Chapter 8

Alec leaned close to Max as she lined up her next shot. "You wouldn't be cheating would you? By using some enhancements?" he asked with his tone barely a whisper.

Max grinned and kept her eyes on the table. She was very amused by Alec's tactics to throw her off. "Why would you think such a thing?"

Alec chuckled. "Two can play that game."

"Mmm-hmm, back away and let me work my magic." He stood so close she could smell every scent on him from the soap he used this morning to the beer he drank before the game. What stood out the most was the beat of his heart, when the room grew silent it was so clear. It threw her off because she only heard his. She chalked it up to just being a transgenic thing.

Alec stepped away and leaned into his pool stick. As Max moved her arm back to take the shot, he coughed. Max smiled as the ball went in. "So childish." She softly said as she walked past Alec. She lined up her next shot which wasn't an easy one, even for her enhanced abilities.

"Can't win them all." Alec said trying to sound consoling when she missed but a huge smile appeared across his face.

"Don't get so cocky pretty boy, you're not winning this game." Max tightly said. She didn't want to be a sore loser but missing that shot pissed her off.

"Calling me pretty isn't enough for me to let you win, quit sucking up." Alec loudly said to push her buttons when he knew what she had meant, the crowd around them laughed.

"I'm gonna kick your ass." She hissed. She was so tempted to just throw her self across the table and tackle him, how could one person be so annoying and cocky? She hated how sure of himself he always was.

"Empty threats." Alec said in a singsong voice as he made another shot.

"Y'all are a trip to watch." OC said with a laugh as she stood next to Max who just grumbled in response.

Alec focused, that next shot meant the win or another game. As fun as it was to play with someone on his level he needed to win, the satisfaction would be so much fun, he thought as he took the shot. He met Max's brown eyes as the ball rolled along the table, ending up in the pocket making a perfect shot. He grinned so widely his jaw began to hurt. "Enjoy those dishes. I know dishpan hand will look sexy on you."

Max swore she could feel steam coming from her ears. "Rematch."

"Nope, not part of the deal." Alec said as he laid the poll stick on the table. "I won fair and square now you be fair and hold up your end of the bargain."

Max watched as he grabbed his jacket. "Where are you going?" she asked rather then talk about their 'deal' since that conversation would take awhile because she didn't plan to follow through. She knew if the tables were turned he wouldn't either, he loved that damn shower too much.

"Home. I don't like to be gone long." Alec said as he backed away toward the door.

"Wait, I'll go with you." Once he was gone she turned toward Logan who had been sitting at his table the whole night. "I'll see you tomorrow?"

"It's still early; sure you don't want to stick around?" Logan was hoping to have another moment alone with her since the night had turned into a petty bet in his opinion.

Max grabbed her jacket and gave him an apologetic expression. "I have to work tomorrow and Ava gets up with the sun. I should get some sleep while I can. I'll call you." she said then left before he could ask her to stay again, she didn't want to see him hurt.

Alec leaned against his bike as she stepped outside. "You guys don't seem very together, no touching, no kiss goodbye." He observed.

Max sighed and decided it was best to tell him incase of an accident rather then ask why he had been watching her and Logan so closely. "I have a retro virus designed to kill him if we get too close. A farewell present from Manticore."

"Manticore sure knows how to screw someone over." Alec said before they sped off.

Max wondered on the drive home what the underlining tones in his voice meant. She knew he had a deep hate for Manticore for everything they did and hiding Ava but she had a feeling there was more to it then that, more to him.

Once back at the apartment Alec locked up and planted himself in front of the TV. Max was heading to her room but stopped when she noticed his plans. "Aren't you gonna go to bed?"

"Sleep is overrated."

"Shoot yourself." Max said as she walked away down the hall. She peaked in Ava's room and found her sound asleep, after she headed to her own room.

Sleep was overrated, she agreed three hours later when she sat up in bed fully awake. She climbed out of bed and decided to go raid the kitchen. As she stepped out from the hall she noticed Alec had never gone to bed but fell asleep on the sofa. "Alec?" she nudged his shoulder.

Alec's hand locked on her wrist causing his eyes to open and meet hers. When reality set back in he let her go. "Sorry."

"No problem." Max flatly said ignoring the throbbing from her wrist. She thought of his eyes when he first woke, they were so dark with emotions. He had covered it up so quickly she wasn't sure if she had seen it or not. But as she watched him get up and head to the kitchen, his body clearly tense she knew something wasn't right. "Are you okay?" she had a strong urge to ask.

"I'm fine, you caught me off guard."

"If you say so." Max said joining him in the kitchen.

"So what has you up?" Alec asked to get the subject off of him and rid some of the tension from the air between them. He knew Max suspected something was wrong but that didn't meant he was going to open up.

"I figured I'd get an early start before someone hogs the bathroom again." He didn't want to be honest so neither was she. Two could play that game, she thought remembering his words.

"If you would've won there wouldn't be a problem." Alec pointed out as he looked at her from across the table they sat.

"You weren't going to keep your end of the deal and neither am I."

"I would've, I'm fair that way. You're just pissed because I'm better."

Max couldn't help but scoff at the fact even at three in the morning he was still a cocky ass. "Prove it, rematch."

"You're starting to sound very desperate Maxie. Are you scared, the dishes aren't that bad." Alec said with a smirk, he was enjoying their tiff about the pool match. It gave him more to push her buttons on, it was just so easy.

"I'm glad you think so since you're doing them." Max stated as she rose from the table and opened the freezer to pull out a tub of ice cream she had been eyeing earlier.

"Breaks deals and steals my ice cream. I don't even let Ava touch my ice cream."

"So take it back." Max taunted before placing the spoonful of cookies and cream in her mouth.

She just didn't know how to give up, Alec smiled at the thought but couldn't make a move before someone else joined them. Ava climbed on her mother's lap. "What are you doing up Peach?" he'd have to leave the payback on Max for later.

"I smelled the ice cream." Ava said before taking the spoon and getting her own bite. "She shares." She said pointing out the fact he didn't.

"That's fine, enjoy my ice cream." Alec said in a surrendering tone but he didn't like the idea of always being out numbered. He stood from the table. "I'm gonna go take a shower."

"No!" Max and Ava yelled in unison as they jumped from the chair and ran to the bathroom. But they were too late, Alec locked himself in. "That's not fair, open up." Max said banging on the door.

"Hmm…no thank you." Alec called out from inside as the sounds of the shower could be heard. "Ah so warm, feels so good." he said, his voice taunting with humor and satisfaction.

"Ass." Max hissed and then heard Ava laugh beside her. "Don't use that word, it's bad. Now we have to finish the ice cream, all of it. And come up with as plan for payback." She explained as she walked side by side back to the kitchen.

"Yeah." Ava agreed but with a plan of her own in mind.


Isabelle A.