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He's So Tall and Handsome as Hell; Enter Mr. and Mrs. Harte-Reyes
Topic Started: Mar 2 2016, 04:37 PM (1,144 Views)
Primrosette
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Brendan was glad that Maxim had made something up instead of him and he knew that he would have to thank Maxim for saving him. Alba wanted to know what kind of book series they were talking about. Brendan was trying to remember that book series that Maxim had been reading from time to time. It was called 'Skulduggery Pleasant'. Brendan had been interested to read it himself and he had only read the first novel so far. He could talk about that as it was a series.

"W-Well.... Have you heard of Skulduggery Pleasant?" Brendan asked Alba and he was starting to calm down. Strangely, talking about books always made Brendan feel more secure and safe. "I've only read the first novel. But Maxim is the one who got me into it. So I'm sure that he would be happy to tell you about the series."

Brendan turned away from Alba to look at Maxim. Brendan smiled at him a little and he took another sip from his punch cup. Still tasting so sweet. He was surprised that Alba would have an interest in what kind of books he read. But he remembered that she did want to help him with his story ideas. Maybe they could discuss that next with Maxim. It would be fun to know what ideas Alba could come up with.
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Maxim silently nodded as Brendan spoke. Good job, Bren, following up on his little lie. He had feared that his friend would go for the truth instead, but he had been overly paranoid. He could relax now, more so that the conversation had shifted to a topic he was all too comfortable with.

"Yeah, Skulduggery Pleasant. Really good read, I just finished the seventh one. The humor is excellent too, quite witty. Though I suppose you have to enjoy fantasy as a genre to be able to appreciate it. The books, not the humor."

Maxim took another sip of the punch, as Brendan had before him. He hoped that there was no alcohol in it. He had heard of jokesters pouring in unsavory amounts of it into drinks on occasions like this and Cochise certainly wasn't short on jokesters. Though again, he was probably being too paranoid about it; the drink was simply tasty and there were no traces of alcohol in it, as far as he could tell. Then again, he didn't know too much about that subject, save for...that one time, but he really didn't want to think about that now. Avoid anything that could make him feel anxious at any costs.

He glanced back at Alba, scratching his chin. He hadn't bothered shaving, not even on an occasion such as this. Wasn't too much stubble anyway, nothing he'd have considered scruffy. But again, opinions could differ.

"So, in any case, since we are speaking about reading: Do you like reading as well, Alba? And if yes, then what genres do you prefer? I mostly read fantasy myself, ever since I was little." He did not feel nervous keeping the conversation going, not at all. Cool. It was most likely due to him speaking about something he actually knew stuff about, something he enjoyed doing, had genuine interest in. Maybe he should join a book club after all?
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Alba listened closely as the guys talked about Skulduggery Pleasant. She had never heard of the series, but from how Brendan and Maxim spoke about it, it sounded like something that had been around for a while and that had a strange sense of humor. Alba suddenly felt really embarrassed to not know as much about literature as they did. It sounded like they had some really strong opinions on the books.

"Sorry, never heard of it," Alba said. "But I'd probably like it if it's funny. I like funny stuff."

Maxim asked her about the books she read. Alba had to pause and think about it. What was the last time she read for pleasure and not for a grade? She had to think for a moment.

"I don't really have any favorite genres," she finally said. "I mean, I've liked some of the stuff I've read for school, but it's probably been years since I read anything for fun. Well, I guess I've read a few things for my brother and sister when they were smaller. I don't know if things like Dr. Seuss or Captain Underpants are in the same league as what you guys read, but I've enjoyed those quite a bit. Especially Captain Underpants."
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Brendan was happy that everyone seemed to be getting along over books. He was glad that Alba seemed to be comfortable around Maxim. It did seem a bit awkward at first. But now they were having a discussion about books with him and Maxim. Brendan was very quiet as Alba and Maxim were talking about what genres that they read.

Wait.Captain Underpants? Brendan slightly blushed when he heard Alba say that. Was that like a superhero novel series or something?

"W-Well, I never read the Captain Underpants series. Is it a comedy genre?" Brendan asked curiously as he gazed at Alba and he chuckled a little. The name did actually sound like it was funny. "Actually when I was younger.... Well, I used to read Goosebumps a lot. I always used to beg my father to buy me the next book after each week. Then I grew out of that habit and I went on to read different books."

Brendan was actually starting to sweat a little and he wiped his brow with the back of his left hand. He was actually feeling nervous about telling Alba that he just wanted to be friends. Mainly because he just realised that he had feelings for someone else. Someone who was sitting with them. Brendan wanted to get away and hide. But he couldn't do that as the other two would know that something was up with him.

Brendan bit his lip. He needed to go to the restroom and to wash his slightly sweaty face with some water. He needed to think about some things. He wasn't very good with telling someone that he wanted to just be friends with them. He needed more advice. He should ask Maxim to come with him so that he could ask him for more advice.

Brendan pushed back his chair and he got up to his feet slowly. "Excuse me, Alba. I have to go and use the restroom." He glanced at Maxim and he was feeling more nervous being near him. But he needed Maxim to be with him. "Maxim, would you please come with me? I...I would like to talk to you in private. I'll be back soon, Alba."
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Captain Underpants, huh? Well, that certainly sounded like a title to stay away from. Maxim didn't mean to be condescending, but he couldn't help but think that way. It was just as Brendan said, sounded like some sort of comedy - all too obviously at that. In other words, not to his liking, most definitely not. Humor was fine and all, but only paired with good story-telling. And this book certainly did not contain that, he could judge from the cover alone, in the figurative sense. That famous saying advised to refrain from such actions, but who was he to be limited by sayings?

Maxim had clenched his fist absent mindedly and upon realizing, he quickly took another sip of punch. Hell, what had gotten into him? To become so agitated and appalled by a mere petty book title alone, like a first class stickler. Or maybe it had been something else entirely, something else that had irritated him and said book had only been an excuse for his brain to get him triggered?

The location, yes, that must have been it. Even in rather pleasant company, he still didn't feel comfortable at all, not even discussing his favorite topic. Had he been alone with Brendan and Alba, at some isolated spot, surely that would have been to his liking. But not like this. He wasn't nervous. no. Not anxious either. Just...somehow, he really just didn't want to be there anymore.He had to leave, as soon as possible, find some sort of excuse. He'd certainly feel bad having to leave the other two behind like this, but it was how it was, he could not change it, as much as he wanted to.

Wait, what? Had he heard that right? Brendan asked him to accompany him to the restroom? Now that was a strange idea if he had ever heard one. As far as he knew, couples normally sought a moment in private on an occasion like that, not buddies. Either that, or everything he believed to know about social behavior was a lie and that really would have been ridiculous, even for him.

Still, though. Brendan didn't look good at all, he had completely forgotten to pay attention to him during his mad ramblings. Poor guy looked as anxious as ever again, like all his attempts to calm him down had been for nothing. To be expected, really. But even so, he couldn't just leave his friend hanging now, could he? Rejecting that request, that would have been a real "dick move", as his peers would say. He had to comply here, no choice. Couldn't leave a comrade during the peak of battle. Besides, if this would get the two of them somewhere less...crowded, all the better. Kill two birds with one stone.

What about Alba, though? She would certainly be all but pleased with this, would she? Her "friend date" running off with some guy she barely even knew, leaving her all alone at that. As bad as he felt for her though, it was not his responsibility, was it? Bren had asked him to come with him, plain and simple, no way Maxim was to blame here. The two of them would have to discuss that later, right now, he had to focus on getting his pal back to a relaxed state. Somehow.

Clearing his throat, he slowly got off his chair, almost knocking over his drink in the process. "I - well...I suppose I'll accompany you, then. Lead the way, Bren."
Edited by Rorick Skyve, Apr 24 2016, 08:10 PM.
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Alba nodded when Brendan asked if Captain Underpants was a comedy series. He mentioned liking Goosebumps when he was younger. Alba was sure she had read some of those books when she was younger, but couldn't recall any of them off the top of her head. She was sure they were scary at the time and would probably be charming if she read them now.

Then, Brendan said he had to go to the bathroom, and asked Maxim to go with him. Alba wasn't sure why Brendan would need a guy to go with him to the bathroom, but it was probably the same as when Alba and one of her girlfriends would go. Besides, she already went to the bathroom and it probably made Brendan realize he hadn't gone in a while.

"Okay then," Alba said. "I'll just sit here and wait. See you in a bit!"

Alba took a sip from her punch and looked out into the dance floor. She could entertain herself by watching her peers and listening to the music until the guys came back. They didn't need to rush.
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Brendan was clenching one of his fists as he was walking beside Maxim. He took a glance at Maxim who had an expression of confusion on his face. That only make Brendan feel more nervous. He had to say something to make things okay somehow. "T-Thank you for coming with me, Maxim. This must be kind of weird, right? Two guys going to the restroom together." Brendan bit down on his tongue to stop himself from continuing to speak. That sounded less awkward in his head than saying it aloud. "I'm sorry! That sounded a bit strange. I don't know why I even said that. I-I just wanted to make things less uh.... uncomfortable, I guess."

Uncomfortable. Right. He felt like he had made things more uncomfortable now as they headed into the restroom together. Brendan moved more quickly over to one of the sinks and he turned on the cold tap. He couldn't believe that he was still sweating. It was obviously from dancing with Alba. He splashed some water onto his face and he grabbed a paper towel to dry his face. Then he turned to say something to Maxim. Just talk about Alba first. Then maybe you could tell him how you feel, Brendan. He was feeling too nervous and he started to stutter a little.

"I-I.... I'm not sure how to.... to tell Alba...." He sighed softly and he shook his head slightly. He couldn't get the words out right. "Maxim, how would you tell someone that you just want to be friends without hurting their feelings? Also.... I.... um.... I need to tell you something. I'm just not sure how to say it."
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Maxim tried his best to avoid eye contact with his friend as they walked alongside each other, heading to the restroom in silence. There it was again, that feeling of anxiety. But not like usual, it wasn't about himself this time, about him feeling awkward, uncomfortable with his surroundings. It was that kind of nagging gut instinct, a fear of what was to come. He had no idea what he was going to say to Brendan, how he was supposed to be of any help. He had tried before, even thought he had made good progress. A false conclusion, obviously.

At least he was still able to keep his cool, at least somewhat. Brendan, he looked like a was about to suffer a nervous breakdown. His expression, voice, demeanor, everything practically screamed that he was in over his head here. Though he did hit the nail on the head. The two of them about to have a talk in private in the restroom, especially on an occasion like this, it certainly was...well, weird, exactly. As far as he knew, girls did this all the time - or was that just some stereotype? Either way, it wouldn't help him out here. He couldn't even think of anything to answer Brendan's sort of apology with, simply keeping his trap shut instead. More silence followed. This wasn't going to get any less awkward any time soon, was it?

Finally, they both entered the men's room, still cloaked in silence. No one else was here at the moment. Good. Something to be sort of happy about, at least. Brendan immediately rushed to the sinks, obviously to get some cold water on his face. Maybe that helped. He certainly hoped it would, or at least not make things even worse, somehow.

Brendan turned around, facing him now. Maxim wished he could have procrastinated it all some way. His friend was depending on him, expecting him to support him, contribute helpful advice related to whatever it was that plagued him now. Too much pressure, too much goddamn pressure. He hated having to be responsible for anyone else beside himself. Hell, he had enough troubles with trying to keep himself in a happy place. But he had already agreed to this and the only other option was leaving his friend all by himself, on the edge of despairing. No, this here was the right thing to do. Uncomfortable or not.

Maxim chewed at his bottom lip as he listened to Bren's plight. So it really was about him and Alba after all. He wasn't really sure what else he had expected, but he still felt relieved in a way. At least it wasn't about something much worse, some other more serious trouble in Brendan's life. Still, this also meant that Maxim had no clue what in the world he was supposed to tell the other boy. He knew about as much about relationships as he knew about quantum physics, not to mention that the latter subject was decidedly more comfortable to discuss.

Oh, there was more? Something else Brendan wanted to tell him? He figured. The way he behaved, there had to be more on his mind, clear as day. He had suspected it and now he had confirmation on the matter. Whatever it was, he had to try and not think about all the terrible possibilities that it could have been, at least until he had come up with something to answer Brendan's first question with. How he would have told someone that he just wanted to be friends? Hell if he knew! He didn't even know how to properly ask someone to be friends in the first place.

"Geez...I really don't know how I would do it, I'm sorry. I mean, I would really like to help you here, Bren, don't get me wrong. But like...it's hard for me to judge, you know? I never was in a relationship myself, never really cared for it either."

Maxim ruffled his own hair with one hand, his eyes nervously darting across the room. "I'm really, really sorry. I can only tell you again what I said earlier. Alba does seem like a nice, understanding person and all, you and her will be able to work something out, I'm sure. How, I have no idea. Sorry." That would have to do. Nothing else he could say. Nothing else he could think of.

"So...what was that other thing you wanted to talk to me about?"
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((Slight GM approved by Rorick Skyve))

Brendan listened to what Maxim was saying to him. He nodded a little. It made sense in a way that Maxim wouldn't really know what to say. Brendan had never asked Maxim for advice before so he was putting his friend on the spot. He felt bad about asking. Although, Brendan didn't think that an apology would be suitable to say right then. He could just thank Maxim for trying to be helpful in a way.

Brendan felt like he had been quiet for a bit too longer and he was just staring at Maxim uncomfortably. He averted his gaze away from his friend to the ground. It didn't look that great but he didn't want Maxim to think that he was being too weird. He felt too shy to speak for a few moments. He had to make eye contact with Maxim. He had to. He slowly glanced back up at Maxim and he let out a shaky breath. Just thank him. Don't tell Maxim how you feel, Brendan.

"W-Well, thank you for trying to help, Maxim. I shouldn't have asked. I know. I just...." He shifted slightly from side to side and he took a step closer to Maxim. "I-I will try to sort things out with Alba. I will try to tell her in a kind way."

Brendan couldn't believe how close he was to Maxim at that moment. He could feel his heart tighten slightly. He felt like he had butterflies in his stomach. He had to tell Maxim how he was feeling about him. He didn't want to lose this chance. He had to speak up. He had to be brave. He just wanted Maxim to know.

Brendan reached out and he grabbed onto Maxim's right hand. Not too hard and not too gentle with his grip. He was still stuttering a little but his voice was more slightly confident. "I-I need to tell you this, M-M-Maxim. I really like...like you. A lot. But I like you more t-than a friend...." He was smiling nervously and he was shaking slightly. He didn't want to get rejected by Maxim. He was scared of that happening. "I think I'm in l-love with you...."

Brendan then leaned forward. He didn't know why he did it. But he wanted to make the first move. Even if he was doing it all wrong. His own wet lips make contact with Maxim's lips and he felt like he was really happy. His heart was beating faster. He didn't pull away from his friend as he loved the touch of Maxim's lips.
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Silence was golden, they said. Not now, not like this. Uncomfortable staring, unspoken words, a lingering feeling of unease...what was supposed to be golden about that? Was it on him to say something to pierce this insufferable state? Maxim wanted the moment to be over, certainly so. But what to say that didn't make it even more awkward?

Thank god, Brendan was going to say something, at last. Simple words, a hint of confidence in his voice. Maybe he did feel better now, due to Maxim's assistance or not, didn't really matter. Still, did he have to be so close? Bren even took another step forward, why'd he do that? He was taller than his friend and yet he felt so insignificant and small all of a sudden, like the other boy was towering over him. He had to shake that feeling off, he was being absurd. Brendan was all but intimidating, this sentiment of his made no goddamn sense!

What was he up to now? He saw him reaching for something, something down there...his hand. What...?

The second he felt the other boy's hand on his, a cold chill ran down his spine, his every muscle tensed. What was Brendan doing, why was he...? No sense, it made no sense, no sense at all!

He didn't know what to do, had absolutely no clue at all. He felt lost, frozen, afraid. Still, he could not bring himself to react to his friend's move in any way, his reaction consisted of a total and utter lack of a reaction. He didn't move an inch, even his expression barely changed. His jowls and lips were trembling, he felt it and he hated it, hated having no control over himself. Why couldn't he just...let go already?

And then more words came from Brendan's mouth, indications, suggestive hints and finally, a truth. So much meaning put behind so few words and yet, he dreaded every last syllable. It could not be, just couldn't be true, it had to be a nightmare or something, a chimera haunting his sleep! But he could feel the cold touch on his skin, the scent of the other boy's breath impregnating the air, this was real, too real, way, way too goddamn real!

Brendan leaned forward. Maxim knew exactly what was about to happen. He had read about it in his books more times than he could count, seen it in movies, even in games...experienced it only once before in his life. He regretted all of it now, everything that had led him to this moment. Not because of Brendan, no. It was not the other boy's fault. It was his own. Because he couldn't bear the thought of being loved. Because he was simply not worth it, didn't deserve it.

Brendan thought otherwise, was trying to prove that Maxim had it wrong, that he was worth more than he would ever want to admit. That was what he was afraid of. Scared to death.

He felt a stranger pair of lips on his and all his thoughts evaporated into puffs of meaningless smoke. Soft, but raw, somehow salty and sweet and bitter and sour, he could not describe the foreign taste with words nor sentiments, it was just there, locked onto his own lips, numbing the rest of his emotions like opium.

It was so easy. He could just pull back, push Brendan off him, somehow voice protest. But he didn't. Not because he did not want to, but because he lacked the will. As always. So he let it happen. Keeping his eyes open throughout the entire duration of it, holding the air in his lungs like they were going to explode if he dared to breathe.
Edited by Rorick Skyve, May 3 2016, 06:10 AM.
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Brendan couldn't believe what he was doing. He was really kissing his friend. Crush. He needed to stop. He was lingering for too long. He couldn't even breathe as he had held his breath when he placed his own lips against Maxim. He needed to stop what he was doing. Why had he done that?

He pulled back a little. He could breath a bit more. He let out a small shaky breath. He was still holding Maxim's hand as he looked down at it. He then looked back at Maxim. His head felt a slightly dizzy. He really did that. He couldn't believe what he just did. He told Maxim the truth. Although, it had been in small words as he had never confessed to anyone before and he had no idea how to do it. And he then kissed Maxim. Against Maxim's will.

Brendan suddenly felt like he was in the wrong over what he did and he let go of Maxim's hand quickly. "O....Oh.... I-I'm sorry, Maxim. I kissed you without your p-permission and.... and..." Brendan was speaking more in a nervous state and he was feeling ashamed of his actions. "I-I shouldn't have done that.... I should have never.... I....I...."

Brendan's words were starting to get quieter until he could barely hear himself. He didn't even know how Maxim was feeling right now. Brendan wanted to slap himself for doing something so immature and selfish. He was possibly going to lose a friend now and he didn't think that he would be able to handle something like that. Again.
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They were gone. The touch, the sensation of pressure was gone. But the taste, it was still there, lingering on his lips, like it had been forcefully attached to them, clinging onto him. Maxim exhaled. It was over.

No, it was not. The kiss, yes, that instance of uncomfortable physical intimacy, that was now only a mere moment in the past, nothing else. But the situation, it had not changed. They were still there, in the restroom, all by themselves, though he was thankful for the latter.

He only then noticed that Brendan was still holding his hand. The kiss seemed to have numbed his senses to any other outer exposure, but now he could feel the heat on his hand's skin, the gentle yet to him so rough clasp, it felt like a terrible itch he could not possibly be rid of.

Well, of course he could. Pull back the hand or slap his away. Again, he would not do that. That would have been a sign of anger, of condemnation. He wasn't angry at Brendan, he had no right to be. He of all people, who had done the same in the past and had rightfully gotten rejected. It would have been an act of pure hypocrisy to deliver cold judgment on his friend, poor Bren, who was not at fault here. He didn't blame him. No way he could.

Shaking, quivering, he tried to regain his composure. Brendan had let go of him, removed his hand and his gaze from him for the moment. God knew that Maxim did not know much about people, but he did know one thing or another about misery. And that was exactly what he recognized in his friend. Yes, his friend. He still was his friend, his buddy, someone he liked being around. Not Bren's fault that Maxim was the way he was, aloof, timid and shying away from any feelings that crossed the border of comradeship.

Still, he didn't feel well, not at all. Like he wanted to sink into the ground, something of that sort, disappear from the scene. He had to leave, now more than ever. He needed to be alone with his guilt. Brendan did not deserve being dragged down by the likes of him, he deserved spending Sadies in a happy mood, like he had before Maxim showed up. He would have to ditch him, for his own good. But only for the evening. Only for now.

"Hey...hey, look..." His accent was coming through. He hated it, but he had no other choice but to endure it for now, tolerate his own shortcomings just a little longer. For Brendan's sake. "Look, I..uh...I don't really know how to react here, do you understand? This is a little weird...no, I didn't mean weird in that sense, but more like...surprising? Yes, maybe that, overwhelming, something like that." Voice was shaking, couldn't have that. Brendan couldn't get the impression that he was scared, which he was. He needed to play it off somehow, pretend it was no big deal. Make his friend feel a little better about himself. Maybe it would make Maxim feel better as well, who could know?

"I just...I need time to think, I guess? Like, I'm not...not mad or anything, okay? Don't worry about me, or you or - just don't worry, yes? This is fine. It's fine, really. I wanted to leave the dance anyway. Not because of you, I swear! I am just exhausted, physically. I did enjoy your company, believe me."

Did he mean those words? He wanted to believe he did. He thought he was sure, certain that he wasn't just telling white lies to encourage Brendan. He was still standing there like a statue, frozen on the spot, but his mind was beginning to defrost, at least.

"I just need some time for myself now. Need to think about...stuff. Think about what to say later, yes? I am not really able to handle - I mean, to put my thoughts into words right now, you see? Just give me some time, and maybe tomorrow or so, I can call you or...somehow contact you and talk about this, okay?" Was he trying to buy himself time? Escape this and procrastinate the inevitable? Hell, he didn't know anymore.

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Brendan had stayed quiet when Maxim started to speak. He listened and felt like he should be hiding under a rock or something. It sounded like Maxim wanted to get away from him. Had he scared his friend with a kiss out of nowhere? Possibly. Brendan hadn't meant to be make things complicated between them. Had he just ruined their friendship? Maybe. Brendan couldn't even look Maxim in the eye without feeling so terrible about what he did. Maybe he should be the one to leave before he would make things worse. Just pretend that you're okay, Brendan.

Brendan glanced back at Maxim and he opened his mouth to speak. But he had nothing to say yet. He had to somehow keep himself together. What could he say? He didn't know what to say to his friend.

There was just a awkward silence between them for a while. Then Brendan cleared his throat. Why was he feeling nervous and sad? He really felt like he screwed up.

"M.....Maxim.... I understand if you..... I mean.... I'm.... an idiot.... I feel so...." Brendan couldn't get the words out properly and he was starting to feel frustrated with himself. Why couldn't he talk like a normal human being? "....If you don't want to talk to me for a while. Then-Then I will back off. I don't want to make things worse, Maxim. I just.... feel really confused right now. And.... and.... I think I should go home...."
Edited by Primrosette, Jul 12 2016, 06:27 AM.
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He should have said something more now, correct Brendan, tell him he didn't need to feel bad. He knew he should have, it's what one would have done in this situation, how a real friend would have behaved. It didn't sound that hard. Just had to get one more phrase together.

"Look, it's not-"

Yes? Not what? He had no idea how to finish that sentence; hated that feeling, not being in control of his own thoughts. So now there he was, mouth opened and not getting a singly syllable over his lips, like a worthless dunce. Verdammter Mist
Maxim clenched his fist, only to ease his hand muscles again a second later. Brendan would get the wrong idea. He wasn't angry, not in that way, not at him. Had he woken up now, had it all just been some sort of bizarre dream, day dream even, he would have probably even shrugged it off with a chuckle. That notion was idiotic though, not only because this all was clearly real, but because he damn well knew he could never remember one of his dreams. Not that that was inconveniencing him much, certainly not as much as this entire situation was.

To his own surprise, he did not feel the urge to look away from the other boy, could actually maintain eye contact, though one could hardly call it that, with Brendan frantically trying to evade his gaze. Was he being selfish barely wasting a thought pondering about how the other boy must have felt? Probably. Yeah, definitely. But that wasn't new to him, he had always only thought of himself. Even when he pretended to care, he had probably only wanted to appease his own conscience, try to convince himself he was hanging out with people for a different reason other than that they were comfortable with him. Or maybe it was the other way around, maybe he was only tolerating them as much as they were him. He was too tired to continue that line of thought.

Maxim's facial features straightened somewhat, he was looking a lot calmer now. Or maybe colder was a more fitting word. "You should do that, yes. Go home, I mean. I will do the same thing."

He had regained control of himself, no more useless stammering. What he needed now was some air and a good night's sleep. No more reason for him to stay around. Brendan would be okay, surely he would. Alba would be able to console the other boy, somewhat at least. Maxim wouldn't be capable of doing that himself.

"Just try and don't think too much about this, okay? As far as I'm concerned, this never happened. Granted you are okay with that. Either way, goodbye for now. I'll see you around."

He turned away, chapter closed. Temporary loss of control aside, maybe the evening had brought some merit with it after all. It had been insightful, in a certain way, though certainly not something he would insist on repeating. He barely registered the irritatingly bright silhouettes of his peers as he passed through the hall and the hallways, none of that was his concern anymore, at least not for that evening. And despite the fact that he really didn't want to acknowledge it, there was an ever so faint sentiment of pride throbbing in a remote corner of his mind.

((Maxim Kehlenbrink, end of Sadies pregame))

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Alba tapped her fingers on the table and began to sway in her seat as the song changed to "Counting Stars." It had been a few minutes since the guys had left, and she had enjoyed her time waiting for them. Sure, it would have been more fun to go out and dance with Brendan and Maxim, but she knew guys needed to go to the bathroom in groups just as much as girls did. She could let them have their moment and then get back to dancing once they came in.

Alba quickly pulled her cellphone out of her bag. It wasn't the best phone in the world, but it was the best flip phone her parents could afford. She pulled it out and quickly texted a message to her mom.

"SH is so fun! I'll tell you more when I get home."

Alba sent the message and put the phone away. She had slightly hoped that the guys would have returned while she was distracted, but she still didn't see them. For now, she continued to sit in her seat and bobbed along to the music and the energy from the dance crowd.
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