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» 05 July 2021 || Your Love Is Scaring Me, Tag: Max
Posted: Apr 15 2018, 04:47 AM
The events that led up to the knocking on Val's door at 7.30 in the morning had been a rollercoaster for him. All of yesterday he'd been incredibly nervous and uncertain. He had contemplated the idea over in his head to ask Max to join him in his bed that night. The main reason he had wanted him to come over was so that he wouldn't be lonely on his birthday. The one day of the year he absolutely did not want to wake up alone. The thought had scared him- to ask this of Max, even if he was sure he wasn't going to mention his birthday. He couldn't help himself. He didn't want to feel lonely because he knew he wouldn't be seeing his family this year. Max already was a comfort and he needed that comfort. He needed Max, he had concluded.
His apartment had always been shrouded in darkness and that was a huge problem for him. It was something he hadn't wanted Max to witness. He was scared, too, that by bringing him to his apartment that somehow it would cause Max to run away from him. That the darkness that had called itself home would get him. On the other hand, he had thought that maybe, maybe Max could drive away the darkness with his light. Because Max was a fire that Val couldn't ignore. It was destructive in a way that Val had never experienced before. Destructive in the way that fires burned away awful things to create new opportunities, to purge any unwanted filth.
Val had eventually found his way to Scarr's to invite Max over and in return, they had actually gone on a date. Val had internally freaked out. He'd wondered if Max had known it was his birthday, but that hadn't seemed the case at all. He had seemed to genuinely want to take him out. A thought that was comforting and incredibly glorious. They were just going where the road was taking them and Val enjoyed every moment of it. Their dinner adventure had been amazing. Using money from a stolen wallet they'd paid for a meal that they had to lie to get. The lies had been the most fun- if not somehow strangely thought-provoking. They had been stopped at the door for not being dressed appropriately for the establishment. A pretend story about the tragedy of dragon pox and anniversaries, of worry and pain- all reasons for why Max was underdressed. Val had even mentioned he loved him and in that moment he had been a little confused if that had been real or if he had just imagined saying it. It had sent a small wave of panic through his body, but he reminded himself that it was all a lie. To get into the restaurant. That's what it was. They were playing pretend. Yet... There were certain parts that somehow felt real. The sad eyes Max had thrown at the wait staff to establish a sad story had killed him inside, a reminder of the night he was never, ever going to forget- even if nothing happened between the two of them again.
Once dinner was over, they'd had a good laugh on the way home to Val's. Though, he found himself getting quieter the closer they got to his place. Every step filled him with more anxiety. It had seemed stupid to him, to be filled with such nerves over inviting Max to his apartment. The moment he had opened his door for Max he had held his breath, let Max go in first so the other man didn't need to see him clench his jaw so tightly he couldn't even talk. "Welcome to my humble abode," he'd managed to say but wasn't sure he had sounded all too convincing. Max eventually extinguished the nerves until the moment he fell asleep beside Val. Val had been too far in his head, trying to battle Babs and his own thoughts, to sleep but eventually drifted off into something resembling sleep...
Knock. Knock. Val stirred, his eyes widening at the sound. He rolled out of bed quickly. Who the hell was at his door? Nobody good. Who the hell even knew where he lived? Tugging on some pants he grabbed his wand just as there was another knock sounded. "Who is it?" He stood near his couch, facing the door, wand pointed straight at the door, cautious. He didn't want to run into any trouble. Not today of all days. But he couldn't be too careful, not when he had Max in his bed.
"Valère. C'est ta famille. Ouvrez la porte, ma chérie*." The voice called through the door. He knew that sweet voice anywhere. He flicked his wand to open the door for his family. His maman's voice had brought a bright smile to his face. The door opened and the first face he saw was his maman. His little brother immediately ran inside and grabbed a hold of him. Val was too shocked to react at first. He watched his parents walk into his apartment and his papa closed the door. Before he could even ask what they were doing here he found himself picking up his little brother, crouching first to pick him up by the waist and hug him tightly.
"Bon anniversaire!**" Wyatt said, laughing and tried to place a big kiss on his cheek. "Surprise, frère!***" Val put him down and found that tears had started to form and they were running down his cheeks. Happy tears. He was so fucking happy to see his family. They were actually here! He couldn't believe that they were here right now.
Next, his parents walked over and he opened his arms to them. His maman was also crying and smiling and hugging her was such a relief. This was what he had been missing. This was what he thought he was going to miss today. His family meant the world to him and it seemed that he meant the world to them. This had to have been a huge sacrifice for them. "(We're sorry to come unannounced. We wanted it to be a surprise. So, happy birthday, my little soldier. We're so happy to see you)." His maman said while she was buried somewhere under his arms. The two of them were an absolute mess but in a good way. This was the happiest he had been in relation to his family since before he had told them the news he was leaving.
After pulling away, he wiped at his face and suddenly realised. Max. His eyes flicked over to his bed to find him still there. "Give me a moment," he said, rushing over to Max's side and knelt beside him on the ground and rested a hand against his chest, drumming his fingers against it out of nerves or happiness or excitement or fear, he wasn't quite sure. "Um. So, this is my family. I didn't realise they were coming today. It's uh-" he scratched the back of his neck as he glanced over at his family, who were watching him. Looking back at Max he shrugged lightly. "-My birthday today." This was not how he had thought this morning would go.
*Valère. It's your family. Open the door, sweetheart.
** Happy birthday!
Note: Text in parentheses indicate spoken in French.
Posted: Apr 16 2018, 12:08 AM
Cassandra is Offline
22 years old
your house. oops.
Almost two months after he'd met him, Val had asked Max to follow him home that night. It was almost impossible to keep a straight expression, to play at nonchalance in the face of such an invitation. Here was Val's place of vulnerability, and perhaps the most solid expression of reciprocated...whatever they had that Max had encountered to date. He couldn't explain exactly why that was cause for celebration, but what he could do was steal a wallet, and arm in arm, lie his way into a fantastic dinner for the two of them. It had become a wonderful little game, up until the point where Val had played at saying he loved him. Max held it together for a remarkable amount of time before he escaped to the toilets to lock himself in a stall and have a little panic. Cold water on the face did wonders, especially in the aftermath of realizing that a part of him might have longed for that reality. He couldn't have it. He could probably never have it...but he wanted. Max had told Val that wanting gave him courage. Maybe, even if they were only pretending, even if he'd had several glasses of wine before following Valère home, it was at least a little bit true.
Once they'd returned to Val's place, Max had taken it all in with an artist's eyes. Details he met with blue eyes or perhaps a brush of the fingers were recorded in color and planes and curves and lines. The not-furniture beanbags on the floor made his smile wicked. The wall by the bed covered in little notes and drawings and pictures made that mischief disappear. So he had found his note after all. When Val was out of the room Max used the time to hastily scribble another note in his cheap red pen, by his cheap, tattooed and scarred up hand. I think you're a goddamn work of art.
Val didn't notice it when he came back in the room, but that could have been the fault of an extremely distracting conversation about how Val had broken his collarbone boxing, of all things. It could have been because that confession had been so attractive to Max that he was compelled to kiss said collarbone until Val gave him the proper tour of the bed.
Max was a very light sleeper, and if there really was no rest for the wicked, that seemed somehow fitting. When he woke, it was as if someone had left a television on, and Max squinted his bleary eyes to try and discern what was going on. French? A whole lot of French, and a variety of voices he did not know. Max had taking a passing interest in Latin during school, and so he picked out words here and there. Family. Brother. Slow nervousness began to take root in his chest at the sound of them, and he became instantly and exceptionally aware of how much he was wearing...which was to say, well, Val's sheets. The only thing to do was pretend to sleep until he had an escape plan figured out. Maybe that wasn't quite fair, considering he'd sort of forced Val to meet his own little brother, but the situation here seemed infinitely more complicated. Should he stay? Go? What did Val want?
When he felt Val near, he opened his eyes, the seconds of amazement at how he could just recognize the other man's presence fading to affection at the drumming of fingers against his heart. While he didn't think Val knew how calming that little gesture was for him, Max smiled at the way the fall of his fingers broke apart his nervousness into smaller, more easily digestible pieces. There were tears in Val's eyes, and Max didn't even think before reaching up to thumb any remaining trails of salt from his lover's cheek. "Happy birthday, duckling." The surprise that it was Val's birthday would ordinarily have been quite enough to startle Max into overthinking, but with such a rich variety of things to freak out over, it seemed impossible to pick just one. He lowered his voice to a whisper. "I think you've already unwrapped the only thing I thought to bring to you. Which, by the way…"
Max tilted his head toward the floor, knowing he was going to have to complete a most undignified under the cover wiggle. He had to hope Val's parents were polite enough to pretend they didn't notice. His brother was a literal child. Max scrubbed his hands over his face, and knew he was going to have to do it anyway. "Distract them for a minute, sweet? I'll meet you out there...unless, em, you want me out the window."
Posted: Apr 17 2018, 12:42 AM
It was strange, to have his family and Max be in the same space. He'd somewhat prepared for having Max in this space but definitely hadn't prepared for his family. Somehow, it felt worse with them here. The apartment felt too tight. He felt too uncomfortable- the only comfort was his hand on Max's chest, the warmth of Max's body making him a little calmer. These were the three people in the world he kept hidden from the darkness in him and now they were at the heart of his darkness (so he believed it to be). Now he had to juggle that with the happiness he also felt at seeing them and the happiness he felt about Max being here. Though, he hadn't expected to introduce Max to his family, well... He had never thought about it. Yet, here they were. "Thank you, darling." He placed a light kiss on his cheek. He would have liked to have given him a bigger kiss, a much more intimate kiss, but his family was right here.
Val’s eyes travelled down the bed, where he knew Max’s body lay and grinned at him, imagining the sight without his sheets to cover him. He leaned down to Max’s ear, his lips practically pressed against it. “That’s the only present I need to unwrap,” he whispered in his ear, before kissing it lightly. “Why would I want you out the window. Don’t be ridiculous.” He looked up at his family, realising that the first words out of his mouth had been about how he had to go see Max. It hadn’t been about his family and that somehow felt very significant. He pushed the thought to the back corners of his mind and smiled a little awkwardly. This wasn’t the first time his parents had caught him in bed with someone naked, though that person had been Babs… The idea they were seeing Max didn’t bother him apart from the fact they hadn’t known he had existed until this very moment. That's what made this more awkward than it needed to be, well, that and the fact that Wyatt was here too. Wyatt certainly didn't need to see all of Max.
He cleared his throat, catching their attention. “Could you all just… Turn around for a minute, have a seat on the couch? He needs to get dressed.” His parents looked at him for a second with raised eyebrows. His dad with a mischievous smile. Val knew what they wanted to ask but tried to pretend he didn’t. Wyatt covered his eyes and quickly turned around, bumping into the couch as he tried to walk towards it. His parents turned around and finally sat on his couch. Val couldn't help the grin that spread across his face as he looked back at Max. Damn, he looked so good in his bed. Still kneeling on the ground he crawled a little and reached over for Max's clothes before throwing them at him.
“Anyway! I’m so happy to see you guys. I can’t believe you’re here! This is the best birthday present I could have asked for.” Val called out to his family to avoid the awkward silence that had fallen. He crawled back over to Max and gave him a wink. "You kept that hidden very well, Wyatt." He could hear Wyatt laughing away.
"It was hard! I really wanted to tell you. Maman and papa swore me to secrecy." His little brother called out. "I've missed you so much."
"Happy birthday, my little soldier." His maman said, making Val blush a little and avoid looking at Max. The childhood nickname would forever stick around, but it seemed odd to be said in the presence of the man who had given him his own nickname. Duckling. He loved it when Max called him that. Val hadn't been called little soldier in over 10 months (that didn't include the letter) and he'd gotten used to hearing duckling. It was a slight shock to his system to hear this other nickname.
Val had to admit he felt a little guilty that they were here. That they had spent money to come all the way here just to see him for his birthday. Money that they could have used to expand the store or for anything other than him. He had never liked it when they spent money on him. It had always made him feel uncomfortable, even if he accepted the gifts they gave him. “You shouldn’t be here,” he said, lightly. He didn't want to sound harsh.
“Don’t you want us here?” His maman asked.
“No, but-” he started.
He heard her tsk at him and he quickly shut his lips. “Well, then don’t complain. We made a decision to spend money on you. Because we love you dearly and we miss you and we didn’t want you to be alone on your birthday.”
Wyatt chuckled. “Looks like he wasn’t going to be alone, maman.” Val couldn't help look over at Max, nodding as if to agree, wondering if Max had figured out that was part of the reason he'd invited him over. To not be alone.
Once Max had decently dressed he grabbed his hand, squeezed it tightly and dragged him over to the beanbags. Val finally got a good look at his family and noticed the difference that 10 months could do. His papa… Val understood what Wyatt had meant. He didn’t look sick but he did look much weaker. His face much slimmer, it had lost some of its colour. He just looked more tired- not exhausted, but as if he just didn’t quite have enough sleep. It was sad. But Val kept a straight face, later, when he was alone he'd be able to deal with that.
"Um. So, this is Max." He looked at Max with a smile before gazing back at his family. "Max. That's Wyatt, my little brother." Wyatt waved enthusiastically. He remembered how Max had introduced him to his little brother, 'Nicky, this is my French kiss, Val'. Now Val felt stupid for how he had introduced Max. "My mum, Adèle. And my dad, Adrien." His parents smiled politely at Max.
"Max, who exactly?" His maman asked, her eyes taking in Max, looking both inquisitive and judging.
"Max... Ramsey?" Val said, wondering where this conversation was going. He glanced over at Max and shrugged, trying to apologise for... Whatever was happening.
"What is he to you?" She asked casually. The question was far from casual in Val's mind.
"Maman!" He exclaimed, horrified by the question she had just posed to him. The question did make him think. What exactly was Max to him? A beautiful soul that ran alongside him. A treasure he cared about and wanted to explore. He was a man that meant so much to him already. A man he wanted to protect. A man who made him feel terribly alive. But how could he explain all that to his family?"Uh- " Val didn't even know how to answer. He couldn't look at Max or else he would start to freak out. Though, he was already halfway there. Why did his maman have to question this? Why did she need to know?
"Val has got a boyfriend!" Wyatt exclaimed in a sing-song voice. Val's eyes widened and he seemed frozen in place. His stomach dropped at the word. Boyfriend? That couldn't be right. The word sent a nervousness through his bloodstream, affecting every part of his body. This time, he couldn't help but look over at Max, needing to see what those blue eyes were telling him. Needed to know if he was just as terrified as he was of the word.
Posted: Apr 18 2018, 09:12 PM
Cassandra is Offline
22 years old
your house. oops.
The word darling sounded beautiful on Val's lips. Max smiled from where he was. It was a bit more of a tentative smile than he wanted to offer, but that unease brought on by the sound of family members in the flat was immediately forgotten when he felt Val's breath on his ear. If there was one thing in the world that could push every compacted worry, each layer of thought over thought right out of his mind, it was lips against his ear. "Unfair," was all he was able to murmur. Then, after he caught his breath, Max let out a laugh like he'd remembered something wonderful. "Cheat if you can't win." he suggested, wondering who or what he had cheated to find someone who called him darling and touched as deep as his dirty soul with just a hand upon his chest.
And why wouldn't he want the window, as dirty as he was? Max blinked, surprised that Val had spoke as if there wasn't any other way he could have answered. "Oh good," he whispered, joking as if the answer hadn't rattled him. This was his family, his birthday, and Val wanted him to stay--or at least leave via the door. That seemed more likely, the more Max considered it. "Naked down your fire escape wasn't exactly the way I wanted to go." The joke rolled off his tongue far more casually than Max felt about all of this, particularly when Val just outright explained to his family they would need to turn for him to make himself decent. Someone needed to be picked on for it, and when that gorgeous someone tossed Max's clothes in his direction, when his family had finally turned their backs, Max leaned over far enough to steal a silent kiss. It was much more innocent than the teasing his hands had gone for after.
Max threw his clothing on more quickly than the last time he had climbed out Lowen's window to get away from whatever Orsen had over, and, reluctantly, he left Val's bed. If he could have stayed, he would have. He would have stayed, and that was a new enough realization to shock him into speechlessness even if he wasn't face to face with a starry eyed man whose jawline he could use to open the boxes he'd packed to move in with Nicky. He patted his pockets down for the various items he always kept within: cigarettes, lighter, keys. Picks, red candy, red pen. The tiny glass duck he had stolen just under two weeks ago. His wand he stowed in the side of his boots as always. Finally he stood, an easy grin keeping what probably should have been guilt off of his face. More importantly, it disguised the terrible scabbing itch of a deep cut want.
Want. Of course he wanted, each time he saw Val. There was a part of him that whispered that this was suddenly beyond fixing, that Val had finally asked him here on purpose and the too-soon appearance of his entire bloody family would shatter what they had, fist through a window. There was a part of him that saw that family and wanted, just for once, to greet everyone who was immediately Ramsey with similar loving tears and brilliant excitement. He scrubbed his free hand hand through his dark hair and curled his fingers around Val's hand. Dragged off to meet the family immediately. Lightning could strike him and the past 24 hours would still be less surprising.
He studied them behind his smile. Val's mother was beautiful, in that handsome way mothers who had seen quite a lot of life often were. His own mother was beautiful like that, but much sadder. Adèle looked so much happier than his own mother, but then, she had Val for a son instead of Max, Adrien instead of Elias, and who wouldn't be in that situation? Adrien looked worn, like he'd battled a long illness or a sudden loss...and his brother Wyatt was full of brightness and mischief of a far less sinister variety than Max's own. He smiled, and pretended to cough, reaching his hand up to shade the quick, knowing raise of his brows he shot the young boy. Of course he wasn't going to leave Val alone.
That was when it occurred to him. Val hadn't wanted to be alone on his birthday. Was it simply that, or did his presence specifically make a difference? Max stole a glance toward Val, looking for clues before he turned back to smile his best effort at charming for the Moreau-Lapointe family. "Hello," he greeted them, trying to keep as many troublesome words from his mouth as possible. To Val's mother, he said with a grin: "Thanks for giving us this one, all those years ago."
Which was when she asked Val, so directly Max could have choked on the cherry candy he had popped into his mouth, what he was to him. Everything stopped, and anxiety sucked the breath from his lungs…
... because no one had ever been able to make him feel like his heart was hinged on the answer to such a simple question.
Max stayed silent, which wasn't at all fair to Val. Guilt laced through him and found his pulse, so close to where their fingers were interlaced. Boyfriend? Wyatt had said boyfriend, and Val turned to meet his eyes. At first there was only shock between the two of them, wide eyed confusion like they were caught holding a stolen something that they didn't know who they should hand it over to. It occurred to him suddenly and with the same ferocious want he'd experienced only moments before that the pit in his stomach indicated he might actually want that.
There it was, that courage for wanting he had talked about last month at Scarr's. There it finally fucking was. Max turned to Val. Confusion lingered in his expression, but there was the want so close behind it that he felt dizzy. Then Val's eyes changed, full of fear and urgency. Of course, Max thought, of course I can't have this. I never should have thought I could. Val didn't want it. The very thought looked enough to scare him away. How oddly fitting, that he should trip like this over the green eyes of a man who might have only wanted a slightly more familiar plaything. Even as he thought it, he was scolding himself. He's not like that. He wouldn't, not to you. But why wouldn't he? Who was Maxwell Ramsey to anyone?
"Max Ramsey." he offered again, trying to save Val from having to break his heart in front of his family, on his birthday. "I'm a tattoo artist, and if you saw my flat, an ameteur librarian." Always joking to push away how raw rejection felt. Usually he was rejecting himself, but not always. Not always. "Should I leave you all to birthday celebrations? I've work at noon, duckling." He shot Val a fearless wink to pass alongside his favorite nickname for him, and it was, like so much of what made up Max, a lie.
Posted: Apr 23 2018, 03:11 AM
Val was glad about his decision to have invited Max home with him yesterday. He was a little disappointed that he didn't get to wake up naturally and slowly next to him. That he wasn't able to sleepily whisper good morning or wake him up with a kiss. Or even to watch the rise and fall of his chest as he lay next to him. Val had woken up to that plenty of times, yet he wanted this morning to be different. For this morning to truly be something special. Special... Everything he seemed to do with Max was special but today was his birthday... Shouldn't it feel a little different? What had happened instead was different but he appreciated the small kiss, the mischievous hand, the way he held onto his hand. All of it appreciated. It certainly was going to be one unforgettable birthday if this was how his day started off.
Val's maman chuckled a little harshly at Max's comment. "You don't have to thank us," she told him. "He was always meant for this world."
Wyatt scoffed a little, trying not to laugh. He leaned closer to his maman. "Way to be cheesy, maman."
The awkward moment arrived and Val was glad to be able to look into Max's bright blue eyes, even though they weren't lit up with mischief or admiration or any of the number of emotions he had read in those eyes. At least they were here together, having to get through this together- in silence.
Max looked just as terrified as he felt and he took some solace in that. That was exactly what he had wanted to see, wasn't it? Then why did he still feel so scared? So strangely frozen by the question posed to him that he didn't know what to do. His impulse also frozen, meaning all he could do was look. His maman wanted an answer. But he didn't have one. Not really. Not one that was satisfying. All he really knew was that the two had agreed to see where things would go but that in itself hadn't been a promise. Only an agreement, if that. Val still wasn't sure what had happened that day. He just knew he wanted to spend time with Max, to be in his presence and to run with him wherever destiny wanted them to go. That was the only thing he thought he needed. This question indicated something else. He didn't feel content with the thoughts he had first had and that added to that uncomfortable fear he was harbouring.
Val was terrified because he realised he was starting to move on, at least, that's what it felt like. Because he didn't shy away from the word (and the implications of the word) it meant he wasn't dismissing the idea that Max could be his boyfriend. That the two of them could be in a relationship together. He didn't hate the idea of it. That was the scary part because he had been almost convinced he wasn't moving on from Babs. That he was going to be stuck in her grips, never to be free from her. The look in Max's eyes told him otherwise. This man had touched his soul, beckoned him away from her- slowly, but surely. And he had no idea what to do with that. How was he meant to deal with that? Were they supposed to take the leap? So that he could know to move on. But would that be fair to Max? To jump into something just to be rid of the heartache and anger that Babs had made him feel?... No. It wasn't like that. It couldn't be like that. Because a part of him told him he wasn't doing this to be rid of Babs. He genuinely liked spending time with Max. His hand tightened in Max's and he swore he saw disappointment in those eyes. Oh. No. Was it disappointment because Val hadn't said anything? Though he thought he also saw a hint of hope or desire, but he couldn't be quite sure. He was too affected by his own feelings and thoughts to truly take in what those blue eyes were telling him. It wasn't possible to get the answer now.
Not when Max started talking. He almost sighed with relief. Relief got immediately replaced with guilt. The guilt he had felt last month, when he had asked Max if he wanted to take away his memory, seemed to make another appearance. Here was Max saving both their asses, when really he should have been the one to do that. This was his family, he should know how to deal with it. He'd failed to save them. Val couldn't even smile. His little brother frowned at him lightly, seemingly confused at the change in subject. He shrugged ever so slightly he was sure only Wyatt would be able to pick it up. "Work?" Val looked back at Max and cleared his throat slightly, still disorientated from the intensely awkward moment. "Right. Yes." He said, not really sure what else to say. He wanted Max to stay but didn't want to push him to stay.
Adéle didn't look impressed in the slightest. Her eyes narrowed a little as she glanced between Val and Max, clearly not happy that her question didn't get answered. Val had to look away from the intense glance and down at his own feet, still bare from having jumped out of bed so quickly.
"Would you like to come to dinner tonight, Max?" Val's papa suddenly asked, a small smile on his face. The invitation was surprising but Val smiled brightly at Max, looking at him again.
"You don't have to say yes, but you're welcome to come. I assume it's a homecooked meal, yeah?" He glanced over at his maman who was looking at her husband a little cautiously. Adrien didn't seem to notice.
"Yes. Your favourite, as always." His maman finally said, looking back at him and Max. "You are very welcome to come." Val had to admit he was a little surprised she agreed since she hadn't seemed entirely happy or convinced about Max's presence.
Val hoped Max would say yes. He wanted him to come, to celebrate his birthday with him. "I'm helping with the cooking if that will convince you."
"You're not-" His maman started to protest.
"Ma. Please. I'm helping." He didn't normally help but he felt that he needed to. Not for Max's sake or his maman's sake, but for his own. It had been a while since he had cooked with someone else. He just really wanted to even though it was his birthday. There was a part of him that wanted to do it to make up for the way he had left things when he'd said goodbye and to make up for the fact that he had to keep saying no to going home.
She spread her hands out in defeat and nodded. "Alright. You can help." Val grinned.
"Oh, Max. You should come, their cooking is the best," Wyatt said, also with a grin on his face. He sat forward on the couch, an excited gleam in his eyes.
"You've never really had anything else," Val joked, feeling a bit better after that the panic he'd felt only moments before. They had to move on, though he knew he needed to talk about it with Max at some point. They couldn't ignore that question, that moment of shock and fear and something else. Maybe tonight, if Max was going to come, if he was going to stay another night.
Wyatt stuck his tongue out at Val, who returned the gesture. "Well... Still. I don't need to know anything else to know your cooking is amazing."
"I'm sorry, we're getting carried away," Val said to Max. He gave a light shrug. This always happened in his family and they had fallen right back into the pattern, despite being in the presence of Max. "It's up to you, darling." Darling. Yikes, he wasn't sure that was safe to say in front of his family but it was too late now. He squeezed Max's hand lightly, looking at him, hoping that maybe he'd be able to pick up on the fact he wanted him here.
Posted: Apr 25 2018, 10:08 PM
Cassandra is Offline
22 years old
your house. oops.
Max could see he wasn't charming Val's mum so easily, not with the humorless chuckle that came from her in response to his thanks. Trust me, she'll love you. Max did trust Val, with almost alarming completeness, but clearly he was going to have to work harder than this to get Val's mother to...what? He wasn't sure what he wanted to get her to do. With his hand tightening slightly around Val's, Max mired himself in thought wondering what the answer to that question was. Luckily, little brother Wyatt saved him with an amused accusation of cheesiness in his mother's direction that relieved Max of the responsibility to reply. He couldn't exactly go fighting his duckling's beloved maman over how much of an overly generous gift Val was to this terrible world. No one could win in that situation, and it would be counter to his efforts to...impress her, or something. Still confused about why he would want to do such a thing, Max took as deep a breath as subtlety would allow. Meeting the parents on accident, on Val's birthday, so soon, and getting caught in his bed. Undressed. Well, shit.
And then, to see that alarming look in Val's eyes after the questions from his family sent Max through the gentle but terrible release of relief mixed with disappointment. Logically, he thought he should be thankful that he wasn't enough something to Val for this meeting to be as significant and worrying as Max had initially thought. He wasn't thankful. He was, quietly, perhaps unreasonably, crushed.
His mind was racing, trying to put together every but of evidence he could find to prove that little voice that called him unworthy wrong. The 19th of June had proven to Max that his doubt was his own, that his unkind words were his own, but he still was very far from adept at silencing it. He couldn't even truly be called an ameteur doubt-silencer, with how often the he danced with the concept. Val wouldn't use you, he reminded himself. Everyone does, though, he fought back. They hadn't even talked about what they were to each other yet, and Max thought he ought to give him the benefit of the doubt...but that look, that look. How could he imagine it meant anything other than no? That it meant anything other than I saw where this was going and it occurs to me that it isn't here.
Realizing that their fingers were still tangled, Max gave Val's hand a little squeeze. He didn't want to let go. "A few clients. I don't think I'll be in until nine tonight as I was last." he explained. Last night. He wanted last night again, that playful dinner where they lied about everything they were to each other and it felt beautiful and painful enough to send him through panicked loops when he escaped to the toilet to smoke where he wasn't supposed to. They'd been him and his and forgotten where the edges of their affection was for hours that he now wondered if he would never get back.
He was almost startled out of his remembrance when Val's father asked him if he'd come to dinner. Even Val's mother agreed, and, to Max's surprise, Val looked to him to offer to help to convince him. It was dizzying. The words he heard seemed to conflict with the impression he believed he'd collected from Val's eyes, and Max was more confused than he had been before. He was decidedly out of control of this situation, and would have laughed and climbed out the window if he'd been next to one that wouldn't have killed him. Probably. Falling out the window might not have been so bad at the moment either.
Banter shot back and forth easily between an affectionate family, and Val called him...darling. In front of his family. What on earth was happening, today?
Max took a quick breath and reapplied the look of easy mischief he often wore. "I've only ever had Val's cooking, but it is exactly as good as you say, Wyatt, which is to say of course, the best. I can only imagine he learned from someone equally unrivaled." He smiled, brushing his thumb across the back of Val's hand in response to the gentle squeeze Val had returned to him. Darling. "If you want me there, I will be." That was for Val, because Max knew he would have run across London for him if he asked. Probably even if he hadn't.
He turned to Val's father then, with another roguish smile. "It's a lovely invitation, thank you. Can I bring anything? I swear I won't so much as look at a stove, so I don't alarm our birthday boy, but...wine?" It would be stolen, of course, but they didn't have to know it. Besides, it was only fitting for the story Val had told him about getting caught thieving in his parent's store. More than anything else, they deserved a good, stolen bottle of wine for their trouble raising his charming hooligan. Not yet his, he reminded himself; maybe Val wouldn't ever be his. But I'm already yours, aren't I? He had no idea when that had happened, but here he was, helplessly entangled with a man who had the power to fell him with a glance.
Max shot him a quick wink and a sly smile before returning to what was comfortable for him: chatter. "I should be going, but it was wonderful to meet you all and it sounds as if I might see you later this evening in any case. Would you walk me outside, duckling?" The request was almost breathlessly uttered, because Max knew exactly what he was doing by asking in the first place. He was requesting the reassurance of a kiss and a see you later, and hoping not to hear something that sounded instead like goodbye.
Posted: Apr 29 2018, 02:54 AM
Last night. He could remember the slightly panicked moment he'd had when he thought Max knew it was his birthday, that seemed ridiculous now that he had actually found out. Dinner tonight in comparison to last nights dinner was going to very different. He also remembered how easy it was to play along with their story, how easy it had been to even say he loved him. He could clearly remember how he had said it too. 'See. I'm just trying to treat him right. I do love him after all.' What would his maman say about that? Would that have been an acceptable answer? Even if it had been a lie... A half-truth? A... something. Somehow the thought of that answer seemed more appropriate than the silence he had given her. Merlin... What?
The brushing of Max's thumb against the back of his hand in accordance with his words made Val's smile fill with genuine happiness that he wasn't sure anything more could fit into that smile. He leaned closer, resting his forehead against the junction of Max's ear and jaw. "Thanks. I need you here," he whispered before he even realised what he was doing. Need. There was no want here. Just like he had told Max last month. He pulled away quickly and tried instead to focus on anything but his family or Max. His eyes landed on the wall that his bed was against. Those notes. Shit. They weren't appropriate for Wyatt or his parents to read. He'd have to make sure they didn't go snooping. Max's wonderful (but ultimately inappropriate) notes should not be burned into his family's mind, only his own. That was the worst thing to focus on right now so he brought his right foot back and began tapping it against the ground.
"Maman is a very wonderful cook, it's true. She taught me from when I was very little." He smiled at his maman, who smiled right back. He really appreciated that she had taught him how to cook and bake. "It's fair to say that Max here has sampled many of my cooking options," he chuckled, winking at Max. "He is also a very good reference for my wonderful cooking, actually." He didn't want to embarrass Max with stories about the noodles he had had to throw away the last time he had tried to purge his kitchen. Now, ever since that day he found him with those noodles, he'd be reminded of Max whenever he saw noodles. No matter what kind, he would think about Max's grinning face. Stupid noodles...
"Wine sounds great. I'd suggest a lovely Syrah," Val's dad said, with a very serious nod.
Val chuckled lightly. "Papa takes his wine very seriously," Val commented, causing his dad to frown lightly at him but nod nonetheless. He couldn't even deny it. "But we can trust his judgement. So I suggest you get what he wants."
"Oh! Bring something for me. I can't drink the wine!" Wyatt said, waving his hand around to get their attention.
"Wyatt!" Their maman scolded him.
"I was kidding, sorry ma." He gave Max and Val a look that said 'oops, I wasn't meant to do that', and lightly shrugged.
"Pretend you're getting some soda for me and I'll give it to him," Val mock whispered, winking at Wyatt. "My first mate can't go without a drink. How else would we pretend it's rum and sing sea shanties?"
"See, maman. The captain has spoken!" Wyatt said, he gestured at Val. "The birthday boy."
"Okay, only because Val said it's okay. You two better behave tonight, seeing as we're going to be having a guest," their maman said cautiously. Val just grinned at her, making her shake her head with a slightly amused look on her face.
At Max's announcement of his retreat, Wyatt waved enthusiastically. "Bye! Have a good day at work! See you tonight." Wyatt said, happily, making Val chuckle lightly, that kid was far too enthusiastic and Val wondered what he was thinking. Val didn't blame Max for his wanting to leave, he'd felt the same when he had met his little brother. It made sense, even if he wanted Max to stay.
"Looking forward to seeing you tonight, Max. It was lovely to meet you." Val's dad said pleasantly and placed a hand on his wife's knee. Val could tell the little gesture was to tell her to play nice. Val appreciated it, he had no idea his maman would act like this. He just wanted her to approve and... well, that felt significantly heavy. He didn't just want her approval of Max as a friend but something else. Max was important to him in ways unknown and he wanted her to see that.
"You don't have to dress too nicely for dinner, it's going to be quite casual. Since-," Val's maman looked over at Val and glared lightly, "-Val doesn't have a table."
"Maman," he whined lightly. "Please. Don't complain about the table. I have a perfectly good coffee table." Val would have joked that Max only had books that he could use as a table, but he felt his maman wouldn't exactly appreciate it. Better to not make things more awkward than it already was. Even though he really wanted to joke with Max right now.
"That's not good enough, dear. But I'll forgive you just this once." The smile on her face the most genuine he had seen since Max had made his appearance.
Val smiled back, scoffing playfully. "You always forgive me, you can't help it. Now. I should see Max off. We- Uh, I'll be back." He smiled before quickly dragging Max behind him, despite still being bare-footed and bare-chested. He threw open the door, feeling cold air from the hallway hit him, reminding him that this was indeed very real. Being outside of his flat he breathed out slowly, a little relieved to be in a different atmosphere, one with just Max. It had become overwhelming. He had never meant for anyone to be here, inviting Max into the darkest depths of his on struggles was a decision that he had fought with for days, had literally fought someone over the fact. To have 3 other surprise visitors without preparing himself was far too much. It was surreal and it had made his chest tighten without him realising.
"Wow. I'm-Fuck, I'm so sorry you had to meet my family like that." Val had never thought about introducing Max to his parents but he also didn't see any problem with it, other than how it had happened. Thinking about it, he would have liked to have made the announcement himself, to show up at his parent's place with Max beside him. Alas, one could only meet someone's family one time (with the exception of obliviation but he would never in a million years do that). "I had absolutely no idea they were coming." He shook his head, still a little flabbergasted about the whole situation. Val loved surprises, that much had always been true, and by far this was the best one he had ever had. There were only certain aspects that he didn't like about it, the main concern was his apartment. That hell hole he was meant to call home. Though, he had to admit he hadn't felt much of that darkness when he was focused on Max and his family. Max and his family. His mind made the distinction that he had thought about Max first...
Val continued to hold onto Max's hand as they walked through the building, down the stairs, heading for the exit. He tried to be slow, he didn't want Max to go just yet. Despite the whole confused awkwardness that had cropped up earlier, he still wanted to be near him. Out here, with the stairwell smelling like cigarette smoke and wet paint, he felt safer. He didn't feel so trapped by his thoughts or by the stares from his family or even from Babs' memory. He could breathe easier. Right now wasn't the time for them to question their... connection? Relationship? Bond? Agreement? Their whatever. Right now, he had to walk Max outside to say goodbye for now, until he saw him again tonight. Tonight was going to be special and already he was excited and nervous. That was still hours away. He didn't want to wait that long, but he had to. Sacré bleu... His family was here. He hadn't seen them in over 10 months and here he was wishing to stay with Max, who he had known for a total of fewer than 2 months. He wasn't quite sure what to make of this little revelation.
Once they'd make it outside he turned so he was facing Max. "Good thing my place doesn't overlook this exit, so my family don't have to watch me do this." He reached around with his free hand, placing it against Max's lower back and gently bringing him closer. He ran the hand up Max's back and rested it on the back of his neck. "For luck," he whispered, hinting back at their conversation at Max's work. It only seemed appropriate. Val lifted his body weight up to stand up taller and placed a loving kiss on Max's lips. Val wasn't entirely sure what he wanted to say in that kiss, something of a mixture between thank you, I'm so glad you're here, I don't want you to go, I'm sorry for not telling you it was my birthday, and I'm sorry for not having an answer about what you mean to me.
Posted: Apr 30 2018, 09:20 PM
Cassandra is Offline
22 years old
your house. oops.
Val looked like his mother when he smiled. Max thought so, anyway, though the observation could barely register behind a statement like I need you here. The words felt burned into his flesh where Val had pressed his forehead, sweet and painful...and then he was away again. Max's whole body felt like he was caught in Val's wake, forced to stay still while trying to move, always closer. He couldn't tell what had brought Val's attention into nervous focus, but he could hear his bare foot tapping against the floor while he tried to pay attention to things like cooking and wine and all of the other little details that were not I need you. If he didn't focus, he would give himself away with how obviously painted across his thoughts Val was, and in what vibrant colors.
"You've taught him incredibly well. I feel spoiled, when Val cooks." Max admitted with an easy grin. Val cooked basically all the time they were together, but Max thought it might be best not to admit the extent of his helplessness immediately. It was all art, when they were together. Cooking, drawing, and the way the two of them fit against one another. They were both hopefully and helplessly intertwined. "Syrah and sparkling something or other, got it." he flashed a quick smile in Wyatt's direction, but it was a little harder to keep eye contact with Val's father. He seemed like a perfectly lovely man, and he had to be, to have raised sons like Val and Wyatt, but his own conflicted feelings about his father made it hard to look any father in the eye for long. If Max saw love there in those eyes that he could qualify and mark as intended for Adrien's sons, it would make him all the more aware of what he was missing. Painfully aware.
"Should I bring a table as well?" Max joked, his smile broadening into a grin that he knew he could at least share with Val. The comment about attire was...noted, and Max wasn't sure if he ought to be concerned. He did look more than a little like he had rolled through a pile of rags that had once been either burning or used to sop up ink. "Thank you--" that was for all of them; Wyatt's well wishes, Adrien's pleasantries, and Adèle's tolerance. "--ah, good to meet you. I'll see you all tonight."
Val was barefoot and still without his shirt by the time he pulled Max out his door and away from his family, but he must not have noticed (or perhaps cared) in his haste to apologize for the way he'd been surprised by his family. "It's alright, duckling. I'm pleased I didn't wake up, jump right up from bed and do a full stretch, but that's unlike me anyway. No one's ever accused me of pep in the morning." Max chewed at his bottom lip, then retrieved a cigarette from his pocket and handed turned it around his fingers for when he made his way out into London's stale city air. His hand lingered in his pocket, fingers brushing against the tiny glass figure. "I haven't met anyone's family before this. Are...you alright with it?" No matter how desperately the pit in his stomach was trying to remind him that maybe Val hadn't wanted him to meet his family at all, Max wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. He'd said he needed, and that was more than Max had ever asked for, but he'd wondered why Val had looked so panicked. You're not the sort of person anyone reasonable wants for family, he reminded himself. His free hand closed gently around glass…
...and before he could withdraw it, Val had slipped his own hand around his back and swept him up in the sort of kiss that was strong enough to drown even Max's doubt. For a sweet moment, all Max could feel was his pulse; he had gone mindless with the feeling of Val's lips on his; a sensation he hadn't even realized he had missed. It had been only a short time since he'd experienced it, but in honesty, Max missed the brush of his lips each time they separated. Val's sincerest kisses were the sort that could ruin a life, but only in the very best way. Max had the sort of life that could do with some undoing, clearing away the wreckage for something much sweeter. He held onto the hand that was clasped to his tighter then, pulling Val closer for a second kiss to complement the first. He knew Val liked to be in balance.
When they parted he laughed softly, in love with the way Val had to lean up on his toes to kiss him properly. The kiss had been honeyed reassurance; the sort Max wanted desperately to believe in. His doubts were struggling to claw their way back up his spine, and he shivered. At least he knew he'd be back tonight. At least he knew Val wanted him there. "For luck." he agreed. "And for your birthday, duckling." Withdrawing his closed hand from his pocket, Max took their clasped hands up closer to their faces. He turned Val's hand over and spread his palm open, placing the tiny glass bird on top. "There's a story, but it's not for now. Happy birthday, enjoy your time with your family, and...give me a light before I go, will you?"
Posted: May 4 2018, 04:16 PM
Val almost stumbled on the stairs when Max asked him if it was alright with meeting his family. A laugh escaped him and he squeezed Max's hand. "I hadn't planned on it, but of course I'm okay with it. More than okay, I guess." He chuckled a little awkwardly, realising how it sounded. "It's just-" he paused for a moment, "-I hadn't really thought about you meeting my family, let alone even thinking about seeing my own family in the near future. As usual, I've been so focused on the here and now, which is to say... You." Val didn't need to look down at his feet to know where he was going but he did regardless, needing that extra moment to gather his thoughts, not sure if he wanted to look over at Max. "I love my family and you... I-You're amazing. Why wouldn't I want you four to meet?" He realised he was rambling, goodness, he didn't really babble. Somehow, Max had a way of making him feel the need. Max just had this effect on him and he couldn't help himself. He just really loved talking to him- both with words and touches.
Kissing Max was always a different experience. Every time their lips met it was a new experience and Val adored it. No two kisses the same, a surprise, a wonder, a treasure. The fact that after he'd pulled away and Max only brought him closer for another kiss, blew his mind. A balance. Max initiating what he had just before. Perfect. It was sad when they finally had to pull away from each other. Val still had his hand on the back of his neck and he gently let his thumb drift. At this moment, just after a kiss Val always felt as if the world had slowed down just for the two of them. Their energy filled the space around them, a hug, and the type of energy was determined by the kind of kiss they shared. He liked the energy that he and Max produced with just a kiss. Val let his body sink back into the ground, a strange feeling as if the ground were mud and he could sink right in from the way Max could make him feel.
The hand on the back of Max's neck fell away and he touched the glass duck in his palm. A bright laugh escaped him, melting into a brilliant smile. "A duck?" He asked, shaking his head lightly. How was it that Max could still be more amazing? This little present was surprising yet the most precious thing he had ever gotten. "I'll put it away somewhere safe," he said softly. Slowly, he closed his hand around it and held it against his chest. "Thank you, it's beautiful. You'll have to tell me the story tonight." He wanted to know the story now, but knew he couldn't keep his family waiting much longer, they had 10 months to catch up on. Besides, he should let Max go, even if he desperately didn't want to. Already his hand felt lonely without the feeling of Max's against the skin of his palm, his fingers missed the connection, they wanted to send information to his brain, telling him all the small details about Max, trying to memorising and familiarise themselves with him. They wanted to distinguish Max from everyone else. His fingers had already gathered a lot of from Max, not just his hands, but his face- lips, nose, cheekbones, jaw, ears, eyebrows; his body, his everything. It wasn't enough, he wanted more. Needed more. He wanted to become so familiar with Max's body as he did his own.
Before I leave. But he'll be back, Val told himself. It shouldn't be so hard to let him go for the day. Maybe because he still felt weak in his own home and Max seemed to have given him strength, because already he could feel the pull of Babs now that he wasn't touching him. She was coaxing him back, annoyed someone else had stolen the spotlight. Max a fire that maybe, just maybe, could burn Babs. "Sure," he said, pulling out his lighter, which had become friends with his wand that had been abandoned the moment he'd heard the sounds of his family's voices. To think he could have attacked them seemed almost absurd now. Better to be safe than sorry. After all, he'd had a run in with Brandon the other day and he was unpredictable. Lighting Max's cigarette it seemed to signal the end of this whole ordeal. Time to move on. Burn away feelings of unease, shock, and fear.
"Have a good day at work and don't worry about my family. I'll try to reign them in before dinner," he winked. But in all honesty, he definitely couldn't reign them in. He just wanted to be hopeful. Didn't want Max to be worried. Though, he was sure that Max would worry just as he would. "My maman's comment about the clothes... Just. Wear what you want, you look gorgeous in anything and nothing. Now, I should go before my family snoop. I'm not sure they'd appreciate the quotes." He smiled, stepping away from him and already feeling his heart sink a little. Soon, tonight. Focus on your family. He waved like a little kid and turned to head back into the building to reunite with his family once more.
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