FPOV (5 days later)

So…I was a mess. I refused to go anywhere but to Shayla's. Including school, which didn't make my parents very happy, but they saw what it was doing to me, so they called me in sick, everyday. And I went to see if there was any news from Shayla or the band, everyday. And Iggy, Sarah, Xoey, Danny, Luke, and Alicja came every day, after school because their parents wouldn't let them stay home. Shayla explained things to the school and Sarah told everything to her parents.

So I was walking to Max's to see everyone. They were all outside waiting for me and motioned for me to run when they saw me. I did, thinking it was important. Once we were all inside, Shayla put something in the DVD player.

We watched as an image of Max came on. She was unconscious with her head slumped forward. I would think she was gone if I didn't see her breathing. I saw cuts all over her. Erik came into the view and yanked her hair up so her face was shown. Another man walked onto the shot. He slapped her across the face. She gasped and her eyes opened. I winced, seeing her in pain. He turned towards the camera.

"So you want Maximum back? Well that is too bad. She is my daughter and she is mine. Sarah, I know you are watching. My dear niece, Max doesn't care about you. She just simply needed people to surround herself around. She's a star-she needs attention. She wouldn't have been able to deal with not having a group around her at all times. That's how she was with Fang, too. She needed someone to love her, to hold her. She doesn't care about anyone but herself and those band members with you."

I looked to Sarah and she was crying silently. I knew it was all a trick. I knew she really did care about all of us. I knew it. Didn't I?

"Liar!" I heard her scream. "I love all of my friends! And Shayla, and the band members and Fang!"

"Shut her up!" he yelled at Erik, who held a rag up to her face, and she passed back out.

"As I was saying. My daughter is not being taken from me, again. Ever. Where she's going, no one will see her alive again. She'll be with me, and only me. You can't stop me. You won't be able to."

The screen went black and Shayla rushed to get it out of the DVD player, touching as little of it as possible. Dropping it in a bag, she sighed, "Alright. I'm taking this to the police station. Feel free to hang around here. Valencia should be here soon."

She left and we all sat in silence. What the hell? How were we going to get her back?

I don't know how long it was until there was a knock at the door. Dave got up and answered it. "Hey Valencia," he mumbled, moving aside to let her in. A woman who looked like Max but with dark brown hair came in.

"Any more news?" She asked warily. She looked like a mess. I probably didn't look any better. I was in sweats and an undershirt, after all.

"They just sent a video of her. He tried to make us believe she didn't really love us. He said he wouldn't ever let her go. And…umm…," Dave trailed off.

"And what?" The lady demanded.

Dave sighed. "He said that they're taking her somewhere that no one will see her alive again. Where it will only be him and her."

"Oh god. Oh my baby! If I had checked out Erik more, this wouldn't have happened! I am at fault for all of this!"

"No you're not, Valencia! You just tried to keep her safe! It's not your fault. Jeb is to blame. Well, Jeb, Erik, Sam, and whoever else helped him. Now, would you like to meet Max's friends?"

Valencia seemed to just notice that there were other people here. "Oh! Hello there! I'm sorry for being so rude. I'm Valencia."

"You know the boys from the band. There's Sarah, Iggy, Xoey, Danny, Luke, Alicja, and this is Fang. He was Max's boyfriend."

I just kind of waved at her. I still can't completely grasp that she's gone.

I love her. I know I do.

It's not going to go away. If, heaven forbid, she doesn't come back, I know I'll never move passed it. I won't just get over her if another girl comes along. I can't stand the thought of her not coming home though.

She will come back.

I know she will.

She has to.

I will do everything I can to get her back in my arms.

The people in the room said their hellos to Max's mom.

"Valencia?" Sarah asked hesitantly.


"Um…. Well. I'm sort of your niece. Err—I guess not anymore, since you're not married to Jeb anymore. But, I'm Lexi—err—Max's cousin, so I guess you kind of are still my aunt? I'm not really sure, but my dad is Jeb's brother. I really hate thinking I'm related to that creep, but I am, and I wish I wasn't. My parents really liked you when you mate them! They didn't really believe Jeb's bogus story because they thought you were too nice for that. I guess they were right, I mean, Jeb is evil and all and—"

"Sweetheart, you need to breathe," Iggy cut in. I think we were all grateful for that.

Sarah stopped and looked at Valencia, Seeming nervous.

"Oh yes! Mark and Angie! I can't believe I forgot you guys lived here! You can continue calling me your aunt if you want, Sweetie. I'm glad Max had good people around her all this time."

Sarah seemed immensely relieved after that.

Everyone talked for a while, until Shayla came back.

"Hey Val! How you doing, Honey?"

"As good as can be expected, I guess."

"Well, how about I make everyone some food? How about chicken enchiladas? Yeah, those will be good and should finish around dinner time. Is everyone staying?"

"Actually, I really gotta get home before my mom flips," Alicja said sadly.

"Yeah so do I," Xoey commented.

"You need a ride? We'll take you guys, Danny, and Luke back in the van," Dave offered.

"Sounds good. Better than me having to ask Sammy for a ride. She would be blasting music and complaining that I ruined her evening."

"Alright, let's head out."

They all grabbed their stuff and left, leaving me, Sarah, Igs, and Valencia in the living room.

Sarah came over to the small couch I was on and sat next to me.

"We'll get her back, Fang."

"I know."

"I'm not so sure you do. I know you look emotionless but you're not. Everyone has emotions and yours are probably bursting to get out right now. It's not healthy to be this apathetic."

"I know that. I just—I can't."

"I know you think you have to be brave. You think that if you can stay strong that Max will be okay. But listen. Max will be okay either way. She's Max. She'll stay strong. She doesn't need you to be strong now. You need to be weak now so that you can be strong for her when she gets back. Which she will. You gotta let it out or it will all come crashing down when she needs you the most."

How does she do that? She always knows exactly what to say at the right times. She knows what will get you to open up. Her career choice of therapy was a good one.

I saw my vision blur and felt a tear rolling down my cheek. I don't remember the last time I cried. I think it was before Gazzy was born. So, 9 years, at least.

Sarah hugged me and I put my head on her shoulder.

I cried for probably 5 minutes. Not a lot, but it's progress. I saw Iggy looking concerned and proud at the same time. Probably proud of Sarah for getting me to open up.

That's all for now! Sorry it took me forever to update. I'm a terrible person…. I'll try to do better, but no promises. Feel free to yell at me to hurry the hell up.

~Jessi Raine.