Max was only afraid of two things.
He frightened his own poor soul before falling asleep every night as his ears spasmed and twitched at each faint noise he heard outside his mediocre home. His heart would lurch as cold sweat simultaneously began to trickle down his back and his eyes would shift in the darkness, hand clenched besides his thighs, ready to experience the blow. They never came for him or the sleeping flower besides him. No matter the vows, he’d use her as a shield if put in such a dire position, however after weeks of meticulously thinking this seemingly flawless plan, he realized it would deem to be useless as she was too slender. His broad shoulders would be an easy target. Max listened for the drones and the whistling of the bombs heading nose first onto the roof of his home.
They never came but Max knew they’d return for him. He had committed too many sins. In that colossal moment of terror, he was indubitably religious.
The second thing he feared was ironically the one he once cherished. The painted lady besides him who he would use as a human shield. It was romantic anyways. Wasn’t it? Wasn’t a man fearing his wife romantic?
It wasn’t her pretty face that frightened him or her intentions when a smirk spread across her rosy lips. He’d effectively learned to ready himself for any mischief to follow when her aura suddenly turned flirty. He wasn’t afraid of her features, but he was afraid of what he felt for her. There was a strange type of love and perhaps an overbearing amount of obsession, yet the infatuation lasted longer than he’d expected. He prepared himself for a total of 12 months, however they were now steady inching towards the four year mark with an ornate diamond on her ring finger that blinded him horribly when he tried to sleep, as the moon positioned herself every night to cast a reflection of light over his guilt.
Trepidation crept through his body each night and while he had nobody to confide in -- he couldn’t speak clearly with her -- he was lucky when the peculiar company he was granted with: death, exhilaration, and his feeble heart.
Max met Jordan through a friend and while said friend has deceased, anguish at him for introducing Jordan to him remained, all black and putrid. A wave of hot guilt coursed through his body as he glanced over at the sleeping girl, carefully drawing her closer with a soft movement of his arm. As a silent apology to her unconscious body, he pressed a single kiss to her nose and let her hassle with sleep briefly before resting her head between his jaw and neck. Her breath was hot and inviting. Max relaxed and let his wander once more.
1918. Jordan wasn't an ounce less beautiful than in 1922 in their bedroom with her hair sticking to her mouth, small whines escaping her lips when he pressed another kiss to her skin, this time more feverishly. While these small distractions helped him fall into a deep slumber easier, they had been reduced to nothing more than implications that fueled his insomnia and utter sadness.
He met her when he arrived in America, the second or third night. His oldest friend (the one who was luckily dead, which Max couldn't be more happy about) had graciously allowed him to move in with him. His friend was called Leonardo but Max tried not to remember his name, because trailing behind his identification would be the bloody face and disfigured body embedded in his brain as he was set into his final resting place. That's who Leo was. A dead body. A dead body and a horrid friend.
Max arrived when the leaves had begun to turn wonderful pigment of orange and maroon to continue his dream of publishing. He wrote like he drank water, apparently not well enough to gain attention, yet he wrote. Jordan still said that she admired his determination. He never let her read his work. She was too narrow-minded and simple. They met when he was sinking in a drink and managed to kiss her red mouth urgently when dropping her off home.
He smiled when he thought about that kiss. He was heavily intoxicated and sluggish that night, and for a moment, he was in love.
Since that moment, that damn moment that he regretted terribly as he law here with his angel in his arms, utterly disinterested and out of love, the duo became famously known as MaxandJordan, instead of Max and Jordan. In their earlier days of infatuation, Max was quite pleased with the joining of their names as an immature thrill ran up his spine whenever that dead friend teased them, yet within two months, he vomited whenever his ears picked up on the label.
Jordan shifted in his arms. He often referred to as a kitten. She rubbed her nose gingerly against his collarbone, a breathy sigh falling from her lips to signal her awakened state. Her hand, small and precious, touched his chest as her sleepy eyes blinked open. Max remembered counting her lashes. His mouth nearly watered at the sight.
“Your heart is racing,” she murmured groggily with a confused edge to her voice. “Like a drum. Woke me right up.”
“Sorry,” Max whispered as a plane’s buzz filled the air. He tensed and sat up. The sheets were clenched between his fingers again and he desperately wished it were a girl he loved.
“What's the matter?”
There were a million thoughts racing through his head, some spiteful while others romantic. His mouth fell open and it drew closer to the girl’s as if to kiss her but the muscles writhed with fear and secrets he held against her for her own sake. His eyes were scary — wide and clear as if he’d seen death.
The plane drew closer. His heart sped up. His palms leaked. He wasn't a man anymore. He was something less than a mouse or an ant, or perhaps he’d been reduced to dust. He was nothing.
Jordan was still staring at him with a curious expression. She looked incredibly majestic.
“Please,” Max gasped for air. “Hold me.”