He froze in shock for a second before hugging me tighter. “Don’t say stuff like that” he sounded like he was trying not to get upset.
“It’s true, though”
“It’s not” his voice turned into a whisper “I love you, Hadley”
“I love you too but…” I trailed off, not really wanting to say the rest.
“But maybe you should go back with Cayden…”
“Why?” he asked, upset.
“Because he knows how to take care of himself. And he doesn’t do stupid… okay, he does stupid things but he knows how to deal with them. He’s got a job and he can cook and…” he’s not just some dumb kid. “And you loved him first”
He loosened his hug. “Is this a hint or something? What am I doing wrong?”
Why would this be his fault? “You’re not doing anything wrong”
“Well why else would you be saying all this? I can put out for you more if that’s what you want. I can be less clingy…” he bit his lip, trying not to cry.
I hugged him. “I don’t care about the sex. And being clingy doesn’t bother me. I just… Six years is a big gap”
He sniffled. Like I don’t feel bad enough. “People make bigger age gaps than this work…”
“I’m still a kid, Maxxie. You need someone your age”
He shook his head and I kept hugging him. He sniffled and I had to fight back my own tears.
“I know Cayden’s still got the hots for you so it’s not all bad”
“It’s not Cayden I want, or I wouldn’t have asked you out”
“If he never slept with John things wouldn’t be any different”
You’d still be with Cayden and I’d still be getting bugged by Caleb.
“You don’t know that”
“Give me one good reason why you would’ve left him”
Preferably one that doesn’t make me sound like a boyfriend stealing whore.
“I met you. I wasn’t exactly under the impression that me and Cay were going to last”
I looked down at the floor. “Everyone deserves a second chance”
He let go of me. I instantly felt cold. “Look, if you don’t want me anymore, just say it, but I don’t want Cay anymore. I love him as a good friend and I feel bad about that, knowing he still feels like that about me but I don’t want him as anything more than that”
I bit my lip. “I still want you, Maxxie”
“Then why’re you saying you’re too young for me suddenly? Or that I should be with Cay?”
“You don’t see it when you look at him?”
“That he still likes me? Of course I do. I’d have to be blind not to”
He gave me a questioning look. He seriously hadn’t noticed?
“His eyes. They’re dead. He’s given up”
“He just… hates being in hospital. He’ll be fine when he gets out” I could tell from the look on his face he knew it wasn’t the truth.
“You can convince yourself that all you want. I’m gonna help my brother. And if us not being together helps then I’m willing to give it up” I started off with a blank expression and was almost crying by the end.
“So you’d rather I hurt you and lied to him?”
“I thought maybe you’d remember what made you fall for him in the first place”
He chewed his lip. “I want to help but I don’t think lying to him is going to make anything better”
“And us being together is that helping?”
He shook his head, nearly crying. I, on the other hand, had given up fighting back my tears.
“I love you, Maxxie”
“I love you too” he said, hugging me again.
“I’m so sorry”
Maxxie started crying and I instantly regretted the whole thing. I went to kiss him goodbye but pulled back. You don’t kiss someone goodbye when you’ve… when you’ve broken up with them. Maxxie looked down, trying not to cry harder than he already was. Oh fuck it, you only live once. I leant forward and kissed him. Just a gentle, fleeting touch but he kissed back almost desperately. I pulled away eventually, willing myself not to cry harder. Maxxie’s face twisted into that adorable sad face of his and even with puffy eyes, he still looked adorable.
“I… I guess I better go call Dad…” I said, trying to stop crying.
Maxxie didn’t say anything. Nor did he bother trying to stop crying. I glanced at him, vaguely wondering if this was what heartbreak felt like, before shuffling off to the bedroom to pack my stuff. By the time I was done, Maxxie was curled up on the corner of the couch, staring blankly at nothing in particular. Don’t go like that, Maxxie. Not when there’s no one around to look out for you… He sniffled and I felt the tears start to well up again.
“I… We… I mean…” I sighed, “Can I use your phone?”
He nodded and I shuffled off to call Dad. Okay, now where exactly do I wait for him? As much as I want to stay here with Maxxie, I can’t risk doing something stupid…
“I… I guess I’ll see you around” Wow, Hadley, that’s the best you can come up with?
He glanced up. “I lo- yeah”
I hesitated for a second before turning and leaving. Tears were dripping down my cheeks by the time I reached the elevator. And by the time I reached the sidewalk? I pretty much collapsed and curled up into a ball, crying. Which was exactly how I stayed til Dad showed up.