Relocation by ObviouslyObsessed

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Drama, Romance
Published:2007-08-30 03:04:49
Updated:2009-09-06 00:03:59
Packaged:2021-04-22 00:18:37
Summary:Max and her flock are captured and relocated. The scientists have taken their memories. They are sent to live in different towns and attend a normal school. What happens when Fang moves to the same school as her? Can she remember? FAX!Was WANNABE-AUTHOR92

Table of Contents

1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4
5. Chapter 5
6. Chapter 6
7. Chapter 7
8. Chapter 8
9. Chapter 9
10. Chapter 10
11. Chapter 11
12. Chapter 12
13. Chapter 13
14. Chapter 14
15. Chapter 15
16. Chapter 16
17. Chapter 17
18. Chapter 18
19. Chapter 19
20. Chapter 20
21. Chapter 21
22. Chapter 22
23. Chapter 23
24. Chapter 24
25. Chapter 25
26. Chapter 26
27. Chapter 27
28. Chapter 28
29. Chapter 29
30. Chapter 30
31. Chapter 31
32. Chapter 32
33. Chapter 33
34. Chapter 34
35. Chapter 35
36. Chapter 36
37. Chapter 37
38. Chapter 38
39. Chapter 39
40. Chapter 40
41. Chapter 41
42. Chapter 42
43. Chapter 43
44. Chapter 44
45. Chapter 45
46. Chapter 46
47. Chapter 47
48. Chapter 48
49. Chapter 49
50. Chapter 50

1. Chapter 1

A/N: I thought I should just tell you that this story will be in my own style, not James Patterson's. But I will try and keep the characters in character. That's a strange sentence. Lol. Yeah, so my writing probably won't match JP's but I will try. Thanks. I hope you enjoy. . .

Disclaimer: I'm only going to say this once, so pay attention. I do not own Maximum Ride. I'm not going to repeat myself on every chapter. Enjoy . . .


Chapter 1: The meeting

The director took in the faces of the people surrounding her. She was at the head of a large conference table. Every chair was taken and everyone was looking intently at her. It was time to get this meeting started.

"We have decided that Maximum Ride and her 'flock' have become a danger to Itex and everything related to Itex. Therefore, I would like to suggest we act immediately to prevent them from destroying what we have worked so hard to achieve," the director said professionally.

Immediately the room was full of voices. Some people were throwing out suggestions; others were talking animatedly with their neighbours.

"We should exterminate them immediately," a pale woman called out.

"Don't you think we've tried?" a man said to her. "They keep escaping."

"We could lure them into a trap," another woman suggested. Her beady black eyes shone with pleasure at the thought.

"Enough," the director said in a firm voice. The room immediately fell quiet and all eyes turned to her. "We have already decided on what we are going to do." The room was suddenly full of curiosity. "We are going to erase their memories and plant false ones. Then we are going to relocate them to Australia. They will be placed in school and will never know that they are avian hybrids."

"What about their wings?" the pale woman blurted.

"We will use our state of the art virtual reality system to give them the illusion that they have no wings. They won't be able to see them or feel them. We will plant a chip inside them so the system will work when they leave. No one will know they have wings," the director answered confidently.

"How will you create false memories?" a man asked.

"Lots of research has been done in that field. We have a specialist doctor who will perform the procedure. The only catch is that it will take about a year to accomplish. What happens is that using brainwashing and other techniques, the doctor will first strip them of their memories. Special drugs are given to them throughout the procedure. Then the doctor will implant memories. It is a delicate process but I have been guaranteed it will work."

"Why Australia?" the pale woman asked again. She seemed to be full of questions.

"They have never been to Australia before. They aren't likely to have anything familiar there that could trigger their memories. They will be separated, of course."

"How will we keep an eye on them?" the woman with the beady black eyes asked.

"They will be placed into families that are actually our employees. They will report back to us. This way we should know if anything is going wrong."

"Why can't we just kill them?"

The director let out a breath. "We have decided that they are somewhat important. We would like to keep them alive. But we don't want them interfering. Plus, after the By-Half Plan has been successful we might have use for them. China is still interested in weapons. "

The table nodded at large. "The plan is to be put into action immediately. We will capture the avian hybrids and sedate them until the process is complete. That is all," she said, standing and walking out the door. The room stared after her, not sure what to make of the whole meeting.

Meanwhile . . .

Max's P.O.V

I stared at the happy faces surrounding me. Okay, so they weren't that happy. Grungy, yes. Happy, not so much.

"Maaaax," Nudge started. "I'm hungry."

I had been hearing this statement over and over, but no matter how many times I told them that dinner wasn't here yet, they kept asking.

"Fang will be back any minute," I told her for what felt like the hundredth time. I was trying my best to stay patient, but it wasn't working very well. Actually, I was surprised I hadn't snapped by now.

"But I'm hungry now," she complained. I was so close to snapping. I felt my jaw tighten and my eyes go hard. I really hoped Fang would be back with the food soon. I was about to snap.

Nudge seemed to read the distress in my eyes because she backed off. She smiled apologetically and quickly made her way over to Angel. I glanced up at the sky. Night had fallen and we'd only just set up camp. Fang had gone off to find a supermarket and we were waiting 'patiently' for his return. We were all starving after flying all day. But we had needed to cover some serious ground.

"Fang!" Angel cried, leaping up and looking hopefully towards the sky. She must have felt his mind approaching because I could see anything yet. Wow, that was a weird sentence. Mind approaching? We were some really whacked out kids. Angel's head swivelled and she looked at me with a grin on her face. She must have been reading my thoughts. I allowed myself to half smile, then returned the direction of my gaze back up to the sky.

I could see a shadow descending quickly towards our camp. I was surprised at the sudden relief I felt when Fang came into view. It's just because he has food, I told myself. There's no other reason.

He landed lightly and silently on the ground and then walked into the middle of our little camp. He started handing out various packets of food.

"Finally," I moaned as he handed me some food. I ripped open the packet and practically inhaled the contents. He handed me over another packet as soon as I was done with the first one. This time I ate slower, trying to enjoy the food.

"I got a map as well. I thought we could try and work out where we're going to go from here. It'll be good to actually know where we are, instead of just winging it," he told me. He really was becoming a chatter-box. But he was still as logical as ever.

I sat down, my back pressed up against a tree. Fang sat down beside me and pulled out the map. He rested it on our knees in front of us. I was really aware of how close we were. I could even feel the heat coming off his body. I looked down at the map, trying to distract myself from that train of thought.

Before I could even try and figure out where we were on the map, I heard a strange whizzing sound. I looked up and surveyed the area. I glanced at the flock members. Everyone was okay, Angel was even sleeping. Wait a second. I squinted at Angel. She was lying in a strange position to be sleeping. Then I saw something sticking out of her neck. It looked like a dart.

Another whizzing sound issued and I looked around for the source. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the Gasman get hit with something and slump over, unconscious. I jumped up and faced the outskirts of our camp. Someone or something was shooting tranquilizer darts at my flock. Fang was standing up seconds after me and we both scanned the forest.

"Let's get out of here," I told him, starting to panic.

Another whizzing sound and Iggy was hit. I started grabbing our packs, but it was too late. Everyone in the flock had already been hit, except for me and Fang. We couldn't see our attackers, so we couldn't fight them. There was another whizzing sound and I felt something slam into my neck. I was instantly dizzy and tired and I dropped to the ground. I was going to get the bastards who did this to me and my flock! They were going to pay.

2. Chapter 2

Chapter 2- Relocation

Max's POV

I opened my blurry eyes, and then quickly shut them again. I felt awful and groggy from the tranquilizer darts. My mind didn't seem to be working as fast as usual. Where was I? And what were they going to do to me? At least my mind was starting to work coherently.

"Max?" a soft voice asked me. I opened my eyes again and saw Fang looking at me with concern.

"Fang," I breathed, glad that something was as it should be, Fang was with me.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"Super," I said sarcastically. I managed to sit up. The last of the tranquilizer was leaving my system.

"Where are we?" I asked.

He didn't have to answer me, because at that moment the chemical smell hit me. Comprehension dawned and I nearly groaned out loud. We were back at the school. Jeez, the whitecoats loved torturing us with this place.

"They're planning something," Fang told me in a hushed voice. "This strange doctor keeps coming in here and observing things about us. It's creeping me out."

"How come I've been knocked out this whole time and you've been awake?" I demanded.

"I think they hit you with a concentrated dose, 'cause you know; you're the boss. Plus, I've been pretending I'm asleep every time they come in, so they don't knock me out again. It's a great way to find out what they're planning."

"Whatever," I said, impressed by his seemingly relentless logic. But I didn't want him to know I was impressed. I kept my face free of any emotions.

"So, anything important you want to share with me?" I asked him.

"They're planning something big. But I have no idea what it is. But I think they plan on splitting us up somehow," he mused.

"Where are the others?" Now that my mind was somewhat back to normal, I was starting to worry about the other flock members. Where were they? Were they safe? I couldn't even think of the possibility that they were hurt…or worse…

"They're fine. I heard some whitecoats saying that they were reacting well to the treatment."


He shrugged his shoulders, not needing words to convey that he didn't know what was going on. I sighed. I thought we were getting somewhere for a moment. Fang had actually been having a proper conversation with me, now he had reverted to shrugging. Soon I would only be getting one word answers. Maybe he was just relieved that I was okay and now he was withdrawing into himself more. I couldn't unravel that boy's mind. Actually, it was hard to unravel any boys' mind. Who knew how males' minds worked? I certainly didn't. But I knew testosterone was a key part.

"I hope they're alright," I muttered to myself, and then wished I hadn't said anything. I didn't want Fang to know how much I was worrying. I had to be the leader. I had to show everybody that I could hold myself together. But it had always been different with Fang. Somehow I could always tell him what was bothering me. He was my right hand man. But that didn't mean I had to rely on him for everything. I had to prove that I could take care of myself.

"They'll be fine," Fang assured me in a soft voice.

At that instant, both our heads snapped up and swivelled to face the door. We could both hear the approaching footsteps clearly. Neither of us was surprised when the door opened. I was surprised, howether, to see the Director's face appear. My ex-mum/mom (Howether you like to spell it.), the Director of Itex, stepped into the room with two Flyboy guards.

"Ah, you're awake. Marvellous," she said when she saw our faces.

I watched her with narrowed eyes. What was going on? I really needed to get an understanding of what was going on.

"Max," she said, inclining her head towards me in greeting. "Fang," she said, doing the same to Fang. I watched Fang carefully. He stared up at the Director impassively, but I knew he was tense from the almost undiscernible clenching of his teeth.

"What do you want?" I spat at her.

She smiled without humour. "It's time to start your new life. One where you will be free of all responsibility," she said.

I frowned at her. What was she going on about? Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to find out the answer to that question. The director nodded to the Flyboys standing next to her and they both raised their guns. One had their gun aimed at me; the other was aimed at Fang. I didn't even have a chance to think. The tranquiliser guns each squeezed off a shot and the darts found their targets: Fang and I. Without another word, I slumped against the cold floor and slipped into unconsciousness.

The Director's POV

"We have started the treatment. As we speak, Max and her flock's memories are being erased and replaced with false ones. When the treatment is finished, the flock will be relocated to Australia and sent to schools in different states. They will act like normal children and live a life uninterrupted by such responsibilities as saving the world and other delusions they are operating under. That is, until the By-Half Plan has taken effect. We are still deciding whether or not they are worthy enough to survive the By-Half Plan," the Director told the assembled scientists and other workers.

"Earlier, you mentioned that you were separating the flock. How are you planning on doing that?" a scientist asked.

Everyone at the conference table looked intently at the Director. They couldn't keep the curiosity out of their eyes.

"Angel and the Gasman-"The Director winced at the name. She thought it was immature. "-will live in Perth, Western Australia. Iggy will be sent to Adelaide, South Australia. Nudge will be sent to Sydney, New South Wales. Fang will be sent to Brisbane, Queensland and Max will be sent to Townsville, also in Queensland," the Director explained.

"Why is Max the only one not being sent to live in a capital city?" another scientist asked.

"Convenience. Our most trusted employees in Australia live in Townsville. They will be her 'parents' and keep a very close eye on her. Also, Townsville is not as big as the other cities, which means it will be easier to keep an eye on her if anything were to go wrong."

The room was silent as the employees considered this latest bit of news. Little did they know, the trusted employees that Max was being sent to live with were very trustworthy. The male, Mathew Stuart, was an ex-military official. He was well trained in combat and very strong. He could handle Max if something went wrong. Also, the female, Janet Stuart, is a lead scientist at Itex. She would be able to recognise if something was going wrong with Max scientifically. They were the best candidates to keep an eye on Max. Nothing was going to go wrong with this plan. But the Director still had to take precautions.

"The Relocation Plan will be put into effect immediately after the treatment is done," she said dismissively. She stood up and walked out of the conference room. She smiled slightly as she made her way to check up on the memory procedure. She knew it would take a fare amount of time, possibly a year, but she needed to make sure everything went perfectly.

The procedure was long; taking just under a year to fully complete. The younger experiments; Angel, the Gasman and Nudge were quicker to have their minds penetrated and their memories removed. They had to be sedated until the other treatments could be a success. Iggy took about a month longer to have his memory totally wiped and reshaped. Max and Fang both took just under a year. They took about the same time to have their minds penetrated. The specialist doctor was confused and worried for a while, saying that there wasn't usually that much resistance. But the treatment eventually worked for all of them.

As soon as the okay was given, the flock was relocated to Australia. They settled down with their new families, believing that they had lived with them their whole life. Altogether, the Relocation Plan was a success.

3. Chapter 3

Chapter 3- Broken Pattern

Max's POV

"How was your day?" my mum asked.

I sighed. "Same old, same old," I told her. School was getting very repetitive and boring. Everyday was the same. Go to school, go home, study and do homework, then sleep. Then the cycle repeated again the next day. I was getting very annoyed. I wanted something more to my life. Strangely, I craved action. I wanted anything to happen; as long as it shook things up.

My mum scrutinized my expression. "I'm fine, just tired," I assured her. I made my way up the stairs and into my room. I chucked my bag onto my bed and landed on my bed next to it. I sighed deeply and closed my eyes. For some reason, my life seemed boring. I don't understand how other people can handle it. They act like each day isn't the same thing over and over again. Maybe I was different. Maybe it was just my life that was repetitive. Maybe everyone else was different to me. It wasn't so hard to comprehend; I had always been different.

"Max?" my mum called.

"Yeah?" I called back down; not in the mood to do anything at the moment.

"Someone's here to see you," my mum answered.

I opened my eyes and sat up. At least this was a break in my pattern. But I already had an idea as to who was here; my friend, Cynthia.

"Coming," I yelled down.

I got up and walked down the stairs. I was trying to figure out why Cynthia was here, we had only just seen each other at school. Cynthia was waiting at the bottom of the stairs. She smiled at me.

"Hey," I said, not able to smile myself just yet.

"Hi," she said back. I walked into the lounge-room and she followed. I sat down on the couch and she sat down next to me.

"So, what's up?" I asked. I noticed again the difference in our voices. People often told me that I had an American accent, even though I've never been to America. It wasn't as strong anymore, but I think it's strange that I have an accent. My mum and dad keep telling me it's because I used to hang around my Aunt Tracy when I was little. She used to live in America and my parents told me that I picked it up from her. But I find that hard to believe, but I don't tell my parents that.

"Guess what," Cynthia said with clear enthusiasm and excitement in her voice.

"What?" I asked warily.

"You know Jack?" she asked. I thought of Jack in our class. He was apparently 'hot', although I don't tend to notice things like that. He had blonde hair and deep brown eyes. He was nice as well, I knew because we talked sometimes.

"Yeah, I know Jack. What about him?"

"He asked me out this afternoon. We're going to go the disco this Saturday," she said happily.

"Congratulations," I said, as warmly as possible. I still wasn't feeling very good.

"Isn't it great? I've had a crush on him since, like, forever," she said.

"I know," I said, smiling.

"I had to tell you the good news."

"It's great," I agreed. At least someone else's life could be happy and different.

"I've got to get going. I only dropped by on my way home. I have to go do my homework," she said, grimacing at the last part. "You should come to the disco as well."

Every month, the all boys' school held a disco in their hall. Heaps of people went, and it was heavily chaperoned. You have to be patted down by security before you even get in. I didn't really like going to the disco, especially not by myself. It was dark and crowded and really not my thing.

"I don't think so," I told her.

"I'll make you change your mind," she grinned. "I got to go, see you tomorrow." She stood up and walked herself to the door. I heard her shut the door behind her as she left my house. I drew my legs up to my chest and hugged a nearby pillow. I was really not feeling well today.

The Director's POV

"Something's gone wrong," the scientist informed the Director.

"What is it?" she demanded.

"Renee Muir died in an accident. She was the scientist watching over Fang. What are we going to do?"

"Hmm," the Director mused. A slow smile crept onto her face. "Let's put the memory procedure to the test. Let's send Fang to live in Townsville with Max. That way, we can keep an eye on him and we can see how Max will react. I want to make sure the memory procedure is foolproof."

"But what happens if they do get their memories back?"

"We retire them," she stated simply.

The scientist nodded. She looked a little dubious, but the Director knew the scientist would do as she was told.

Max's POV

School…again. Argh!

I stepped out of my mum's car and walked into the school grounds. This school was made up of buildings. Different subjects were held in different buildings. The school didn't need to be enclosed because this was Townsville, and Townsville was hot. It didn't snow, so therefore, the school could be open.

"Max!" Cynthia called. She hurried to my side and grinned at me.

"Excited, much?" I asked, laughing. I was feeling a lot better today.

"You have no idea. I can't wait to get to class." Her forehead crumpled. "Oh, my God. What if he ignores me in class? Or maybe he'll tell his mates and they'll laugh at me. What if this whole thing is a joke?"

"Calm down," I told her. "It's not a joke, I can tell. He's a nice guy, he won't ignore you. But he might not sit with you either. But that would only be because he hasn't told his friends yet or he's shy or something. He likes you, so relax."

She smiled. "You're not just saying that because you're my friend, are you?"

"No, I'm serious," I assured her.

She smiled. "Thanks. Just a minor freak out." She laughed self consciously.

"Everyone has them now and then," I assured her with a smile.

"Did you hear the gossip?" she asked, suddenly changing the subject.

"Gossip? What gossip?"

"There's a new student and he's gorgeous."

"Oh," I said, losing interest. Usually the guys that Cynthia called 'gorgeous' never appealed to me. I had other things on my mind.

"You would totally agree with me if you saw him," Cynthia said confidently.

We walked up the brick pathway and arrived at our usual sitting place. A wooden table with seats was sitting on a square of cement, covered by an extended bit of roof from a nearby building. I sat down and Cynthia sat down beside me. My other friend, Jacqueline, was sitting across from me. She smiled and gave a little wave. I smiled back. I really like Jacque. She loves music (she plays the guitar) and is a very good listener. She's great to talk to when you have a lot of stuff on your mind.

"Have you heard the news, Jacque?" Cynthia asked her.

"About the new student, Nick? Yeah, he's really hot. It's all true," she said with a smile.

I looked at her. Okay, this guy must be pretty hot; Jacque had higher standards than Cynthia. Everyone had higher standards than Cynthia, though. She could get a little desperate sometimes.

"You shouldn't be thinking about other guys like that," I reminded Cynthia.

Her face went pink. "Oh yeah, I'm taken, aren't I? Oh well, it doesn't mean I can't enjoy the view."

"So, this new guy, does every girl think he's hot? He's going to have a swelled head. Imagine that many girls chasing after you," I said.

"Guess what," Jacque said with a smile, "He plays guitar. I heard it from Amber. Apparently he's a good singer as well. Some guys are going to ask him to join their band. They just started and they need a good guitarist."

"You should be in the band," I told her.


"Yeah, you're a great guitarist."

"They won't want a girl guitarist," she said glumly.

"Those sexist pigs!" I said.

"Have you asked?" Cynthia asked Jacque.


"Well, how can you be sure?" she asked.

"Well, it doesn't matter, they have Nick now," Jacque said with a sigh.

"He might not agree," I argued.

"Can we drop it? I really don't care," she said dismissively.

I shrugged. "Whatever." I didn't like to make my friends uncomfortable. But I don't have anything against making people I don't like uncomfortable. I can be very aggressive with people I don't like. It was just my personality. At least the arrival of a new student had broken my usual pattern. But I don't know how long that's going to last.

4. Chapter 4

Chapter 4- First Sight

Max's POV

I waited outside my English classroom. Cynthia and Jacque were both in different classes for English and it meant that I had to sit by myself. Most of the time I sat with Peter, my sometimes friend. Have you ever had a sometimes friend? Where you only talk sometimes and you don't really hang out, but you still consider them your friend? He was quiet and really sweet, so sitting with him was alright.

The teacher, Mr. Wilcox, appeared at the door and let us all into the room. I made my way to my usual seat next to Peter. He was already sitting down by the time I had found a chair to put under my desk. I sat down next to him, the usual empty desk on my other side.

"Hey," I said.

"Hi," he replied with a smile. He turned to his friend on the other side of him and started talking. I turned to face the teacher.

"Class!" Mr. Wilcox said loudly, trying be heard over the students' noise. "I have an announcement."

The class settled down and looked at Mr. Wilcox expectantly.

"We have a new student in our class," he informed us.

I was only now aware that someone was standing in the corner of the room. He had dark hair and eyes, and olive skin. He was very good looking, or 'hot', as other people would have said. He looked strangely familiar, like I'd known him my whole life. But that was impossible.

"This is Nick," Mr. Wilcox said. "Please make him feel welcome. You can sit next to Max," he said to Nick. I understood why he had to sit next to me; the only free desk was next to me.

The whole class watched as Nick found his seat next to me. I could tell all the girls were consumed with jealousy at this point. The guys seemed in awe of his presence. Nick didn't seem to notice any of this. He watched Mr. Wilcox impassively. I turned to face Mr. Wilcox as well. So what? Nick was hot. But he probably had a bad personality. He was probably so full of himself that it would be physically painful to have a conversation with him. I ignored his presence and concentrated on the teacher.

But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't help but be aware of how close we were. Our arms were both resting on our desks, only a few inches away from each other. I thought I could feel the heat coming off his skin. But that was ridiculous. The whole lesson I was fighting the urge to reach over and touch him. What was wrong with me?

Fang/Nick's POV

Nick sat down next to the beautiful girl he was sure he had never met before, but felt like he knew. She didn't even acknowledge his presence as she returned her focus to the teacher. He got out his books and stared at his teacher, faking interest in the subject. Instead of listening, his thoughts wandered.

He found himself thinking how he had arrived at this school. A week ago, his mother had died in a terrible car crash. But for some reason, Nick didn't feel the loss as much as he thought he should. He had never been very close to his mother. It was like she was only his tenant. She provided him with a place to stay, food and warmth. But she never really mothered him. It was like she wasn't his real mother. But he knew that he wasn't supposed to think like that.

He found himself watching the girl next to him out of the corner of his eye, instead of paying attention to the teacher. She was beautiful, but probably mean or catty like other pretty girls he had known. But none of them had ever been as pretty as her.

He was aware of how close they were, and felt an urge to move his arm over a little and brush against her. He was a little freaked out by what was happening to him. He'd never wanted to do that before. He wondered what was going on with himself.

The class dragged, but the bell finally rang and the class started to pack up their things. Nick stood silently and placed his books back into his bag. He reached down to pick up his pencil case at the same time the girl next to him picked up her book, which was right next to his pencil case. Their hands brushed against each other.

Nick was shocked at the tingle that went up his arm from her touch. Their eyes met and the girl seemed as surprised as he was. But she quickly rearranged her features and gave a little smile.

"Sorry," she said, placing her book into her bag and turning away. Her voice sounded nice. He found himself wanting to hear more of it. He shoved his pencil case into his bag and did it up quickly. Then he walked out of the room, looking back at the girl for a split second. She didn't seem mean at all.

Oh, my god! What had all that been about? I'd nearly jumped out of my skin when he touched me. After a whole lesson of carefully ignoring the urge to touch him, he touches me. And why was is that his touch had sent pleasant tingles up my hand? I had to get a grip on myself!

I slowly made my way to my next class, Geography. My fellow classmates were already lined up and waiting for the teacher to let them inside. Our school was pretty strict. Most of the time you had to get your books out before class and line up before the teacher let you in. But fortunately not every class followed that routine.

I joined onto the end of the line and was grateful that Nick didn't seem to be in this class. I needed time to get my head back on straight.

"Forward in," the teacher said. The class started moving through the door to the classroom. Miss Gibson was sporty looking, with light brown hair pulled into a ponytail. If I remembered correctly, she also played touch football. She smiled as I walked past and took my usual seat at the back of the class.

She closed the door behind her and stood at the front of the room. "Our new unit is going to be coastal formations. I want you all to take out your books and copy down the notes on the board," she instructed.

Good; notes. They didn't require a lot of thinking to copy down. But maybe I wanted something that I had to think about. That way my mind wouldn't wander. I really didn't want to think about what had happened in English. I stared at my desk for a minute, thinking.

"Max," Miss Gibson said. I looked up and found her looking disapprovingly at me.


"Are you copying down the notes?" she asked. I looked down at my book and found that it was blank. I hadn't even started copying the notes down.

"Yeah, I'm about to start," I told her. I put my pen to the paper and started copying the notes from the board. I concentrated on my notes, and only my notes. It kept me distracted, which I now decided is what I wanted.

The class finished without any dramas and I was one of the first people out the door. I started heading towards my roll marking class.

On the way I walked into someone.

"Oof," I gasped in surprise. Arms shot out and steadied me. I looked up to find a boy standing in front of me. I recognised him as a guy from my roll class, Mitch.

"Sorry," I muttered, embarrassed that I hadn't been paying much attention to my surroundings.

"That's okay," he said with an easy smile.

Mitch was one of the footy guys. He was a jock, and a cute one. But I would never admit that to anyone. He was popular and I knew lots of girls liked him. He was always easy to get along with.

We started off towards our class in comfortable silence. I must admit, he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but he isn't an idiot either. He was average. Plus, he has always been nice to me.

"What class did you just have?" he asked conversationally.

"Geography," I answered.

"Do you like geography?"

"It's alright. It just depends sometimes."

"I had history," he informed me.

"Do you like it?"

"Yeah, we're doing some pretty interesting stuff. But I hate it when our teacher's in a bad mood. He gets physco."

I laughed. We had arrived at our class. "See you," I said as we split up. I went to sit with Jacque and Cynthia, while he went to sit with his friends. I noticed that Nick was in my roll class as well. Great.

"Were you just talking to Mitch?" Cynthia asked as soon as I sat down.

"Yes,' I replied, my brow furrowing.

"What'd you talk about?" she inquired.

"What classes we just had," I said, confused at her interest in the subject.

"Do you think he likes you?" she asked in a whisper.

I laughed. Cynthia is boy-crazy. I think she's getting a little desperate.

"We were just talking," I told her.

"I dunno; it looks like he likes you."

"Jacque?" I said, looking for support.

"I think I have to agree this time. I think he might like you," she told me.

"What?" I exclaimed.

They both nodded wisely.

"Cynthia Daniels?" the teacher, Mr. Davis, called, marking the roll.

"Here!" she said, then turned back to me.

"We know these things, Max," she informed me.

"Most of the time you're wrong, Cynthia. You just want to gossip."

She frowned. "Fine, but I know he likes you. I can feel it."

I groaned.

"Jacqueline Long?" the teacher called.

"Here," Jacque answered.

"That new guy, Nick, is in our class," Cynthia stated. Any the relief I would've felt about the change of subject was lost. This subject would probably be worse.

"He's in my history class as well," Cynthia said. "He's pretty smart. Imagine that, looks and brains."

I inwardly groaned. What is with her fixation with boys?

"Cynthia, is there anything you talk about that doesn't involve boys?" I asked her, irritation getting the best of me.

She ignored me and continued prattling on about Nick. I tuned out and stared at my desk, trying not to think.

"Maxine?!" the teacher said. I snapped back to reality and realised by the tone of the teacher's voice that my name had been called twice.

"Here," I answered.

The teacher continued calling out the roll until it was finished. Then Mr. Davis started reading out the notices.

"The student council has decided on a free-dress day. Students can wear any clothes they want to, as long as it is acceptable, this Friday. But you must bring a gold coin donation."

The class started mumbling in interest. I was hardly interested in what I was going to wear.

"Oh, my God; I have to go shopping and get a new outfit!" I heard Cynthia say.

"My wardrobe does need an update," Jacque agreed.

"We should all go shopping. Are you coming Max?"

"Today?" I asked.

"No, I'm only free Thursday."

"Oh, okay. Sure," I said, aware that if I refused she would never let me hear the end of it. She would end up persuading me in the end. So I gave in straight away.

"Excellent, Thursday after school, then," she said.

"You may go," Mr. Davis announced to the class. We stood up and made our way out of the room. I followed behind Cynthia and Jacque as they made their way to our usual eating area. We arrived at our table and sat down in our usual spots.

"I heard that Danielle was going to ask Nick out," Jacque said.

"Really?" Cynthia asked in shock. "Why didn't I know of this earlier? I wonder what he will say."

"Why does it matter?" I snapped. "You don't even know him. Why is everyone obsessing about him?"

They stared at me in shock. "Are you alright?" Jacque asked.


"No, you're not. What's wrong?" Cynthia asked.

"I…I'm just tired," I lied. The truth was that I didn't really know what was wrong with me. I guess it's just everyone being hormonal girls. Couldn't they just get over the fact that there was a new guy in the class that happened to be hot? Or was it just because my hormones seemed to suddenly kicking in? I'd never reacted to a guy like that before.

"Guess what happened during History," Jacque said after a long look of concern aimed at me. She was obviously trying to make the uncomfortable moment go away.

"What?" I asked, not really interested.

"Aaron fell asleep and the whole class was laughing at him. A couple of his mates were drawing on him. It was hilarious."

"What'd the teacher do?" I inquired.

"He was totally clueless."

I joined in their laughter weakly. I wasn't feeling like myself at all. Well, I was just in a bad mood. I wanted this day to end. My friends and their crazy hormones were annoying me. Hell, my own crazy hormones were annoying me! I thought back to English with Nick. What had been going on with me? It was just that, wasn't it? Hormones. Just crazy hormones, nothing else.

I sighed and started listening to my friends again. I didn't want to take my frustration and annoyance out on them.

This was going to be a long day.

5. Chapter 5

Chapter 5- The Band

Nick's POV

Nick sat by himself. It was lunch and he was surrounded by a sea of chatting people. He didn't pay any attention to them as he concentrated on eating his food. A group of people coming towards him made him look up. He watched as three boys walked to his table and stood awkwardly in front of him.

"Can I help you?" he asked in a casual voice.

The boys shuffled their feet, clearly uncomfortable. Two of them had different shades of brown hair. They were both slim. One was pale and the other had tanned skin. The boy that seemed to be the leader had blonde hair. He was medium height and pale.

The leader steeped forward. He seemed to be the bravest. "Can we sit with you? We wanted to ask you something," he said. Nick shrugged and indicated the chair in a 'go for it' way. The boy sat down and the other two followed his lead.

"I'm James," the leader said. "This is Luke," he said, indicating the pale one, "and this is Daniel," he said, indicating the other boy.

"Hi," Nick said.

"You play guitar, right?" James asked.

Nick nodded. He knew that any news about him would travel fast, but he wasn't expecting it to be this fast.

"We have a band," James explained. "But our guitarist quit a few days ago and we need a replacement."

"I just started here. I don't even know you," Nick told him.

"We can get to know you. We just heard that you were a really good guitarist and singer."

"I'd be singing too?" he asked.

"Well…yeah. If that's okay," James said.

"What do you play?" Nick inquired.

"I play bass. Luke plays drums and Daniel plays keyboard," he explained.

"Well, what happens if I accept? When are the rehearsals and that?"

"We get together every Saturday afternoon at my place. My garage is huge and we practise there. But we could have a band rehearsal on Friday to audition you and that. It won't be a proper one; we'll just hang out and that." He seemed determined not to pressure Nick into anything.

After a moment of deliberation, Nick nodded. "Friday it is. When and where?"

James grabbed a book out of his bag and tore the corner of a page off and started writing on it. Then he handed it to Nick. It was an address.

"How about 4:30pm? Is that okay with you?" James asked.

Nick nodded.

The atmosphere relaxed after that. They started to talk and Nick realised that he actually liked these guys. They were friendly and seemed genuine.

After a while James asked, "So, see anyone you like?"

Nick immediately knew the question was about girls. Because if it wasn't that would be just plain creepy.

"Maybe," Nick allowed. A face flashed up from his memory and he quickly suppressed it. It was that beautiful girl in English that he had sat next to.

James let out a low laugh.

"Let me guess, you've seen Max," Luke said.

Max? He didn't know the name of the beautiful girl, but he wondered if Luke was talking about her. Max. He liked that name. It was short and sophisticated. He didn't picture her as a Max, though.

"Max?" Nick decided to ask out loud.

"Yeah. She's like the most beautiful girl in our grade," Daniel offered.

"Blonde, tall, skinny…"James described. That could definitely be her. But how many blonde, tall, skinny girls could there be in this school? Probably hundreds, right?

"She's a bit strange, though," Luke admitted. "She is gorgeous, and yet she has never dated someone while she's been at this school. It's like she doesn't know guys are interested in her."

"I remember when she first came here," Daniel started saying. "Every single guy's jaw dropped. Even the older guys. But she didn't seem to notice. Some guys were brave enough to ask her out, but she always said no."

"Maybe she thinks she's too good for them," Nick offered. The three guys glanced at him.

"You didn't see the guys that asked her out. They were the most popular ones. The ones that you expect girls like her to go for."

"Oh," Nick said.

"She's obviously stuck up," James said in a low voice.

"I don't think she is," Nick said automatically. Instantly he wished he'd never said anything. They stared at him with narrowed eyes. But it was true. After hearing her speak, he would never think that she was stuck up again. She had seemed sweet. He nearly smiled as he remembered her. But he wiped all expression off his face and stared back at his new found friends. He was strangely good at not showing emotion.

"Sounds like you have the hots for her," James mused with a grin.

"I don't even know her," Nick replied, probably too defensively.

James just grinned at him. It was actually quite annoying.

"Don't worry, mate. I think just about every guy has the hots for her," Luke added. Nick didn't like the sound of that. He was suddenly annoyed that all the guys at this school could be so shallow. But he kept his face impassive and nodded. He didn't understand why he was having this reaction.

"Yeah," Daniel agreed. "I'd tap that." They all started laughing at his remark. Nick clenched his fist under the table where they couldn't see. Then, with some difficulty, he pretended to laugh with them.

What was going on with me? He asked himself.

The bell rang overhead. I found myself looking forward to my maths lesson, instead of dreading it like I usually do. Cynthia and Jacque weren't in my maths class, so I could have some alone time. I was starting to get sick of their meaningless chatter. I didn't want to take my bad mood out on them, so I figured it was good for them to get away from me.

"See you," I said, gathering my things and heading for my class. They waved goodbye to me and then made their way to their own class.

Our teacher, Mrs. Stone, was waiting out the front when I arrived. I quickly lined up as the class headed inside. Mrs. Stone was a strict teacher, but when she was in a good mood her lessons could be quite enjoyable. She was actually a good teacher, as well. I actually learnt things from her.

I found my usual seat towards the far side of the room and sat down. I grabbed out my books and pencil case, and then turned to the teacher expectantly. Maths was a lesson where it could take all my concentration. Most of the time I tuned out, but I didn't want to be alone with my thoughts on this particular day.

School was easy for me. After I'd learnt the theory behind something, or had seen it done, I could almost always do it again without much thought. It was like I had a really good memory and just stored things away to be used effortlessly later. Whatever it was, I liked it. It meant I didn't have to do all the repetitive revision.

Unfortunately, today was a revision lesson of math. This meant that I wouldn't have to concentrate. This meant that my mind was free to wander.

I was suddenly aware of the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. I had a feeling like someone was watching me. This was ridiculous, I was in a room full of people; of course someone could be watching me. But the feeling didn't go away.

I surreptitiously glanced around the room. My eyes met a pair of dark ones. I stiffened. The new guy, Nick, was watching me. I quickly glanced away. I could feel the heat in my face and was thoroughly embarrassed. Why did I have to blush!? I looked down at my book and tried to concentrate. I was aware that the hairs on the back of my neck weren't standing up anymore. I shifted my hair around my face so that he wouldn't be able to see my face. Then I cautiously glanced out of the corner of my eye at him. He was looking at the teacher. I let out an inaudible sigh of relief and focused more intently on the maths work the teacher was doing on the board.

Why had he been looking at me? Maybe he wasn't. Maybe he was just staring past me; day-dreaming. No, I told myself, he was definitely looking at me. Maybe I had something on my face. I quickly wiped my hand across my face. Nothing.

The lesson passed slowly after that. I found myself glancing at Nick every so often, trying to see if he was looking at me. But every time I looked, he was watching the teacher. I pushed him out of my mind and counted down the minutes until the bell would go.

The bell rang. Finally! I got up quickly and started shoving my things in my bag.

"Max? Nick? Can I see you both for a moment," Mrs. Stone called. I glanced up at her, then over at Nick. I swallowed and finished off packing my bag. Then I headed over to the teacher's desk.

I stood off to the side as the teacher addressed Nick.

"Nick, I want you to take this homework sheet home. Try and do as many questions as you can. I want to see where you are at," the teacher told him. She handed him a sheet of paper. He nodded and then glanced at me. I couldn't tell what emotions were on his face. Maybe none at all.

The teacher turned to me and I quickly looked away from Nick. "I wanted to congratulate you, Max," she said. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Nick leave the room. I relaxed.

"Uh, okay," I said to the teacher, not sure what she was talking about.

"You got every question correct in your maths exam," she told me. "And that was a difficult exam."

"Oh, thanks."

"That's all," she said dismissively. I nodded jerkily and then quickly left the room.

I thought I was about to cry; I was so confused. And I never cried. This boy was messing with me. His presence was making me lose my mind. Why!?

I let out a frustrated sigh and marched off to meet my friends. I wondered if this day would ever end.

6. Chapter 6

Chapter 6- Crazy hormones

Max's POV

School was over, but the day wasn't. I still had to work. Yes, I did say work. I worked at a News Agency in a Shopping Centre. I was fairly well paid, and the uniform wasn't too bad. But there were certain things I didn't like to put up with.

I walked out of the toilets in my uniform (long black pants with a yellow and black shirt). I made my way to the News Agency and was pleasantly surprised that Tara was working today. She was the only person I had really connected with since I had started this job here.

"Hey Tara," I called to her. No customers were in the News Agent at the moment.

"Max!" she called back to me, relief evident in her voice. "I was hoping you would be working today. I'm so bored!"

I laughed. It was amazing how a good friend could lighten your mood in an instant. Tara was so happy that it was affecting me already. I could forget about today and move on...hopefully.

I walked over and joined her behind the counter. "So, what did you do today?" I asked her with a smile. Tara was seventeen, one year older than me, and went to an all girls' school.

(A/N: Keep in mind that the procedure Max underwent took almost a year so she's fifteen, nearly sixteen, now.)

She rolled her eyes. "It's so boring going to an all girls' school," she informed me. "All anyone ever does is bitch."

I laughed.

"But I'm looking forward to this weekend," she continued.

"Why?" I asked, bewildered.

"The disco. Hopefully I'll dance with a totally hot guy…"

"That's right, the disco is this Saturday, isn't it?"

She smiled at me. "Are you going?"

"No," I said.

"Aw, why not?"

I hesitated before I replied. "I'm not really the dancing person," I told her. This wasn't exactly true. The truth was that I didn't know why I didn't want to go. I liked dancing, it's just I don't like how all the guys ask me to dance with them when I go. It's awkward and I'm never interested in any of them. I've never been really interested in any guy…until now.

"Is there something on your mind?" she asked me.

I cleared all expression off my face and shook my head.

"No, why?" I asked casually.

"You seem distracted," she said.

I shrugged, wishing that she would change the subject. I glanced away from her curious face and saw a customer walk in. I groaned and quickly ducked down behind the counter.

"I'm not here," I hissed at her.

As you've probably guessed by now, Nick had just walked into the News Agency. I didn't think he saw me (I have quick reflexes), but I could be wrong.

Tara was eyeing me like I was insane. Then she looked up and saw who had walked in. Her mouth dropped open and I heard her gasp.

"Who is that?" she whispered to me, staring at him.

"I'll tell you later," I hissed at her.

A small smile spread across her lips and she stood behind the cash register, waiting.

I heard, rather than saw, Nick approach the counter. I saw Tara take the thing he was purchasing from him (It looked like a birthday card). She was smiling a little too much.

"Hey," she said as she scanned the card, still smiling. I was a little annoyed at her obvious flirting. I wonder why that is…I shuffled slightly and tried to get a better look at what was going on.

"Hey," he said back. Then I saw the top of his head poke over the counter and look at me.

"Hey Max," Nick said, amusement in his eyes.

I heard my sharp intake of breath. How had he known?! I slowly stood up, trying to keep some of my dignity.

"You're right, Tara, I can't find it anywhere," I said, creating some ruse that he would never belief.

He grinned at me and I forgot to breathe for a second. How could anyone be that gorgeous?

"I'll have to tell the manager," Tara said, playing along. I knew that she was trying desperately not to laugh.

Tara handed over Nick's card and he handed her some money in return. She opened the cash register and placed the money inside.

"Thanks," he said to her. Then he turned to me. "See you tomorrow, Max," he said, still smiling.

I watched him leave, and then collapsed against the counter.

Wait a minute. How had he known my name?

"So, what was all that about?" Tara asked.

I sighed in defeat. "He's a new guy at our school," I explained.

"And…?" she prompted.

"You saw him."


"Exactly. All the girls are going crazy over him," I told her.

"Including you?"

"…Sort of," I admitted.

She grinned at me. "He is gorgeous. Too bad he's younger," she said teasingly. "So, why just sort of? Why not a definite 'yes'?"

"I don't know. I think it's my crazy hormones," I told her.

She laughed. "This is good. I was starting to worry about you, Max. You've never shown any interest in guys. For a while I thought you might be a lesbian," she admitted.

"It's just that no other guys have jumped out at me. I mean that figuratively. I don't understand why he's any different…"

"Maybe he's meant for you," she teased. I punched her playfully in the arm.

"Well," she said, becoming serious. "Maybe it's because he's new. You know how most guys you know for too long don't seem datable? Am I making any sense?"

I laughed. "I don't think it's that. I'm still fairly new to this school myself." I'd been at this school for about six months.

"Hmmm, well I don't know. But he is hot."

More customers were trickling in now, and we gave up our conversation. But just because I wasn't talking about him anymore didn't mean that I wasn't thinking about him.

Nick walked into the News Agency. He strode over to a rack with cards on it. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a movement. He glanced over at the counter and saw a girl standing behind the counter, looking down at something.

His brow furrowed, but he turned back to the card rack. After a few moments of deliberation, he chose a birthday card. It was his little sister's birthday in a couple of weeks. She was having a party that he was supposed to supervise, since his dad would be working. He wasn't too happy about that. He would have to sit and watch little kids running around and screaming for the whole day. Greeat.

He approached the counter. A tall brunette smiled at him and he handed over the card.

"Hey," she said as she scanned it. He heard a shuffling sound come from behind the counter.

"Hey," he said back to the girl. Then he stuck his head over the counter and found Max.

"Hey Max," he said to her. He heard her sharp intake of breath and he inwardly smiled.

"You're right, Tara, I can't find it anywhere," she said. He grinned at her and almost laughed. Now she was trying to create some ruse so she wouldn't feel as embarrassed. He wondered why she was hiding from him in the first place.

"I'll have to tell the manager," the brunette said.

The girl named Tara handed the card back to him and he gave her the money. He glanced at Max and once again realised how beautiful she was. But he also noticed how innocent she seemed as well. But she was strong as well, that he could tell.

"Thanks," he said to Tara. "See you tomorrow, Max." He was faintly surprised that he was still smiling. He turned and walked out of the store.

He walked to the food court. He was starving. The food court contained heaps of little fast food shops and tables and chairs were situated in the middle. He quickly scanned the room and was surprised to see James, Luke and Daniel sitting at a table eating hot chips.

James raised his head and spotted him. He smiled and motioned him over with his hand. Nick walked over to them. He still wasn't sure if he liked them yet. But they seemed alright. He just had a problem with trust.

As Nick approached their table James pulled the only spare chair out. He sat down.

"What are you doing here?" James asked.

"Getting a card for my little sister," he replied.

"Is it her birthday?" Luke asked.


"We're just chilling. I wanted to look at a new pair of drumsticks," Luke said.

"Is there a music store here?" Nick asked.

"Yeah. It's not very big though. It only has the basics."

"Awesome. I might check it out later," he said.

"Hey, I think I need to go to the News Agency," Daniel said with a grin. The other guys laughed and Nick couldn't help but feel like he was missing out on a joke.

James seemed to notice his confusion because he said, "Max works there. Daniel just loves to stop by and visit her."

Nick's fists clenched under the table. He forced himself to smile. What was getting into him? He was feeling way too protective of Max.

"I've got to go," he said, standing up. "Bye."

"Bye," James said in a confused voice.

Nick walked away from the table and decided it was time for him to leave the shopping Centre. He grabbed out his phone and dialled his dad's mobile.

"Hello?" his dad asked.

"Hey. Can you pick me up?"

"I can't, I'm still working. Can you walk?"

"I'm at the shops, dad."

"Yeah, I know you can walk from there. It isn't that far."

"What time do you finish work?" Nick asked.

"In half an hour."

"I'll wait till then. Can you pick me up on your way home?"

"Okay. Sure."

"Bye," he said as he closed his flip phone. He stopped walking for a moment and scanned the shops around him. He spotted the music store up ahead and decided to check it out. But as he walked past the Food Court he noticed that James, Luke and Daniel weren't there anymore. He smiled. He really was starving. He changed course and went to line up at one of the food shops.

I sighed to myself. Today had gone forever. And it was still going. Three customers walked in to Agency and headed straight for the counter. One picked up a 50 cent pack of stickers as they headed towards me.

Great. (Note the sarcasm)

Tara was off stacking shelves or something. One of the boys, someone I recognised from school, gave the packet of stickers to me.

"Hey," he said with a cheesy grin. Was that his idea of being seductive? 'Cause it sure wasn't working.

"Hey," I mumbled back as I scanned the stickers. This was the part of the job I hated. Heaps of guys came in here and flirted with me. I was totally not interested.

I handed the stickers back to him with a receipt. He grinned at me again.

"Do you have a pen?" He asked. The other guys were behind him trying not to laugh.

"Yes," I said warily. I picked up a pen and held it out to him.

"Maybe you could give me your number," he said, pushing the blank side of the receipt at me.

I grinned. "Sure," I said, a plan formulating. The guys in the background choked in disbelief. The main guy grinned even wider. I took the receipt off of him and hastily scrawled something.

I re-read it before I passed it to him.

He looked down hopefully at the piece of paper, and then scowled. I smiled sweetly at him and he turned around and stalked out of the shop. I waved after him. "Bye," I called. The two other guys followed after him quickly, asking what was wrong.

I thought of what I wrote on the piece of paper. In your dreams! It had read. It wasn't the best I could come up with, but I didn't want to make him cry. Maybe now he would give up on me. I smiled to myself.

7. Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Jealousy, me?

Max's POV

What seemed like the longest day of my life (yesterday) was finally over. Thank God! I was slightly more ready for school today. Yesterday had taken me off guard. Today I was prepared. Yesterday was just a one time thing. There was no way I was going to feel like that again. There was no way I'd let myself. No, I was going to be myself today.

I was already dressed for school. We had to wear a white shirt and a black skirt to school. Obviously the boys wore shorts. I didn't really like the skirt, I preferred shorts. But it was against the school dress code for girls to wear shorts unless they were playing sport. Like I told you, it's a strict school.

I had my bag packed with all the things I needed and started walking to school. Mum said it was a way to stay fit. I wonder how I got so fit in the first place. I can't really remember. I know that might sound up myself; saying how fit I am, but it's true. I can sprint a hundred kilometres without even breaking a sweat. I guess it's just that I was born that way. But still…

I arrived at the school only five minutes before the bell rang. I guess I was running later than I realised. I headed off to class.

The first half of the day passed quickly. I tried to only focus on myself, as selfish as that sounds. But it worked. I had actually enjoyed the subjects I had this morning. It also helped that Cynthia and Jacque hadn't mentioned any guys so far.

But that all changed during break. It wasn't my friends. No, they were still behaving themselves in my books. It was me. I happened to pass an empty classroom that was sort of cut off from the other buildings. I wouldn't have even looked at it if I hadn't of heard the sound coming from it.

The classroom door was closed, but I looked through the window and saw someone; someone playing their guitar. When I looked closer, I realised that it was Nick.

Great. Just the person I want to see, I thought sarcastically to myself. I had been trying to avoid him all day. I didn't have anything against him (probably the opposite), but I didn't want to bring out that bizarre reaction I had had yesterday.

But I couldn't help my curiosity now. I peered through the window and strained my ears to hear what he was playing. It wasn't anything I had heard before. I realised that it must be a song he had written. I listened carefully and was mildly shocked at how good he was. I had heard he was good, but I didn't think he was that good. I listened to the lyrics and smiled. If he had written that song, he was good.

I kind of felt like I was trespassing on something personal. His song and lyrics caught me a bit off guard. His song was full of meaning and feelings. It was the opposite of what I had imagined him as. Maybe this was the side of him that he didn't let anyone see.

It took me a moment to realise that he had stopped playing. I had been thinking hard about his music and it didn't even register until it was too late.

The door swung open and I nearly jumped out of my skin. Nick appeared and then turned to face me. He looked surprised to find me standing there. Who wouldn't be? I probably looked like a deer caught in headlights.

"Hey," I managed to croak.

His brow furrowed a tiny bit. Anyone else probably wouldn't have noticed, but I felt as if I knew his face as well as my own. But at the same time it was a stranger's face.

"Hi," he said back.

I bit the inside of my lip and gave a shaky smile. Then I turned tail and tried to get out of there as quickly as I could without looking suspicious. I failed big time.

"Wait!" he called after me. I grimaced and stopped. I guess I could've kept going and pretended I didn't hear him. But I knew I wouldn't be able to escape him for long; our next class was together.

I turned around and faced him. He was closer than I thought. He must have been following me as I tried to make my escape.

"What?" I asked, trying to sound innocent. I'm a good liar, but he seemed to see right through me.

"Were you listening to me play?" he asked. It didn't sound like an accusation. He just sounded curious.

"Maybe," I allowed.

"Was it any good?" he asked with an impassive face. His question startled me and I felt my eyebrows rise.

"Yeah," I said. I probably sounded like an idiot with my one word answers.

He looked relieved (again, I didn't know how I could tell).

"I only wrote it yesterday," he explained. "I didn't know if it sounded any good. It's still in its rough stages."

I was surprised by that. It had sounded perfect to me.

"It sounded good," I said, telling him my thoughts.

"Thanks," he mumbled.

"How long have you been playing?" I asked.

"Not very long, maybe six months."

"Six months and you sound like that?" I asked in disbelief. I mentally cringed when I realised I'd spoken my thoughts out loud.

He smiled at my reaction. "People call me a natural."

Oh, my god. He was good-looking, could play the guitar and was smart by the sound of it. How could one guy be so much?

"Do you play an instrument?" he asked me.


"Do you sing?"

"In the shower," I blurted. Then I felt my face heat up with embarrassment. I couldn't believe I'd just said that. What was wrong with me?

He laughed quietly for a moment. The bell rang overhead and I was strangely saddened that my encounter with him had to end.

"You're in my next class, right?" he asked.


"Want to walk together?"

I hesitated for half a second before agreeing.

We walked off to our next class, still talking.

Only half the class was lined up outside the room. The rest still hadn't arrived from break. I felt really uncomfortable when everyone stared as we approached. We both grew quiet as the curious stares made us feel uncomfortable.

"Is it always like this?" Nick whispered.

I let out a little laugh. "This school loves a bit of gossip. It doesn't help that you're new and everyone was already staring at you."

"Why, though? I'm new, can't they get over it?" We were talking so low that no one else could hear us.

"Please. Just about every girl is drooling over you," I told him. Then I regretted it. Why did I have to say that? But to my surprise he just laughed a startled laugh.


"Er-never mind," I said hastily. I didn't want to have this awkward conversation.

I could tell he was going to ask me something else (his mouth opened to say something), but luckily the classroom door opened and the teacher, Ms. Cameron told us to forward in.

I groaned when I realised something. This was science, and science was the class I always sat alone in. Our class was a lab room and it had lab benches that held two people. I realised that Nick would have to sit in a spare seat. The only spare seat was next to me.

I reluctantly sat down and my bench. I glanced over at Nick and saw the teacher talking to him.

"So, you're new here?" the teacher was asking. Duh!

"Yes." I smiled to myself. It was funny how teachers asked the obvious questions.

"Why don't you take the spare seat next to Max," Ms. Cameron told him.

"You can sit next to me," an overhelpful girl piped up. She was sitting in one of the lab benches closest to the front. I frowned and clenched my fists at her not-so-subtle flirting. She had long red hair and glasses.

"There's no room next to you, Caitlin," the teacher said with a frown. I smiled to myself. Then I realised that I didn't want him to sit next to me and resume the conversation we had been having.

"We can make room," Caitlin said with a pout.

"I think the logical thing is for Nick to sit next to Max where there is actually room," Ms. Cameron said.

"Okay," Caitlin said with evident disappointment.

Nick turned to face me and I quickly looked away, not wanting him to think I'd been staring at him. He walked over to my bench and sat on the stool beside me. The teacher turned to the class and began the lesson. I couldn't concentrate on her when Nick was looking at me like that.

"What?" I finally asked him in annoyance.

"You never finished what you were going to say."

I glared at him. "That's because I don't want to finish what I was saying."

"Please," he said. I looked into his eyes and couldn't help but give in. I know, I'm a total sucker when it came to sticking to what I say.

"Fine," I said. "All the girls think you're hot and can't keep their eyes off of you."

"Well, you should hear what the guys say about you," he told me. I felt my face heat up as I turned to him and hissed:


Nick shrugged his shoulders at me. "They think you're hot. And they think it's weird that you're not going out with anyone," he told me.

"It's none of their business who I go out with!" I whisper-shouted at him.

"Hey," he said, holding his hands up in surrender. "It wasn't me."

I studied his face briefly, and then turned to face the teacher, who was ranting about something or other.

"Do you think I'm hot?" Nick asked me. I felt my face heat up again. Who did he think he was to ask a question like that?! I felt like slapping him. I took a deep breath and continued looking at the teacher.

"Well?" he asked, amusement in his voice.

I turned to face him. "Yes," I said. I might as well tell him the truth, he could probably tell from my red face anyway.

He looked taken aback when I actually answered him. I decided to make him as uncomfortable as he had made me. So I mentally grinned when I asked him:

"Do you think I'm hot?"

He stared at me and I couldn't help but feel a bit mesmerised by his midnight eyes.

"Yes," he whispered. I swallowed hard and tore my eyes away from his. I looked back at the teacher and tried to focus. It didn't work. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw Nick's face turn a pinkish colour in response to his confession.

Just because he thought I was hot didn't mean that he liked me. Maybe he didn't even think I was hot, maybe he was just trying not to make me feel bad with the real answer. Either way, it definitely did not mean anything. I mean, I think he's hot, but that doesn't mean I like him. Right?

The rest of the lesson passed in silence. I tried to concentrate on the teacher, but I couldn't. Not with him sitting next to me. The bell rang after what felt like ages and I was out of that room pretty quickly.

Why did being a teenager have to be so difficult? Now things would be awkward between us. Heck, they were already awkward! Now they're even more awkward. Why did we have to have that conversation? Maybe it would be better if I just forgot about the whole thing.

Yeah right, like that was going to happen!

8. Chapter 8

A/N: Wow, I got a lot of reviews for my last chapter! Thanks to all my reviewers and readers! Enjoy this next chapter...

Chapter 8-Talking

Nick's POV

He watched as Max quickly left the room after the bell rang. That had been incredibly awkward. Why did he have to ask her those questions? Now she will probably avoid him. He just had to bring it up! He mentally slapped himself. He could be an idiot sometimes. Besides, it wasn't like he liked her or anything. He just thought she was hot … And nice … And funny…

Oh God, maybe he did like her. No...He couldn't...could he?

He inwardly groaned. He was such and idiot! He had been here less than a week and he was already screwing up his life. He sighed and started putting his stuff back into his bag. He was already one of the only people left in the classroom. Everyone else had filed out by then. The teacher was packing up stuff at her desk and the only other student was a red haired girl that he recognised as the girl who had wanted him to sit with her.

He was surprised when she grabbed her bag and made her way over to him.

Okay, so I kind of overreacted. We both said awkward things. I should just go and apologise, right? I cringed at the thought. I hated apologising. So why was I suddenly wanting to apologise to this guy? Okay, so maybe I had a tiny little crush on him. But who didn't? Every girl in the school seemed to like him. So I had a crush on him. I could accept that without too much difficulty. It was only a little crush, nothing more.

So I turned around and walked back to science, hoping to apologise and laugh it off. I stopped out the front of the still open door and saw Nick standing with the red haired girl. My brow furrowed as I watched them.

"So, how do you like this school?" the red haired chick asked him.

"It's fine," he replied politely. Why did random people have the need to talk to him?

"Do you know where everything is? I could show you around," she offered.

"I think I can manage," he replied, starting to get annoyed. She pushed her glasses up her nose nervously and smiled.

"Are you sure?" she asked, moving closer to him. She was really close to him now. He wanted to push her away, but he didn't really want to hurt her feelings.

"Yes, I'm sure," he told her. He looked at her face and was surprised at how different she looked from Max. Was he comparing every girl he met to her now? That was a bit unfair, seeing as Max is gorgeous.

"...Okay," she said with a disappointed look on her face.

"Can you shut the door on your way out, kids?" the teacher called as she made her way out of the room. "I'm running late for a meeting."

"Sure," the red head said in a wobbly voice. As soon as the teacher was out of the room she burst out crying.

"Are you okay?" Nick asked in confusion. Why was she crying? What had he said? She continued to sob loudly.

"What's wrong with me?" she cried.

"Nothing," Nick assured her. Just that you're not Max, he thought to himself. That thought disturbed him. He hardly even knew her.

"I'm ugly, aren't I?" she wailed.

"No," Nick assured her. He didn't know how to comfort her. He wasn't used to crying people.

"Then why don't you like me?"

"Oh," he said softly. She was crying because he didn't like her? He would never be able to understand the opposite sex.

"Are you gay?" she asked, her sobbing subsiding.

"No," he told her. He almost wished he could say yes so that she would leave him alone. But he knew that the rumour would spread around the school. Plus, he wasn't gay. It was as simple as that.

"Look, there's nothing wrong with you. I-I've just got to this town and school and I don't really want to start dating until I settle in," he explained. It wasn't really the truth, but he didn't want her to start crying again.

"I'm so sorry you had to see me like this. It's just that I've had an emotional week," the girl tried to explain. Her face was flushed with embarrassment.

"Don't worry," he told her.

She nodded and turned tail and almost ran out of the room. He watched her leave and was surprised to see someone else at the door.


"What did you do to her?" she asked in a hushed voice.

He shrugged his shoulders in response. "I thought you left," he said, changing the subject.

"I did," she said, shifting slightly. She looked embarrassed. "I wanted to tell you…I'm sorry about before. I mean, we were just-er-mucking around and that. So…sorry" she said. It was amusing to see her struggle for words.

"It's okay," he said simply. "Let's just forget about it."

She looked relieved. "We should probably get out of the classroom," she said after a pause. He nodded and they left the room and shut the door behind them. Students were spread out all over the school enjoying their lunch. Nick started walking and was surprised when Max started walking alongside him.

"Don't mind that red haired girl," Max said after a long silence. "She's emotionally unstable. She brings it on herself. She throws herself at heaps of guys."


"She usually gets her way as well," Max added.

"Really?" he asked in disbelief.

"Yeah. She's pretty and most guys love it when girls throw themselves at them. Well, that's what I think."

"But she started crying because I didn't want her to show me around. How many guys are gonna want to go out with a girl like that?" Plus, he knew a much prettier girl and she happened to be standing beside him.

But not everything is about looks.

"Hmmm, you'd think guys would be put off by that." She shrugged her shoulders. "I can't pretend to know how a guy's mind works."

"So why aren't you with your friends?" he asked.

"I'm not in the mood. That probably sounds really mean and that, but my friends can get on my nerves sometimes and I don't want to get angry at them for no reason."

"That seems pretty considerate."

"Not really," she said modestly.

Nick was starting to marvel at how much he was talking. He was usually silent and kept to himself, but with this girl everything changed.

"Why did you come here?" Max suddenly asked.

"We moved up here from Brisbane. My mum died and my dad wanted a change of scenery."

"Do you like it here?" she asked. He realised that she didn't say 'I'm sorry' like most people did when he told them his mother died. It annoyed him when people said that because it wasn't their fault and they couldn't do anything about it. She must know that.

"It has a certain charm," he said with a smile.

She smiled back. "I imagine it's way different to Brisbane."

"Yep. Brisbane is a city-city."

"You sound like you have an American accent," she observed suddenly.


"You sound American."

"Really? No one else has ever told me that."

"Yeah. People say that I have an American accent, but I've never been to America."

"That's weird," Nick said.

She shrugged. "Have you ever been to America?"


They walked in silence for a while before Max said, "It was good talking to you. But I should go and sit with my friends before they get worried or something."


"Hey, did you join that band?"

"How does everyone know everything that happens to me? Yes, we're rehearsing on Friday."

"Cool. Bye," she said as she headed off in another direction.

He watched her go. She was so much more than he expected her to be.

9. Chapter 9

Chapter 9- Shopping

Max's POV

"So, where have you been?" Cynthia asked me as soon as I sat down with them. I knew the bell for class was going to ring in ten minutes so I only had to endure a few minutes of their interrogation.

"I was walking around with a friend," I told them. I wasn't really lying. Nick was my friend now, right?

"A friend that happens to be a boy?" Cynthia asked.

"Maybe," I said evasively.

"It was Nick, wasn't it?!" Jacque suddenly exclaimed.

"...Yes," I said reluctantly.

"Oooooh," they both chorused.

"What?" I asked, trying to pretend that I didn't know what they were going on about.

"You mean you don't like him?" Jacque asked with a confused expression on her face.

"No, only as a friend," I told them.

"You don't have to lie to us," Cynthia said.

"I'm not lying." But I couldn't help thinking of what I felt when the red haired girl was flirting with Nick. Was it jealously? No! It couldn't be. I don't like him like that!

"You are so lying," Jacque said with a smirk. I glared at her and she backed off.

"How's Jack?" I asked Cynthia.

She didn't seem too happy with the subject change, but she smiled anyway. "He sat next to me in English today. He is so nice," she said dreamily.

"Uh-huh," I said, trying to keep her talking. I didn't want to have them interrogate me again. I needed time to sort out my feelings.

"I can't wait to go shopping this afternoon," Cynthia told me, "I have to get an outfit for the disco on Saturday. Plus, free dress day is tomorrow."

Oh yeah, we were going shopping this afternoon. I had completely forgotten.

"Where are we gonna meet?" Jacque asked.

"How 'bout four o'clock at that café we always go to. Ummm, I forget the name," Cynthia said.

"Sounds good," Jacque said with a smile.

The bell rang then and we got up to go to our classes. I hoped this afternoon would be fun and not another interrogation.

I grabbed my purse and walked out the door. My mum was waiting in the car and I jumped in the passenger seat. The car engine was already idling and she put the car in reverse and drove down the driveway. Then she took off down our street. She was dropping me off at the Mall on the way to a work meeting she had. She seemed to work a lot.

A while later we arrived at the Mall. Mum dropped me off and once I was out of the car she was gone. She must be in a hurry, I thought.

I walked to our favourite café at the Mall and sat at a small table with four seats outside. It wasn't long before Jacque, and then Cynthia, joined me. We ordered drinks and talked for a while. They did grill me a bit on Nick and what we did at break, so I just told them how we talked. They seemed a little disappointed and this got me thinking as to what they thought we had been doing.

"Let's shop till we drop," Cynthia suddenly said with a huge smile. Her enthusiasm was getting to me and I couldn't help but feel excited as well. We all got up and started off to the nearest clothes store.

"You have to try this on!" Cynthia squealed at me, holding a top up to me. It was a pink halter neck with the word "Blonde" in big bold letters over the chest area. I shrugged and took it off her. I grabbed the jeans I wanted to try on and headed towards a changing room. They followed behind me and waited outside the door as I got changed.

I looked at the top. I wasn't a very pink person, but I sort of liked this top. Okay, I'll admit the word "blonde" isn't very original, but still. I pulled on the jeans (A very cool looking pair, if I do say so myself) and then swapped my shirt for the pink one. I looked in the mirror. I looked alright. The shirt and jeans really went well together. I opened the door to the changing room and showed Cynthia and Jacque. Their jaws dropped at the sight of me.

"Oh, my God," Cynthia said, staring at me.

"What? Is it bad?" I thought I'd looked alright.

"You look hot!" Jacque exclaimed.


"You look absolutely amazing!" Cynthia added.

"Thanks," I said, my cheeks turning pink.

"You have to buy that and wear it tomorrow," Jacque said in a matter-of-fact voice.

I did like the outfit, so I bought it. It was fairly cheap as well. The shop was having a sale and all items were reduced.

Next Cynthia tried on a dress she found. It suited her really well and she looked really good in it. Then Jacque found a skirt and shirt she wanted to try on. She came out of the changing room in a denim skirt with tights underneath and a red shirt that looked punkish. I'd never seen her dressed up like that and it actually suited her. We both encouraged her to buy it.

So we left the shop each with an outfit.

"I still want something for the disco," Cynthia told us.

"What about that store?" Jacque asked. We headed over to the store and started browsing through the clothes.

"Oh, my God!" Cynthia squealed. She held up a gorgeous green dress that went to the knees. "I am so getting this!"

She rushed over to the changing rooms and came out a couple of minutes later. She had a disappointed look on her face. I looked at the dress on her. It really did not suit her at all. It clashed with her skin and hair and she seemed to realise this.

"Maybe you should try it on, Max," she told me in a soft voice.

She went back into the changing room and came back out with the dress in her hands. I reluctantly took it off her and went into the changing room. She seemed upset that it wasn't the right dress for her. I pulled it on and looked at myself in the mirror. I don't usually say this about myself, but it looked amazing. The colour and shape was just right for me. I stepped out of the changing room and once again come face to face with open jaws.

"You look beautiful, Max. You have all the luck. Why do you have to be gorgeous?" Cynthia said.

I smiled slightly and looked down at my outfit.

"You should wear that to the disco," Jacque said with a grin.

"I'm not going to the disco," I told her.

"Yes, you are," Cynthia told me in a stern voice. "If you get my dream dress then you are going to dance in it," she said. "You are so going with us on Saturday."

I knew there was no point in arguing, so I sighed in defeat and nodded my head.

"Excellent!" They both exclaimed.

"Let's go find you an outfit," I told Cynthia. She smiled radiantly and we headed to another store. This time we managed to find an outfit that really suited Cynthia. It was a sparkly purple top and a nice pair of jeans. She looked really good. Next we found Jacque an outfit. She found a red strapless dress. Feeling good about ourselves, we headed back to our favourite café and ordered a bowl of chips with gravy on top.

"I think we did pretty well," Cynthia said, taking a chip from the bowl and eating it.

"I bet Mitch will like your outfit, Max," Jacque said with an evil grin.

"Shut up," I said.

"It's obvious he likes you," Cynthia added.

"Maybe to you, but I'm sane."

They laughed and continued talking to each other about what a 'cute' couple we'd make. I turned away and studied the cars in the parking lot.

"Your mum's here," I suddenly said, staring at the red car that had just pulled into the car park. I stood up and waited for them to get their stuff together. We walked to the car and managed to get inside.

"Who am I dropping off first?" Cynthia's mum asked.

"Max is closest," Cynthia replied.

The car started moving and I relaxed against the seat. I closed my eyes and tried not to think, which was impossible for me.

"Daydreaming about Mitch?" Cynthia asked. My eyes opened and I found Cynthia grinning at me.

"Or is it Nick?" Jacque added.

"Who're they?" Cynthia's mum asked.

"Mitch has the hots for Max. But Max has the hots for Nick."

"I do not," I argued weakly.

"She's in denial," Cynthia explained.

"Have you told your mum about Jack yet?" I asked her. Her face went red and she swallowed.

"Who's Jack?"

"Her boyfriend," I explained.

"Remember, I'm going to the disco with him on Saturday," Cynthia said.

"Oh. I thought he was only your friend."

"Mum, you're so naïve. But we aren't technically going out yet."

"I don't think I'll ever understand you kids," Cynthia's mum said, shaking her head.

"That's probably for the best," Jacque said with a laugh.

The car pulled up into my driveway and stopped with the engine still running. "Here you are, Max," Cynthia's mum said with a smile.

"Thanks," I said to all of them.

"You're welcome!"

"See you guys tomorrow," I said, waving.

The car backed out of the driveway and headed down the street. I walked up to my door and opened it. I walked inside and dumped the bags of clothes on my bed. I smiled to myself. Today had been fun. I was glad I had gone. Even if I did get interrogated and teased.

10. Chapter 10

A/N: Sorry I haven't updated in a while. I've been really busy. Thanks for the reviews people.

Nick's POV

Nick got out of the car and started off to find where he usually sat in the mornings. For free dress day he was wearing his favourite pair of black jeans and a black shirt. He walked over to the table his new group of friends sat at. Luke, Daniel and James were already there.

"Hey," he said as he joined them.

"Are you psyched about the band rehearsal this afternoon?" James asked.

Not really, he thought. "Sure," he lied.

Nick sat down next to Luke. They were all wearing brand clothes. Plus, they were all wearing jeans. He guessed that guys didn't get too creative in what they wore. Then again, he was wearing the same thing as well.

"I love free dress days," Daniel said.


"The girls. They all wear really hot clothes. Well, most of them do. Ha, remember Hannah last year? She wore those overalls with little ducks on them. It was hilarious," Daniel said.

They all laughed, except for Nick.

"I can't wait to see what Max is wearing," Daniel admitted. Nick had figured out that Daniel really liked Max. She was all he seemed to think about. Strangely, that thought made him clench his jaw.

"Yeah, she hasn't been here for a free dress day before," Luke said.

"Why not?" Nick asked.

"She hasn't been going to this school for long. Free dress days don't happen very often. The school gets fed up sometimes because of the inappropriate things some people wear."


"Hey, I forgot to ask yesterday," James said to Nick, "There's a fundraiser on this Sunday. It's a car wash for the French trip that the students who study French are going on. We need to get as many people as we can to help out. You wanna help?"

"Er, okay."

"Good choice. There's going to be heaps of chicks in bikinis helping out. I even think Max is doing it."

What was with these people and their fascination with Max? He thought sourly.

"Oh, my God," Daniel hissed under his breath. "There she is." His tone left no one confused about who he was talking about.


They all glanced over at the car park and saw Max getting out of a car. She was wearing jeans and a pink halter-neck shirt. He had to admit, she looked hot. But she also looked out of place. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but something was off with what she was wearing. He thought it might be the pink. She didn't look like someone who wore pink.

He put it out of his mind. Who was he to think something was wrong with what she was wearing? He hardly knew her.

"She looks so hot," Daniel said.

"She's way out of your league," Luke said to him.

"I can dream, can't I?" Daniel said.

"Keep your dreams to yourself," James said in disgust. They all laughed.

"Do you think she knows she's hot?" Daniel asked.

"I don't think so. She doesn't flaunt it like other girls I know," James answered him seriously.

"Yeah, I s'pose that's one of the things I like about her," Daniel said.

"No, it's not. You just like her looks," Luke said while laughing.

"Shut up!" Daniel grumbled.

He wasn't in the mood for this. He mumbled something about assignments and stood up. He walked off, not knowing where he was going. He didn't want to spend all day listening to his friends talk about Max in that way. Couldn't they get past the looks?

Making my way to my usual morning spot was strange today. I felt super paranoid. Like everyone was watching me. A couple of times I spotted some guys looking at me, but when they noticed that I noticed them they looked away. But then I would just see them looking at me again. It was making me edgy.

I sat down at our table with Cynthia and Jacque. They were watching me as well.

"What?" I asked in confusion. Why was everyone looking at me today? I was starting to feel really nervous and paranoid. I even discreetly wiped my hand over my face to see if anything was on it. Did I have a milk moustache or something?

"You haven't noticed every single guy ogling you?" Cynthia asked in disbelief.

"What are you talking about?"

"She can be so oblivious sometimes," Jacque said to Cynthia as if I wasn't there.

"Hello? I'm right here, you know."

"She doesn't even know that basically all the guys in our school have the hots for her," Cynthia said, shaking her head.

"What?!" I nearly screamed. I glanced at the people near us. They were looking at me with interest, trying to tell what I was nearly yelling for. All of a sudden I felt as if the buildings surrounding us were getting closer. I was having a major attack of claustrophobia. And having people staring at me wasn't helping.

"Are you okay?" Jacque asked with concern.

"No," I immediately answered. "I'm going to go and get a drink of water." I swiftly stood up and headed along the path to the nearest drink tap. When I get there I swallowed the soothing water. I know that I'm probably going to get heaps of diseases from the tap or something, but I don't care. All I want is the cool water to soothe my suddenly burning throat. When I've swallowed enough water I splash my face with it. But my throat was still burning and I felt as if I was about to faint.

Toughen up, Max, I told myself. Get a grip!

I don't know what brought on my little attack. I think it was just a combination of people staring at me and my friends' crazy conversation. I took a deep breath and tried to calm myself. Amazingly, I felt a little better, but not enough to return to my friends.

"Are you okay?" a familiar voice asked.

I gulped and turned to come face to face with Nick.

"I'm fine," I told him, probably a bit too harshly.

He looked taken aback and I immediately felt bad. I shouldn't take my mood out on other people.

"Okay then," he said, walking past me.

"Wait," I called after him. He turned around and looked at me expectantly. "Sorry," I told him, "I'm just in a bad mood." In case you don't know, it's hard for me to say sorry. I hardly ever do, but I felt like I had to this time.

I felt a lot better now. A stray thought crept into my head: I seemed to get better when Nick arrived. I immediately repressed the thought. I couldn't go around thinking things like that.

"That's okay," he assured me. He walked back over to me and I was glad that I had someone to talk to. I couldn't easily tell Cynthia and Jacque how I felt. I have always been secretive about things. It's just my nature. But with Nick I felt different. I felt as if I could share all my innermost secrets with him and he wouldn't tell anyone or judge me.

How sappy does that sound?

For the first time I took in what he was wearing. He was wearing a black shirt and jeans. I have to admit, he looks good. Black really suits him.

"Do you always wear so much black?" I asked.

"Yep," he replied shortly.

"It suits you," I told him, then regretted it. Why do I always have to go ahead and blurt things out to this guy?

He smiled slightly, amusement in his eyes, probably at my expression. "Thanks," he told me.

He looked slightly uncomfortable as he eyed my outfit. Maybe he felt like he was obligated to say something nice about it because I complemented him. Oh no, is he looking uncomfortable because my outfit's ugly and he has nothing nice to say about it? Oh, my God, I look ugly!

"You look nice," he told me and then looked away. Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no!

"Really?" I asked, letting the disbelief show. I just couldn't shut up around this guy.

He turned his head back to look at me. "Yeah," he said like he couldn't understand my tone.

"Right," I said sceptically.

"You do," he assured me.

"Whatever," I said.

"You should hear what most of the guys say about you," he said, then looked down at his feet as if he was embarrassed about what he had said. I stared at him. What was he talking about? Why did people keep telling me things about the guys in this school?

"They think I'm ugly too, huh?"

"No," he said with a shake of his head. He looked exasperated.

"Well, I've got to go. My friends are probably waiting for me," I told him.

"See you," he told me as I turned and walked away.

"Bye," I called over my shoulder.

He couldn't believe what an idiot he was. Why did he have to go and say things like that to Max? Now he had probably made it awkward between them again. But he just couldn't believe that she didn't know how beautiful she was. Most of the guys (probably all of the guys) in this school have the hots for her. Most of them say she is the hottest girl in the school. So he wondered why she didn't act stuck up or full of herself. He had never thought that she might not know she was beautiful.

He shook his head. She kept surprising him. He would've expected her to be mean, stuck up and judgemental. Not: nice, modest and caring. Well, maybe he just had to stop judging people on their looks. He made his way back to his friends, thinking about Max the whole time.

11. Chapter 11

Chapter 11- Band Rehearsal

Nick's POV

The day went by quickly and before long Nick found himself on his way to the band rehearsal. He had spotted Max a few more times today and each time he had seen a guy eyeing her. He couldn't tell what his reaction was. Every time he had seen her he felt protective and possibly…jealous. But it was probably only because he liked her as friend, nothing more.

His dad had actually gotten home from work on time today and was driving him to James's house. They pulled up the driveway and Nick saw James waiting out the front for him. James looked slightly shocked at the car he was turning up in. Nick looked at the car as he got out and knew why.

It was a sleek, black, fancy car that his dad owned. His dad was pretty successful, so they had some money. The interior of the car only added to the expensive look. It was spotless and looked like it could've been bought yesterday.

"Hey," James said to him.


"Have a nice time," Nick's dad called from the driver's seat. Nick shut the door to the passenger side and walked up the driveway to meet James. He had his guitar with him. The car backed out of the driveway quietly and before Nick knew it his dad was gone.

"Everyone else is already here. We set up in my room," James explained. Nick looked at the house for the first time. It was actually pretty fancy looking. It was a plain white colour and only one storey, but it still looked like a fairly expensive house. The garden was full of blooming, colourful flowers that Nick assumed was the work of James's mum.

James led him into the house and the headed down a hallway to James's room. The house was full of knick knacks and little ornaments. It actually looked really cosy and welcoming. They entered James's room, which was at the back of the house. Luke and Daniel were already set up. Luke was sitting at a drum kit and Daniel was sitting behind a keyboard. Nick was surprised to see how big James's room was. They could fit a whole band in there and it still didn't look too crowded. Nick suspected that James and his family had quite a bit of money.

"Is that an electric guitar?" James asked, pointing to the case in Nick's hands.

"Yeah," he replied. He thought it was obvious. The case was thinner than an acoustic guitar's case.

"Excellent," he said, walking over and picking up his bass that was leaning against the wall.

"What songs do you play? Do I need to learn the lyrics?" Nick asked.

"We basically do covers of other bands. But our old guitarist wrote his own songs and sometimes we performed them. But they weren't very good."

The others laughed. Nick smiled slightly and started unpacking his guitar. Once he got it out of the case he plugged it into an amp next to James's amp. He strummed the strings and quickly tuned it.

"Do you know how to play Guns 'n' Roses' Sweet Child of Mine?" Luke asked.

"Er, yeah," Nick answered. "But I don't sound like him when I sing."

They laughed at this. "That's okay. How 'bout My Sharona by The Knack? Can you play that?"

"Yeah," he answered.

"Even the solo?" James asked.

"Yeah." They all looked impressed. He guessed the solo was difficult and fast. But guitar came naturally to him. It was strange, but one day he just picked up a guitar and found he could play it reasonably well. Then he started lessons and he picked it up really easily.

"James likes the old songs," Daniel informed him.

"We do new ones as well," James said indignantly.

They laughed again. "Well, I like Linkin Park. We do songs from them," James said.

"Yeah, we do a lot of Linkin Park songs. Is that okay?"" Luke said.

"Yeah, I like Linkin Park."

"Can you sing like they do? They shout a lot in their songs," Daniel said.

"Yeah, I think I can manage."

"Good, because we get gigs and that, so it's not like we're just doing this for fun," Daniel said seriously.

"Well, do we wanna test out a song and see if Nick's the guitarist for us?" James asked. They all nodded their heads. James swung his bass up and got into position. Luke picked up his drum sticks and Daniel placed his fingers over the keyboard.

"How about My Sharona first?" James asked. They all nodded. Nick picked up his guitar and took out his pick. When he was ready Luke started the drum pattern. Then James came in with the bass. It was actually sounding like the song. Then Nick came in with the guitar. He realised that there wasn't any keyboard in this song and glanced over at Daniel. He had gotten another electric guitar and was getting ready to play it. Hmmm, so he played guitar as well. Then he remembered that there were two guitar parts. One guitar played the solo while the other played the tune along with the bass.

Nick started singing the lyrics.

Ooh my little pretty one, pretty one.

When you gonna give me some time, Sharona?

Ooh you make my motor run, my motor run.

Gun it comin' off the line Sharona

Never gonna stop, give it up.

Such a dirty mind. I always get it up for the touch

of the younger kind. My my my i yi woo.

M M M My Sharona...

Come a little closer huh, ah will ya huh.

Close enough to look in my eyes, Sharona.

Keeping it a mystery, it gets to me

Running down the length of my thighs, Sharona

Never gonna stop, give it up. Such a dirty mind.

Always get it up for the touch

of the younger kind. My my my i yi woo.

M M M My Sharona...

M M M My Sharona…

When you gonna give it to me, give it to me.

It is just a matter of time, Sharona?

Is it just destiny, destiny?

Or is it just a game in my mind, Sharona?

Never gonna stop, give it up.

Such a dirty mind. I always get it up for the touch

of the younger kind. My my my i yi woo.

M M M My Sharona...

M M M My Sharona…

M M M My Sharona…

M M M My Sharona…

Then Nick launched into the solo. When he was finished the song returned to the main tune

Ooooooooh Ooooooh, My Sharona

Oooooooh Ooooooh, My Sharona

Nick ended the song and noticed that they were all staring at him.

"Wow," James said. "You're definitely in. You rock. You played that whole solo perfectly. It took our old lead guitarist weeks to learn that."

"Er, thanks," Nick said.

"Let's play another song. How 'bout a slower one from Linkin Park? Do you know Leave Out all the rest?"

"Sure," he answered.

"You're a guitar God,' Luke said gratefully.

They adjusted their instruments and Daniel switched back to his keyboard. Daniel started the intro and then Luke came in on the drums. Then Nick started singing.

I dreamed I was missing

You were so scared

But no one would listen

'Cause no one else cared

After my dreaming

I woke with this fear

What am I leaving

When I'm done here

So if you're asking me

I want you to know

The chorus was about to start and Nick started playing his guitar. James also came in with the bass and the drums got louder.

When my time comes

Forget the wrong that I've done

Help me leave behind some

Reasons to be missed

And don't resent me

And when you're feeling empty

Keep me in your memory

Leave out all the rest

Leave out all the rest

The chorus ended and the next verse began.

Don't be afraid

I've taken my beating

I've shared what I made

I'm strong on the surface

Not all the way through

I've never been perfect

But neither have you

So if you're asking me

I want you to know

When my time comes

Forget the wrong that I've done

Help me leave behind some

Reasons to be missed

Don't resent me

And when you're feeling empty

Keep me in your memory

Leave out all the rest

Leave out all the rest


All the hurt inside

You've learned to hide so well


Someone else can come and save me from myself

I can't be who you are

When my time comes

Forget the wrong that I've done

Help me leave behind some

Reasons to be missed

Don't resent me

And when you're feeling empty

Keep me in your memory

Leave out all the rest

Leave out all the rest


All the hurt inside

You've learned to hide so well


Someone else can some and save me from myself

I can't be who you are

I can't be who you are

The song ended and Nick put down his guitar. The others put down their instruments and sat on the couch that was against the wall. Yes, James had a couch in his room.

"Nick, why aren't you famous yet? I mean, between your singing and playing, you could be in a famous band," James said.

He shrugged. He never really felt comfortable when people were complementing him.

"We sound better than we did before," Daniel said. "We might actually get a gig with you in our band."

Want something to drink?" James asked, getting up from his seat and heading to the door. He paused and waited for everyone to answer.

"Coke," Luke called.

"Sprite," Daniel said.

"Just water," Nick said.

"Okay," James said, walking out of the room.

"Don't you like soft drink?" Daniel asked.

Nick shrugged.

"You don't speak much, do you?" Luke asked.

Nick shrugged again.

"There's nothing wrong with that," Luke added.

"We usually practice on Saturday mornings," Daniel said, changing the subject.

"So is there a practice next Saturday morning?" Nick asked.

"Yep," James said as he entered the room. He passed cans of drink to Luke and Daniel and then handed Nick a glass of water. His throat was dry from singing and he swallowed a mouthful of water straight away.

"I've got good news," James said.

"What is it?" Luke inquired.

"We've got a gig," he announced.

"What?" Luke and Daniel said at the same time.

"Yeah. I didn't want to tell you guys until we'd tested out Nick. But we're going to play on next Friday during break. I think everyone will gather to watch," he said.

"This is awesome. Everyone will love us with Nick as our singer and guitar player," Daniel said.

"So you all agree that we should do it? The school's been looking for bands to play."

"Sure, sounds like fun," Luke said.

"I'm in," Daniel announced.

"Sure," Nick added. He didn't really feel comfortable singing in front of all those students. But he knew there was no way he was going to get out of it.

"Here's a list of all the songs we know how to play. You can look over them and see if you know them all," James said, handing him a small piece of paper.

He looked down at the piece of paper and nearly laughed. "You do like Linkin Park," he said.

The others burst out laughing.

Thanks for reading my story. Plus, I just chose random songs. So your're probably going "What the?" about my choices. Oh well. lol.

12. Chapter 12

Chapter 12

Max's POV

The disco. I had to go. Great! (Note the sarcasm)

The disco was held at the all boys' school and students from all over attended. It was crowded, dark (with the exception of flashing lights) and closed in. It was a nightmare. Okay, I'll admit that I'm a bit claustrophobic. Okay, maybe a lot. But that didn't change the fact that it was my nightmare.

I reluctantly walked out of my room and into the kitchen where my mum was eating her dinner. She looked up and smiled.

"You look gorgeous," she crowed.

I looked down at my dress. It was the dress I had bought on Thursday with Cynthia and Jacque.

"Thanks," I mumbled.

Just then a car horn blared from outside. I glanced out the kitchen window and saw Cynthia's red car. I grabbed my purse from the bench and made my way to the door.

"Bye!" my mum called.

"See you," I called back. I walked out the door and walked down to Cynthia's car. I jumped into the backseat and slammed the door shut behind me.

"Hey Max," Cynthia said. She was sitting in the passenger seat. Jacque was in the back seat next to me.

"Hey," I said back. Cynthia's mum started driving towards the disco.

"You look good in everything," Jacque said, eyeing my dress. "I bet you could wear a pillowcase and you'd still manage to look good."

I laughed. "I doubt it," I told her. To tell the truth, I was starting to get really annoyed with everyone complementing me. I know that sounds weird, but it's just how I feel. I hope I don't get a swelled head from all these compliments.

"Take your hair out," Cynthia said from the front seat.

I had my hair in its usual braid. It was starting to get long and I would need to cut it soon. My hair wasn't in any style, so I usually just cut it myself at home. I'm not the type of person to care what everyone thinks of it.

"What's wrong with it?" I asked.

"You wear it like that all the time," Cynthia said.

"Here," Jacque said, leaning over to pull the hair band from my hair. She fluffed it out so it sat nicely around my face.

"There," she said in satisfaction. The braid had crimped my hair and it actually wasn't that frizzy, which I expected it to be.

"Thanks," I said, more to sound nice than out of real appreciation.

The car stopped at a red light and I looked out the window. We were close to the disco and I could see teenagers crossing at the lights, heading to the disco. The light changed to green and Cynthia's mum started driving again.

Not long later we were in the school's parking lot. Cynthia's mum parked the car and we all got out.

"I'll pick you up at eleven o'clock," Cynthia's mum called.

Cynthia's mum drove off and we started walking to the school's Hall. There was a line of girls at one of the entrances and a line of boys at the other entrance. We lined up in the girls' line and talked amongst ourselves. Finally, after what felt like hours, we were at the front of the line. Some security people patted us down to see if we were carrying weapons or drugs or something and we were allowed into the hall. The music was loud and pumping and a DJ was on the stage. People were dancing in the middle of the hall and a small line of people were at the cafeteria buying food or drinks.

I handed my purse in at a counter and got a ticket. That way I wouldn't have to hold my purse the whole night.

"Let's dance," Cynthia said, dragging me onto the dance floor. I followed her and we started dancing. I always feel self conscious when I dance, so I wasn't getting into it like Cynthia and Jacque were. I was just sort of swaying to the beat and that.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder and I swung around. A boy, about half the size of me, was standing in front of me.

"Do you want to dance with me?" he asked.

"No, thanks," I replied. I wasn't actually thankful, but I didn't want to sound too mean. I have only been here for two minutes and people are already asking me to dance.

""Why'd you say no?" Cynthia shouted over the music. The boy had already walked off, looking disappointed.

"He was half the size of me and probably two years younger," I yelled back.

Cynthia nodded and continued to dance.

"Want to dance?" a voice asked from behind me. I inwardly rolled my eyes and turned around to see a tall guy, about the same age as me with sandy blonde hair, standing behind me.

"No, thanks," I said again.

He shrugged and walked off. I spun back around to face Cynthia and Jacque.

"You are such a snob," Cynthia yelled.

"What?" I exclaimed in disbelief. I was a snob?

"Why'd you turn him down? You're standards are way too high," Cynthia said.

"Well excuse me if I don't want to dance with a total stranger," I snapped.

"That's what these discos are all about," Cynthia yelled.

"They're about having fun!" I yelled back.

She shrugged. "Whatever you want to believe."

I scowled at her, but she wasn't looking at me anymore. I couldn't believe she had just said that. I wasn't comfortable with getting close and personal with a random stranger. She knew I didn't even want to come here in the first place. I clenched my fists in anger. I'd never thought this about Cynthia before, but she was so selfish. She was always thinking about herself. I was the one always getting dragged into doing things I didn't like because she didn't want to be alone!

"Max, are you okay?" Jacque asked.

"Yeah," I said automatically. I composed my face and said, "I'm going to the toilet." Then I stalked off, trying not to seem angry but failing miserably.

I entered the girls' toilet and walked to the sink. I splashed my face with water, trying to calm down. It worked a little bit, but not much. Cynthia was a great friend when she wanted to be. But sometimes she was a bit too full on. She loved to have fun and go crazy. But sometimes it was at the expense of other people. Anyway, we always had our ups and downs. Tonight was definitely a down.

I composed my face, trying to smile, and walked out of the toilet. I quickly scanned the mob of dancing teenagers and somehow spotted Jacque dancing with a random guy. On further inspection I saw Cynthia dancing with Jack. I had almost forgotten that she was meant to be on a date with him tonight. Some date.

I was about to move off and see if I could somehow get outside and wait for this dreadful night to end out there. But someone moved in front of me. It was Mitch. He was only slightly taller than me, but I didn't hold it against him because I was tall myself. Compared to some of the other girls, he was a giant.

"Hey," he said with a friendly smile.

"Hi," I said back, trying to get rid of him so I could get out of this place. I was starting to feel nauseated from all the flashing lights and the loud music. Ha, it was only the beginning of the disco and I already wanted to leave. This was going to be a long night.

I sighed.

"You look great," Mitch said with another smile. Was he still here? I thought tiredly.

"Thanks," I said, trying to look over his shoulder.

"Want to dance?" he asked.

I looked into his eyes. He still had that ridiculously friendly smile on his face. I was about to reject him when what Cynthia said came back to me.

'You are such a snob'

Well, I was going to prove her wrong. I had nothing better to do so I nodded my head. Mitch's face lit up and he led me into the crowd of dancing people. Now, let me tell you, I do not enjoy being so close to so many people. But I sucked it up and managed to smile, if only slightly.

Mitch put his hands on my waist and I instantly wanted to recoil. Why did this feel so wrong? I took a deep breath and then placed my arms around his neck. We started swaying to the beat. I was actually beginning to think that I could enjoy myself when Mitch abruptly pulled me closer. Now me were really close and he was practically rubbing up against me.

I swallowed.

I could endure this, right? Just till the next song started? I could make it through and then make a getaway.

Unfortunately, no opportunity for escape came to me. The songs blended together and Mitch was holding me fairly tight. Every song he managed to get closer to me. I was starting to wonder how he was doing that when the lights suddenly turned on.

Was it time to leave? I had been counting down the seconds until this moment. I quickly took my arms away from Mitch, but smiled so as not to hurt his feelings.

"I have to go find my friends," I told him. My hearing was a little impaired from all the loud music so I was probably talking louder than necessary.

"Sure," he said. I walked off in the direction of the doors.

Outside, I met up with Jacque. We waited "patiently" for Cynthia.

"What is she doing?" I finally asked in frustration. Most of the people were gone and I was sure Cynthia's mum was waiting for us.

"The last time I saw her she was talking to Jack," Jacque said.

"Hey!" a voice called from behind us. We spun around and found Cynthia walking up to us.

"Where have you been?" I demanded.

"With Jack," she said with a sheepish expression.

I glowered at her. We made our way to the car park and found her mum's car. We all climbed inside.

"So what took you so long?" Cynthia's mum asked as she started driving.

"I was just saying goodbye to people," Cynthia said evasively.

"How did your date thing go?"

"We had a great time. We danced a lot and he even bought me a drink of water," Cynthia gushed.

Her mum looked slightly upset about the drink part. "Did you make sure the drink wasn't opened before you drank from it? You know that's how many girls get their drinks spiked," she warned.

"Yes, mum. The drink hadn't been opened," she reassured her.

"Good," Cynthia's mum said.

"Max looked like she was having a great time," Cynthia added.


"Yeah, I saw you dancing with Mitch," Jacque commented.

I shrugged my shoulders. I wasn't about to get into a futile argument with them. I'm sure I didn't look like I was having a great time. I would understand if they said I looked like I was going to puke. But having a great time?!

"Mitch does like you," Cynthia said in a smug voice.

I shrugged my shoulders again. I wanted to get home as fast as I could.

"Are you okay?" Jacque asked me.

I forced myself to smile and nodded my head. "I'm just feeling a bit sick," I told her. It wasn't entirely untrue. I did still feel nauseas from the dancing. But mostly I was just annoyed.

After a while, we pulled up in front of my house. I got out, thanked them, and almost ran inside. My dad was sitting in front of the TV. He looked up when I entered the room and smiled. He even looked relieved, as if he hadn't expected me to come home.

"Where's mum?" I asked.

"Working," he told me.

"At this time?" I asked. I was used to this sort of thing happening. From what I could tell my mum was very important in the place she worked.

"Yeah," my dad said. "She'll be home tomorrow morning."

"Okay, I'm going to bed," I told him. I walked to my room and shut the door behind me. I looked at my walls. I had never noticed before, but my walls were white. Why hadn't I ever painted my walls? Don't people usually do that sort of thing? It was like my room held none of my personality. I decided I needed to change that. Maybe I could paint my room.

I moved over to my bedside table and picked up my ipod. I stuck the earphones in my ears and shuffled through the music until I found a song I liked. Then I propped my pillow up against the headboard and relaxed on my bed.

The song helped make me forget about this horrible day. I focused on the song and nothing else. But somewhere in the back of my mind I was still thinking about that dance with Mitch. Could some people get the wrong impression from it? He was practically dancing on top of me. I fell asleep listening to my music. Anything to stop me from thinking.

13. Chapter 13

Chapter 13- Car Wash

Max's POV

The shrill ring of the phone cut into my dream. I can't really recall what it was about, but I faintly remember flying. But everyone has dream where they can fly, right? I sat up in bed and yanked the covers off of my legs. I sat up too quickly and nearly fell over when I got out of bed. I regained my balance and headed out into the hallway. I found the phone and picked it up.

I yawned loudly before saying, "Hello?"

"Max!" Cynthia cried on the other end.

My mind finally seemed to fully wake up. I felt my brow furrow as I said, "Why are you calling me so early?"

"What do you mean? It's ten thirty," she said.

I glanced at the clock hanging on the wall above the phone. She was right…

"That's still pretty early," I muttered.

"Whatever. I need to ask you something," she said, the tone of her voice turning to annoyance. I took the phone into the living room and sank into an armchair. I absentmindedly rubbed sleep out of my eyes and said:


"Why didn't you tell me you're going out with Mitch?"

"What?" I asked, stiffening. Surely I had misheard her. Me? Going out with Mitch? Maybe I was still dreaming.

"Jack called me this morning and told me that you and Mitch are now official," she said.

Now my dream was a nightmare.

"What are you talking about? We aren't going out. And why did Jack call you?"

"He wanted to ask if I was going to the car wash fundraiser. What do you mean you aren't going out with him?"

"I mean exactly what I said. We never made anything 'official'" I said in annoyance.

"Well, that's not what Mitch is telling everyone."

I groaned. "Cynthia, I don't like him like that."

"Well, Mitch obviously does."

I sighed. Would I ever get through to her? It didn't help that I felt like screaming in frustration. What the hell was Mitch on? Why was he so delusional to think we were "official"? Whatever that meant.

"So, are you going to the car wash to help out?" Cynthia asked.

"Yeah," I said. Another thing I had been forced to do.

"Don't forget to wear a bikini," she said.


"More customers. That's what guys want to see," she informed me.

"That is so sexist," I said.

"Just do it," she snapped. "If you don't…" she trailed off.

"Fine," I snapped back at her.

"See you there," she said happily.

I hung up the phone, maybe a bit too loudly. I sighed in frustration and marched to my room. I grabbed some clothes out of my dresser and made my way into the bathroom. I stripped and turned on the shower. I stood under the scolding hot water and sighed. This felt good. Words couldn't even describe what I was feeling right now. I was in heaven! I imagined my frustration running off me and down the sink. It actually helped calm me. God, Cynthia could be annoying! Not to mention selfish and probably manipulative. But I was still her friend. Sometimes I didn't know why.

I washed myself down with soap and washed my hair as well. Truthfully, I was trying to drag out my shower as long as possible. I would never voluntarily go to a stupid, sexist car wash. But Cynthia was so hard to say no to. It's hard to explain. But I just know that I would've caved in anyway.

I reluctantly turned off the shower and dried myself. Firstly, I put on my striped bikini. Then I put a denim skirt and a blue top over it. I was already starting to feel embarrassed. Me? Max? At a car wash in a bikini?


I wasn't really surprised that the soothing effect of the shower had vanished already. I could never do anything without having to do it the hard way. That was just the way I lived. I swear, someone could probably write a book about my life and the troubles I've been through!

"Max!" Cynthia called as I made my way into the car park we were holding the car wash in. I couldn't believe I was going through with this!

"Hey," I called weakly to her. She was already in her pink bikini and she looked like she was wet already.

"They've already started," she announced. Sure enough, a group of people were already washing cars. I scowled. Why did I have to be dragged into these situations?

"Oi," a boy shouted at us. He jogged over and stopped in front of us. He was wearing board shorts and no shirt. I recognised him as a boy named Callum.

"We need more customers. Start helping," he told us. But he was mainly speaking to Cynthia, the one in the bikini.

"That is so sexist," I muttered under my breath.

Unfortunately Cynthia heard me. "There's nothing wrong with using our assets to gain customers," she said. "Most of the guys aren't wearing shirts. Don't worry so much."

I scowled at her and didn't say anything. "Come on," she said, grabbing my hand and leading me away. I reluctantly followed her. I set down my towel with everyone else's stuff (yes, I came prepared) and then peeled off my shirt to reveal my bikini top. I decided to leave my denim skirt on. There was no reason I had to take that off as well.

Oh, my God, this was so degrading. I hoped no one I knew saw me like this. But I knew there was no point in hoping. Heaps of people from school were helping out and I knew heaps of other students would stop by to mingle or support the event.

"Max! Hurry up," Cynthia chided, grabbing my hand again and pulling me over to the line up of cars. She grabbed a bucket and some sponges and found a car that hadn't been started on yet. She set to work lathering the car.

I glanced around the car park and noticed some guys ogling her. Oh, great. Were they going to be watching me, as well? This was one of the worst days of my life. I scanned the faces helping out. Another bunch of girls were working on a car together. They were all in bikinis as well and they were fully drenched. They must have had a water fight with some guys.

I paused when my eyes met a pair of dark ones. Great! Nick was here as well. What the hell was he doing here?! Was he stalking me or something? Right then I felt like I wanted to cry. There was no way I was going to do this! NO WAY! This was too much. I spun around and marched off to where I had left my towel and belongings.

"Max?" Cynthia called after me.

I didn't look back.

"Max!" she said, chasing after me. She caught up with me and grabbed my arm. She spun me around to face her.

"What are you doing?" she demanded.

"I can't do this," I said truthfully.

"Why not?"

"I'm not like you and other girls. I can't just go parading around half naked and have fun. This isn't me," I told her.

She looked slightly hurt and really annoyed at my statement.

"Max, you're totally overreacting. It's just a fundraiser. No one is going to hate you for doing this. You're just getting yourself worked up. You have nothing to be embarrassed about," she said.

My senses snapped back into focus then. I had nearly lost it. She was right; it was only a car wash. I didn't have to react the way I had. I guess this had just been a weird week. I pulled myself together and jerkily nodded my head.

I could do this!

We walked back over to the car and Cynthia passed me a sponge. I set to work cleaning the car. Soon there was a huge line up of cars waiting to be washed. I knew the girls in bikinis and the shirtless boys had something to do with it. But I tried hard to suppress those thoughts. And guess what, I was sort of having fun. Okay, that might be stretching it a little, but I didn't totally hate it. I didn't even think of the people (guys) watching me…much.

After a few hours of washing cars I took a break. I walked to the servo next door and bought some food. Then I sat down on a plastic chair that someone from the school had supplied. I opened my can of sprite and took a grateful sip. I watched the giggling girls for a while, but I couldn't stand looking at them.

Why was I so screwed up? Other girls could wear a bikini and wash cars without freaking out. So why couldn't I? Was there something wrong with me? Was I more different than I originally thought?

"Hey," a voice said from behind me, making me jump. My head snapped around and I saw Nick walking up to me. I hadn't even heard him.

He laughed at the look on my face and pulled up a chair beside me. He opened his can of drink and turned to face me.

"Why are you here?" I asked him.

"James talked me into coming," he said.

I laughed. "Cynthia made me come."

"You're not enjoying yourself?"

"Hell no," I said.

"Your friend seems to be having fun," he pointed out. I glanced over at Cynthia and nearly groaned. She was having a water fight with a bunch of guys.

"At least we've made a lot of money," I said, trying to convince myself this was all worth it.

Nick laughed. I didn't realise what he was laughing at until I noticed he was looking at my face. He was laughing at me scowling.

"You're strange," he said. Then, as if only realising what he said, he clamped his jaw shut. Didn't he want to offend me or something?

"Is it that noticeable?" I asked. His jaw loosened and he relaxed.

"No, not really," he assured me.

"Ha. Yeah, right!"

He shrugged his shoulders.

"Well, are you enjoying the show?" I asked, looking pointedly at the soaking wet girls that were obviously flirting with a bunch of guys. Man, I could even tell from here. But I had always had good eyesight.

"It looks like a TV show, not real life," he said.

I watched the girls again. He was right. It didn't look like something you saw in real life. It looked somehow fake. This guy must be pretty observant.

"I'd rather be anywhere in the world but here," I said melodramatically.

Nick suppressed laughter. "I can think of worse places to be," he said after a while.

"I suppose you are a boy. You're probably enjoying this. Ah, testosterone," I said in mock disapproval.

He glanced sideways at me. "You're wrong," he said simply. Then he smirked. "So you aren't enjoying all the shirtless guys?"

"What guys? I only see monkeys," I said with a smile.

Nick put on a mock look of shock. "I'm offended," he said.

I laughed. I was surprised at how easily we were talking. It was like we'd known each other for ages.

"Now that you mention it, you do somewhat resemble a boy," I said teasingly.

"Hey Max," someone said from beside me. I looked up to see Cynthia making her way over to me.

"Hi," I called back, not really excited to see her. She looked like a drowned cat. Her hair was stuck to her scalp and she was dripping water everywhere.

"What happened to you?" I asked.

"We had a huge water fight. Too bad you missed out," she said.

"Yeah. Too bad," I said.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Nick trying to suppress laughter. I smiled at his reaction. Cynthia glanced over at Nick and smiled.

"How come you're here?" she asked sweetly. A little too sweetly.

"I was invited," he replied simply.

"Oh. Well, do you want to come and help us out? I'm sure your break's over now, anyway," she said, attempting to be seductive. It wasn't working. I could tell.

"I'm just keeping Max company," he said.

"Oh, I can do that if you want to go and help your friends," she said. What was wrong with her? Couldn't see take the hint that we wanted her to go? Well, I wanted her to go. I couldn't be certain with Nick. Who knew what he was thinking.

"That's fine. You looked like you were having fun. I don't mind," he told her.

Her smile was more forced now. She nodded her head and opened her mouth to say something. Then she closed it, and then opened it again. This time something actually came out, "You're right. Well, see you two later." She wandered off back to the cars.

We sat in silence after that. It was sort of awkward and I couldn't think of anything else to say.

Thankfully, Nick broke it. "No offence, but how do you stand her?" he asked.

I laughed a little. I didn't really have an answer for that. It seemed that I did more things for Cynthia than she did for me. In fact, most of the uncomfortable situations I'd been in since I'd moved here had been thanks to her. She was always making me do things I didn't like so that she would feel better. Then she would end up ditching me anyway. Take today and the disco for example.

"She can be a good friend sometimes. But you're right; she's probably too peppy for someone like me. But we're friends anyway," I said. I kind of felt bad for telling someone I didn't really know this. But I felt like I could trust him. I didn't think he would repeat what I said to anyone. But I have been known to be wrong before. Not many times, but still…

"Tell me this thing is nearly over," I said to him.

"This thing is nearly over," he said.


"No," he replied with a small smile.

I groaned. "I better go and help out," I said, rising out of my chair and heading over to the cars. He silently got up next to me and put his can of drink down. Then he walked at my side. He went and joined his friends as I went to join Cynthia.

Nick left Max and walked over to James, Luke and Daniel; who were all washing cars. They grinned at him when he joined them.

"Sooooo..." James said with that ridiculous grin still on his face.

"What?" Nick asked.

"Max," he prompted.

"What about her?"

"You…and her?"


They were still grinning.

"It looked like you two were getting along great," Luke said.

He shrugged his shoulders.

"I heard she is going out with Mitch," Daniel said.

All their heads snapped onto Daniel's face. "What?" they all asked.

"Yeah. They were dancing at the disco and everything. Apparently they're a couple now."

"Wow. Max is actually going out with someone," James said.

"I didn't see that one coming," Luke agreed.

Nick stayed characteristically quiet.

"But doesn't she look hot in a bikini?" Daniel said with a sly smile.

"Yeah, lucky Mitch," James said.

Nick wanted to speak up then. He wanted to tell them that there was more to her than her looks. That she was nice, funny and strong as well. But they would just make a big deal out of it or ignore him. At least he knew that she wasn't some superficial girl. He was even having trouble accepting that she was going out with this Mitch guy.

"Watch out," Daniel said under his breath. They all swung around and saw Max's friend, Cynthia, sneaking up behind Max with a bucket of water. Nick was about to call out and warn her when Max spun around and glared at Cynthia. Cynthia didn't even hesitate as she threw the bucket of water on her, grinning evilly.

Uh oh.

I scowled at Cynthia, outrage singing in my blood. I couldn't believe that she had actually done that. Now I was dripping in water and I felt miserable. She was still smiling evilly at me. I stuck me chin in the air and stomped off to get my belongings. I hated her!

I grabbed my towel and hastily dried myself off. Then I grabbed my towel and dialled my mum's number. No answer. Next I tried my dad's.

"Hello?" he answered after the fifth ring.

"Dad, can you come and get me?" I asked.

"I'm in the middle of work, hon. What's wrong?"

I sighed. "Nothing. Don't worry about it."

I ended the call and slumped into a chair.

"Max?" I heard Cynthia call. She rushed up to me with that smile still on her face.

"What?" I snapped.

"Calm down. It was only a joke. You're overreacting," she said.

"Cynthia," I said in a cold tone. I imagined I looked totally ready to kill her. "I didn't want to get drenched in water. You knew that. And yet you still wet me. Friends wouldn't do that," I said.

"Lighten up! It was just a bit of fun."

"Cynthia," I said, icicles dripping from my words, "I don't appreciate you wetting me. I came here to keep you company. Then you don't even need my company. Instead you go off with some girls and have water fights while I do nothing. Then you wet me when I don't want to get wet and you tell me to lighten up. Sorry, but I can't at the moment."

"Look, I'm sorry," she said with a total lack of sincerity. She so was not sorry. In fact, she was still smiling.

"Just leave me alone," I snapped. I was not in the mood to tale to her at the moment. She was really getting on my nerves. I don't care if I overreacted. I did not want to be wet.

Cynthia shrugged her shoulders and stalked off, no doubt to go and talk about me with the other girls behind my back. Say how ridiculous I was being and how I overreacted. Well I didn't care what she said. She could do whatever she wanted to do.

"Are you alright?" a familiar voice asked me. Nick sat down next to me.

"I'm fine," I said stiffly. I was not in a good mood.

"Ha," he said dryly. "Sounds like you're really fine," he said sarcastically.

I smiled slightly.

"I'm probably overreacting," I told him, repeating Cynthia's words.

"I don't think so," he said. "That was pretty mean, what she did."

"She knew I didn't want to get wet," I agreed.

"What are you gonna do now?" he asked me.

"I have to wait until my mum picks me up in about and hour," I said.

"Want some company?" he asked.

I turned to face him and smiled.

"It's not like I have anything better to do. Those monkeys are getting repetitive," he said.

I smiled even wider. "Thanks," I said.

This is what a real friend would do, I thought.

A/N: I hope Nick/Fang was in character. Sorry it took me a while to update, but I had troubles with my computer. Anyway, I hope there weren't that many mistakes. I read over it and fixed everything up, but then it didn't save and I couldn't be bothered to read it properly again. Anyway, hope you enjoyed. Please review!

14. Chapter 14

A/N: Wow, I got a lot of reviews for that last chapter. Thank you! So I decided to update another chapter. Plus, I took ages to update the last chapter so hopefully this will make up for it. Anyway, some questions have been asked and YES, the flock will all get back together...eventually. I'm hoping this story is going to be long! Anyway, I'll think about doing a chapter on the other flock member's POV (I was going to do this later on anyway, but that might be too far in the future for this story). So I hope everyone enjoys this chapter and thanks for the great reviews!

Chapter 14- Mitch Match

Max's POV

"Max?" Cynthia called out to me. I rolled my eyes. It was Monday morning and I was on my way to my first class. I thought I'd made it clear that I didn't want to talk to her when I hadn't sat with her this morning. I was still angry at her for the car wash incident.

I ignored her and kept walking. Hopefully she would take the hint.

She didn't.

"Max," she repeated, grabbing my shoulder and swinging me around.

"Don't touch me," I snapped, jerking out of her grip.

She took a step back.

"Why are you being such a bitch?" she asked.

I stopped dead in my tracks. "Excuse me?" I asked in outrage.

"You're ignoring me and I didn't do anything wrong," she said.

Oh no, she didn't just say that! Was it wrong that I felt like punching her at that moment?

I rolled my eyes, using a lot of effort to not hit her and turned around. I walked off to my next class. If she was deluded enough to think she hadn't done anything, then there was no way I was going to talk to her.

"Max!" she yelled.

I kept walking, a smirk crossing my face.

"MAX!" she yelled, jogging to keep up with me.

"What?!" I snapped as I stopped walking again. Was she stupid?

"I'm sorry, okay?" she said, taking me by surprise.

I glanced at her. She didn't really look sorry. But I could be mistaken. I shrugged my shoulders and kept on walking.

"Maaaxxx," she whined.

"Fine. I forgive you. Happy?"

"Yes!" she squealed.

"Now go away before I change my mind," I said.

She turned tail and skedaddled right out of my view. Smart move. What can I say? I'm a push over. She's hard to say no to. It might not seem that way, but she can go on and on at you until you cave in. I wasn't about to endure that type of torture.

My class was already lining up outside the room and I tagged onto the end of the line just as the teacher appeared. She led us into the room and stepped up to the chalk board. She immediately started writing up maths questions.

I found my usual seat at the back of the room and grabbed my books out of my bag. Then I started copying down the equations off the board.

"Hey," a familiar voice asked from beside me. I nearly jumped out of my skin. My eyes locked onto the person who had just sat down next to me.

It was Mitch.

"Did I scare you?" he asked with a playful smile on his lips.

"No," I said a little too hastily. He grinned at me and started laughing quietly.

"Copy down those equations and get to work!" the teacher announced, stepping away from the chalk board and sitting at her desk.

"I need to talk to you," I whispered to Mitch. We had to talk about this whole dating thing. Because as I recall, he hadn't said anything about us going out at the disco.

His smile was still on his face when he said, "What have you heard?"

"I've heard that you are telling people we're going out. Funny how I wasn't informed about this," I whisper- yelled at him.

"You don't want to go out?" he asked, that stupid smile still there.

"No, as a matter of fact I don't," I hissed at him.

He grinned, not at all hurt about what I'd said.

"Are you afraid of going out with someone?"

"No," I replied, confused by the way the conversation was going.

"Then I don't understand. You like me, right?" he asked.

I scowled at him. What was his problem? I did like him, but only as a friend. He had always been nice to me. But now I was starting to realise that that was probably all an act or some way of trying to soften me up.

"I think you want to go out with me, you're just playing hard to get," he said with a smirk.

"God, you're full of yourself!"

"As if you could resist," he said jokingly, motioning to himself with his hand.

I shook my head in exasperation. Why couldn't he take no for an answer. Why did he have to be so pushy?

His grin grew larger. "According to everyone, we're already going out," he said. "So you don't have to resist."

"I'll just tell everyone the truth," I said, my voice starting to rise.

"They aren't going to believe you. Just face it, we're going out. There's nothing you can do about it."

I sighed in frustration and started on the maths equations. I was not in the mood for this. Plus, I knew that what he said had some truth to it. He was going to keep up the charade no matter what I did. I guess he wasn't all bad. He was cocky, but he was also nice. I tried to remember all the times we'd talked. I did like him as a friend. Maybe going out with him wasn't such a bad idea. But the thing is, I don't like him like that. Well, maybe I could learn to.


"It seems like everyone approves," Mitch whispered in my ear, his lips grazing against it. I shuddered and moved my head away. I glanced around the room. Almost everyone was watching us. Some were doing it secretly while others were so blatant that it would be funny if the object they were staring at wasn't me. The faces didn't seem to approve at all. The girls were whispering to each other, looking malicious. The boys were either looking at Mitch like he'd won a gold medal or looking pissed off. Didn't these people have anything better to do?

My eyes met a pair of dark ones and I looked down at my work book immediately.


Why did he always cause these reactions in me? More importantly, why did I feel like I'd known him my entire life?

"So, I take your silence as a 'Yes, we are going out,'" Mitch whispered, writing down the answers to the questions on the board.

"Fine, but the moment I want out…" I trailed off.

He nodded with a smug smile on his face. "Sure, sure. Whatever," he said.

Nick watched as everyone filed out of the room. Everywhere he went he heard whispers of Max and Mitch, the new 'it' couple. It annoyed him to no end. Didn't these people have anything better to do? Didn't they have a life?

He headed out of the room and walked past the milling teenagers. Up ahead, Max was walking next to Mitch, looking annoyed. Why was it that he could tell what she was feeling and thinking while everyone else couldn't? Why did he feel like his life was empty when she wasn't in it? He quickly shut that thought down. He didn't like to ask himself questions like that. He didn't even like to think of those things. He preferred to keep them locked up, ready to spill out when he was alone.

"I heard Mitch is going to take her to the movies on Wednesday night," Nick heard a girl whisper to her friend.

"They make such a cute couple," another girl whispered up ahead. His hearing was good and he had the torment of listening to the rumours while he walked to his next class. He gritted his teeth and marched on in silence.

"Yo! Nick," James called to him. He was waiting outside their next classroom. He waved when Nick glanced over at him.

"Hey," Nick said back, latching onto anything that could take his mind off of…other thoughts.

"We have a cool music lesson next. People are performing their assessment," James said. Nick glanced into the music room and saw people setting up.

"Are you performing yours?" he asked.

"I've already done mine. There are only a couple of people who haven't done theirs yet. I think it's only Jacque, Taylor and Brent," he explained.

Nick followed James into the classroom. They sat at the back and waited for the performers to get their stuff set up. It looked like Jacque was going first.

"When you're ready," the teacher said when Jacque was sitting on a chair with her acoustic guitar ready.

She took a deep breath and then started playing. She was actually pretty good. She played the chords perfectly. It was a simple song that sounded really nice. She started singing lyrics after the intro and her soft voice suited it perfectly.

Nick glanced at James and suppressed a grin. James was staring at Jacque, totally entranced by her song. He had a small smile on his face and his eyes were soft.

The song ended and the class clapped. But none as loud as James.

"You have the hots for her," Nick said to James in a whisper while the next person was setting up.

"What?" he asked as he whirled around.

"You like her," he stated.

His face flushed and he shook his head vigorously. "No I don't," he denied.

Nick smirked. "It's so obvious. I don't mind. I think you made a good choice. She seems nice."

James slumped in his chair and glanced over at Jacque. His eyes immediately softened.

"How long?" Nick asked.

"...Since the start of the year," he said in defeat. He sighed heavily and turned back to Nick. "Don't you dare tell anybody," he threatened.

"Why don't you ask her out?"

"Because she doesn't like me back," he said in a matter-of-fact voice.

"How do you know?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "She doesn't even look at me."

Nick shook his head. "Some girls can be very subtle. Maybe you just haven't noticed it. Or do you stare at her 24/7?"

James growled, "No!"

Nick smiled. He didn't know where he was getting all this advice from, because he hardly knew anything about girls liking boys and so on. He let it go anyway. Maybe it was just common sense.

"Maybe I should ask her out…" James trailed off.

"Yeah. You haven't got anything to lose."

"Except my pride," James grumbled.

"Nick laughed. "Sometimes you need to swallow it." Yep, he definitely didn't know where all this advice was coming from. He actually felt like a hypocrite. He should listen to himself more often.

A/N: The review button doesn't bite. Oh, and sorry this chap was pretty short.

15. Chapter 15

A/N: Here it is everyone. The chapter on the other members of the flock's POV. Hope you enjoy!

FYI: The underlined letters in italics are the thoughts of other people. Yes! Angel can still read minds.

Angel/ Ariel's POV

"Have a good day at school, sweetie," Ariel's mum said sweetly through the car window. Ariel nodded and waved. Unlike the rest of the people she knew, she couldn't read her mum's mind. It was like it was blocked. But Ariel didn't mind. She quickly turned and headed towards school, looking for her friends:Lucy, Katie and Fiona. She was aware of her brother, Zephyr, heading off to find his own friends.

"Hey!" Ariel cried as she spotted Lucy up ahead. She sped up and joined her, smiling widely.

"Hey," Lucy replied, an identical smile on her face.

"Want to go play before school starts?" Ariel asked.

We should play tag. I hope Ariel doesn't win again.

"Want to play tag?" Ariel asked.

"Sure," Lucy answered. Ariel grabbed her hand and they walked towards the playground.

"We should find Fiona and Katie and see if they want to play," Ariel said, leading Lucy over to a group of girls their age. Soon they were all playing tag, and Ariel was the obvious winner, having never been tagged.

(A/N: Sorry Angel's POV wasn't very long, but I couldn't think of anything interesting for her.)

"Have a good day at school, sweetie," the Gasman's mum said to Ariel, his sister. Ariel waved and quickly walked away in search of her friends. His mum watched her go, fondness evident in her eyes.

"You too, Zephyr," his mum said, turning to face him. He smiled and waved, noticing that the fondness she had shown for Ariel was gone from her eyes. He slowly trudged off to find his friends.

Zephyr couldn't help but feel lonely, even though he had lots of friends. But he couldn't help feeling that a piece of him was missing. Like he had lost his BEST friend in the entire world. Like there was something that he loved to do, but couldn't do it.

He sighed sadly and managed to find his friend, Tom. He joined him at a table and rested his head on his crossed over arms.

"Hi," Tom said, busy trying to carve something into the table.

"Hey," Zephyr said back without any enthusiasm.

"You okay?" Tom asked, not pausing in his handy work.

"Yeah… just tired," he said lamely.

"I heard we're getting a new teacher. One of those university teachers that are practising to become an actual teacher.

"Oh, yeah.," Zephyr said, not really caring.

"Hey Zephyr," a voice called out from behind him. He lifted his head and saw that Amy, a girl in his class, was standing behind him.

"Oh, Hi Amy," he said back, trying to smile but failing miserably.

Her face clouded with concern. "Are you okay?" she asked.

He had to pull himself together. He was supposed to be tough. If Amy and Tom could see that something was wrong, then everybody probably could. He wasn't supposed to look weak. He was strong!

"Just tired," he lied again.

"Oh, okay. Well…I'll see you in class," she said with a small smile.

"Yeah. See you."

Amy walked away somewhat reluctantly and Zephyr turned his gaze to the table. Once Amy was out of sight, Tom stopped carving and looked up.

"Amy and Zephyr, sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes-'

"Shut up!" Zephyr yelled, his small hands becoming lethal fists.

"You looove Amy!" Tom cried and started cackling.

"I do not!" Zephyr argued, his face flushing pink.

"You want to marry her!" Tom said with a mischievous glint in his eyes.

"You better run," Zephyr grounded out, bunching all his muscles.

Tom stopped and a look of pure horror came over his face. Then he stood up and started running. Within seconds Zephyr was on his tail, gaining quickly.

He would teach Tom to tease him.

"I really like vegemite sandwiches," Nudge said, looking down at her sandwich. "But I don't like too much of it. I only like it in little bits. Because if you have too much at one time, it doesn't taste very good."

"I like vegemite too," David said, a smile on his face. She loved his smiles. He always had one, even when she started one of her monologues.

"Sorry if I'm talking too much," she said, avoiding his eyes. She could feel her cheeks heat up with humiliation.

"I love it when you talk," David said, a blush heating his own cheeks. "It makes me happy to see you happy. And I think you're happiest when you're talking," he admitted.

Nudge met his gaze and smiled. David was a boy that was her friend. And he could possibly become her…boyfriend. She smiled even wider at the thought. She always wondered what it would be like to have a boyfriend, and David was the nicest boy she had ever met. He had dark brown hair and beautiful green eyes. His skin was sun-tanned and he was tall. Taller than her! And she was pretty tall for her age.

"I've always wondered what it would be like to have a boyfriend," she blurted. "Would you have to spend heaps of time together? Or would you only see each other sometimes? And what about your normal friends? Would your boyfriend be able to sit with them at lunch if you were sitting with them? Or wouldn't he be allowed?"

"I don't know, I've never had a boyfriend," David said with a laugh.

Nudge's cheeks heated up with embarrassment again.

"But I would like a girlfriend," he said, a smile transforming his features.

"Really?" Nudge asked, too shocked to ramble on.

David nodded, and just like that, he leant forward and kissed her. On the mouth! She was overcome with emotions she had never felt before. For once she had nothing to say. So she stayed still and kissed him back.

When they broke apart, they both smiled.

"Wow," David said, smiling even brighter.

"Does this mean you're my boyfriend now?" Nudge asked.

He grinned in reply.

Iggy trailed his hand across the wall as he made his way to the lunch area. He could hear kids chatting around him and from the smell, a bunch of kids had just finished playing sport and were all huddling around the drink taps. He could smell them from where he was walking.

"Hey," a female voice called from beside him. He heard the familiar sound of Shauna's light footsteps as she approached him.

"Hi," he said back, feeling a smile immediately stretch over his lips. Shauna had been one of the nice people at this school. She hadn't thought of him as disabled and retarded as the rest of them had.

"Wanna go and eat outside?" She asked, taking his hand in hers.

"Sure," he replied, savouring the feel of her warm touch.

She started leading him outside. But she didn't pull him, like other kids would have. They stopped at a table and Shauna sat down. Following her movements, Iggy sat down on the opposite side.

"I heard you got an A in your chemistry practical. Is what I hear true?" she asked in a friendly tone.

"It was easy," Iggy said modestly.

"The other kids didn't get an A. You must be skilled with chemicals. Either that or you're just skilled in everything you do," she said.

He felt his cheeks get hot, and from the rise in temperature, he knew that Shauna was blushing too.

"Hey, Shauna!" He heard some kid shout. "Stop hanging out with the blind retard and come sit with me!"

Iggy sighed and he heard Shauna say, "You're the retard! He's ten times better than you'll ever be!"

"But he's blind!" the kid yelled in disbelief.

"So? He's not a jerk, like you, Greg!"

Iggy felt honoured by the fact that she was sticking up for him. But he didn't want her to have a hard time because of it. But he also felt really angry at that creep, Greg, for talking like he wasn't in hearing range. He wasn't deaf as well, that idiot!

"You should go get a life!" Iggy yelled, looking in the direction the voice had come from.

"Fine. Suit yourselves," the kid said. Iggy heard his footsteps retreating.

"Don't mind him. He's just angry because I turned him down last year," Shauna explained.

"That's okay," he muttered.

The bell rang overhead, making him wince from the sudden sound. He felt Shauna stand up and lean over him. Then he felt her soft lips on his cheek and the blush quickly reappeared.

She had kissed him.

"See you later," she said, rushing off to her next class.

"Bye," Iggy muttered as he felt the spot where she had kissed him.

16. Chapter 16

A/N: Whoa, I'm getting a lot of reviews. Thanks to everyone. One person mentioned that I still called Iggy "Iggy". That's my mistake there. I forgot to change his name. Whoops. Oh well, it doesn't really matter. Max's name is still "Max". Anyway, I'll write more in the flock's POV, but for now it's back to Max and Fang. I've decided to update quickly. Mainly because people have asked me to ASAP, but also because not many other people have updated recently and I want to be nice to you fans. Enjoy…

Disclaimer (Just thought I'd restate this): I do not own Maximum Ride. Only the plot and my own characters.

Max's POV

"Oh, my gosh!" the Gasman said excitedly. He pointed. "A UFO!"

I silently counted to ten. There was nothing where the Gasman had pointed. As usual. "That was funny the first fifty times, Gazzy," I said. "It's getting old."

He cackled, several wingspans away from me. There's nothing like an eight-year-old's sense of humour.

"Max? How long until we get to DC?" asked Nudge, pulling up closer to me. She looked tired- we'd had one long, ugly day. Well, another long ugly day in a whole series of long, ugly days. If I ever actually had a good, easy day, I'd probably freak out.

I sat bolt upright in bed, sweating and breathing heavily. Whoa, that had been one graphic dream. It felt more like a memory. But- ha- flying kids. As if! That was new. Not! Everyone dreamt about flying, right? This was nothing new.

I glanced over at my bedside clock. It was morning and I should be getting up to go to get ready for school in a few minutes. Well wasn't that handy. My dream was my alarm clock. At least it didn't wake me up in the middle of the night. A convenient dream.

I got up and slowly did my usual routine. I won't bore you with the details. Basically, I dressed, ate and packed my bag. Not long after I was arriving at school.



I decided to sit with Cynthia and Jacque again this morning. They were my two best friends and there was no way I could not forgive them. But I was starting to have second thoughts about Cynthia.

They were already sitting at our usual spot when I arrived. They were deep in talk and I had a feeling I knew what the subject was.

"I didn't think Max was ever going to go out with someone," Cynthia whispered to Jacque.

"Me either. But I was starting to get hopeful when Nick came along. I thought she liked him. But now she's going out with Mitch. I just can't keep up. But I'm glad, all the same," Jacque whispered back.

"I heard that Max was pressured into dating Mitch by her two best friends and Mitch himself," I injected. Their heads turned so fast that I thought I heard one crack. Their faces mirrored the same expressions of shock.

"Oh, hi Max," Cynthia said lamely.

"Why am I such a hot topic of gossip?" I demanded. "Even my friends can't stop talking about me. Live your own lives!" I snapped.

"Max-" Jacque started, but I interrupted.

"I don't want to hear your excuses. Talk about me if you want. But until you can stop sticking your nose into other people's business, I won't be hanging out with you." All my frustration about Cynthia was coming out of me now. This was the last straw. There was no way I was going to stick around while they told me how to live my life. They were the ones that made my mind up for me about boys. And as I recall, they were the ones that made me go to the disco. Which meant they were the reason I was involuntarily going out with Mitch. A boy I don't even like!

I turned my back on them and marched off, not exactly sure where I was going.

"Max!" Jacque and Cynthia called after me, but I ignored them.

I turned a corner and started to take in my surroundings. I was now in the dedicated 'cool' area. Where all the 'cool' people hung out. I inwardly groaned as I realised what I had walked into.

"Max!" a familiar voice called.


I had unintentionally walked into his area. Joy for me, I thought sarcastically.

I decided to pretend I hadn't heard the voice and started walking faster. Maybe I could get out of here without-

"Max," Mitch said again from right beside me.

I spun around, surprised. He grabbed my wrist and pulled me closer to him.

"Hey," he breathed onto my face.


"Oh, hi," I said rather lamely.

"Where were you going in such a rush?" he asked, that stupid grin of his back on his face.

"You know, just walking around. Looking for my…friends," I lied.

"Come and sit with us," he said, pulling me over to a table where his friends were sitting. He sat down next to a red haired girl that I recognised. She was the girl that had hit on Nick after that class. She had red hair and glasses. What was her name- Caitlin? Yeah, that was it.

Opposite Caitlin and Mitch sat two guys. One was pale with messy brown hair and the other was aboriginal with dark hair and skin.

"Max, this is Damien," The pale one. "And this is Matt." The aboriginal. "And this is Caitlin," Mitch said, introducing everyone by gesturing to them when he said their names.

"Hi," they all said to me.

"Hey," I said, a little uncomfortable. Actually, a lot uncomfortable. Mitch pulled me down next to him and held onto my hand a little too tightly.

"I'll need the use of my hand," I told him. Then froze.

"Fang, Fang, Fang," I murmured, overwhelmed with emotion. "I love you. I love you sooo much." I tried to hold out my arms to show how much, but I couldn't move them.

"Oh, jeez," Fang said, sounding strangled.

"Okay, we're done," said Dr Martinez finally. "The chip is out. I'm going to unfasten your arm, Max, and then I want you to wiggle your fingers."

"Okay." I wiggled the fingers that Fang was still holding.

"The other ones," he said.

"Okay." I wiggled those fingers.

"Go ahead and move them, Max," said Dr Martinez.

"I am moving them," I said, moving them more.

"Oh," said Dr Martinez. "Oh, no."

"Max?" Mitch asked, waving his hand in front of my face. "Are you alright?"

I blinked rapidly and then nodded shakily. What on Earth had that been about? And why was Nick in my sudden hallucination? Was I delusional? What was going on? Was I going crazy? That would certainly explain a lot. And who the hell was Fang?!

"What happened?" Mitch asked, looking worried. In fact, he looked like he was about to dump me in an insane asylum. Way to treat your girlfriend.

"Nothing. Just spaced out for a moment," I quickly told him.

He shrugged his shoulders and everyone started talking amongst themselves. After a beat Mitch turned to Caitlin and started talking. I moved my hands onto the table and started staring at them. Why was my life such a trial? Why did everything I do have to have some consequence later on? And why the heck was I hanging out with these people? I don't even know them and I'm sure if I did I wouldn't like them.

God, my life is screwed.

Finally the bell rang and I sprang up, ready to be anywhere but here. I muttered a goodbye to everyone and moved on to my class: Physical Education.

"I want you all to split into groups of six," the teacher, Mrs. Johns, ordered the class. "We're doing sprints today. Those fast enough will go on to try out for athletics team. Everyone understand?"

Everyone nodded his or her head, a little scared of the teacher. Well, everyone except me.

"Okay, the first six line up on the track," she snapped. "Girls first," she added.

A group of girls lined up in their separate lanes, preparing to run.

"On your marks." The girls stepped up to the line. "Get set." The girls bent forward. "Go!" The girls took off.

The race was over a short moment later. A blonde haired girl won, while a brunette came second. It's funny how the people who win are the only ones people remember.

"Next group of boys," Mrs. Johns called out.

A group of boys stepped up to their lanes, looking very competitive. One of the boys was Mitch. Another was Nick. I found myself watching Nick as he rolled his shoulders and prepared to race.

"On your marks." The boys stepped up to the line. "Get set." They bent forward and raised their arms. "Go!"

They shot off, marginally faster than the girls. I watched as Nick effortlessly took the lead. He didn't even look like he was trying that hard. It was amazing how graceful he looked, even as he ran. In fact, it looked like he was about to take flight at any moment.

The race was over quickly and Nick was the clear winner. Mitch came in second and another dark haired boy came third.

"Go Nick!" Caitlin cheered from the sidelines. She'd been in the first race and lost by a mile. It was actually pretty pathetic.

The group of boys walked back down the side of the track and took a seat on the grass to the side. Caitlin walked up to Nick and started twirling her hair flirtatiously. I clenched my jaw and stepped up to the starting line.

I hated it when girls flirted so obviously. Didn't they have any dignity or self-respect? It was just embarrassing.

"On you marks," Mrs. Johns yelled. I stepped up to the starting line, quivering with anger. And no, it didn't have anything to do with Nick. Just Caitlin! "Get set." I bent forward and prepared to race.


I shot forward a millisecond after the teacher said 'go'. My reflexes were that good. I glanced sideways at the girls around me and was surprised to see them behind me. I glanced off to the side and saw Caitlin chatting endlessly in Nick's ear. But he wasn't looking at her. He was looking at me. I gritted my teeth and sped up, trying to clear the picture from my mind. But no matter how hard I tried, it wouldn't go away. So I ran faster.

Before I knew it, the race was over. I stopped running and glanced behind me. No one else had finished yet. In fact, it took the next girl more then fifteen seconds to finish. She stopped next to me and bent forward, puffing. I stood straight up and made my way back to the other end, not even breathing heavily. And you know what? I think I could've gone way faster.

I joined the others who had already raced and sat down, trying not to look in a certain person's direction.

"Max?" Mrs. Johns asked me. I glanced up to see her walking over to me.


"That was amazing," she announced. "You set a new record."

"What?" I asked in disbelief.

"I definitely think you should be on the girl's sprints team," she told me. "Training is on Tuesday next week. I expect to see you there." With that she stalked off and got the next race ready.

"Impressive," someone breathed in my ear as they sat down next to me. My head snapped around to see Nick sitting next to me. He flashed a smile at me and then leaned back on his hands.

"Are you going to training?" I asked him.

He shrugged his shoulders. "I don't see why not. Should be fun," he said, not sounding very enthusiastic.

"You'll probably have your own cheering squad," I said, looking pointedly at Caitlin, who was sending dirty looks my way.

He laughed quickly. "You're probably right. Maybe I won't go to training," he said.

I glanced sideways at him.

"Not like you need a cheering squad," I added. "You could outrun everyone here."

"Maybe. Everyone except you."

I snorted in disbelief. "I'm not that fast. The others are just slow," I said.

He raised his eyebrows. "Is that what you believe? I'm sure that explains the reason you broke a record or whatever."

I scowled at him.

"I want the winners of all the races over here!" Mrs. Johns yelled. I glanced over and saw that everyone was finished racing.

"All the people who placed second come over here as well," she added.

I rose to my feet and Nick stood up next to me. We joined the groups of people who had come first.

"I want all the winning girls to race. And same thing with the boys," Mrs. Johns instructed.

I chose the same lane I was in before and rolled my shoulders, trying to loosen them before the race. I glanced at Caitlin before getting into position. She was staring at Nick with love-sick puppy dog eyes.

Oh, my God. Get a grip on yourself, girl, I felt like saying. But I kept it inside.

"On your marks." Everyone stepped up to their starting marks. "Get set." I leant forward, ready to race, my arms at the ready. "GO!"

I shot off down the track, incredibly fast, if I do say so myself. I was finished way before anyone else. I thought it was slightly weird that I could run that fast. I never remembered being this fast before. I shrugged it off and joined the spectators for the boys' race.

"On your marks," Mrs. Johns yelled, looking mean. "Get set. Go!" The boys took off. But only one stood out: Nick. He was finished a great deal earlier than everyone else. In fact, I would say he was running as fast as I just had. Which wasn't saying much because I wasn't that fast…was I?

Nick came and joined me, smiling slightly. He wasn't breathing hard and I realised that that probably wasn't normal. But I hadn't been either.

"See you two on Tuesday," Mrs. Johns told us just as the bell for the next class rang. The class started filing off. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Caitlin walk up to Nick and start gushing to him.

"You're so amazing," she was saying. "You can sing, play guitar and you're athletic. Do you want me to come and watch you at training? I could cheer you on and…"

I tuned out and started walking faster. There was no way I was going to listen to her going on and on…

Stupid flirt!

"Max!" Mitch called, walking up to me. I slowed down and allowed him to catch up, ignoring my immediate thought of 'walk faster! Get away from him!' He kept pace with me as we kept walking.

"You have some serious speed," he complimented with a smile. I didn't like the way his gaze slid down my body. It made me uncomfortable.

"I was thinking…we should go out tonight. See a movie. We'll grab something to eat afterwards. What do you think?"


"Great, I'll pick you up at 7pm. See you then,' he said, walking off. Damn! I couldn't think of an excuse in time! Well…this was going to be interesting.

A/N: I just wanted to do a vote for future references. I sort of have an idea, but I want to see what you guys like first.

Anyway, which one would you prefer?

Iggy x Shauna

Iggy x Nudge

Iggy x Shauna to start off with and then Iggy x Nudge later.

Please vote…and review!

Oh, and I just wanted to say that I'm sorry Max is a little out of character (I know she'd never let Mitch date her or put up with Cynthia in 'real [actually meaning factual life. But it's all part of the story. I can't have her getting everything she wants too early. There have got to be obstacles.

17. Chapter 17

A/N: Yay, I've gotten 300 reviews (exactly, the last time I counted) Thanks reviewers! (I got 60 for the last chapter I put up. I'd like to let you know that your votes have been taken into consideration, but I have an idea and I hope everyone likes it. And for those who were wondering, Shauna is nice. :) (Someone asked in a review.) Anyway, enjoy!

Max's POV

A car horn blared from outside. I wondered if it was who I thought it was.

"Max! Mitch is here!" Mum called up the stairs.

I glanced at myself in the mirror one more time. I was wearing a black shirt with an awesome pattern on it with some hipster jeans. My hair was hanging in loose curls around my shoulders and I had my handbag slung over one of my shoulders. I couldn't care less if I was dressed appropriately for the movies or not. I wasn't overdressed, that's for sure. Why would I dress up for Mitch?

I reluctantly made my way downstairs and walked out into my front lawn. A sleek red car was waiting in my driveway and I peered through the window. Mitch was sitting in the passenger seat, his older sister in the front. Thank God he isn't driving, I thought in relief.

Mitch wound down his window and smiled at me. "Hop in," he said.

I opened the back door and sat in the backseat, admiring the new upholstery. I was a little annoyed. He invited me on this date and he doesn't come to my door to get me. He doesn't even sit in the back seat with me! He sits shotgun while I'm a loner in the back. But I've never been the princess type, so it didn't bother me much. In fact, I had nothing to compare it to, so this probably happened all the time.

Not long later we arrived in the parking lot of the cinema. Mitch's mum turned to Mitch and said, "Have fun, kids." Then we were outside and walking to the movies together.

"What do you wanna see?" he asked me.

I studied the options and then said, "The Bourne Ultimatum." (A/N: I know it has been out for ages, but I couldn't think of anything else! Lol)

"Haven't you seen that already?" he asked in disbelief.

"No. Should I have?"

"It's been out for awhile."

"Oh. Don't you want to see it?" I asked.

"Yeah. We can see it. That's fine," he said, confusing me. What was all that about?

"Are you sure you don't want to see a chick flick?" he said, turning to face me again.

"No." Why would I want to watch a boring, mushy movie when I could see action?

"Oh, okay." He stepped up to the register and bought one ticket for The Bourne Ultimatum. Then he stepped away and waited for me to pay for my ticket.

His family could afford a new, sleek car and he couldn't buy a movie ticket for me? Well, I guess it doesn't matter. Things aren't like they used to be. I wasn't going to be stuck up and demand he pay for me. Plus, as I mentioned before, I'm not a princess. If I was a guy, I probably wouldn't pay. But that would probably be because I didn't have any money.

"Can you buy the popcorn, as well?" he asked me just as I stepped up to pay. "I'm trying to save my money."

I nodded my head, a little peeved. Okay, maybe the popcorn was going a bit far. "One ticket for The Bourne Ultimatum. And can I have a large popcorn and a medium coke, please."

I was going to have no money left after tonight.

After we bought our tickets we made our way into the movie theatre. The theatre was pretty empty because the film had been running for a while. We found a spot at the back and I got comfy, eating popcorn and sipping coke.

The movie started playing after about fifteen minutes of commercials and previews. I was watching the movie when I felt something brush against my arm. I looked down and saw Mitch's hand reaching towards mine. He slipped his hand into mine and held on tightly.


Not long after, Mitch was getting very close to me. Very close. I had no idea what he was trying to do so I shifted my position and leaned further away from him.

During a very intense fight scene I felt Mitch's hand on my chin. My head snapped around to look at him only to have his lips collide with my face. Yes, I did say face. He managed to miss my lips completely. But then he rearranged himself and pressed his lips firmly to mine. I was freaking out. I didn't want him to kiss me! But I didn't know what to do. Plus, I was missing out on a good part of the movie!

It only lasted a couple of seconds before I managed to push him away from me. I could still taste where he had kissed me, and it made me feel like throwing up. He drew away from me and raised his eyebrow, obviously confused.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

I don't want to date you, I thought to myself.

"Oh, I nearly forgot," he said, sticking his hands in his pocket, trying to find something, I assumed. He finally pulled a small box out and handed it to me. I stared down at it, not sure what it was. Then I looked up into his face and saw that he was smiling. And you know what, he had the kindest expression on. I'd never seen him look so vulnerable. For a moment, I felt sorry for him. And that moment lasted. Maybe he could actually be nice when he wasn't trying to appear cool to impress his friends.

I opened the box and nearly gasped as I saw what was inside it. It was a silver necklace with a small angel on it. I smiled slowly. No one had ever given me a gift like this before.

"It reminded me of you, when I saw it. You know, 'cause you're an angel." And it wasn't a cheesy pick-up line. He actually meant it, that much I could tell.

"Wow, thanks Mitch. I really like it," I said, smiling.

"Really?" he asked, looking too much like an innocent child. Instantly, all my feelings about him changed. This was a Mitch I'd never seen before. The nice one who didn't care what everyone else thought. I really liked this Mitch. I slipped the necklace around my neck and turned back to the movie.

(A/N: I wanted you to see why Max hasn't dumped him yet. He can be nice when he's not trying to impress anyone. So don't get too mad at me because she's still dating him. You don't have to hate him entirely. At least…not yet.)

Mitch was still holding my hand and it was starting to feel sweaty. But it felt nice, anyway. I was quite content in the company of this new Mitch. The date had turned around. And the best part was he didn't try and kiss me again. I don't think I would've been ready for that.

"There's a party at my friend's place on Friday. Do you want to go with me?" Mitch whispered during another good scene.

"Sure," I said distractedly, not really thinking it through. Wait a minute, what was the question again?

"I'll meet you there. It's at Greg's house. Do you know where he lives?"


"I'll write it down later," he said.

"Sure," I said, returning my attention to the movie. I was starting to get a bad feeling in my stomach.

After the movie fiasco (I still wasn't sure if it was good or bad), we went to an ice-cream parlour across the street. Mitch still hadn't let go of my hand, so we sat across from each other, our hands in the middle of the table.

You know what, this all felt familiar somehow. Like I'd done this exact same thing before.

"We're going to have hell dinner with the relatives," Sam said. He held up his maraschino cherry. "Want mine?"

"Yep." He put it on top of my sundae and smiled. I smiled back. "Why is it hell dinner?"

He made a face. "My two oldest sisters will be back. There will be much hogging of the bathrooms, phone, and TV. My uncle will talk non-stop about his business, which is insurance."

I winced in sympathy.

"Mom will try to keep Aunt Phyllis away from the liquor, but it won't work. Dad will be trying to watch the football game, so he'll be shouting at the TV and spilling corn nuts on the carpet." Sam shrugged. I liked the way his chestnut hair sort of fell over his forehead. And he had nice eyes. Hazel colored. Kind of tortoiseshell.

"Sounds pretty bad," I said. Was that kind of thanksgiving common? I had no idea. I only knew what I'd seen on TV. What kind of Thanksgiving would my old friends Ella and Dr Martinez have?

Sam shrugged again. "It'll suck. But then it'll be over, and I'll have four weeks to brace myself for Christmas."

I laughed, and he grinned back at me.

What the heck was wrong with me? I kept having these weird sorts of flashback things. But how could they be flashbacks when I'd never done any of those things. I'd never gone on a date with someone named Sam! And I lived in Australia, which meant no Thanksgiving. Was I going mad? Had I finally gone 'round the bend? What was happening to me?!

"Here's the address for that party on Friday night," Mitch said, snapping me out of my thoughts. He handed me a piece of paper and smiled at me. I gave a wobbly smile back and took the paper. There was no way I was going to go to a party with him. Tonight had been awkward enough. Well, it'd been awkward for me. I'm not sure about him. But I did know one thing: I'd have to go and see The Bourne Ultimatum again because I missed half of it tonight.

18. Chapter 18

A/N: No, this is not a new chapter, I just fixed up the italics thing. Sorry, it was a mistake that I thought I fixed up, but apparently not. Anyway, it's fixed now and I should update soon. Sorry if it confused people...

Chapter 18- Detention

Nick's POV

"Fans still hanging on your every word?" Max asked sleepily some time later.

Fang looked up from his blog. He didn't know how much time had passed. The slightest tint of pink on the horizon made the rest of the world seem blacker somehow. But he could clearly see every freckle on Max's tired face.

"Yep," he said. Max shook her head, then relaxed into the crook of a large branch. Her eyes drifted shut again, but he knew she wasn't yet asleep—her muscles were still tight, her body stiff.

It was hard for Max to relax her guard. Hard for her to relax period. She had to carry a lot on those genetically enhanced shoulders and, all in all, she did a dang good job.

But no one was perfect.

Fang looked down at the screen he'd flipped off when Max had leaned closer. He thumbed the trackball, and the screen glowed to life again. His blog was attracting more and more attention—word was spreading. In just the past three days, he'd gone from twenty hits to more than a thousand. A thousand people were reading what he wrote, and probably even more would tomorrow.

Nick sat up in bed, cold sweat collecting on his brow. What the hell had that dream been about? He asked himself. And why was Max in it? He shook his head, as if that could clear it.

He ripped the covers off of him and swung his feet out onto the cushy carpet. He stood up slowly and rummaged through his room for his laptop. He finally found it and returned to his bed with it. It switched it on and brang up the Internet.

Without hesitation, he typed and waited for it to load. When it showed up his brow furrowed in disbelief.

He started reading the blog posts. This was incredible. He didn't know if he believed the story of a group of bird-kids on the run- but it was incredible that he had dreamed about them. He didn't know why he was cast as one of the flock members in his dream, or Max for that matter, but he thought it was pretty cool.

He got off the sight- but not before seeing the last time Fang had updated. It had been more than a year ago. His brow furrowed again, but then he shrugged it off. Why should he care? He closed the laptop and glanced at his clock. He was running late for school. He quickly got up and started to get changed.

Ah, Nick. So nice of you to join us," Mr. Davis drawled when Nick skidded to a stop in front of his classroom. "Detention at lunch," he added. "Find your seat."

Nick silently cursed as he made his way to the back of the room. It wasn't his fault he was late… Okay, so maybe it was. But he shouldn't get a detention!

He sat down without really thinking and absently watched the teacher scribble notes on the board. Then his gaze shifted to the corner of the room. Max and Mitch were sitting next to each other. From where he was sitting it looked like Mitch was talking quietly to Max, but she wasn't talking back to him.

After a moment, Mitch grabbed a lock of Max's hair and pushed it behind her ear. Nick's stomach dropped as he watched. His fists clenched and his jaw tightened, but he sat very still, pretending nothing was wrong. He was very good at pretending.

He looked back over at Max and Mitch and saw him holding her hand. His gut tightened again and he quickly looked away. What was wrong with him?

Fang opened Max's door slightly and put his head around it. He walked in holding one hand over his eyes. "Whoa," he said. "Your happy glow. It's blinding."

Max rolled her eyes at him, then pulled off her hoodie. She wiggled her shoulders and let her wings untuck a little bit. Once again he was struck by how beautiful she was.

He shut the door and said, "They wanted to stay up to wait for you, but Anne made them go to bed."

"Good thinking on Anne's part," she replied.

"So? How was it?" Fang leaned against the desk and crossed his arms over his chest. The memory of her kissing that wiener Sam was still fresh in his mind. How could she stand to be anywhere near him? She was way above losers like Sam. She was Beautiful, funny and strong. She deserved someone better. Someone like her. Someone with wings…He stayed impassive, but he didn't think he fooled Max.

"I saw him- what's the phrase? oh yeah- 'stuck to you like glue'. So I guess you got along all right." Max gave him a level look, no doubt trying to figure out what was going through his head.

"Yeah," she finally said. "There's a lot of that going around."

He was drawn out of his little -- delusion? Fantasy? Day dream? -- by the teacher.

"Mitch and Max! Do I have to separate you two? Stop talking and start doing your work!"

He glanced over at Mitch and Max (Try saying that ten times fast) and tried to stay impassive. Max was looking embarrassed while Mitch was looking calm, cool and collected. That jerk!

Mitch just leaned over and whispered something in Max's ear. Nick nearly grimaced as he pictured Mitch's mouth touching Max's ear. Mitch whispering something to her. Mitch being anywhere near her! He grabbed the desk and held on tightly, trying to calm himself down.

"Mitch! Max! I warned you. That's a ten minute detention at lunch," the teacher exclaimed. Max's face went red with- anger? Whatever Mitch had said seemed to make her mad. She looked at him haughtily and then turned away from him.

Nick couldn't help but smile a tiny bit.

He unclenched his hand from the desk and looked down. His fingers had left indents! Where did the school get their cheap desks? he wondered. He could break it using one hand!

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Mitch trying to talk to Max again. Didn't that guy ever learn? Max was still facing away from him, but he was determined.

"Mitch! Another five minutes!" Mr. Davis yelled, turning a slight shade of pink.

Ha. Served him right, Nick thought bitterly.


Not as fun as you think.

Actually: completely boring.

"I want you all to write out the school rules five times," Mr. Davis snapped, handing out copies of the school rules and pieces of paper.

"Start writing!"

Mr. Davis returned to his desk and sat down, watching them like a hawk. But soon enough he was busily writing something down, probably for another class.

Nick glanced around the room. Mitch was doing what he was told for once and copying down the rules. Max was also doing it, but more lazily.

She glanced up at him as if she could feel his gaze. Their eyes locked. He tried to tear his gaze away from hers, but he couldn't. It was like he was under a spell. Her warm brown eyes looked innocent, bored and…familiar. Like he had stared into them before on numerous occasions.

"Max," Mr. Davis said, causing enough of a distraction for them to look away from each other.

"Yes?" she said, looking towards the teacher as if reluctant.

"You can go. Nick and Mitch, you can stay for another five minutes."

Max gathered her things and quickly left, but not before looking over her shoulder at him.

Five minutes later Nick was itching to get out of detention. He had hastily scrawled the rules out five times each and now he was just waiting for Mr. Davis to give the all clear.

"Okay you two. This better be the last time I have to give you detentions. You're free to go," he finally said.

Nick gathered his things and walked to the door. Maybe if he hurried he could find Max and talk to her.

"Nick, my man," Mitch said from behind him.

Nick whirled and found Mitch just behind him. Mitch caught up and started walking beside him.

"Hey," Nick said unenthusiastically.

"Hey. Sucky detention," he observed.


They walked on in silence for a moment.

"I should probably go and find Max," Mitch said.

"How are you two going?" Nick asked before he could stop himself.

"Great. We went out on our first date last night. It was awesome. She is hot," he said.

Nick's eyes tightened slightly.

"Oh yeah. But she's got to be smart and funny and that as well," Nick prodded.

"Who cares about all that stuff? She's hot, that's all that matters," Mitch told him.

Nick's jaw twitched.

"I can't wait to get my hands on her," Mitch whispered, then started cackling.

Nick's fist clenched and his brow furrowed.

"So, is that the only reason you're dating her?" Nick asked.

"Hey, who wouldn't date her? She's hot and she's building up my popularity. I'm the first guy to go out with her. The guys are calling me a legend," he said smugly.

God, he felt like punching him.

Nick stayed silent as they walked along. Finally, Mitch headed off in a different direction, muttering a quick, "bye".

He was going to kill him. Max didn't deserve to go out with a guy like him! Max deserved the best. Someone who would like her for her mind, not her body.

His fists were still clenched and he punched the side of the wall. He winced as he looked at his bloodied and swollen knuckles, but he didn't care. He was going to break Mitch and Max up. No matter what. Max deserved the best; not that jerk!

A/N: Please review! The button won't bite!

19. Chapter 19

Chapter 19- Band, lyrics and Max

Nick's POV

"Okay. We all ready for our gig?" James asked the band.

"We're playing during break at school?" Luke asked, just checking. He sounded incredulous.


"Awesome," Luke and Daniel said at the same time.

"Let's set up," James instructed.

They set about organising the stage. Luke set up his drum kit while Nick and Daniel set up the amps and the guitars. James set up the keyboard and then went to talk to a teacher, Miss Shaw, who had organised the whole thing.

"Don't you think this is cool?" Daniel asked Nick.

"Yeah." He wasn't really looking forward to performing in front of most of the school. In fact, he was starting to get a bit edgy. That's what nerves did to a person. But was he going to let anyone else know he was jumpy? Hell, no! He just plastered on his impassive face and watched the goings ons.

"Let's test the amps for balance!" James called from his position in front of the stage.

Nick switched his amp on and then positioned his electric guitar. Luke and Daniel set up as well, but Daniel picked up the bass guitar instead of getting on his keyboard. James stayed standing out the front. Nick struck up a little tune and Daniel and Luke added to it. James nodded his head when they were finished and flashed a grin.

"It sounds good. Just maybe turn the bass up a bit," he added.

Daniel adjusted the bass and then walked over to his keyboard. James made his way back onto the stage and walked over to Nick. He looked incredibly excited about this whole thing.

"Isn't this awesome? We could be booked for gigs everywhere after this," he said excitedly.

Nick gave him a level look. "You mean from performing at a school? I don't think you should get ahead of yourself," he said with his usual tact.

James' face fell. "I guess you're right. But you never know," he said with a shrug.

"Yeah, you never know." Keep telling yourself that, he thought wryly.

"Do you think they'll like us?" Luke piped up from where he was standing at the back of the stage. He sounded like a little kid and Nick couldn't help but smile. Well, on the inside.

"Yeah. We'll rock!" James said with confidence.

Just then the bell rang overhead, signalling that lunch break was about to start. Nick stiffened slightly and turned to his other band members.

"You ready?" James asked them all.

Not really.

"Yeah!" Daniel and Luke said, pumping their fists into the air. Luke picked up his drumsticks and made himself comfortable. Daniel positioned himself at his keyboard with the extra electric guitar beside him. James quickly made his way to his bass guitar. Nick stood in his spot, feeling slightly nauseous. What had he been thinking when he agreed to join their band? It was a stupid, horrible idea.

But there was no going back now.


Max's POV

"Nick's band is playing. Are you going to come and watch?" Cynthia said, subtly puling on my arm.

I shrugged my shoulders, but stayed put.

"I really wanna hear Nick! Who knew that one guy could be so…perfect?" she said dreamily.

Ugh. I would've totally hit her over the head if she hadn't been…right. Nick was good-looking, smart, athletic, musical and nice. He was perfect. Well, as perfect as any guy could get. But I shouldn't be thinking about him like that. He was just my…friend. Was he even my friend? Whatever. I was not meant to think about him like that.

"Well, are you going to come?" Cynthia asked, a note of annoyance in her voice.

"Sure," I replied reluctantly. She grinned and grabbed my arm, leading me in the direction of the newly started sound of a band playing.

They sounded good.

Cynthia pushed her way through the huge crowd that was gathering at the stage. She squeezed us into a spot close to the front and started screaming and applauding at the band. Nick was in the middle of a song by My Chemical Romance that I recognised. He sounded really good. Famous band material.

He was already half way through the song. But I listened in awe anyway. He sounded so good. I realised the song was "Welcome to The Black Parade".

Do or die, you'll never make me
Because the world will never take my heart
Go and try, you'll never break me
We want it all, we wanna play this part
I won't explain or say I'm sorry
I'm unashamed, I'm gonna show my scar
Give a cheer for all the broken
Listen here, because it's who we are
I'm just a man, I'm not a hero
Just a boy, who had to sing this song
I'm just a man, I'm not a hero
I! don't! care!

We'll carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're broken and defeated
Your weary widow marches on

Do or die, you'll never make me
Because the world will never take my heart
Go and try, you'll never break me
We want it all, we wanna play this part (We'll carry on)

Do or die, you'll never make me (We'll carry on)
Because the world will never take my heart (We'll carry on)
Go and try, you'll never break me (We'll carry)
We want it all, we wanna play this part (We'll carry on)

The song finished and I joined in with the applause enthusiastically. I watched as Nick surveyed the crowd. His eyes stopped on me and I felt my heart skip a beat.

He was looking straight at me!

He. Was. Looking. At. Me.

God, he looked so hot!

I swallowed and tried to remember how to think. How could he have this effect over me? I could see his dark eyes from where I was standing (I have a freakishly good eye sight) and they seemed to look straight into my soul.

"Isn't he adorable?" Cynthia shouted in my ear.

"Their not playing at the moment," I reminded her, reluctantly breaking eye contact with Nick to look at her. "You don't have to shout."

She smiled sheepishly at me. "I think I'm going to talk to Nick afterwards. I've been hanging out to actually meet him," she said wistfully.

"Sure. Great idea," I said absentmindedly. I glanced back up at the stage but Nick wasn't looking at me anymore. He was starting to play his next song. Which also happened to be a My Chemical Romance song: "Famous Last Words."

Now I know
That I can't make you stay
But where's your heart?
But where's your heart?
But where's your...

And I know
There's nothing I can say
To change that part
To change that part
To change...

So many
Bright lights, they cast a shadow
But can I speak?
Well is it hard understanding
I'm incomplete
A life that's so demanding
I get so weak
A love that's so demanding
I can't speak

I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
Honey if you stay, I'll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home

Can you see
My eyes are shining bright
'Cause I'm out here
On the other side
Of a jet black hotel mirror
And I'm so weak
Is it hard understanding
I'm incomplete
A love that's so demanding
I get weak

I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
Honey if you stay, I'll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home

I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
Honey if you stay, I'll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home

Nick started a guitar solo then. He looked like a God when he played. I stared at him, trying not to look like all the other love-sick girls and failing miserably. What on Earth was wrong with me?

These bright lights have always blinded me
These bright lights have always blinded me
I say

I see you lying next to me
With words I thought I'd never speak
Awake and unafraid
Asleep or dead

(How can I see, I see you lying) 'Cause I see you lying next to me
(How can I see, I see you lying) With words I thought I'd never speak
(How can I see, I see you lying) Awake and unafraid
(How can I see, I see you lying) Asleep or dead

'Cause I see you lying next to me
With words I thought I'd never speak
Awake and unafraid
Asleep or dead

'Cause I see you lying next to me
With words I thought I'd never speak
Awake and unafraid
Asleep or dead

I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
(Or dead)
Honey if you stay, I'll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home
(Or dead)
I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
(Or dead)
Honey if you stay, I'll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home
(Or dead)
I am not afraid to keep on living
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
(Or dead)
Honey if you stay, I'll be forgiven
Nothing you can say can stop me going home

He finished the song and once again his dark eyes were on me. I couldn't think with him looking at me that way. But I managed to smile and look normal (Yeah right). But seriously, I don't think I looked like a complete moron. Nick gave a quick smile at me and then started playing the next song: "Figure .09" by Linkin Park. But do you know what really took me by surprise? Nick didn't start singing, James (If I remembered his name correctly) did.


Nothing ever stops all these thoughts and the pain attached to them
Sometimes I wonder why this is happening
It's like nothing I can do would distract me when
I think of how I shot myself in the back again
'Cause from the infinite words I could say I
Put all pain you gave to me on display
But didn't realize instead of setting it free I
Took what I hated and made it a part of me

James actually really sounded like the original singer of that part; kind of gangster. Then the drummer and keyboard player started singing the next bit:

Never goes away

Never goes away

Then do you know who started singing the chorus? Take a guess. Yep: Nick. And he sounded awesome. Not to mention hot. But I'll keep those thoughts to myself. And do you know who he was looking at when he sang the lyrics. Yep: moi!


And now
You've become a part of me
You'll always be right here
You've become a part of me
You'll always be my fear
I can't separate
Myself from what I've done
Giving up a part of me
I've let myself become you

His eyes never left mine and I felt a shiver pass through my body. My eyes stayed glued to his as James started singing again.


Hearing your name the memories come back again
I remember when it started happening
I see you in every thought I had and then
The thoughts slowly found words attached to them
And I knew as they escaped away
I was committing myself to them and everyday
I regret saying those things 'cause now I see that I
Took what I hated and made it a part of me

Drums and keyboard players: Never goes away

Never goes away

Nick again:

And now

You've become a part of me
You'll always be right here
You've become a part of me
You'll always be my fear
I can't separate
Myself from what I've done
Giving up a part of me
I've let myself become you

It felt like Nick was singing every one of those words to me. Like he meant them for me. Which is crazy. Ha ha….right?

Never goes away

Never goes away

Never goes away

Never goes away

Nick: Get away from me
James: Give me my space back you gotta just
Nick: Go
James: Everything comes down the memories of
Nick: You
James: I've kept it in but now I'm letting you
Nick Know
James: I let you go so get away from
Nick: Me
James: Give me my space back you gotta just
Nick: Go
James: Everything comes down the memories of
Nick: You
James: I've kept it but now I'm letting you
Nick: Know
James: I let you go


And now

You've become a part of me
You'll always be right here
You've become a part of me
You'll always be my fear
I can't separate
Myself from what I've done
Giving up a part of me
I've let myself become you

I've let myself become you
I've let myself become lost inside these thoughts of you
Giving up a part of me, I've let myself become you

The song ended and I finally realised that my heart was racing. Throughout that whole song Nick had never taken his eyes off of me. It was intense…and I liked it. I liked that he was looking at me. I liked that he didn't so much as glance at anyone else.

Oh, God! I was becoming a girly- girl. But you know what, I don't care!

"Did you see that, Max?" Cynthia whispered from beside me. I broke eye contact with Nick and looked at her.

"He was looking at me the whole time," She said quietly.

I frowned at her. What was she talking about?

"He was, like, staring at me. Maybe he does like me!" she squealed.

I managed a smile and then said loudly, "I'm going to go. I'll see you later." Then, without waiting for an answer or a reply, I turned on my heel and stalked out of there.

Was she right? Had he been looking at her? I felt like such an idiot! Of course he didn't like me. I was such a loser. I distantly heard the bell ring overhead. I had a study period now so I just walked aimlessly around until I found an empty classroom. I snuck inside and sat at a desk, moping.

I'm such a loser!

Nick's POV

Max was gone. She had stalked right out of there after talking to her friend. Nick felt his heart sink. He remembered looking at her, singing to her. He had felt…strange. Exhilarated. And…free. Like he was finally home. Like he was complete.

How corny does that sound?

The bell rang overhead and Nick turned to his band members. What happened now? Were they finished?

James took over the microphone then. "Sorry folks. That looks like that's all for us today. I hope you enjoyed the show!"

His announcement was met by a huge amount of applause. Slowly, very slowly, the crowd started trickling away. A group of girls were waiting at the side of the stage. Nick mentally groaned. There was no way he wanted to be met by those 'fans' as he left the stage. He packed up his guitar and sneakily jumped off the side of the stage, away from all the people. He quickly left and made his way around the school.

He was looking for someone.


And just as if he'd summoned her, he saw her sitting in an empty classroom. Hesitantly, he walked through the door. Instantly her head snapped around and she glared at him until she recognised who it was. Then her face took on a look of confusion.

God, she looked so cute when she was confused.

A/N: Review and I update! Heaps more FAX in the following chapters.

20. Chapter 20

Chapter 20- The Kiss!

Max's POV

The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I snapped my head around to see who had entered the room. I scowled at the newcomer, then immediately relaxed. It was Nick. But what was he doing here?

"Hey," he said, coming inside the room and standing only a few feet away from me. He leaned casually against the wall and smiled at me.

"Your band sounded good," I said conversationally.

"Thanks," he muttered.

"They're pretty lucky to have you as their guitarist."

He shrugged modestly. I sat in silence for a moment, waiting for him to say something.

He seemed to be debating whether to say something, but I couldn't be sure. "You should dump Mitch," he said after a moment.

"What?" I said, completely surprised.

Nick shrugged again and met my eyes with his dark ones. "You deserve better," he told me.

I couldn't help but feel a little entranced and quickly closed my eyes to break the spell he was casting on me. Funnily enough, it didn't work. My stomach was still doing back-flips.

"Is there a reason for this sudden announcement?" I asked him.

He sighed and looked uncomfortable for a moment. (How I could read his emotions- I have no idea) After a long hesitation, Nick started speaking.

"He doesn't…like you. Well, he does, but not for your mind and personality. Just for your looks."

I did a double-take.

"My looks?" I spluttered. This was making no sense.

"Yes, Max. You're incredibly gorgeous," he said; then snapped his mouth shut. I stared at him in disbelief; then frowned.

"You've got to be joking! I'm not 'gorgeous'!" I scoffed.

Nick sighed again. "He told me he 'can't wait to get his hands on you'"

Eew. That jerk!

"Why was he talking to you about me?" I inquired, trying to keep my annoyance at bay.

"It was after detention."

"Ah," I said softly. "Why do you care if I'm being used for my 'looks'" I suddenly said, standing up from my seat and trying to glare at him. But I had forgotten how much taller he was than me.

I couldn't help remembering the nice Mitch I had met on our date, the one that was worth hanging out for. The one that actually cared about me. I couldn't just rule Mitch off as a waste of time. I fingered the necklace he had given me. It was around my neck.

Nick walked up to me and stopped when our faces were only inches apart. I looked into his eyes. They were dark and all too familiar. Much more familiar than they should be. I moved myself away from my desk and positioned myself so my back was facing a wall. Nick moved himself so he was in front of me again.

"I care…because…" he started, looking strained.

His face was way too close. I could smell his sweet breath as he talked. It was enough to drive me crazy. Why did he have to smell good as well as all that other stuff?

He came closer to me still and made a barricade with his arms, placing one arm against the wall on either side of me.

Instead of finishing his sentence, Nick leaned in closer to me and touched his lips to mine. I drew back against the wall and Nick hesitantly pressed against me. It seemed as though he wanted to make sure I was comfortable with this. My mind short-circuited and I stood frozen against the wall as he pressed himself even closer to me. I could feel every part of his warm body against me…and I liked it.

I couldn't help the way I reacted. My lips started moving against his and my body started pressing closer to his (if that was even possible). My arms reached up of their own accord and found their way into his thick, dark hair. I entangled my fingers and pulled his face closer to mine.

Nick angled his head so he could kiss me better. His hands drew away from the wall and he placed them on my shoulders. His hands trailed ever so slowly down my arms and sides. His hands were going to make me go crazy. It felt so good. They paused on my hips and then travelled to my lower back. He pulled me closer with his arms encircling me.

I felt like I was on fire. Like I was drowning in Nick. I could feel his body against mine and I could feel his mouth with mine. And I couldn't help but think that he was a REALLY good kisser. I rose up against him, moving one of my hands to the front of his chest and the other to the back of his neck. I could feel his heartbeat with my hand and I was a little surprised at how fast it was beating. Just like mine always does.

I thought for a moment to the kiss I had…endured with Mitch. I had wanted it to be over. It had been a…trial to kiss him. But with Nick I felt it was all too natural. It was instinct. He deepened the kiss even further and ran his tongue along my bottom lip. I let it enter my mouth without a second thought. He explored with his tongue and I felt like I would faint from the feelings I was getting. My heart was beating like crazy and my body was shaking with pleasure.

I felt Nick's hand on my lower back move slightly and slip under my shirt. The feeling of his warm skin connecting with mine made me gasp. He left his hand there, lightly massaging my back, and I felt like I was seriously going to faint.

It felt so good.

Too soon (Well, too soon for me, but we had been kissing for a while) Nick pulled away from me. I almost moaned when I felt his lips disconnect from mine. I looked up into his eyes, trying to find answers. We were both breathing heavily and I wasn't surprised when I realised that I desperately wanted to kiss him again.

"Dump Mitch," Nick breathed against my face.

Oh, God! I definitely wanted to say 'yes!' But Mitch didn't do anything. I couldn't just dump him for no reason…could I? How the heck was I supposed to know?

"He didn't do anything," I said weakly to Nick. My mind was still reeling from what just happened.

"Tell him you like someone else," he suggested, still massaging my back.

I closed my eyes and tried to focus on breathing properly. I felt Nick kiss my eyes, then my cheeks, and finally my lips. It was a soft kiss, no where near as passionate as our other kiss. But it still felt as good. It was sweet and his scent was filling me. He tasted so good.

"Please," he breathed. I felt so tempted to do exactly as he said.

I opened my eyes and started at him. "You're cute when you're jealous," I told him with a smile.

He smiled slightly. "Not as cute as you are when you're jealous."

My smile turned into a scowl. "I've never been jealous!" I snapped.

His eyes softened and his eyebrow rose. I shot daggers at him but he wasn't fazed.

"I'm going," I announced, trying to break free from his grip. I shoved past him and headed for the door. But he grabbed my wrist before I could get any further and pulled me back to him. I slammed against his chest. I could clearly see the amusement in his eyes.

"I'm sorry," he said, his eyes dancing.

"Not good enough!"

"I'll make it up to you," he promised.

I was still scowling.

I felt his hand under my chin, coaxing my face up. I reluctantly looked up at him and was surprised at how close his face was…yet again. His lips pressed to mine and my reaction was like instinct…again. I wanted to push him away…okay, not really. But even if I did want to push him away I wouldn't have been able to. My self-control went out the window as soon as his lips touched mine. Everything about Nick had me wanting more.

Without even realising it, I was kissing him back. My hands started travelling up and down his back and his hands tangled in my hair. He slipped his tongue into my mouth and I couldn't give a damn about Mitch. He didn't make me feel the way Nick did. But Mitch was still nice…when he wanted to be.

Nick pulled away from me after what felt like hours.

"Fang," I breathed against his lips, savouring his taste.

We both froze.

"What did you just call me?" he asked, his voice casual, but I knew he was shocked. "Who's Fang?" he whispered.

"I don't know," I whispered, blinking rapidly. What was all that about?

"Should I be jealous?" he asked me.

I laughed slightly and shook my head. "You have no competition," I told him, then clamped my mouth shut.

He flashed a grin at me; then said, "What about Mitch?"

"…I can't just dump Mitch for no reason. That's not who I am," I told him reluctantly. "I'm going to a party with him tonight," I said, depressed.

Nick gave me a knowing look. "Sometimes you're too nice," he told me.

I grinned. "Are you going to the party?" I asked hopefully.

He smiled. "As a matter of fact, I am."



The bell rang overhead and I smiled sadly up at him. "I'm sorry I can't dump Mitch. But I need a reason. It's just not…me, to leave him for no reason. It's hard to explain," I told him. Inside I felt like crying…and making out with him. Why couldn't I just dump Mitch? Was it because I felt sorry for him? Or just because I'd seen a nice side to him that no one else had seen? Maybe…

He shrugged his shoulders, trying to act like he didn't care.

I stood up on my toes and kissed him lightly on the lips. My mind was screaming at me to forget about Mitch and kiss him more passionately. I managed to disengage from him before I started making out with him furiously and walked out of the room, off to my next class.

A little part of me felt like it died when I left him there.

A/N: There you go! Hope you enjoyed that chapter. And don't hate me too much. Everything's coming together now; don't worry. Just sit back and read. More fax is on it's way.

21. Chapter 21

Chapter 21- The party

Max's POV

"Max!" mum called up the stairs. "Cynthia is here! She says she's going to the party with you!"


I walked down the stairs quickly and saw that Cynthia was indeed there. I sighed in exasperation and smiled at her.

"Who told you about the party?" I asked.

"I have connections," she said mysteriously.

I raised an eyebrow at her, but she just broke out into a grin.

"C'mon. We're taking you to the party, then you're sleeping over," she announced.

"And when was I going to be informed of these arrangements?" I asked.

She smiled sheepishly. "I'm telling you now, aren't I? C'mon! Get your outfit on."

"Fine. Wait down here. I'll be one second."

"Uh-uh! You're not getting ready in one second! I'm coming up to do your hair. Then your make-up! Oh, and don't forget the outfit. What are you going to wear?" she said excitedly.

"Er- jeans and a shirt?"

"No way! I'm coming up with you. Jeez, you'd think you've never been to a party before," she sighed.

"Er, I haven't," I reminded her.

She just shook her head and grabbed my hand. Then she dragged me up the stairs and into my room. She sat me down on my bed and started rummaging through my closet. After a while she finally found something. Well, at least I think she found something. There was a sudden cry of joy and then a soft crashing sound. I sprang up from my bed and instantly went into a fighter's stance.

Wait a moment. I was in a fighter's stance? Where did that come from? It felt oddly natural and…instinctive. Why do I get the feeling like I'm going mad?

"I found the perfect outfit!" Cynthia exclaimed from the closet. She came out with coat hangers sticking to her in the weirdest places. She saw my questioning glance and just shrugged.

"Your closet and I had a disagreement," she explained.

I burst out laughing and relaxed from my fighting pose. Cynthia held out a black dress on a coat hanger and threw it at me.

"Wear this," she told me.

I looked at the black dress and slumped. I couldn't even remember getting that dress. Maybe mum had bought it and hidden it in my closet. I looked at the dress then turned to my full-length mirror and sighed.

"Are you sure? Will it suit me?" I asked her.

"Everything suits you. I bet you could be in muddy jeans and a shirt and you'd still look beautiful."

I felt my cheeks heat up. "That's not true," I mumbled, then took the dress from her and walked into my bathroom. I pulled the dress on without even trying to see if it looked good. Then I marched out into my room again with my eyes closed and waited for the explosion from Cynthia.

None came.

I opened my eyes and looked at Cynthia. She was gaping at me, her eyes popping out of her head. I sighed and sat down on the edge of my bed. Cynthia always had this reaction to any clothes I wore. It didn't mean anything special.

"Max, you look beautiful. Actually, more beautiful, 'cause you always look beautiful."

"Give it a rest," I complained quietly.

"Suit yourself, but I'm doing your make-up!" she exclaimed, grabbing me and dragging me into the bathroom again. She pulled in a chair (don't ask me where from, because I don't have a clue) and plopped me down. Then she pulled out her make-up kit (again- don't ask me where from) and started away: starting with foundation and going on from there.

"I never wear make-up!" I complained, but Cynthia ignored me.

"Why am I playing your doll?" I asked hotly.

"Just shut up and sit still!" Cynthia snapped. I scowled and earned myself a poke in the eye from the eyeliner pencil.

When the make-up was done, Cynthia then made a big fuss out of my hair. She managed to find my mum's hair straightener and plugged it in. Once it was heated up she straightened my usually wavy hair. My hair was getting long – especially now it was straightened -- and it sat past my shoulders, almost to the middle of my back.

When the transformation was complete I reluctantly looked at myself in the mirror- and nearly screamed.

"What have you done to me?" I yelled.

"You look great," Cynthia assured me.

"I look like a Barbie doll!" I said angrily.

"That's a good thing," Cynthia told me in exasperation.

"Not for me, it isn't!"

"Calm down. We're going to that party, even if I have to drag you," Cynthia said, suddenly getting stern.

My eyes tightened and my fists clenched. I hated being told what to do, and my best friend ordering me around wasn't helping.

"Fine, I'll go to this stupid party," I said as cold as ice. I stood up stiffly and started gathering my things to sleep over Cynthia's afterwards. I knew that my face was rock hard. I didn't belong to this world of Barbies and make-up. Maybe tonight would be the last time I partook in anything like this again. Maybe I could…dump Mitch. And be with Nick. Like I desperately wanted to.

I belonged more to his world than Mitch's.

"You ready?" Cynthia asked tentatively. She could sense my mood – it's a miracle! – and she wasn't sure how I would react to her talking.

"Yes," I said in a tone free of emotion.

"Let's go!" she declared.

"I'm gonna find Jack. I'll catch up with you later," Cynthia said happily, running off into the house and disappearing. I studied the house. It was made of wood and very open. Large glass doors and windows were situated regularly throughout the house. But the curtains were shut now. Loud music was coming from inside and I was sure the surrounding houses weren't enjoying it.

I reluctantly stepped forward and followed the path to the front veranda. I stood staring at the door for a while, trying to figure out if I should knock or not. I tried to remember if Cynthia had knocked when she disappeared inside.

I don't think she did.

So I opened the door without knocking and stepped inside. The lights were dimmed, but I could easily see everything going on around me. The room was alive with activity. People were dancing everywhere and music was playing form a large stereo system. I could see part of the next room and it looked like the kitchen. People were drinking and eating in there, looking totally carefree…or drunk. Either one. Actually, the carefree ones were probably drunk.

I didn't know what to do with myself. I couldn't exactly join in dancing (not that I wanted to), but I couldn't just stand here looking like a complete moron. Well, I could, because frankly I don't care what people think of me.

So what should I do?

"Hey, so you did show up," a familiar voice said from behind me. I stiffened as the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. My heart skipped a beat, but I composed my face quickly.

"Don't do that," I seethed, spinning around to face Nick.

"Do what- breathe?"

"Ugh!" I spun around and started to walk off. In the couple of seconds that I had been face-to-face with him, his eyes had been impassive. It was like he didn't remember the kiss. It was like it had never happened. But something about his -- posture? Eyes? I don't know – told me a different story. And asked an important question:

How could I read him so well?

All I knew was that the moment my eyes met his, I melted. I felt like running away with him and leaving this God forsaken place. But as my heart melted, my mind stayed in control. There's brain power for ya!

As my mind was thinking about Nick, my body walked straight into someone.


"There you are!" he said, snapping me out of my reverie.

"Oh, hi," I mumbled. The warm feeling I got from thinking about Nick vanished. Oh my God, did I just think that. The warm feeling?! Something is definitely wrong with me. Snap out of it!

"Want to dance?" Mitch asked, flashing a toothy grin at me.

"Uh, not really," I told him. The memory of the last time we danced came flooding back and I shuddered.

"Want a drink, then?" he asked hopefully.

"No," I said firmly. There was no way I was going to drink at this place. I thought of the drunken (carefree) people I had seen before. Anything I drank here would probably be spiked.

"Do you want me to give you a tour?" he asked, the hopefulness from before was gone.

This option seemed to be the safest, so I nodded my head and agreed to the tour. He showed me around the house, frequently stopping to talk to some 'friends' who I had never seen before. But Mitch assured me he had heaps of connections to people outside (and inside) school. He ended the tour in a rather bizarre place: his bedroom.

"Er, great room," I commented weakly. What was he playing at? Was he seriously being so…bold?

"Wanna come inside and have a look around?" he asked, an unfamiliar gleam in his eye.

"Ummm, I'm thirsty," I lied quickly. And it actually sounded like the truth. "Do you know where I can get a drink?"

His shoulders slumped and he nodded his head. Then a new energy surged through him and he was eagerly leading me down the stairs and into the kitchen. What was he planning on doing now? Was he that excited to be with me? Or was he already drunk?

"What type of drink do you want?" he asked me as he stopped in the kitchen. I thought for a moment, glancing around the room at all the people obviously drinking alcohol.

"Er- is there anything without alcohol?" I asked.

He laughed a little too loudly, and I was starting to lean towards the 'already drunk' answer. If he wasn't drunk yet, he soon would be. I was repulsed by the image of all these drunken teenagers. Couldn't they have a nice time without the aid of alcohol? Probably not, I decided.

"No, only water from the tap," he said with a condescending smile.

"Then I won't have a drink," I told him firmly.

"Oh c'mon. It's only one drink…" he coaxed.


"Are you chicken?" he asked.

"And drinking is going to prove I'm not chicken? I'd rather be chicken than stoop so low as to disregard my beliefs and become like you," I replied.

He stared at me for a moment, trying to figure out what I said. Then he seemed to give up. He shrugged his shoulders and took a sip from his drink. "Suit yourself," he said, his words coming out slowly and slurred.

I raised my eyebrows at him and walked away. What was I thinking coming to this party? I couldn't help thinking of whom I could be with instead of Mitch. The perfect picture of Nick filled my head and I made my way outside to try and clear it.

I was surprised to find a tyre swing out the back. I sat on it and looked up at the night sky. I tried to distract myself by finding constellations, but I only managed to find the Southern Cross before I gave up. I was only aware of what the Southern Cross looked like because I'd seen it on the Australian flag.

Without a distraction my mind was free to wander. And guess whom it turned to. Yep, Nick. His kiss had meant so much to me. Why was it that I had run away? He was a way more decent guy than Mitch was, but something about him made me confused. And the strangest part was that I didn't know what that part was. It was like a faded memory: I was only aware that something was there, but I wasn't able to recall it.

"What is wrong with me?" I exclaimed at the empty yard.

But it wasn't quite as empty as I thought. A sudden voice in my ear made me scream out in surprise. "Nothing, as far as I'm aware," it said. I shouldn't have recognised the quiet, deliberate voice so easily, but it was impossible not to.

"Don't do that," I exclaimed, not for the first time that night. I heard Nick chuckle softly and glowered. He had been so silent: impossibly silent.

"Sorry," he said between laughs.

"What are you doing, anyway?" I asked.

"I'm wondering why I'm even at this party. It just seems to be an excuse for people to drink and rub up against each other," he said, no expression on his face.

I smiled and was surprised when he pushed the tyre swing so it started to move. Then he was pushing me, and it was actually fun; the wind rushing through my hair, the feeling of weightlessness as I climbed higher and higher. This was freedom, I thought to myself. I smiled and laughed with joy. I hadn't felt this happy and free in ages.

I glanced down at Nick and saw that he was smiling at me, though he rearranged his features when he noticed I was looking at him. Slowly, he stopped pushing the swing and I came to a stop. It didn't even feel awkward between us, even though I remembered the kiss clearly. It was like he was my friend no matter what, and nothing would ever change that.

…Unless we became something more than friends…

22. Chapter 22

Chapter 22- Iggy

Iggy's POV

Iggy smiled silently as he listened to Greg being tortured. Okay, so he wasn't literally being tortured, but it was still hilarious.

"Greg?" the teacher asked impatiently. "Do you know the answer or not?"

"Er…" he stammered. Iggy could hear his panic.

"If you remember clearly, this question was on the assignment you did last week. Did you do that assignment?" the teacher asked. Iggy could hear the teacher pacing in front of Greg. The class snickered and then hastily covered up the sound, scared of the teacher and Greg, he assumed.

"It is a basic question, Greg," the teacher continued, "You should have learnt this last year or even the year before."

"Maybe that's why I don't remember it," Greg complained. "How am I supposed to remember every little thing?"

"Because we learnt this a few weeks ago. I'm very disappointed in you, Greg."

Iggy couldn't hold it in any longer, he started laughing softly. Snickering, actually. Greg was such an idiot. The question was easy and he still couldn't answer it. Greg seemed to hear him and Iggy stiffened when he realised he was being looked at.

"You answer it then, Iggy!" Greg shouted across the classroom.

"Fine," Iggy muttered. "A chemical reaction occurs when bonds in the original chemicals are broken, the atoms are rearranged and new bonds are formed, producing the product," Iggy recited.

The class was silent.

"He cheated!" Greg called out childishly. "How could he even know that? He's blind!"

"He's smart," Shauna defended. "Smarter than you'll even be!"

Iggy smiled slightly as she defended him. She always managed to make him smile, even if he was depressed. He wondered why that was…

"Well done, Iggy," the teacher praised. "Greg, you have detention with me for not doing your homework."

Greg groaned as everyone else laughed.

"What are you doing this afternoon?" Shauna asked as she skipped up beside him. He turned and smiled at her, then shrugged his shoulders in response to her question.

"Nothing. Why?"

"Oh, I just wanted to know. Are you walking home?" she asked.


"Will your parents be home?"

"No. They're always working," he told her. He didn't mind; he didn't feel close to his parents at all.

"Do you want to hang out?" she asked. Was it just him, or did she sound a little shy?

"Sure," he replied instantly, not even pausing to think it through.

"Awesome!" she exclaimed happily. He felt her blush at the outburst. It just made him smile wider. He felt strangely connected to her. He just couldn't explain what it felt like.

"Umm, I know this cool place we could go to," she said, sounding shy again.

"Lead the way," he announced. He was surprised when he felt her hand grab his own. Then she was leading him somewhere. Her hand felt pleasantly warm and he could feel a faint electric current going through his body, originating from her hand. He smiled and followed her, trusting her completely.

"Where are we?" Iggy asked, tracing his hand along a slightly grimy wall.

"It's an abandoned shed. It's in the vacant property next to my house. I always come here at night to stargaze," she explained.

Iggy could feel the sun setting now and wondered what the stars looked like. He hadn't seen them in years. Not since his accident as a child that had made him blind. His mum didn't exactly know what had happened to him to make him blind, and he couldn't recall. It had never really bothered him before now.

"Follow me," Shauna called. He followed the sound of her voice and felt around. His hand gripped a ladder and he carefully started to climb it. He was slightly surprised at how easy it was. He felt a hand grab him as he cleared the top and pull him up. He crawled over the roof of the shed and settled next to Shauna.

"Can you see any stars yet?" he asked her.

"Not yet. But we have all night…Unless you want to go home," she added sadly.

"Why would I want to do that?" he asked her.

"I don't know," she whispered.

He took her hand reassuringly and held onto it. He wasn't experienced at this sort of thing, but he felt like he was doing the right thing.

"Do you ever wish you could fly?" Shauna asked dreamily. He could tell she was gazing at the sky.

"All the time. I think it would be the best feeling," he said lightly.

She was silent and he followed suit.

"…Iggy?" she asked hesitantly.


"What's it like being blind? Is it terrible?" she asked in a quiet voice.

He took a while to answer, gathering his thoughts. "No, it's not terrible. It's only terrible when I'm alone and I have no one to be my eyes for me. And…I'm not alone…" he said, thinking about the incredible girl sitting next to him.

"I don't understand how you're so… incredible. I mean, don't take this the wrong way, but you're amazing at everything you do…"

He smiled as he sensed her blushing…again. He reached his hand out and touched her face. He could feel the heat coming off the skin and his smile grew wider. Then a strange impulse overtook him and he leaned toward her and touched his lips to hers. He moved his arms around her and angled his head to kiss her better.

At first, it seemed she was too stunned to respond. But she was soon kissing him back. He'd never felt this alive before! It was exhilarating!

He finally pulled away from her and they sat in silence. Then something he wasn't expecting happened. She leaned into him and kissed him again. They kept kissing like that until he knew from the decrease in temperature that the sun had gone down.

He felt Shauna lay back on the roof of the shed and guessed that she was watching the stars. He lay back as well and stared upwards, even though he couldn't see anything.

"Tell me what you see," he whispered to her.

She hesitated before she started describing the night sky to him. He listened intently to her soft, smooth voice. I could get used to this, he thought to himself.

Max's POV

Nick was still standing over me on the tire swing. His body was close to mine, but not close enough. I felt the desire to get closer to him…to kiss him. But I quickly banished that thought from my head. I had to give this thing with Mitch a go, even if my heart throbbed to be with Nick.

"Nick? Oh, there you are," a voice called. I spun around and saw James (at least I think that's what his name is) approaching.

James stopped when he saw Nick and I. He seemed embarrassed about interrupting us.

"Er, can I talk with you for a moment?" he asked Nick.

Nick shrugged. James seemed comforted by the fact that Nick didn't seem to mind leaving me to talk to him. But I could read Nick fairly easily, and he seemed agitated.

"I'll be inside," I told them, then stood up and entered the house. I sighed and watched the dancing couples and the lounging teens around me. I saw Mitch sitting on a couch, a drink (of alcohol, I assume) in his hand.

That's when I had a realisation.

Mitch wasn't the one for me.

That simple notion made my body go rigid. Mitch could be a nice guy, but he wasn't my guy. And I had a funny feeling that Nick was my guy. I couldn't believe how blind I'd been. Was it the hormones?

All I knew was that Mitch was the type that enjoyed parties, had girlfriends and was popular. He was the complete opposite of me. Nick…on the other hand was not. I remembered his words from a few minutes ago.

"I'm wondering why I'm even at this party. It just seems to be an excuse for people to drink and rub up against each other," he had said.

He was deep, if not a bit quiet. He was someone who seemed to understand me. He didn't need to drink to enjoy himself. What had I been thinking: Choosing Mitch over Nick? I shook my head from side to side and took a step towards Mitch.

It was time to set everything straight. I was going to break up with Mitch. It felt like I'd just woken up from a long dream: like I was just discovering who I really was. And the person I was would never go out with someone like Mitch.

So what had gotten into me?

"Mitch?" I asked, just a few feet in front of him now.

"Yeah?" he asked in a sluggish voice. He looked up at me and smiled.

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I don't want to go out with you anymore," I told him flatly.

23. Chapter 23

Chapter 23- Mending

Nick's POV

"Nick? Oh, there you are," James called from behind him.

James stopped when he saw Nick was with Max.

"Er, can I talk with you for a moment?" he asked him.

He shrugged, though he really felt like yelling at him for interrupting them. He wanted to be with Max. He had loved the sound of her laugh when he had pushed her on the swing. It had made him feel strange and…happy.

"I'll be inside," Max said, heading back into the house. He restrained from grabbing her wrist and pulling her back to him and let her walk inside.

"Mate?" James asked hesitantly.

Nick's attention snapped back to James.

"Was I interrupting something?" he asked, a small smile creeping over his lips.

"No," he replied automatically. James looked sceptical, but didn't say anything.

"What did you want to talk about?" Nick asked, barely hiding the impatience in his voice.

"…Jacque," he said after a slight hesitation.

Nick nearly smiled. "Is she here tonight?" he asked, raising his eyebrows.

"I was talking to Cynthia before. She said that she was coming later, after work. And I…wanted some advice."

Nick was confused about why he had come to him for advice. He didn't know much about these sorts of things.

"What kind of advice?" he asked warily.

"Well…I was wondering how I should approach the…situation," he admitted.

"You mean how you should tell her that you like her?"


"Well, I think the best approach is to just tell her the truth. Just talk to her and ask her if she'll be your girlfriend. I can tell she likes you back. If she turns you down, it's either because she's shy or she thinks you're joking."

"So…you think she'll say yes?" he asked.

"Of course," Nick answered confidently.

"And I should just come out with it straight away?"

"Maybe not straight away. You don't want to scare her. But yeah, just talk to her first and then ask her out."

"Man, you're the greatest," James said.

"So I've been told," Nick said with a shrug.

James laughed, then grew still. "So, anything you want to tell me?" he asked.

"No," Nick said immediately.

"You sure?"


"Okay. Just checking. I'm gonna go. Have fun with Max," he said with a grin.

I will, he thought mildly to himself.

He walked back into the house in time to see Max with Mitch.

Max's POV

"I don't want to go out with you anymore," I told Mitch flatly.

He stared at my uncomprehendingly.

"Why not?" he asked.

What could I tell him- the truth? Or just lie to try and spare his feelings?

"I…" I was still trying to make up my mind when he suddenly stood up, with some trouble, I must admit.

Then he grabbed me around the waist and pulled me against him. I could smell the alcohol in his breath and nearly gagged. Then he kissed me hard and passionately.

I didn't hesitate. I moved my arms up with some difficulty (since they were crushed against his chest) and pushed him away from me. I wiped the back of my hand across my mouth before I glared at him.

"Don't. Do. That," I growled.

He smiled. "Why not?

"Because I don't like you," I said flatly. Out of the corner of my eye I could see people staring at us. But the only person that really stood out was Nick. Man, he looked mad. And he was starting to walk towards me.

Mitch ignored my glare and put his hand on my neck. Then he trailed it down slowly. That's when I pulled my arm back and punched him in the face. I winced as I heard something crack and disengaged from his grip.

Mitch screamed in agony.

"What the hell was that for?" he screamed at me.

I didn't answer.

It looked like Mitch was going to punch me back, which would have been a bit hard since he was clutching his nose.

Just then Nick materialised at my side. He put his hand reassuringly on my shoulder. I glanced at him and noticed that his skin was white on his knuckles because his fist was clenched so tightly. It looked like he was going to a great deal of effort to not hurt Mitch.

"I want to go home," I whispered to him, ashamed by my weakness. Plus, I wanted to get him out of there before he didn't something stupid…like I had done.

"Let's find Cynthia," he agreed.

He led me away from Mitch, pushing roughly past him. Mitch didn't notice because he was still wailing in pain.

"Where is she?" I asked.

"I think I last saw her going upstairs," he answered.

He led me upstairs and down a long hallway. He opened doors as he passed rooms and checked inside. I was feeling a bit shaken up from punching Mitch. It was such a strange sensation, your hand colliding with someone's face. Yet it felt really familiar.

"There she is," Nick said in a subdued voice. I peeked over his shoulder and saw why he sounded weird.

Cynthia was making out with Jack. In a bedroom. On a bed.

"Oh, my God," I said in disbelief. "Cynthia?" I said, more loudly. She disengaged from Jack and looked at me in surprise.

"Max?" she asked.

After a moment of awkward silence I said, "Can we leave now?"

"Er, I'm sort of busy," she replied.

Was it just me, or did she sound a bit drunk?

"But I don't want to stay here," I told her, eyeing Jack as he watched me.

"Leave me alone, Max," she told me with a glare.

"I'll walk you home," Nick whispered in my ear.

I glanced at him before nodding slightly. "See you around, Cynthia," I said. I knew that we weren't going to be friends after this, and I didn't really care. She had never really been my friend, anyway.

I shut the door to the room and turned to face Nick. He smiled sadly at me before leading me down the stairs. We passed Jacque and I stopped.

"Hey Jacque," I said. She looked like she had just arrived.

"Hey…What's wrong?"

"Nothing. I'm just going to go home. Can you please go and stop Cynthia from making the biggest mistake of her life. She's upstairs with Jack," I told her. Then I was walking again, not waiting for her answer.

We made it out the front door. The night air made me feel a lot better. It cleared all my senses and helped fight off the depression I was feeling.

Everything had gone wrong tonight. I'd dumped my boyfriend, lost my friend; I would probably be the topic of gossip for a long time.

But all of that stuff didn't matter if I had Nick.

We walked in silence, appreciating the quiet night and cool air. The thumping music was only just barely audible now. My house wasn't very far from Mitch's, only a few blocks away. But that didn't make me feel any better.

"Thanks," I whispered after five minutes of silence.

"What for?"

"For…I don't know- everything?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "No problem. Are…you alright?" he asked me hesitantly.


"You sure?"

"I'm just in…shock, I guess. A lot of things happened." I admitted.

We fell into silence again, but I broke it again.

"You don't have to walk me home if you don't want to," I told him quietly.

"I want to," he said.

"Scared I can't look after myself?" I asked, trying to lighten the mood.

"Oh, I know you can look after yourself. But that doesn't mean you're invincible," he stated.

"Oh, and you are?" I asked indignantly.

"More or less," he said with a brilliant smile.

I punched him playfully in the arm. We turned onto another street then, and I recognised it as mine. I was suddenly sad that my time with him was limited. It would only take a minute to get to my house.

"You know what," I said, suddenly feeling the need to confess. "I have a feeling I know you from somewhere; like we've met before."

He gazed at me with an impassive face, but I saw the slight widening of his eyes. "Sounds stupid, doesn't it?"

"No," he said, surprising me. "I feel the same way."

"Ha. Maybe we met in a past life."

"Do you believe in past lives?" he asked me curiously.

"I don't know, but I have a feeling that there was once something more to my life than…this," I said, gesturing at myself.

He looked like he was deep in thought, so I didn't say anything else. We arrived in front of my house and I stopped. I realised that all the lights were off and my mum must be asleep. Then I noticed the car missing from the driveway and deduced that mum must have gone to work or something because she thought I was sleeping over Cynthia's.

"Mum mustn't be home," I muttered to myself.

"Well, I better get going then," Nick said, looking down at me. I met his gaze and sighed sadly. Then I was overcome with a desire I couldn't ignore. So I hugged him.

I threw my arms around him and held him tight. At first he was stiff- probably surprised. But he slowly wound his arms around me as well, and drew me even tighter against him. And it felt impossibly right and familiar. Like this was where I belonged. And yes, I am aware of how cheesy that line sounds.

Nick freed one of his arms and moved it to my chin. He angled my face up and then pressed his lips to mine. I reacted instantly, kissing him back with as much enthusiasm as he was kissing me. It felt right and I couldn't help but feel relieved as well. I moved my hands from his back and moved them into his hair; then he was pulling me tighter against him, crushing his body against mine.

We pulled apart and I felt a wave of exhaustion wash over me. I was tried, but I didn't want this moment to end. I rested my head against his chest and closed my eyes. I could hear his heart beating alarmingly fast, but it probably matched my own.

Suddenly, I felt the world disappear beneath me. I opened my eyes in surprise and found that Nick had picked me up and was now heading towards my house.

"What are you doing?" I shrieked.

"Putting you to bed," he answered, as if it was obvious.

"Put me down!" I said without real conviction. It actually felt nice to be carried by someone, even though it made me feel like a child. "I think I can manage walking," I told him.

He shrugged his shoulders. I was surprised at how effortlessly he was able to carry me. I studied his face to see if he was trying to hide any strain he was under, but he looked like he was only carrying a box or something.

"You're light," he noted, looking down at me.

I scowled at him.

"Where's the key?" he asked.

I pulled the key out of my pocket and handed it to him. He unlocked the front door and carried me inside.

"Do you know where my room is?" I asked him a little smugly.

"Let me guess," he said, walking off in the right direction. He eventually found my room (I was stubbornly not telling him where it was) and he set me down on the bed. As soon as I was free I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at him.

"Don't act like you didn't enjoy it," he said with a smile.

My mouth opened in shock before I continued glaring at him. His smile just grew wider as he sat on the edge of my bed.

"You can go now," I stated, looking pointedly at the door.

"I could go…" he said, pretending to think about it. "Or I could stay right here."

I sighed and moved over a bit so he could sit next to me and lean against the headboard. He moved up into the vacated spot. I was feeling a bit uncomfortable with the fact that a boy was in my room when my parents weren't home, but I tried to ignore it.

"You look tired," Nick commented.

I turned to face him and smiled lazily. "So do you," I said.

"You're just saying that," he said, smiling slightly.

I studied his face closely. He didn't look tired at all, which irked me. I felt exhausted, but I wasn't going to tell him that. But apparently I didn't have to, my face said it all.

"Go to sleep, Max," he said softly. He stood up and pulled the covers down. I reluctantly wriggled under them and he pulled them back over me. He lay down next to me on top of the covers.

I couldn't fight my heavy eyelids any longer. I gave in and turned to face him.

"Goodnight," I whispered, gazing into his dark eyes.

"Goodnight," he whispered back. He crossed the short distance between out faces and kissed me slowly. Even on the brink of sleep I reacted to him: my heart sped up and the one arm I had outside the bed covers reached for his face. He pulled away before I could fully wake up and pressed his lips to my forehead. Then all went dark as I passed into a pleasant unconsciousness.

24. Chapter 24

A/N: Sorry I don't update very often (well, as often as the reviewers and readers want, which would probably be every single hour. Lol). But between work and school it's hard to get enough time to write. Oh, and I wanted to clear something up. The flock do get back together, so don't threat. It's just I'm writing at my own pace and I want this story to be long. But if I'm dragging it out too much just tell me and I'll try and speed it up. I have a plan in my head that I'm following, so don't think I'm just writing about whatever to fill in the gaps. Oh, and by the way, I've decided that I don't really like the idea of a 16 year old guy (Iggy) going out with a 12/13 year old girl (Nudge). I find it a bit creepy. Sorry to all you Niggy fans. Anyway, I think a lot of people like the Iggy x Shauna relationship and I think I'm just gonna use that. Anyway, thanks for reading and reviewing.


Chapter 24- Good Morning

Nick's POV

The dream that woke Nick up wasn't one of his usual ones. Usually, he was woken by dreams of flying children. Dreams that were so vivid and lifelike that he had to double check that he didn't have wings every morning. This time the dream that woke him up was a pleasant dream about Max and all the good times they'd had together: the car wash, their first kiss and walking her home last night.

He glanced around the room, expecting to see the familiar black of his room. He was surprised when he was met by a prominently plain room. He sat up and glanced around the room with shocked eyes. He relaxed slightly when he heard a soft groan from beside him. He looked down and smiled faintly.

Max was curled up under the covers, sleeping soundly. He had fallen asleep on her bed last night. He relaxed against the headboard and watched Max for a while. She looked peaceful in her sleep, but he had a feeling it wasn't always like this for her. Maybe she had dreams like he did. Maybe it was more common than he realised.

He hesitantly brought his hand up and touched the back of his fingers to her cheek. Her skin was pleasantly warm. He stiffened as he felt Max's facial expression change under his fingertips. She smiled. But she wasn't awake yet. He moved his fingers to her hair and gently pushed her hair away from her face.

It was surprising how perfect her features were. Even far away he could tell why all the guys at school were after her. She was fit, that much was obvious. She also had a perfect face. Her features were symmetrical in every way. This close, he could see the faint freckles on her nose, and it made him smile. He bent down and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

She opened her eyes slowly and stared up at him. She smiled, then blushed lightly as her eyes met his.

"Good morning," he said with a smile.

"You stayed?" she asked him groggily, a little bit of disbelief in her tone.

"I fell asleep," he admitted.

She smiled wider.

"If you weren't here, I'd probably think last night was a dream," she said.

"Would you like me to convince you that you're awake?" he asked, smirking.

Her eyes grew wary. "How?"

"I'll show you," he muttered. He leant forward and pressed his lips to hers. She smiled against them, and then started kissing him back. It started off slow and sweet, but then as she became wider-awake it started to get more passionate. Soon her hands were in his hair, securing his face to hers. He pulled the covers off of her without breaking the kiss. He moved his arms around her and lifted her up slightly, sliding his arms underneath her back so that he was holding her to him. She pressed against him, and in return he pressed against her.

Soon they had to breathe, so they both pulled away. But he didn't let go of her and she still had her hands in his hair. She started playing with his hair, running her hands through it and smiling at him. He slid his hand underneath the bottom of her shirt and started massaging the skin there. The heat felt good against his fingertips.

"I'm sorry I wasn't…with you earlier. Trust me, I wanted to, but I had some…issues to figure out," she whispered, the smile disappearing off of her face.

"As long as we are together now," he whispered back, kissing her between the eyes. He moved his lips to her jaw and started trailing kisses down her neck. He could feel goose bumps rising on her skin from where he kissed her.

"Are you cold?" he asked.

She smirked. Then suddenly she was rolling over on the bed so that she was on top. Then she was kissing him fiercely, the smirk still somehow on her face. He didn't object, just kissed her back even harder. She ran her hands over his chest and he responded by moving his hands up and down her back. When they finally pulled apart, they were both gasping for air.

"I have no idea where this is all coming from," she muttered, seemingly to herself.

"What?" he asked, confused.

She blushed slightly and didn't answer.

"Tell me," he demanded in a soft voice.

"Well…I've never had a boyfriend before. Besides Mitch. So I've never been this…forward with anybody. It feels strange but sort of like…" she trailed off.

"Sort of like what?" he prompted.

She looked embarrassed as she answered, "Instinct."

He smiled, trying to communicate with her that she didn't have to be embarrassed.

Just then he heard a car door slam. Max rolled off of him and they both went on high alert.

"Oh crap," Max muttered. "I forgot about my mum. That's probably her getting home from work."

"Does she know you're home yet?" he asked.

"No, but she'd probably check in my room anyway, just in case," she answered.

Nick stood up and walked to the window. Max followed suit and stood next to him, peering down at the street.

"She's getting out of the car now," Max murmured, looking at the car in the driveway.

"Do you want me to go?" Nick asked her.

"No," she said hastily. "You wouldn't make it out in time," she added. "You should just hide."


"My closet," she replied.

He moved across the room silently and entered the closet. He glanced at her before he closed the door and hid himself from view.

Max's POV

As soon as Nick was hidden from view, my brow furrowed. I thought back to what had happened only a moment ago. I had never been that forward with anyone. To be more exact, I'd never had a make-out session with anyone before. So why did I suddenly feel like I knew what I was doing? It was all very confusing.

The sound of the door slamming downstairs made me stiffen and forget about kissing. I walked to my bed and arranged myself so that I looked like I was asleep. I closed my eyes and slowed my breathing, trying to look natural.

Not long after, I heard my door slowly begin to open.

"Max?" I heard my mum whisper, checking if I was awake. Which would be easier? Pretending I'm asleep or waking up? I figured that pretending I was asleep would work better.

My mum walked over to my side and sat kneeling beside my bed. She gently shook my shoulder and continued saying my name. Well, there goes that plan.

I opened my eyes slowly, pretending to be groggy.


"Hey honey. Why are you home so early?" she asked, concern written on her face. But I could also detect another emotion—fear?

"Oh. I told Cynthia that I wasn't in the mood to sleep over her house, so her mum dropped me home after the party," I lied.

"Did you have fun?"

I nodded my head, not trusting myself to keep the sarcasm out of my voice if I said it was fine.

My mum cocked her head to the side and scrutinized me. I began to feel self-conscious. Could she tell that I hadn't been sleeping just a moment ago? Was it that obvious that my boyfriend- my mouth twitched into a smile at the word- was hiding in my closet? God, it felt like I was the star of a movie. This sort of thing didn't happen in real life, did it?

"What?" I asked my mum.

"You look…flushed and flustered. Are you feeling okay?"

"No…I feel a little bit sick." I grabbed at her excuse. "Maybe I'm developing a fever or something."

"Well, you should stay in bed. I'll bring you a glass of water."

"Don't worry about it, mum. I'll be fine in a few minutes. Besides, I promised Cynthia I'd go to the Mall with her today, since I didn't sleep over her house last night," I lied. I didn't want to be stuck in the house all day. Even if Nick would stay. I was too full of energy.

"Oh, are you sure you're up to it?" she said.

"Yeah, I'll be fine," I told her reassuringly.

"Okay. I'm going to go to bed. I had a long night at the lab. Lock everything up before you go," she sighed, shutting the door to my room behind her as she exited.

I sighed with relief. I was about to get up and go to my closet when my door opened again, startling me.

"I wanted to ask if I could borrow a jacket for tonight. I'm going back out to work," she said. Anticipating my answer, she wandered over to the closet.

"No!" I yelled, before mentally slapping myself.

She glanced at me with confusion and asked, "Why not?"

I searched furiously for an excuse, trying not to seem like I was hiding a teenage boy in my closet.

"Is it that cold at night?" I asked, trying to buy some time.

"It's starting to get chilly. Plus, the air-cons are on full blast at work."

"Does my jacket fit you?"

"Yeah. It's quite a big jacket," she said, her eyes narrowing in suspicion. "What have you done to it?" she demanded.

"…Nothing," I said as innocently as I could. I wondered if pretending something was wrong with my jacket would have been a good excuse. I doubted it.

She gave me a level look before stalking to my closet and opening it widely. It was a walk-in one and held what little clothes I had. I stiffened, trying to see if she'd seen Nick.

"There it is," she said, taking the leather tan jacket off the coat hanger and folding it over her arm. Her eyes swept the closet slowly before she closed the door.

"I'll leave you to it then," she said, deciding to ignore my outburst from before.

"Okay," I agreed, trying to slow the furious beating of my heart.

She exited the room for a second time, closing it behind her. As soon as I heard the sound of her footsteps recede down the corridor I sprang out of bed and ran to the closet. I threw the door open wide and scanned the space for Nick. He emerged from behind a rack of clothes and grinned hugely at me.

"That was close," he stated.

"You nearly gave me a heart attack," I spluttered, clutching the doorframe for support.

He came towards me and pulled me into a close embrace. I rested my head on his shoulder for a moment, enjoying his warmth and solidity.

"Better?" he asked, cocking his head to look at my face.

I breathed in his unique smell before smiling.

"I thought you were supposed to be slowing my heart down, not speeding it up."

He gently placed his hand under my chin before saying, "I know more effective ways of speeding your heart up." Then he was kissing me…again. My reaction was the same as all the other times. It seemed as though I could never get enough of him. Each time he kissed me I felt the same spark of heat. I rose up against him and kissed him back passionately. He moved his hand from my face to my lower back. My hands started roaming up and down his back, all the while pulling myself closer to him.

We finally pulled away from each other, gasping for air. He rested his forehead against mine and closed his eyes. I followed suit and closed my own.

"Are you going to the Mall with Cynthia?" he asked, sounding slightly disappointed.

"No, silly. I'm going to the Mall with you."

He opened his eyes at the same time I opened mine.

"I'm not staying in the house with you when my mum is only a room away," I whispered. "Plus, I'm too full of energy."

"Well…how am I going to get out of the house without your mum noticing?"

"Oh…I don't know," I admitted reluctantly, putting my hands on my hips in thought.

He glanced over to the window, then disengaged himself from me and made his way over. He stuck his head out the window and looked down at the yard below.

"I could climb down," he said thoughtfully.

"Are you mad?" I hissed, joining him by the window. I looked down at the street, then at the wall of my house.

"There's a tree right there," he said, pointing to a fairly sturdy tree that was next to the house. "I could jump onto that and climb down."

"Why don't we just sneak you out through the front door? I'm sure my mum is probably lying down in her bed by now."

"Can't you smell that?" he asked. "It smells like toast. I think your mum is eating breakfast."

"How on Earth can you smell that?" I asked in disbelief. Now that I thought about it, I could smell toast very faintly.

"Your mum must be burning it," he said with a laugh.

I smiled in response. It was great to hear him laugh.

"You'll break your neck if you climb down that tree," I said, returning him to the task ahead.

"Trust me," he whispered. He pecked me on the cheek before climbing through the window and grabbing onto the tree before I could stop him.

"Nick!" I whispered in surprise. I was all too aware of my mum just downstairs in the room below.

He swung himself into the tree and started shimmying awkwardly down the trunk. I watched him with worry, expecting him to fall and break his neck. To my surprise, he made it down in one piece. It almost looked like it had been easy for him.

He gestured to me and mimed with his hands that he'd be waiting for me in the next yard. I nodded before gathering my things. I quickly changed out of the party clothes I had fallen asleep in last night and ran a brush through my hair. I noticed that I looked livelier than I had in months and worked on trying to appear normal for my mum.

I took a deep breath before opening my door and stepping out. This would either be easy or hard. I was hoping for easy.

A/N: If you really hate the idea of not have Niggy than please tell me in a civilised way in a review. I'm just trying to make everyone happy.
Also, I hope this chappy wasn't too sappy. Hehe, that rhymes.

25. Chapter 25

A/N: I'd just like to clear a few things up. 1) Max is softer and not as strong because she doesn't have her memories and she doesn't have to be as tough in her new life. But I'll try and make her return to normal. 2) This story is set a couple of years after the third book and Iggy is 16 and Nudge is 12.

Thanks for reviewing and keep reading…

Chapter 15- The Mall

Max's POV

I took a deep breath before opening my door and making my way downstairs. I tried to look normal, not too rushed or flustered. Though in truth I was dieing to be outside and away from this constricting house. I was starting to feel a mild case of claustrophobia.

I made it to the bottom of the stairs and evened out my breathing before walking past the kitchen.

"Bye mum," I called casually, making my way towards the front door.

"Hang on!" I almost groaned and froze in my spot. Then I spun around and stuck my head through the kitchen door.


"What time will you be home?" my mum asked.

"Umm, I'm not sure. I won't be late."

"How are you getting to the mall?" she asked as I unsuccessfully tried to make a break for it.

"We're walking. I'm stopping by Cynthia's on the way."

"I don't like you two walking all by yourselves. Do you want me to give you a lift?" she asked, frowning.

"Mum," I said, laughing lightly and trying to shrug the whole situation off. "We'll be fine. If it bothers you, I can ask Cynthia's mum to give us a lift. Plus, you said that you're dead tired."

"Well, okay. But don't be too long," she said, returning to her piece of slightly burnt toast.

"Bye," I said, hurrying to the door before she could say something else.

Outside, Nick was waiting in the next yard.

"How'd it go?" he asked when I joined him.

"I don't think my mum has ever been that concerned about me before. It's like she knows something's up. Either that or she suddenly wants to make up for all the times she hasn't been there for me," I said with a shrug of my shoulders.

"Well, since when have you ever voluntarily wanted to go to the mall?" he asked with raised eyebrows.

"Oh yeah. I guess I never thought of that," I said with a laugh.

"Highly suspicious," Nick agreed.

I punched him playfully on the shoulder. He winced slightly and I stared up at him in disbelief.

"Did that hurt?" I asked sarcastically.

"No," he said with clenched teeth.

"You don't have to be so manly. I know I have some major muscles," I joked.

"It's not that," he said mysteriously with another wince.

I stopped joking and looked at him with concern. "What's wrong?" I asked in my no-nonsense tone.

"Just a headache," he said, shaking it off. He started walking and I quickly caught up with him.

I studied his profile as we walked. He was avoiding my gaze, looking straight ahead. I decided to let the subject drop. I knew he wasn't going to tell me. He was strange that way, always keeping things to himself. Besides, it might just be a headache after all.

The Mall

"You know what," I said, looking at the many shops around us.


"I have no idea why I came here. I must be sick to suggest that we come here. I detest shopping."

Nick laughed, obviously over his headache.

"I have no idea what came over you," he said, reaching down and grabbing my hand. He entwined our fingers together and gave me a fleeting smile. Then he looked around us at the people passing by and let our hands drop. We were both uncomfortable with showing affection in public.

"I do have something I need to get, though," Nick said, breaking the silence that had fallen between us.

"Oh yeah?" I asked.

"It won't take long. But it's a surprise. Do you mind waiting here for a few moments?"

"Okay, sure," I said.

"I'll be back in a moment," he said, surprising me by swiftly kissing me on the cheek. Then he was gone, disappearing into the crowds.

I sat down on a nearby table and waited for Nick. My curiosity was raging. What did he have to do? But I was also in a strange state. I didn't take Nick for someone who showed his emotions a lot, and yet he had kissed me in public. In fact, he had kissed me numerous times.

I stopped thinking about it and waited patiently for Nick to return.

"Max?" a voice called out. My head snapped around and my eyes locked on Cynthia. She was standing about twelve feet away from me with a disbelieving expression on her face.

She walked over so that she was standing in front of me.

"Cynthia? What are you doing here?" I asked.

"Shopping, duh," she said with a hand gesture to the shops surrounding us.

"By yourself?"

"No, I'm here with my boyfriend," she said with a smirk.


"No," she replied, her smile growing as if she had some unknown joke.

"Then who?"

"Mitch," she stated.

I felt my face go blank. Mitch had rebounded quick. But so had I.

"What happened to Jack?" I asked casually, carefully composing my face.

"A lot happened at the party. Jacque…interrupted us and Jack went off. Then I found him making out with another chick. That's when I noticed that Mitch was all alone. I helped him patch up his nose and things just kind of started from there," she said.

"Good for you," I said, putting fake cheer into my voice.

"Yeah. I like Mitch a lot," she said dreamily.

She stood there in silence for a moment before grinning at me. "Are you here by yourself?"

"No. I'm here with my boyfriend." I have no idea what compelled me to say that, but it slipped out of my mouth. Was it just competition? Did I feel like I had to show Cynthia up? That was ridiculous, but it worked. Cynthia's jaw dropped and she stared at me sceptically.


"Nick," I said. I couldn't help but smile at her reaction.

"What?!" she gasped.

"What's going on?" a voice asked. I looked up, hoping that the voice belonged to Nick. But a second before I met the person's eyes I realised that it wasn't Nick's voice. I would've recognised it straight away. This voice belonged to Mitch.

"Hey Mitchy!" Cynthia drawled, grabbing onto his arm and fluttering her eyelashes at him.

"Max? What are you doing here?" he asked.

"Shopping," I replied with a smile.

"Oh, okay. Cynthia, do you want to get going?" he asked, turning his attention to her. He looked awful, with a swollen nose and bags under his eyes. I felt sorry for what I had done.

"Sorry about your nose," I said before Cynthia could reply.

"That's okay. I was being a jerk…Sorry. I'll see you at school, okay?" he said as he and Cynthia turned away. He seemed nervous to get away from me, as if I was going to punch him again.

"Yeah, see you," I whispered after him. He didn't hear me, and everything seemed to be alright with him. Though he did seem a little melancholy. But at least he didn't hate me. Not that I could tell, anyway.

"What was all that about?"

I spun around and smiled as Nick sat next to me. I hadn't even heard him approach. I marvelled at his silence.

"Oh. Mitch and Cynthia are going out now," I said.

"Good for them," he said with a grin.

I looked after them and saw Cynthia turn around. She glanced at me, then to Nick. Her jaw dropped and she turned back around, seething.

"What did you get?" I asked.

"Just something," he said.

I returned my focus to him. "What?" My curiosity was rekindled.

He shrugged and held up a little plastic bag. Then he opened it and took out a small leather box. I looked at the box, then at him.

"Is it for me?" I whispered.

He nodded. "I noticed you were still wearing Mitch's necklace, so I decided to buy you one to replace it…If you don't mind."

I looked down and touched the necklace. "I didn't even notice I was still wearing it," I told him. I took the box from him, my hands shaking, and opened it up. Inside was a beautiful necklace with a silver heart pendant with wings. The heart had little diamonds in it and I couldn't help but wonder how much it had cost. The diamonds couldn't be real…could they?

"It's beautiful," I said, looking up at him in astonishment. I instantly unclasped the necklace around my neck and tried putting his on in its place. My hands were shaking so he had to help me. I lifted up my hair and he did the necklace up for me.

"Thank you," I said, admiring it.

He shrugged.

I turned to his handsome face and pressed my lips gently to his. He smiled against my lips and kissed me softly back. Then we both pulled away. He took my hand and led me to the way out.

"I think it's time I got you home," he said, still holding my hand.

I nodded, too stunned from his present to do anything else. He smiled at me and took me home. I think he had smiled today more than any other day.

26. Chapter 26

Chapter 26-The rumours

Max's POV

"So you're walking to school today?" my mum asked, leaning over the mahogany table, eating her breakfast.

"Yes," I replied curtly as I took my last spoonful of cereal.

"Are you walking home?"

"Yes, mum. Jeez, where did all the sudden protectiveness come from?" I asked, exasperated.

"I just worry about you sometimes. You haven't been acting like yourself lately…"

"Mum, I'm fine. Stop worrying…I've finished," I announced, standing up and carrying my bowl over to the sink. I left it on the counter and departed the kitchen. I didn't want to be bombarded by more of my mum's questions. She was really starting to get nosy. Maybe I should just tell her about Nick…

Or maybe not, I decided. Imagine how protective she'd be if she knew I had a boyfriend.

I smiled at the word. It always sent a thrill through my body. Nick was actually my boyfriend. And I actually liked him, unlike past experiences. Maybe I could finally find some happiness in this dull world.

I grabbed my bag from beside the door, calling out a quick "bye" on the way. It was strange how different the air was outside compared to inside. My house always had a bit of a stuffy aura to me. Being outside was much better.

I pulled out my Ipod and stuck the earphones in. I started listening to random songs, hoping they would distract me from the horrible day of school that was no doubt going to come today. Something always went wrong for me.

The walk to school was over quickly. Students on all sides soon surrounded me. They were heading to the gates. The flood of uniforms made me feel uneasy. I had never realised how many students went to this school.

I was a little surprised that I hadn't met Nick on the way to school. I was so used to his presence now that I felt hollow when he wasn't around. I thought he would've met me on the way to school. But I guess I couldn't spend every minute of the day with him.

"Ipods are banned from school," a voice said from behind me. I turned around and came face to face with the person I'd just been thinking about: Nick.

"Nick," I said, surprised.

I pulled the earphones out of my ears and grinned at him. He looked absolutely gorgeous in his school uniform. I'd never really noticed before. No wonder all of the girls went crazy over him.

"Don't look so surprised," he said.

I laughed. "I was beginning to worry about you," I admitted.

"Scared I wasn't going to come today?" he asked with a smirk.

"Maybe…maybe not," I replied, annoyed at his smugness.

"Well, I had to see what damage had been done," he said mysteriously.

I looked at his face and all signs of playfulness were gone. He was looking at me seriously. "What are you talking about?" I asked, my brow furrowing.

"Cynthia. Do you think she would've kept her mouth shut about us being together?"

My mouth dropped open and I stood staring at him, speechless.

"I didn't think so," he murmured.

"But…I didn't even think of that," I said, groaning. Now everyone was going to be talking about us. I hated being scrutinized and being the centre of attention. Why couldn't people just leave us alone?!

I glanced around at the students surrounding us. Sure enough, they were all looking at us and whispering. Some of them were being more obvious than others.

"Oh, my God," I sighed in frustration. "Can't people just leave us alone?"

"Obviously not," Nick muttered.

"Let's get out of here," I muttered, walking off in the direction of my first class. Maybe if we just acted normal, we wouldn't be such a topic for gossip.

Or maybe not.

"What does Nick see in her? I thought he would be one of those people who could see behind a pretty face. I mean, her personality isn't that great," a blonde girl whispered to her brunette friend as we passed. She didn't make a big deal about making sure we didn't hear her, which made me think she was doing it on purpose.

"Just ignore them," Nick whispered when he saw me clench my fist.

I growled in response and kept on walking, fighting the urge to turn around and punch her in the face.

"I wonder if Nick is going to score," a boy I didn't recognise said to his mate. Unlike the girl, he was trying for a whisper. But he either said it louder than he intended, or I have excellent hearing abilities.

This time it was harder to keep on moving, but Nick must have heard as well and tugged on my arm surreptitiously. The only thing that stopped me from breaking that jerk's nose was Nick.

Suddenly, I wondered where all my hostility was coming from. I'd never really been a particularly violent person, so why was I reacting this way now?

"Never knew Max was such a slut," another guy said loudly. "Going from Mitch to Nick in one day."

This time it wasn't me who reacted, Nick did. He stopped and went rigid. Then he turned slowly to face the brawny guy who had said it. A fierce sound like a growl left his lips and he lunged at the guy.

The brawny guy toppled over and Nick started punching him mercilessly. I heard the crunch of the brainless jock's nose and winced.

"Nick!" I cried, grabbing his arm and pulling him away from the jerk. Nick allowed me to pull him off and stood still, shuddering slightly. I gave him a once over and noticed that he didn't have one single scratch.

"Need your girlfriend to look after you?" the jock spat, sneering at me. Adrenaline and anger coursed through my body, filling my veins with fire. The jock was still on the ground, so I swung my leg and gave him a rib-cracking kick to his side. He wailed in pain and cowered into a ball.

One of the jock's friends, another beefy guy with a shaved head with only a rat's tail, turned to us. He didn't look too happy.

"You bitch!" he cried, coming closer to me.

Nick stepped protectively in front of me, snarling at the guy. The guy swung his fist back and tried to punch Nick, but Nick just stepped away and dodged it. He didn't seem to want to hurt the guy, just dodge him. But he looked determined, like he would seriously hurt the guy if he came too close to me.

"Nick, let's just go," I said, not wanting him to get in trouble. A crowd was already forming around us. Some yelling out 'fight, fight, fight," over and over.

"What is going on?" a loud voice boomed.

I stiffened, and so did Nick and the jock. It was the no-nonsense voice of a teacher, or even possibly the principal.

"Let's go!" I hissed, slipping into the crowd effortlessly. Nick was right behind me, leaving a stunned jock to wonder where we had disappeared to.

We quickly made our way to the toilet block. I slipped into the girls' toilet and came out a moment later. "It's clear, come with me," I said, pulling him along with me. He followed without saying a word, which surprised me. Usually guys felt weird about going into the Girls' toilets.

I pulled him into a cubicle and locked the door behind us. He was still shaking slightly with anger.

"Are you alright?" I asked, scanning him for any signs of pain.

He nodded his head and sighed. "I didn't mean to get carried away," he told me, not meeting my gaze.

"Please. That jerk deserved it."

Nick glanced at me, then smiled slightly. "Are you okay?" he asked, cupping my face in his hands. He brushed his thumb along my cheek.

"I'm…fine," I assured him, meeting his gaze.

He raised an eyebrow sceptically.

"It's just…the adrenaline. It felt amazing. At the time it was scary, but now I feel so energized. And the anger. I can't remember a time I've been that angry," I admitted.

He laughed and pulled me into a tight hug. "You are one amazing girl, did you know that?" he asked.

I stayed silent, enjoying the feel of his body against mine.

He pulled away from me slightly and kissed me softly on the lips. Then we both froze as we heard two people enter the toilet.

"Did you see that?" one girl said loudly, entering the cubicle next to ours.

"Yeah. Max and Nick are so lucky that Kyle didn't say anything, otherwise they'd be in so much trouble," the other girl said. Her voice was annoyingly nasal and made me cringe.

"I had no idea that Nick was that strong. He doesn't look it, but he has some major muscles," the girl said.

I grinned up at Nick. He seemed amused as well.

"It just makes him so much hotter," Nasal said. She sounded like she was fixing up her hair in the mirror or something.

The grin slid off of my face and I turned my gaze away from Nick. A new feeling was coursing through my veins. Could it be jealousy?

"Man, is there anything that boy isn't good at?" the non-nasal one said dreamily.

I scowled and absently felt my hand squeeze into a fist.

The toilet next to us flushed and the girl exited. I heard the tap turn on and then the two voices were retreating. I relaxed my stiff posture.

"Max," Nick whispered, placing his hand on my face. I looked up at him and attempted a smile. I think it looked more like a grimace.

"You're cute when you're jealous," he said, smirking. I wasn't in the mood, so I unlocked the cubicle and stepped outside. I turned the tap on and splashed my face briefly with the water.

"Sorry," Nick said, coming up behind me and wrapping his hands around my waist.

I didn't say anything.

"What's wrong?" he asked. I could hear the concern lacing his voice.

At that moment the overhead bell rang, signifying that class was about to start.

"I'll be late for class," I said, pulling away from him.

"Max!" he said, grabbing my arm and pulling me back. He twisted me around so that I was facing him and lifted my chin up.

"Tell me what's wrong," he demanded.

"Do you know how annoying it is to have every single girl talking about how hot you are? Numerous girls flirt with you every day. And if they're not flirting, they're gossiping. It makes me so…MAD!"

"Max, guys talk about you all the time as well. It annoys me to death. They don't seem to think that you're a person, that you have feelings!"

"That's what annoys me! They don't even know you and yet they act like they do. They don't even take the time to get to know you. Not that I want them to, anyway," I admitted.

"Then let them have their fun. We'll just ignore them. Who cares what they think anyway?" he said, pulling me closer to him.

"It just drives me crazy," I said with a sigh.

"Me too," he whispered. Then he lowered his head and kissed me. I pressed against him, trying to reassure myself with his kiss. It didn't last long, but it still felt amazing anyway.

He brought his lips to my ear and said, "Let's get to class."

I sighed and nodded my head. "But I'm not gauranteeing that I won't punch someone," I said.

"Me either." I laughed and we left the toilets, heading to class.

A/N: The action is in the next chapter, folks. Yes, I am moving this story along now. lol. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed that chapter.

27. Chapter 27

Chapter 27- Nudge

The Director's POV

"I…I think Max has met Fang," Cheryl stammered.

"WHAT!" the Director screamed into the phone. "How could this happen?"

"Well, you did send them to the same school in the same town," Cheryl whispered.

"So this is my fault?" the director hissed.

"No! I was just saying-"

"Shut up! Are they remembering anything?"

"Well, Max has been having dreams, well, memories, really," Cheryl explained.

"And you're sure Max and Fang are together?"

"Well, I think I saw him outside my window. I think they're dating."

"You think, or you know?" the Director spat.

"I'm ninety nine percent sure."

"Very well. I'll talk to the others. Make sure you keep a close eye on Max. I think it might be time to call the flock back. We don't want anything to happen. Perhaps it's time for Plan B. We just can't take the risks anymore.

"Yes, ma'am," Cheryl whispered. The phone line went dead and the Director started to rub her temples. She knew this was a possibility, and now that Max showed symptoms of remembering her past, she had to act. She dialled a number on her phone and held the receiver to her ear.


"Jane, how is Nudge?" the Director asked.

"She's very happy. She even has a boyfriend," Jane replied.

The Director smirked when Jane mentioned the boyfriend. "I think we might need to bring her back in. Max is starting to get her memories back and while we get that situation taken care of, I don't want anything to go wrong with the others."

"How am I going to do that?"

The Director explained her idea, working out the exact details.

"Got it?"

"Yes. I'll get on it straight away," Jane answered.

"Good." She disconnected the phone line and nearly started to dial again. But then she had a thought. If they couldn't get the situation with Max and Fang cleared up and something did go wrong (however unlikely), they would need something to draw them in again. Bait, in other words. So she had to keep some of the flock members out there. The Director replaced the phone on the hook and smiled.

Her job was to always keep two steps ahead.

Nudge/ Tiffany's POV

"So, do you think this looks alright?" Tiffany asked her mum, Jane, twirling around in the new dress she had bought. It was light blue with pretty patterns along the bottom.

"It's perfect, Tiffany. Now hurry up, otherwise you'll be late," her mum said, exasperated.

Tiffany grinned, then pranced down the stairs, grabbing the essentials on the way. She met her mum out by the car, practically dancing with joy.

"Save the dancing for later," her mum scolded, shaking her head in frustration.

"Okay, okay. Can we go please?"

"Well, get in the car."

Tiffany opened the car's door and jumped in. They were on their way to the school dance. Tiffany was planning on meeting her boyfriend, David, there. He was the one who had informed her of the dance in the first place. She didn't know how she'd missed that one.

After a conversation filled drive (mostly by her), they pulled up outside a huge brick building. Tiffany frowned when she saw it. It looked nothing like the place she'd imagined the dance would be held.

"Where are we?" Tiffany asked, peering through the windshield at the eerie building.

"The dance, silly," her mum said.


"C'mon. Let's go inside."

"Okay. But where is everyone?" Tiffany asked, glancing around the car park. It only had a few cars in it. Her eyes lingered on the black van that was closest to the building.

They got out of the car and headed over to the building. The sound of music was somewhat reassuring. But something about the place was creepy. Tiffany had an urge to turn and run. The urge was growing more overpowering every step she took towards the building. It was like an animal instinct, telling her get out of there as fast as she could.

"Tiff, are you okay?"

"No," she gasped. It had become physically painful to get closer to the building.

But before Tiffany could act on the impulse to run, the door was in front of her. Her mum opened it for her and led her inside.

Six people were in the building. Two were scientists. She could tell from their white lab coats and the way they were looking at her like she was some sort of experiment. Three were scary wolf creatures. They were watching her with red eyes. The last person was a boy the same age as her. One of the wolves was holding him, preventing him from escaping.

"David?" she whispered.

"Tiffany! Run!" he screamed at her.

Without thinking, Tiffany spun around and started sprinting towards the door. But she was too slow and the wolf creatures were too fast. They were all around her now, blocking all of her exits.

"I'm sorry, Nudge," her mum whispered. She held a needle in her hand and started advancing on her.

"No!" Tiffany screamed. She ran towards the nearest wolf and starting punching it furiously. But it grabbed her arms in a steel grip and held her still. Her mum slipped the needle into her arm and instantly the world began to spin.

Her thrashing quieted as the drug took effect and Tiffany slumped in the grip of the monster.

As she slipped into unconsciousness, the strangest images appeared. A flock of huge birds surrounded her. One, the oldest, was looking at her with concern. "Don't worry," Max was whispering over and over again.

Nudge remembered everything.

The blackness engulfed her and memories washed through her head.

Max's POV

"Are you okay?" Nick asked, looking at me with eyes full of concern.


"Max, tell me the truth," he said.

I sighed. "I've just got a headache. It's like someone is pounding my head with an ice pick or something," I explained.

"That's what I felt like a couple of days ago," he said.

"Maybe it's contagious," I said, laughing softly.

Nick stayed quiet, looking thoughtfully out the window of the classroom.

"What's that?" I suddenly asked, pointing to his wrist.

"What?" he asked, peering down at the place I'd indicated.

I reached out and took his arm, stretching it out in front of me. Then I softly pressed my fingers against his wrist and frowned. Something hard was in his wrist. It was small, but still big enough to feel. I felt around his arm, noticing that it was a small square and there was only one.

"What is it?" Nick whispered, touching the area with his fingertips. His brow furrowed in confusion.

"Do you have one too?" he asked.

I checked my wrist, but felt nothing.

"Try the other one," he said.

I did. And to my surprise there was a hard square exactly like his. I was having a hard time trying to figure out what it was.

"If we both have one, it can't be that bad, can it? I mean, it must be normal," I said.

Nick shook his head. "I have a bad feeling about this."

"What a cliché," I said with a smile, trying to lighten the mood.

It didn't work.

"What could it be?" Nick muttered to himself. "It's almost like it's some sort of…chip."

"Like a computer chip?" I asked, frowning.

"Yeah. Only it's designed to go into humans. What on earth could it be for?"

I pondered that for a moment, beginning to get worried. Nick seemed to be really serious about this thing. I sighed and studied my own wrist. It couldn't be natural, otherwise it'd be in both of my wrists, not just one. But could it really be man-made? That thought made me shudder.

All I knew was that something weird was going on. It's funny how that feeling seems to happen to me a lot.

28. Chapter 28

A/N: I tried to put the site on here, but it didn't work, but to read chapter 6 of Maximum Ride 4, go to Fang's Blog and click on the site from there.

Chapter 28- The Discovery

Nick's POV

"How was your day?"Nick's dad asked as he entered the house.

"Fine," Nick replied, running straight up the stairs and into his room. He locked the door and sat on his bed, studying his wrist intently.

The hard square was still there, much to his dismay. He prodded it, making sure it wasn't a figment of his imagination. Nope, it wasn't.

His curiosity was raging. He had a feeling that it was something bad. Something he should get rid of straight away.

But how?

He pondered that thought for a moment, then looked over at his desk. He saw his scissors flash in the light. Then an idea struck him.

He returned his gaze to his wrist. It was near the surface. It would have to be; otherwise he wouldn't be able to feel it. Maybe if he just cut it a little bit he could get it out. It wouldn't hurt that much and he wouldn't do any harm to his nerves or anything. After a long moment, he decided to try it.

He grabbed his scissors and opened them up. He lit a candle and held the blade of the scissors over the flame to sterilize it. When that was done he put the point over the square and gently added pressure.

Carefully, he cut a line across his wrist. Blood started seeping out immediately, but he ignored it and added more pressure. His wrist was really starting to hurt when he finally caught a glimpse of hard metal. He dropped the scissors and tried to pick out the chip, wincing every now and again.

Finally, he got the hard square out. He grabbed a tissue to put over his wrist and applied pressure, trying to stop the bleeding.

He studied the square. He had been right, it was a chip. He frowned. Who would want to put a chip in him? He wondered.

He blinked his eyes, a sudden wave of dizziness overcoming him. Black was seeping into the corner of his vision. He blinked again.

Suddenly he felt a wave of darkness engulf him. He was sucked under, drowning in unconsciousness. Everything went black.

When Fang opened his eyes, he immediately shut them again. His head felt light and he couldn't take the brightness of his room. Slowly, he opened his eyes again.

The first things he noticed were his aching wrist and the bloody scissors. Slowly, he remembered what had happened.

Then everything else came back. He remembered that when he had been unconscious, he had remembered everything.

The flock. The kidnapping. The procedure to erase their memories. Everything.

Most importantly: the wings.

He cautiously felt around on his back under his shirt. Sure enough, his hand met feather. He stood up and walked to his door. He opened it and quickly walked into the bathroom. He locked the door behind himself and stood in front of the mirror. He took off his shirt and hesitantly opened out his wings.

They were exactly the same as he remembered them, just a bit bigger.

He gulped, and then rage overtook his body.

He was going to kill the Director. She'd sent them to Australia! She'd separated them. She'd taken their memories! What the hell was wrong with her?

Suddenly, he remembered Max. She still hadn't gotten her memories back. She was oblivious to what was going on. He had to help her.

He replaced his shirt and grabbed the medical kit out of the bathroom cupboard and set about treating his wrist. When it was properly bandaged, he made his way down the stairs, only barely able to keep from running.

"Where're you going?" his dad asked.

"Somewhere," he replied, too mad to lie.

"Where?" his dad insisted.

"Out!" he said between gritted teeth.

"I don't think so," his dad said, making his way over to block the door.

"You're not my father," Fang seethed.

The shocked expression on his dad's face made him smile grimly.

"What?" he spluttered. "Nick?"

"It's Fang!" He said, pushing past his shocked 'father' and heading out the door. It probably wasn't a good idea to let his father know that he had his memories back, but he was too furious to keep his usual cool. He had to get to Max. He had to tell her.

He ran down the street until he reached a park. Under the cover of the trees he unfurled his wings and leaped up. Being in the air again felt amazing. He was a bit rusty, not having flown in what felt like forever. But the wind in his face helped relax him.

He was soon high in the air, probably looking like a really weird bird in the sky to the people on the ground. The wind was rushing through his hair and his wing tips.

It didn't take him long to reach Max's house. He landed silently under a tree, making sure that no one was around to see him. He ran to Max's window and started climbing. He hoped to God that she was in there.

He pulled himself up and into Max's room through her window. She was reading a book in bed. She looked up when she sensed him and smiled.

"Hey," she said, coming to meet him by the window.

"Max," he breathed.

She saw the look on his face and frowned.

"What's wrong?"

"I need to talk to you," he explained.

She looked even more confused than before. Then she noticed his wrist. "What the hell did you do to your wrist?" she demanded.

"It's a chip. I got it out."


"I…cut it out," he admitted.

"You what? Are you insane?!" she cried.

He waited for her to finish her outburst in silence. Then he grabbed her hand and led her to the bed. He sat down and she followed his lead.

"What's going on?" she asked, watching his face closely.

"Max…" he didn't know what to say.


"Do you have dreams about a flock of humans with wings?" he asked her.

She looked startled, then instantly grew suspicious. "Why would you ask me a question like that?"

He took that as a yes.

"Because it's true. We used to be in a flock. Me, you, Angel, the Gasman, Iggy and Nudge."

"Uh-huh," she said in disbelief.

He sighed and looked down at their hands in frustration. They were still entwined. He looked back into her eyes, trying to convey to her that he was deadly serious.

"Please believe me," he whispered.

The disbelief in her eyes was replaced with surprise.

"You're saying that I'm a cross between a human and a bird?" she asked.


"Then where are my wings?"

"They did something to hide them. They put a chip in us so we wouldn't fully remember, so we'd never see our wings. I got my chip out, so…" He trailed off. He suddenly realised that he'd have to show her for her to believe him.

He stood up and took his shirt off and threw it to the ground.

"Nick?" Max cried in surprise. "What are you doing?"

He turned around and stretched his wings out until they touched her bedroom walls.

He heard her intake of breath.

After a moment of shocked silence, he folded his wings back up and turned to face her. Max's eyes were wide and full of wonder. He sat back down on the bed and softly placed his hand on her cheek.

"Oh, my God," she breathed.

He smiled grimly at her.

"C-Can I touch them?" she asked hesitantly.

He nodded and stretched out one tip of his wing slightly. She reached out and gently stroked the feathers. The feel of her hand on his wing felt so good. It was almost enough to make him smile.

"Wow," she whispered.

"I need you to trust me," Fang told her when she was done. Their eyes met and she looked like she would believe him. All he needed to do was get the chip out of her arm.

"I trust you," she replied.

He leant forward and kissed her. She returned the kiss and their lips moved against each other. She placed one of her hands on his bare chest and the contact sent thrills down his body. He snaked an arm around her waist and pulled her closer to him.

The old part of him-Fang- was delighted by her touch, by her kiss. He hadn't kissed her since the cave, and that was years ago. And to think that she was kissing him back with such passion.

But the new part –Nick- had kissed Max a few times now. They hadn't been together for very long, but it had still sent chills down his body. It was strange for the two parts of him to join again. Fang and Nick were finally one person again.

He wanted to keep kissing her, but he had to pull away. Who knew what his 'dad' was up to by now? Probably informing the Director of his sudden retrieval of memories.

"Do you have a knife or scissors?" he asked her.

She nodded and got some for him.

"I want you to close your eyes. This might hurt a bit," he warned her.

"Okay." It was apparent that she trusted him, even though she'd only known 'Nick' for a little while. Maybe part of her remembered Fang.

She obeyed and closed her eyes. Fang stretched out her arm in front of him, and then placed the open scissors over her chip. He knew exactly what to do this time; he just wanted to do it without inflicting unnecessary harm on Max.

The chip was out in no time, and Max didn't even let a sound escape her lips. The only thing that told him she'd felt pain was when she'd winced.

He quickly patched up her bleeding wrist and told Max she could open her eyes now.

When Max looked at him, he could tell that she was on the verge of falling unconscious. She blinked and placed her non-bandaged hand to her forehead. Suddenly, she slumped forward and her eyes fluttered closed.

Fang laid her down on the bed and quietly stood up. He left her room and walked down the corridor. He was going to get her a glass of water for when she came to, but he stopped in front of an open doorway.

He was looking at an office. A long mahogany desk took up most of the room, but a few bookshelves were off to the side. An expensive looking computer was on the desk in sleep mode.

He took a step inside and looked around. Then he walked over to the desk and tried to open the top draw.

It was locked.

On a whim, he yanked the draw out with his inhuman strength. It came out with a loud ripping sound and he quickly went through the paperwork inside. He pulled out a pack of papers stapled together.

On closer inspection, it was six pieces of paper holding information on six bird- kids. He smiled when he realised it had said bird-kids locations on it. He knew where the flock was!

He stuffed the papers into his jean pockets, realising that his shirt was still lying on Max's floor. He replaced the draw, knowing that it would never lock again and headed back to Max's room.

When he entered she was sitting up, looking alertly around the room. When she saw him, recognition crossed her face. It felt good to have the old Max back.

29. Chapter 29

Chapter 29- Surprise!

Max's POV

"Er, Fang. Why aren't you wearing a shirt?" I asked, scrutinizing his bare chest. It was actually very well developed. I'd never really noticed before.

He smirked at me and walked over to the side of my bed. He picked up his shirt and pulled it back on.

"How are you feeling?" he surprised me by asking.

"Umm, a little light-headed. What the hell happened?"

He studied me impassively, like we hadn't known each other our whole life.

"Fang…?" I asked, frowning. What was wrong with him?

"We need to get out of here. My dad knows I got my memories back and he could be sending someone after me as we speak."

I stopped and thought about everything that had happened. I remembered everything: the operation, my life as a normal teenage girl and…the kiss with Nick/Fang. Well, kisses, actually. I swallowed. I didn't know how I felt about that.

That's when everything dropped on me. I had to find the flock! I had to get out of this place. I had to SAVE THE WORLD!

"Oh, my God. What are we still doing here?" I asked him, standing up abruptly.

Too abruptly, it turned out. My vision went black and I staggered. Fang caught me and leaned me against his side. When my vision cleared I saw concern in his eyes. I smiled reassuringly at him, but didn't stop leaning on him.

"How about I go downstairs and grab some food while you pack some clothes and essentials from in your room?" Fang asked after a moment of silence.

"Good idea," I agreed. I moved away from him and walked into my closet. I grabbed two bags and threw one to him. He headed out of my room while I rummaged for suitable clothes to take.

Okay, so I wasn't really looking at the clothes I packed. All I own is like, jeans and shirts. Except for the rare dresses that people have forced me to buy. Or given to me. After the clothes, I got a brush, toothbrush and toothpaste out of my bathroom. Also a hair tie for when we fly. Then I was looking all over the top floor of the house for money. I managed to find a stack in my mum's bedroom.

Do I feel bad about stealing from her?

No way!

She stole me in the first place!

Finally, I was done packing. I zipped the bag up and started to make my way downstairs.

That's when I heard a car pulling up.

I raced to the window and peered outside. It was my dad! He was home from work early. What was I going to do?!

I watched as my dad got out of the car and slammed the door. He made his way to the house, moving out of my sight. I ran to the stairs and peered over the banister. I couldn't see anyone. Where was Fang?

I went down the stairs two at a time and bounded into the foyer. My father – I realised that he wasn't really my dad, but a stranger—was just stepping into the house.

"Hello, Max," he said with a somewhat forced smile. He was glancing around the room, probably looking to see if I was hiding anyone.

"Hey. You're home early," I said, trying to act like I usually would. It was hard, because I felt a hatred for my 'father' that I'd never felt before. He'd kept me here, away from my flock. He was the enemy.

"What's the bag for?" he asked as he took off his jacket and headed into the kitchen. I followed him, hoping to God that Fang had found a hiding place. At the same time, I remembered the bag I was still carrying.

"I'm going to sleep over Cynthia's," I lied quickly.

"Oh yeah? Why didn't you ask me?"

"I talked to mum, she said it was okay," I said, hoping that I didn't get caught out in the lie.

"Really? I was just speaking to your mother. She didn't mention anything," he said as we entered the kitchen. He walked over to the fridge and started rummaging around in it.


I swallowed. "She must have forgotten."

"I don't think she would've," he argued.

"Does it matter? Do you want me to ask you if I can go?" I asked, starting to lose my cool.

"Is anyone else here?" he suddenly asked, stepping away from the fridge to look at me.

I raised my eyebrows at him, hiding my shock. "Like who?"

"Is there anything you want to tell me?" he persisted.

"…No. Why?"

Something seemed to snap inside him. "Don't lie to me, Max! Tell me the truth. Where is Fang?" he yelled.

I froze. "What the hell are you talking about?" I asked. My voice luckily didn't shake.

"Where. Is. Fang?" my 'dad' practically growled. He took a step towards me and I took one back.

"Who's Fang?" I asked innocently, trying to figure out my dad's bizarre mood change. How was I going to get out of this one? Was my dad capable of stopping me? Or worse: hurting me?

"Don't play dumb with me. I know about you and Fang. I know you have your memories back. If you won't tell me, I'll just have to kill you," he stated.

I swallowed. Kill me? That was a bit extreme. This would be a good time to escape, I told myself. But of course, I didn't have any bright ideas.

The only thing that came to mind was: fight or flight.

I couldn't fly out of here, but could I fight?

I looked at my 'dad' closely. He was well muscled and I knew he had experience in combat. I was stronger than a normal adult man, so I thought I could take him. But it would be weird fighting my dad, even if he wasn't really my dad.

Suddenly, my father ran at me. I was so surprised, that I only managed to throw a punch when he was on me. Unfortunately, he dodged it and clasped his hand a round my neck. He lifted me up and pressed me against the wall, still holding onto my neck, slowly cutting off my airway.

My legs flailed as I tried to get him away from me, but he pinned them against the wall with his body. He watched my face as it slowly began to turn red from lack of oxygen.

I tried inhaling, but nothing got through to my lungs. He was choking me, and there was nothing I could do.

"Help," I croaked, but I could barely hear myself. I tried to suck in air to no avail.

My dad grinned at me, knowing that he was winning. "Are you going to tell me where Fang is?" he asked intently.

I couldn't move. My vision was narrowing, darkness seeping into the edges. I struggled futilely against him, my strength leaching out of me as the seconds passed by without oxygen.

Suddenly, I registered a change. My dad dropped me and I landed on the ground, gratefully sucking in air. Fang had come out of his hiding spot and was fighting my dad. I concentrated on breathing. The oxygen was magnificent. My vision was back to normal, just blurry from unshed tears.

I glanced up to see Fang punching my dad furiously. It looked like Fang was majorly pissed off.

But suddenly the fight turned. My dad got in a kick to Fang's chest. Then he was punching him. Fang flew into the wall with a loud thud. I tried to call out to him, but my voice was croaky and pathetic.

Fang leaped up and literally pounced on my dad, sending him sprawling. He punched him in the head once, twice, three times. Fang stayed his hand before the fourth punch and studied my dad.

It seemed like he was unconscious. Lifting his eyelids to make sure, Fang glanced over at me.

"Are you alright?" he asked.

I nodded shakily.

He looked into my dad's eyes and seemed to confirm something. He stood up and walked over to me. He sat by my side and gently draped an arm over me.

"I'm so sorry it took me so long to realise you were in trouble," he said. It sounded like he was really angry with himself.

"Fang," I croaked, "it wasn't your fault. You saved me."

He sighed and drew me into his side. His touch made me shiver. I wasn't used to being this close to him. Well, the wingless Max was, but not me. I rested my head on his shoulder and inhaled his scent. It was actually rather comforting.

"We should go," Fang said quietly.

"I don't want to move," I whispered. I was quite content to stay where I was, in his arms. He chuckled and I raised my head off of his shoulder.


"Nothing," he said.

"Tell me?" I demanded.

"Well, I just think that was really cute," he said with a grin.

"Cute?" I asked, raising my eyebrows.

"Incredibly," he said, kissing my forehead.

I felt a blush heat my cheeks.

"That's even cuter," he said, referring to the light shade of pink that covered my face. He gently placed his hand on my cheek.

I took his hand away from my face and leaned in close to him. I pressed my lips to his. He immediately kissed me back. I was slightly surprised at how forward I was being. I was kissing him! Fang! But I was soon lost in the kiss. It was incredibly passionate. My breathing was ragged, my heart was beating furiously and I was practically shaking with pleasure.

Unfortunately, we had to pull away. We smiled at each other, catching our breath. I was still holding his hand, so when I stood up I took him with me. I collected my bag, and he got his. Soon, we were out of the house, running away from the school once again.

But I didn't care, as long as I was free. And with Fang.

30. Chapter 30

Chapter 30- Charming

Max's POV

To fly again felt wonderful. The wind in my face and on my wings was amazing. It was a freedom that I was glad to have back.

"I think we should stay at a hotel for the night," I told Fang when I pulled up beside him. I felt like my old self again: the decision maker. I was the invincible Max again.

"Is that a good idea? Do we have enough money?" Fang asked.

"I've got cash," I said with a smile. Thanks a lot, mum. "Plus, we've been living like royalty, so I think we should ease back into being peasants on the run."

"Good point, all that food and shelter turned you into a little princess," Fang said.

I glowered at him playfully. "It doesn't matter the reasoning, I just want to sleep under cover tonight, and preferably not the cover of a cave. Anyway, like they have caves here! Where are we now?"

"Just over Mackay. I think we can get to Brisbane in one day. It won't take too long. Less than a day, I'm sure."

"Then where to?" I asked. He was the one who knew where the flock's location was.

"Nudge is in Sydney, Iggy is in Adelaide and Gazzy and Angel are in Perth. I'm pretty sure Sydney is the closest," he said.

"Yeah, it's really confusing to be in another country. I think I want to go back to America. But Australia is nice," I said conversationally.

"I can see a hotel," Fang announced, ignoring my little rant about Australia. We banked and made our way down. It was dark, so no one could see us. We landed in a park near the hotel and tucked in our wings.

There, totally inconspicuous.

We entered the hotel. It wasn't very fancy, which suited me just fine. I didn't want to blow our money all in one night. I walked up to the clerk and smiled charmingly at her.

"A room for two?" she asked, smiling warmly at us. She was young, probably only twenty. And why did her eyes linger on Fang like that?

"Yes please," I said, a little less sweetly than before.

"One bed or two?" she asked intently, as if it were vitally important.

"Two," I said shortly. She gave a satisfied smile and started typing commands into the computer. I felt like saying 'one' just to wipe the smile off of her face.

"Is there anything else you would like?" she asked Fang.

"No," Fang said, looking confused. "Just the room, please."

I handed over the cash before she could say anything else and waited as she handed over the key to Fang, even though I was the closest. I groaned under my breath and headed towards the elevator. I grabbed Fang's hand on the way, just to annoy the clerk.

Fang seemed confused, but went with the flow. When we got in the elevator, he turned to me.

"What was that for?"

"Nothing," I said innocently.


"Just the clerk. She was annoying me."

"Uh huh. What has that got to do with holding my hand?" he asked.

"Can't a girl hold her boyfriend's hand?" I asked.

It felt strange saying 'boyfriend'. But I guess it was true. I smiled to myself.

"Oh…you were jealous," he said, suddenly realising.

"What? No, I wasn't!" I exclaimed.

He smirked at me. "You should know by now that you're my best girl," he said.

I raised an eyebrow at him. Had he just said that? It sounded so…weird. Like some country hick.

The elevator stopped and we stepped out into a lime green hallway. We made our way to room 103, hands entwined.

"I miss the flock," I suddenly blurted. I don't know what prompted me to say it, but I just felt weird being with Fang and not everyone else.

"Me too," Fang surprised me by saying. Then he wrapped an arm tenderly around my shoulder. We reached our room and he opened it for us. Inside were two single beds and one bedside table. The walls were the same lime green colour. Off to the side was a door that presumably led to the bathroom.

"Lovely," I said with a straight face.

Fang burst out laughing. "It does have a certain charm," he joked.

"Well, I'm beat." I threw my bag onto the bed on the right and grabbed some clothes out. Then I made my way cheerily to the shower. Call me a princess, but the hot water on my body sure helped relax me. And I wasn't going to get all dirty when I had a perfectly good shower. We weren't backpacking in the wild, yet.

When I came out of the bathroom with boxers and a singlet on, Fang went past me to have his. His arm rubbed against mine on his way past, sending shivers all over my body.

I practically jumped onto my bed. It was so cosy. I buried my head in the pillows, enjoying the feeling on my skin.

A while later Fang came out of the bathroom, only wearing boxers. I tried to keep my eyes off of his body, but I didn't really succeed.

"I was thinking…" I said, looking at the wall above his bed, not meeting his eyes.

"Yeah?" He lay down on his bed and looked at me.

"What if the whitecoats are expecting us to go to Sidney first?"

Fang's brow furrowed.

"You mean they might set up a trap?"

"Yeah. Think about it. They know that logically we would go for the closest flock member. So what if we…"

"Don't?" Fang finished.

"Yeah. We could go to Perth first, get Gazzy and Ange. They wouldn't be expecting that…would they?" Plus, I wanted to get my baby. Who knew what she was going through? Could she still read minds? Not that I don't love the rest of the flock, she's just my baby.

"I…don't know. The Director knows you. She knows that you're smarter than an average bear. Maybe…just maybe, she thought ahead and made sure someone's ready for us in Perth," he said, contemplating.

"Okay. So it's settled, we go to Adelaide. We get Iggy," I said.

"But, they could still be expecting us."

"It's not logical for us to go to the city in the middle. 'Cause then we'd have two ways to go. Do you understand what I'm saying? Anyway, it's too much of a hassle. They'll probably be expecting us sometime, but not this soon," I said with conviction.

"I…suppose," Fang said, deep in thought.

"So we go and get Iggy," I repeated. "We're going to Adelaide."

"…Okay," Fang agreed.

I won't bore you with the details of our trip to Adelaide. It took us a few days. We were trying to stay inconspicuous, which meant not flying in plain sight. Anyway, we made it. We were on top of a brown brick building, watching the people milling around us, we were trying to stay out of the way.

This was Iggy's school.

"Are you going to the beach party?" I heard a girl ask her friend.

I tapped Fang on the shoulder and pointed to the girl. He nodded and started paying attention to what she was saying.

"I'm not going if the band don't find a replacement guitarist," the friend replied.

"What do you mean?"

"You mean you didn't know?" Girl 2 asked. "The band's lead guitarist broke his arm. Hang on; I think he was the singer as well. Too bad…"

"So the band won't be playing?" Girl 1 asked.

"Not if they can't find a replacement."

"Well, let's hope they do," Girl 1 said, looking worried.

"Why do you care so much?" Girl 2 asked, looking suspicious.

"Uh-" The girl stammered.

"Shauna!" a redheaded girl called from the other end of the building. Shauna (Girl 1) waved at the person and then turned back to Girl 2.

"You're taking Iggy, aren't you?" Girl 2 asked.

Shauna blushed. "Actually, he's taking me. He said it would be fun."

Girl 2 smirked. "I've gotta get to class, I'll see you around," Girl 2 said abruptly, glancing at her watch. They waved to each other, and then disappeared, off to their respective classes.

"Okay then," Fang whispered. "What was the point of that?"

"You're going to replace the lead guitarist in that band," I told him.

"What?" he almost yelled at me.

I shushed him and whispered, "We need to corner Iggy. If we go to this party, we'll be able to get at him easier."

"But you hate parties. I hate parties. Why are we doing this?"

"Do you think Iggy's 'parents' are going to show up at this party? He'll be free for us to chat to. And we need a bird's eye view. The stage is the closest we're gonna get to that without actually flying over the top. It's prefect," I explained to him.

Fang frowned at my logic. "Fine, but you so owe me."

I smiled.

31. Chapter 31

A/N: To get the full enjoyment of this chapter, I would suggest that you watch the songs on youtube or something. Hey, you might like them so much that you wanna download them. :)
Chapter 31- You've got talent.
Fang's POV

Fang watched the group of people with contempt. They were all clutching guitars, practising. He turned to Max and gave her a glare.

"Remind me why I'm doing this again," he said.

"Because you love me," she replied with an angelic smile.

His eyes narrowed. Inside, he was shocked that she said that. But he kept his face smooth. What was disconcerting was the thrill he felt from the word.

"I'll think of your pay back soon enough. You won't be smiling then," he said coldly.

"You'll do great. I can hold your hand if you're scared," she whispered with an unholy grin.

He ignored her sarcasm.

"Look at those guys. They can play like, two songs tops," she said, referring to the group of people practising. They were crowded inside a garage, waiting to be called in for their audition. He could hear the faint sounds of music coming from inside.

"I didn't think the band members would be in their twenties," he said quietly to Max.

"Yeah. They even have their own place," she said in awe.

The door to the garage opened at that moment and a sullen looking girl stomped out clutching her guitar. She walked out of the garage and to her car without looking back.

"I take that as a 'she didn't get in'," Max whispered.

"Next!" A tall man with shaggy brown hair called. Fang had already guessed that he was the bass guitarist.

"I think that's us," Max said. Then she grabbed his hand and led him to the door. She dragged him inside and he noticed how nice, warm and soft her hand was. It felt really good against his.

"What's your name, kid?" the shaggy brown haired one asked condescendingly.

"Nick," he said automatically.

"You play guitar?" he asked.

Er, duh. He was here, wasn't he? "Yes," he replied with instead.

"Who's the chick?"

"She's my fri-girlfriend." He was about to say 'friend', but then remembered that they were sort of more than that now. Max glanced at him and smiled slightly.

The shaggy haired guy looked at her and nodded. Fang noticed how his eyes lingered on her longer than necessary. His teeth gritted slightly.

"Okay, play us a song."

"Uh, do you have a guitar I can use? I kind of…lost my other one," he said with a hard glance at Max. She grinned at him.

The shaggy guy looked at him with a raised eyebrow before handing over the electric guitar. He started playing the first song that came to his head. 'Heels Over Head' by Boys Like Girls.

I got your runaway smile in my piggybank baby
Gonna cash it right in for a new Mercedes
You were worth the hundred thousand miles
But you couldn't stay awhile
I got your little brown shirt in my bottom drawer baby
And your little white socks in the top drawer
You were always leaving your shit around
And gone without a sound

Yeah I'm the first to fall and the last to know
Where'd you go?

Now I'm heels over head
I'm hangin' upside down
Thinking how you left me for dead
California bound

I got a first class ticket to a night all alone
And a front row seat up right by the phone
Cause you're always on my mind
And I'm running out of time
I've got your hair on my pillow and your smell in my sheets
And it makes me think about you with the sand in your feet
Is it all you thought it'd be?
You mean everything to me

But I'm the first to fall and the last to know
And where'd you go?

Now I'm heels over head,
I'm hangin' upside down
Thinking how you left me for dead
California bound
And when you hit the coast
I hope you think of me
And how I'm stuck here with the ghost of what we used to be

You're burnin' bridges baby
Burnin' bridges, making wishes
Yeah you're burnin' bridges baby
Burnin' bridges, making wishes
You're burnin' bridges baby
Burnin' bridges, making wishes
Yeah you're burnin' bridges baby
Burnin' bridges, making wishes

You're a chance taker, heartbreaker
Got me wrapped around your finger
Chance taker, heartbreaker
Got me wrapped around your finger

I got your runaway smile in my piggybank baby
Gonna cash it right in for a new Mercedes
If I drive a hundred thousand miles
Would you let me stay a while?

Now I'm heels over head,
I'm hangin' upside-down
Thinking how you left me for dead
California bound
And when you hit the coast
I hope you think of me
And how I'm stuck here with the ghost of what we used to be

Now I'm heels over head,
I'm hangin' upside-down
Thinking how you left me for dead
California bound
And when you hit the coast
Maybe you'll finally see
And then you'll turn it all around and you'll come back to me

He finished the song and glanced at the expressions on everyone's faces. They seemed impressed.

The shaggy one nodded at him and then poked his head out of the door to the garage. "We've found our guitarist, everyone can go home," he yelled. Fang heard the mumblings and rantings from the people outside.

"You've got talent," Shaggy said after everyone was gone.


"What about your chick? Can she sing? We could use a female singer," Shaggy said.

Fang glanced over at Max and got an idea for pay back.

"I'm just the moral support-" she started saying, but he spoke over the top of her.

"She loves singing. In fact, I'm sure she'd love to try out."

Shaggy looked at her. "Go on, then."

Max glared at Fang, trying to communicate something important, by the looks of it. But he ignored her. "She'd only be siging a couple of songs, right?" he asked Shaggy.

"Yeah, we tend to only know a few songs with female vocals," Shaggy explained.

"I'm not singing," Max said stubbornly.

"You owe me," I reminded her in a whisper.

She sighed in frustration and glanced around at everyone. "I can't believe I'm doing this," she muttered.

She stood next to him and said, "Can you play 'Misery Business' by Paramore?"

"Sure can," Fang said. It was strange, but as soon as he heard a song, he basically knew how to play it. It was like he had a photgraphic memory, only of how to play songs.

"Okay," she said.

He started playing the guitar rift. The drummer, a black lanky guy, grabbed his drumsticks and started playing, catching on to the rhythm.

I'm in the business of misery,

Let's take it from the top.

She's got a body like an hourglass that's ticking like a clock.

It's a matter of time before we all run out,

When I thought he was mine she caught him by the mouth.

I waited eight long months,

She finally set him free.

I told him I couldn't lie he was the only one for me.

Two weeks and we had caught on fire,

She's got it out for me,

But I wear the biggest smile.

Whoa, I never meant to brag

But, I got him where I want him now.

Whoa, it was never my intention to brag

To steal it all away from you now.

But God does it feel so good,

Cause I got him where I want him now.

And if you could then you know you would.

Cause god it just feels so...

It just feels so good.

Second chances they don't ever matter, people never change.

Once a whore you're nothing more, I'm sorry, that'll never change.

And about forgiveness, we're both supposed to have exchanged.

I'm sorry honey, but I'm passing up, now look this way.

Well there's a million other girls who do it just like you.

Looking as innocent as possible to get to who,

They want and what they like it's easy if you do it right.

Well I refuse, I refuse, I refuse!

Whoa, I never meant to brag

But, I got him where I want him now.

Whoa, it was never my intention to brag

To steal it all away from you now.

But god does it feel so good,

Cause I got him where I want him right now.

And if you could then you know you would.

Cause God it just feels so...

It just feels so good.

I watched his wildest dreams come true

Not one of them involving you

Just watch my wildest dreams come true

Not one of them involving.

Whoa, I never meant to brag, but I got him where I want him now.

Whoa, I never meant to brag

But, I got him where I want him now.

Whoa, it was never my intention to brag

To steal it all away from you now.

But God does it feel so good,

Cause I got him where I want him now.

And if you could then you know you would.

Cause God it just feels so...

It just feels so good.

Wow, she's good, he thought when she finished. She sounded awesome.

"Wow," Shaggy said, speaking Fang's thoughts.

"It looks like we have two new singers," Drummer boy said.

"So, we have a lot of practising to do. We have to figure out times with you two," Shaggy said.

"I'm Ben, by the way," Drummer boy said. "That's Chaz (Shaggy), Chris (keyboard player) and Kylie (the other guitarist)."

"Do you guys wanna meet up tomorrow?" Shag-Chaz asked. He couldn't get the name 'Shaggy' out of his head.

Fang shrugged. "Sure. We aren't doing anything."

"You guys aren't from around here, are you?" Ben asked in a kind voice that surprised him.

"How do you know?" Max asked, looking like she was trying to find the nearest exit.

Ben shrugged. "I can just tell. Anyway, you sorta have American accents," he said.

"I'm guessing you don't have anywhere to stay," Chaz said indifferently.

They were both silent.

"You can stay here, it's no big deal. But we only have one spare bedroom. We have a mattress that one of you can use, though," Ben offered.

"That'd be great," Max said, looking reluctant though. He could only imagine what was going through her head. Probably the layout for the house, if he understood the calculating look on her face.

"Sure, I'll show you the room," Chaz said, leading them down the corridor and into the spare bedroom. It had one single bed. Chaz bent down and pulled out a mattress from under the bed. Then he went outside and came back in with a handful of sheets and pillows.

"Thanks a lot, man," Fang said.

Chaz shrugged. "You're welcome."

Fang sat down on the bed and Max joined him. She leaned her head on his shoulder and sighed. "This is going to come back and bite me in the butt, isn't it?" she asked.

"No doubt," he replied.

A/N: Got any good songs you want Fang or Max or both to sing? Tell me the names in a review and I'll take a look at the lyrics if I don't already know them. I need suggestions, people. :)

32. Chapter 32

A/N: I'd like to thank everyone for your suggestions. I'd use them all, but that would take me about a year to update. Lol. Some of the songs you told me I looked up and really liked. So you've expanded my song knowledge. Anyway, some of the songs don't match their characters, but remember that Chaz (Shaggy) would've chosen them. Sorry if I didn't use your song choice, I really appreciated them all. Chapter 32-Beach Party Max's POV
"Are you ready for this?" I asked Fang as pulled up into the beach car park with Chaz and the gang.

He shrugged in typical Fang style. "This was your idea, remember," he said as we got out of the van and started to help unload the equipment. I was starting to get really nervous. I hated people looking at me. I hated feeling out of place. Why on Earth was I doing this? It was a disastrous idea!

"Calm down, Max. You were right, this is going to make it easier to find Iggy," Fang reassured me.

I swallowed hard and nodded my head.

We got out of the van- yeah, a van, I know-and started unloading the equipment. Chaz seemed surprised at how easily I was carrying the amps and I smiled to myself. Especially since Chaz was having trouble himself.

"We're trying to look inconspicuous," Fang whispered to me. "You could at least pretend to be having a little trouble."

I glared at him, but then drooped my shoulders and acted like the amp was heavy. I couldn't argue with Fang's logic, even if it was incredibly sexist. Like girls can't carry heavy things!

Finally, we had the stage set up. The instruments were being tuned and Fang and I were hanging out as people started to show up.

"I can't see any flyboys," Fang muttered to me.

"That's a plus," I said.

"Hey, guys!" Chaz called out to us. "You guys ready for a sound check?"

We nodded and joined him over at the microphone. More people were turning up every minute. It was actually really well done. There was an impromptu bar set up on the grass. I doubted it had alcohol, but it looked inviting. A volleyball net was set up over to the corner and everything looked professional.

Chaz tapped the microphone and mumbled a few words into it. A guy down on the sand gave the thumps up and Chaz moved on to check the instruments.

I surveyed the growing crowd, looking for Iggy. He should be here by now. Would he remember us? Probably not. He couldn't even see us. I didn't exactly remember Fang straight away. I thought he was familiar, but my memories didn't come flooding back.

"You guys ready?" Chaz asked, coming over to us. "I think it's time we started. We're already running a bit late."

I nodded and glanced at Fang. He looked cool, removed. But he had done this before. It was kind of funny that I could kick bad-guy butt, yet I had stage fright.

"You can sing first," I told Fang in a tiny voice.

He smirked at me and nodded. Then he kissed me on top of my head in a reassuring way. I walked over to the side of the stage and walked down the stairs. I only had a couple of songs to sing and I wanted to get them over and done with so I could look for Iggy.

The music started up and I saw Fang walk over to the microphone. I recognised the music straight away. 'I Need You' by Relient K.

I've dug up miles and miles of sand

As soon as the crowd heard him start to sing, they went wild. There was a huge rush to be near the front of the stage.

Searching for something I can't see

And I've just got bruised and battered hands

And a brand new void inside of me

Complete with walls I did create

From all the earth that I've displaced

A mess that I have made from what

I've just let pile and pile up

I have not been abandoned, no I have not been

Deserted and I have not been forgotten

I need you

I need you here

I need you now

I need security somehow

I need you

Like you would not believe

You're the only thing I want

Cause you're everything, everything I need

Explore the cave that is my chest

A torch reveals there's nothing left

Your whispers echo off the walls

And you can hear my distant calls

The voice of who I used to be

Screaming out "someone, someone please"

Please shine a light into the black

Wade through the depths and bring me back

I have not been abandoned, no I have not been

Deserted and I have not been forgotten

I need you

I need you here

I need you now

I need security somehow

I need you

Like you would not believe

You're the only thing I want

Cause you're everything, everything I need

I need you

I need you now

When my hopes seem to dangle

Somewhere just beyond my reach

You say you've heard my prayers

And read my words there on the beach

I need you

I need you here

I need you now

I need security somehow

I need you

Like you would not believe

You're the only thing I want

Cause you're everything, everything

I need you

I need you here

I need you now

I need security somehow

I need you

I need you now

There was a massive uproar and I couldn't help but wince. I don't think I'd ever heard so much noise in my life. Well, maybe I had, but that's not the point. Fang looked over at me and I knew it was my turn to sing. I swallowed and walked back onto the stage.

I can't believe I'm doing this. I can't believe I'm doing this. I can't believe I'm doing this. I kept up that mantra the whole time. But in the end it didn't change the fact that I was doing this and there was no way out.

"'Broken', by Seether, featuring Amy Lee," Fang whispered, sensing my distress. 'Broken' was a song we both sang. At least he wasn't throwing me to the sharks. It was more like dangling me over the top of them.

Hmmm, lovely analogy.


I wanted you to know that

I love the way you laugh

I wanna hold you high and steal your pain away...

I keep your photograph and

I know it serves me well

I wanna hold you high and steal your pain


Cause I'm broken when I'm lonesome

And I don't feel right when you're gone away


You gone away, you don't feel me here, anymore


The worst is over now

And we can breathe again

I wanna hold you high, you steal my pain away

There's so much left to learn

And no one left to fight

I wanna hold you high and steal your pain


Cause I'm broken when I'm open

And I don't feel like I am strong enough

Cause I'm broken when I'm lonesome

And I don't feel right when you're gone away

Cause I'm broken when I'm open

And I don't feel like I am strong enough

Cause I'm broken when I'm lonesome

And I don't feel right when you're gone away...

Cause I'm Broken when I'm lonesome

And I don't feel right when you're gone...

You gone away, you don't feel me here anymore

Okay. I could deal with that. It wasn't that bad. And people actually cheered for me. By now couples were dancing and everyone was really getting into it. Some people were in the water or playing volleyball, but they all seemed to be listening anyway.

"Sing your last song and then go look for Iggy," Fang whispered to me, moving away from the microphone. I took a big breath and nodded at him. The drums started playing for 'Fences' by Paramore.

I'm sitting in a room

Made up of only big white walls

And in the halls

There are people looking through

The window in the door

They know exactly what we're here for

Don't look up just let them think

There's no place else you'd rather be

You're always on display

For everyone to watch and learn from

Don't you know by now

You can't turn back

Because this road is all you'll ever have

And it's obvious that you're dying, dying

Just living proof that the camera's lying

And oh, oh, oh-pen wide

Cause this is your night

So smile

Cause you'll go out in style

You'll go out in style

If you let me I could

I'd show you how to build your fences

Set restrictions

Separate from the world

The constant battle that you hate to fight

Just blame the limelight

Don't look up just let them think

There's no place else you'd rather be

And now you can't turn back

Because this road is all you'll ever have

And it's obvious that you're dying, dying

Just living proof that the camera's lying

And oh, oh, oh-pen wide

Cause this is your night

So smile

Yeah, yeah you're asking for it

With every breath that you breathe in

Just breathe it in

Yeah, yeah well you're just a mess

You do all this big talkin'

So now let's see you walkin'

I said let's see you walkin'

Yeah, yeah well you're just a mess

You do all this big talkin'

So now let's see you walkin'

I said let's see you walkin'

And it's obvious that you're dying, dying

Just living proof that the camera's lying

And oh, oh, o-pen wide

Yeah oh, oh, o-pen wide

Yeah oh, oh, o-pen wide

Cause you'll go out in style

You'll go out in style

The drums cut off and I breathed a sigh of relief. It was over! I'd done it. All those people had watched me sing and I hadn't freaked out! I quickly moved off the stage, shared a look with Fang and moved into the crowd, which was worse than being on stage. I knew Iggy wouldn't be in the midst of everything, so I stuck to the border.

Fang started singing another song, a slower one, but I wasn't paying much attention. I think it was 'Shadow of the Day' by Linkin Park. It was amazing how quickly the scene changed. Just about everyone paired up and started dancing slower. It made my job a lot easier.

Iggy's POV

"The band is great, hey?" Shauna asked brightly.

Iggy nodded his head and smiled. "They sound awesome," he agreed. He didn't know who the singers were –or what they looked like, for that matter- but he liked their voices.

"Want to dance?" Shauna asked, projecting her voice over the music and sounding very nervous.

He grinned at her and she led him into the throng of people. Moving on instinct, he placed his hands on her waist. He felt her timidly put her arms around his neck and the next minute they were swaying happily to the music.

After the song 'Shadow of the Day' was nearly over, Iggy was closer to Shauna then he'd ever really been before. Without really thinking, he leaned forward and kissed her. She kissed him back and he could swear that this was one of the best days of his life.

He knew something had to go wrong.

"Iggy?" a voice yelled when he pulled away from Shauna.

His head snapped around, but it was just a gesture, because he couldn't see anything.

"Thank God I found you," the female voice said, then grabbed his arm and tugged. Soon enough she was practically dragging him out of the group of dancing people.

"Hey, weren't you on the stage?" Shauna piped up. He was firmly holding her hand. Wherever he was going, she was going too.

"What the hell is going on?" he asked angrily.

No reply. Just great!

A/N: Hint Hint! The third last line. Hint hint. 

Action is coming up soon as well.

33. Chapter 33

A/N: Some of you guessed my hint in the earlier chapter about Shauna.

If you didn't, the hint was that Shauna would leave with Iggy and join the flock.

But I wanted to hold a vote to see your opinion:

a) Shauna goes with the flock as a human

b) Shauna goes with the flock as an Avain Australian

c) I hate Shauna, please don't make her a part of this story.

d) There's already enough flock members as it is, don't make Shauna go with them.

e) Iggy stays with Shauna and doesn'y go with Max and Fang

f) I don't really care, it's up to you (The author)

If you are dead set against any of those options, tell me. I just chucked E in there on a whim, btw. I hadn't really considered it before. Anyway, thanks. Enjoy the chapter.

Chapter 33- Oh Crap

Max's POV

"Stop!" Iggy yelled at me and pulled away from my grip. I sighed. I had a feeling I wouldn't be able to do this the easy way. And he had that chick with him. Who was she? His girlfriend? The more important question was what was I going to do with her? She couldn't come with us. But I didn't want to break Iggy's heart.

"Iggy, we don't have time for this. I need to get you away from here," I told him honestly.

"How do you know my name?" he asked with a scowl.

"What's going on?" the girl piped up. She was clutching at Iggy like he was a life raft and she was drowning.

"My name's Max," I started, watching his reaction carefully. "I'm here with Fang. We came to get you. We're all from America, including you, Iggy."

He gave me a 'what? Are you on crack?' look but I ignored him.

"Give me your arm," I informed him.

"No way!" he said.

I sighed in frustration. "Fine. Let's wait for Fang."

They sat down on the beach quietly, out of the way of the dancers and other people. I watched over them like a hawk-pun intended- and made sure they weren't planning any funny business.

Come on, Fang, I mentally urged. Hurry up.

Another band was scheduled to go on after ours, so I knew they'd be nearly finished now. I could sort of see Fang from where I was standing, but he probably couldn't see me. But I noticed his eyes searching the crowd as he started up a new song.

You're making a choice to live like this,

In all the noise I am silence,

We already know how it ends tonight,

You run in the dark through a firefight,

I would explode just to save your life,

I would explode.

Suddenly, Fang's eyes connected with mine. He'd spotted us out of the huge crowd. He must've noticed Iggy and the girl, but his eyes stayed on mine while he sang 'Light up the Sky' by Yellowcard.

Let me light up the sky,

Light it up for you,

Let me tell you why,

I would die for you,

Let me light up the sky.

I can't find a wall to pin this to,

They're all coming down since I found you,

I just want to be where you are tonight,

I run in the dark looking for some light,

How will we know if we just don't try,

We won't ever know.

Let me light up the sky,

Light it up for you,

Let me tell you why,

I would die for you,

Let me light up the sky,

Light it up for you,

Let me make this mine,

I'll ignite for you.

Let me light up the sky just for you tonight,

Let me help you fly, 'cause you won't have time,

To cover your eyes or get your disguise,

They won't ask you why, they'll just watch you die,

And it's still so hard to be who you are,

So you play this part and the show goes on,

But you've come this far with a broken heart,

Yeah, you've come this far and you're broken.

The music mellowed just to the bass in the background.

Let me light up the sky,

Light it up for you,

Let me tell you why,

I would die for you,

Let me light up the sky, (let me light up the sky)

Light it up for you, (Light it up for you)

Let me make this mine, (Let me make this mine)

I'll ignite for you. (I'll ignite for you)

Let me light up the sky, (let me light up the sky)

Light it up for you, (Light it up for you)

Let me tell you why, (let me tell you why)

I would die for you, (I would die for you)

And it's still so hard to be who you are,

But you've come this far with a broken heart,

And it's still so hard to be who you are,

But you've come this far

And you're broken.

Let me light up the sky.

Let me light up the sky.

The music came to a close and I decided that this was my new favourite song. Fang's eyes were still on mine, trying to communicate something. I understood that look. It meant 'I'm nearly done, I'll be with you in a second.' I translated it to mean that this next song was their last. He started to sing 'Papercut' by Linkin Park. I glanced over at iggy and Shauna, who were talking quietly amongst themselves. I was a bit surprised that they were following my orders. I thought they would have run away by now.

Why does it feel like night today?

Something in here's not right today

Why am I so uptight today?

Paranoia's all I got left

I don't know what stressed me first

Or how the pressure was fed

But I know just what it feels like

To have a voice in the back of my head

Like a face that I hold inside

A face that awakes when I close my eyes

A face that I watch every time I lie

A face that laughs every time I fall

(And watches everything)

Wow, I never knew Fang could sing that fast.

So I know that when it's time to sink or swim

That the face inside is hearing me

Right beneath my skin

It's like I'm paranoid lookin' over my back

It's like a whirlwind inside of my head

It's like I can't stop what I'm hearing within

It's like the face inside is right beneath my skin

I know I've got a face in me

Points out all my mistakes to me

You've got a face on the inside too

Your paranoia's probably worse

I don't know what set me off first

But I know what I can't stand

Everybody acts like the fact of the matter is

I can't add up to what you can but

Everybody has a face that they hold inside

A face that awakes when I close my eyes

A face that watches every time they lie

A face that laughs every time they fall

(And watches everything)

So you know that when it's time to sink or swim

That the face inside is watching you too

Right inside your skin

It's like I'm paranoid lookin' over my back

It's like a whirlwind inside of my head

It's like I can't stop what I'm hearing within

It's like the face inside is right beneath my skin

It's like I'm paranoid lookin' over my back

It's like a whirlwind inside of my head

It's like I can't stop what I'm hearing within

It's like the face inside is right beneath my skin

The face inside is right beneath your skin

The face inside is right beneath your skin

The face inside is right beneath your skin

The sun goes down

I feel the light betray me

The sun goes down

I feel the light betray me

Fang started to sing 'It's like I'm paranoid again' while Chaz took over 'The sun goes down' bit so that there were two diffenrent verses being sung at the same time.

The sun goes down

I feel the light betray me

The sun

I feel the light betray me

It's like I'm paranoid lookin' over my back

It's like a whirlwind inside of my head

It's like I can't stop what I'm hearing within

It's like the face inside is right beneath my skin

It's like I'm paranoid lookin' over my back

It's like a whirlwind inside of my head

It's like I can't stop what I'm hearing within

It's like I can't stop what I'm hearing within

It's like I can't stop what I'm hearing within

It's like the face inside is right beneath my skin

They both finished at the same time and the crowd went wild. I must say, they did a really good job on that one. And I felt that the song sort of described my life. Wasn't I always paranoid?

And I suppose that the 'face under your skin' part could be me, a voice devoid of emotion said inside my head. I nearly screamed. But I managed to stay calm and only wince a little from the pain.

Voice? I asked unceratinly. Jeb?

The one and only, it replied.

I glanced up at the stage where Fang was helping to pack up. He saw me and smiled. But then he noticed the look on my face and his rare smile melted away. He left the stage immediately, heading straight for me.

"Isn't this a touching scene?" another voice, this time it wasn't in my head, said calmly and…robotically from behind me.

I spun around to see a huge metal Flyboy stepping out of the trees behind me. Behind it were a huge swarm. How on Earth hadn't I heard them? How hadn't Iggy? I glanced over at him. He and his girlfriend were standing up, looking mutely in the direction of the Flyboys. Except that I knew Iggy couldn't see anything.

"Oh Crap," was the only thing I could say before they lunged at us.

A/N: I know, I'm evil. There's been a lot of developments in this chapter. I hope you enjoyed and please vote on your favourite option. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, see the top of the page. Thanks!

34. Chapter 34

A/N: I've made my decision, thanks for everyone's votes!

Chapter 34- Time to kick some butt

Max's POV

I smashed the lunging Flyboy in the face and glanced over at Iggy. His girlfriend was screaming her head off and Iggy was whipping his head around, trying to figure out what was going on. Fang wasn't here yet.

Another Flyboy stepped in front of me and tried to punch me in the face, but I ducked and moved around behind it. I grabbed its neck, twisted and watched the Flyboy crash to the ground, never to get up again.

"Iggy, get the hell out of here! Run!" I screamed at him; he wasn't his usual self, he couldn't fight these things. But I certainly couldn't fight them all at once.

While I was distracted, another Flyboy grabbed me and forced me to the ground. My head was in the sand and I was having trouble breathing. Over to the side where the concert was I could see all the people screaming in terror and running around like headless chickens. So they'd seen us, which was weird, because usually the School tried to keep some form of secrecy.

The Flyboy that had me pinned started punching me in the stomach, making my breathing that much more difficult. I felt a rib crack, but ignored the pain and concentrated on struggling to get up.

If you stop resisting, the Flyboy will stop punching you, my voice said.

If I stop resisting, they'll capture me, I reminded Jeb angrily.

The punching was starting to take it's toll, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get away from the Flyboy's grip; probably because he had two other robots holding me down as well. That, plus the fact that I was inhaling sand made my vision go hazy. I knew I was about to let go of consciousness.

I heard him before I saw him. Fang came out of nowhere and ran at the Flyboys holding me down. He rammed them, and his weight plus his momentum made him strong enough to push the Flyboys off of me.

Gasping, I shakily stood up and looked over at Fang. He was furiously punching the Flyboys. He didn't even look like he needed help.

Another Flyboy was on me in seconds, but I grabbed his neck and twisted it. That seemed to be the easiest way to disable them.

Just about then my flight response kicked in. There was no way we could defeat all these things. We had to get out of here. But how could we get out of here with Iggy?

There was only one choice. We couldn't fly; we had to run.

"Fang! Grab Iggy and let's get out of here!" I yelled at him.

Fang looked up from where he was and met my eyes. He seemed to get my urgency, because he immediately disengaged from his fight and ran towards Iggy. I was one step behind him. When we reached Iggy Fang grabbed a hold of his arm. Iggy started yelling and complaining and thrashing about, trying to escape.

I looked at Fang and he nodded.

"Sorry, Ig," he muttered before he whacked him over the head. Hard.

That stopped the resisting. I felt bad for Iggy, but it was the only way we could get him back. His girlfriend was hysterical. Yelling incoherently about wolf men and whatnot. When she saw us take Iggy, she started screaming at us. I ignored her and we hit the floor running, Fang carrying Iggy. I winced in sympathy at him. Iggy wasn't exactly light. The Flyboys were behind us in seconds.

"Where are we going?" Fang yelled over the sound of our running footsteps. I was impressed at how well he was keeping up, considering the circumstances.

I looked back at him meaningfully while trying to not run into anything, conveying that I had no clue.

It was a weird feeling to be sprinting down a busy street, being followed by a pack of creepy eraser robots. Sometimes I could feel them so close to me that I'm sure if I thrust my hand out behind me I'd hit one. People stared, screamed, the whole shebang, when we ran past them. Most people seemed to think it was one big joke. Man, what I wouldn't give for this to be a joke!

Fang was starting to lag slightly, and I knew this was killing him. I had to think of something, and fast!

I glanced around the street in frustration, looking for anything. That's when I saw the alleyway next to a big brick building. I glanced at Fang and indicated it with my eyes. He nodded imperceptibly and I knew he understood at least some of my plan. With an inhuman burst of speed I raced towards the alleyway. I was using everything I had, and so was Fang. We had to reach it before the Flyboys did.

We skidded around the corner and into the alleyway. It was short and had a fence at the other end. I knew I could easily climb it if I wanted to, but I knew it was not a possibility when Fang had Iggy. Instead, I stopped short, causing Fang to run into me. I picked up a stone I saw on the floor and threw it with all my might at the fence. It started jangling loudly. Then, I pushed Fang into an indent in the wall of the alleyway and ducked down behind some trashcans. I silently urged him to be quiet, which was never really a problem with Fang.

The Flyboys raced into the alleyway moments after we'd found a hiding spot. The fence was still jangling slightly and the Flyboys raced over to it without even giving the alleyway a second glance. They climbed it easily, some opting to fly over it instead.

Within two minutes there was no noise to be heard from them. I cautiously crept out of my hiding place and looked up and down the alleyway. Fang was behind me, carrying a groaning Iggy. Without so much as a look at each other, we made our way out into the street and started looking for a cheep, probably seedy, hotel.

Iggy groaned loudly and sat up in the battered bed. I glanced at Fang, who looked up and met my gaze. Then we turned to Iggy and watched him rub his temples slowly and steadily.

"Hello, Iggy," I said quietly, hoping I didn't sound like some creepy child molester or something. I mean the guy was blind, who knew what he was thinking?

"What the hell?" he exclaimed, his eyes darting from one side to the other. Then he seemed to relax a tiny bit.

"Max?" he asked hesitantly.

"Sure is, buddy," I said lightly.

A smile crept its way onto his face. I glanced down at his bandaged arm and smiled. It was a lot easier to get a chip out of someone when they were already unconscious.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"Nothing at the moment. We've got you in a hotel and we're trying to hide from the Flyboys," Fang answered.


"Hey," he said, a small smile on his face when he looked at Iggy.

"Where are Nudge, Angel and Gazzy? And Total?" he asked, slurring his words slightly. Iggy looked down at his wrist (even though he couldn't see anything) and started playing with the bandage. He didn't ask any questions, so I took it he knew what it was there for.

"We're on our way to get them. Angel and Gazzy are next, I think," I said, turning to Fang to confirm it. He nodded and I looked back at Iggy. "Are you alright?"

"Where's Shauna?"

I took a moment before answering. "Is that your girlfriend?" I asked.

"Yeah. Where is she?"

"Well, not here. We couldn't grab her, but I'm pretty sure the Flyboys left her alone. I mean she's a human. And we can't afford to take her with us," I said, trying to sooth him.

"I want to talk to her!" he suddenly yelled, trying to get out of bed. He looked frantic and I felt a pity for him a lot stronger than I had ever felt before.

"What if they captured her to use against me?" he yelled at us.

"Iggy, calm down. She's fine. I promise. We can check on her tomorrow, 'kay?"

He stopped struggling to get up and landed heavily on the bed. I knew he was trying desperately not to go to sleep.

"I'll hold you to that," he mumbled before his eyes closed. I heard his soft snoring and relaxed. I knew we were going to have a tough time tomorrow. It looked like Iggy really liked this Shauna chick. Would we be able to convince him to leave without her?

I sighed heavily and walked over to my bed. Everything could wait until the morning. All I knew was that I was exhausted.

35. Chapter 35

A/N: I'm SO sorry that it took so long to update. You probably don't want to hear my excuses, but basically I have school, work and a small case of writer's block.

I hope you enjoy this chapter anyway. I made it extra long!!!!

Chapter 35- Shauna?

Max's POV

I opened my eyes to a bright light that made dark patches appear in my vision. I blinked my eyes rapidly and realised that the light was the sun, streaming through a window.

I looked around the room. It was a pale cream colour that screamed hotel room. On the bed next to mine was a tall and pale creature that I recognised as Iggy. His feet were dangling over the edge of the bed and I nearly laughed at the sight. It was good to have him back.

I sat up so that I was leaning on my elbows and looked for the other bed that would hold a dark haired boy. But I didn't see another bed. And there certainly wasn't room for one. That's when I felt a shift of weight on my bed.

I glanced beside me and saw Fang, curled up neatly on his side, facing me. So we had shared the same bed, huh? It wasn't that strange. We had to sleep, and there was no room on Iggy's bed when he was growing so rapidly.

I smiled at Fang and looked at his arm, which was wrapped around my waist. I liked the warmth that was coming off of him and rested my head back on the pillow, turning to face him.

He was still asleep, which made my smile grow. He looked really calm and relaxed when he was sleeping. It made me feel protective of him. I lightly traced my finger under his eyes and over his face, pausing at his lips.

I froze when I realised what I was doing. Maximum Ride would never do what I was doing.

But…who cares. We were a couple now…weren't we? I'd kissed him on several occasions and I really liked him. Maybe even lo-

"Don't stop," Fang muttered, his eyes still closed.

I grinned.

He cracked an eye open and smiled back at me. He leaned across the space between us and rested his forehead on mine. It felt really good, in a strange way.

He touched his lips to mine and I kissed him back, enjoying the sensation. He wrapped his arm around me and pulled me closer. We broke off for air and he started kissing my neck and made his way down to my collarbone. I don't think he'd ever done that before, and it felt really good.

He flipped us over so that I was under him and he nuzzled his head against my neck, kissing me all the while. I wrapped my hands around his neck and pulled him closer. This was something nice to wake up to, I thought happily.

"Are you two kissing?" a groggy voice asked from across the room.

Fang instantly flipped off of me and I felt my cheeks burn red.

"Iggy, you're awake!" I said, trying to distract him.

It worked.

"Yeah, are we going to find Shauna?" Iggy asked hopefully.

I nearly groaned, but I refrained. "Sure. Do you know where she lives?"

"I think I could find it again," he said, sounding happier than he had last night.

"Okay, we'll grab some breakfast and head out to find her. What do you feel like?"

He contemplated that while Fang was fiddling with my hair. I tried to ignore him, but it didn't really work.

"How about we get room service?" Iggy said.

"Good idea. You can order for us," I told Iggy. He grinned and made his way over to the phone. I turned to Fang and quietly kissed him lightly on the lips. Then I got out of bed and made my way to the shower, trying not to think of all the things we had to do today and how dangerous it'd be.

Fang's POV

"So, you and Max, eh?" Iggy said casually after ordering from room service. Max was still in the shower.

"What are you talking about?" Fang asked calmly. He didn't know if he and Max were going to keep this a secret or not, so he just feigned ignorance for now.

"I may be blind," Iggy said with and edge to his voice. "But I'm not an idiot. I know you two are an item."

Fang rolled his eyes and stayed silent. After a moment Iggy took on a superior look. Fang guessed that his silence had given Iggy all the answer he needed.

His mind drifted to Max, as it had been a lot lately and he thought of this morning. God, he really cared about her. What would he do if anything ever happened to her?

Max's POV

We'd had breakfast and now we were standing in front of a large Victorian home. It was white and two storeys. Geez, this girl must be rich, I thought idly.

"I think it's best if we stay outside," I said to Iggy, noticing the happy and yet worried look on his face. "We don't want her to freak out."

"…Okay," he agreed, a determined look overtaking his face as he walked up the driveway and to the door. He knocked and Shauna appeared. She glanced over at us before she let him inside.

"What do you think will happen?" I asked Fang quietly.

"I don't know," he said, shrugging. That was such a typical Fang answer! But at least he said something and didn't just shrug.

"I suppose we'll find out," he added.

Shauna's POV

(A/N: IMPORTANT!!!! This will be in first person. So I hope no one gets confused. It's for purposes that will soon become clear)

"Iggy, what's going on?" I asked bluntly, biting my lower lip in anxiety. Max and Fang were waiting outside, so this couldn't be good. Had he found out? Was he going to hate me?

"I need to talk to you," he said mysteriously.

"Uh okay," I said, leading him over to my couch and sitting down. After a brief hesitation, he sat down next to me.

"What have Max and Fang told you?" I blurted without thinking.

"Well, they- how do you know their names?" he asked.

I shut my mouth abruptly. Had they said their names out loud? I couldn't remember.

"…Shauna?" Iggy persisted.

"That's their names right?" I asked, trying to throw him off track.

It didn't work.

"Is there something you're not telling me?" he asked me, his eyebrows knitting together in a way that I used to think was cute. I still do, but the look was more unnerving at the moment.

"Iggy, I really like you," I said earnestly and slightly rushed. "I don't want anything to come between us. I'm so sorry…"

"…We can't be together," Iggy said in a whisper. His eyes were trained on the ground, even though he couldn't see. I knew this was killing him, and knowing that made my insides hurt.

We sat in silence for a moment. I went through various conversations in my head, trying to figure out something to say. Should I tell him the truth or not? Would he ever talk to me again? Would telling him keep him safe?

Yes, it would, I decided.

"Iggy, I know you have bird DNA. I know what you are," I stated in a voice devoid of emotion. I had made my decision. I wasn't going to let him get caught. I was going to help him.

He looked stunned.

"How?" he demanded, turning suspicious.

"My aunty is the Director of Itex," I told him regretfully.

One, two, three-

"WHAT!!!!!" he yelled, jumping up from his seat and staring at me incredulously.

"My name is Shauna Janssen," I reminded him, tears in my eyes. I couldn't believe I was telling him this.

"Oh, my God, it is too!" he screamed, glancing around the room frantically, as if he could actually see.

"She made me keep an eye on you," I whispered. No human would have ever been able to hear me, but Iggy did.

He froze, staring at me with his sightless eyes.

"I thought you…liked me," he said, his voice broken.

I couldn't hold the tears in any longer. They were flooding down my face soundlessly. I could taste the salt on the corners of my lips.

"Iggy, I do," I whispered hoarsely, full of emotion. "I think I even love you."

I could see the tears in his eyes now, but he held them back, putting on a face of hatred instead.

"Then why?" he demanded angrily, repeatedly glancing to where the door was approximately, as if he thought people were going to crash through it any second.

"When it comes to the Director, you don't get a choice," I told him honestly. "Iggy, she made me do it. And I didn't know you at the time. I didn't know what I was getting in to. It's like those TV shows where the boy makes a bet about the girl and then she finds out about it and she hates him for lying to her. Ever seen Not Another Teen Movie?" I explained/ pleaded.

"Unfortunately, I can't see anything," he said scathingly, giving me a dirty look.

I closed my mouth and thought back to the time my aunty had cornered me.

"Hey, Shauna, I hope you're being a good girl in school," Aunty Marian said kindly as she dropped her bags on the floor of the foyer and hugged my parents. Aunty Marian was the sister of my father. She only visited about once every two years.

"I'm always a good girl," I told her. I wasn't really a girl anymore, but I played along with her delusion. I only saw her once in a blue moon. Our parents never really liked America. They moved to Australia when they were a young couple, and fell in love with the place straight away. We only occasionally go over to America to see family.

"I have something to show you, Shauna. Which one is your room?" she asked mysteriously.

I led her to my room and she closed the door behind her, producing a manila folder that looked very confidential.

"Have you ever heard of avian-human hybrids?" she asked me.

I looked at her incomprehensively. What was she going on about?

She launched into a full detail of human birds and the 'amazing' science they were able to produce today. I gawked at her, but she showed me hard evidence, so I had to believe her.

No matter how much I didn't want to.

"This is Iggy," she said, producing a picture of a cute boy with strawberry blonde hair and pale skin.

"He's an avian hybrid and he is under surveillance from some of my top workers. I want you to keep an eye on him. Get close and personal."

"No! I'm not going to spy for you!"

"Did I say you have a choice?" she snapped.

"What are you going to do, force me?" I demanded angrily.

"Do you remember that brush your father had with the law two years ago?" she asked sweetly.

I nodded, trying to follow her train of thought.

"Well, it would be a shame if your father were to end up in jail again," she said pointedly.

"That was an accident, though. He didn't commit those break-ins! Would you do that to your own brother?" I yelled.

She smiled tightly. "If I have to, then yes. I have to do a lot of things I don't like to stay on top."

I scowled at her.

"What about your mother? Is she still back on her feet after that nervous breakdown she had last year? How would she cope without your father? You know I have the power to do it. Besides, if you don't agree to be my spy, someone else will. What would you rather: A father in jail and an emotional mess of a mother? Or a carefree family where you just have to make sure nothing weird happens with one boy?

I swallowed and after a long moment nodded my head. I knew she could do it. She was the one who got my father out of jail in the first place. She could put him back in. I sighed and looked down at my hands.

What had I gotten myself into?

"Excellent. Here's the information."

Iggy walked to the door, ready to leave.

"Iggy, wait!" I called after him, snapped out of my reverie. I grabbed onto his wrist and wouldn't let go. He had to understand.

"Shauna, it would have never worked out between us. I have to go if you don't mind."

I swung him around and planted my lips on his. After a hesitation, he pushed me away and glared at me angrily.

"They've got Nudge already. She's back in America."

His eyes widened in shock.

"Go now, before they find you. Get Angel and the Gasman quickly. Don't waste time. I'll try and throw the Director off track."

"Why are you doing this?" he asked quietly.

"I made a mistake, Iggy. I'm trying to repent for it."

He stayed silent for a moment, his head creased in thought.

"Hurry up and go," I told him.

"Thanks," he muttered before he was out the door.

I watched him go, tears running down my face. I finally broke down. I slid down the wall and sobbed loudly. I knew that I was never going to forgive myself for putting him in danger.

My parents found me like that when they got home; red eyed and puffy faced. But I refused to tell them what was going on.

Nudge's POV

The cell was cold and dank. There was no sound, only the distant pinging on some form of metal. She could almost hear the solitary.

She called out again, hoping to get a response this time.

"Hello? Can anyone hear me…?"

Still no answer.

Where was she? And where were Max and the flock? What was going on?

"Max?" she whispered hoarsely through the bars of her cage. Her face was bruised and battered and she felt like dirt. Worse than dirt! What was worse than dirt?

"Is anybody out there?" she called into the darkness hopelessly. Her only answer was the echoes bouncing off the stone walls.

Hope you enjoyed it. Sorry if there are any mistakes, I didn't have time to go through everything and edit it properly. Thanks to all my wonderful readers and reviewers. I hope I don't take too long to update again!

36. Chapter 36

A/N: I would've updated sooner, but my internet wasn't working.  I have heaps of fanfics to catch up on now. I should be able to update soon, though. Please enjoy…



"I made a mistake, Iggy. I'm trying to repent for it."

He stayed silent for a moment, his head creased in thought.

"Hurry up and go," I told him.

"Thanks," he muttered before he was out the door.

I watched him go, tears running down my face. I finally broke down. I slid down the wall and sobbed loudly. I knew that I was never going to forgive myself for putting him in danger.


Chapter 36- Not again!

Iggy's POV

It had happened again! The same thing happened with his so-called 'parents'! He'd thought he'd finally found where he belonged. That just maybe he could live a life or normalcy. But no, he had to get parents who wanted to sell his story to the world, who wanted him to suffer!

So he thought he'd actually had feelings for Shauna, but instead she stabs him in the back. She was spying on him the whole time. Did she mean anything she said? Was she sorry, or was that part of her act? How could he ever trust anyone outside of the flock again? Could he even trust the flock?

He banished that thought from his mind straight away. If he couldn't trust his flock, his family, then he was in for an even rougher life.

He let out a frustrated groan and met Max and Fang outside. He could feel their stares, and knew they were studying him closely.

"We need to get out of here now," he said forcefully.

"Why?" Max asked quietly. "What happened?"

He closed his eyes and scrunched up his face. "She was with the Director the whole time. She was meant to monitor me. She said they captured Nudge. I don't know whether to believe her…"

He could sense their disbelieving stares, but he didn't elaborate.

Max's POV

Poor Iggy. I know he really liked that Shauna girl. So why did this have to happen to him? Were we destined to be a group of six bird-kids for the rest of our lives? And was it really fair that I had Fang, while everyone else only had friends? Would Iggy be lonely forever? Or was the Flock enough for him?

"We need to figure out if they have Nudge," I said, taking on an air of superiority. I had to be the leader in these situations.

"How?" Fang asked in his quiet, deliberate voice.

"I think we should find he Australian Itex," I said, making everything up as I went along.

"And do what- break in?" Iggy asked, obviously still agitated about his girlfriend.

"Let's walk and talk," I instructed, eyeing Shauna's house.

We walked down the street and talked tactically. We needed to find information. Somehow there had to be a place we could get it from.

"We need a computer," Fang suddenly said.

I spun to him and grinned. "Perfect!" I practically yelled. Fang was startled, but smiled slightly in return. I grabbed his arm, then Iggy's, and started walking swiftly.

"Iggy, take us to your school. We're going to research."


"I can't believe we just accidentally picked the lock on the library. Now we aren't trespassing, we're trespassing and using the library's property," Iggy said.

"What's your point?" I asked, a little confused by his tone. He never used to care about this sort of thing.

"I think it is awesome!" he whisper-yelled. "Just like old times!"

I laughed quietly and even Fang joined in.

"Okay, type in 'Itex'," I instructed Fang, because out of all of us, he was the best with computers.

"This sure would be a great time to have Nudge," Iggy said softly, almost regretfully.

"We'll get her," I reassured him. "We'll all be a Flock again."

"I hope so," he mumbled.

"It lists all of Itex's branches on this site," Fang announced, peering intently at the screen. He clicked on a button labelled 'Australia' and then waited for it to load.

"I wish we could just click on a 'come and learn all our secret information' button instead of flying all the way to some outback Australian town or whatever," I said regretfully.

"Well, this site says there are a couple of Itex branches in Australia. One in the Northern Territory, one in Tasmania, and one in Western Australia," Fang said.

"Isn't Perth in Western Australia? If it was on the way to get Angel and Gazzy, that would be great," I said happily.

"It's in Kalgoorlie," he said slowly. He quickly opened up another window and brought up an Australian map. Tracing a path with his finger, he said, "It is definitely on our way to Perth. In fact, it's surprisingly close to Perth."

We all stood in silence for a moment

"Why does this feel like a trap?" I asked, breaking the silence.

"Because we're all incredibly paranoid?" Iggy put in.

"I have a bad feeling about this," I said, stressing my point.

"Max, no matter what we do, something is bound to go wrong. It's natural to feel paranoid, but I doubt they'd think we'd go for their Itex branch," Fang soothed.

"Well, I think we should get Angel and Gazzy first, so they don't know we're on our way," I said thoughtfully.

"But they're expecting us in Perth. If we go to Kalgoorlie, they they'll be surprised and we'll have more chance to get the information," Iggy injected.

"But then they'll expect us in Perth if they know where close."

"But they already expect us," Iggy argued.

"But they'll-"

"I think Iggy's right," Fang said, causing my mouth to drop open.

"What?" I demanded. Who did he think he was? He couldn't just undermine me like that!

"They're already expecting us in Perth, so we might as well go to Kalgoorlie first. Besides, it's on the way, it'll be easier," Fang explained.

I stood in angry silence, studying Fang's face.

"Fine," I huffed, then turned away and studied the computers. I could sense Fang's dismay to my reaction and Iggy's confusion, but I didn't look at them.

Why was I acting so selfish? you might ask. Well, I was ticked off that Fang was not agreeing with me. It was a silly thing to expect him to agree with me all the time, but I couldn't help it. Everyone has bad moods.

I had to accept that just because Fang and I were 'together' didn't mean that he had to do everything I said.

I sighed and turned back around. There was confusion in Fang's midnight eyes, and Iggy was frowning.

"Print off the information so we can get out of here," I instructed.

Fang heeded my order and we gathered our stuff.

"Who's in there?" a gruff voice called out.

We all froze.

"Crap," Fang muttered.

We ran for the back door of the library, dodging computers and bookshelves.

It was some teacher or grounds person or guard (who knows which one?) chasing after us, calling out the whole way.

We burst out the back emergency door and shot into the sky.

I looked down to the ground after we were a fair way up and started laughing when I saw the man searching the grounds frantically.

We dropped down a moment later and I doubled over laughing. Iggy was rolling around on the floor, probably laughing more out of relief than anything else. Fang grabbed onto me and we spent ages laughing together, even though there was nothing really funny in particular.


"Something suspicious is going on," Total muttered to Ariel as she sat in her room.

To some people, having a talking dog would have been crazy, but there were a lot of things Ariel could do that other girls' couldn't.

Like reading minds, for one thing.

"Mum's taking a lot caution than usual. I mean, I was grounded for no real reason! This is so unfair!"

"I just hope this doesn't turn around and bite us in the butts," Total said angrily.

There was a knock at the door.

"Come in," Ariel called.

Ariel's brother, Zephyr, entered the room.

"Time for bed," he said, sounding tired and mopey.

"What's wrong?" Ariel asked, pulling back the covers and climbing into bed. Total jumped up and sat next to her, snuggled close.

"Nothing…Mum just told me I can't go to my friend's birthday party. I was really looking forward to it," he said glumly.

Ariel frowned. "That's unfair!"

He shrugged. "It doesn't matter."

His mind was saying something else. This always happens to me! I was really hoping to go to that party, all my friends would be there!

"Goodnight, Ariel," Zephyr said with a sad smile.

"G'night," Ariel replied, sinking down into her bed and feeling really sorry for her brother. She had to do something about this whole thing.

Something was really wrong…

37. Chapter 37

A/N: Haha, guess what. I was on band camp! Now I can say 'This one time, at band camp' and actually mean it. Anyway, it was more like orchestra camp. That's why this chapter was late, btw. Enjoy…

Chapter 37- Kalgoorlie

Max's POV

"This is a bad idea," I hissed to Fang, scanning the area around me for any signs of danger.

"You'll do fine," he assured me with a smirk.

I glared at him, but he ignored me.

"We've been caught thousands of times, but we still manage to escape. I promise nothing will happen to you," he said, grabbing my hand and rubbing soothing circles into the back of it.

"So what- I just walk in there with this ridiculous lab coat"- I pointed to the white coat I was wearing and grimaced- "and pretend like I'm some fancy scientist? And then I grab the information and we escape? Great plan, Fang," I said sarcastically.

"Iggy will be out the back, ready if you need extra firepower. If you call out to him, he'll know what to do. I'm going to be watching over the front. You'll be fine. I trust you," he said, pulling me closer to him with his arm.

I sighed and studied the large building in front of us. It had taken a while to get to Kalgoorlie, but we finally made it and now we were planning to infiltrate it. I just knew something was going to go wrong. Nothing ever went right for us.

"Max," Fang whispered, getting my attention by grabbing my face softly and forcing me to face him. "I won't let them capture you. Just say the word, and I'll be in there after you. I will not let them take you away from me."

I nodded my head and threw my arms around him in a giant hug. His hands wrapped around my waist and he pulled me tight against him. I breathed in his scent and felt safe for the first time in ages. He lifted me up off the ground and pulled me against him. I gave out a startled cry and wrapped my legs around his waist. He held onto my legs and grinned at me. Then he pressed his lips to mine and we stood there, kissing. Well, he was standing, I was clutching onto him.

When we finally pulled apart, I felt brave enough to enter the building. Fang let me down and we grinned at each other. Then my face grew serious as I readied myself to enter the foreboding building.

"You'll be fine," he said one last time.

I nodded and with determination, marched purposefully towards the gate entrance.

The security guard, being quite dopey, allowed me through the gates without a second glance. I had to admit, I looked a lot older in my white lab coat, but I didn't know if the scientists inside would be so easily fooled. They had to be smarter than the guard. Well, that's what I thought. You never knew in a place like this.

I followed the path to the huge sliding doors and entered the building.

So far, so good.

I navigated the corridors and fortunately didn't run into anyone. I didn't really know where I was going, so I opted for peeking into random important looking rooms. It was strange that no one had noticed me yet.

"Are you new?" a voice said behind me.

I tensed and turned. Why did I have to jinx myself?

"Yeah?" I said nervously.

The woman had a big smile on her face. Huh. Maybe Australian scientists were nicer than American ones. Or maybe scientists were nice to other scientists. I mean. They are human beings, right?

"Where are you headed?" she asked sweetly.

"I was looking for the place where you keep your recombinant files," I said, kicking into survival mode (a.k.a. liar mode).

"Sure, I'll show you the way."

Okay, this is really weird, I thought as I followed the woman down the corridor, watching out for anything strange. Why didn't anyone suspect me? Why was I getting away with this? I should have been running for my life right about now.

I decided right then that I liked Australia. There were fewer maniacs. Well, that's what I presumed.

"This is where we keep all our files. The more recent ones are on the computer. Do you need any help?" the woman asked pleasantly.

O-kaaaaaaay, things just got a whole lot weirder.

"No, I'll be fine, thanks," I said, using as much charm as I could muster.

"Okay, just call me if you need any help," she said, leaving the room.

I stood, frozen, for a moment and then started laughing quietly. There had to be a catch! I was alone in the room full of files and important looking computers! What on earth was going on? What had I done to get this lucky!

Without any more hesitations, I headed to a computer and started work. I typed as many search words as I could think of and finally came up with some stuff that related to us.

It read:


Experiment N88034gnh (Monique/ Nudge) is being held in the Arizona Itex lab. Her memory has been restored for convenience and she is currently being tested.

I didn't have to read any further. They had Nudge in America. And her memories had been restored! So we had to get her. But first was the issue of Angel and Gazzy. I hastily printed the info off and then searched for Angel and Gazzy's names.


I scanned the writing and came to what I was looking for.

Location: 18 Seagull Road, Perth, Australia.

What was wrong with this place? Was this all a trap? Why would they give me all the answers like this? There had to be something wrong. I quickly wrote down the address and pocketed it. I stood up, arranged everything so it looked like no one had ever been on the computer and stealthily made my way over to the door.

I looked around the corner, expecting a swarm of Flyboys to be waiting.

Ha, guess what, I was right.

Standing very quietly and in half hidden positions were Flyboys and a number of scientists. I could see the woman who had let me in at the front. How had she known? They were obviously waiting to ambush me. So how could I get out?

My eyes swept the file room, but there were no windows. None at all. Why hadn't I noticed that before?

I was starting to panic, so I took deep breaths and thought over things sensibly.

It seemed like the only way out was through the Flyboys. I glanced up at the ceiling and noted that it was pretty high up. Possibly high enough for me to stretch my wings.

Without thinking it through too much (not at all, actually), I started running out of the room and down the hallway. It was such a shock to the waiting Flyboys and scientists that it took them a minute to react. I jumped into the air and quickly snapped open my wings. I pushed with all my might and sailed over the top of them, clipping a few in the head. That's when the shooting started.

I ducked and weaved as much as the confined space would let me, and I was lucky enough to escape getting hit. Within seconds I was out of range and headed towards the back door. Unfortunately the Flyboys were quick to follow.

I put on a burst of speed, nearly decapitated myself, and flew through the outside doors.

"Iggy!" I yelled, warning him about the approaching storm.

I saw him fly out from behind a nearby stand of trees, well stocked with firepower.

Before I could even blink, there was a searing pain in my right wing. I cried out in pain and stopped flapping. I immediately crashed to the ground.

My head hit the ground with a sharp crack and everything went dark.

Fang's POV

"Iggy!" Fang heard Max yell.

Uh-oh. That couldn't be good.

Without hesitation, he was flying towards the back of the Itex building in search of Max. He needed to make sure she was all right.

Within minutes he was at the back. A swarm of Flyboys were racing towards a crumpled figure on the floor a while away. Iggy was bombarding them with bombs.

He squinted at the crumpled form and gasped. Max was unconscious, surrounded by blood. The Flyboys would reach her at any moment. And if they didn't, Iggy was sure to hit her with a bomb.

Blocking out the sounds of explosions and the alarms, he dived down to get Max.

He reached her quickly enough and crouched down next to her. He scooped her into his arms and drew her close against him.

He jumped into the air just as the Flyboys reached him. He kicked one in the face, causing it to topple backwards.

Soon enough he was high in the air. Signalling to Iggy with a shout, he started flying away from the wreckage.

He really hoped Max would be all right.

A/N: It was a bit fast and not very detailed, but I figured you'd want an update sometime this year. Lol.

38. Chapter 38

Chapter 38- Success and…Failure

Fang's POV

The wind rustled the trees outside, causing Fang to glance outside the cave entrance. He was on high alert, ready for anything or anyone to burst into their temporary hiding spot. His muscles were tensed and every few seconds he glanced over at the sleeping form of Iggy. Iggy was situated in the corner, snoring lightly.

The sun had gone down about an hour ago, so Fang felt a bit better with the darkness to help conceal them. But he still suffered from the great bit pit in his stomach.

He felt Max stiffen and quickly glanced down at her, feeling his neck crack. Max was lying in his lap, still unconscious. He had cleaned and bandaged the wound straight away, but that didn't seem to do her any good.

She relaxed against him, but didn't open her eyes. He sighed softly and closed his eyes. He remembered all too well the wound in her wing. It looked incredibly painful and he doubted she'd be able to fly anytime soon. He hoped with all his heart that she'd wake up soon. He hated to see her so weak and defenceless. She just wasn't Max unless she was conscious and bossing him around.

He opened his eyes again and started stroking her hair softly. It helped occupy his mind to some extent. She was in his lap so that if he fell asleep and she moved, he'd be woken up straight away. He liked the fact that he was close to her as well.

He'd gone through the pages of information she'd managed to acquire, and felt that they should be able to find Gazzy, Angel and Nudge now; unless Itex actually grew a brain and moved their locations.

He gently rested his head against the cave wall and closed his eyes, every thought about Max.

Max's POV

Darkness was everywhere I looked. There was a figure in the distance. It was just a silhouette, but it looked so familiar. I ran down the confusing maze, but I could never catch up to the shadow. I felt a tap on my shoulder and stiffened. After a long time, I slowly turned around, only to see that no one was behind me. I relaxed, and then started my wandering once again.

Who could the shadow person be?

Could they help me get out of this place?

And why was my wing hurting?

Fang's POV

"She still not up?" Iggy asked gently- worriedly- from across the cave. I looked over to him, noticing for the first time that he was awake.

"No," Fang replied quietly, returning his attention to Max. She had woken him up numerous times during the night by moving around. It seemed like she was having a dream, and he hoped it wasn't a nightmare.

But whom was he kidding; of course it would be a nightmare! Nothing ever came easily to Max. She had to go through pain and suffering every week. He wished to God that he could protect her from those things, but he knew Max wouldn't want him to.

"I'm going out to get some breakfast. I'll be back soon," Iggy said, mirroring Fang's tone.

"Will you be alright?" he asked, trying futilely to think about someone other than Max.

"I should be able to get there and back," Iggy said, his brow furrowing.

Inside, Fang's emotions were warring against each other. He knew that Iggy was lying. He wouldn't be able to see where a food shop was. He would have difficulty getting back. But Fang REALLY didn't want to leave Max. What if she woke up when he was gone? Would she think that he had deserted her?

Eventually, he made up his mind and gently rose to his feet, making sure Max was comfortable on the ground.

"I'll get food, you stay here. I'll be back soon," he told Iggy.

He was out of the cave in no time. He figured that the faster he got out and got food, the faster he could get back to Max.

At the little McDonalds in Kalgoorlie, he waited in line to get a few meals. It was fairly busy, and lots of people were eyeing him weirdly. Some guys looked like they were sizing him up. Some girls looked like they were checking him out. And some adults looked like they were eyeing his clothes and appearance.

The hairs on the back of his neck stood up and he felt immediately paranoid. What the hell was wrong with all these people? Didn't they have lives?

He reached the counter and looked at the guy serving him. He had bleached white and blonde hair with black patches. His hair was gelled up and styled to perfection (for a guy). He smiled brightly and said in a very gay voice:

"What would you like?"

"Er- four cheeseburgers, three fries, six cokes and three sundaes," he recited.

The guy smiled. "That's a big appetite you've got there. Or are they for someone special?" Get this- the guy actually batted his eyelashes.

Fang frowned deeply. Was this guy trying to flirt with him?

"They're for me and my girlfriend," Fang quickly said.

The guy's face dropped and he quickly started getting his order. A little grudgingly, Fang thought.

(I have nothing against homosexuals. Just thought I'd mix it up from the repetitive 'girl flirts with him' thing. I hope I didn't offend anyone.)

He collected his order and left the place. He was back at the cave as soon as his wings got him there.

"Yum," Iggy said as soon as he could smell the food. He grabbed a couple of burgers, two drinks and some fries.

"Any activity?" Fang asked.

Iggy shook his head sadly. It was strange how he managed to look sad while stuffing his face. "She hasn't moved once since you were gone. I reckon you could probably pull her out of it."

"How?" he asked, frowning in confusion.

"Well, it's obvious you love her. Maybe she needs you somehow to pull her out of it."

Fang thought over his sentence, then shook his head. "How would that do anything? We're not in Sleeping Beauty. I can't just kiss her and then she'll wake up," he mumbled.

Iggy thought for a moment, then grinned. "I don't hear you denying that you love her."

"She's family," Fang said shortly.

Iggy grinned and made a face as if to say 'Suuuuurrrrrre'.

It was late at night, and Max still hadn't woken up. She was completely still. There was no sleep talking or whatever it was at all. Fang still held her in his lap. He refused to sleep a wink while she was like this. If he had to last a week without sleep, he would.

Iggy was a few paces away, rolled up into a ball. He had just fallen asleep after hours of watching Max for any signs of life.

Fang had to physically restrain himself from checking her pulse every five minutes. She was still breathing, but her heart rate was at a normal human pace compared to their usual mutant staccato beat.

He stroked the hair away from her face and gently kissed her forehead. She twitched slightly and he heard a slight sound that could have been a moan.

He froze and watched her intently. After five minutes, he relaxed and concluded that she wasn't waking up. But why had she moved? Had his kiss affected her somehow?

He contemplated that for a moment while watching her serene face. Something Iggy had said earlier registered in his brain.

Could this be a case of Sleeping Beauty?

Slowly and hesitantly, Fang leaned over Max and pressed his warm lips to her cold ones.

Max's POV

The dark maze was endless. Everywhere I turned I could see the silhouette of the boy. But no matter how hard I tried, I could never reach him.

The disconcerting part was how much I yearned for him. Every muscle in my body ached for at least some contact with him.

I tried mentally willing him to appear in front of me, but it didn't work.

I tried chasing him down the long corridors of the dark maze I was in, but it didn't work.

Finally, I sat down and decided to wait for him. He would come to me eventually.

And guess what! It worked!

He stepped out from the shadows and approached me, keeping his face hidden in the dark.

My heart skipped a beat and then started going double time.

He lifted his head and revealed black hair and a handsome face.

I smiled.

I felt the pressure of his lips against my forehead, but he was still three paces away. I frowned and studied the figure. Was that some sort of magic?

Slowly, he came level with me and smiled. It was a wonderful smile that lit up the whole maze, literally.

I could see every detail of the face I had yearned for.


He leaned forward and pressed his lips to mine.

It took me a moment, but finally I started kissing him back with a force I hardly recognised. This was what I had wanted the whole time. I had wanted Fang.

The kiss seemed to last for hours, when I knew it to be only minutes.

But when he did pull away, it felt like it hadn't been enough time at all.

Eternity wasn't long enough to be with Fang.

What he said next made me glow.

"I love you."

A/N: Hope you enjoyed…

39. Chapter 39

Chapter 39- Prince Charming


The kiss seemed to last for hours, when I knew it to be only minutes.

But when he did pull away, it felt like it hadn't been enough time at all.

Eternity wasn't long enough to be with Fang.

What he said next made me glow.

"I love you."

Fang's POV

Fang felt Max rise against him and leaned into the kiss more. She started kissing him back with more force than an unconscious person should have. He ignored the fact that he was meant to be worried about her for the moment and concentrated on the kiss, moving his lips along with hers.

He didn't want to let her go, but he had to check on her. So he slowly pulled away and uttered something that he never expected.

"I love you."

Looking down at Max now, he saw the red flush on her cheeks and the smile that was slowly overtaking her face.

His breath blew out as she opened her eyes and locked gazes with him.

"Thank God!" he said a little breathlessly.

"Fang?" she said softly, as if acknowledging him, then threw her arms around him and pulled him into a hug. He hugged her more tightly back. He was so relieved.

"Max?" Fang heard Iggy say from across the cave.

In a matter of seconds, Iggy was hugging Max and everyone was jubilant with the fact that she was all right.

After they had all settled down, Iggy started cooking up some food, while Max rested against Fang. He grabbed her hand and started playing with their interlocked fingers.

"Thanks God you woke up," he whispered, so Iggy wouldn't overhear their conversation. "You have no idea how worried I was!"

She smiled and squeezed his hand tightly. "I think I have an idea," she whispered.

They stayed silent for a moment, watching the blazing fire as it flickered up towards the top of the cave. He felt oddly at peace: for now, anyway. The scene would have been complete if Angel, the Gasman and Nudge were sitting in the cave with them. He sighed quietly and wrapped his arm around Max, pulling her closer to him.

"I miss them too," Max said with her ability to read him like a book. "It kills me to think of them in trouble." Her voice turned a little hoarse and she said, "And my poor baby! How are they all going to cope?"

"They're all older now, they'll be fine. We'll find them, Max, and then everything will be all right.

Iggy served the food, a lovely helping of burnt sausages on sticks. It was a feast compared to some of the other things they'd eaten in the past. But having 'grown up' in a normal home for the last year and a bit had made them softer. They weren't used to roughing it.

When they'd scoffed the food, they were left sitting around the fire, the sun just rising outside the cave. The fire was banked and they watched the sunset in silence (all apart from Iggy) and for once felt safe.

Alas, it didn't last.

With morning came the sound of footsteps very close to their cave.

Without so much as a sound, Max, Fang and Iggy were on their feet, bags packed and ready to go. They footsteps were heavy and even, suggesting that there were large men outside or…worse.

He scooted closer to the entrance and stealthily peered outside.

Okay, it was a lot worse than large men.

It was Flyboys.

He pulled back quickly, but not quick enough. A Flyboy that was standing near an outcropping of rock had looked over just as he'd gotten back inside the cave. Hopefully (yeah right), he hadn't seen him.

When would the flock ever get the upper hand?

He heard the numerous heavy footsteps before he saw the shadows pass over the cave.

As soon as the Flyboy stepped into the cave, Fang swung his leg up and connected it with the thing's neck. It fell backwards. There was one second of silence, then all hell broke loose. Max went for the second Flyboy, Iggy for the third, while Fang finished off the first.

He could count two others that he would have to deal with later. First, he smashed the first Flyboy with his fist and successfully decapitated it with an uppercut.

With a glance out of the corner of his eye, he saw Max pummelling the other Flyboy. But she still didn't have all her strength back, so he didn't expect her to be able to verse two at the same time.

Without wasting any time, he moved on to the next Flyboy, while Iggy tackled the other one…literally. He smashed his leg into the flyboy and twisted its neck around with an audible crunch.

When all the Flyboys were down, Fang surveyed the area. He could faintly see another group of Flyboys scouring an area a fair while away. He didn't know how long it would take them to notice that a team was down. He grabbed onto Iggy and Max and dragged them to a patch of trees.

"We need to get out of here," Max said as soon as they were out of sight.

"Duh!" Iggy said, his sightless eyes searching the area around them. Fang could practically see his ears twitching.

"U and A?" Fang asked, looking at Max.

She bit her bottom lip and nodded.

"We'll separate so that they can't catch us as easily."

Max shook her head vehemently. "We're not splitting up. Every time we do, something bad happens," she said. "We'll be discrete. We'll stay together."

Fang reflected on her statement for a moment. It would probably be easier to stay together. He nodded his head in agreement and grabbed Max's hand, linking their fingers.

He unfurled his wings and leapt into the air, Max right behind him. Not a second later, Iggy was in the air with them. They flew low and tried to stay out of sight as much as possible. No Flyboys followed them, but that didn't mean anything.

They headed to Perth.

Angel, Gazzy, we're coming for you. Don't worry. And next is Nudge! Fang thought as they navigated the wind currents and updrafts.

Angel/ Ariel's POV

Angel, Gazzy, we're coming for you. Don't worry. And next is Nudge!

Angel opened her eyes and uncrossed her legs. In the last few years her powers had grown significantly. She heard Fang's thoughts and smiled. She needed to get Gazzy ready. They were going to blow this joint.

She had figured out- through the medium of her 'families' thoughts- that she was not 'Ariel', or anyone like Ariel. She was a Human- Avian hybrid. She thought that was a lot better than being a plain human.

She knew what was going through Itex's head.

She wasn't dumb.

She moved from her seated position in her yard and headed into her house, making her way up to Gazzy's room. He still didn't know, but he soon would.

Come on, what did the scientists expect when they tried to erase a mind-reader's thoughts?

She was ready for Max, Fang and Iggy. And she was ready for Itex.

Bring it on!

A/N: Sorry it is short, but it's better than no update at all. I'll try and make the next update longer! Thanks for everyone's reviews. And thanks for staying with the story, even though I'm so slow at writing it! Next chapter is the big 4-0.

40. Chapter 40

A/N: For those of you who haven't yet, vote on my poll! Sorry I haven't updated in ages, I been reading (hehe MR4, etc.) and I've been doing school work and work and so on. Oh, you might have noticed, I changed my pen name! Do you like it or do you like the other one better? If you have any cool suggestions for a name, let me know!

Anyway, on with the story…

Chapter 40- Here we come

Max's POV

"So, we're back on the run again," I said lightly to Fang as he re-bandaged my wing. It had hurt like hell to fly with it, but it was something that couldn't be avoided, unless I was willing to let Fang carry me. At the start, there was no way I would have, but after a while I gave in and he held me close as we made our way to Perth. What? It doesn't mean I'm weak, it just means…

Whatever! A girl is allowed to be held by her boyfriend, thank you very much.

I smiled as the word 'boyfriend' sent a thrill down my spine. I still wasn't used to it.

But there were more important matters at hand, like how we were going to get Angel, Gazzy, and- yes- Total. I figured they'd stashed him with them.

We were hiding out in a cave again, but this time we were high up on a cliff face. We would be able to see any threat headed our way.

"We're always on the run," Fang answered my question with a smirk. I hit him in the shoulder playfully and scowled.

"You two aren't making out again, are you?" Iggy asked apprehensively from across the cave.

"Iggy!" I shouted at him.

"What?" he asked sheepishly.

I rolled my eyes and shared a look with Fang.

"I'm rolling my eyes at you, Ig," I told him, frustrated that he couldn't see it for himself.

"I figured," he replied sarcastically.

Fang pulled me in front of him and extended my wing, criticising my bullet wound. I shivered as his hand lightly traced my feathers, leaving warm trails along them. He smirked when he realised the effect he was having on me and kissed the back of my neck softly. I leaned into him and felt him wrap his arms around my waist.

"Iggy, cover your ears," he called out.

Iggy groaned, but followed his orders. As soon as he did, Fang kissed my ear, then grabbed my face and twisted it around to meet his gently. He kissed me softly on the lips, and I loved the way it felt.

His hand traced patterns onto my cheek as he leaned in and kissed me again. I brought my hand up into his hair and held on. We pulled apart, slightly more breathless, and started to laugh when we heard Iggy humming to himself, trying to block us out.

I felt a blush creep up my cheeks and Fang smiled, tracing his thumb under my eyes.

We both called out to Iggy that he could uncover his ears now, and I could hear him muttering under his breath. It involved the words 'stupid' and 'hormones', but that was all I caught.

We stood outside 18 Seagull Road, Perth. It was night, and the stars shone brightly, giving us some light, not that we really needed it to see. I was vibrating with excitement and nerves as I realised that we were so close to getting Angel, Gazzy and Total back. Fang glanced at me out of the corner of his eye and grabbed my hand when he realised I was about to jump out of my skin.

His calloused hands helped calm me a little and I could feel myself starting to grin like an idiot.

We didn't really have a plan. Just to get in and have a look around. From earlier scouting expeditions, we knew that no one was home. We were going to break in and hope there weren't any alarms.

I really hoped the school was as dumb as it looked.

"Okay fang, you can keep watch out the front while me and Iggy take a look inside," I ordered.

"Max, I know I'm incredibly gifted and very good-looking, but I'm not going to be much help inside. Just take Fang, I know you want to," he sighed, exasperated.

I glanced at Fang and we both frowned.

"Come on Ig, you'll be helpful."

"No, I won't. I'm blind. Just put me on watch like usual."

I was a bit shocked by the resignation in his voice. Usually he loved to be a big part of the things we do. But we couldn't argue about it for long. Who knew who was watching us? We only had a limited amount of time.

"Fine, Ig, but next time you're with me, got it?" I told him hastily.

Did I imagine the small smile on his face? Maybe he cared more than he let on.

Fang smiled at me as well and took my hand, leading us around the back of the house. I peered through all the windows on the way, searching for any lights that would suggest an alarm system.


"Why does this feel like a trap?" I whispered to Fang.

He gave me a knowing look. "I think we're just paranoid, but it does feel that way," he replied.

"Maybe we should…wait," I suggested, frowning.

"For what- them to find us?"

"No…What if Angel and Gazzy don't even live here? What if it's one big trap?" I asked, panic starting to grip my chest and constrict it.

"Look, if you don't wan to do this…" he trailed off.

I set my shoulders and looked him in the eye. There was no way I was going to pass over a possible lead. It was the best we had, and I was going to go with it.

"Let's go," I set, setting my face in determination.

Fang smirked at my sudden change in mood and took out his pocketknife. He never went anywhere without it. Probably because whenever we went somewhere, we ended up running for our lives.

He slit a hole in the flyscreen of the window and I reached in to unlock it. We both dislodged it and I climbed in first, Fang close behind.

We spread out around the house, looking through all of the rooms. We confirmed that Angel and Gazzy were indeed staying here by finding some of the possessions. I found Celeste in one of the rooms and decided to keep it. It would be a message to Angel if we couldn't get them today, anyway.

We met up in the kitchen and had a quick look through their fridge. We decided to take some things that they wouldn't even notice, like some cans and a bottle of water and a few granola bars.

We stuffed them into our bags and I turned to Fang. He gave me a 'what now?' look that I ignored, because I had no clue.

At that moment, the TV sitting on top of the fridge flicked on and our eyes flashed over to it.

A fat man was on the screen. "Meet me!" he yelled, his face red and blotchy.

My heart started to race. How had that turned on? I wondered to myself, sharing a glance with Fang.

Then the screen flashed lightning fast and another channel came on. "At the end of," said a pleasant looking woman.

The channel changed again and this time a large black man with beefy arms was on. "The street," he said.

Once again, the channel changed. "Tonight," Oprah said as her face flashed on the screen.

"Midnight," a man said when the channel changed again. All of this was happening so fast and my nerves were on edge, trying to take in every detail at once. Why on earth was happening?

The last image to flash up was one an angel descending from heaven. After that, the TV went out and everything was silent.

"Wha-?" I choked, looking at Fang with wide eyes. He was barely concealing the astonishment he felt.

"Meet me at the end of the street tonight, midnight," Fang repeated. "Angel sent us a message."

I gaped at him and tried to regain my composure. It wasn't working very well.

"How did she manage that?" I asked, still flabbergasted.

"Her powers are growing," Fang stated as he grabbed my hand and led us to the window we climbed in through. We tried to replace it as best as we could manage and went around the front to meet Iggy. My mind was on overdrive, sifting through every image the TV had shown us.

"What's up?" Iggy asked, making me feel like laughing, which I quickly shut down. Nothing should surprise me anymore, but that definitely had.

"We're coming back at midnight. Let's go get something to eat," Fang said calmly. I tried to rearrange my face to look like his, and I managed to sort of resemble it.

"Let's go," I said, taking control.

41. Chapter 41

Chapter 41- Midnight Rendezvous

Max's POV

"I don't think this is such a good idea," I said, running my hand through my hair and glancing at Fang. Iggy sighed loudly and I shot him yet another wasted glance. My wing was aching form the bullet wound and I knew it was because I was anxious.

"Calm down, Max," Fang said, grabbing my hand and squeezing it tight.

I stayed silent for one second before saying, "Yeah, but what if this whole thing is a trap? I mean, since when can Angel send messages via television?" I demanded.

"Her powers would've grown," Fang reasoned. "She's going to be even more scary now."

"It's nearly midnight," I told Fang. "Shouldn't we be hiding or something?"

Fang sighed at the same time Iggy did. "If any whitecoats are around, they would have heard you freaking out by now," Iggy said while rolling his sightless eyes.

"Oi!" I whisper-yelled at him.

"Iggy, how about you go and find a hiding place in the trees," Fang said calmly, looking at me. "We'll be there in a moment." Iggy grumbled as he unfolded his wings and took off towards a bunch of trees we'd shown him earlier.

"Max," Fang whispered as soon as Iggy was out of earshot. "Everything will be fine," he assured me.

"Nothing is ever fine when it involves six bird-kids and their talking dog," I fired back. I felt like I was about to snap. But I knew I couldn't. I wasn't going to give Fang the satisfaction.

"It's a good thing that only three bird kids are here at the moment, then," Fang countered. I choked out a laugh and quickly covered my mouth. I couldn't risk anyone hearing us. "I know you're worried, Max, but you can have faith in your flock," he said, grabbing my face in between his calloused hands and smiling at me. I took in a breath and managed to smile in return. His smiles were so beautiful that I couldn't help feeling reassured by them. In fact, everything about Fang was beautiful. He leaned forward and touched his lips to mine. The affect was immediate. I stopped worrying about any possible traps and only thought about Fang. Sweet Fang: my rock and the only person who could keep me in check.

The kiss became more intense after a moment, until my head was dizzy from lack of oxygen. We pulled apart, breathing heavily and smiling like idiots. I leaned forward and kissed him again. It was short and sweet, but it still made me giddy with pleasure.

He closed his eyes and rested his forehead against mine. I closed my eyes as well and concentrated on the feeling of his breath against my lips.

"I love you, Max," he whispered near my ear. I shivered at the feeling that ran down my spine and smiled. Then I realised what he said and pulled back slightly.

"Fang?" I questioned.

He opened his eyes and searched mine. A frown appeared as he waited for me to say something.

"That was the most un-Fang like thing you've ever said," I told him.

A bubbly feeling was overtaking my entire being. I grinned at him, then jumped on him. He grabbed my legs and lifted me up against him. I grabbed his face and kissed him with as much force I could muster. I didn't even care that his hands were on my butt or that my legs were wrapped incredibly tight around his waist.

One of his hands moved up to my neck and traced circles, as his lips made me feel dizzy with happiness. His tongue slipped into my mouth and I welcomed it. The hand on my neck slowly trailed down my spine until it joined his other hand again. I could feel a hot trail tingling from where he'd just touched me and smiled.

We pulled apart, breathing heavily and I placed my lips next to his ear.

"I love you, too," I whispered.

His answering grin was so huge; it literally took my breath away. He squeezed me tighter and kissed me again. I giggled as he set me down on the ground and pulled me tight against his side.

And yes, I am aware at how un-Max I'm being at the moment. But I couldn't help it- Fang had that affect on me.

"We better hide," Fang whispered into my ear as he grabbed my hand and led us over to the same trees were Iggy was hiding.

He picked me up and flew us to the top branch. He must have known that my wing was still hurting me.

We waited in silence as we surveyed the street. After a moment, two dark shapes appeared in the middle of the street. They were too small to be Flyboys, so I gently dropped to the ground and moved closer to get a better look. Iggy and Fang were right behind me.

After carefully scanning the area, I finally smiled and ran to the middle of the street. Angel saw me first and grinned, running towards me. She jumped into my arms, a lot like I'd just done to Fang, and hugged me tight. Tears started to run down my face as I buried my head in her neck, taking in her scent and the fact that she was with me again.

"I missed you so much, Ange," I said through tears, holding her tighter for a moment.

"I missed you too," Angel sobbed.

I gently let her down and took her in. She was taller, and had longer hair. But she was still the same as before, except for the strange aura of intenseness about her. She was older, that was for sure.

"Gazzy?" I called, searching for him.

Angel made her way over to Fang and Iggy while I walked towards the figure in the middle of the street.

I vaguely heard Total talking away to Iggy and Fang and smiled.

"Gasman?" I said again, crouching down in front of him. He was a lot taller than I remembered and some of his facial features were a bit different, but he was still the same.

"My name's Zephyr," he said, studying me with angry eyes.

I gasped and then remembered that he couldn't read minds, so his memory probably hadn't been returned.

"I'm here because of Ariel. Who the hell are you people?" he demanded.

I sighed and rummaged through my bags, pulling out the first aid kit. "Fang?" I called as I took out a tiny knife. Gazzy's eyes widened, but Fang had already appeared and knew what I was going to do. He grabbed Gazzy and I knew it was killing him to see me do this. Hey, I wasn't happy about it either.

I grabbed his arm and stretched it out in front of me. He started protesting and squirming around, but Fang had a firm grip on him and he couldn't move too much.

I gently cut into his wrist a little bit until I located the ship. Gazzy gasped and started struggling even more. Now he was calling out, but Fang clamped a hand over his mouth.

More tears were falling down my face as I got the ship out as quickly as possible. Gazzy's eyes met mine before they fluttered and closed. He was out like a light.

I quickly bandaged up his arm. I hated to see my little guys get hurt, especially if I was the one inflicting the pain.

Fang lifted him up and carried him over to Iggy, Total and Angel.

"You had to do it," Fang whispered to me before we joined the group. I smiled sadly at him and nodded my head.

Gazzy woke up as soon as we joined them, which surprised me. I was expecting him to be out for longer. As soon as I saw his eyes, I knew that he remembered everything. We were all a happy family again.

Except for Nudge.

I bit my lip to stop the tears at thinking about her. We needed to get her, and quickly.

I hugged the Gasman before he moved on to Iggy and the rest of the flock. After a moment, Gazzy took off his shirt and experimented with his newly returned wings. I smiled at him and helped Angel get her chip out as well. She really missed her wings.

It was even worse to see the pain flicker across her face as I cut her arm, but after blacking out for a minute, she was up and fine, testing her wings out like Gazzy with all her memories freshly returned.

That's when I heard it. The droning.

I glanced up towards the moon just in time to see it blocked out by a large dark spot.


I groaned and looked at Fang, who met my eye.

We took on our defensive position while ushering the kids to get behind us.

How did I know that something bad was going to happen, you say? Well, when you're an Avian American stuck in Australia with four- usually five- other kids to protect, you learn to expect these things.

I just hoped we could get away this time.

42. Chapter 42

A/N: Ok, I updated! Yay! Anyway, I think it's just me, but I haven't been getting any story alerts or review alerts or anything. It stopped right after I changed my name. Does this usually happen? I tried changing my name back, but that didn't work. So I'm really confused and I was wondering if anyone knew how to fix it. It's really annoying because all of the usual stories I read are updating, but I don't know about it. :( PLEASE HELP- that was an attention-grabbing device, btw.

Chapter 42- Surprise!

Max's POV

"Not again," I heard Iggy say behind me. I had to agree with him. This whole situation was getting old. And fast.

"Okay, everyone, let's stay and fight for now. But as soon as things get heavy, up and away, got it?" I asked loudly to make sure they'd all hear me.

Various nods were given to me when I quickly checked behind me to see them. They all looked scared, but determined. I was so proud of my guys. Especially the younger ones, who'd just found out they were mutants on the run. But my family was nearly whole, and that thought made my heart flutter. But then I was brought back to the hideously familiar situation we were in. I took my fighting stance and threw Fang a look.

I could hear the Flyboys louder than ever now. And I could actually see them! They were coming fast and soon enough they were landing in front of us.

We were all tensed, and one movement could've made us jump ten feet into the air. There were about fifteen Flyboys across from us. They were standing in a group and looked incredibly still. After a minute, I wondered why they weren't doing anything.

"What do you want?" I yelled at them, my fists clenched so tightly that my knuckles were white.

"We've come to take you," they all droned at once. "You are being retired, just like experiment N88034gnh was retired."

I glanced at Fang, identical expressions on our faces. N88034gnh was Nudge's code name. Instantly, I knew they were lying. I mean, Nudge couldn't be dead! I'd know somehow. She just…couldn't be, right?

I glanced behind me at the rest of the flock. Angel looked stricken, so I quickly sent her a mental reassurance. Gazzy was trying to stay tough, but I could see his resolve crumbling. Iggy's sightless eyes were wide and I couldn't tell what he was thinking. At this moment I wished I could send him a reassuring smile, but, alas, he would never see it.

Just like that, I felt extremely angry. These things had come here and torn apart my family. Now they were making things up. Or if it was true- I sincerely hoped not- than they had just destroyed my flock a little more. No way would we bounce back from that one.

I clenched my fist and launched myself at the nearest Flyboy. With a loud thunk, I crashed into it and knocked it to the ground. The rest of the flock followed my lead and jumped into battle. I smashed my fist into the Flyboy's face and then sharply twisted its neck. With a slight whirring noise, it crashed to the ground. I watched its eyes go flat before bashing into another Flyboy.

I quickly checked on the rest of the flock. Fang had a determined look on his face. He was quietly fighting two Flyboys at once, never faltering. Iggy must have been making bombs without my knowledge, because there were a lot of explosions coming from his direction. I had time to shake my head before another Flyboy found its way over to me. It punched me in the face before I had time to defend myself. I felt a wet ooziness and grimaced. It had drawn blood just above my eyebrow. I could feel it making its way down. I retaliated by kicking the metal contraption and twisting its neck.

Angel was staying back, out of the fight, which was smart. She couldn't mind control these particular things. But every now and then she got a good kick or punch in. Gazzy must have forgotten how to make bombs with his memory loss, because he didn't seem to have any. But he was holding his own, nonetheless.

I could tell the little guys- not that they were so little anymore- were getting tired- and fast. Gazzy was barely keeping up with the Flyboys. Angel was pulled into the fight against her will, and she was losing energy fast. Even Fang and Iggy seemed to be struggling. Not that Fang would ever admit that. Geez, even I was starting to tire. We'd been out of action for so long that we couldn't keep up with these machines. Hell, they didn't have fatigue and hurt to compete with! They were a pile of scrap metal!

With a frustrated cry, I grabbed the closest Flyboy and smashed it against a nearby tree. It fell to the ground, but not before swinging its leg out and kicking me in the shin. I heard a horrendous snap before I felt any pain. But then the pain did come, and I felt a scream escape my lips. I quickly clamped my mouth shut, but I immediately felt tears come to my eyes. That Flyboy had broken my leg!

I was dimly aware of Fang looking over at me. His face couldn't hide the surprise on his face as he saw me sink to the ground and fall onto my stomach, which jostled my leg and caused me to whimper in pain.

The same Flyboy stood up and towered over me. The only way I could tell was from the presence I could feel above me. I knew, without actually seeing it- that the Flyboy was preparing to stomp on my head. I could practically feel the hovering weight of its leg above me.

With a cry of outrage Fang tackled the Flyboy to the ground. I whimpered pitifully and was totally aware that at this moment, I was 100 percent unprepared and off guard. Anything could happen, and I was powerless to stop it. I could feel the pain in my leg, and I knew I wouldn't be able to stand. And if I did stand, there weren't very many things I could do. Maybe I could hop to safety.

Or maybe not.

I couldn't see Fang, or how the fight was going, but I did manage to lift my head enough to see the road. Within seconds, I wished I couldn't see it at all. A black car screeched to a stop mere feet away. I grimaced and tried to life myself up off of the ground. My arms were weak and I only managed to move a little bit before I collapsed. I needed to save my flock! But my body was failing me. I thought of the last time we'd been captured and felt more tears prick my eyes. I didn't want to have to go and find them all again. And what if something bad happened?

I struggled to stand up, but my body wouldn't budge. I could already feel unconsciousness starting to take over my body. The fatigue had been settling in for about ten minutes now. But I fought it. No way was anything going to happen to my flock.

I glanced up as unfamiliar feet came into my view. A whitecoat was standing above me, looking superior. She leaned down and pulled out a needle.

"I wouldn't, if I were you," I hissed, moving my arms towards her.

She gave me a cold look before she slipped the needle into my arm. I pushed against her, but it was no use. My body was already numb, and the ingredients of the needle seemed to act fast. In a blurry haze, I made out the rest of the flock, looking tired and defeated. Then everything went black and I was drifting into a place that was starting to come more familiar: unconsciousness.

Angel's POV

Fang looked utterly exhausted. A purple and blue bruise was forming under one of his eyes and his lip was split. He'd taken on the Flyboy that had attacked Max. She'd seen the whole battle, and was glad it had been broken up by the whitecoats that arrived soon after. Not that she was glad to have been tied up and thrown into the back of a truck, but it was better than seeing Fang getting pummelled as all the remaining Flyboys ganged up on him.

Max was slumped against the wall, next to Fang. She didn't look very good, and Angel couldn't hear her thoughts. She was worried about Max. She always seemed to get the worst out of the situations. Or Fang did.

Gazzy and Iggy looked depressed, sitting in the corner of the van and occasionally wincing as it went over bumps. They seemed to be all right and no visible marks could be seen. She tuned into their thoughts, just to make sure they were okay.

Next, she looked over at Fang. His face was an impassive mask, but she knew he was worrying about Max. He always seemed to do that.

I swear, if they hurt her- he thought and she tuned out again to give him some privacy. She didn't like going to Fang's mind, mostly because of his intensity and the way he expressed his emotions. It was different to everyone else. She also felt awkward to step in when he was thinking about Max, whom he obviously loved.

The next thing she knew, the van was stopping and she could hear doors banging. However, no one came to the back and opened it up. She focused on the noises outside.

"Do you hear that?" Iggy asked quietly.

She strained her ears. "What is it?" she asked.

"I think it's a plane," he said.

"What does that mean?" she asked.

She glanced at Fang as he shifted slightly. "They're taking us back to America," Fang said. She studied him and wondered how he could possibly know that. But she didn't questions him as she heard the van start up again and start heading up what was obviously a ramp. She closed her eyes and hoped that everything would be all right.

A/N: Sorry if there are any mistakes, I figured you'd want me to update, not spend forever editing. I hope you liked this chapter. Please review, it makes me feel loved. :D

43. Chapter 43

A/N: Sorry it took me so long to update, but like I've said numerous times before, I do have a life. And a very busy one. Anyway, here's an update. I hope you like it and I'll try and make them more regular.

Chapter 43- Hello again

Max's POV

"Uggggnnhhh," I moaned. My head was throbbing with more force than I was used to. It felt like a truck had run over me. I forced my eyes open, and then shut them straight away. The room was blindingly bright. It was white and the light reflected off of every surface. Cautiously, I cracked my eye open a slither. Nope, it was still too bright.

"Max?" a soft voice asked me, one I hadn't heard in about two years.

I forced my eyes opened and snapped my head to the side.

Tears leaked out of my eyes as I saw Nudge lying on the thin bed beside me. The amount of relief I felt had enough physical force to knock me over.

"Nudge!" I said, my voice a raw hiss.

"Oh Max! I was so worried about you guys! And then they started making me do tests and started experimenting on me and I nearly cracked!"

"Nudge! I'm so glad you're okay," I said. For maybe the first time ever, I was relieved to hear her gushing and talking.

As she talked about what else they'd put her through in this horrible place, I glanced around the room. No one else was here. My heart constricted as I thought about what they could possibly be doing to my flock. With a painful thump from my heart, I returned my attention to Nudge.

"Where is everyone?" I asked her.

Nudge's mouth went slack and a thoughtful look came to her eyes. "They were here before. But some Flyboys took them away." She went quiet and I allowed myself to think the worst for a moment, before getting my brain into gear.

As the fogginess of drug induced sleep left me, I became aware of a throbbing pain in my leg. I looked down the length of my body and saw a big lump that I supposed was supposed to be my leg. It was completely covered in a white cast. I could see the top of my big toe sticking out from the end.

"Ow," I muttered.

"It looks painful. What happened?"

"Flyboy," I replied simply. She nodded her head and went quiet again.

I tried to pull myself upwards, but I was strapped down pretty hard. I silently struggled while Nudge got a look on her face that I knew too well.

"Are you hungry?" I asked her.

"Hmm?" she asked, as if she'd been pulled from her train of thought. "Oh-no. Well, yeah, I am. But that's not what I was gonna say," she explained.

"What were you going to say, then?" I asked her.

She bit her bottom lip and looked down at the immaculate white floor.

"Are we going to get out of this? Are we going to survive?" she whispered.

My eyes softened as I tried to reassure her. "Of course we are. We always do. And besides, I have a plan already."

She looked up and gave a half-hearted smile. "You're a good liar, Max, but I'm not eleven anymore. Besides…this is the longest they've ever held us since we escaped with Jeb all those years ago."

"That doesn't mean anything. I promise you, we'll be outside and flying within a week. Probably by this afternoon." I told her with a forced grin.

She nodded and rested her head back against her stretcher bed.

Fang's POV

"Try to escape, and those pretty little collars around your neck electrocute you," a tall, slender woman by the name of Dr. Geoffreys explained as she took them on a guided 'tour' of the premises.

"You'll be staying in this room," she said as she pressed her finger down on a finger scanner and waited. With a beep, the large glass door slid open. It was a sterile looking room with three sets of bunk beds along the wall. It was empty except for the beds and a closed door that he assumed led to a bathroom of some description.

"What, no cages?" Gazzy asked, trying to be tough and sarcastic, like his role model, Iggy.

"We figure you'll be here for a long time, so you might as well be comfortable. Well, as comfortable as you can get. We also want your bodies in good condition."

"Lovely," Iggy said snidely whilst simultaneously rolling his eyes.

"I will come and collect you when it is time for your morning meal," Dr Geoffreys said as she stepped back out the clear door and pressed a button to close it. Fang could tell without looking that there would be no way to open the door from the inside. And no doubt it was bullet-proof and Avian-American-proof.

Fang climbed up onto the top bunk of the bed that was closest to the door. He figured that anyone could come in during the night, so he might as well protect the younger ones. The wall with the door was completely see-through, while the rest was a huge mirror- two-way, no doubt. It was eerie to see his reflection so much.

The rest of the flock chose their beds. Iggy ended up underneath the Gasman, while Angel was under the one furthest from the door, no doubt ready to share with Nudge.

Fang was finding this whole situation incredibly weird. Hadn't the school wanted him and the flock dead? So why were they giving them beds and meals? He would have to talk about it to Max. His stomach twisted every time he thought of her. She had to be all right.

He heard a beep and looked over to the glass door. With a whoosh, the door opened effortlessly and Max and Nudge were escorted into the room by two burly looking guards, led by Dr Geoffreys.

Without a word, the posse of evil left the room, leaving Max and Nudge looking very confused. Max was holding onto a crutch and looked very annoyed by that fact.

"What's going on?" she demanded.

"Apparently we've moved up in status. Now we get a room and no cages."

"Wow, why?" Max asked, her eyes automatically drifting to Fang's.

He shrug and she frowned, scanning the room.

"Hmm, a camera in every corner," she mused. "Any in that room?" she asked, indicating the bathroom.

"Eew!" Nudge and Angel squeaked at the same time.

Max limped across the room and opened the door. It was a bathroom, and according to Max, as far as she could tell, there wasn't a camera. Well, wasn't that just great. The whitecoats were sure stepping out of their boundaries.

"This is weird," Nudge whispered.

Max ran a hand through her hair and limped back over to his bunk bed. She sat on the bottom bed and closed her eyes for a moment.

"Why bunk beds?" she asked quietly, as she manoeuvred herself so that she was lying down.

Fang chuckled to himself as he heard her.

"What's the plan?" Iggy called out across the room.

"We wait," Max said before closing her eyes and drifting off to sleep.

A/N: Short and sweet. Be thankful you got an update at all this week. Haha.

44. Chapter 44

A/N: A couple of people have asked me this question:

'Am I a fan of Niggy?'

My answer: I don't mind it, but I'm more for FAX. As you can probably tell. Haha.

Anyway, I'll be posting a new poll, so can everyone vote, please. It'll be about whether you want Niggy or not. So if you detest Niggy with a passion, I'd go and vote now. (Similarly, if you love it.) :D

I'd just like to thank all my faithful (and new) reviewers. It means a lot to me that people are still reading my story, even though I've been slack with the updates.

Oh, and btw, I'm a little confused about what I should do. I have received conflicting comments about the amount of FAX I put into my story. Some people say they want more. Others say I put in too much. I hope it works if I put lots of FAX in, but still keep the story moving. Personally, I like fax, so I'm sorry if I put too much in.

Anyway…on with the story…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RANDOMNESSGODDESS (Sorry I couldn't update on your actual Birthday, I'm a bit late. :S

Chapter 44- A way with the ladies

Max's POV

With a whoosh that I was beginning to recognize, the glass door slid open and Dr Geoffreys appeared. Her face was a blank canvas and she reminded me of one of those soldiers with the big hat things that don't move when you annoy them. Or so I've heard. I wondered if I poked her whether she'd react.

"Follow me if you want breakfast," she said coldly as she turned on her heel and headed back out the door. AT the mention of breakfast, the whole flock was out the door (escorted by guards, of course) and following the Doctor down the corridor. If this were a trap, we'd all walk straight into without looking back.

I must admit, I was hungry.

Fang helped me out the door, since my cast made it nearly impossible. The whole time he was at my side, ready to catch me if I stumbled or my crutches decided to give way…not that the famous Maximum Ride would ever stumble…

I tried to remember the turns as we travelled the seemingly endless corridors. Three rights, 1 left, another right, and two more lefts later, we entered a huge room. It was filled with numerous tables, which were occupied by some of the weirdest people I'd ever seen. They were mutant children, just like us.

"After you've eaten, you will be escorted to your class," Dr Geoffreys announced. I almost expected her to yell out 'Heil Hitler' and salute us. Hmm, maybe I spend too much time on the run.

She then turned around and swiftly left the room. I scanned the room, taking in as much detail as I possibly could. There were no windows, which led me to believe that we were underground. Each table seated about six mutants, who all looked depressed as all get out. I scanned their faces and felt a pang of pity. These people didn't seem to know the meaning of the word fun.

"There's a mind reader over there," Angel whispered to me as she grabbed onto my hand. I looked down at her and tried to look reassuring.

"Maybe you two could make friends," Nudge suggested, looking cheered by that fact.

"What was Hitler talking about when she said 'class'? Fang piped up. I correctly interpreted Hitler to be Dr Geoffreys. Sometimes it was really creepy how similar our thoughts were.

"Does that mean we'll be going to school?" Gazzy piped up. I couldn't work out the look on his face. Was it a mix between pleasure, anxiety and distaste?

"Why are the whitecoats being so nice to us?" Iggy asked with a perplexed look on his face.

"It's probably a trap," I said. When I saw the looks on the flock's faces (minus Fang, of course), I regretted my comment straight away. They looked crushed.

"Or maybe they're feeling really guilty or something," I quickly added.

"Let's eat," Nudge suggested, changing the topic completely.

"We could do that," I agreed.

Within seconds, the flock was lining up at the cafeteria while Fang stayed at my side as I hobbled over after them.

"I could always carry you," he said with a smirk.

I scowled at him, but couldn't resist smiling afterwards.

"It would certainly save time," I joked.

The look that came to his eyes warned me of his next move. But that still didn't mean I could stop him. In the time span of one second, he had lifted me up into his arms- bridal style- and picked up my crutches. The next thing I knew, he was carrying me across the room, which caused a lot of attention to be drawn to us.

"Fang!" I hissed, trying desperately to wriggle out of his grasp. "Put me down!"

"Stop squirming or I'll drop you," he warned, a grin spreading across his face.

"Oh, you'll pay for this," I fumed as I settled down. A smug look came to his face (I was sure no one else would have noticed) and he carried me into the line and placed me gently down.

As soon as I was free, I crossed my arms over my chest and scowled at him. He just grinned back at me. I felt my resolve shake as I reluctantly slouched and looked away from him.

"Am I forgiven?" he asked softly, right next to my ear.

"Only because if I tried to run after you, I'd trip and fall on my face," I reluctantly said.

I felt his breath on my ear. I could imagine what we looked like to everyone else. He must have been really close behind me, because the next second I felt his lips touch my check very quickly. I felt my face get hot, but I knew that no one could see us because of the way we were standing.

"Max, the line's moving," Angel called out to us. Fang pulled away from me and he helped me move along in the line until we were eventually up the front.

And yes, the whitecoats 'generosity' did have a limit. It happened to be the food, which looked completely uneatable. Actually, it could probably be described as looking like regurgitated bird food. And I know I'm part bird and everything, but that it just plain sick.

"Are the hairs on the back of you neck standing up yet?" I asked Fang as we made our way over to sit at a table with the rest of the flock. Fang was dutifully holding my food while I hobbled to my seat. Not that I would call that mess food.

"Sure are," he replied, giving me a meaningful look.

Everyone was staring at us. We were the newcomers, but jeez, don't these people have a life.

Wait; don't answer that.

"This is so creepy," Angel stated, looking around the room at all the mutants. I couldn't help agreeing with her.

I looked around the room, taking in as many faces as I could. I noticed, with chagrin, that a couple of the girls were watching Fang. As soon as they saw me looking, they looked away, but I knew what every one of them was thinking about.

"Well, well, well," I said, leaning over to talk quietly into Fang's ear. "Aren't you the ladies man?"

He looked up at me with a quizzical look, then proceeded to scan the room. The girls were back to watching him, and I swear I saw a couple of them blush as he looked at them. That little detail set my teeth on edge.

"You aren't jealous, are you Max?" he asked, his voice showing a bit of smugness and his face trying to hide a smirk.

My eyebrows knit together as I scowled at him.

"Of course not," I protested.

His grinned, then turned back to eating his gruel.

I huffed and turned away to eat my own food, which looked like it would jump up and swallow me in a matter of seconds.

Overhead, a bell started to ring and I looked up in confusion. Was it time to start our classes? What were we supposed to do? I glanced at Fang, then at the rest of the flock. My eyes settled on Angel, who looked like she was constipated. I figured she was trying to read someone's mind to find out what was going on.

"You know, it's rude to read people's mind," a voice said from behind Angel. Everyone's attention snapped over to the boy standing at the head of the table. He had a strange shade of grey hair and he looked to be about fourteen years old, a year older than Nudge. (A/N: Remember, they're older now).

"Who're you?" Angel inquired.

"My name is Shade, and I'm your escort for today," he replied.

"Escort? To where?" Nudge asked, her eyes wide and innocent looking. I watched her carefully for a moment and then looked at Shade.

"Just follow me," he said. Without another word, he turned on his heel and walked away.

The flock scrambled to their feet and ran after him. Fang helped me up from my chair and handed me my crutches. Already, I could feel my leg healing, but I knew it would be another day or two before I could take the cast off. I loved our weird, mutated healing genes; they came in handy.

We fell behind the group, but Fang and I still managed to catch up at the last minute when Shade stopped at a classroom filled with eight year olds. Angel was dropped off into the classroom. I sent her a reassuring thought as she left the group. The room was properly secured: guards at the entrance and exit, no windows, doors secured. Even the teacher (a whitecoat) seemed to be armed. They weren't taking any precautions.

The next person dropped off was Gazzy into a class filled with people the same age. I squeezed his shoulder as he walked away and I hoped he'd stay my little trooper.

"Are the classes grouped in ages?" I asked as we headed down what seemed to be a never-ending hallway.

"Yes. The classes are small, because there aren't that many successful experiments. They teach us the basics, such as all the human stuff, plus how to use our powers and mutant advantages."

"Why?" I asked, my mind reeling from the information overload.

Shade shrugged. "I think someday they'd like to sell us or use us in some way. I suppose they want us to be a new super race."

"But aren't they afraid that they're just getting the mutants smart enough to figure out how to escape?"

"You can't escape here. It's more secure than you think," Shade replied.

We fell into silence after that comment. I was hobbling along, and breaking a sweat while I was at it (it was a fairly quick pace). I couldn't wait to stop and rest. I felt weak, and that fact made me so angry.

As we walked, all you could hear was the sound of our footsteps and breathing. It was actually really unsettling.

"How did you know that Angel could read minds?" Fang asked, breaking the silence.

"You're not the only ones with powers," Shade replied mysteriously.

He stopped in front of a white door and signalled for Fang and I to go in. Fang stepped forward first and opened the door while I tried to manoeuvre in behind him. The class inside the room went silent as we entered, and that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

"Welcome, Fang and Max. Please take a seat," the whitecoat at the front of the room said. I glanced warily at the guards on both sides of the door and then made my way over to a spare desk. Fang was right beside me every step of the way.

"You know what," Fang whispered as we sat down.


"I think we need to get out of this place, and soon," he said.

I looked at him and nodded my head seriously.

"I'm working on it."

45. Chapter 45

A/N: I thought I would update you on the pole I have going.

Should I include Niggy into my story?

Yes- 42 percent

No way- 26 percent

It's up to the author- 21 percent

Only a little bit- 10 percent

So far, it's a yes. If you have a strong opinion, please vote!

Chapter 45- Circles


"Welcome, Fang and Max. Please take a seat," the whitecoat at the front of the room said. I glanced warily at the guards on both sides of the door and then made my way over to a spare desk. Fang was right beside me every step of the way.

"You know what," Fang whispered as we sat down.


"I think we need to get out of this place, and soon," he said.

I looked at him and nodded my head seriously.

"I'm working on it."

Max's POV

Why does it always seem like everything is going around in one big circle? First, we lived in the School; then Jeb rescued us. Then the School kidnapped Angel; then she was rescued. Then the School captured us. Do you see what I mean? One big freaking circle.

So I'd have to say the same about this current situation. Once again we were in a school. But it was just like the one we had just left behind in Australia. Girls were looking at Fang: ogling. Boys were giving me weird looks. There were lots of questions to be answered by the 'teacher' and it was all bringing back memories.

"Did you see where Shade took Iggy?" Fang whispered into my ear as he pretended to take notes off the board about maths. I figured the whitecoats must have reprogrammed us to know all of the trivial human things when they erased our memories, because I knew everything the teacher was teaching us.

"I don't know. Maybe there are two classes for the older experiments," I speculated.

"Wouldn't there be less?" Fang asked, using his common sense. I should do that more often. Indeed, the likelihood of lots of experiments living as long as us was slim. But I couldn't think of any other places Iggy could have been taken.

"Max!" the whitecoat, which we had discovered was named Mr. Henderson, called out. My head snapped up and I met his eyes.

"Yes, sir?" I asked, my chin held high in defiance.

"No talking, otherwise I'll be forced to separate you two," he said, a hint of steel in his voice.

"Sir, I think you should separate them anyway," a girl with long brown hair and a pretty face said from the front of the room. She threw in a flirtatious smile at Fang and then looked at the teacher. I scowled, but stopped myself from breaking the girl's neck.

"Easy, Max," Fang whispered into my ear. He quickly kissed my cheek and I relaxed as I realised that Fang and I were together forever. Some chick wasn't going to stop that. So why was I feeling a bubbling hatred deep inside me for that girl. Well, I guess it happens to everyone.

Before the teacher could reply, and before someone else could speak up and agree with the girl, the door to the classroom burst open and a bloodied and bruised Iggy was thrown into the room. On his hands and knees, he looked terrible.

I jumped out of my seat, but Fang grabbed me before I could move. Using silent communication, he told me that it wasn't a good idea to jump up and run over to Iggy, especially with the two beefy guards keeping watch at the door.

The class seemed to be un-phased by this occurrence and went back to doing their work. I figured that they had all had it done to them a million times before. What kind of sick operation was this place running?

Iggy staggered to his feet and made his way over to us. I helped him into the spare seat beside me and tried to clean him up as best I could.

"What happened?" I asked softly.

"Flyboys, whitecoats and stupid blood-thirsty dogs," he muttered in reply.

I winced and glanced at Fang before turning back to Iggy. "Did you do testing on you?" I asked, even though I already knew the answer.

Iggy gave me a 'well, duh' look with is sightless eyes and then places his head on the desk. I reached for Fang's hand under the table and held it tight.

"Max?" a voice called from the doorway. I looked up and realised that the person who had done this to Iggy was still waiting in the doorway. I swallowed and met the giant man's eyes. "Come with me," he said, which I'm sure translated to 'it's your turn now'.

Fang gave my hand a squeeze as I stood up and walked over to the gigantic man. He was bald, depressing pale and had a huge nose. He looked down at me with no expression on his face as he led me somewhere that I was guessing was close to Hell.

I decided that I would go along with him for now. Maybe if I built up some trust in this place, I might be able to escape easier. That would have to be my plan for now, because I had nothing else.

We walked down corridors (Well, I was shuffling thanks to my broken leg) until we came to a large red door that I guessed led to the outside. Geez, they weren't conspicuous, were they? Note the sarcasm. The whitecoat opened the door and held it open for me. Outside, there was a large enclosed area about the size of a football field. A fence (probably electric) ran around the entire area. And before you get your hopes up, it wasn't open to the sky. The fence also covered the top of the enclosure. So no flying away for me. Not that I could with a huge cast on my leg.

In the middle of the enclosure was a large group of Flyboys. I groaned when I saw them, and felt my flight-or-fight instincts kick in. I was guessing I'd have to go with my fight instinct. After a delayed second of silence, the Flyboys turned to face me. I glanced over to my side and realised that I had an audience of whitecoats. I swallowed and slipped into a fighting stance as the Flyboys advanced on me. I wondered how well I could fight with a broken leg.

Fang's POV

"Iggy, what happened?" Fang asked, as Iggy moved across into Max's vacated seat and sat next to him.

"Flyboys. They were all over me." He paused to get his breath back and spat some blood onto the floor. Fang couldn't help but think that the whitecoats wouldn't be too happy with blood on their floors. But then, it was their profession to torture experiments like himself. Some blood was expected.

"It was a test or something. I thought…I thought they were going to kill me," he said, taking a deep, shaky breath.

Fang put his hand on Iggy's shoulder reassuringly.

"I've never wished so much to be able to see in my life. I mean, I didn't understand anything at all that was happening. You have no idea what being in the dark like that…"

"It's alright, Ig. You're safe now."

"No, it's not all right!" Iggy said, using a louder voice that was still quiet enough not to attract the teacher's attention. "I wish I was dead. Then I would be free of all this stress, worry and…torture."

They both fell silent after Iggy's words. Fang had no idea that Iggy had felt that badly. He was contemplating death? Fang swallowed, but couldn't manage to find any words. Instead, he squeezed Iggy's shoulder, hoping this action would speak what he wanted to say.

Iggy shrugged Fang's hand away and angled himself so that his back was to Fang. Fang closed his eyes for a moment and then gathered up the courage to speak. He tried not to dwell on the fact that he had seen tears escape Iggy's eyes just as he'd turned away. Why couldn't Max be here to deal with this sort of thing? She was the one that was good at comforting. She always knew what to say. What was he supposed to do?

"Iggy, how do you think the flock would be without you? We need you."

"No you don't. I'm just the blind guy. I've never done anything important," he argued.

"When someone's hurt, you always know what to do. You're the one who can tell us apart just by the feel of our feathers. You're a master of making bombs that have saved us plenty of times. You can unlock a door in three minutes. Without you, I'm afraid we'd still be trying to rescue Angel from the school." Fang couldn't remember saying so much to Iggy in his entire life. But this situation required it.

Iggy didn't reply and Fang sighed and stared down at his hands. His thoughts travelled to Max, which they often did. He hoped she was all right. If she had to fight Flyboys like Iggy had, then he hoped she could manage with a broken leg.

"I miss Shauna," Iggy whispered. Fang wasn't sure if he'd even heard anything, it was that quiet.

"When we get out of here, we can go back and visit her," Fang whispered back. Iggy turned to face him again and raised his chin, as if trying to compose himself.


"Cross my heart," Fang said with a smile that he knew Iggy couldn't see.

"Thanks," Iggy said with a wobbly smile. "But I don't think we'll be escaping here anytime soon." Worry was etched onto Iggy's face, and Fang was sure that his face mirrored Iggy's.

They both fell silent as they tried to concentrate on what they were supposed to be learning.

The class was filing out of the room, off to get lunch. With a couple of muttered words, Iggy left the room alone. Fang stood, waiting for everyone to leave. He was more worried about Max now than ever. He wished with all his might that the door would burst open and Max would walk in as if everything was fine.

Well, to his surprise, when the room was finally empty, the door did burst open. But Max was thrown to the floor in a bloody heap and obviously not okay. The whitecoat disappeared and Fang dropped to the ground next to Max.

He put his hand under her head and lifted it off the ground. Then he slid under her so that her head was in his lap. Her eyed were closed and he quickly checked out how damaged her body was. He realised with a start that her cast was gone. He hoped that it was missing because it had healed.

Her lip was split and bleeding, her arms were covered in scratches, she had a black eye and her legs were covered in bruises. But she didn't look like she had any broken bones, except maybe a rib.

He placed his hand on her face and willed her to open her eyes.

"Max?" he whispered, lowering his head so that his face was inches away from hers. "Max?" he asked, louder.

Her eyes fluttered open and he gave a sigh of relief. He smiled at her as he watched her gather her senses.

"Where am I?" she asked, trying to look around. He stopped her from moving and waited until she was looking at him until he answered.

"The classroom. Are you okay?"

"Yes, I've never been better," she said sarcastically as she struggled to sit up. This time he let her. He would never tell her this, but he was glad that she was well enough to be sarcastic.

She pulled herself up and to his surprise, rested against his lap. He uncrossed his legs and pulled her in closer, wrapping his arms around her waist gently.

"There were so many Flyboys. They were all over me. I…I think I was knocked unconscious. I remember waking up for a second when they were taking my cast off. They said it was healed. And then I woke up and saw your face."

He smiled, trying to reassure her. "You're tough as nails."

She shook her head and he watched a tear trail down her face after escaping her eye. He wiped it away with his finger and gently kissed her neck. She pressed against him and he could see a small smile on her face.

"I don't feel tough as nails. I feel like jelly." She paused. "How's Iggy?"

"He'll live," Fang replied. "I think the problem is that he doesn't want to live."

"What?" she asked, her voice full of concern and confusion.

"He said his sick of living in torture. He doesn't want to be blind."

She sighed and he knew that she was really worried about him. "I promised that we could go and visit Shauna when we done with all of this," Fang said quietly.

"Shauna? But she was spying on him. What if she sells us out to the Director? She's related to her, for Christ sakes!"

Fang took a moment before he replied, contemplating. "She loved him and helped him escape. And I think that he loves her. He wants to say a proper goodbye, I think. They didn't really leave on the best terms. I think we owe it to him."

Max placed her hand in one of my hands that was around her waist and leaned back onto me. "Okay then. But if something bad happens, I'm blaming you."

Fang smiled and lightly kissed her cheeks. "I think I could live with that."

"Let's go get something to eat," Max said. Fang helped her up and they made their way out of the classroom and into the cafeteria. Their hands were still entwined together as they lined up to get something to eat.

46. Chapter 46

Chapter 46- Now This Is My Type Of Class

Max's POV

"Now, choose a partner and find a spot," The teacher/ whitecoat ordered. The group started mumbling and talking as they followed instructions.

This class, I was told, was to benefit our fighting abilities and upgrade them. I heard rumours that some successful experiments were sold as weapons or hitmen, so they needed to be able to fight. It sounded stupid to just teach mutants how to fight. I mean, what if they led a rebellion?

These kids aren't like that, my voice conveyed to me. I nearly jumped a foot into the air.

Long time, no hear, I thought back. My voice hadn't spoken to me in a while. Damn, I was just starting to get used to the silence. What do you mean?

These kids have been here since they were created. They don't know how to rebel. They've been programmed to follow the rules. The guards are there for the people like you, Maximum, that know how to break the rules.

Who doesn't know how to rebel? I asked, rolling my eyes.

You don't have to believe me, but it's true, the voice said. I shook my head and glanced around the room, looking for a partner.

It looked like Fang had been herded off towards the other side of the room. I grinned at him and almost felt sorry for him.

"Boys against boys, girls against girls!" the teacher yelled around the room. "We're going to have a competition today. The last girl and boy will fight each other and the winner gets to go outside."

There was a lot of excited talk after the teacher announced this. I wondered what was so special about going outside. But I guessed these mutants weren't often allowed outside. Maybe it was a big treat for them. I just knew that it would be a good way to scope the area and check out any weaknesses. This could be my chance to make a plan of escape.

I met Fang's eyes across the room and I could tell he was thinking the exact same thing as me. He gave a small nod and I let a hint of a smile take over my face. Now, all I had to do was beat down these stupid mutants.

Bring it on.

"Ready?" the teacher called out to everyone. I was on to my third partner- a skinny redhead that looked a lot like that Lissa chick that Fang had kissed. I was going to enjoy this fight. Insert evil laugh.

The other two had been easy. They obviously had no clue what they were supposed to do. Two jabs and a roundhouse kick later, they were on the ground and I was the winner. I was wondering if this competition was going to be any challenge at all.

"GO!" The teacher yelled out.

I watched the redhead closely, studying her. She was standing very still, and watching me intensely. She looked like she'd had some experience at this, so I decided not to make the first move. I quirked an eyebrow at her and wondered what she was waiting for.

Without any warning whatsoever, Redhead lunged at me. I quickly sidestepped her and managed to hit her on her back with my fist. It didn't seem to do much damage. I straightened up and turned to face her. She looked so intense it was scary. She obviously knew all the moves. But I didn't think that she'd ever been in a real street fight before, which could work to my advantage.

She threw a punch at my midsection, but I grabbed her hand and twisted it around so that it was behind her back. She stood on my foot and as reflex I let go of her hand. I scowled at her as we circled each other. She was good, but I was sure I was better.

She tried to kick me next, but I just grabbed her foot and twisted it. Her reflexes were slow and she wasn't used to fighting someone as fast as me. I'd had lots of experience at this. That made me grin.

I decided it was my turn. In a flurry of movements, I kicked her in the shin, which caused her to gasp in pain and drop to the ground. Next I slammed one of my hands over her ear and then punched her in the nose. This was all in a manner of seconds, and I bet she didn't have a clue what on earth was happening. She was gasping as she curled into a ball on the ground. I straightened up and glanced around the room. Only four fights had been going on. Fang's fight across the other side of the room, mine: which was now over, two other boys, and two other girls. So this next fight would determine the winner for each gender.

Fang finished up with the blonde guy he was fighting and looked over at me. I grinned at him and I saw a flicker of a smile on his face. Iggy was still in the fight, but I knew he was still sore from getting beaten up earlier. And before you say anything, I know I was beaten up as well, but my adrenaline was overriding any pain I was feeling. But I knew it would come back later. It was quite obvious that Iggy was losing. I felt sorry for him, but I knew he wasn't at his best. Anyway, he was fighting a tank mutant that looked like he could eat my entire flock for breakfast. I wondered how Fang would do against that beast.

Finally, the Beast knocked Iggy to the ground and he didn't get up. He just lay there, catching his breath. There was a pang in my chest, but I knew that Iggy had done extremely well to last that long against that machine.

The teacher gave us a few minutes to catch our breath, so I walked over to Iggy and helped him up.

"Awesome work, Ig. That thing is a machine," I told him. Iggy smiled, but didn't seem convinced.

"I could've beaten him. But I'm sure a couple of my ribs are broken. Plus, I didn't think it would go over so well if I used a bomb on him," he said.

"You mean you managed to get bombs inside?" I asked, a little incredulous. But then again, this was Iggy.

"I can make bombs out of almost anything," he said with a grin, sensing my anger.

"Well…" But I couldn't be bothered to chastise him, since we'd need some bombs to escape this dump. "Whatever. Just don't blow anything up unless I authorise it."

"Yes sir!" he said, saluting me. I scowled at him; then remembered he couldn't see it.

"I'm scowling at you," I told him before I walked off to go and find Fang. He was standing against the wall. I almost laughed out loud when I saw all the girls glancing over at him, obviously admiring him. I joined him against the wall and watched all the girls' faces fall.

"Nice work," I said after a moment.

"I could say the same thing to you," he said.

"They're so easy. No challenge at all," I said.

"Really?" he asked, his eyebrows moving together. "The boys are all right, but I could beat them in my sleep. The real challenge seems to be that huge guy," he said, looking in the direction of the Beast.

"Well, good luck," I said as I watched the teacher getting everyone ready. I moved over so that the sides of our bodies were touching and then kissed his cheek. He smiled at me and kissed me on the mouth quickly before we had to pull away and go to out fights.

All the girls were watching me as I approached a tall blonde girl. I didn't know if they were staring at me with awe for beating all the other girls so easily, or whether they'd seen me kiss Fang, and were awed by that.

"Ready?" the teacher yelled out to both of the fights. "GO!"

The blonde grinned at me before she ran at me. I sidestepped; then stuck my arm out. She ran into it and fell on the floor. I walked over to her and pressed my foot down on her chest. She relaxed as she realised that she'd been beaten with one move. I grinned at no one in particular and stepped away from her.

That was too easy.

Fang's POV

The huge guy was strong- Fang would give him that. But he was slow. If he just used his agility and speed to avoid the boy's blows, then he's be all right. But he needed a way to knock him down and keep him down. Fang kept dodging the Machine's (his nickname for the huge mutant) hits and tried to think of anything he could do. He was aware of Max beating the blonde girl that she was fighting with one hit. Why couldn't he do that? Because he wasn't the invincible Max, that was why.

He decided to give the Machine all he had. He suddenly lunged at the Machine, taking him off guard and kicking him in the chest. There was an oof sound that escaped the Machine's mouth, and then he stumbled. Fang went for his knees next, kicking them hard. The Machine groaned and doubled over, but he still wasn't down. His Fang threw all of his body weight at the Machine and tried to knock him over that way.

With a crash, the Machine fell onto the floor. But he got back up straight away. Fang groaned and then tried to do the same thing, but the Machine was ready this time, and twisted Fang's leg before he could do anything. He landed on the floor, but quickly got back up again.

Fang decided that he somehow needed to hit the Machine in the face. He snapped open his wings and pushed himself up into the air. He snapped out his leg and kicked the Machine in the nose. There was a crunch and Fang knew he'd broken the Machine's nose. He landed back on the ground and watched the Machine scramble around, clutching onto his nose. He ran off, probably in the direction of tissues.

Fang glanced over at Max, who was smiling at him. Her smiled disappeared though as the teacher was glaring at him.

"Disqualified," the teacher announced loudly.

"Why?" Max complained before Fang could say anything.

"He used his abilities. That's not allowed," the teacher said hotly.

"You never said that!" Max cried, just as hotly.

The teacher glared at her, then huffed. "Fine, but neither of you are to use your wings in here from now on. It gives you an unfair advantage."

"You mean like that guy's size compared to fang's?" Max asked, her eyebrows shooting up.

The teacher's mouth opened as she started to argue. But she couldn't think of anything, so she shut it again.

"Fine. Let's get the decided fight over with. Max and Fang, get ready."

Fang looked at Max and realised that now they would have to fight each other. He wondered if he should go easy on her and let her win, or if he should try his hardest to defeat the invincible Maximum Ride. He decided on the latter.

They faced each other and she grinned at him. "Give me your best shot," she said, before they both moved into their fighting positions.

47. Chapter 47

Chapter 47- Fight Fang?


Fang looked at Max and realised that now they would have to fight each other. He wondered if he should go easy on her and let her win, or if he should try his hardest to defeat the invincible Maximum Ride. He decided on the latter.

They faced each other and she grinned at him. "Give me your best shot," she said, before they both moved into their fighting positions.

Max's POV

"Ready," the teacher said. I tensed my muscles and watched Fang intently. His face was blank- as usual- and he didn't look nervous or worried at all. He was the essence of calm. And that really peed me off. How could he be so calm when he had to fight me- Maximum Ride- AKA his girlfriend? Shouldn't he be at least a little worried?

"Set," the teacher called out. I saw the slightest twitch in Fang's jaw and realised he was trying to hold back a smile. Why was he smiling? He should be scared for his life. I narrowed my eyes at him, but that seemed to make him more amused.

"Go!" I wanted so dearly to wipe that smirk off his face. I lunged at him, but he sidestepped me before I could even touch him. Damn, he was fast. I gritted my teeth and regained my balance. We started to circle each other and I realised how much both of us wanted to win. This wasn't going to be easy.

This time Fang made a move. He tried to roundhouse kick me, but I easily blocked it. Roundhouse kicks were often too fancy to do much damage against someone as fast as me. They took too much time complete, even though it usually worked against slower enemies, like Flyboys. Against Fang, I figured that the quicker moves would work better. (A/N: Sorry if I was rambling, but my Dad's a cop and we were talking about fighting moves. Lol. So I feel well informed now.)

I tried to punch him in the face, but he blocked easily. So I went for an underhanded blow and aimed a kick for his crotch. Trust me, I wasn't going to permanently damage anything (he is my boyfriend, after all), but I thought it would momentarily put him out of action. But I never found out, because he whipped his wings out and avoided my kick by flying out of range. I growled at him and whipped my own wings out.

He landed back on the ground and I whacked him over the head with the tip of my wing. He grimaced and then scowled at me, but I was already making my next move. I kicked him in the chest, but he grabbed my foot and twisted. I did a 360-degree twist in midair before I landed (hard) on the ground. I winced, but before I could even lift my head, Fang's foot was on my chest. I glared up at him and slumped back on the ground. He grinned at me and started to look cocky.

As soon as his guard was down, I rolled out from under his foot and twisted so that my feet slammed into the side of his leg. He stumbled, but didn't go down like I'd hoped.

I used this time to get back on my feet. Fang had righted himself by the time I was up and I felt my stomach drop as I saw the look on his face. He was smirking like a madman. He had something planned, and I knew I would find out what it was soon enough.

He ran at me and because he was taller than me, I had no chance of pushing him off me. His momentum knocked me flat onto my back and he landed on top of me. He changed his position so that he was straddling me and I groaned in frustration when I couldn't push him off of me.

"I win," he said with a grin. My eyebrows slammed together as I analysed every trick I had. I suddenly relaxed my body and looked up at him. His dark eyes were piercing and I found myself formulating a plan. But would he fall for it?

"You're right," I said, infusing my voice with the right amount of defeat. He smiled down at me, but I knew he wasn't buying it. So I amped it up. "I don't think I've ever wanted you more than I do now," I said, feeling utterly stupid. His face darkened as he looked down at me. Within seconds, he leaned down and kissed me lightly on the lips. I started to kiss him back. I felt his muscles relax and made my move.

I quickly twisted one of my legs in between his and tried with all my force to flip us over so that I was on top. But Fang must have been one step in front of me the entire time. Before I could do anything, his legs clamped down on mine and his hands caught my wrists. He pulled away from the kiss and grinned at me.

"I can read you like a book," he said, leaning down and pecking me on the lips. I sighed in annoyance and searched his eyes. He moved his mouth to my ear and his lip grazed over it. "Does a tie sound good to you?" he asked. His breath on my ear made me shiver, but I managed to nod my head.

Fang stood up and approached the teacher. He spoke quietly and the next minute the teacher announced a draw to the class. I admired Fang as everyone cheered. He had put aside his pride of actually beating me and had called a tie. I smiled as he glanced over at me. No wonder I loved him.

A/N: Sorry it's so short, but I figured a short update was better than none. Sorry again.

48. Chapter 48

A/N: This is just some replies to reviews some people left…

KAITIE: You wondered if I was American, and the answer is no. But English is my first (and only-unless you count a little bit of French) language. I'm actually Australian. (We spell 'mom' as 'mum' down under). Anyway, I'm sorry about the mistakes you pointed out. That is actually due to the fact that I am incredibly lazy and don't actually edit my chapters. Also, because I love to update quickly when I actually get a chance to write, I normally type super fast, therefore making a lot of mistakes. I'll try and be more careful from now on. So I'll spell some things differently to the American way: just bare with me. Anyway, thank you for the lovely reviews. I hope that cleared things up for you. 

FANG'S STALKER: Actually, my story is going to end soon. It won't keep on going forever. But I think this story has had a good run. And if I have time, I actually have a really good idea for a Twilight story.

Chapter 48- Surveillance


Fang stood up and approached the teacher. He spoke quietly and the next minute the teacher announced a draw to the class. I admired Fang as everyone cheered. He had put aside his pride of actually beating me and had called a tie. I smiled as he glanced over at me. No wonder I loved him.

Max's POV

"Anything?" I whispered to Fang as we walked around the enclosed area outside of the school. We had been led outside through many corridors and given an hour to 'enjoy' ourselves. I had no idea why this prize was so desirable. All you got to do was sit on some dead-looking grass and look at electric wire fences. I mean, wouldn't that just make your day worse, not better?

I remembered back to all the eager fighters, ready to win this prize. Had any of them actually seen the daylight? And if so, was it just through a barred window with Flyboys watching their every move? How depressing.

"Nothing yet. But we really need to get out of here soon," Fang replied in a voice that only I could hear. We both scanned the area, looking for any weaknesses in the fence. Then looking along the ground. After a while, I noticed something.

"Look there," I whispered, keeping an eye on the guards surrounding the area. I pointed with my eyes towards a small door in the wall. Fang followed my gaze and quickly began assessing it. I looked under the door and found a giant dumpster. The door must have been for the rubbish. I smiled to myself, but made sure none of the guards were watching us first.

"Garbage?" Fang said incredulously. Well, as incredulously as Fang gets.

"So all we need to think of next is how to get out from there," I whispered.

We kept searching. And eventually I realised something.

"What is that look for?" Fang asked, watching me carefully.

I grinned at him. "There has to be somewhere that the rubbish gets out. So, they must have to take it to a dump or something. If we were with the rubbish when that happened…" I trailed off and let him work it out. He smiled a beautiful smile at me and I knew that we had the beginnings of a plan. It wasn't going to be easy, but we could pull this off.

"Did you find anything?" Iggy asked when we entered our room and spread out on the bunk beds. Fang decided to lay with me on my bunk, and it was extremely squishy. I was practically lying on top of him. What was that? Did I just hear a hundred fan girls scream and start jumping up and down? Hmm, it must be my imagination.

Fang inclined his head in answer to Iggy's question, but didn't say anything. I followed his lead and stayed silent. I knew that there were cameras in the room, but I didn't know if they could pick up sound as well.

"Fang nodded his head," Gazzy piped up. Fang glanced at me and I stifled a giggle. For a second he had forgotten Iggy was blind. Fang rolled his eyes and pulled me up against his chest so that every part of our body was touching. I felt my face flush, but I kept my face turned away from him, so that he couldn't see me.

"I'm pretty sure that it's time for bed," I said loudly as I looked at my little guys. Angel was nodding off in the corner and Nudge was being abnormally quiet. I could see that Gazzy was trying to appear more awake than he was. They all shuffled over to Fang and me after I placed my fist out. We stacked and tapped, and then they all shuffled off to their own beds.

Like magic, the lights turned out and we were plunged into darkness. I could feel Fang's hot breath on the back of my neck, and I tried my hardest to ignore it. But then I felt his lips touch my neck and my breathing hitched. His arms curled around me coaxed me to turn around. As soon as I had shifted so that I was facing him, his lips met mine. I smiled into his mouth as I began to kiss him back. His tongue ran over my bottom lip, asking for entrance- and not very politely, either. I decided to make him wait, so I kept my lips firmly shut. I felt his frustration, but he didn't pull away from me.

I felt his hands move down my back until they reached my hips, where they stopped. Then he started to slide his hands up my waist. When he reached the hem of my shirt, his hands slid under it, causing me to gasp. As soon as my mouth was open, his tongue slipped in and the kiss became ten times more passionate. I decided I wasn't going to complain.

His hands kept travelling upwards until they reached the bottom of my bra. I felt myself shaking with desire. A part of my mind was telling me to think, but the majority was telling me that what I was doing now was great. As his hand stopped, I moved my hand so that it was against his chest. Then I moved it down so that it was under his shirt. I felt his hard muscles and felt myself smile into the kiss that was still hot between us. Instead of moving up, I decided I was going to move down. I hooked my hand into his jeans and felt his breathing hitch. He pulled away from me so that I could see his sparkling eyes in the darkness.

"Max," he breathed, just above a whisper.

"Will you two shut up and go to bed! Some people are trying to sleep!" Iggy yelled from his bed.

My face flushed bright red in the darkness as I realised that the whole flock could have heard us making out. I buried my head in Fang's chest as he growled at Iggy and told him to shut up in return.

Fang's hand slid out of my shirt and I removed mine from his waistband. I fell asleep in his arms, breathing in his scent and feeling his warmth.

The next day, we assembled in the little bathroom we had. I'd already checked the area out and found that no cameras were in the bathroom. I gathered everyone in a circle and told them the plan for escaping.

"Iggy, you're in charge of the distraction. Gaz, you have to make sure the path is clear. Nudge, I want you to grab Angel and help her get to where we have to be. Angel, try and use you mind control to get people to stay away from us. Fang and I will make sure we all get to our destination in one piece," I said.

I took a deep breath. "Does everyone understand?"

"Yes," was the unanimous answer.

"Good," I said, sticking my hand out. They stacked theirs on top of mine and then we tapped the backs of them.

I turned to Angel. "Do you know when the next garbage truck leaves?" I asked.

Angel looked thoughtful for a minute, and then smiled. "In an hour."


A/N: I'm not dead, everyone! Sorry it's short, but it's that, or nothing. Anyway, I promise the next one will be longer. I think I'll make them try and escape in the next chapter. I'm not telling if they do or not. Mwhahaha. :D

Sorry again.

49. Chapter 49

Chapter 49: Time to Go!


I turned to Angel. "Do you know when the next garbage truck leaves?" I asked.

Angel looked thoughtful for a minute, and then smiled. "In an hour."


Iggy's POV

Iggy ran his fingers along the miniscule bomb in his hands. He had ten others like it. They were compact so that people would never guess at what they were. He had attached a timer so that he could set it for a particular time. He was quite proud of his creation and thought it genius that he had actually managed to sneak in/ steal materials to create them. He grinned.

"What the hell are you grinning about?" Gazzy asked, sounding excited and nervous at the same time.

"My precious," Iggy said, imitating Golem from 'The Lord Of The Rings'.

Gazzy burst into laughter and Iggy grinned at the sound. He liked to hear Gazzy laughing. It made him think that not everything was lost for them. Maybe one day they could live a normal life.

"Are you ready to plant these babies?" Iggy asked, placing each bomb into his bag with care.

Iggy could practically hear the hesitation from Gazzy.

"Don't you think…I don't understand how we're going to do this. Don't you think we'll get caught?" Gazzy asked, concern evident in his voice.

"That's where Fang and Max come in. They're creating a distraction."


"Still worried?" Iggy asked, reaching out and ruffling Gazzy's hair. Some people wondered how he could be so accurate when he was blind. Well, sound was one of his prominent senses now, so he used that to his benefit.

"Okay, so are you ready? If you want to stay behind for this bit, I'm sure I'll manage."

Iggy heard Gazzy's deep breath and then his exhalation. "I'm ready," he declared.

"Great, let's go plant these bombs."

Nudge's POV

"Iggy and Gazzy are about to start planting bombs. We need to get the message to Max and Fang," Angel said, her eyes squeezed shut and her brow creased. Some of the classes had joined today, so they were sitting next to each other.

"Are you sure? What if we start too early? What if Gazzy can't see where he's going? I think we should wait a moment," Nudge said rapidly, watching the whitecoat at the front of the room and trying to look like she was paying attention to whatever the person was saying.

"Nudge," Angel said in a calm and commanding tone. "It's time. We have to get to a computer. Start acting sick."

Nudge sighed in frustration and then stuck her finger down her throat. She'd never tried to make herself sick before, but she hoped she could do it. She started retching and threw up all over the floor. It definitely wasn't pretty. She felt disgusting, which helped her look sick.

"Nudge, are you okay?" Angel asked with the perfect amount of concern. Nudge just shook her head and tried to stop her dry heaving.

"Miss, excuse me!" Angel yelled, the perfect little sister. It was scary how believable she was. "I think Nudge is sick. Can I please take her outside so she can get a drink of water?"

Nudge picked up a pencil as she was ushered through the door into the outside hallway. A Flyboy accompanied them down the hallway. They turned the corner and Nudge felt like she actually was sick. They reached a water bubbler and Nudge bent over it and started sipping the cooling liquid.

Angel stood next to her, watching her with concerned eyes. Nudge spun on her heel and stabbed the pencil into the Flyboy's eye and yanked the robotic eyeball out of its socket. Sparks flew from the flyboy and Angel leapt up and twisted the Flyboy's head. It snapped off and the whole Flyboy doubled over. Nudge cried out in joy and slapped Angel's hand. They started running down the hallway, towards the computer room.

They reached the security room in no time and all but kicked open the door. When they were inside, they were extremely surprised to find it empty. The whitecoats were on their tea break. They had timed it perfectly. They grinned at each other. Nudge made her way over to the computer terminal and pressed her palm against the screen. She closed her eyes and let the emotions and memories rush through her.

She took her hand away and typed in the password before she could forget it. She searched through the computer until she found what she was looking for. She smirked as she typed in the command and all the power shut off. She then proceeded to turn off the generators. Quickly, Nudge and Angel braced a chair against the door and made sure that there was no way anyone could get in. Then they flew up and unscrewed the air vent cover so they could get out.

Max's POV

The lights shut off overhead. Before the generators could fully kick in, they were shut off as well. I grinned and turned to Fang, who smiled at me. We could see fine in the dark. We'd developed pretty good night vision over the years. But we knew the normal humans wouldn't be able to see.

"Ready?" I asked, tensed and ready for battle, if it came to that.

"I was born ready."

"I can't believe you just said that. That was so corny," I said with a laugh.

"Lets just go." He sighed in frustration.

The room had gone into panic mode as soon as the lights had gone out. We used this to our advantage and quietly made our way out of the room. We bolted down the hallway and raced around the corner. We made our way to a deserted corridor that was only used at night. Fang pulled out the bomb Iggy had given to him earlier and placed it into an empty lab room. It wasn't a very strong bomb; we didn't want to kill any innocent people. He set the timer for one minute and we bolted out of the room and got as far away as we could before before the roof collapsed.

With a deafening sound, we heard the bomb go off. The reverberations nearly made me fall over. Fang pulled me into an empty room as the shock wave crashed down the hallway and throughout the whole building. That was sure to get some attention. I only hoped that Iggy and Gazzy were taking care of everything else.

"Let's go!" I told Fang as we started down the hallway again. We had to get to the meeting area.

Gazzy's POV

"The lights are out," Gazzy muttered to Iggy as they crouched in a small alcove away from the hallway. Iggy opened his mouth to speak, but at that moment, a huge boom resounded. Gazzy nearly yelped in surprise, but then remembered the plan.

"That would be Max and Fang," Iggy stated calmly. The bomb didn't shock him at all. Some day Gazzy hoped he could be that calm.

"Okay, let's go!"

Gazzy couldn't see a thing, so he took out the flashlight he had stolen from a supply cupboard. This school seemed to think that they could control the experiments inside it. So, that meant that their security wasn't the best, even though it was still better than any other place they'd been to. So the whitecoats never suspected that any experiments could plan an escape. It made the flock's job so much easier.

Just as Gazzy was about to turn the flashlight on, he heard footsteps and yelling. Iggy yanked him back into the alcove and wrapped a hand around his mouth so that he wouldn't yell out in surprise. A bunch of scientists ran around the corner, yelling orders to each other and seemingly making their way towards where the bomb had gone off.

"I bet those stupid water pipes finally burst," a whitecoat shouted to the others, "It's been broken for weeks."

"A water pipe? That couldn't have caused an explosion like that," someone replied. Their voices faded as they turned around the corner.

"A water pipe?" Iggy whispered. "How dumb can they get? They have no idea."

Gazzy shrugged and untangled himself from Iggy's grip. "Close call," he whispered, cracking his neck and rolling his shoulders. "Let's go."

They headed into the hallway again and Gazzy turned the flashlight on, covering the lens with his hand so it only permitted a light glow. He led Iggy around all the rooms, stopping when they reached one of their destinations. They would enter a dark room and place a bomb somewhere hidden. Iggy would set the timer and then they'd be searching for the next room they'd decided on.

The distraction had worked like a charm; they didn't get caught by anyone.

Angel's POV

"Where is everyone?" Nudge asked, glancing around nervously. They were at the meeting spot, ready to go. Angel could see that Nudge was getting impatient.

"Nudge, they have jobs to do, of course they'll take a while," Angel said, trying to calm her down so she didn't jump up and run off to be the hero. She'd just end up getting hurt or lost. They had to stick to the plan. She was concentrating on the minds of the whitecoats, making sure they didn't come anywhere near the meeting spot. She had to make sure the area was secure.

"Well, I'm bored," Nudge pouted.

Angel giggled. "You'll just have to wait. Max and Fang will be here soon." She looked at the huge door in the side of the wall. They were near the loading dock for where the school got its supplies and the door for the rubbish dumpster was closed with a padlock. The loading dock was shut as well. She hoped that Max and Fang knew what they were doing.

Fang's POV

"I'm sort of surprised that our plan is working so well," Max said to Fang as they sprinted down the hallway, avoiding bullets and Flyboys while they were at it.

"Do you think Iggy and Gazzy are done?" Fang asked, making sure the people chasing them couldn't hear.

Max checked her watch, one that she'd bought when she was living in Australia. When he thought of Australia, he almost felt homesick. It had been good for a while. Admittedly, he had felt a bit empty without Max, but when he'd met with her again, he had felt complete. He knew his home wasn't a place; it was with her.

"I actually think they might be finishing now," she said.

Simultaneously, they darted into an empty lab room and locked the door behind them. While Fang braced the door, Max ran to the air vent and took the cover off.

"I broke a nail," she said with a humourless laugh.

"Oh no! What will we ever do?" Fang said sarcastically as he joined her. She swatted him in the chest and grinned.

"I just thought it was ironic," she said.

They could hear the Flyboys and whitecoats and whatever else were after them trying to get into the room. Fang boosted Max up into the vent and followed as soon as she was in. He managed to secure the cover back in place before they started to squeeze themselves through the cramped vent. He had never been so glad that they were skinny.

They navigated their way through the maze of vents, using their great sense of direction, until they could see Angel and Nudge standing in a room. They dropped down, earning a shout of surprise from Nudge and a smile from Angel.

Angel and Nudge rushed over and hugged them before they could even take a step. A moment later, Iggy and Gazzy ran into the room and nearly fell over.

"Everything's in place," they said in unison.

A/N: I'm on holidays now, so I should be able to update faster. :D

50. Chapter 50

Chapter 50- The End


They navigated their way through the maze of vents, using their great sense of direction, until they could see Angel and Nudge standing in a room. They dropped down, earning a shout of surprise from Nudge and a smile from Angel.

Angel and Nudge rushed over and hugged them before they could even take a step. A moment later, Iggy and Gazzy ran into the room and nearly fell over.

"Everything's in place," they said in unison.

Max's POV

I glanced over at the garbage doors that guarded our exit. They were locked with a padlock, but I was sure we could overcome that slight problem. I studied it, my head slightly cocked as I considered the best way – without raising suspicion- to unlock them. Would someone hear if I broke the lock? Or was I even capable of breaking the lock?

"Uh-oh," Angel whispered, a look of panic overtaking her small features.

"What is it?" I whispered as I felt a jolt of adrenaline pulse through my body. I clenched my fists as I glanced across the room at Fang, who was staring intensely at Angel.

"Flyboys and whitecoats are on their way; lots of them. They don't know we're down here, but they're searching every single room for any signs of escape."

"How long?" I choked out, my eyes darting to everyone's face and then around the room. I had to get us out of here.

"I can't be sure…probably about five minutes. Maybe less," Angel replied in a whisper.

I squared my shoulders as I gave a sharp nod. I looked over at the garbage doors and walked over to them. There was nothing to break the padlock with, so I decided to use my bare hands. I grabbed onto the lock and yanked with all my might. My head throbbed as the adrenaline doubled and rushed through my veins. I gritted my teeth as I desperately tried to break the slippery lock. Fang walked over to my side and watched my silent struggle.

I was surprised when I heard myself growl in frustration. With one final pull, I cried out as the lock came off. I stumbled backwards as the momentum threw me off balance. Fang caught me and steadied me. I felt his lips against my temple and was extremely glad to have him with me. I pulled myself together, aware that we were quickly running out of time. I couldn't have the whitecoats discovering us.

With a heave, I pulled the door open and winced as it gave a loud protest. I peered outside and was dismayed to find a line of Flyboys and whitecoats patrolling the area. Luckily, none of them noticed as I opened the door.

"Angel, is the garbage truck on its way?" I asked, apprehensive of the answer. What if they decided that it was too dangerous to let a garbage truck drive away without getting checked?

A look of concentration overcame Angel's expression as she presumably examined someone's mind.

"The whitecoats are too arrogant for their own good. They think that something in the infrastructure has gone wrong. They don't think any experiments are smart enough to pull this off. They aren't going to examine the garbage truck at all. It is on its way now.

I relaxed at the news and grabbed Fang's hand for a moment, before moving on. "Okay, I want everyone to get in," I said sternly, pointing to the dumpster underneath the door I had just opened. "Quickly!"

Angel was the first to jump into the huge dumpster. I hoped with all my might that the garbage was soft and not filled with needles or something like that. Next, Gazzy joined his sister, followed by Nudge. I helped guide Iggy into the dumpster and I was grateful that the thing was easily big enough to conceal all of us. I glanced at Fang as he looked over at me. I could hear the noises of the whitecoats and Flyboys as they made their way down to the room. If my hearing was correct, they were about a minute away from running in on us.

"The lock," Fang whispered. I nodded. I had already deduced that it would look suspicious if there was no lock on the garbage door. I couldn't risk the whitecoats checking the dumpster.

"It's covered," I whispered. Panic gripped my heart as I heard the whitecoats reach the door. I grabbed Fang and pressed my lips against his for a brief moment before I pulled away and pushed him into the dumpster. Before he had even landed, I had shut the door and thrown the latch. I threw the lock into place. It was broken, but it wouldn't look suspicious to the whitecoats anymore.

I whipped out my wings and lunged towards the air vents that Fang and I had navigated earlier. I tore off the cover and managed to squeeze myself – wings and all – into the tiny space. The door to the basement opened just as I managed to place the cover back in place. I watched through the grates as numerous Flyboys and whitecoats filed into the room.

They searched the room, throwing open cupboards and looking underneath cloths and the like. I held my breath as someone studied the garbage door. I exhaled when they moved on without incident. They took approximately five minutes to search the room, and the whole time I was aware that at any moment the garbage truck could arrive and whisk my flock away without me. Actually, it probably already had. Finally, the whitecoats and Flyboys left, yelling orders at each other and so on. The hand holding my heart didn't loosen its grip and I was sure it wouldn't until I was safely reunited with my flock.

I ripped the cover off of the air vent and ran over to the garbage door. Please, don't let them have gone without me! I prayed to God that they would still be waiting for me. I ripped the lock away from the door and heaved it open, tears of anticipation in my eyes. Please, I silently begged.

I looked down into the dumpster and felt my heart give a painful thump. It was empty. I felt the tears flow over and escape down my cheeks. I squeezed my eyes shut and forced myself to pull myself together. At least my flock had escaped. It didn't matter what happened to me, as long as they were all right.

I swallowed my tears and searched the grounds around me. My heart constricted when I saw the garbage truck at the gates of the compound. They haven't left yet. I analysed the situation in a matter of seconds and came up with a plan. I watched as a guard with a flashlight approached the back of the garbage truck. Angel was wrong; because I was certain that the guard was going to be going through the garbage to make sure there was nothing strange in it. I clenched my fists as I realised what I had to do.

I unfolded my wings so fast that I'm sure I heard something crack. I jumped into the air and flapped my wings to keep me aloft. Using all of my super speed, I raced out of the garbage door towards the gate. Whitecoats and guards exclaimed in surprise as I shot past them and made it through the gates before they could do anything about it. I slowed and turned to face them. Everyone's attention was on me.

"Come and catch me," I yelled. Without a moment's hesitation, the Flyboy's drew out their guns and aimed them at my chest. I gave a wave and flew away as fast as I could. Shouting echoed behind me as the Flyboy's raced after me and the whitecoats went into a frenzy. I looked over my shoulder and watched with satisfaction as the garbage truck drove through the gate without being checked. The guards were too surprised to do anything. I looked at the School and grinned when I saw just how much damage our bombs had caused.

The Flyboys were behind me, so I focused my attention on not getting killed and raced towards the horizon. The bullets whizzed past my head. Luckily, none of them actually caused serious damage. But I did have some knew scrapes that weren't there before.

By using my super speed, I quickly outflew the Flyboys. They were slow boxes of metal; they had nothing on me. With a sigh of relief, I made my way to the meeting area – AKA the dump- and made sure that no one was following me.

"MAX!" the flock cried as I flew into the dump and came across their dishelved looking bodies.

I landed and let them bowl me over as the all gave me a hug at the same time. I hugged them back and started to laugh in relief. I was so happy to be outside of the school with them. The only person who wasn't hugging me was- yep, you guessed it- Fang. He stood back, staring at me with his impassive mask that I was surprisingly good at reading.

"Oh, my God, the garbage was so disgusting. I need a bath, major-ly," Nudge said after she released me. I grinned at her and wiped some dirt off of her face.

"That was so close, Max! How did you manage to distract the guards so they wouldn't check the truck?" Angel asked. I ruffled her hair and smiled. Of course she would have noticed the intentions of the guard.

"I flew right out of the gates and yelled: 'Come and catch me!'" I said with a laugh.

"Right on!" Gazzy shouted.

"You should have seen the School," I said to Gazzy and Iggy. "It was practically collapsing in on itself. You guys did great!" I praised.

Iggy and Gazzy shared a high five. While the flock was excitedly talking to each other, I made my way over to Fang. Even though I claimed to be able to read Fang's mask, it was always nerve-wracking to approach him when he looked like he was coldly assessing whether to kill you or not.

"Fang," I said calmly as I stood next to him, watching the flock in all their excitement.

"Max," he replied just as calmly.

The silence stretched out as neither of us said anything. I could practically hear his anger as he brooded over what had happened. I knew he was hurt, but I didn't know how to broach the subject. I decided just to be honest.

"I'm sorry, but I had to protect the flock. I should have told you what I was going to do with the lock and everything," I said. I hardly ever apologised and I knew that Fang understood that.

He stayed silent for a moment before he said, "I thought I might have lost you. Max, I didn't know if you were going to get out of there. Don't ever do that again," he growled.

I hesitantly reached over and took his hand in mine. It was warm and reassured me greatly. He didn't pull away and I felt myself sigh in relief. After a moment, he took my hand and pressed it to the side of his face. He breathed in my scent and then pulled me into a hug. I smiled as I buried my face in his chest. I realised just how much our time in Australia had changed us. Fang had been openly showing me affection, which he never would have done before we had our memories swiped. He had opened up to me, and I knew that I was glad to know what he was thinking. I knew I had changed as well.

He raised my chin with his hand and pressed his lips to mine. We kissed so passionately that I'm sure that the world could have been set on fire and we wouldn't have noticed. Our tongues danced as we clasped at each other. My hands were all over his body, just as his were all over mine. I gasped as we pulled away for breath.

Someone in the flock wolf whistled and I felt my face start to burn as I realised that we'd just put on a show for the flock. I buried my head in Fang's chest out of embarrassment and scowled when he started to chuckle.

His lips touched my ear and I shivered. "You're cute when you're embarrassed," he said, which caused me to hit his chest. "You're even cuter when you're angry," he added. I scowled at him and was surprised when he kissed the frown from my face.

"Cheater," I muttered as I pulled away from him and made my way over to the flock.

As a flock, we had decided to head back to Australia. We all agreed that it was the one place that our enemies wouldn't expect us to go, seeing as what had recently unfolded there. We arrived in Darwin, since it was in the Northern Territory, which was the least populated of the states in Australia. We found an abandoned house on the beach and settled there. No one ever bothered us and we had enough money left on my credit card to buy food and everything else we needed.

The house had four rooms, but we had one spare. The Gasman and Angel shared a room and seemed to enjoy the experience. Iggy had contacted Shauna when we arrived back in Australia, but didn't tell her where we were. He had told her that he really liked her, but nothing could happen between them when her Aunt was working for the school. He was really upset for a few weeks and I had tried to comfort him. I was really starting to get worried when the next day he seemed to be practically fine again. I realised it was because Nudge had started to comfort him. They shared a room and I knew that a romance was starting to blossom between them, but I didn't know if it was just brotherly love, or whether it was something more. And I wasn't about to go and talk them about it. Talk about awkward.

As for Fang and I, we also shared a room. Ours was the biggest, with a queen-sized bed that was very comfortable indeed. To our neighbours, Fang and I were a married couple that had adopted our brothers and sisters when our parents had died. Of course, our neighbours didn't live anywhere near us. I smiled at the thought.

"What are you smiling at?" Fang asked me, pulling me tight against his chest.

"I'm just happy, because for once in our life, there's no immediate danger, and I can't see any to come," I replied.

"It's nice," Fang murmured, burying his head in the crook of my neck. I smiled as I ran my hands down his body. It was late at night and from our room we could see the stars shining brightly. It was very serene.

Fang started kissing my neck, making his way down my body. He kissed down my arm and I shivered, holding him closer to me. He rolled us over so that he was on top of me and kissed my lips with so much force I had difficulty breathing. A fire started somewhere in my stomach and I knew there was only one-way to quench it. I kissed Fang back with twice as much passion.

"Max," he breathed against my cheek. I shivered at how husky his voice had turned.

"Yes?" I gasped.

"I love you so much," he whispered, kissing down my neck and biting my neck softly. I gasped again and struggled to find a coherent thought.

"I love you too," I said after I could somewhat function again.

Hesitantly, I sat up and took off my shirt. He eyes connected with mine and I smiled at him. He seemed surprised, but soon we were kissing more fiercely than we ever had before. He kissed me and then went to remove his own clothes. I couldn't get enough of him, and I knew that I would keep on loving him, no matter what.

Finally, our flock had a happily ever after…


A/N: Thankyou to everyone who has supported this story and me! Thanks for all of the reviews and putting up with my laziness involving updates. I'd love to know what you thought of my story, so please review.