Face Maxxie’s parents or face Alex for some photos. Both sounded equally thrilling. Turns out we didn’t need to do either. Maxxie had had a brainwave over dinner; there should be pictures of him at his old school. Personally I didn’t think there was much hope but I went along with it anyway. At the very least I could find out what Max was like at school. Well, if any of his old teachers were still there anyway.
"How exactly are you intending on getting inside?" I asked, walking up to the school with Maxxie.
"By asking nicely?"
"That's what the shot-gun wielding maniacs say"
"I was gonna ask if I could take a few pictures for a project I'm working on or something. and, as I think you know, I haven't got a shot-gun."
"You might not have a shot-gun but you could have a knife. Or a handgun. Or a bomb. I've found the English have a habit of being paranoid and overly suspicious"
"Wanna do a strip search?" he asked, grinning deviously.
"I don't think the teachers'd be too happy about that"
"Well, then they'll have to just trust me when I say I'm only here to get a few old pictures and not murder a bunch of kids I don't know."
"And what's my role in all this?"
He shrugged. "Your my boyfriend and you're helping me look for pictures. Which is hardly a lie," he said, laughing.
"Alrighty then" I said, sounding exactly like Ace Venture. Well it had been my goal after all.
Once we got inside the school Maxxie strode up to the front desk, confident and almost a little cocky, and explained that we were doing a project that needed some old photos of him and could he please take some from the archive. He’d also informed me that the archive was most likely an old box in a storage room somewhere.
"Dude, they need to up security in this place" I muttered as we found where they were keeping the old photos.
"We don't have metal detectors and shit at school gates because we don't need it. It's harder to get hold of weapons here than in America."
"Cause America's 'the hood'" I laughed, throwing a gangsta pose.
He smiled. "Something like that." I don’t think he was really paying attention since he was looking through a pile of photos.
"So what class am I looking for? Or name? Anything in particular?"
"Umm. Max Fuller was the name on the register. No one called me Maxxie in school. I dunno what class, though. Depends what year you want them from."
"Max Fuller... Y'know, I think that's the first time I've ever heard your last name" I said casually and started looking through my own pile.
"Really?" he asked, glancing up.
"Yeah. I'm pretty sure, anyway. Good thing I never had to look you up in the phone book, huh?"
"There're probably a million Max Fullers in the world. It's not exactly the most original name." he laughed.
I put down the photos for a second to point at myself. "Smith. Need I say more?"
He grinned. "At least your first name isn't as common. There're plenty of people called Max. Oh my fucking god." Apparently Maxxie had found some photos of himself and didn’t like them since he tried to hide them. I don’t think so, English.
"My spidey senses are tingling" I said mystically, turning to Maxxie like he had the only clue to a murder or something, "Let me see"
"Maybe not. I forgot that I looked like shit when I was 11."
"Yes?" he said, an innocent smile splayed across his lips.
"Let me see"
"You know what"
With a groan he gave in. "Don't laugh."
I took the pictures from him and looked at them. Man, not laughing would be easier said than done.
"I said don't," he pulled a sad face.
"Technically I didn't" I said, sticking my tongue because, well, because I technically hadn’t laughed at them. It was a struggle but I managed not to.
But the sad look still stayed glued to Maxxie’s face and even if he was joking I didn’t like seeing him sad.
"Oh c'mon, you're gonna get to see me and my skunk hair. And the year I spent being too tall for my weight and looked like a fleshy twig"
He took the photo off me and inspected it. "And I wondered why I used to get bullied."
"At least you had Alex to stick up for you though, right?"
"Only about three years after that was taken."
"Ouch. English schools are harsh"
"They didn't even know I was gay that year. They just somehow knew I was different. But I did look like a complete twat."
"I do have to agree on that one" I said, flashing him a grin.
He flashed me that “we are not amused” face again and carried on looking for photos. I let out a laugh and went back to looking as well but in all honesty I wasn’t entirely sure who I was looking for. So far I’d seen one picture of Maxxie as a kid and it wasn’t much to go by for identifying younger versions of it.
"Aw, I like that one," he said, handing me a picture from a school play, "we used to have house competitions, one a year. It was drama the first year I was here. My house won," he grinned proudly.
"Awesome. Is that when you decided you wanted to be an actor?"
"No, I decided I wanted to act when I was in primary school. I always got decent roles in the end of year plays," he shrugged again.
"Nice. When I was in elementary I wanted to be a crocodile wrestler. I still do a little bit" I laughed.
Maxxie laughed back. "For some reason, I can just see you doing that."
"It's because I constantly make animal analogies most likely" I said flatly and went back to the photos, "I have no idea what I'm even looking for"
Maxxie smiled. "The dorky blonde kid, who else?" he laughed and found one of those individual school photos you get, "Oh man, these are so unflattering," he tutted, "probably doesn't help that I have a huge bruise on my face."
"I don't know, battle scars can be sexy" I said with a wink, trying to crane my neck so I could see.
"I've seen sexier." He said, showing me the photo.
"In all fairness I'm not sure I like the idea of a mini you turning me on" I laughed and he giggled in response.
"At least it's not a mini someone else. That would worry me."
Now it was my turn to show him the bitch-face. "Could we possibly move on from me not liking the sound of being a paedophile?"
"I suppose we could,"
"It'd be much appreciated"
He flicked through some more photos before finding another, "I'm older in that one. Is that one okay?" he laughed.
"I thought we moved on... Back home anything under 18 is jailbait so we'll work with that, thanks" I said with a slight laugh.
"Oh okay... Seventeen isn't good enough, then? I look like a tomato in that one," he handed me a photo from one of the school’s sports days.
I had to laugh at it, he did look like a tomato. "What are you even doing?"
"Attempting to keep up with the other kids. I don't think I cared about winning the race, just not being so far behind that the others had a chance to catch their breath and go find somewhere to sit."
I laughed again. "And there was me thinking you were at least half decent at sports"
"I'm not as shit now as I was in school."
"Yeah, that's what they all say"
"Wanna play a match of tennis and see if I'm wrong?" he asked with a laugh.
"Do I get sympathy points since I've never played it?" I flashed him my best puppy dog eyes since it wasn’t strictly true. I’d played tennis once in my life, found it too boring and went and played baseball instead.
"No," he threw me an evil grin, "what have you played?"
"Baseball, I'm a pro at baseball. Uh, football, soccer, basketball, I used to be great at running..."
"All team games. I avoided them like the plague." He said, clearly amused at something.
"Running was hardly a team thing for me. Coach always used to nag me to slow down so the others could keep up"
"Well, you have photographic proof I'm shit at running," he laughed, "hows about you teach me baseball and I'll teach you tennis, at some point?"
"Sure thing, dollface. You never know, you might pick up my knack for almost always hitting a homerun"
"And you might pick up my knack for almost always hitting an ace," he grinned, "on the other hand, we could always hit a gym and see who gets worn out first," he giggled. It might not help much but I used to do endurance running. That’d at least help a little bit, right? Right?
I patted my pathetically puny stick thin arms. "You couldn't compete with my huge guns"
"Of course not. I wouldn't mind getting back into the habit of going to the gym, though." He said thoughtfully before turning back to the pictures once more.
"Well there we go then, you get your ass back to the gym, I get my ass back to running" I said, absent mindedly looking for pictures of Maxxie.
"Mmm... Why are there so many shitty pictures of me?" he asked, scowling at the photo in his hand.
"Because nobody likes how they looked when they were younger"
"Someone kept sneaking up on me with a camera like two days after I'd gotten a kicking," he frowned, "I think whoever the photographer was, was blind."
"You still look as gorgeous to me"
"You're blind, too." He said with a half smile.
"If this is the view I get being blind then I'm happy" I leant over and kissed him, knowing full well that someone could walk in at any second.
He kissed me back with a smile.
“C’mon then, English, get a move on. I want to see more photos than this damn it” I said with a laugh as Maxxie shook his head.