The main…okay, only reason I went to see Caleb was to, embarrassingly, ask what to expect when it came to…y’know. And oh my God, some of the things he said I never want to hear again. I don’t even want to repeat them. Either way, once he’d told me everything I “just had to know” I got the fuck out of there. Okay, maybe I wasn’t quite ready…
I made my way back to our room and went to open the door but… I didn’t lock it when I left, did I? I fumbled around in my pockets for the key but couldn’t find it anywhere. Weird. I headed down to the front desk to see if they had a spare key and to see if Maxxie had gone anywhere. The woman on the desk gave me the spare and gave me a look that said she’d kill us if we’d lost the other one. When I opened the door I was met with the image of Maxxie curled up, tugging at his hair and on the verge of having a panic attack.
Nothing. I don’t think he even noticed I was there.
I knelt down in front of him. "Maxxie, breathe"
He took a deep breath. It’s a start…
"Just keep breathing, okay? Nice and slow"
He nodded slightly and I moved to sit with him. He leant on me a little and I started breathing with him in the hopes it’d help control his breathing. "Breathe in... and out"
He started breathing too fast again.
"C'mon, Maxxie, breathe with me"
I could tell he was forcing it but he managed to start breathing in time with me.
"That's it. In... out..."
Maxxie nodded and started to calm down as I rubbed his back. He sort of clung to me and I smiled, still rubbing his back when he stayed silent.
He coughed awkwardly after a while. "Sorry"
"Ssh, it's okay"
He did shush. I didn’t mean it literally, dude. I stopped rubbing his back when his breathing evened out and he glanced up at me. I smiled a little, remembering snippets of what Caleb had said.
"You okay?" he asked.
"Says the one who almost had a panic attack"
I put an arm round me and he hugged me. He was very huggy lately...
"You okay now?"
He nodded and I kissed his forehead. He was silent and I found myself frowning slightly. He pecked me on the lips as if it’d somehow stop me frowning. "Are you sure you're okay?"
I kept frowning but didn’t push it. If he didn’t want to tell me what was bugging him it was fine with me…
"You're gonna get premature frown lines if you keep that up" he said, smiling slightly.
I laughed a little at that. "I won't. I'm not expressive enough for that"
"Could have fooled me"
I shrugged. "Mom's opinion, not mine"
He smiled. "You were saving it all up for me, clearly"
"It'll wear out soon enough"
"You never know"
I smiled a little. "Don't get your hopes up"
"I won't, I promise"
I sighed contentedly and said mainly to myself "Something tells me dinner's off"
"Oh, no, we can still go out, if you want"
"It's up to you" I shrugged.
He gave me a small smile and said absently "I was gonna take you to a little Italian place just outside of town and then go back to mine"
"We can still do that; I don't mind. But we'd have to be back here to say goodbye to Alex, I guess. He's going tomorrow, right?"
"As far as I know..."
"Mmm" he rested his head on my shoulder.
"What's Caleb gonna do, eh? I'm gonna have a sulky kid hanging off me for days" I laughed a little.
He laughed slightly too. "I'm sure you'll manage"
"Wave goodbye to any contact with me"
He pouted and I laughed a little.
He smiled. "Maybe he should go to Mexico with Lex. Then they wouldn't have to be apart"
"I'm sure his mom'd love that"
"We should all go. Not that I can speak Spanish..."
I smiled and he shrugged.
"Just an idea”
I pecked him on the lips. "I never said no"
"No, I know"
I smiled again and he looked kind of doubtful.
"What?" I asked after a while.
He gave me a vaguely questioning look but then went back to resting his head on my shoulder.
"Why don't Caleb and Alex come to dinner with us? You wouldn't have to worry so much about getting back in time that way"
He bit his lip. "But what about after?"
I frowned. "Oh yeah, I didn't think about that..."
"It's your date" he smiled, "s'up to you"
I cuddled up to him. "I don't mind coming back here if it's easier"
He kissed me and I kissed back, trying not to smile as he hummed quietly. I gave in, though, and pressed my forehead against his with a smile. He smiled back and I felt something weird in my stomach. Did he start having a panic attack over tonight?