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Chapter 9

Chapter 9

"Max, are you sure that asking me about this thing is wise?" I ask him, taking a sip from my beer bottle. "I mean, you know that relationships are not my strong suite. I don't want to be the reason why you and Bell split."

"So you do think that we should split?" Max questions, leaning forward on his elbows to hear me out.

"Look, dude, you guys have been arguing a lot." I come straight out with it. "But haven't you guys always been like that?"

Max nods, more quiet than usual. "Yeah. We've always argued. But, lately, it feels like it's getting worse, like being together is just us wasting time. I'm tired of the arguing, or, at least, her arguing with me. I feel like I deserve to be treated better, you know? I swear I've got brain damage from the amount of times I get hit. I never thought I'd be saying this but I think I want a loving relationship."

I mentally slap my forehead. Sometimes, his stupidity gives me a brain aneurysm. Why wouldn't he want a loving relationship? Why would he want anything else? I've been in a relationship where there's no love, granted, I didn't know it at the time, but still, it sucked. You can't win in a relationship like that.

"I don't know what to tell you, but I gotta say this, dude..." I suck in a deep breath before coming out with it, "you could stand to treat her better too."

He scratches his head in confusion, taking offense. "What do you mean? I never argue with her. I always just take all of it."

That's not healthy either.

"Yeah, but she argues with you because you never take her seriously," I tell him, hesitant in revealing what I've seen from the outside. "You need to start really listening to what she's saying. It's all about listening, dude. Take her feelings into consideration, especially with Bell. She's the type of girl that needs 110 percent of your attention."

"Yeah." Max nods, agreeing, aware. "But is it worth it? That's where I'm at now."

I shrug, clueless. "Only you can answer that one, Max."

"I feel like we're stuck in a dead end relationship. I don't see us going anywhere anymore," he says nervously, shifting in his seat. "I've been so afraid to even voice these kind of thoughts aloud. Lately, they won't stop."

That's when you know that you need to stop the relationship.

"Why don't you sit Bell down and talk to her about it before making any rash decisions?" I suggest. "Bell deserves that much from you. You guys have been dating for a while now. She'll understand."

He shakes his head furiously. "No, she won't."

"You're not giving your girl enough credit." It's my turn to shake my head.

"Whose side are you on?" Max frowns.

I sigh aloud. "I've always admired you and Bell. You guys have always seemed to click as a couple. I'd honestly hate it if you two were to break-up because then I'd really feel as if dating is pointless, but at the same time, I'd hate it more if both my friends are unhappy in life," I explain my thoughts. "That's why I'm not siding."

"But, you gotta admit, Bell is a high-maintenance girl." Max tries to persuade me into taking a stand on his side of the fence.

"A high-maintenance girl who cares about you." I defend the terrifying female.

"I knew I should have gone for a wild card, someone loose like...like...like Aqueela or something," he mumbles, clearly not in a good head space, especially if he's saying crazy things like that.

"You don't mean that," I argue.

"I do," he clarifies, choosing to go with it.

"Who are you?!" I protest. "Jay Taylor?"

Max breaks out into chuckles. "Yeah, you're right. I'm not as brave as him."

I raise my eyebrows at him. "But Bell is."

It takes a second for it to sink in before he narrows his gaze at me.

"See where I'm going with this?" I ask with a silly grin on my face.

"Yeah." He scowls at me. "I don't like the destination."

"Bell took a chance by saying 'yes' to you in high school after you humiliated yourself when asking her out, after you'd kissed her best friend, after her star quarterback. Understand my point? I really think that you two should talk things out in a civil manner," I state my opinion for the hundredth time. He's looking for the easy way out. All relationships require effort – some more than others.

"Yeah, bro, yeah." He reaches over and takes a bottle of beer from the table. "You're so right, dude. I'm gonna try harder. I gotta be the change to make her change."

Gotta be the change to see the change...but whatever.

I glare at him and the bottle he's just taken. "I don't share my beer." I tell him, completely serious.

"You plan on drinking a six-pack all by yourself?"

I hold up the second one under my seat. "Two six-packs by myself," I angrily correct him.

He gives me the 'you're better than this' face. "Let me just crack open a cold one with my boy." He does exactly that, cracking the bottle open and taking a long sip.

"No, seriously, I don't share beer. I'm not even joking." I snatch the bottle back from him, beyond ticked.

He retaliates by swiftly stealing my bottle instead.

Stunned by his speed, I cross my arms over my chest and watch him tip the bottle to his lips. When he sees the shocked look on my face, he smirks against the bottle and downs the rest of it, wiggling his eyebrows at me in pride.

"What? Thought you're the only one with street cred?"

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