Hidden love

RATING: K+ for now.

A/N: This is AU and it takes place after 'Harbor Lights' but before Max runs into the 'Love In Vein' vampires.

I didn't reveal who the second character was in the summary because it would defeat the point of this chapter so be patient.

Chapter 1 -Love is blind

Max slammed her locker shut only to notice a flyer taped to it. She frowned as she looked at the notice. It was an invitation:

'Dear Jam Pony messengers:

You are invited along with the youth of Seattle to attend a masquerade ball. The City Council realizes the youth's potential and wishes to include you in a formal occasion for all ages and classes. The use of masquerade masks is an incentive for communication between all different types of people making rank and title trivial.

The Ball is the first of a three part event in which you are to wear a disguise of sorts. This disguise is not to be removed until the end of the final event in which case you may reveal your name. This is to ensure that people make new acquaintances from different ethnic or social areas throughout Seattle.

This three part event is to unite the population of Seattle in times of post-pulse segregation and poverty.

The second event will be a nightclub party at Trinity Nightclub which connects with the youth. This will be held a few days after the Ball.

The third event will be held in Bellevue Botanical gardens. This will take place at night and will be extremely secure due to crime related reasons.

More information will be revealed in succession of each event.

This is an invitation from your City Council and is free of charge. There is no entry fee for each event. The only necessary items are a mask and formal attire in line with each occasion.

These occasions are politician and celebrity endorsed and many public figures are to join in the festivity.

Join us on the night of the fifth at Century Ballroom. With the largest dance floor in Seattle (2000 square feet) in addition to a full bar it is sure to be a memorable night.'


915 E Pine

Seattle WA 98122

Max finished speed reading through the flyer as OC came over with another one in her hands. Max held up the piece of paper. "What's this?" She asked Original Cindy.

"I don' know, but it sounds like fun. Might give me a chance to meet some sweet dolla holla rich girl." OC imagined, smiling at the thought.

Max laughed at her expression. Then her beeper began to sound. She looked at the number flashing. "It's Logan." Max frowned.

"You gonna call him back?" OC asked.

"I don't know if I should. It's been a week since the Harbor lights hospital thing. I'm beginning to think I should just leave him alone and spare him the drama that is my life." Max moped.

"He wants to talk to you Max. Which means he still don't care 'bout no virus. Now you know you gon' hafta come correc' with him and this is the fifth time he's paged you."

"I guess."

Max walked over to the payphone. Alec was using it for his own personal agenda once again. Max put her finger on the receiver, effectively ending that call. Alec turned and glared at Max. This was the third time she'd done that.

"You know," Alec started moving out of Max's way. "this payphone is for use of the staff of Jam Pony." Alec stated. Max only raised an eyebrow at him.

"Which includes me." He finished.

"You have a cell phone." Max said simply and turned towards the phone to start dialing Logan's number.

Alec clenched his jaw as he let Max's bluntness slide.

Max listened to the engaged phone-line. 'Must be phoning someone else.' Max thought. She decided not to worry about it and waited until lunchtime to stop by Logan's place.

As she walked in the door she heard Asha talking to Logan. 'Great. You choose the best times to stop and chat don't you Max.' She thought to herself. Max thought about bailing out now before they knew she was there but then she heard Asha talking to Logan about her. Max began to eavesdrop on their conversation.

"Why didn't you ask Max?" Asha asked Logan.

"I've been trying to get hold of her all morning. She's probably busy with something."

Max noticed an irritation in his voice. She began to feel riled up herself.

"I'm sure she has a good reason Logan." Asha replied.

"Yeah, I guess."

"So are you going to that Ball?" Asha asked sounding more enthusiastic than before.

"What Ball?"

"Don't tell me you haven't noticed." Asha sounded shocked.

"Noticed what?" Logan had no idea what she was talking about.

"The Ball? The reason that there are posters and flyers all over Seattle? The Excitement on the streets? It's on the news and everything."

"Oh, yeah, the City Council events."

"Well, are you going?" Asha got to her point.

"I don't know yet. I want to get this eyes only job done before I can even think of a party."

"The first one's a ball." Asha corrected him.

"That should be nice."

Max decided to stop eavesdropping and make an entrance. She walked into Logan's study. "Hey. Oh, hey Asha." She said pretending to be surprised at the tall girl's presence.

"Hey, Max." Asha said.

Logan briefly turned away from his computer to look at Max. "Hey."

Max smiled as she said: "You paged?"

Logan turned back towards his computer. "Yeah, but it's alright now."

"Did you need help with anything?"

"Don't worry I called Asha to help."

Max felt she had worn out her welcome. "Alright. If you need anything-"

"Sure." Logan cut her off.

"See ya." Max said leaving the apartment. She was angry that Logan didn't need her help anymore but she also felt guilty for not being there to help him earlier. As Max rode her bike back to Jam Pony she went over the scene she had just encountered over and over in her head. Replaying the scene and every single word. She wondered why Asha had to be there. Always messing things up. Max realized that it wasn't Asha's fault after all. She was just a regular girl. 'Perfect for Logan.' Max thought masochistically. It was Max who was always messing with him. Putting him in life-threatening situations one after the other.

Max wasn't paying attention to the road in front of her because she was so lost in thought. When she reached the entrance of Jam Pony, she got off her bike in a haze. She walked in with her bike, eyes glazed over, and bumped right into Rafer making him stumble back a few paces as Max only flinched back an inch (the cause of transgenic sturdiness). As Max was suddenly brought out of her thoughts she was ready to rip the poor person who bumped into her to shreds but then she noticed who it was.

"Max!" Rafer said in his usual cute juvenile way.

"Rafer?" Max said not expecting to run into him. "What are you doing here?"

"Looking for you…

A few meters away Sketchy and Alec leaned against the dispatcher's desk. Sketchy tried as hard as he could to listen in on Max's conversation as Alec heard every single word clearly. "Who's that?" Alec asked.

"Rafer. He's a cool guy." Sketchy answered.

"How's he know Max?" Alec asked putting a package into his backpack.

"About a couple months ago they were getting kinda close." Sketchy looked at Alec with his eyebrows raised in an insinuating way.

Alec began to grin. "Really?" He said only then trying to listen to Max's conversation with Rafer.

"Why do you want to go with me?" Max asked curious and slightly flattered.

"Incase you haven't noticed Max, you're an amazing girl. Any guy would want to go with you." Rafer said.

Max didn't blush but any normal girl would have. She smiled at him. "Thanks Rafer, but I'm not sure that I'm even going."

"If you change your mind-"

"I'll call you." Max finished for him.

"Great!" Rafer said and then turned to wave goodbye to Sketchy. He hoped that Max would seriously think about it. Then he left Jam Pony to get back to the hospital. He was already late for his paramedic shift.

Max walked back to her locker where OC was talking to Scott. She ended her conversation with him when she saw Max coming with a sad expression on her face.

"You went to see him?" OC expected.

"Yeah. I've really screwed up again." Max said as her eyes reflected her deject mood.

OC tried to find a way to cheer up her best friend. "Hey, was that Rafer?"

"Yeah." Max said temporarily distracted.

"What'd he want?"

"He asked me to the Ball." Max smiled.

"So whad'ja say?"

"Said I'd think about it." Max admitted.

"You are goin' to that dance with hot boy."

"You know what, you're right. I gotta get off my ass and do something fun." Max realized.

"Now you're talkin' Boo." OC smiled.

"When's this ball anyway?"

"Tomorrow night."

"Good thing we have the whole of tomorrow off then." Max and OC laughed as they walked to the dispatcher's desk where Sketchy and Alec were still talking.

"Ladies." Sketchy said as they approached.

"You goin' to the ball Sketch?" Max asked.

"Of course. The Sketchmeister would never pass up an opportunity for a room full of beautiful women who want to meet new people." Sketchy could only imagine the possibilities. "Wonder what sort of mask I should wear." He thought aloud.

Max remembered that the flyer had said that a disguise was necessary. She also began to wonder about her mask and ball gown. "You're not going are you?" Max asked Alec with an expression that was obviously holding up hopes for his absence.

"And miss your date with Rafe?" He said getting ready to escape. "Now why would I do that?" Alec smirked and added quickly before Max had the chance to hurt him: "He's lucky Max, I mean; you are an 'amazing girl'." Alec said repeating Rafer's words so that Max would know he had heard her conversation. He dodged Max's slap and then got out of Jam Pony before she could come after him.

"Max scowled at the thought of Alec being there to mock her. Maybe she could avoid him in her disguise then. Max brightened at the thought. She also realized that even if Logan went he wouldn't be able to find her if she wore a good enough disguise. That would save her an awkward conversation.

The next morning Max and OC started preparing for that evening. Max only realized then that she didn't have a decent dress to wear. As Max sat on the couch with OC manicuring her nails she formulated a plan. "We should stop by sector 9." Max remarked out of nowhere.

"Why?" OC asked.

"For some nice dresses. We deserve it." Max said nodding to herself.

"Incase you haven't noticed, we ain't got stacks'a cash just lyin' around. And I can't pay for no fancy-ass dress on minimum wage. Anyway you have that fine dress that you wore to that flat-ass weddin' with Logan."

Max shook her head. "It reminds me too much of him." Max looked at OC with a pained expression. "And if he goes he'll know it's me right away if I'm in that dress."

Original Cindy nodded, understanding her. "Aiight. But I don'know what you're gonna find for our salary range." OC commented.

"We'll borrow two dresses." Max shrugged.

"You gon' steal a dress in broad daylight?" OC's eyebrows rose.

"Borrow not steal. Two dresses, one for each of us. And it can be done." Max corrected adding the last part with a mischievous smile.

Max and Original Cindy had returned to the shop that Max had once looked for a dress for a wedding in. They each picked a dress that they liked and then they left. OC waited in an alleyway for Max to appear with the dresses. They got back home a few hours before the ball and started getting ready. For once in Max's life she took her time and embraced her inner-girl. She and OC had really gone to town with the disguise thing. Max had managed to score a sweet deal for a blonde wig. It even felt like it was made from real hair. Their masks were also as beautiful as their dresses. Max had already called Rafer that morning for him to meet her there. OC had a date with a girl she'd met at Crash the week before and everything was set.

When Max arrived she saw that the place was absolutely crowded. TV cameras and reporters as well as tons of people taking pictures. The entrance had a stretch of carpet before it that people walked down with their respective partners. Max looked around for Rafer only becoming slightly distressed as she couldn't find him. She would have to walk the walk of shame without a partner.

"Let's get this over with." Max muttered under her breath. Then she felt a hand slide around her waist making her smile. She walked along the carpet with Rafer. She heard some people surrounding the entrance catch their breaths. Max noticed that more than a few people were staring at them. She turned to smile at Rafer only to get a shock that the person who held her waist wasn't Rafer. She couldn't be exactly sure because the top half of his face was covered with a beautiful gilded mask. He stared down at her with a smile. Max hadn't been too concerned with walking down alone. She was naturally like that but she would have liked to avoid it none the less. Max couldn't be mad at him for quite literally saving her from humiliation. As she stared up at the tall man she studied his face. He looked young. As young as her. And he had an angular jaw and nose. The lower half of his face looked nothing like Rafer's. Max was almost positive about that.

They entered into a beautiful, grand ballroom. Its ceiling was extremely high and a crystal chandelier hung over the exact centre of the 2000 square foot room. There was a live orchestra playing beautiful music that echoed throughout the hall. Max had a random thought of everyone in Crash trying to dance to this music. She couldn't quite picture it.

Max turned to face her companion. He smiled at her again and leaned his face next to her ear to whisper: "You're welcome." And then he disappeared into the crowd.

Max wondered how he could have just disappeared like that. Especially with her feline eyesight.

She tried to quell the forlorn feeling that she had due to his absence.

A/N: Let me know who you guys think it is. The next few chapters are already finished and I'm almost finished with the whole story. I'm actually supposed to be finishing my other story but I spent two weeks slaving over this (not in a bad way I really like this story). So until I have a good amount of reviews I'm not uploading any more chapters.