I do not own anything in this fic except for the plot.
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Dreamer 4 Ever
Your words mean a lot to me so thank you so much. I'm just happy people are still reading my works, but I'm not complaining about fb, they drive me to write even though my muse doesn't cooperate at times.
Anyway, enough talk. Enjoy the installment below.
Max didn’t even need to hear from Liz that he should go home with her, he just knew…well, judging from the threatening look she gave him, yeah, he just knew.
As soon as she opened the door, Bailey greeted Liz by wagging his tail excitedly upon seeing his master. Make that two masters, because it was not only the one who feed him that walked in but as well as the one who would play at the beach with him.
“Hey, Bailey” Liz greeted the dog with a pat on his head while Max knelt by him scratched behind his ears.
Not even a minute after they greeted her pet, Liz immediately started on him. “What’s going on with you?” She headed straight for her kitchen, took a bottle of water from her fridge and went back to the living room where Max was now standing. He instinctively reached for the water bottle, twisted the cap off and handed it back to her.
Bailey then went to his own bed, he sensed something was wrong and he didn’t want to get in the middle of it. Instead, he settled on just watching his owners from afar.
Liz moved to the couch and sat on her legs, placed the bottle on the coffee table before motioning him with just a stare to join her. Max reluctantly sat beside her; he wasn’t in the mood for this tonight. He just wanted to go home and ponder on what was really going on in his head or was it his heart? He himself couldn’t understand it. Though if he was honest; he probably would’ve just wound up back at her place and in her bed – but only to sleep!
Liz placed her elbow on the back of the light yellow sofa and rested her head on her palm, her dark tresses cascading on the side.
Max looked at her and as always was in awe of her simplistic beauty. He couldn’t fathom why she can’t see it. He copied her position and took a few strands of her chocolate colored locks and began twirling them around his fingers.
“Talk to me, Max.” Liz was looking at him with her doe eyes; how could he resist that? She knew him inside and out, she knew how to play him like a fiddle if she wanted. But Liz was too good to do that to him, she knew he needed to get this out or he wouldn’t have a moment’s peace.
Max sighed, there was no escaping this so might as well get it over with tonight. Maybe Liz could make some sense out of all that’s bothering him; it has always worked in the past. He’d share his thoughts, she’d explain it back to him, it would clear his head, and everything was alright in his world once again.
“I don’t even know what’s going on with me. How could I tell you?” he began.
“Ok, start with what you’re feeling.”
“Don’t go and act like a shrink on my behalf.” Max taunted.
“I’m not.” Liz picked up a throw pillow and hit him with it.
Max quickly raised a hand to catch it and he threw it behind him, far from Liz’s reach.
“Come on, you’re veering away from the topic.”
Max exhaled, “Look, I’m not really in the mood for this right now. But,” he cut Liz off after sensing that she was still going to force the issue, “if I still can’t get a grasp on this after a week, then I’ll come to you; deal?”
Liz knew when to push and when to back off, and the time for the latter was now. Whatever it was that was bothering Max, he wanted to sort it out for himself first. But with the promise that he was going to go to her when needed, that was more than enough for Liz.
“Deal.” Liz stood up, drank from her bottle and looked back at Max. “Are you sleeping over here?”
Max smiled but shook his head no. “Nah, I want some time alone for tonight.”
“Ok.” Liz walked Max to the door. “Call me when you get home.”
Max laughed; that was always a rule with Liz whenever she would part with a friend especially at night. She always wanted to make sure that they got home safe and sound. “I live right beside you, you know that right?”
“You should be used to this by now. Just call, ok? I won’t keep you on the phone long.” assured Liz.
“Alright, alright. See you tomorrow.” Then he reached down to pat Bailey. “See you tomorrow too, boy.” He stood up and faced Liz. “I’ll call.” Then kissed her cheek and left.
As Liz locked the door behind him, she hoped that whatever was going on with her friend will be resolved soon.
Max parked his car in his garage, locked it then went into his own house. As much as Liz’s home was bright, cheery and cozy, his was the complete opposite. It was your typical bachelor’s pad, black being the predominant color in his furniture. The living room had two black leather sofas, and a huge entertainment center that housed his wide screen TV, along with a DVD player, a couple of speakers, a subwoofer, a Nintendo Wii, and a PlayStation 3. Right beside it was a tall rack containing several movies and games.
He walked to the kitchen counter where the phone was and dialed Liz’s number.
“It’s me, I’m home.”
“Sleep well. Goodnight.”
The phone call was that quick. Max hung up and checked his answering machine for any messages. There were a few; one from his agent telling him about a runway gig he was being considered for. Another was from his mother, reminding him of the Sunday lunch they were having. And the last one was from his brother, Michael:
“Hey, bro. Just got back. Iz called, told me you’re acting weird and shit. Drop by my house tomorrow morning for a quick game. See ya.”
“Hey!” Max greeted his older brother as he entered the house from the back door early next day. He quickly dropped his gym bag on the kitchen floor and gave him a fierce hug and a pat on the back.
“How have you been?” Michael asked as he returned his brother’s gesture. He came down the stairs upon hearing Max’s bike pulling up his driveway.
Similar to Max’s house, Michael’s also clearly belonged to a bachelor. However, it had a woman’s touch with a few knick knacks strewn everywhere; like an aqua colored throw draped on the couch in the living room, a bowl of lemons on the kitchen table, a couple of pillows with ruffles on his king sized bed, and framed photos of him and his girlfriend all over the place.
“What exactly did Izzy tell you?” Max was curious. Though Isabel didn’t get that much out of him, he wondered what she could have told their sibling.
Michael was turning the ball in his hands and looked at Max with a smirk on his face. “Let’s take this outside. My mind works better when I’m playing ball.”
And with that, Michael strolled out to his backyard where a half court was built when he had his house made. Max was following closely behind him, all decked out in a black sleeveless shirt, black shorts and his black pair of Nike’s. Michael on the other hand, was wearing a pair of blue shorts, a gray sleeveless shirt and black sneakers of the same brand.
They walked on to the court, no one saying a word. Michael began dribbling the ball slowly, not knowing that Max was trying his hardest to be patient.
‘Patience is a virtue…I do not have.’ Max thought as he looked on.
“So are you gonna speak up or did you just want to play in silence?” Max asked sarcastically.
“Woke up on the wrong side of the bed?”
“Who was beside you?” Michael bounce passed the ball which Max quickly caught and ran under the net for an easy lay-up.
“What?” He asked as he caught the ball and threw it back to Michael.
Michael caught the ball with a thud. “Who was sleeping beside you?” he reiterated.
“What kind of question is that?” Max’s brows drew together.
“A simple one.” Michael started dribbling again as Max moved near him to block him from making a shot. Both men leapt off the ground, arms stretched up, one pair holding the ball, the other trying to tap it away. But Michael was able to release the ball and it sailed through the air, earning him three points.
Max walked towards the post and retrieved the ball, quickly stepping on the sideline and back in the court while bouncing the ball by his feet. “If you must know, I slept alone, in my house.”
“Well there you go.” Michael replied while being on the defensive.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Max stopped dribbling and stood up, effectively halting the game.
Michael followed suit. “All I’m saying is maybe you need to do something to get you out of this funk you’re in. Izzy told me you were thinking of quitting.”
“So? What’s wrong with that?”
“Maxwell, this is our livelihood. What else would you do if not this; be a waiter at Liz’s restaurant?”
“How did Liz become involved in this conversation? Besides, what’s wrong with being a waiter? It’s a decent profession.” Max defended.
“I’m not saying it’s bad, man. But can you seriously see yourself doing that?”
“Look, I haven’t really thought this through yet,” Max noticed Michael was about to interrupt so he swiftly continued. “I don’t even know if I will quit. I’m just trying to figure out what to do with my future. We can’t keep doing this forever; we’re nearing the end of this journey.”
“Are you high?” Michael asked.
“What’s with all this crap? ‘We’re nearing the end of this journey’." Michael mocked his brother. "Maxwell, do you even hear yourself?”
“I just want to know that in case this career ends tomorrow, I have a fallback.” Max explained.
“Max, you’re one of the sexiest men on this planet as voted by your fans and the press; your career won’t end tomorrow. Hell, maybe you can imitate Clooney, be all old and gray and still get named Sexiest Man Alive.” Michael laughed.
“You don’t get it.” Max said with a shake of his head.
Michael stepped beside his brother and put a hand on his shoulder. “You know what you need?”
“No, why don’t you enlighten me.” Max said sarcastically as he looked at Michael with a raised brow. Somehow he already knew that whatever his brother had to say would not be sound advice.
“A good lay. You, li’l bro, just need to get laid.”
“This is your solution to what I’m going through?”
“Yeah, you feel alone, maybe at a crossroad in life or something like that as they said in Oprah. Just go hook up with someone.”
“I doubt that Oprah gave that as a solution to her viewers.” Max sneered. “And even if she did, I won’t just hook up with someone I bumped into on the streets.”
“Well, it won’t be just anyone. You gotta look for one that has curves in all the right places and can get really flexible.” Michael said this while making an action as if squeezing an orange.
“You’re disgusting. Does Maria even know you talk like this?” Max moved away from Michael.
“Are you kidding me? If she could hear me now, I’d be single like you.” Michael swiped the ball from Max and started dribbling it between his legs.
“No wonder you fight all the time.”
“See, I don’t think the same way you do, although you’d think I’d have more reason to since I’m older. But I’m content with what I have; an easy job with a huge pay, and a super sexy girlfriend that gives me all the lovin’ I need. That’s what you need to look for. At least you got the job part already. Now you just have to look for the right woman.” Michael continued.
“What if I never find her?” Max voiced out one of his fears.
Michael stopped and stood up to face Max, all signs of joking around gone from his face. “That’s what’s really bothering you, isn’t it?”
Max just shrugged.
“How long has it been since you last went out on a date?”
“Two, maybe three years.”
“That long?!” Michael was stunned. Here was his brother, Mr. Loverboy himself, the one who could always get a girl with just one look, yet he’s been single, not to mention being ‘in need’, all this time? What happened?
“Wha—? How…how did that happen?”
“I dunno. Time flies, I guess.”
Michael was already shaking his head even before Max was finished speaking. “We gotta find you a girl man, and fast. Tell me what you like. Maybe I can ask Maria if she knows someone she can hook you up with or maybe Cal can introduce you to some new faces.”
“You sound like you’re going to hire a hooker. And are you seriously going to tell Maria about this talk we just had?”
“Well, I’ll skip some parts, but dude, desperate times call for desperate measures.”
“I’m not desperate.” Max stated firmly.
“Yeah, you are. Now come on, tell me your preferences; blondes, brunettes, redheads…”
“Looks don’t count. I just want someone sweet, caring, affectionate, thoughtful, understands the job I’m in.” Max kept talking as Michael started shooting hoops. He figured it wouldn’t be so bad if he started dating again. He couldn’t even remember why he stopped. But maybe, Michael…no, maybe Maria could find someone for him. “She has to be someone I can easily talk to, someone I’ll click with, and we can talk about anything and everything under the sun.” Max raved on and on, describing his dream girl without really even thinking about what he was saying.
Michael, on the other hand, just continued listening to his brother while playing. He jumped up to throw the ball but then realized where or rather whom Max’s words were pertaining to. The second his feet touched the ground, he was stunned because what Max thought was a small problem about being uncertain of his future has just turned into a huge shocker.
Yeah, Max didn’t want just anyone, he wanted Liz and he doesn’t even have a clue about it.