Love Is

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In the Closet

He closes the door and turns on the light to reveal a dusty old room filled with mannequins with stethoscopes and CPR posters adorning the walls.

Those mannequins aren’t creepy at all.

I shiver as I look at their blank faces, their mouths open slightly as if they were mid-laugh.

Or mid-scream.

I wander further into the room and see a large closet. I open it to find, thankfully, a mannequin-free space with a small sink, a paper towel dispenser, and shelves. Maddox watches me, his face dark as I drag two chairs into the closet and turn on its light.

“Do the mannequins scare you?” he finally asks, making me jump at the deepness of his voice.

“A little, ” I say, my cheeks reddening as I wipe the dust off the chairs with a paper towel from the dispenser.

He takes a seat in the chair, and I sit in front of him, my gaze focused on the dusty floor under my feet.

When was the last time they cleaned in here? The janitors are really fluffing up here.

Ha.

Fluff.

Dust.

I should totally be a comedian.

“Dove, look at me.” He says, and I obediently raise my head. His features were hard, and his dark eyes searched my face before he sighed.

“What’s wrong, Maddox? Are you okay?” I ask, my brow furrowed.

He looks really angry. He sighs again, letting out a quiet curse word, making me flinch a bit.

“You really don’t know why I’m angry, Charlie? That motherf- butthole just called you a slut. You think I wouldn’t be mad at that?” He lets out another curse, then stands up and punches the closet wall, leaving a big hole in the drywall.

This time, I jump high out of my seat and swallow back a squeak. His body language is very different from earlier, like his anger made him into the Hulk instead of the cute boy I saw before. He was even scarier than he was when I first saw him dealing with Rodney. But he’s human too, I reason with myself and I stand up and approach him.

“Hey, it’s okay, Maddox,” I say, touching his arm. He visibly relaxes, and shakes his head, turning to face me.

“It’s not okay, not by a long shot. Not if it’s you.” He says, and I give him a confused look, and he quickly says “Nevermind.“

Not if it’s me?

I really want to comfort him, his angry face melting into a rather frustrated one, so I pull on my big girl panties and go in for a hug. At first, he stands there stiff, then after a few awkward seconds, he hugs me back. I felt the butterflies swirl even stronger in my tummy as his arms wrap around my waist, my face squished in the heavenly smell of his chest. I feel his big warm body shaking, and at first, I think he’s crying, but then I hear his muffled chuckles.

“What’s so funny?” I ask, trying to pull away. He lets me but keeps his arms loosely around my waist. “You’re so tiny and adorable, Dove.”

I pout at him. “You’re just freakishly tall, Maddie” I protest, the name slipping out of my mouth. He rolls his eyes at me, a grimace on his face.

“Not you too with the Maddie thing. First Sonny and now you.”

I smile teasingly at him. “It’s ok, Maddie, I won’t let anyone else call you that.” He gives me a small smile, then a mischievous look enters his eyes.

’Put your arms around my neck right quick,” he instructs me, leaning down a bit to give me access. Our faces are almost level, and I have to try to keep down a blush, but I fail. “Why?” I challenge him, and he rolls his eyes at me.

“Just do it, Dove” he grumbles, and I wrap my arms around his neck. Instantly he stands up and my feet are off the ground, swinging freely.

“Maddie!” I squeal, laughing a bit. He wraps his arms tight on my waist, snickering at me.

“This is how it feels to be tall, Dove,” he says, his chin poking my nose. I look up to see a full smile on his full lips as he looks down at me.

A real smile and I swear I feel like I’m flying.

The smiles melt off our faces, and soon I’m staring at his lips, while he stares at mine. Time seems to stand still, and I feel the urge to lean in and plant a kiss on those soft-looking lips. Whoa, girl, that’s a little too friendly.

“Maddox,” I whisper, and he seems to mentally shake himself before setting me down.

“Sorry,” he apologizes. “I got a little carried away, huh?”

I shake my head. “We both did.”

He scratches his neck, a red tinge settling on his ears. “I’ve never really had friends that were girls,” he admits looking everywhere but at me.

Aww, he’s so clueless, it’s adorable

“Why not?” I ask as I sit back down, and he follows suit, pondering my question.

“I didn’t really want to be friends with girls, because most of the time it just leads to mess. Not many girls approached me anyways. But you seem different. More wholesome and less worried about impressing others." he finally says, giving me a warm look.

“Every girl is wonderful in her own way, Maddie, so don't be so quick to judge, okay? Maybe it’s because you always have a mean look on your face like you’re ready to punch anybody who looks at you too long,” I inform him, rolling my eyes with a smile.

He smirks at me. “So you want me to smile at every girl that crosses paths with me?” I feel a surge of....anger...no, jealousy roar through my stomach.

“No!” I blurt, and then my cheeks redden. I try to fix the damage. ” I mean, you don’t have to.”

He laughs, a loud beautiful sound, and he gives me a soft smile.

“Relax, Dove you’re the only girl I want to smile at.”

I scowl at him, my cheeks burning. “That’s not very friendly, Maddie.”

He scowls back and groans. “This friend thing is hard. Why can’t I say that?”

“That’s something you would tell a girl that you liked as more than a friend. Not a girl you just met a few hours ago that you are trying to be friends with.”

He gives me a nod, biting his lip.

I wanna bite it too. No, bad Charlie. Bad, bad Charlie.

Where were these dirty thoughts coming from?

We continue to talk more about the friendship thing until the bell rings. I feel slightly guilty for skipping class, but the happiness I felt from Maddox being eager to comfort me was stronger. I practically feel myself getting happier and happier, my smile threatening to break my face in half, as I practically skipped down the hallway.

Did a boy really make me this way?

And while my heart told my brain that it loved this change, my mind still seemed to whisper negative thoughts.

He doesn’t have time to deal with you. He has a whole child to raise. Do you want to look stupid if you end up liking him too much?” Loving him? Think about what happened with Jake. You’re begging to be hurt again.

Those thoughts made my smile disappear, and my happy mood long with it.


A/N 09/1/2020

Hey guys, it's been a while. Advanced Precalculus is kicking my butt rn, and virtual learning isn't making it any easier. Anyway, how do you like this more relaxed scene? Who's Jake? Will Maddie - *Charlie glares at me while Maddox watches with a proud smirk* I- I mean Maddox and Charlie get even closer? FIND OUT NEXT TIME ON DRAGONBALL Z.

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