?

"Max. Max. Earth to Max. FANG!" Gazzy yelled delightedly, "Max is checking you out! Look, I think she's drooling!"

"I was not!" Max denied furiously, but the whole effect was screwed by the blush appearing on her cheeks. Her blush was only made worse when Connor brought it to attention. "No! No no no! I'm not blushing. Max Ride does not blush-" She snapped her mouth shut, obviously lying.

Let's see how red those cheeks can get, I thought as I walked over to her. I touched her cheek and laughed, declaring, "You are blushing!"

"Whatever, Fang! Whatever," I snapped. "I'll forgive you for being a douche if we kick their asses." I snickered and opened my mouth to say something along the lines of, Well we would win hands down if you don't get distracted by my abs, but shut up when I received a look from Max.

I looked around for Iggy, but my eyes snapped to Max when I saw her shucking her shirt.

"Hey, Max-holy shit!" I heard Iggy's voice say distantly. Exactly what I was thinking. I think I might have been drooling. It's very possible. Because when Max took her shirt off to reveal... her smoking hot body... God, I lost all sense.

Annoyed she turned around and yanked off her damp shirt to reveal her smoking hot athletic body. Now it was my turn to stare and drool.

Max, upon seeing Nudge give her a wink and thumbs up, turned to see me, Connor, Eric, Gazzy and I staring at her. No, staring at her chest. It was silent until Eric wolf-whistled. "Niiiiice," he said appreciatively. I tensed, feeling the urge to punch his-and whoever else that was staring at Max as if she were a piece of meet-brains out. Mine, my thoughts said, Mine.

Max looked down at herself, before shrieking, "NUDGE!" She jumped slightly when Nudge answered right behind her. Max spun and yelled, "This is way too skimpy!" No, I think it's just right. "Even for you! Oh my God!" Connor looked around quickly, and then grabbed Max's soaked shirt. He chucked it up onto the roof of Max's garden shed, just as she whirled around in search of it. "Who has it?" she demanded.

"C'mon, Max," I implored. "We just wanna play shoulder wars!"

"Yeah," Connor and Gazzy said together. "We're gonna beat yo' asses!"

Max shivered, but agreed. Everyone-all the guys-were still taking discreet peeks at her. I had to stop myself from punching them-after all, I was no better.

Max and I were up against Gazzy and Connor first. Once those two were set, I looked over at Max to see if she was ready. I crouched down, and she clambered onto my shoulders. As she steadied herself, I thought I might just pass out. Why? Well, you try having the world's most beautiful girl-with a banging body-seated on top of your shoulders, wearing an extremely revealing swimsuit-thank you, Nudge-and her legs wrapped around you. I was nearly hyperventilating.

Max had Gazzy down in five seconds flat. I smirked at him, figuring he'd underestimated her-that's what you get, I thought, For underestimating Max.

Max and I high-fived before she shifted around a bit, and then we were up against Nudge and Iggy. This shouldn't be too hard.

The two girls started taunting each other, and Iggy and I followed their lead, throwing insults back and forth.

Nudge held up longer than I'd thought she would. Though I'm pretty sure it's because Iggy was holding onto her legs-pretty high up, too-for 'support'. Psh-he had his motives, definitely.

As the two girls were grappling above us, Iggy murmured, "God, this is better than mud wars."

"Shit yeah," I said, just as Nudge toppled over, pulling Iggy under with her.

Max smirked and made me run the perimeter of the pool, with her still seated on my shoulders, in a victory lap. Nudge and Iggy popped back up, rubbing in our victory.

Once we'd finished our victory lap, we got in and started another round, this time with Connor and Gazzy again. They won, unfortunately-it was pure luck; they had pushed Max to the side, and she'd grabbed my hair-which hurt like hell-and we'd toppled over.

We ended up playing about forty rounds; Max and I won 38 out of 40, easy. Eric had headed inside, muttering something about 'Jeez, just admit that Max and Fang won'-too true-and, before we knew it, it was already eleven o'clock. As we were playing, multiple guys came out to say good-bye before heading home; only a few were left inside, hanging out with Ari. Max had sent Angel to bed a while back.

After the pool had gotten too cold to swim in, Max got the hot tub set up, with the jets and bubbles full speed. It felt good to sit in, especially after the game.

Nudge broke the silence by saying, "Oh! Let's play Truth or Dare!"

Everyone made various signs of protest, and Nudge, frowning, said, "Come on! It's not like we have anything better to do! It'll be fun, so suck it up and let's get this game started!"

Iggy agreed-the dude was whipped, so of course he agreed first-and the rest of us followed in his lead reluctantly. Iggy started by asking Max, and she said warily, "Normally I'd go with dare, but... you're giving me the creepy-ass pedo smile. Which is your equivalent of an evil grin. So I'm gonna go with truth."

Iggy made a face, but then his creeptasticular smile returned, and I thought, Poor Max. She's in for it now.

But then Iggy asked who she'd date out of all of us, and even Nudge rolled her eyes. What are you, Iggy? Ten? Seriously...

But I found myself leaning forward to hear her answer anyway. "Well, you see, Ig, Mr. Hypocrite-Over-Protective-Brother over there-" she waved towards Ari's general direction "-Won't let me date, so... no one, I guess. I can't."

Iggy rolled his eyes. "No, Max, I mean if you could date someone, who'd it be?" Me? Please? Me?

But instead of saying Fang like I wanted her to, Max answered, "That's not what you asked. Word your question wisely next time." When Iggy looked about to argue, Max butted in, "Sorry, Igs, I answered it. One question per turn. Guess you'll have to wait 'til next time."

Max got Iggy back-or was she doing him a favor?-when she dared him to take Nudge on a date. My guess was she was doing him a huge favor; Iggy looked grateful, as did Nudge.

It was now Iggy's turn.

"Fang. Truth or Dare?"

"Dare," I said immediately."

Iggy did his evil grin-AKA I'm-gonna-rape-you-in-your-sleep smile-and I wouldn't have worried-had he not been grinning freakishly at both Max and myself. This cannot end well.

"I dare you to give Max a hickey," Iggy said, taking delight in the horrorstruck looks both Max and I gave him. Freaking hell, I'm gonna wring that boy's neck!

Max and I both said something in protest-I can't really remember what Max said; I was too busy freaking out, but I know she was on her way to being hysterical-and yet all Iggy did was grin wider.

I did find myself feeling a bit put out that she was so against it. Was I really that... Did she really not want me to? It hurt all the more, because I found myself wanting to mark her as mine-and then that brought on a new round of annoyance at myself, because she wasn't mine; this was just a stupid dare.

"...dare is a dare," Iggy was saying.

"Are you crazy, Iggy?" I hissed. Yeah, Iggy? Since when would Max like me? "Ari would kill me, and I'd really like to live past seventeen, thank you very much!"

Iggy, however, was ruthless. Finally, Max sighed in defeat and said, "Well. Might as well get it over with. C'mon, Fang."

Shocked, I stared at her, before moving closer as she brushed her hair out of the way.

I sat beside her, contemplating whether this was a good idea. I felt my heart pounding in my chest, and I could even hear Max's do the same.

I was nervous, but slightly-VERY-excited for this. I'd always had girls after me, and I was pretty experienced at this sort of thing, but... Max was different. She made me nervous-nervous that I'd mess up, that she'd think differently of me, etcetera. For once, I actually had feelings for the girl, and... it scared the crap out of me.

After taking a deep breath, I moved towards her neck, hesitating slightly. Max shivered-in anticipation? God, I hope so-and I kissed her skin, feeling her warmth on my lips as I opened my mouth. I bit down, nipping gently, before I started sucking slightly, and then I began to be a little less careful-she was, after all, a tough girl. I kissed her pulse, and I could feel her tensing as she stifled a moan-must've gotten her sweet spot, I figured idly. She's a goner.

I smirked against her pulse, before returning to where I'd started. My tongue danced across her skin, and this time Max couldn't stop the moan that escaped her lips-Iggy was laughing at us, as was Gazzy, but I didn't give a shit. All I could think about was Max Max Max.

Reluctantly, I pulled back. Max looked as disappointed as I felt, and I tried my best to hide it, as did she. But her disappointment boosted my confidence-maybe I'd pick up the confidence to ask her out.

I sat back down, and everyone checked her neck curiously. I grinned slightly as I saw that it'd probably be there for a while. Or, as Iggy said, at least five days.

"Nudge! Tell me you can cover it up! Please!" Max begged.

Nudge examined it again, before rattling off a list of beauty products I have no intention of remembering-that'd totally screw up my man-ness-and assuring Max that she could definitely help her cover it up.

After a few more rounds-in which things that I never want to repeat went on-it came back to Iggy, who asked Max. This is no bueno, I thought, as Iggy and Gazzy grinned wickedly at each other.

"I dare you to straddle Fang. And kiss him. For a minute straight. Open mouth, tongue action," Iggy said, smirking evilly.

He wasn't serious.

Maybe he was.

Am I that lucky?

After a worried look at Nudge-what did she have to be worried about?-Max swam over to me, and crawled into my lap. Oh my God. I could hear my heart thumping in my ears, as I cupped her face and pulled her closer. Oh my God. Just as our lips touched, I felt as if I'd been zapped. I'm guessing she did, too, because Max gasped and I took the opportunity to slip my tongue into her mouth. Oh my God. The action made her shiver, and I felt chills go down my spine-in a good way. In a very, very good way. Oh my God. I never wanted this to end.

Max slanted her head to deepen the kiss, our tongues now battling for control. Oh my God. My hands slipped down her neck, one tracing the mark I'd left before, the other trailing down her collarbone and across her shoulder, before proceeding to trace down her side and back up. Oh my God. I wanted to do so much more, but I stopped myself, and settled with twining my hand in her hair-hopefully that'd stop me from... from being such a guy.

God, this was so amazing-like nothing I'd ever felt before. It wasn't forced, like with the other girls-it was natural; as if I were born to kiss Max. Everything was just so right. Like she was meant for me-oh, God, I hope so.

I tugged on Max's hair, pulling her closer to me. My tongue explored her mouth, having won our battle, and she let me, much to my pleasure. Oh my God. It felt so good, and I wanted-no, needed-for her to be closerclosercloser. As I yanked her towards me, none-too-gently-not that she seemed to mind-Max accidentally ground against me. Holyfuckingshit. I couldn't help it-I groaned. God, that felt so fucking good! I loved the friction, and I wanted her to do it again-but I'd never make Max do that.

Max's hands crept lower down my chest, down to my stomach, my abdomen, and then back up. I wanted to tell her off for teasing, but... ugh, I couldn't even think of what her reaction would be.

I hadn't realized Iggy was trying to catch our attention, until a loud, "HEY!" broke our spell.

"Finally," Iggy muttered.

Max hopped off my lap quickly, blushing, as Iggy said, "That. Was. Hot."

"Shut it, Iggy."

Nudge, giggling her ass off, said, "Well, you two seemed to be having fun."

"Shut. Up," Max spat. Once they'd finished laughing, Max said dangerously, "Gazzy. Truth or Dare."

"Um, truth."

Max then asked him a question that made his eyes widen; Ari had told us that, under no circumstances, were we to tell Max about our 'agreement'. Poor guy, I thought.

Gazzy finally told her that he'd made the guys promise to treat the girls with respect and blah. Not that that was a lie, exactly, it just wasn't the whole truth. Max knew she was obviously not getting the full story.

"No, Gazzy. Don't give me that crap. I want to know exactly what he said, not the readers' digest version. And don't go making up stories. I want to know, and I will find out sooner or later. If I find out you didn't tell me the whole truth, I will come back to haunt you." "So tell. Me. NOW."

He sat there thinking about it for a while, no doubt contemplating who could be scarier – Max or Ari. But he obviously thought Max was more of a threat, because he sighed in defeat before caving in. Poor guy.

"Fine, he told us to be nice to the girls and to treat them with respect and try to keep it in our pants," he confessedr. "And then he informed us that you would be attending our school, and-" Gazzy hesitated for a moment, but then he continued, avoiding eye contact; "-he threatened to make sure we would never be able to reproduce if we so much as came in contact with you. You were one hundred percent off limits."

Gazzy must have noticed how pissed Max was, because he flinched away from her, cowering. "I'm sorry, Max! I don't want to die a virgin! It's not fair!"

Max ignored him and hauled herself out of the hot tub-I wasn't checking her butt out, I swear...-before screaming, "ARI JEB RIDE, GET OUT HERE NOW!" In less than ten seconds, Ari was outside, demanding what was wrong.

"You ass!" she shouted, before shoving his chest and making him fall into the pool.

"What the hell is your problem, Max?" he demanded once he broke the surface.

As he got out, Max shrieked, "My problem? MY problem? What about your problem, you ass! What right do you think you have to go around school threatening guys to stay away from me! Huh? You have no right, Ari! You are the reason I am freaking seventeen years old and never been on a real date before! You are the reason half the guys at school are afraid to come within twenty feet of me! Mom and Dad never left you in charge of my life, Ari! I don't need your protection! I hate how you always interfere with my life, and I am sick of it!"

Ari looked really upset-I'd never seen him so bummed. "Max, I'm sorry! I just thought I was doing what was best for you."

"Well, Newsflash, Ari! You were wrong. Just... Stay. Out. Of. My. Life!" she spat.

Something caught his eye, and Ari hissed, ". The. Hell. Is. On. Your. Neck?"

Oh, crap. Busted. He saw the hickey. I am so dead. Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God. I am so dead. At least I got to kiss the girl of my dreams...

"Um," Max hesitated, "I burned myself with the straightening iron?"

If this is all she can think of, we are seriously screwed.

Ari was now shaking with anger. I knew this was not good.

"Maximum Ava Ride! Who gave you that?" he demanded.

"Um, can I call a friend?" she said. I almost laughed-couldn't blame her for trying to lighten the mood.

"Max," he hissed, "Who. Gave. You. THAT!"

Max looked really pissed at that. I should've just come out and been honest with Ari-this was my fault, not hers. She didn't deserve this. I started to stand, to confront Ari, when Max snapped.

"That's none of your business, Ari! Like I said before, You. Don't. Run. My. Life."

"Max." Dead. Deadly serious. She was dead-no, we were dead. "May I have a word." It wasn't a question. Not even a suggestion. It was an order.

Well, we all know how Max feels about orders…..

"Sure thing, Ari!" she chirped, "Triskaidekaphobia. That's a word. Quite an impressive one, too. Now you may go." She gave him a slap on the back before turning heel and jogging back to the hot tub.

As Ari stomped back into the house, all eyes were on Max. She burst out laughing at our expressions.

"That was fun."

Was she freaking insane? Everyone else must've thought so-except for Nudge, who just looked shocked, probably used to this stuff from them.

We all stared at her as if she were mental – which at this point, I'm not eliminate any option- except for Nudge, who just looked slightly shocked, I guess because she was used to this kind of stuff from them.

"So, Nudge, about that girl's day tomorrow. I was thinking we sleep 'til noon, go to Moe's for lunch, then go... shopping." She faltered over that last word-I'm guessing she isn't a fan of shopping; my dream girl. "And then go to the carnival at the pier and hang their until we get bored. Sound like a plan?"

Nudge blinked a few times before saying, "Um, yeah, sure. Wow, I can't believe you agreed to go shopping! I mean, you hate shopping-every time I ask, you go-"

"It's never just a simple 'yes' or 'no' with you, is it?"

Nudge shook her head, and I could tell she was smiling from underneath the hand Max was using to gag her with. "Nope," was Nudge's muffled reply. Max shook her head amusedly, before removing her hand.

Iggy was staring at her, eyes narrowed in shock. Max seemed to get annoyed with his crazy-ass staring, because she snapped, "What?"

He stared at her in disbelief before answering, "You've never been on a date?"

She rolled her eyes at him while shaking her head.

OK, so that's something I couldn't believe either. Max hadn't been on a date, yet she was the best kisser I had ever met.

Oh, God.

But for some reason, knowing that made me feel ten times better. Right then and there, I made it my mission to ask Max on a date, and make it a day-or night, whatever-she'd never forget.

We left to go home around midnight, after saying good-bye to everyone. Iggy and Nudge snuck away for a few minutes, and no one could find them. I was going to have to ask him about that later. We hadn't seen Ari since he stormed off into the house after his and Max's little hissy fit.

When it was time to go, I hesitated, not really knowing what to do, before Max wrapped her arms around me tightly, pulling me into a long embrace. We stayed like that for what seemed like hours before we broke apart. I pulled away reluctantly, not wanting to let go-it just felt right having her wrapped in my arms. After we said our final good-byes, Iggy and I left.

We got into the car and drove down the road. Halfway down it, Iggy spoke, "So, man, Don't make any plans for tomorrow, OK?"

I have him a sideways glance, confused, before directing my attention back on the road. "Why?"

"How do you feel about going to the carnival at the pier tomorrow?"

I just shrugged as I continued driving home.

Oh, God, was my only thought, What is he up to now?

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