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Suddenly, as I walked down the street, I felt eyes boring into my back. I turned to look and I saw him - a figure so elegant he couldn’t be real. His eyes were a stunning green, his hair as black as night, and his dark attire that made him blend so well into the darkness. I felt compelled to talk to him and to touch his flawless face and then, as though he could read my thoughts, he stepped out from the dark shadows, and into the light of the street lamp above. It created frightful shadows on his face, giving him an even darker look.
“Hello Halle.” He had spoken, the god had spoken and he knew my name.
“Huh…Hello.” It was all I could muster. Curse my mother for giving me her sense of shyness. He smiled a smile that in any other situation would make me faint.
With a hint of sadness in his voice he said, “Don’t you remember me?”
“No. I’m sorry but I don’t,” I said slightly confused.
He stepped closer “Here let me jog your memory. In fifth grade I broke your arm when I pushed you off the top of the jungle gym.” I remembered that I was talking to my friend on the top of the jungle gym when all of a sudden that same friend pushed me off. That was the last time I ever saw him; the next day he disappeared.
Realization hit me. “Max!”
“Yes, hello Halle. It’s been awhile,” he said with a smile so dazzling I was at a loss for words.
“But you were kidnapped. We searched for you for months. Your mom and I still do sometimes.” He seemed surprised that we still hold on after all of these years.
“I’m sorry to have caused so much trouble,” he said with one of those dopey grins I once knew.
“Wait! What happened to you? You were kidnapped twelve years ago. Where were you? Please tell me. I need to know!” I screamed at him.
Max’s face went deadly pale. “You would never believe me.”
“Max please,” I said, using the puppy eyes I perfected at the age of six.
“You just…” He looked at me. It was obvious he was scared of what I would think of what he was about to say. “Fine, Halle. When I was kidnapped I was taken to a school but not a normal school. It was a school where you are taught to kill…demons.” I freaked at the idea of my friend going psycho and began to run. I turned and saw Max looking so sad, so fragile.
Then I felt the pain. Not the normal ouch pain. No, this was real pain like what is killing me pain. I heard a snicker that within seconds became a monstrous laugh. Then everything went black but I could still hear that laugh and Max screaming some words I have chosen to forget.
When I awoke I instantly knew I was being carried. I opened my eyes to see Max with his black hair whipping across his face. I also saw tears.
“Halle, I don’t know how you survived but I’m glad you did,” he said his voice groggy from crying.
“What was that?!” I screamed at him, rage filling me.
He chuckled darkly. “A demon that’s on its way back to h*** right now.”
“I should believe that why,” I said thinking he was making fun of me.
“Look at your arm,” he said. Foolishly I looked at my arm only to discover that the top layer of skin had been practically ripped to shreds. “Now does any normal animal do that,” he questioned.
“No,” I admitted.
“Halle, I know this is a lot to take in but please, I need your help. A few weeks ago the school I was taken to when I disappeared was burnt down and some very dangerous captives A.K.A Demons have escaped. A well trusted informant told me that some might be here. Believe me, I tried not to come but the head council overrules my wishes.”
“Max, I don’t care. I’m so glad you’re back and I think I might be able to help you.” About half an hour later Max and I were standing outside the most popular club in town and despite the line we got in thanks to a cheesy hair flip and some fluttering of the eyelashes.(Note to self: next time I see mom thank her for her gorgeous dirty blond hair and stunning blue eyes I inherited.)
Once we were in, I grabbed two seats at the main counter and ordered Max and me a couple of drinks and explained why we were there.
“A bar means there will be drunks who are easy targets.” Max nodded his head in agreement but was silent. A few minutes later I hear some giggling from behind us and automatically I recognized what type it was.
“Max, look in the direction I’m nodding my head to. Those girls are practically drooling over you. You should go talk to them.”
“Why would I do that?” he asked.
“So you can hook up with one of them.”
“I’m already taken though.” My heart dropped. He had a girlfriend. I could deal with that I mean he probably didn’t like me anyhow. Then Max leaned forward and kissed me so romantically I thought it was a joke, one cruel joke, so I pulled away and looked at his eyes and realized he meant it. I heard one of the gigglers sigh and couldn’t help but think gigglers zip, me one.
Suddenly Max stood up and threw way too much money on the counter and took off running. I quickly followed suit and found Max outside creeping in the shadows along the back wall. When he saw me he put his finger to his lips and urged me over. When I got to him he pointed ahead to a body with a hideous demon on top of it feasting on the body’s flesh. From the corner of my eye I saw a flash of silver and heard the shriek of the demon as its head flew off with all of the black blood the demon’s body contained gushing everywhere. Gross. It didn’t seem to bother Max as he walked past the demon’s body to the human body. I looked at its mangled limbs hoping that the person was still alive but as Max looked at me he just shook his head. We were too late.
“Need anywhere to sleep…” I said in the car attempting to break the silence. ”I’ve got an extra bed.”
Max looked at me with a dopey grin. ”Sure, but just to warn you, I snore”
“Don’t worry. Both of our doors will be shut so it won’t bother me one bit.”
When we got back to the house we both went to bed. Later that night though, I heard my bedroom door open and I, of course being as clumsy as I am, fell out of bed but I didn’t hit the floor because Max caught me just before I hit the ground.
“Sorry didn’t mean to wake you. I just couldn’t sleep without making sure you were going to be alive tomorrow,” Max said as he placed me back onto the bed. I went over the situation in my head - be mean to Max and kick him out of my room or let him sleep in my bed with me. I choose the obvious answer.
“Fine, jump in,” I said patting the space next to me. A short time later Max was asleep and I had found the comfiest pillow ever… his chest with his arms wrapped around my small figure.
I awoke to find my pale white curtains opened to let the sun light in and someone stroking my hair. I turned my head to find the source of the stroking only to find out it was the ever so handsome Max looking at me love filling his eyes.
“You’re so beautiful Halle. I love you.” What the h*** was I supposed to say to that? After a few minutes of me freaking out Max finally said ‘I’m sorry I didn’t mean to…’
“I love you too, Max.” He smiled and kissed my hair and offered to make some breakfast.
“You making breakfast; this will be funny.” I scoffed at him but he was already in the kitchen grabbing some frozen waffles out of the fridge. That boy was fast.
“Well I didn’t mean actually making it,” Max said smiling slyly.
“Ha-ha very funny. Think fast,” I yelled as I threw a jug of milk at his face. He caught it with his cat-like reflexes and walked over and planted a kiss on my cheek.
“You better wear some heavy clothes; it’s supposed to snow later and we’re going to be out all day,” Max said as he walked over to the toaster.
“Fine Mister know-it-all but can you also tell me what day it is?”
“Yes it is, but it’s also my birthday,” I replied.
“Oh that. Well I went out earlier this morning and got you something,” He said pulling out a small box out of his back jean pocket. He opened it to reveal a necklace composed of a silver chain with a single Sapphire, my birth stone, dangling off of it. The necklace was gorgeous.
“Max, you shouldn’t have,” I said awe stuck.
“Well, I figured it would make up for all of your others I missed,” Max said as he walked over behind me and pushed up my hair using his elbow and he put the necklace on me. The chain felt cool on my neck; it went so well with my pale skin.
An hour later we were driving around town looking for a place a demon would call home. A “home” for a demon would be a dark cool place like a cave; it would have to be near but hidden from people. After about 5 hours of looking, we gave up and decided to go to a new deli that had just opened up.
After we had ordered, I noticed a group of girls glaring at me. I, in turn, gave them a sweet, innocent smile (another point for me). I turned back to Max and knew that he had seen the previous moment because he was laughing and shaking his head, letting his black bangs fall into those eyes. Suddenly, he stopped and jumped out of his chair. Thank god we had paid the right amount this time. He was a way faster runner than me, so he got there before me. When I caught up to him he had already done the deed and was walking back.
“OK, I have to know. How can you tell when a demon is dead?” I asked.
“I just do and back at school I was the only one able to.”
“Oh,” I said, feeling slightly ashamed.
He apparently had noticed the change in my tone because he put his arm around my shoulder. Later on the road back home the car quickly swerved to the left as we heard the crunch of metal on the hood and a raspy voice said “Long time no see, Max. It feels so good to be out of the dungeons and into the fresh air.”
I looked at Max. His eyes were filled with fear. I reached out and touched his cheek but he yanked away and braked the car to a stop. He jumped out only to be tackled by a hideous being. The creature began scratching Max with its long gruesome yellow claws. That made me mad – very mad. No one hurts Max, not even me. I whipped out the sword Max had forced me to bring, jumped out of the car, and charged at that demon like a little kid running to the ice-cream truck. When I was within range, I pulled the sword back and stabbed the demon in the square of the neck. It instantly died.
Max fell to his knees. I ran over and kissed him. When we pulled away Max said, “You shouldn’t have done that. You could have been killed.”
“And you would be dead if I hadn’t,” I replied as I took off my jacket and began ripping large strips out of it to bandage Max. When I started to apply the rubbing alcohol I found in the safety kit I always keep in my car, Max started to tense up in pain and he was even more tense by ten times when I was done.
“Are you sure you’re fine? You look like you are in a lot of pain?” I asked.
“Of course I am. It’s just a little scratch here and there,” he replied.
“Oh, really?” I said in a sly tone and pushed him on the biggest “scratch” he had received.
“Ouch! Fine, it hurts,” he said, glaring at me. A wind gusted past and I shivered. Max put his leather jacket around my bare shoulders for I had foolishly worn a sleeveless shirt today. The jacket was so warm and smelled like Max’s cologne.
“Why did you kiss me last night at the club?”
“…Because I love you and always have and when they took me away in 5th grade, I didn’t even think about my family. I thought about never seeing you again and that’s when I knew I loved you.”
“Oh,” I said slightly shocked by what he had said.
He flashed me a dazzling smile and got up to walk but kept on stumbling with every step he took. I quickly rushed to him and made him use me as a support to get to the car. Once we were both inside, I gunned the engine and got back on the busy highway heading back to town. Max was quiet the whole way back, which gave me a chance to go over what had happened back there. It was obvious that Max was being hunted meaning that I probably was too so Max and I should not split up; it could be deadly.
After stumbling up the stairs to the apartment and helping Max into his bed so he could sleep. I went to the closet and found a long, thin box and opened it. Inside was my rapier, I took them out the fencing sword was light and was blunt cause I had not used it for a few years. I swung the rapier and began to practice.
After an hour a practicing I heard a squeak in the floor boards. I whirled around only to find Max standing in the arch way demanding food. I quickly made him a grilled cheese with the leftovers I had in the fridge.
Max and I were curled up on the couch watching a late night talk show even though I couldn’t stand them Max had given me puppy eyes so of course I had to give in. My phone burst out to a sound that made me flinch it was “Gives You H***” the ring tone I had given to my ex Drew upon our break up.
“Hello Drew,” I said in an angered tone when I answered it.
“Halle I’m so sorry. What I did to you was wrong. I never meant to cheat on you. Please give me another chance?” Drew pleaded.
Max had apparently heard what Drew was saying and took the phone from my hand. “Hello, Drew is it. I’m sorry but Halle is already taken,” He said and then flipped the phone shut.
I giggled in a girlish way and curled closer into Max’s chest. I woke up still curled up with Max so I quickly and silently got off of the couch to make some of my “famous” pancakes with a chocolate chip filling. When Max woke up he automatically smelled the pancakes and followed the scent to the kitchen. He laughed at the strawberry eyes and whip cream smiles.
“Very interesting Halle. I hope they taste as good as they look,”
‘Well of course they do I made them,” I said and passed him a plate.
“Okay whatever you say,” He replied sweetly and leaned in and kissed me on the forehead. I of course blushed. Fork ready, Max dived in to the pile of pancakes that lay in front of him. He quickly devoured them before I was even done with my first pancake.
“More pancakes for the poor,” Max said jokingly passing me the empty plate that I piled more pancakes onto.
“So what are we doing today?” I asked a little while later.
He looked down at his shredded jeans and shirt. “Well I think I could use some new cloths.”
“Yeah I think you do too. I knew just the place,” A little while later we were in the cloths section in the largest department store in town. Since the cloths were color coordinated Max went straight to the black section and in no time he had picked out a pair of black skinny jeans, a black t-shirt that had the Greenday logo on it, and a pair of Lime green Converse.
When we got home Max went to his room and came out wearing his new cloths and a black cross necklace with weird engravings on it.
“That’s so cool. Where’d you get it?” I asked.
“Like every other boy in school I was given this on my first day. I‘m supposed to keep it on at all times because as legend says the necklace of the students will protect them in their darkest hour. On another note you know what I could really go for right now… a large ice cream from Freddy’s Diner.”
“Oh my gosh. Max how do you remember all of this stuff?” I replied
“Halle in school all I could remember was when I was a normal kid and my times with you. The time when I didn’t have to worry about the ones I love every moment of every hour and I was sure the monster under my bed wasn’t real.”
“Oh. Okay let’s go,” I said stepping closer to him as though I could protect from this world he was forced into.
At Freddy’s I got a large chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream cone and Max got a large cake batter. I remembered a question I wanted to ask.
“Hey Max. I think we should leave town to confuse the demons. Do you think it’s a good idea?”
“Good idea… how about a great idea. How long will it take you to pack?’ He said
“Um I think about an hour,” I replied.
A few hours later we had left town and had been on the highway for some while. It was getting dark, Max and I were both exhausted. “Look on the road map for a place to crash or the closest town?” I asked Max.
He opened the road map and studied it. “We are about ten miles away form a town called Ored.”
“Oh I have a friend who lives in Ored who would let us crash at her house,” I replied.
A few minutes later Ored and after a few left and right turns we pulled up to a bright blue house with neon green shutters. I walked up to the dark ruby red front door and rung the door. A few second later it opened and a tall brunette with pink stripes in her hair was standing in the door way.
“Halle it’s been a while,” Ruby said rubbing her eyes it looked as though we had woken her.
“Hello Ruby. My friend and I need a place to crash for the night,” I said.
A few awkward moments of silence later a grin spread across Ruby’s face. “Come on in,” She said opening the door wide.
I woke up to the smell to the smell of bacon wafting down the basement stairwell. I got off the couch I had spent the night on and walked up stairs to find Ruby making breakfast and Max sitting at the counter looking off into the distance.
I sat down and waved my hand in front of Max’s face. “Hello. Anyone there?”
Max shook his head and laughed. “Sorry blanked out there for a second there.”
“We could tell,” Ruby and I said in unison.
“What’s for breakfast?” Max asked Ruby.
“Cereal and bacon, and don’t worry Halle your bacon is burnt to a crisp” Ruby replied.
“Thank you,” I said and dug in. After our filling breakfast Max and I said our good byes to Ruby and headed out.
Max and I drove in silence for a few hours. “Hey want to play the slug bug game?” Max asked breaking the silence.
“Sure,” I said puzzled that he would want to play such a childish game.
My thought was soon answered when Max punched me in the arm shouting “Blue slug bug!”
“Ouch that hurt Max.” I said looking at my arm waiting for it to turn black and blue any second.
“I am sorry but you were such and easy target,” Max said.
“I’m driver though. I am supposed to pay attention to the road not the passing cars,” I pointed out
“Well maybe you should”
“No. I shouldn’t unless you want to get in a wreck.”
“Well I guess I don’t want to die so your off the hook… for now,” Max said in a sly tone.
“Max you not going to leave are you?” I asked.
Max looked scared to say his answer. “Halle I wouldn’t leave you unless it got really bad,” I glared at him pulled over and slammed on the breaks, and jumped out off the car. Max jumped out after me and reached out for my arm but I jerked away as if his very touch would kill me. “Halle wait.”
I turned around and crossed my arms over my chest. “Wait for what you to leave me”
“I only said that because if you were killed I don’t know what I would do,” He said in a small fragile tone.
‘Well I’m not dead yet and you don’t know if I would die or not. Can’t you just live with that?”
“I guess…” Max started to say. Suddenly out of no where a demon landed in the space that separated Max and I and began charging at me. When it was within a foot of me it stopped in mid jump and a silver blade covered in the demons blood came out of its head. Max pulled the blade out letting the demon’s body fall to the ground. A circle of blood began to pulse out of the body and onto the grass creating a sickening scene.
“I knew we were being trailed, I was just waiting for the demon to show its self,” Max said looking at me.
“Well you could have told or given me some form of protection…,” I screamed at him then I fell to my knees crying. Max walked over and held me close to him” Max you can’t leave me, not when we are in this deep.”
“Don’t worry Halle I will never leave you again,” Max said still holding my weak body. We sat there for an hour like that with me crying and Max well, being Max.
I finally stood up and walked over to and opened passenger side door and jumped in slamming it behind me. No way was I driving I was still recovering from my breakdown. Max slid in to the drivers seat next to me looking calm, and perfect as always.
“Halle do you want to go out tonight?” Max asked.
“Sure but where do we go?”
“Well I was going through your mail and saw that you college is having a dance. Do you want to go?”
“Sure I guess but we are going to need some cloths,” I said looking at our cloths.
“Well we did pass an outlet mall a few miles back,” Max said agreeing with me.
“Okay let’s go,” I said turning around.
Some while later we were at the mall in a formal wear store. Max had already found his outfit. It was composed of a black dress pants, a white dress shirt, and a black suit like over shirt. It took me much longer to find mine but it was worth it in my opinion because I had found the perfect dress. The dress a strapless dark blue evening gown that flared out just under my knees and clung to my body making it look like I had curves. The dress went well with my hair which I pulled back into a loose bun but I let one strand that was slightly curled stay down. I put on the Sapphire necklace Max had given me and was delighted to see that the dress and necklace went perfectly together.
When we got to the dance Max got out of the car walked over to my side and helped my out.
I had to ask. ”Since when did you become a gentleman Max?”
“Why I always have been one,” He replied.
“Halle! Was up girl,” Said my friend Amber from some where behind me. I turned around to wave to her and her date Jace who was handsome but couldn’t possibly compare to Max, who I might add was being eyed by every girl there (another point for me).
“Hello Halle,” Said a voice which I hated it was Elle the meanest and prettiest girl in Kenyon (My College) and by the way she was looking at Max she wanted him.
“Who is you date,” Asked Drew who was Elle’s date. I should have known that the jerk would go with the girl he cheated on me with.
“Max,” I said answering Drew’s question.
“Oh that’s a cool name. We should dance later Max wouldn’t that be fun,” Oh no Elle was making her move.
“No thanks Elle. I came with Halle and I’m going to stay with her but thank you anyway,” Max replied. I couldn’t help but add another point for me so now it was four to nothing that was really sad for the other girls no not really.
“Hey Max. Why did you turn down Elle back there she is so pretty?” I asked.
“That she be but Halle she’s not the one I love.”
“Oh yeah forget about that,” I said almost kicking my self for being so dumb.
Once we were inside Max was being watched by every girl there like a star horse for a derby race. Max walked quickly to the center of the gym, where a number of couples were already dancing, and wrapped his arms around my waist so I put my arms around his neck and we began to dance.
After a couple of songs I was thirsty and asked Max for some juice and he walked away to get some. I began to walk of the dance floor when I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see Drew.
“Halle may I have this dance?” He asked.
“No you may not I don’t dance with cheaters,” I said smiling sweetly back him.
“Look, Halle, I never meant to hurt you just come on,” Drew said angrily back
“Drew, if you never meant to hurt me why are you still with her.”
“Halle, no guy has ever turned down Elle. I mean look at her” Drew said grabbing my arm.
“Ouch let go and Max just did,” I said wincing in pain.
“Well, your boy Max is psycho.”
“Speaking of the devil here he comes. Now will you kindly remove your hand from my arm,” Max had seen the whole scene and did not like it one bit. He walked right up to Drew and me and punched Drew in the face. Everyone near us including me flinched at the sound of Drew’s nose breaking.
“Halle, are you alright?” Max asked as he pushed me threw the crowd towards the exit.
“I never felt better. We better hurry. I think I see some of Drew’s goons behind us,” I said laughing.
When we got back to the hotel we had rented for the night we both collapsed laughing on one of the two beds in the peach colored room.
After a while, Max got up to change out of his clothes and into some laid back ones. When he was in the bathroom changing, I got out a pair of lime green shorts and a yellow tank top and put them on. When Max came out of the bathroom, I ran up to him and pretended to punch him in the nose while I clicked my tongue to imitate the sound of a nose breaking. This all caused another fit of laughter.
I sat down on the peach bed cover and fell back from exhaustion. Max laid down next to me, so I took the opportunity to put my head on his chest. I felt his heart beating beneath his shirt; it was very soothing. I soon became very tired and fell asleep.
I had a very interesting dream about Max. In the dream, he was an angel with wings the color of gold shooting out from his back, but he still looked like normal Max complete with his black attire. There was someone else behind Max. They were holding a sword above his neck as they stepped forward to kill him. A beam of light shined on their face and I saw the face – it was me! I woke up screaming my head off. Max automatically woke up at the sound of my screaming. I think he misunderstood what was happening because he put his arms over me protectively.
“Max, I’m OK. It was just a nightmare, “ I said, catching my breath.
“OK…..,” he said, removing his arms. “Was it about anything important?”
“No, not really. It just scared me at the moment, but I’m OK now.”
He shrugged, “Whatever you say,” and kissed me on the forehead. He then fell back asleep.
I stayed up until the dawn’s early light shimmered on the horizon outside the windows. Was the dream something that was going to happen? Or was it all of my fears put into one huge nightmare? I really hope it’s the second one. I don’t know if I could live with myself if I killed Max, or anyone for that matter.
Later that morning, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I put on a pair of sweats and a jacket and went for a jog to clear my mind. I was very refreshed by the time I got back. When I opened the room door, I was hit with the smell that could only be one thing.
“Hey, when you were out, I got room service to bring us some newly baked cinnamon rolls.”
“My favorite thing,” I said, running over to Max, and grabbing one of the sticky buns from the plate he had just set down on the bed. I bit into it savoring the sweetness of the sugar and the slight spiciness from the cinnamon. “Yum, these are amazing,” I said, licking icing from my lips. I grabbed another. By the time I was finished, I had eaten four of the yummy goodnesses. “Ugh, I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to eat again,” I said as I fell back on the bed.
“Me either,” said Max, laying down next to bed. I got up to take a shower. I went into the bathroom and turned on the hot water. The steam felt good. When I was done, I changed and stepped into the room only to find Max looking like a cat because he was curled up in a patch of sunlight, sound asleep.
“Come on, Max…..wake up. We should be leaving by the afternoon if we want to get to Iowa by nightfall.” I pushed him off the bed and onto the floor. He landed wide awake with one knee on the ground and the other slightly bent.
“Ha ha. Very funny. Time to pack up,” he said as he stood up, brushing off his pants which were, of course, as black as could be.