Chapter 1

Of everyone Maximilian could have fallen for, it was the one who was broken beyond repair. He doesn't expect to fix the damage, but he wants to do everything in his power to make the poor kid at least feel safe and loved. It won't be an easy task, but Max was always one to remain wholeheartedly devoted to his goals.

Frustration was very clearly printed on Demitri's face. A slight blush was spread across her cheeks to the tips of her ears, her vibrant green eyes were narrowed and lit with irritation, and she gave her golden hair a quick tug out of anger every few seconds. It was quite adorable, actually. At least, it was to Maximilian, who had found himself as the victim of the girl's negative emotions.

"Tell me!" she demanded, giving her long hair a particularly rough yank. "You like someone, don't you?! Tell me—who is it? Just give me his name at least! Come on!"

The area of romance, love, and crushes wasn't one that made Max uncomfortable or embarrassed. In his mind, it was illogical to feel at all awkward when talking about something completely normal. However, it was embarrassing and far beyond his level of comprehension that his crush was someone he didn't even properly know. All he knew about the boy was what he could gather through an argument they had had.

"For the twenty-seventh and very final time, there isn't anyone I'm interested in," he insisted, taking a bite-sized cookie from the coffee table in his living room and stuffing it in his mouth.

Demitri huffed and crossed her arms. "I know you're lying! It's not like I'm going to make fun of you or anything, so just spill it!"

"Why is it so important to you? I get that girls talk about crushes and things like that, for forcing it out of me doesn't really make sense."

"I can't help hook you up with anyone if you don't tell me who you like! I really care about you, Max. You've been more reserved than usual and I just want to see that smile again. I want you to be happy."

With a sigh, Max took another cookie. It wasn't that he was ungrateful or anything, since it was actually really sweet, but it wasn't as if he really felt as if he needed a boyfriend to be happy. While he would like to be in a relationship if it ever came around, but he had no issues with being single. "How about we make a deal? I'll give you two hints related to his personality or appearance every day, and if you haven't figured it out in five days, I'll tell you."

The girl sitting beside him looked thoughtful as she pondered the deal that had been proposed. Finally, she agreed. "Okay, but you're not allowed to be too vague, and you're not allowed to chicken out."

"Of course. So, what kind of hints do you want first?"

"Hmm..." Demitri used her index finger to tap on her bottom lip. "What does he look like? As in, how tall is he? What kind of body does he have?"

"He's a bit short, but still a few inches taller than me. He's nicely built, too—fairly muscular and every bit beautiful."

Demitri opened her mouth to reply, but stopped and stared up at the ceiling when several loud thumps came from upstairs. They grew louder and louder, until a girl in an oversized hoodie and mini-shorts jumped down to the ground floor from the fifth stair and tossed herself down on the couch next Max.

Instead of giving a proper greeting, she gave the one she always gave when butting into a conversation Max was having with a friend. " 'Sup, losers?"

"That's not very nice!" Demitri scolded.

"Sorry, let me rephrase that. 'Sup, loser and Demitri?"

Despite the angry look Demitri attempted, she ended up trying to hide her giggles behind her hand.

"Hey, Syria," Max said, smiling at his older sister. "I didn't think you were home. Sorry if we were distracting your studies."

Syria burst out laughing. "Studies? Who do you think I am? Anyway, answer my question, because I'm curious."

"Max likes someone!" Demitri piped up.

"Ah!" She grabbed Max and pushed his head down against her chest as she mercilessly ruffled his hair. "My little bro's in love with someone!"

"H-hey!" he protested, trying in vain to squirm from his older sister's grasp. "I wouldn't really call it love! I-it's only a stupid little crush!"

"That's still so cute!"

Demitri, who looked as if she was trying to catch her breath, brightened up suddenly. "I have an idea!"

"Yeah?" Syria eased up on her brother a little, but still refused to let him squirm away from her. "What is it?"

"Max is being being really secretive about it and—"

"Stop," Max interrupted.

"—he won't tell me, even though I want—"

"Please stop."

"—to make him happy by trying to help him—"

"Don't do this."

"—out. He decided to give me hints about who—"

"You could at least let me plug my ears so I don't suffer."

"—it is and I have five days until he—"

"The psychological agony is overwhelming."

"—tells me exactly who it is, but I don't want to wait that long. He already gave me—"

"I can feel my brain cells dying."

"—two hints today, so I already have something to work with, so—"

"They're not even letting you kill them, they're committing suicide so they don't have to perish brutally and mercilessly."

"—I want to try to figure it out today."

"I found a suicide note. It says Please shut up before the rest of Max's brain cells kill themselves. I feel like that's a fair request."

Syria grinned, ignoring Max's complaints. "Count me in!"

The End

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