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Maxine Caulfield (Max, never Maxine) had a problem. She was frustrated and she wasn't the type to become quickly frustrated, no, if she had a problem she would figure it out, however this particular problem was not one that was so easily remedied. She was looking at the mini-whiteboard to the right of her wall, hands on her hips, and examined the situation. This was OK. Technically, she was the one to blame for this. If she hadn't started it first (he had so deserved it) this situation wouldn't have escalated up to this point.

At this point in the school year, though it wasn't that far into the school year, it was a well known fact that she and Nathan Prescott, resident asshole of Arcadia Bay, did NOT get along. She doesn't really remember how it started (yes, she does), but she is positive that it was in some way his fault (she accidentally bloodied his nose with her elbow while trying to open a bag of chips which then escalated into a verbal fight about who would beat whom in a fist fight). Sure, they weren't always antagonistic towards each other, they did after all have to sleep some times, but their relationship, at best was always a few choice words away from having to be talked to by Principal Wells and David Madsen.

Now to understand how this came to be, one must understand the way some (most) people at this school used the whiteboards on the walls next to each of the dorms: if you have a problem with someone, you take it out on their whiteboard. Now, Max would like to say that she is a kind person who is above such childish behavior, but then she'd be a two-faced liar and her mother did not raise a liar. She's never written anything out right vicious (Victoria is her friend, but Max can't help but hate her a little when she bullies others via whiteboard), but she has written some pretty passive aggressive things on other people's whiteboards (She likes to think she's channeling her inner Rachel Amber when she does because that girl is the queen of passive-aggression). And then Nathan Prescott happened.

It was a petty argument over seating arrangements in their group circle (honestly why did he have to be friends with all of her friends what did they see in him) that had left her pretty heated and in need of some serious venting. That's where the brilliant idea came to mind that she would bitch all over his whiteboard (it was something stupid that she actually can't remember anymore) and that's when it began. At least twice a day, they would insult each other via whiteboard, trying to one up each other on clever insults, but then something weird happened. It was him, it must have been him (it was her, but at this point she takes great comfort into lying to herself about it); the insults slowly, but surely progressed into mean, but flirtatious banter (it was a moment of weakness, she admits, when she wrote that he was actually nice to look act when he was acting half way decent. It took he a while to respond, but eventually he had written back a: “u too”).

Which leaves her at her current predicament. Nathan Prescott was a jerk who used his connections whenever it suited him (not anymore, something happened, she knew something was up with him and his dad, but he wouldn't say a thing), insulted her on a daily basis (there was no really bite to it anymore and he'd been avoiding her for about a week now, that coward), and was a general stuck up prick who acted like he owned everyone and everything (Victoria was the one who'd get the most upset by this generalization of Nathan. She'd say something like “You only see him that way because that's how you choose to see him.” or “He's going through some shit right now and your the last person he needs this from.”). However, that didn't stop her from having these stupid thoughts that would pop up in her minded when she least needed them. The first time it happened was during an argument that wasn't really an argument, but more like a heated discussion. Over the course of the discussion, they had gotten close, very close and when she noticed their proximity this stupid little thought about how nice he smelled popped into her head (he always smelled like those expensive colognes that you can only get in some upscale boutique in Paris). Then the thoughts escalated. And became more frequent. Really, she couldn't be blamed, she was young and hormonal, and he was handsome and he challenged her (after having to one up him for the better half of three months she had become really good at coming up with sharp responses). She would think silly little thoughts about how stupid (and cute) his hair was, or how much kinder he looks in blue or how-

“Max Caulfield you have been standing in that same position for a good five minutes!” Max's body jumps up and she moves he body to face the other girl standing right behind her. Oh great, its Victoria, this was so not fair.

Victoria looked over at the whiteboard, her eyes set in this strange combination disappointment and exasperation that usually comes along with anything having to do with her two best friends interacting. “Do you two honestly have to keep doing this,” she looked over a Max, tone of voice carrying just as much, if not more of the amount of aggravation she currently felt. “Keep doing what?” Now, Max tries to keep her voice as innocent as possible, but that only makes Victoria's eyes narrow even further.

Now, Victoria Chase was a force of nature. She carried herself like a queen and demand respect. You do what she asks of you, you do it the way she wants it, and you sure as hell don't bullshit her, which as what Max was trying so desperate to do at that current moment. As her dark brown eyes scan over Max's face, looking for any weakness to exploit, she speaks. “Max Caulfield,” her words are as sharp as a knife, “if I, and the rest of our friends, have to see you and Nate play this stupid little game of yours for another second I swear I will drown the both of you.” Max was not going to give into this, nope, she was going to stand her ground and she wasn't going to let Victoria bully her into whatever it was she was trying to bully Max and Nathan into doing. “I-I have no idea what you're talking about.” She could feel her mother's disappointment as she finished saying that terrible lie.

“I'm going to pretend that you didn't just lie to my face,” Oh no, now she was pissed, “and tell it to you again: I. Will drown. The both of you. If you don't go talk to him about this stupid crush. That both of you so clearly have on each other. Now.”

Max's body froze like a dear in front of headlights. Victoria must have noticed because her eyes softened. “Look Max, these things are always difficult to spit out but you're going to have to-”

“Nathan does not like me.” Victoria face palmed.

“Max,” she started off gently, like the way you start off when you want to tell a six year old that their turtle is dead, “If Nathan liked you anymore at this current moment, then he'd be Warren.”

Victoria takes Max's hands into her own and looks her in the eye. “I'm going to text Nathan and tell him that you're meeting this at the student parking lot in five minutes. You will be there. You will tell him that you like him and he will tell you that he likes you too. You'll make out or something and then the rest of us won't have to watch you two fall over each other like a pair of toddlers learning to.” She took out her phone and with a few rapid words, sealed the deal.

“Now, you have some confessing to do.” And with that she pats Max's head and gives her a gentle push in the direction of the parking lot. Max's walks to the parking lot slowly, in a confused daze.

 


 

She got their after he did. The parking lot was empty at this point in the day, with most of the students choosing to either spend their afternoon's in their dorms, near the classrooms, or outside campus. He was waiting for her near his car (she still thought that he was trying to compensate for something, but whatever, its not like she thinks about what's in his pants) with this irritated look on his face. “What the fuck do you want Max, some people have things to-”.

“Victoria says you like me.” Jesus, she sounded like a sixth grader. As she was chastising herself, she almost didn't notice Nathan's face go into panic mode. Almost. He stumbled over his words, only vowels and strange noises coming out of his mouth before cursing loudly.

“When I get hands on Victoria, I'm gonna...” He proceded to make even stranger hand gestures and going back to making weird noises. So, Nathan wasn't going to be very eloquent this conversation (at time, he's prone to some strange form of eloquence in his insults, like a poet), so Max decided to step in.

“So you admit it,” She starts of slowly and he freezes again, “You like me.”

His hand starts rubbing his neck in this bizarre moment of weakness. “Your face is OK I guess,” Max takes back the statement on eloquence, “and your freckles are nice. Look Max, what do you want from me?”

She looked at him for a moment (they standing so far apart how would they even talk like this) and took a step closer. “I like your dumb hair.” His eyes soften and her eyes do too.

He takes a step. “I like your stupid, big eyes.”

She takes a step. “I like your shitty personality.”

He takes a step. “I like how you make me feel.”

She's right in front of him. “I like you.”

He kissed her and she felt like she was the center of the world.


 

Rachel and Chloe walk hand in hand, sneaking their way back into campus. Their now almost daily routine consisted of going to see Frank before their sixth period, holding each other for what never feels like enough time, and sneaking back to avoid being hassled by Chloe's step-douche. Rachel was talking about how much she loved Pompidou, when the sight ahead of Chloe made her stop dead in her tracks. “Holy shit. Holy fucking shit.” That made Rachel stop and take notice too. “Rachel, text Victoria, quick.”

“Already on it,” was her only response as she texted. Chloe could almost not believe what was happening. It was happening, it was finally happening. After, what felt like for-fucking-ever. Nathan and Max were making out, Rachel was smiling at her, and the world felt right. This was a hella good day.