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Introducing Maximus


She was one of those, who, having once begun, would be always in love. — Jane Austen, Emma

What a load of crap.

I have zero interest in Max Rikkards. Sure, he’s hot, but it’s made him arrogant. I’ve seen him with the girls around school, and I’ve definitely heard the rumors. He’s scum.

I’m walking through the parking lot, heading to my car, but I’m not sure why. I’m not leaving Holly.

I’m trying to process everything. It’s crazy, but kind of cool if you really think about it. From looking at me, you wouldn’t guess that I’m an avid reader. A huge dork for books if I’m being honest. Especially if you look at the people I associate with. There’s a different party every weekend, underage guys getting drunk—because we’re the cool ones.

I have a semi-secret friendship with a guy named Mark. He’s definitely a dork, and definitely into me. I haven’t purposefully friend-zoned him but for the past three months I’ve had my sights set on someone else... and now my sisters are trying to tell me that I’m supposed to be with the last person I’d want to be with.

I’m aware enough to realize that I should be less worried about romance and more about the fact that my sisters and I are witches and people are after us, but I’m young enough for that not to be the case.

I reach my car, unsure what to do now. I’m about to turn around and go back to check on Holly when a familiar car pulls up next to me. I roll me eyes and walk away.

“Devereaux!” He calls after me.

“Max.” I greet him, not bothering to hide my contempt.

He catches up with me. “Hey. How’s your sister?”

“Alive,” I tell him. “I’m actually going to check on her now, so...”

He chuckles. “I’ll walk you.” I stare icily at him. “My brothers are in there,” he reminds me.

Oh. Right.

“Just the one,” I tell him. “August got kicked out.”

“What? Why?”

“Holly was screaming so he bust into triage. They told him he couldn’t come back.”

“Damn,” he said. “This is getting crazy.”

“What is?” I ask innocently.

He pales. “Um... just the circumstances... I guess.”

“The circumstances in which Gabe and Holly, and August and Grace are suddenly together, and head over heels for each other?” I tease.

“Yes, those would be the circumstances...” he frowns. Neither of us mention that we’re supposed to be as happily in love as they are as we continue walking. “Technically, August and Grace aren’t head over heels for each other, though.”

“What do you mean?”

“I heard them talking yesterday. August wants Holly, and Grace wants Gabe, but apparently Holly and Gabe are together. And to make things even more confusing, Holly and August hooked up.”

“Wow. They really have kept me completely out of the loop,” I mutter, mostly to myself.

“You’ve been going out a lot lately, so they probably haven’t had time to tell you.”

“How would you know?” I spit through clenched teeth. I lost my brother, too. Maybe I just don’t want to think about it. Have they even considered that?

“They had me follow you,” he says simply, as though it’s completely normal. He seems my dark expression and continues, “They were worried about you.”

“And you just immediately obliged? Out of the goodness of your heart?” I snort. “I highly doubt that.”

“No, not out of the goodness of my heart,” he scoffs. “We’re supposed to be together,” he says, finally acknowledging what we’ve both been avoiding. “I may not feel that way right now, but I’m not going to let anyone hurt you.”

That’s almost touching. Almost.

“I don’t need your help,” I quip.

“You do realize that Holly almost got killed and she’s stronger than all of us, right?” He asks.

I sigh, realizing he’s right. But still.

“What I meant was, I don’t need your help,” I correct.

“You don’t like me,” he guesses.

“Not particularly, no.”

“Why is that?” He asks. “We haven’t talked much. What did I do to make you hate me?”

“I don’t hate you,” I say. “You’re just arrogant, and obnoxious.”

“Wow, you don’t hold back, do you?”

“You asked, I answered.”

“Would any of your animosity have to do with... my personal life?” He asks suggestively.

“No.” I’m too quick to answer.

He laughs. “Thought so.” He smirks at me. Arrogant. “If it makes you feel any better I haven’t approved of any of your boyfriends either.”

“I don’t need your approval.” I stop as we near the entrance. “Do you want to date me?” I ask, point-blank.

He shrugs. “You honestly look a little high-maintenance.”

My cheeks turn red in anger and frustration. I turn to storm off, only to be stopped by Grace running full-speed towards the car we’re standing near.

“I got kicked out!” She say into the open window, panicked.

“Join the club,” Gabe says, coming up behind her with his arms crossed and an agitated expression.

“Well, I’m not,” I say, stomping past them, leaving them to their pity party.

Am I the only one acting like an adult around here?
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