Why am I still hanging around?
When I know it brings me down
I'm hating everything
And you are getting rides home in his car
And making out in his front yard
I'm hating everything
Please don't remind me
Put your past behind me
It shines so bright, it blinds me
Wish that this would end
And I am not fine
Last night, I saw you online
Your screenname used to be mine
Why can't we just pretend?
"Online Songs" by Blink 182
He approached her in the usual fashion.
"Hey, go to this thing with me."
Terry blinked. "Why?"
Max squirmed a little, her cheeks flushing though it was invisible to the world. She had been avoiding telling him the truth for most of the week, but at this point she had no other choice.
"I have a date."
Terry's jaw started to drop, but he caught himself and instantly reverted to "Best Friend" mode. "Oho. Maxine Gibson going on a date? Who are you and what have you done with my best friend?"
Max rolled her eyes, her fingers still whirling back and forth on the keyboard in front of her. "Just because you've never seen me go on a date doesn't mean I don't date."
Terry perched himself on the side of her desk, waving to a couple classmates as they walked past before giving her an arched eyebrow. "But you don't."
"I do too."
"Fine, name one guy you've gone out with in the last three months."
Max finally tossed him a hate-laden glare. Terry just grinned. "Why is it any of your business?"
"Oh, don't get so worked up. I'm actually glad you can't go with me since you're starting to get a life."
He chuckled as she punched him in the arm. "What? That was a compliment!"
"Go away, McGinnis. Have fun at your super rich people dinner."
Terry pushed his bottom lip out childishly in a pout. "But I'll never have any fun unless you're there. I need you, Maxine, darling."
He shook his head and hopped off the desk. "Ah, you're no fun. Remember: no tongue on the first date."
Terry ducked as her pencil came flying at his head.
Terry could always roll with the punches and play it cool when he felt otherwise, but this time he'd almost let his real feelings slip. Who the hell was Max going out on a date with? Why hadn't he heard about it in the usual locker room gossip? He forced himself to stop obsessing over the matter by picturing what this guy would have to look like for Max to like him. He was probably tall, kind of skinny because she didn't like fat guys, maybe dark hair because she didn't seem to like fair-haired guys, and he'd have to be smart. Terry almost smacked himself in the forehead. He'd just pretty much described himself. No, this guy was probably some kind of nerd she could relate to. She valued intelligence over looks, which would mostly explain why the two of them had never messed around. He was nowhere near her level of competency.
Still, she was his best friend and he couldn't make a decision without her so later that afternoon, he drove to her apartment to ask her opinion on his new suit. Unfortunately, he noticed her older sister's car was parked outside and winced. Melissa liked him a little too much. Hell, the first time they met she thought he was some kind of model and seemed determined to corner him and molest the ever-loving life out of him when she got the chance. Rather than putting up with that, he climbed the fire escape and climbed through her window like he did most nights when he was in the Batman suit.
"Hey Max, which tie looks better with this suit?" He asked the instant his feet hit the floor without looking. He heard a nearly inaudible squeak and glanced up, confused. Terry froze.
Max was standing by her bed in the middle of pulling a black dress up over her hips. In her underwear. Oops.
In the couple of silent, shocked seconds when this happened, Terry couldn't help noticing her absolutely gorgeous figure. He'd always known she had one and flirted with her where appropriate, but he never really appreciated just how beautiful his best friend was until right now. Her chocolate-colored skin, the deep curves of her chest, the smooth hourglass shape of her hips, and her long, slender legs. Damn, she was hot.
"McGinnis!" Max hollered, her hands flying up to cover her partially naked form. He flushed pink and turned his back on her, mentally slapping himself for the mistake.
"Sorry, sorry! I forgot to knock."
"No shit, Sherlock!" She snapped, quickly wriggling into the dress. "What do you want? And it had better be good."
Terry felt rather silly explaining it to her, but he did anyway. "Er, I just wanted to know which tie looks better."
Max sighed. "And you drove all the way over here and barged in on me to ask that?"
She shook her head and turned him around, snatching the two ties out of his hands. After a moment, she held up the navy colored one.
"This one. Geez, can't you do anything on your own?"
Terry pouted. "Oh, come on, I value your opinion. Besides, you usually know what looks good on me."
He paused, watching her bend to pick up her heels. "Speaking of which…you look…amazing, Max."
The dress was black and spaghetti-strapped, stopping a few modest inches above her knees. The material looked to be something stretchy that mapped the generous curves on her body without going overboard. He missed the strapless one she'd borrowed from her sister to wear to the Gotham Park Towers that one time, but this looked good on her as well. She'd also clipped a velvet flower above her right ear, giving her face a softer look despite the hot pink hair.
Max crossed her arms, not noticing his admiring gaze. "With or without clothes on?"
Terry blushed again. "I already apologized. How long are you going to beat me up for this?"
"Until I feel satisfied."
"Good to know." He walked over to her vanity and started putting on the tie she'd chosen. Max watched him for a couple of seconds before speaking again.
"You came to check up on me, didn't you?"
Terry hesitated, glancing at her in the reflection. "Am I that see through?"
Max chuckled softly. "Like a jellyfish."
He spared her a sheepish grin. "Can you blame me?"
She rolled her eyes. "You are such a guy sometimes."
"Sorry, I haven't been taking my estrogen pills." Max laughed again. Terry finished messing with the tie and turned with his arms wide.
"How do I look?"
"Flawless, as usual." She replied dramatically, straightening his tie a touch. He caught her hand and kissed the back of it, bowing slightly.
"Thank you, m'lady."
Max groaned, tugging her arm loose. "Ugh. Go to your dinner thing and stop bothering me."
Terry just grinned, following her out of the bedroom. "Oh, please, you like the attention and you know it."
She turned to snap at him and then stopped, allowing a crafty smile to cross her lips. "I don't, but I know someone who does. Melissa! Terry's here!"
Terry paled as he heard footsteps approaching from the den and seconds later, her older sister appeared with a happy grin on her face. She wasted no time in brushing past her sister to give him a hug.
"Terry, I didn't hear you come in! How are you?"
"Er, fine. Nice to see you too." He hugged her back and glared at Max over the girl's head. Max stuck out her tongue and headed towards the kitchen. Melissa finally pulled back to smooth her hands over his shoulders, her brown eyes bright with interest.
"Wow, nice suit. Where are you heading?"
"Uh, nowhere special. Just to some party for my boss."
"Oh yeah, Terry, did you ever find a date for that?" Max called from the kitchen with a hidden sadistic tone. He felt himself getting paler. She wouldn't.
"Melissa, are you doing anything tonight?" Max asked sweetly, leaning against the wall in a faux casual manner while sipping a glass of lemonade. Melissa blinked at her.
"Terry, why don't you take Melissa with you?"
Terry closed his eyes. She did. Damn her. Melissa seemed to burst with excitement. "Really? That would be great! I have this new dress I've been dying to wear! I'll be right back!"
She scampered off to her room and slammed the door shut. Terry took a deep breath and walked over to Max, leaning down into her face and pronouncing each word slowly.
"You. Are. So. Dead."
Max batted her eyelashes at him and patted his cheek lovingly. "Now we're even."
Melissa was not awful company at the party, but she had a bit too much energy for Terry. However, she did look great: she'd thrown on a burgundy strapless dress with a nice lace jacket to cover her shoulders. She'd also fluffed her black hair out to frame her face and applied makeup to give her a classy appearance for the party. He had to admit that she looked like she belonged on his arm. Normally, he'd have taken Dana but she had broken up with him a couple days earlier because he missed yet another date due to his job.
So far, the party had been uneventful. Bruce had asked him to go to represent the company so he wouldn't have to put up with the snobby upper class socialites and self-absorbed celebrities. Terry didn't mind going because the food was usually amazing and he spent most of his time scouting out the hottest women in the room. With Melissa there, he could find an excuse to blow off his rapidly growing fangirl club of socialite daughters. Since they were so rich, they didn't have many encounters with 'normal' boys their age and seemed to think Terry could fill that void. He had no interest in being their toy…not even in the good sense.
He and Melissa were cooling their heels from dancing in a nice spot by the balcony when Terry noticed a dark-skinned girl somewhere in the crowd with a killer body and…pink hair. He excused himself from Melissa's company and weaved his way through the crowd, careful to avoid a couple members of his fan club, and tapped her on the shoulder. The girl turned, her arm looped within the arm of a dark-haired guy.
Max gave a start as she recognized him. "Terry? What are you doing here?"
"You didn't tell me you were going on a date to this function."
"Max, who is this?" The brown-haired gentleman next to her asked politely.
"Oh, um, this is Terry McGinnis. He's a friend of mine."
Terry realized with a start that this guy was her mystery date. He was the same height as Terry with auburn hair and light green eyes accented by his dark grey suit. Terry felt slightly irritated that his former theory turned out to be completely wrong. The guy was flat out handsome, almost to the ridiculous point. What was Max doing with this man?
"Rob Parson. Nice to meet you." He replied, smiling. Terry's eyes darted over to Max, narrowing slightly in suspicion.
"Same here. How do you know Max?"
"My father is the Dean of the College of Technological Sciences at Gotham Tech. We met while she was taking night classes there last summer. She's said nothing but good things about you."
"Funny, she's never mentioned you before." That response earned him a glare from Max. Rob took no offense to it, which ticked Terry off even more.
"I didn't think she would. We don't have much of a relationship outside of class, but I thought she might enjoy a nice evening out like this." Rob explained, still a picture of politeness. Weird, coming from a kid whose father was a dean. Terry would have expected a completely different person.
"And I am having a nice time," Max smiled through her teeth, but the glint in her eyes was menacing. Terry ignored it.
"Well, if you don't have a table, Melissa and I are sitting up there near the balcony." Terry offered, gesturing towards the area. Rob seemed delighted by this.
"Great! I'm gonna grab a quick drink and I'll meet you two there."
He nodded to them and started towards the bar near the end of the ballroom. Terry watched him go and then turned his gaze on Max, whistling.
"Wow. He's a nice catch."
"Smart, polite, and handsome too? Sign me up for one of those."
"Terry." Max snapped finally, crossing her arms underneath her chest. He fell silent and shoved his hands into his pockets, meeting her stare with a cool demeanor.
"See, this is why I didn't introduce you. You don't know how to act in civilized company." She sneered, starting towards the table. Terry snorted.
"Oh, I'm uncivilized. You're cozying up to this guy so you can get into Gotham Tech!"
She whirled on him, poking a finger in his chest. "Don't even go there. Rob is a good guy—no—a great guy. He's certainly better company than you."
"Ha," he barked. "He couldn't provide half the conversation I could."
"Please, you can't even spell 'conversation', C-student." Terry winced at the comment and caught her wrist to keep her from leaving him. She turned to slug him but he tugged her close and wrapped an arm around her waist. After a second, she could hear the music around them and realized he was trying to dance with her to keep up appearances. Not wanting to make a scene, she lifted her other hand to his shoulder and fell into a simple ballroom dancing style. She hated that she knew how: it came from all those old movies she and Terry used to watch late at night.
"So he's Mr. Perfect then? Handsome, smart, connected?" Terry continued, his voice a little lower but just as irritated.
"No. I actually know him. He treats me like an equal. We have good chemistry." Max insisted, wondering why she was defending a guy she hadn't known for more than three months. But then again, why was Terry so interested?
"What? I don't treat you like an equal?"
"No, you treat me like your secretary. I'm good enough to be your friend, but not your partner. We aren't a team." She found it much harder to argue now that she was so close to him, catching a bare whiff of his cologne when he moved against her every now and then. Damn, he smelled good, she thought.
Terry sighed. "This again? We've had this discussion before."
Max frowned. "Yeah, we have. And anyway, this isn't about you for once. This is about me. I like this guy. You don't have to get to know him. It's my life and I can do whatever I want with it."
His gaze hardened a little more. "I've heard you say that before and you were wrong then just like you are now. You are my responsibility, Max."
His response surprised her, mostly because he'd never said anything that possessive to her before. She felt a flurry of emotions at once: confusion, flattery, and offense. She settled for the most logical of them before speaking.
He came to a stop as the music slowed, his voice softer than before. "Because I'm your friend."
"Max!" She glanced towards the stairs to see Rob waving to them. She reluctantly slipped out of Terry's embrace and began weaving her way through the crowd. Terry followed dutifully, his expression more somber than before.
The rest of the evening pretty much went off without a hitch. The four of them sat at the table and made small talk about different things like school and work and college. Terry had gone to the bathroom and was washing his hands when Rob came in, whistling a cheerful tune. When they talked at the table, he had begrudgingly admitted to himself that Rob was a good guy: charismatic, charming, and all-around pretty nice. Maybe he could put up with the guy being Max's potential boyfriend. Maybe.
"Y'know, Max is a really great girl." Rob mused after he'd done his business, using the sink next to Terry.
"I'm surprised you haven't made a move on her yet, McGinnis."
Terry stopped moving for a second and glanced over at him. "Pardon?"
Rob smiled, but it was a different smile from earlier. This one seemed pretty smug. "C'mon, man, a blind dude could see through you. You like her, I get it."
Terry stood to his full height and took a deep breath, trying to quell his temper. "Max and I are just friends. We've been friends for a while. Don't you think if I had feelings for her I'd have done something by now?"
Rob shrugged, tearing off a paper towel to dry his hands. "Maybe, but I know your type. You don't think you care until some other guy is after her. Then you're up in arms because you think she's yours."
Terry dried his hands and tossed the towel away, crossing his arms. "Is that so? What type of guy are you then, Rob?"
"Oh, I don't beat around the bush. If I like the girl, I go for it. I just thought it would be a good idea if we had a man-to-man chat, that's all."
Terry chuckled darkly. "Man? That's a little generous, don't you think?"
Rob's smile began to falter around the edges and his green eyes seemed to harden. "Look, I just want to set the record straight here. Max is with me now."
"It's funny how you can make that decision based on one date, pal."
"One date is all it took."
"Report back to me at the end of the night and we'll see if that's still true." Though he had the strong urge to punch the guy right in his perfectly square chin, Terry turned and left the bathroom with his fists clenched in an effort to keep from resorting to violence. That worked in his other world, the world full of criminals and thugs, not this one. Here, he had to be careful since he was representing Bruce Wayne. At least that's what he told himself to remain calm.
When he got back to the table, he wrapped his hand around Max's upper arm. "Max, can I talk to you for a second?"
Max excused herself from her sister's company and followed Terry to the balcony, slightly annoyed by his insistent behavior.
"What is it now, Ter?"
"Your little boyfriend decided to have a chat with me in the Men's Room. I thought you might like to know your date is a douchebag," Terry said flatly, not bothering to explain the situation better than that. Max frowned.
"I thought we've already had this conversation."
"Max, the guy basically told me to screw off because you're his girl. I half expected him to come back out here and tattoo his name on your forehead."
She shook her head. "You're probably misunderstanding what he meant. You do that sometimes, Ter."
"Great, so you're taking his word over mine?"
"Yes, but only because you've been acting like a jealous brat all night!" Max snapped finally. The instant she said it, she wished she hadn't. Terry was her friend. A damn good one, too, even if he did wear tights and beat up criminals dressed like a giant bat every night. She shouldn't have yelled at him like that.
He seemed hurt by the comment for a handful of seconds but in a flash, his handsome face shut down and became as cold as the ice blue of his eyes. When he spoke, his voice was low and neutral with a warm undercurrent of anger.
"Fine. If that's the case, forget I said anything."
Her mouth opened to say something, but he brushed past her and went back inside. Max sighed and palmed her forehead in frustration.
"Stupid, stupid move, Max."
"This is it, right?"
Max blinked, drawn out of her reverie by Rob's voice. She'd tried not to sulk for the rest of the evening after Terry left with Melissa soon after their argument, but it was pretty futile. She barely even remembered the drive home since she had been so wrapped up in her own thoughts.
"Well…I'm glad you went out with me. I had a great time." Rob continued, his smile luminescent in the moonlight. Max smiled back at him, but it was strained. Rob was gorgeous, smart, and polite. Everything she felt was on her lists of things she liked about a guy. She stared at his handsome visage in the dark and felt a hollow spot in her chest. Why didn't she like him more? She should have. A few months ago she would be diving into his arms.
"I did too. Thanks for inviting me. Good night." She undid the seatbelt and laid a hand on the handle to the car door, but Rob stopped her. Her heart thundering in her ears, Max turned to face him. He leaned across his seat and planted a soft kiss on her lips. She couldn't remember the last time she'd been kissed. It was nice, but…but…
"I'll see you later, Max." He said softly after he pulled away. She nodded and got out of the car, pulling her coat up over her shoulders. Rob waved and pulled out of the parallel parking space. She watched his car disappear around the corner and felt no compulsion to go into her own apartment. Her own sense of pride wanted her to forget Terry and his selfishness, but part of her knew that if she did, she'd be miserable for God-knew how long.
The pink-haired girl heaved a sigh and dug in her purse for her car keys.
"I hate doing the right thing."
Terry frowned, confused at who could possibly knocking on his door at this time of night. His mother and Matt were out of town at the moment.
The person on the other side cleared their throat before speaking: "I am the terror that flaps in the night!"
Terry coughed into his hand to hide the smile and walked over to his bedroom door, opening it. Max stood there wearing a smirk because she knew he got the reference for no other reason than the fact that the two of them watched way too much television together. He leaned against the doorjamb, continuing to seem uninterested.
"How'd you get in my house?"
Max held up the spare key. "I'm a genius, remember? It wasn't that hard to find."
"Right. May I ask what you're doing here? Shouldn't you be off necking with whatshisface?"
"If you'll stop with the brooding, angst façade I'll tell you why I'm not doing that right now." Max answered tartly, unfazed by his cold expression. She knew better. Terry was trying to protect himself by blowing her off. She'd done it enough times to recognize it. He stared at her evenly for a long moment.
"How do you know I don't have someone in here with me?"
Max smiled sweetly. "Because she would have said something by now."
"Sell it somewhere else, McGinnis."
He grunted and stepped away from the door, allowing her to push it the rest of the way open. The lights were off and moonlight spilled in from his window, providing the room its own silver glow. Terry walked back over to his seat on the sill and Max followed, tossing her jacket on his bed as she passed it.
"Look, I shouldn't have yelled at you, okay? It was immature of me and I'm sorry." Max blurted out before she could stop herself.
"I know you're always looking out for me and I appreciate that, even if I don't always show it. Happy?"
Terry snorted. "That was the worst apology I have ever heard."
"Deal with it. It's all you're getting out of me." Max shot back, inwardly relieved that they were back to their normal pattern of insults. There was nothing scarier than a silent Terry. He always had something to say. Terry shook his head and sighed, leaning his head back against the glass.
"Forget it. I accept your apology."
"Thank you," she mumbled, feeling the tension melting out of her shoulders. As the silence mounted, Max actually started to notice his appearance. He'd taken off the suit jacket, tie, and shoes and his dress shirt was untucked with the first three buttons undone. The thin material molded over his muscles in a very attractive way, one she hadn't thought him capable of. It was the first time she ever thought of him as sexy without him putting effort into it. Max wanted to shake her head and clear these thoughts out of her mind, but the longer she looked at him the more she started to realize that this was why she didn't like Rob as much as she should have. She already had Terry.
After a moment, she noticed Terry's eyes had opened and he was staring right back at her. "Something wrong?"
She blinked. "Huh?"
"You were looking at me funny."
Max shifted her weight uncomfortably, scowling. "That's because you're an idiot."
"I love it when you sweet talk me like that."
She rolled her eyes. "I need to go home. Melissa's gonna wonder where I am."
Max turned on her heel to go but Terry called out to her before she got another step. Chewing nervously on her bottom lip, she faced him. He had uncrossed his arms like he meant to get up, but didn't. His mouth opened, closed, opened, and then closed again. He lowered his eyes to the floor and shook his head again.
"Never mind. It's nothing."
That did it. Max groaned and palmed her forehead in exasperation. "Would you stop being such a girl and just do it already?"
Do it. Just do it. You have to find out if this is real. "Fine."
Max tossed her purse on the bed, stomped over to him, grabbed the front of his shirt, and pulled him up to her mouth. Terry froze out of pure shock. Max had squeezed her eyes shut in fear, praying to God she hadn't just made the stupidest mistake in the world. Even if she had, she couldn't help noticing that his lips were very soft and very warm. She started to pull back since he wasn't responding, but she felt his large hands sliding over her hips and his tongue gliding over her bottom lip. He was kissing her back. Good God in heaven, he was kissing her back.
Only, he didn't stop there. He tugged her forward and sat her down on his lap, causing the poor girl's mind to take a vacation for a while. The kiss turned French very quickly after that point and she amazed herself with her ability to keep up considering she hadn't kissed a boy in quite some time. She wanted to feel bad for kissing her best friend like this but as hard as she tried, she couldn't. Some small, hidden part of Max had wanted this for a long time but she never even entertained the thought because she felt Terry wasn't interested. Sure, he flirted with her on occasion but that was just his personality. How could she have known that underneath the protectiveness and the teasing was genuine affection? Men never made any sense to her.
She didn't come to her senses until Terry broke from her mouth and pressed his face into her throat, panting slightly and speaking with a low voice.
"You cannot imagine how long I've wanted to do this."
Max giggled. "Sorry about that."
"Hmm, I don't know if I'll ever forgive you," he murmured, nuzzling his nose in the spot just above where her dress started. Max felt a shiver go down her spine. Damn him, she was ticklish there.
"You know, this would be a very good time for you to stop me," Terry pointed out, though he couldn't bring himself to pull away. He couldn't even believe he was getting to touch her fantastic body like this. He wished he could see the look on that jerk Rob's face if he walked in on them right now. It would have been perfect.
"Oh. Um. Yeah." Max mumbled, trying to get her brain to focus on something other than Terry's very warm and muscular body underneath her. It didn't help that he was gently running his hands up and down her sides, sending goosebumps over her stomach and down her spine. Terry chuckled at the expression on her face: somewhere between disappointment and embarrassment.
"That's my Max, alright: always focused." She blushed and glared down at him finally, offended.
"Since when am I your anything?"
"You're right, I guess." He cleared his throat.
"Max, will you go out with me?"
She seemed surprised by this, but pretended to think about it. "I probably shouldn't, you know. Melissa will be crushed."
"She'll get over it."
"Not to mention you're an overconfident smartass."
"Yeah, but you like that about me."
Max sighed. "Fine. Wayne isn't going to like this."
Terry's mouth (and mind) wandered back to her neck and she felt herself caring a little less about his boss' rules about dating.
"He can just fire me, then."
"I mean that much to you?" she asked softly. Terry smiled.
A/N: Once again, a plotbunny popped into my head and onto the page. I hadn't gotten a name for it until I jumped in my car and this song came on my iPod on the way home. This is just a simple little story about the possibility of Terry and Max hooking up, nothing more, nothing less. I feel it is my duty to the fandom to produce more sexy canon stuff considering how many OCs there are out there. I'm not completely happy with the last part merely because Max is a bit OOC, but I tried my best to twist the situation to where it sounds like things Max would say. Hope you liked it. Don't forget to review. It makes me know I done good.