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i love him, i love him, i love him, i love him
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The girl looked at Maxim. Rather, she scanned him. He felt her eyes look him up and down, from worn out feet to vomit soaked shirt to disheveled flaxen hair. He felt violated by this girl, and she hadn't even done anything. Their eyes caught. The intensity gnawed a pit in Maxim's stomach as he sat there, just wanting to disappear again.

That was before he even took in the baseball bat hanging in her hand.

His eyes narrowed. He did not like to jump to conclusions, but there was something off here. Like he was in danger. Like this girl was a danger to him, even though it did not look that way at first glance. He had spent several days fending off the all encompassing stench of loneliness that his reaction was probably justified in his own mind. When the last person he saw before this girl was Kimiko Kao, who had since gone on to kill even more people, it behoved Maxim to think responsibly, especially when this person was an unknown variable.

But now there came several more. There was a shouting in the distance. Nobody Maxim recognized, although given the scarce amount of people he even knew and cared to remember from Cochise that was not nearly saying anything. And yet, the two in that office remained silent, staring at each other.

The more she just stood there, staring at him, before losing his gaze to the voice in the distance, the more Maxim realized how little control he had here. He needed control, control over what he could do and how he could do it, in order to survive, but with this girl here with dominion left him without choice. She stood there with the reigns.

Then the announcements came. Many more dead, but all the names he knew were absent. Lichter, Lili, Fields, all alive and all lacking a murder to their names. It was easy to pretend, even to himself, that the names that waifted by did not mean anything, especially if those names were of his friends, but even a list of names with no faces to match did nothing to soothe the roaring knot that threatened to consume his stomach.

Maxim scratched his face. Felt little follicles of hair scraped under his fingernails around his jowls and mouth. He waited for the confirmation that he didn't have to get up and run, at least not from the collar around his neck, and when that passed, he let out a sharp exhalation.

It was then the girl started to talk to him. Or rather, at him. She held no equity in her voice, nothing that suggested he would be treated with any of the same kindness that was extended to him by Benjamin or Lili, or even the fleeting false sincerity of Nadia. She was an officer, digging for answers.

But answers Maxim truly had no idea of.

"I... I am sorry, I do not know what you mean by... Scottish cowboy?"

He felt stupid, like there was some intricacy of the English language he was still missing, even at this late point in his life. But he followed his own question up.

"Do you need... help?"

Maxim had no intention of helping her. But he needed a leg up.
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I can't sing but I wrote you a song

Wrong notes but the melody's so clear

When I'm lost, I'm still close to gold

cause I found my treasure in you
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Idiot Launch · Doctors’ Offices