Graduation was so sad yet so exciting. I had shed a few tears at the speeches given and whenever I thought about how I wasn't going to see walk down the school halls again. The thought that I would never eat in the dining hall again or listen to high school drama was paining.
After we threw our hats in the air, I searched the area for Max. But, of course, I couldn't find him.
Rosie has this extravagant plan of having me sing--which I can't even do--a song. She got the idea from the film Walking On Sunshine where the main character sang If I Could Turn Back Time by Cher. As romantic as it sounds, I honestly have my doubts. For starters, I can't sing so I'm going to make a fool of myself. Secondly, Max could completely disregard me.
I mean, if he sees I'm willing to embarrass myself for him, he might at least let me explain myself.
But I'm completely forgetting about that girl he could be with. If he really likes her, there's no way he will leave her for me. I mess things up and I let him go.
"Do you see him?" Bree comes up and asks me. I shake my head in disappointment. She squeezes my shoulders in comfort and gives me a small smile. "Don't worry, I'm sure he'll turn up soon."
"Group photo!" Molly shouts from behind me, drawing my attention to her. The rest of the group appear, along with Rosie and we all pose for a photograph. I smile, hoping nobody notices its fake. "Let's do one with silly faces!" She suggests and starts bouncing up and down in excitement. Rolling my eyes at her antics, I smile, for real and do as she says, pulling a funny face.
We pose for a few more photos and paired photos. Tiredness begins to overwash me. Who knew taking so many photos would tire one out so much?
My parents come back over to me, holding their little camera and take a few photos and then they leave, knowing I want to spend some time with my friends alone. I think I catch Max's parents at one point during the time but before I could pinpoint them, they had vanished.
"Guys, I'm going to dump my things in my car, I'll meet you there in a few," I inform them once we've finished taking pictures. We had planned to go out to the diner to get food and then, hopefully, we would go to Lawrence's house.
They nod their heads and I run over to where my car is parked. Slightly out of breath, I reach my car and unlock it, throwing everything in the back seat.
Finished, I turn around and stumble into a body. Muscular arms wrap around me, preventing me from falling. A familiar, musky scent fills my nose and jogs my memory. I could never forget that smell. His smell.
I peak up at his face through my eyelashes, my heart banging in my chest at the sight of his gorgeous brown eyes.
I feel as if I've been deprived of Max's eyes for so long. It's weird but true. I missed the way they stared at me, the way they would soften. I missed letting him hold me, keep me safe from everything. God, I missed him.
Max's eyes search my face, especially my eyes. When he see's something, though I have no clue what, he gives me a breathtaking smile. That smile that gives me goosebumps and has me wanting more.
"M--Max," I breathe out, nervously yet cheerfully. He's here! He's here right now and I didn't have to hunt him down. He found me.
"Ava," he replies smoothly.
"I--I was looking for you," I tell him, maintaining eye contact with him.
His eyes light up, "really?"
I nod my head quickly, "yeah, I have something to say to you."
"I have something to say to you as well," he declares. "You first."
Okay, I can do this. I have been waiting a while for this and there is no way I'm going to do something stupid like chicken out. I want to be with Max and I have to tell him how much he means to me. How I really want to be with him.
How I love him.
Because god, I love him. So, so much.
I flutter my eyes closed for a second and take a deep breath. I have got this. I can do this.
"Max, a few months ago I made the biggest mistake of my life. I let you go. At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing for the both of us but I was wrong. I was so wrong. I guess that quote 'you don't know what you have until you lose it' rings perfectly for this situation because the moment I lost you was the moment I realized I loved you too much to let you go. I want you to know that I love you and I know I'm a complete idiot but I hope you would possibly...I dunno...give us a second or even third chance." I say from the bottom of my heart.
I peer back up at him, praying he'll really consider my words.
Max is silent for a few moments.
With bated breath, I wait for him to say anything.
"Well," he eventually says, evenly. "I was hoping you would say that. I have something to say too."
I hold my breath.
"These past few months have been eye-opening for me too." He starts. "I'm so in love and I knew I had to let the girl know so I could be with her."
Oh god, oh god. What is happening? What if he's on about that other girl and he has to tell me this so I don't interfere. Oh no. Oh no.
My eyes widen in panic and begin to water. I swallow the lump forming in my throat and try to stay calm.
But the thought: I'm too late keeps reoccurring in my head.
"So that's why I'm here. I have to tell her that I do love her, even if she doesn't want to be with me." I want to cry. "But, then she said it first, she told me how much she hated being apart and how sorry she was. When she told me how much she loved me, I felt everything fall into place."
"Yes Sunshine, I'm talking about you."
I sigh in relief. I don't know what I would have done if he was in love with another girl. I think I would have gone home and cried for weeks.
I leap onto him, wrapping my arms around his neck, catching him by surprise.
Max chuckles and slowly spins me around. Giggles erupt from my throat as I feel happiness course through me.
"I love you so much," I whisper into his ear. "I'm so sorry that I wanted to wait. It was so stupid."
Max shakes his head and meets me dead in the eye. "It wasn't. You needed to know what you wanted and now you do."
I guess. If I hadn't, I doubt I would have done volunteering.
"Should we go somewhere?" Max suggests and wiggles his eyebrows. I smack him for his dirty mind, laughing lightly. Already, having Max back with me is truly incredible.
"Oh, the gang and I are going to a diner. Do you want to join us?" I ask him, nibbling on my bottom lip.
His eyes darken at my action and he stiffly nods his head.
Max gets into my car, telling me that he left his car at home because he parents brought him here. The car ride isn't awkward in the slightest and we catch up on what we missed in each other's lives.
During the ride, I asked the one question I was dying to know. "Max, what--what about that girl you were with? Aren't you dating her?"
Max turns to face me with a smirk. His eyes glimmer with mischief and amusement. Dammit, he's finding this funny.
"You jealous sunshine?" He questions. I turn my head to face the road, knowing that if I continue to stare into his brown orbs, I will get lost in them. And that will lead to us having a car crash.
Since I'm not looking directly at him, I play it off like its nothing. "Pfft, no. I don't get jealous."
Beside me, Max chuckles.
"I think you are." He states. "But don't worry, I wasn't dating a girl."
"W--What?" I splutter with wide eyes. "But there were rumors! P--People said you were with a girl."
I glance at Max. He raises an eyebrow at me. "And you believe rumors? Since when?"
Okay, he has a point. The other day, people said that the deputy headteacher was actually a secret spy since she recently had lots of security cameras installed. It's crazy what people can come up with.
"True, I just...I thought you would because you wanted to move on," I admit, sheepishly.
Max laughs and for the rest of the journey, we tease each other and make jokes.
The diner is buzzing with celebratory teenagers when we arrive. I easily spot the gang and head over to them, with Max's hand in mine.
Molly is the first to spot us.
"Oh. My. Gosh." She squeals and get's the rest of the group's attention. "Look!"
Rosie and Bree smirk and the boys give us shocked expressions.
"I knew that song would work," Rosie says. Max frowns and gives me a 'what?' look. I shake my head and mouth 'tell you later' to him.
"So...are you two back together?" Josh asks us, grinning.
"Yep buddy," Max answers and then proceeds to do the bro hug thing with Josh.
All of us girls share a look and shake our heads.
We spend a good hour chatting away, annoying the workers here with our loud conversations. But hey, we're celebrating. School's over!
"So...party?" Lawrence brings up the possible plan for later. Despite it still being early, having some fun as a group at Lawrence's seems like a good idea.
We all nod, smiling. Party sounds good.
"Do you want to go to the party for a bit and then go somewhere together?" Max whispers into my ear as we leave the diner.
"Yeah," I mutter back, internally squealing.
After making a brief appearance at Lawrence's house, Max and I leave. I give him the keys to the car, fed up of listening to his pleads for me to give it to him.
Thirty minutes later, Max drives off of the road and onto a small road leading to god knows where.
He parks on grass and turns his head to me. I'm too busy staring straight ahead at the sea to look at him though. The sight of the bright blue sky and the blazing sun is blissful. I get out of the car and take a photo.
"Thank you for bringing me here," I tell Max, sincerely.
"Anytime," Max replies and comes around the car, standing behind me. He wraps his arms around me and brings my back to his chest whilst resting his chin on the top of my head. This moment is perfect.
"Wait," I say suddenly remembering something else I need to ask. "Last year, you had a surprise for me but it never happened in the end. I have to know, what was it?"
Max thinks for a moment and then smiles. "Oh yes, that. I had convinced Rosie to come and apologize but she never showed up in the end. After I messaged her but she never replied. I don't know why she didn't come through. Maybe you could try asking her? I heard you two are friends again."
Wow, even after everything, Max was still thinking about me.
"I love you," I blurt out without hesitation.
Max gives me his beautiful smile. "I love you too sunshine."