DISCLAIMER: I do not own Maximum Ride.
A/N: This is a one shot. Hope you enjoy…
If you're a fan of my other stories, or you just like this one, I'm working on a new story right now. I should be posting it soon, depending on how I go. I promised myself I wouldn't publish it until I'd written 10 chapters. It's called 'Emotional Shields and Joyless Eyes'. So, keep an eye out.
I sat in a nightclub, nursing a drink in my hands and wishing that I was drunk already. Unfortunately for me, my body was now seemingly immune to alcohol. I wished that my body hadn't chosen this point in time to suddenly keep me sober.
I'd been lost for weeks, searching everywhere for inspiration. My photography was my life, and now that I suddenly couldn't do it – not well, at least – I found that my life was pathetically empty. Without my work, I was left in a state of searching for something just out of my reach. If only I knew what I was searching for.
This had all happened after Max had walked out of my apartment a month ago. She'd muttered some excuse that I couldn't remember, but I knew she was just running away from me. I hadn't picked up on her flight tendencies, so the whole fiasco had come as a surprise. One second, I'd been at the top of my game. The photos I was producing were gorgeous and original, all because she was the subject. But, alas, the second she walked out the door, everything had gone up in proverbial smoke.
I sometimes convinced myself that I regretted having a relationship with her. I often persuaded myself that if I hadn't made things complicated – mainly through sex – then maybe she wouldn't have run. After all, if it was just another model posing for a camera, then everything should have been fine.
But I knew that out of everything, I was glad for the short time I'd shared with Max. She'd been everything I wanted – tough, funny, caring, and beautiful. She waltzed into my life and shaken me from my world of silence. The moment I saw her, I knew that she was my muse and my lover, all rolled into one. Too bad it hadn't lasted.
I caught the bartender's attention and ordered another drink. It was futile at this stage, but I needed something to occupy my hands anyway. I gazed at the throng of dancing people and caught a glimpse of familiar shoes. I scrambled to my feet, eyes wide, as I searched the crowd for those shoes.
Max had always worn converse. But not just any converse – they were bright purple. It wasn't the colour that stood out, though. Max had taken it upon herself to decorate her shoes by splitting glow sticks and splattering them with the liquid from within. The effect was made strange by the fact that her shoes weren't white, but purple. I'd never seen another pair like them.
I nearly ran onto the dance floor, searching the floor for the shoes. It took me a few minutes of pushing random people aside and looking like a complete lunatic before I finally found them.
My gaze slid up her body, taking in her long perfect legs and her little denim shorts. She was wearing a tank top and looked like she hadn't planned on coming to a club at all. But for all I knew, she could have picked that outfit out especially. Max had always hated dressing up, so it was only natural that she should be wearing something so casual. My eyes touched on her hair. I had never been able to tell if it was brown with blonde streaks or blonde with brown streaks. It looked amazing, anyway. Finally, my eyes landed on her brown ones.
"Fang?" she yelled over the thumping music.
I grabbed her hand, unwilling to ever let it go. I swallowed and vaguely wondered if she thought I was crazy. Actually, I was wondering that myself. Maybe the lack of sleep I'd been suffering from had finally caught up to me.
I tugged on her hand, pleading her with my eyes to follow me. She mumbled something to one of her friends and reluctantly followed me out of the club. I felt relief when she didn't run.
Outside, the cool air helped clear my mind. I took her in greedily, just in case I never saw her again after tonight. My photos hadn't done her justice.
"Fang, what's wrong? You look terrible!"
I ran a hand through my messy hair, aware that I probably looked as bad as I felt. I hadn't slept properly in weeks and I'd recently turned to drinking to fix all my problems.
"Max, I need you to model for me again. I'm losing my mind. I can't find inspiration anywhere! Even when I hold my camera up and take a random photo, it looks terrible! I even tried photographing the scenery! You'd think that'd be pretty simple, wouldn't you? Apparently not." I was babbling, which was very uncharacteristic. It seemed that the lack of sleep had finally gotten to me. Well, more than usual.
"Fang, calm down," she soothed, resting her perfect hand on my shoulder. Everything about Max was perfect. It made me feel ugly and unworthy in contrast.
"Please say you'll model for me. Even if it's just for one night."
"Well..." She looked uncomfortable, no doubt thinking about the last time she'd modelled for me.
"What if we promised not to have any sex? It will be strictly professional. I'll pay you more than I did last time," he offered, desperate.
I gave up on speaking. I knew I would go insane eventually. I thought I'd had a few more days, though. The look on her face was sending me spiralling down further into my depression and madness. She was going to say no.
"Well…okay. But no sex. No relationship. Nothing. You'll be the employer and I the employee. Understood?"
I sagged in relief. "Thank God!" I thought that I was going to die from lack of inspiration. Taking photos was the only thing I was any good at. I couldn't have survived if I'd had to change jobs.
Max let out a tiny smile. "I'm worried about you," she explained, eyeing me closely. "I think you've spoken more tonight than you did in our entire relationship."
I grinned, grabbing her hand and practically dragging her towards a cab. I knew that I should have probably asked her if she was available before I dragged her off, but I wasn't really thinking straight. She didn't seem to mind though, as we rode in silence towards my studio. I wondered if she'd missed me anywhere near as much as I'd missed her.
I led her up the stairs and into my studio. It was large and held a bed pushed up against a backdrop. There was also a couch I used sometimes and an empty space decorated appropriately. The place was a bit of a mess because of my recent experimenting. I'd tried so many different things to get ideas, but none had worked. Even when a model sat in front of me and posed, I couldn't take any decent photos.
"Usually, I would have taken you out into the real world and tried to find a nice backdrop for you to stand in front of. But we can do that later. I just need to make sure that, with you back in front of my camera, I can work again," I said.
She smiled, dropping her bag on the table. The action brought back memories. She'd put her bag in that exact same spot every other time she'd been here as well. Those memories led to ones of ruffled sheets and her perfect lips.
Quickly, to discourage those thoughts, I positioned her on the bed and arranged her in a random pose. I stepped back, admiring her, and fiddled with the lights until she looked perfect. Slowly, I raised my camera to my eyes and peered through at her. Moving around until I was in the perfect position, I snapped a photo. I quickly reviewed it and grinned. She looked beautiful! It wasn't a dud. I felt immense relief.
"Got your inspiration back?" she asked, stretching out on the bed and looking at me with a sexy smile. I immediately snapped another photo.
"It appears so," I said, relaxing for the first time in weeks.
I peered down at my camera, looking at the image of her. A slow smile spread across my face as I came up with an idea.
"I'm going to start a new line of photos," I announced, quite unexpectedly.
"Oh?" she said with raised eyebrows.
I disappeared into a separate room until I found the pile of clothes I kept for my models. I picked out a white dress and some white wings. When I presented them to Max, she almost laughed.
"I won't do the typical angel photos. No, this line will depict a human girl with wings. Like a genetic hybrid. A…a bird-girl. You'll be a normal woman in extraordinary circumstances. I'll try and show a woman fighting to survive… on the run! Give the dress back, you can stay in the clothes you're wearing," he said, reaching for the dress.
"Are you alright? You're talking a lot…"
"I'm fine. I haven't been sleeping well, is all," I said, pleased by her concern.
"It's been that bad?" she asked, grazing her hand over his unshaven face. He closed his eyes at the contact, breathing in her scent and wondering how he could possibly live his life without her.
"It's been pretty bad," I admitted, looking away from her probing gaze.
I grabbed her hand and checked my watch. It would be sunrise soon, and I needed the natural light if I was going to take any decent photos.
"Put the wings on," I told her gently as I let her hand go and went out back. I searched until I found some leftover makeup from my last photo shoot.
When I entered the room again, she was wearing the wings and looking decidedly angelic. I took her in, and marvelled as ideas flowed through my mind. I'd been empty for weeks, but one look at her gave me a million ideas.
I led her over to a chair and sat her down. She seemed confused until I brought out the makeup kit. But as I looked at her, I reconsidered. She was so beautiful without makeup. Wouldn't that be all the difference? A photo shoot without makeup. The distinction might be the thing to set me apart from other artists. I put the makeup down on the table and smiled.
"Do you mind if we go out for a quick shoot?" I asked, taking her hand again. "I have a great idea and I think we could pull it off."
"Fang, that's the first time you've actually asked my permission tonight. I'm here now; we can do what you want."
I smirked. "Not everything I want," I said with a cheeky wink.
She groaned, swatting at me ineffectively.
I pulled her up and led her towards the door. She went to grab her bag, but I told her to leave it. She shrugged as we left the studio. I still had too much alcohol in my system to drive with a clear conscience, so I called another cab.
The ride was uncomfortable for me as I recalled the encounter we once had in the backseat of my car. My breathing got shorter as I remembered the passion we'd always shared. I wondered if she was thinking about the same thing.
When we arrived at our destination, Max seemed confused. I paid the driver and smirked at her. We were out the front of a burger store and I knew she probably thought I'd gone completely insane by this point in time. I just smiled and led her around the side to an alleyway. The dumpster was overflowing and it perfect.
"So, I think I'm going to call this line Fight or Flight," I explained. "You're on the run." I paused, thinking of the irony. "You're being hunted by the people who genetically modified you. So, you have to fight for survival every day. Think you can portray that?"
"This is really complex for something people will think of as just another Angel series," Max said.
"Well, we'll give them the back story. I'll be unique."
"You'll be crazy," she muttered.
"I heard that," I called playfully.
She rolled her eyes.
I dragged her over to a patch of grass and dug around until I had dirt on my fingers. I smeared it across her cheeks, ignoring her protests, and rubbed some into her arms and legs. I ruffled her hair and smirked at her pout. When I was done, I positioned her near the dumpster and found the perfect angle to take the photo from. The sun was rising, giving me some natural light to work with.
She stood still, pasting a mournful expression on her face and staring straight into the camera. The effect was eerie, even before I'd taken the picture. I snapped away, finding different angles and making sure the wings were glowing from the available light.
Next, I got her to run past the dumpster several times so that I could capture some moving shots. I ordered her to do several things – stand on top of the dumpster, pretend to fly, lay on the ground. She took it all in stride, seemingly amused by the whole thing.
Eventually, she stole the camera off of me and snapped a picture of the both of us. She smeared some dirt onto my cheek, taking pictures all the while.
"I kind of need that, Max," I said, amused.
"Come and get it," she teased.
I grabbed her around the waist and couldn't resist kissing her. Fire spread through my limbs as she kissed me back. I could feel every inch of her pressed up against me and the feeling was amazing. Her hands went to my hair and mine slid under her shirt until I could feel the lace of her bra against my heated fingertips. I felt her snap another photo and grinned into her mouth.
Gasping, she pulled away and smacked me in the chest, pretending to be angry. All the same, the moment was lost and I knew she wanted to stick to the 'no sex' rule. I nearly pointed out that we never said 'no kissing', but refrained.
We eventually returned to my studio. Max headed straight for the shower as I tried to clean up as best I could. I avoided looking at the bed, aware that we'd had plenty of late night adventures under those covers.
When she finally emerged from the shower, she was dressed in the same clothes she'd arrived in. Her hair was damp and creating a wet spot on the back of her shirt. I was tempted to press my face against her neck and breathe in her scent. But I managed to refrain.
She picked up my camera and started scrolling through the photos. I peered over her shoulder, finally giving in and resting my chin on the top of her head. I was a fair amount taller than her, so it was a perfect fit.
The photos looked amazing. The low light lent a feeling of otherworldliness to the whole scene. Max was radiant no matter how much dirt was on her skin. I liked the photo of her running, looking over her shoulder as if someone was chasing her. However, when she paused on the photo of us kissing, I had to admit that it was my favourite. The contrast of her vibrant white wings and creamy skin compared to the shock of my black hair and tanned skin was amazing. It was like we were opposites. Yin and yang. We fit together perfectly.
She turned to face me, eyes shining with some unknown emotion. I watched her intently, trying to decipher exactly what she was feeling. She seemed to reach a decision as she set her shoulders and opened her mouth to speak.
"I go insane when you're not in my life," I said before she could say anything. "I'm a mess without you. I need you so badly, and not just for my work. If I had to choose, I would choose you as my girlfriend, not as my muse. You're more important to me than my work." It took a lot for me to admit that, but I'd already been feeling insane, so I figured I'd say it while I was still vulnerable.
She gaped at me, clearly surprised.
I waited, watching her expression as emotions flitted through her eyes.
"I – I shouldn't have run. I was scared. I mean, we…" She trailed off, looking lost.
The next thing I knew, she was rising on her toes and kissing me.
I quickly pulled away. "What about the rules? No sex," I said.
She smirked. "Screw the rules." And then she was kissing me again.
The kiss was fast and frantic, as if she thought I might disappear. I kissed her back, wrapping my arms around her waist and pulling her closer to me. Frankly, I felt kind of frantic as well. I'd just gotten this amazing creature back into my life; I wasn't ready to lose her again. If I had to, I would chain her down so she could never leave again.
I slowed the kiss down until we were exploring each other's mouths. I bit her bottom lip and she gasped, allowing my tongue to enter her mouth. My hands roamed across her body, reacquainting with her soft and supple curves. Her hands went to my hair, and then slid down my back. Finally, she settled them back in my hair, gently pulling on the hairs at the nape of my neck.
My hands slid under her shirt until I was pulling it off of her. I threw it into the corner as her hands quickly went to my shirt. She peeled it off me and threw it over with hers. Her hot fingers roamed my body as mine roamed hers.
I trailed kisses down her neck as my hands slowly slid the zip of her little denim pants down. She stepped out of them and quickly unzipped my own jeans.
We ended up on the bed, hands everywhere. I kissed every part of her body as her hands clung to my shoulders. We were panting heavily, her chest pressed against mine. I finally removed the last articles of clothing from her body.
When she was crying my name out in ecstasy, I knew that I could never let this woman leave my arms again. I loved her. I loved her so much it hurt. We were perfect for each other. She was light to my dark. She was my muse.
As we unravelled in each others arms, I knew that I was going to spend the rest of my life with this beautiful woman.
She smiled, as if she could read my mind.
A/N: What did you think? Please review.
If you missed it at the start of this story, keep an eye out for my new story. It should be posted soon. Thanks.