When Max woke up this morning, he didn't expect to be at home alone. Alice, Alec, Ani, Matt and Oliver were always at his house, it was simpler and he enjoyed their company, plus, he didn’t have to be alone in this massive house alone.
Max stumbled out of bed and made his way to his broken desk, where he saw the notes, all in separate handwriting. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes as he focused on them.
Amber's typewriter-like handwriting was: 'I'm sorry I wasn't there to hug you and give you breakfast!' - Amber.
'Don't die chipmunk' - Oliver. See, he tended to use capital letters only. Max remembered him once telling him about how his English teachers despised him because of it.
'If Damian calls, you don't answer. Also, I DID make you lunch, we should be back for dinner." - Matt. His handwriting was the messiest. It was barely eligible.
'I'll bring you back a collectable. Or something. I don't know I'll stop by the gift shop' - Amber.
In Max’s opinion, Amber had the best handwriting out of them all, her cursive was stunning.
'We won't be long, I swear. Sorry, Alec wasn't there with you but we needed him for this' - Alice. Alice's handwriting was definitely something. I never knew what to expect. Depending on whatever pen and paper she was using, her handwriting was constantly changing.
'Don't worry. I'll text you. Just text me when you're awake so I won't wake you up. And, yes, I'll grab you something from the shops too' - Alec.
Out of everyone's handwriting, I personally liked Alec's the best. I don't know, maybe I was biased, but he liked his short and boxy writing.
Max had known everyone for about six months now. This had become a common occurrence. If they said they would be back before dinner, then they would be back before dinner.
Max never knew where they went and, in all honesty, he didn’t want to know. But, what he did know was that he should never ask them about whatever had happened while they were gone. The most notable event that happened was, once, he believed, almost two months ago, everyone had disappeared for almost two weeks and when they came back they were all exhausted.
Alec had clung to him that night. Max didn't question it. Sometimes the others liked to cling to him, but mainly it was Alec. But, in his gut, that night didn't feel right, so he didn't question any of it. Nor did he question their blood-stained clothes. They had a change of clothes at his house, so while they were changing, Max quietly put all their bloody clothes into the laundry.
He put the notes in the box he had specifically for all their notes. It may have been weird to keep them but it was nice. They cared enough to go out of their way to write notes. And he wasn't about to throw them all away.
Alone, in this large house again. Max ignored the eerie silence and freshened up, and afterwards, texted Lyric.
Yes be there soon
Max looked around as he waited for Lyric to show up and, to his surprise, Claire had come too. They let themselves in and they didn't really do much, in all honesty. Just lounged around. They were in the middle of an episode of Friends when Claire spoke up.
"Where are all of them?"
"They had to go out. Amber said they'd all be back before dinner," Max replied, not taking his eyes off of the TV. He clung to the pillow he was holding just a little bit tighter.
Claire cleared her throat. "Rio says he's sorry."
Max scoffed. "I don't care." He f****d up and that was on him. If he thought Max would be forgiving him anytime soon, he was wrong.
"Lyric, how are you doing?" he said, turning to face Lyric, who peeled his eyes away from the TV.
"Therapy is a b***h," he deadpanned.
"It's a b***h, but it's working. And we all know Roland would kill you if you didn't go," Claire said, and he just nodded. It was true, he would.
"Yes, but still. My therapist, Terrance, just makes me talk about feelings. Then he tries to tell me what I should think. Like no, you're not being very helpful, you're just telling me I'm wrong. And I don't like being told I'm wrong," he ranted.
As night fell, the others still hadn't come back yet and Max would be lying if he said he wasn't just a tiny bit worried.
We had ordered pizza and Claire got her own because she put pineapple on hers while Lyric and Max got a cheese and tomato one.
"Wait," Max said, laughing a little. "So, you're telling me that Chris pushed Creed out of the window?"
"Yeah!" Lyric said as he swallowed his bite. "He just sort of came into the room and, I don't know, just pushed him. Neither was bothered about it. Creed said something and it annoyed Chris. It was so funny. Creed thought he was going to get a kiss but he got pushed out a window. Although, I'm pretty sure Chris did feel a little bad about it because then they went upstairs, so Roland and I left."
"You know what's worse? When Chris came home, his back was covered in scratches. I mean absolutely doused. But there were hickeys all over. So, at least we know their roles."
"No?" Lyric said, confused. "I f****d up once and walked in on them f*****g. It was Creed on top."
"I swear, I walked in on them and Chris was on top."
Max cleared his throat a little, trying to keep the heat off of his face. "They might just switch?"
"Okay, fair point. But ew, can we stop talking about my brother's s*x life?"
Max got a text and he had to scramble to find my phone.
Sorrr it tok longer than expected
Have you ate
That's okay. I have pizza
Wheres Alec? He hadn't replied
Hm, that was odd she didn't reply. Max put his phone away and the three of them began talking again and it was honestly about anything and everything. None of them had gone to college. He thought. Well, Claire and Lyric didn't go.
"Yes?" he asked.
A car pulled up and he frowned a little. He heard the yelling and stood up. Before he got to the door, it burst open and all the others had come in, blood-stained clothes and oh, my god.
"Alec?!" Max hissed. He was bleeding and he was being carried by Oliver and Matt. They didn't stop to explain, instead, they began going up the stairs.
Oh, s**t. "Max?" Lyric said as he appeared.
Oh, that looked so bad.
"Okay, you guys. I love you both, thank you so much for spending the day with me, but can you leave, please?"
"No?! What the f**k is going on?!" Claire yelled as she looked at the boys and then at Ani, Amber and Alice. Ani just sort of wiped blood off of her face and then licked it.
"I'm going up to the boys," Amber said. But, first as usual. She came over and gave him a hug. "Hi, baby. How was your day?"
"Amber, go to the boys. We'll talk later."
"Forever?" she asked, and Max nodded and sighed.
"Yes, forever! Now go see if the boys need anything!" She nodded and then went after the boys.
"Please?" he said, looking back over at Lyric and Claire. "Please."
Max looked over at Lyric and he sighed and nodded. "Fine, yes. We'll leave, but if you think this is the last time we're talking about this, you're so wrong."
Lyric then dragged an angry Claire away.
"What happened?!" Max yelled as he too ran up the stairs and to my room. The other two girls were behind him.
"Things got messy this time. It's fine. He's fine."
"He's bleeding!" Max yelled, pointing at Alec, who was groaning.
Matt and Oliver had ripped Alex's shirt, trying to get at the source of the wound. Max too tried to get a closer look, before Ani grabbed him.
"No way. You don't get to see." She had put her hands over his eyes and he stood still.
"It's in too deep, I can't get it out. Matt, get Damian here."
Matt looked like he wanted to throw himself out of the window. When Alice glared at him he grumbled something and pulled out his phone. He grumbled as he pressed his phone roughly and rang Damian.
"I'm fine," he said. "Yeah, about that. How fast can you get to Max's? Because he was waiting for us! And we said we'd be back before dinner but we were late and it'd stress him out if we just didn't come back. He doesn't know! Just get here!" he sighed as he rubbed his hands down his face. "Yes. I'm sorry. I'm fine. Thank you."
Well, Max assumed Damian was coming.
He sighed as he eyed the others. "I'll stay with him, go get changed. You're all covered in blood." They all eyed each other and then Amber pulled out the bags from his closet and she threw them around.
They all turned around and left. He sat on the floor beside Alec. He was covered in blood. He would definitely be needing a new mattress.
He was sweating and mumbling things. He tilted his head to the side and his eyes narrowed when he saw me.
"Yeah?" he whispered.
He groaned a little, he muttered something. "Nn, you okay?" He raised his blood-stained hand and placed it against his cheek.
Max leaned into his touch a little and inhaled. He'd be fine. This was Alec we were talking about. He would be fine.
When the others reappeared, no one spoke. Instead, they waited silently for Damian. Until Ani did speak.
"You kicked your friends out."
"If we can even call them that," Matt deadpanned.
"Yes," Max said, rolling his eyes. "I did kick my friends out. Because I have no idea about how I would explain whatever this is because I don't even know what this is."
"Do we tell him?"
"No!" Oliver said. "He stays in the dark."
"His boyfriend is bleeding out on his bed," Ani deadpanned as she pointed at a clammy-looking Alec.
Ah, Max went a little red at that. "Alec isn't my boyfriend."
"Sure, whatever floats your boat, kiddo."
After they lapsed into another silence, Max remembered something. "I have pizza for you all. It might be a little cold now, but it was warm when it arrived because I ordered it at the time you said you'd be home."
"I'm going to go eat. Max, keep the pressure on here. Do not let him bleed out any more than he already is." Matt left. Slowly the others left too. Max guessed they were all starving.
He sat on the bed beside Alec. It was easier this way.
"Max," he groaned. "Don't tell Max. He can't know."
This felt like something he definitely shouldn't have heard, but as much as he hated to admit it, curiosity got the best of him.
"Don't tell me- Max what?"
"What we do. Don't tell him."
"Oh, looks like Max does have the courage after all. But you know how it goes, Max," Damian said, as he walked in.
"Hi Damian," Max grumbled as he looked at him.
When you first glanced at Damian, you would think he was more of a gangster than a doctor. He had really dark messy hair, tattoos, piercing, built, the whole gangster appeal. Max had once told him to get a buzz cut and he looked appalled.
"That's very naughty, Max," he said, and he rolled his eyes at him.
"I just wanted to know why he's about to die on my bed."
"He's not about to die," Damian said, as he walked over. He eyed the wound and prodded a little before sighing and opening his little briefcase. Inside were many, many medical supplies. "I won't let the fucker. He owes me 500."
"Why the f**k does he owe you that much?" Max deadpanned, and Damian just sighed as he shook his head.
Max helped him with helping Alex, who was coming in and out of consciousness. Ah, he didn't like seeing him like that. Max looked to the side, blinking back tears.
"He's going to be fine."
"I know that," Max snapped, clearing his throat a little and staring out of the window. He didn't really try to focus on his hands or look down in general. He didn't want to see Alec in pain.
After a while, Damian moved away and Alec was asleep, but he was bandaged up. "He'll sleep a lot. Get some sleep too Max, you look like shit."
Max snorted a little. "Thanks."
"Have you seen Matt?" he asked.
"They're all downstairs eating. At least, that's what they said they were doing."
"I'll go check, and I'll let myself out."
'Thanks for coming so randomly, Damian."
He simply smiled, bowing a little as he tipped an imaginary hat and he left.
Max looked over at Alec, who was asleep on his back, towards the side of the bed. Max got a message and it was from Damian.
Found them all.
And with it, he had sent an image of the lounge area, where all of them had fallen asleep, with food in their laps.
Oh and am taking Matt home
I'll tell the others
Max laughed a little, as he took his socks off and climbed in beside Alec. He snuggled himself beside him, his head on his chest and he moved slowly, putting Alec’s arm around his neck. Max could hear his heartbeat.
He was okay. He was here.
Max put one arm gently over his chest, he wanted to cuddle.
Max soon fell asleep.
"No, we need to wake them up. It's noon. noon! They need to wake up."
"Alec almost died!” Ani hissed.
"We'll wake up Max,” Matt said. “He’s been hogging Max. I want my turn with him.”
"His boyfriend almost died,” Amber deadpanned.
They all snorted to themselves. Max rolled his eyes.
"Shut up," Alec mumbled. "You're going to wake Max up."
Max smiled a little, as he turned to my side and tangled himself in his embrace. Max hid his face in his chest as he cuddled with him.
"Hi," he mumbled. He still looked very pale and tired. Max raised my hand and gently placed it on his face. He closed his eyes at the touch. "I'm sorry."
"You nearly died," he whispered. Ah, an image of him pale and bleeding out on his bed flashed through his mind and he clung to him, a little tighter.
Max sighed a little and he hugged him. Tight. Max was glad he didn't die. It reminded him of the time everyone was at the hospital for Lyric, the time he nearly died, and he saw the way Roland was scared and not knowing whether he would live or not terrified him.
"Please, don't do that again. Please."
"We won't. I'm sorry."
"Will you tell me?"
"Hello, did you forget about us?" Ani deadpanned.
"You ruined a perfectly good moment," Alec mumbled and Max rolled his eyes at him.
"There was no moment."
"But yes, Max, wake up and Alec, you can sleep some more. Actually, you should. Go to sleep again. Damian said you would need it. Goodnight. Max, up."
"I can't sleep without Max," Alec deadpanned. He looked like s**t, he was upon his elbows looking at them.
"Alec lay down," Max said. He shook his head, sneezed like a f*****g monster and then repeated himself.
"I can't sleep without Max."
They looked at Max, who blinked a few times.
"You really played yourself here,” Amber deadpanned.
Matt made a noise of frustration. "Fine, you win, but I want to sleep with you."
"Me too," Ani said, as she also climbed into bed.
"Me three!" Alice yelled before she jumped onto Ani, who groaned.
"Me four!" Matt grinned and he jumped on Alice, who was still on Ani. Max heard both girls groan.
"I don't want to," Oliver said, scrunching his nose in distaste.
"f**k off and get here," Matt deadpanned and Oliver groaned a little, but he, too, jumped onto the bed.
"This is not what I meant," Alec groaned.
"We knew exactly what you meant, you filthy boy," Matt said.
"No, but seriously, I can't sleep without Max and I do want to sleep and remember I almost died. So."
"And what about Max?" Matt said.
"His boyfriend almost died,” Ani added.
"He's not my-" Alec put a hand over Max’s mouth, not letting him finish his sentence.
"Sure. Now leave."
The others finally did leave, after Oliver pushed them out, claiming Alec had indeed almost died but he needed to sleep.
So, Alec dragged him back into bed. Right now, Max was lying on his chest, and he was drawing patterns on my arm. He was doing his best to avoid his freshly bandaged wound.
Max scrunched his nose in distaste. "What about him?"
"Do you think he ever loved you?"
"What?" Max asked, clearing his throat. "What kind of question is that?"
"It's because of something I heard. But seriously, answer. Do you think he ever loved you?"
"Probably not," Max said and it was the truth. "Rio probably whispered all those sweet lies. I should have known he wouldn't mean it. It was obvious. I should have believed the rumours and not gone ahead with it. But I did. And it hurt so much."
"He claims he did."
"What?" he whispered. He looked over at him, he was a little feverish and sweaty.
"Would you choose him or me?" he mumbled. Alec looked at him, Max swore he had tears in his eyes. "Because he said if given the chance, you would run back to him. That you'd leave."
Where had Alec even seen Rio?
"Alec, I've been given the chance. You know that and I didn't go back. Okay, I like it here. With you. And Ani, Alice, Amber, Oliver, Matt and even Damian."
"But Rio said you would. No hesitation. And I wanted to say you wouldn't, but to be sure, I wouldn't even believe myself. So would you choose him or me?"
Max blinked a couple of times and sighed. "You, you i***t. Even if I had to choose between you two, I would choose you. I'd always choose you."
He smiled a little before he shut his eyes and drifted off to sleep again.
Max closed his eyes, he knew he wouldn't be able to sleep, he had just woken up but he didn't mind as he made himself comfortable and, believe it or not, Max did drift off here and there.
Max held his hand a lot, Alec wanted to hold it, to make sure he was okay. And it wasn’t like Max had minded either. He liked holding his hand.
Max was awake now, drawing on his old iPad, leaning against the back of the bed, and Alec was clinging to his waist, mumbling in his sleep.
"What are you drawing?" he asked gently. He must have woken up.
"You," Max replied. He showed him the sketch he had done of him sleeping. Max grinned as he looked at me. Oh, he looked so ill. He looked so pale and tired but he was still Alec.
He was close, and his lips were close.
Max looked down at them and then at him. He leaned in and Alec saw him lean in. Max smiled to himself, he’d finally have his first kiss with him.
"Max! You drew Alec!" Max jumped five feet in the air, gasping a little.
"Yeah, I did!" Max said as he regained his composure. Alec glared at Ani and Max laughed a little. Max looked up at Alec and he looked down.
Max thought he would kiss him there.
"Can you draw us too?!" Amber yelled as she jumped up and down on the spot.
"Sure, I can draw you all."
She handed Max one of his sketchbooks and his watercolour paints and acrylics because he wanted to add some colour, and for the remainder of the day, they posed and he went one by one and drew them all.
He even drew smaller things around their picture, of things he associated with them, as well as, taking some of their own recommendations. While he would draw one person, the rest would talk and they actually included Max, but they had to whisper because Alec was still sleeping beside Max. They'd wake him up every now and then to give him water and Damian said he'd have to eat no matter how much he refused, so Ani made him soup.
Amber had well Amber, she had a full moon with one smaller half-moon back to back on each side of the full moon. Max drew other crystal shards and she even recommended some for him to draw. He drew a black cat with blue eyes, a skull with flowers coming out of its eyes. She wanted some sort of astronomy there, so he drew some planets and an eye with its iris being a galaxy and the pupil being a black hole. Her colour palette was interesting, different shades of black and purple were the main colours. Max thought that the watercolour would look really pretty with her theme and he was right. Her infinity sign was made up of crystals of amethyst, rose quartz, obsidian and citrine.
Ani had more of a lighter pallet, so Max had used acrylics. She had sunflowers, some Polaroids that had the sky, one had a sunset, another had sunrise, one had the sky at night with stars and the moon, and the final Polaroid had the aurora borealis. She had more of a flowery theme, she had roses scattered along with lavender. She wanted a quote too, 'draw a monster. Why is it a monster?' Well, that didn't go with the vibe of it, so Max wrote it in cursive and it fit perfectly. Her infinity sign was made up of flowers he had used, lotus, iris, hyacinths as well as some ixora, all of which he used some good old references for.
Max gave Alice an Alice in Wonderland theme. He knew it was her favourite book, so he stuck with a white, red and gold theme and decided to use acrylics. He drew some hats for the hatter, Cheshire's eyes, a crown for the red queen, she wanted a knife, so he drew a fancy knife on the side, a stopwatch, and he made a little keyhole that had a little illusion inside it. Her infinity sign was made up of playing cards because he thought they fit nicely with the theme.
Oliver's was probably the hardest. Max ended up giving him more of a vintage look, so I stained his paper with coffee. He had also used acrylics for his. He liked writing, so Max drew a typewriter. He was always drinking coffee, so he drew a nice cup of coffee with steam coming out of it. He scattered some stacked piles of books, as well as some small statues of some of his favourite Greek gods: Hades, Ares, Apollo, Dionysus, Athena and Aphrodite. Max had to use reference photos because he had no idea how they looked. His infinity sign was made using his favourite quote 'you will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit. Max asked him to change it because s**t that was long, but he was adamant and wanted it. So he had to double line his sign and he had to plan it out because he wasn't about to f**k this up. Max found the right size and handwriting style and in the end, it looked amazing.
Matt was a sporty person, he'd been a jock in high school. Max wasn't very surprised by this, but when Oliver said his quote, he instantly knew it was from the picture of Dorian's grey and then when everyone looked at him, he shrugged and said he liked reading too. Amber made fun of him and called him a nerd. So for him, at first he wanted to draw all things blended in, but then Max thought it would be cool if he split them. So he drew a light line down the middle and the left side had sporty things. He drew some sports balls, a basketball, a football, a tennis ball, a helmet and some gear. Then, on the other side, he gave it a more bookish-type vibe, with piled-up books. At the very top, he drew a single bookshelf and filled it with books. He also liked butterflies, so Max sketched some butterflies on the book side as he felt like their vibe matched more. He had left the bottom of it empty and drew a snake. It covered the entire bottom. At first, I wasn't sure what medium to use, acrylics or water paint, so he decided to use acrylics and it turned out nice. His infinity sign had also been split, one side being two hockey rackets and the other side being the spines of books.
Remember when Max said Oliver's had been the hardest? He lied. It was Alec's.
He was still sleeping beside him, so Max just drew him sleeping, but the pictures around it, he struggled with a lot. He drew some bruised knuckles holding a cigarette because that was the first impression he had gotten from him, it was also their first meeting, well, technically. He drew monster cans because he was always drinking them. He drew some chains hanging from the top and dangling to the side. He liked Chase Atlantic, so I just wrote some lyrics from there. I knew one of his favourite songs was 'heaven and back' so I just wrote 'all in one night, she just went to heaven and back' in block writing. He would have to use a white pen at the end. Max drew a skeleton, giving the middle finger as well as c******s because he liked being high, although Max had never seen him high. His theme has been dark purple, black and silver and so he used watercolours. So, he used chains to create his infinity signs.
Max drew Damian one too.
He used an image Matt had of him as a reference. Damian had a lot of tattoos, the most noticeable being his throat tattoo. It was of Medusa, her eyes white and the snakes of her hair all-dancing, her mouth had a snake's tail. Another noticeable one was a snake. Its head was above his right pec while its tail was above his left pec, it looked like it was wrapped around his neck and back. So, using that, he drew snakes and some skulls. Matt said he liked hydrangeas too, so he scattered some of those in a dark shade of red. The overall theme was black and green, and he had used acrylic. He liked how the hydrangea stood out against the green. His infinity sign was a snake.
Before I handed it to them or even painted them, I scanned the outlines so I had a digital copy of them all. He was proud of what he had drawn and he wanted to keep it. He would most likely digitalise them later. And if they wanted anything to change, he could do that too.
"It's beautiful," Ani whispered as she eyed her drawing. "I'm beautiful. This is going in my phone case." Max watched her fold the drawing up in a way that had the entire drawing on display and then she placed it in her clear case.
Matt looked at his. He looked up at Max, who raised an eyebrow. "Why is there a snake on mine?"
"Harry Potter," Max lied.
Then she went around and did the same for everyone else and by the end of the day, they all had a picture of themselves in their phone case that Max had drawn for them. Ani had folded Damian's and gave it to Matt to give to him. Matt looked at Damian's paper and then he glared at Max.
Matt hadn't spoken about what had happened when Damian took him home, so no one had asked.