"What are we playing?" Blue, big eyes look into mine in fascination and slight wariness. "Rummy, Caulfield." She looks down at her cards again, biting her lips in frustration as I put down three Queens. "How do you win again?" Hair falls in front of her face, making her shake her head slightly to shoo it away.
With that mop of a hairdo, it will only take two minutes before it's bothering her again... But why does that fill me up with pride? Maxine Caulfield having to deal with her own mess, not realizing it is a mess-why does that make me warm? I force an aggravated sigh, scooting closer to her on the floor. "Okay, this round will be practice. You see my deck? There are at least two other pairs I can choose." I put each card on the table that could earn me some points. "What do you see?"
Her breath hits my collarbones as she looks from my deck to the table. Dammit, goosebumps form against my usual smooth skin-I should've kept my cardigan buttoned... This building is always ten degrees too hot. "Um...Three twos and a four and three of spades." I grin. "Good, you're not completely hopeless." This makes her grumble and frown at the cards more. Fuck her mom and dad, giving her such cute genetics.
Making me pay Mr.drunkwell to instruct our new photography teacher to partner us up for 3/4 of the group projects for the rest of the semester. Max hasn't noticed anything yet. Whenever we're paired, she shoots an apologetic look at Kate before turning to me in a warm, goofy smile. She is so oblivious. This is our third project together. I've gotten obsessed at this point. I should have just stayed her bully- I could've. But I wanted to know Max Caulfield. And insulting her all the time doesn't really help with the whole trust shit.
So I used these group projects as a way to be 'forced' to be nice to her. Well, nicer is a better term for it. "The number card is five points each when paired. Except for the ten card, that is ten points along with the jack, queen, and king." She nods-pointing at the cards I laid out on the table. "What pair would be better for you to chose?" I scan my deck for a second, showing them to her. "Well, you see how I have this ace of spades?" Scooting even closer, she checks each of my cards out like she will be framing them for one of her stupidly amazing polaroid photos.
"The ace is different from the rest of the cards. If paired with other aces or a king and queen, it will equal fifteen points for one ace. But, I can pair it with the two and three of spades as well but that will bring the ace card to five points." Max chuckles. "Jesus Tori, this is worse than chess." I roll my eyes, trying not to react to the new nickname. "No it isn't, get your head out of your ass Caulfield." We should be working on our new landscape project...But Max saw my deck of cards on my dresser and refused to work if I didn't play one game with her. But she only knows how to fucking play go fish. And I rather not play a fucking child's game.
"Anyway, it's a matter of what type of player I am-Do I want to get as many points on the table quick? Or hold out for luck of the draw?" I rather hold out for luck of the draw, make my opponent give me my matches and my victory rather than racing for it like a persistent puppy. The only time I would want to put a low-level pair on the table is at the end when I'm running out of moves to make. "Let's say I want the quickest route and most paying route-I wouldn't hold out and I'd chose the ace, two, three and four. It can mess you up because you might have wanted that ace. Or let's say I wanted to wait for a better pair for my ace and just picked the set of three twos-It could really fuck up because I'm taking away three different sets of pair points. The hearts, the clubs, and the spades. It could be murder for your opponent in some cases." Max grins at me knowingly. "Isn't this game supposed to be fun?"
I hold myself from grinning back, putting my two of hearts and clubs back in my deck. "Rummy is never fun, Caulfield," I remember playing rummy was the only way for my parents to show their emotion ,evil laughter for victory or malicous screams of anger or aggrivation. Isn't it charming?
That makes me pause. Why am I showing her this game? It is a really competetive game. I don't want to taint her in that gross world-But Max isn't a little girl either...Why did I chose the least fun game to play with the girl who only ever wants to have fun. Max smiles and looks at her deck again. pausing to think something over. "...We can play go fish if you still want too." I offer quietly. Max shakes her head. "No way-This is a lot cooler- Like go fish on steroids." This makes me puff ou a breath and grin. I can't help it. Max then shows me her cards and points at her three aces, I try to not smile proudly as she puts them on the table.
After that, we go through the practice rounds showing each other our cards and I show her why she should pick one pair over the other. It's calm and sweet really. Now re-shuffled the deck and we're playing a real game. I deal and she flips the first card. Five of hearts. I sort my deck and put down a six, seven and eight of clubs. Max's eyes widen as she takes in her deck before fixing her poker face. "Got something good their Caulfield?" She takes a second before smirking at me in a way that makes me tremble... Get it together Victoria. "Oh, not really- Just wondering that maybe you took the joker cards out because you can't take a joke." Max tries to hold her confident features before she literally guffaws at her own joke.
"Please stop." What would her best friend call it? The one with the blue haircut and even more grotesque style? Oh yeah-Chloe Price. I remember for a bit when she was seventeen, she would comment on stuff by saying it was cancerous. I think I finally understand what she meant. As time goes on, and Max's plays get stronger-I'm fifteen points ahead of her and have one card left. But I have to wait for Max's turn to end. She just has three cards left. Grinning, I lean my back on the couches frame as I play with the card in my hands. "Face it Caulfield-You're down for the count." She lifts an eyebrow unamused. "No need to be ashamed-Not everyone wins their first real game like I did."
Max just stares at me for a second, looking me up and down with her careful big eyes. She then smirks in again in that manner that just makes me want to melt into a puddle. "You really are unique Tori-Not everyone loses to their opponent's first match." She then places her three cards down.
Three. Fucking. Aces.
"Floating." I begin to panic. Fuck! I pick up a six of spade and connect it with her pair of three sixes. "Fuck!" with a heavy groan-I put my card down face first on the table.
"HA! YOUNG GRASSHOPPER WINS!" She does a victory pump while sitting crisscross in front of me. Glaring, I throw the cards at Max, making her yelp before throwing them back. I try to dodge but for some reason, this fucking hipster is James Franco from now you see me! She pummels my face with cards, making me block my face with my hands. "Caulfield!" I scream, pushing forward to make her stop. I grab for her blindly, hearing a yelp as we fall back to the ground.
Fuck. What did I get myself into? I open my eyes to see her under me, my hands pinning down her shoulders and my body against hers. My darkened room making the shadows on her face curve beautifully. As if she needed good lighting.
As if those freckles needed a photoshop or editing done to them-As if those eyes needed some expression added to them by a certain outfit or scenery. As if that huff of breath hitting my face wasn't desirable enough. The blush her cheeks hold now as she searches my own disgustingly modified face scares me. Why can't I move...
"Victoria..." Max whispers-It should've been a question. That would be more appropriate for the situation. A question as to why the fuck haven't I moved off of her yet, why I am being such a creep lately and giving all my time to a hipster I insult more than express how I really feel to her? She lifts a hand up, slowly pushing my hand off one of her shoulders. I snap out of it, pushing myself up and away from her but then something catches me.
Her hand, grasping my cardigan's collar. Her face just as serious as it is when taking a photo. Now I feel trapped. Trying to get out of it, I whisper in a hoarse tone, all the bite and snark out of my tone. Fuck my visible vulnerability. "You know how much this cardigan cost and you're just wrinkling it like that?"
A dark but beautiful laugh escapes her lips as she smiles at me.
"Well, this is what happens when I wait for the pretty but bitchy Queen of Blackwell to make a move."
"So now, I have to wrinkle your cashmere to get my point across."
What fucking poi-
Max Caulfield pulls me in, slamming her lips against mine. I panic, at first thinking that I fell but she holds me in a surprisingly tight grasp, biting my lip and forcing entrance as I close my eyes and moan. I'm kissing Maxine Caulfield.
Me, Victoria Chase, is kissing a willing Maxine Caulfield right now. I sigh, kissing back as warmth spills through me. Rolling us over, Max lays on top of me and beings to go much gentler on my lips, satisfied that she proved her point. She tastes like strawberries...I bet she had gum before she came in. I smile against her lips, each release has us coming back to each other for more and more.
I never want it to stop...The wandering hands, the little chuckles she emits, the warmth spreading through me like a safety blanket, her obvious hunger bringing relief that my mouth doesn't taste bad...Finally...Finally, I got her.
...Do I? Is she using me? What if she is like Rachel Amber-Playing with me in a subtle way to make me bend my back the same way Chloe has done? I ave watched as she manipulated her...Max could be doing that to me at this very moment. I begin to panic again, losing my breath, I break my lips apart from hers to breathe. Spinning. Everything is spinning
"Victoria, breath," Max cups my cheeks as I struggle for breath. "Five things you can see, four things you can touch, three you can hear and two you can hear." I grasp her shirt tighter...Holding on to dear life. "Say them to me Victoria." A calm but stern tone. She cares-She has to care to be doing this... No, she doesn't. "I can see the ceiling, your g-gross hair, your big eyes, your st-upid pink s-shirt...U-um, and my collar." She smiles warmly, drawing circles on my cheeks once again.
"What can you touch?"
I squeeze her shirt again as the room spins a little slower, my vision still blurred by my eye that keeps dropping useless tears. "Your shirt." She wipes away my tears.
"What else Tori?"
I take a deep breath. "Ha-Does you t-touching me count?"
"Your soft fingers on my face...My t-welve hundred dollar rug...I let my left arm fall, hitting her foot. "Your sock."
"Good, Good-keep going, what can you here?"
So many questions.
The spinning slows. "Your voice and my breathing... I guess the heater too..?" I try to focus on Max's face-It's blurry and the spinning is making it hard to focus. "Okay...What can you smell?" I take a couple more deep breaths, clenching my fist to feel her shirt and her foot.
"...Strawberries...And cinnamon." The candle I lit once we came in... I then feel something hit my cheek as hands comb through my hair. Tears?
"Good...I'm so proud of you Tori, you did so well."
"Oh...Thanks." I try to focus on her, the spinning finally coming to a stop as more and more of Max becomes clear again.
Her eyes-Ten times bluer...Ten times more red.
"I'm sorry-" I try to push myself up, but I'm too dizzy, Max shakes her head fast it just makes me feel woozier.
"I caused it, It's my fault Victoria."
Max Caulfield. I try to get my head together as she is crying, sitting on me now as I lay flat on the rug. The same Max who never tries to hurt anyone, the one who always looks so content with everything, even the knowledge of her failures. She is unknowingly as beautiful as Rachel Amber, but different priorities and skills. She is best friends with Chloe Price, but puts her first and doesn't manipulate like Rachel Amber...Max can get anyone to do anything for her-but is too kind to either go forth with it or oblivious that she can. Rachel Amber was a diamond to everyone, but Max is my gem... I need to get better-I have to trust her if I had gotten her to trust me.
"Why did you kiss me..?" I bring my hands up, pushing the limits and daring to comfort her as I bring her down flush against my body. She sniffles in my shirt beautifully.
"Because I really...Really like you Victoria."
"Yeah, I do-You're-You're amazing."
"...You aren't using me for my money?" I ask in disbelief. More importantly-She thinks I am amazing.
"I don't care about money. You think that you are only good at what you do because you have fancy equipment to make it easier for you but, you are talented and skilled in your own right Tori-I've seen it. You can handle anything." I try to keep myself together as I squeeze her tightly.
"I doubt that Max-I'm not as good as you-
"Because you specialize in something else Victoria! You know this. I am more in the urban, landscape scene and you are more portrait and abstract photography. I am no better than you." Max reads my mind but its so much deeper than photography.
"When did you figure out..."
"Two days ago."
That... Makes sense, she was really shy on Tuesday and Wednesday she was really flirty with me-It was like whiplash.
"When did you realize you liked me..?"
"First day I heard you laugh... I tripped and Chloe ended up falling on her face because I pushed her off the sidewalk."
Oh, that day? That was weeks before I realized I liked Max. I stay quiet for a second, feeling her lift and fall with each breath I take. "...I realized I-...How I felt when I saw you put down Warren...I was quite aroused." Max giggles on top of me. "Oh har har." She lifts her face up, inches from mine with a teasing grin, her cheeks tearstained and her nose red, I can only imagine how I look with my runny makeup. "It's true Caulfield. Take it in." I bring my hand up to brush her bangs out of her face. She allows a little smile to develop as the tension is brought back to the room.
"...I'm sorry..." I whisper in the dead silent room.
"That whole episode I just had was because I thought you were using me..." Max's eyes go wide, hurt crossing her face.
"Manipulate you? No. Hurt you? Most definitely." I wince as she says the truth. Her doe eyes crinkle as she smiles at me, chin on my chest. "But the beauty to that Ms.Chase is that we chose who is worth the hurt for." Max's freckles danced as her cheeks rose to give me that dazzling smile. "Can I be really horrible and cheesy and say I think I found someone to hurt for?" I groan in detest, making her laugh as I smile.
"I can't stop you, but I can clean our faces."
With that, she rolls off of me and I get up. I grab a tissue and hand it to her as I take a makeup wipe to my face. Max looks in the mirror and frowns adorably. "How does someone look better without makeup when they looked so good with makeup, to begin with?" I grin in the mirror next to her, testing the waters by kissing her cheek.
"You're beautiful, Maxine Caulfield."
Max blushes, bringing herself to look at the floor instead of me.
I guess I don't regret playing Rummy anymore.