The moment he laid his eyes on her, Iggy knew she was blind.
She was already very good at hiding it and the way she looked at Angel, there was no way one could tell. But the slightly random moving about of her eyes was a giveaway to him. Later Iggy heard that he was the only one who knew it the moment he saw her. Though when Angel gasped, he thought she had her. But when Max was gone from their eyesight Angel threw the bomb.
"She has his eyes." She whispered.
"Huh?" Fang asked confusedly.
"She has Omega's eyes!" She said more clearly this time.
"Oh." Well, that made sense. None of the boys had seen Omega, not even the last time they were there. They only heard about him from the girls. Though it should've been Surely she didn't get her silver blue eyes and pale brown hair from Max.
They didn't pack much stuff, just the things that they needed. If Iggy didn't know Max any better he would've thought that she wasn't planning on staying long, not the fact that she liked to travel light.
Or who knows? Maybe she wasn't planning to stay long.
When they stood in front of the lift and waited for it to open, he saw Evan fidgeting with her shirt hem again. Her fingers were shaking. From his own experience, Iggy knew that lifts sucked. Sure all of them had slight claustrophobia and hated lifts because of the small space. But it was much worse with him because not only the space was absolutely closed but also it was moving, which he hated. The same reason why he hated cars but never actually told anyone.
Iggy felt slightly bad for the girl. Being blind sucks.
Before he even knew what he was doing, he found himself putting a hand on her shoulder. Evan stiffened under his touch then looked up at him, her eyes setting a bit right from where his head was. Though he knew she couldn't see, he smiled.
"Hey, you want to take the stairs?"
At first Evan looked confused, then she smiled and looked at Max who was looking at them a bit worriedly. It hurt him that she didn't trust him with her daughter but didn't let it show.
Instead he smiled at her softly, letting her know that he knew. "It's okay. I can take her."
"Okay." She smiled too, showing that she understood. "Be careful, okay hon?" She patted her daughter's cheek affectionately, indicating her it was all right.
Iggy took Evan's hand in his and led her to the stairs.
"Are you Iggy?" She asked quietly once they were out of the others earshots.
"Yes." Iggy said. "I'm Iggy."
They had to wait for Iggy and Evan for a few minutes downstairs. Finally they came down, both laughing hard.
"Hey." Max said, her chest filling with relief and affection that the ice was already melting between them. "What're you laughing about?"
"Nothing." Iggy said as they tried to smother their laughter, then started all over again.
Max rolled her eyes at them but smiled. "Come on, the others are already by the car."
Suddenly Evan's laughter died. "We're taking a car?"
"Yes." Max reached out and took her hand. "It's far where we're going."
"Nudge, open the damn door!"
Max flinched at the yelling, recognizing the voice as Angel's.
They had reached an hour ago and Iggy had immediately taken off with Evan and Angel and Gazzy had taken upon the task to show Max around the house. It was a pretty big house with separate bedrooms for each Flock member and two more bedrooms. Max couldn't remember living in such a big house after the E-house. Even when they were constantly changing houses with Charlie they never got one with more than three bedrooms. Max felt grateful towards her mom for giving them such an opportunity.
After the small tour, Gazzy and Angel both disappeared somewhere. Max found Evan and Iggy in the kitchen, happily chattering. Max was a bit worried about how they would react towards Evan. But after seeing them together, she was a lot relived.
Of course there were others.
Who was currently in her room with her door locked.
The Flock said it was nothing. But Max knew it wasn't just nothing. She knew it was about her. Though she couldn't ask them about it. After all, she had been gone for nine long years. They'd surely moved on their own ways. What if they didn't like her bossing around and interfering in their family matters? So Max just stayed out of it.
Until now. When Angel was practically screaming outside Nudge's room and telling her to open the door.
When Max went there she saw Gazzy and Fang already standing behind Angel, looking helpless. Iggy came with Max and stared at them confusedly.
"Hey, what's wrong?" Max asked.
"Nudge is being a bi…"
"Angel!" Iggy snapped at her and glared.
"What? It's true!"
"Whatever Angel." Iggy rolled his eyes. "You cannot bad mouth her like that."
"Well she can't just act like a total douche all the time and hope to get away with! It's hard for all of us!"
"That's it Angel!" Iggy whispered yelled. "You're doing the dishes and the laundry tonight. Now go to your room!"
Angel huffed and walked away.
Gazzy knocked on the door this time. "Nudge?"
"Go Away!" A muffled voice screamed.
Gazzy rolled his eyes. "You know Angel is right! She is being a bitch!"
"She should fucking understand that we're all suffering." Fang stated.
Iggy glared at both of them and as Gazzy opened his mouth to say something again he cut him off.
"The next person who curses in this house is going to do the dishes and the laundry for the next three months!" He snapped. "And that includes all of you!" He raised his voice slightly so that Nudge could hear too.
Max stared at him. Iggy? Scolding everyone else for cursing?
OH MY GOSH! THE APOCALYPSE IS HERE!
Okay, that was a bit too much.
But seriously, Iggy scolding the kids for cursing? What happened to him?
She was pulled out of her thought as Gazzy also huffed and walked out of there.
That left the three of them.
"Is it about me?" Max asked at last.
"No, it isn't…" Iggy said hurriedly and Fang shook his head but she cut them off.
"It's okay." She said. "Can I talk to her?" Both of them nodded but made no move to leave. "Alone." She added.
They were gone after that.
Max hesitated for a second and then knocked as lightly as possible. "Nudge?" she breathed deeply. "It's me. Max."
There was silence and then some shuffling and finally the door creaked open a bit. A head peeked through the crack.
Her eyes were puffy and red, which meant she was crying. Her hair a mess, her clothes disheveled. But her eyes were the same heart melting brown, her mocha skin bright, she was the same Nudge though she was all grown up now.
Max's heart wrenched. She'd missed so much. Could she really blame Nudge for acting like this?
"Max?" Nudge whispered,
"Hey." Max tried to smile. "Can I come in?"
Nudge hesitated for a second and then opened the door for her. When Max went in, she was welcomed into a room, which screamed brightness and happiness to her, with its light pink walls and large window and white curtains. It was a shock that the owner of the room was such a mess right then.
"Oh god." Nudge whispered again and Max looked at her. She was still staring at her with wide unbelievable eyes. "It is you."
"Hey Nudge," Max said hesitantly, not sure how to act. "How… how are you?"
"H-how am I-I?" That seemed to set the girl off as her eyes also filled with sorrow and anger. "How c-can you say something like that Max?" She gulped to not cry. "How can you…? Max you vanished! Vanished! You looked everywhere for you! And then when you came b-back to Dr. M-Martinez's and you left without even seeing us leaving that…that letter and she said you were bleeding when you came and you were so weak and that you looked horrible! How could you Max? We were s-so worried!" With that she started to sob. Max stood there helplessly as her own eyes started to blur.
"You even left your Max card! Do you know how hard it was? Fang was like crazy and Angel and Gazzy and none of us knew what to do." She stopped for a moment and drew in a breath. "I know… I've read your letter but Max…" She was cut off as Max threw her arms around her.
"I'm sorry." She muttered as a drop spilled from her eye. "I am so sorry."
Nudge put her arms around her and buried her head on her neck, like old times.
"I am so sorry Nudge." Max repeated. "But you don't understand…"
"No, I understand." Nudge said as she pulled away from her but left her arms on her shoulders. "I know what you said in the letter and it made perfect sense to me. But Max," She paused and searched her eyes for reaction. "Was that the only reason?"
Max didn't answer. Instead she looked away from her eyes.
"You were scared." Nudge touched her cheek and gently pushed gently so she was facing her again. "You were scared of what we'd think of the baby. Of how'd we react."
And Max finally broke.
Her bottom lip quivered and a sob escaped her lips. "She looks so much like him Nudge, h-her eyes…"
"But Max she is a part of you too." Nudge said softly. "And how can we ever hate you?"
Right that moment, as Nudge hugged her again and shushed her, Max couldn't help but think how mature she was. Yes, the old Nudge was probably still there, at least Max hoped so, but she was much more understanding and loving and caring now. Max couldn't help but feel proud.
"Mom." A quiet voice asked from the door. Max pulled back wiped her eyes as she saw Evan standing confusedly by the door. "Are you crying?" She asked a bit sacredly.
"Hey," Max smiled though she knew Evan couldn't see her. "No, I'm not. Come here."
Nudge stared at them confusedly as Evan raised both her hands and slowly followed Max's voice to where she was standing. Thankfully, there was nothing on her way and she safely came to her and took her hand. Max smiled at Nudge whose eyes were surprised like others when they saw Omega's silvery blue eyes and pale brown hair.
"Evan, this is Nudge. Nudge, this is my daughter Evan."
"Hi." Evan smiled sweetly.
Nudge knelt in front of her and offered her hand as she smiled. "Hey." When Evan didn't hold her hand she looked at Max, asking silently if she did something wrong. Instead of answering, Max took Evan's hand and gave it to Nudge. Evan smiled as she held her hand and realization dawned in Nudge's eyes.
Nudge smiled, trying to cover her shock and looked at Max again.
"She looks just like you."
When they sat for dinner everyone was almost normal. They could freely chat about everything and there was almost no more secrets but obviously many questions.
"So, what are you guys doing now?" Max asked as enjoyed Iggy's amazing cooking skill. She almost forgot how good it was.
"Well," Gazzy answered. "I started college this year and Nudge is also in college and Angel's in high school."
"Yeah, it's great." Angel answered Max's unspoken question, which of course she'd read from her mind. "We're doing good. It was a bit hard at first, but now it's fine. And no, I don't cheat with my mind-reading."
"Angel." Iggy scolded softly. "I said don't do that."
"What?! I can't help it!"
"And what about you two?" Max asked Iggy and Fang. "What are you doing?"
"Fang's a columnist in a weekly." Iggy said. "And I'm working as a nurse in a hospital."
"What about you?" Nudge asked. "What are you doing? Did you go to school after that? I mean, it was always hard for you anyways. What are you…"
"Nudge I think you should let Max answer that."
"It's okay." Max smiled. "I'm working in a book store…"
Max couldn't finish her sentence as the bell rang. Fang got up hurriedly and gave Iggy somewhat a meaningful look.
"I'll get it."
Max looked at Iggy, silently asking for an explanation as Iggy smiled nervously at her.
"Well, Max we didn't exactly ask you about it, but, uh, she was so worried that we…"
"Max?" A voice whispered.
And there she was, standing in the doorway, Dr. Valencia Martinez.