Abbie finally got fed up with mine and Max's random mood changes. She said that, yes, arguments hardly ever did happen, but they were treated like the end of the world when it did. And not only did she have to put up with the argument, but she had to put up with the silent treatment we often gave each other afterwards and she felt like we were giving it to her.
So, there were going to be no more bigger-than-they-need-to-be arguments from now on.
"Especially not on Christmas" she said. "So kiss and make up"
Max gave her a smile, but only I noticed how fake it was. He gave me a quick peck on the lips, but I kept my hand linked with his. Abbie frowned. I could tell she didn't like this awkwardness between Max and I, but then, I didn't like it either.
I wanted to ask Max if I'd upset him, but I also didn't want to know the answer. So I just gave Abbie my fake smile and agreed with her.
But at least everything was a bit better now. Just a bit.
Max still seemed to be in a bad mood that evening while were were all singing the one Christmas carol we all knew. Yes, my smile was real this time, but Max's wasn't. It was plainly obvious to me that he'd rather be... alone. I needed to talk to him.
"I need to talk to him" I finally told Abbie.
"OK" she smiled. "But please don't start an argument."
"I won't" I smiled back. I walked over to Max and he looked up at me. "Max, come with me"
He looked reluctant but he did get up and follow me to the trees. He leaned against one that was about a metre away from me.
"Max... have I... upset you?" I asked uncertainly.
"No" he said automatically, but he paused, and then repeated "No"
"OK" I smiled gently and went over to him, pushing my fingers through his. He shifted his feet but he didn't move me away. "You seem... uncomfortable with this" I lifted our hands.
"Listen, Max, I'm not trying to argue with you. I just want to know what's wrong" I told him.
He sighed. "I don't know, Sara. I really wish I did. I don't, though. I just, just- Argh, I don't know. I don't want to feel like this, and it's, it's annoying! And I hate it!" he exclaimed and then sank down into the snow, pressing his fists into his eyes.
"Are you all right?" I knelt down next to him.
"Sara" he said. "I want everything to go back. I want it to go back to before everyone disappeared. I want it to go back to normal."
"I know" I whispered. "I do, too"
"Sara?" Max looked up at me with red-rimmed eyes.
"I love you"