Five Times Max Dennison Told Marnie Cromwell He Loved Her (And the One Time He Meant It)
1. The first time, it's an accident.
He has to text her phone, because calling's pretty useless right now. He has no where else to turn and has tried everything to lift the curse to no avail. So he punches her number in and frantically texts that he needs her help. He's almost certain that she won't answer until he sees the broom in the sky.
It's a bit flashy and he doesn't know how she's not spotted for miles around, but he doesn't have time to think about that now. Because she rushes over to him, muttering apologies and about how he should be more careful with the covens he messes with.
Like he really knew they'd hex him and leave him unable to speak till some one lifted the curse?
But thankfully, before she goes on, she lifts the curse and gives him a smile. "There. That wasn't so bad, was it?"
For a moment, he gapes at her like a dimwit before he speaks.
"I love you, Marnie."
2. The second time he says it, it's out of relief.
If only he had known they were being watched in the bar, that she was being singled out. Max is so used to being on alert for signs, being able to judge if something off.
So he didn't pick up the other hunter's spy until it was far too late.
It's hard to swallow, as he forces his boot on the door. There are people like him, but they will kill every witch they come across, good or not. Taking the lives of kind souls as well as bad, he can't imagine that kind of existence any more than he can imagine losing Marnie to this creep.
The creep in question has her tied to a chair, something large and sharp in his hands. He must have had help, his spy maybe stripping Marnie of her powers for the moment or something, because Max knows that if the girl is really pissed at you, she will make sure you know it. Turn you into a newt or what have you. She would never roll over and take something like this.
She hasn't seen him yet, to know she's got a rescue coming. Her eyes are wide and filled with fright, something that really turns his stomach. Unarmed, he takes a fist and sends a blow to the back of the creep's head, not thinking about the sharp thing in his hands. His mind on Marnie. Only on saving Marnie.
The creep doesn't take well to being hit in the head. Taken by surprise or not, he turns on Max and sends his own blow to the other man's jaw. It starts a real scuffle and even if it's been a while since he's had to use his fists, Max holds his own in the fight.
He never meant to get his hands on the crystal dagger in the creep's hands and certainly never meant to kill him. But what's done is done and he slides out from under him to move to her side, to untie her.
She gives him a tight hug once she's free and he just holds onto her, knowing he could have lost her to the creep.
"Oh Max," She mutters and it just spills from his mouth so easily.
"I love you, Marnie."
3. After all this time, she is still the one to welcome new students from Halloweentown to the local high school and give them a tour. He's pretty sure, from the looks of awe on their faces, that she's well know for bringing the two worlds together (in her home town, at least. Max can't imagine the day the world knows about witches and vampires and monsters). And even if it's not some dangerous infiltration of a coven, he still feels better standing by her side, even with the teens whispering about him.
He's certain one of the freshmen have a crush on Marnie and he'd normally be okay with that. But something about the little warlock even speaking with Marnie makes his blood boil and he cannot figure out for the life of him why. It's not as if the fourteen year old really stands a chance. But seeing them shoulder to shoulder, discussing something (Max tuned them out about an hour ago, happy with simply glaring the little punk down), it almost makes him wish it were him she were talking to. Paying that much attention to.
The freshman's name is Scott and by the end of the tour, Max has it in his head he's gonna pull him aside and warn him to keep his distance. Were it not for the tongue lashing he knows he'd receive from Marnie for 'threatening' a 'kid'. So he slides over to her and wraps an arm around her, giving her a smile he knows will get under the punk's skin.
"I love you," He says sweetly and Marnie looks at him as if he's grown seven heads.
The look on Scott's face is worth it though.
4. This time when he says it, she explodes.
He's seen Marnie annoyed before. She'll narrow her eyes and shoot you a raised eyebrow. He's heard her fight with her mother before as well, a few well placed taunts throw here and there to cut the other woman down as hard as she can. He's seen the witch in almost any mood he can think of, but this time, it's like a bomb going off in his face.
She whirls around and sends her hair flying about her face. The air around her crackles with energy, as if she's preparing to send one good hex his way. A hex that just might finish him off. "Why do you keep saying that when you don't mean it?"
It's a second too late when he realizes just how stupid he sounds.
"Don't play dumb with me, Max. I know how you feel about me and women like me. You see us all as the same just because you made a dumb mistake to impress a girl!"
"HEY! That was my dumb mistake, okay! Just because I don't want to see some one else make it-"
"That gives you're a right to go about and just end lives!"
"You KNOW I don't kill wit-people like you!"
"So you say."
Her words cut deep, but he's cut her just as deep. There are tears coming to her eyes despite the anger on her face.
"We're both not stupid. You want a nice normal girl like the one you had back in Salem. You are not looking to fall in love with a witch and don't you dare deny it or say I'm more than that! I am a witch and that's all I'll ever be in your eyes."
He thinks about calling her all those times when he needed help dealing with a coven or a nasty hag. Thinks about the times she's gotten him out of a tight spot or saved his butt. About saving her life when the tables were turned and for once, she needed him. He had begun, without realizing it, seeing Marnie the person instead of Marnie the witch. Only to have her words dig it all back up again.
"Just get out." She snaps.
He doesn't dare attempt to stay or quell her emotions. They need some space.
5. The fifth time, it's not said so much as written on a small white index card that comes with the flowers.
She's been avoiding him for days now since their blow up, unable to call or even text him no matter how many messages he leaves her begging for forgiveness. She's actually kind of grateful he doesn't show up himself with the bouquet. She's pretty sure if her grandma knew he was the boy who upset her so badly the other night, Max would be a toad. And if it wasn't Aggie to handle him, her mother would guilt trip the boy into next year.
But Max is smart and stays away, giving her some space. Save for the flowers he sends.
Sunflowers in a vase on the table and she keeps staring at them, looking them over as if they may be booby trapped. The light in the kitchen seems to make them shine and she keeps reading his card over and over again.
'Marnie - I know these can't make up for what I said or make you wanna see me again. But I thought I'd try.
You will say it's stupid, but I need to say it again. I love you - Max'
It is stupid, after those words had angered her so last time. But seeing them scrawled in Max's handwriting makes her smile.
+1. "Max, I love you."
Many things have surprised Max Dennison in the past. Finding out that actually lighting the Black Flame Candle really did resurrect the Sanderson Sisters. Becoming a hunter of witches. Befriending a witch. The list seems to be endless. But one of the things not on that list is Marnie Cromwell-Piper saying she loves him. All the times he's repeated it to her and she finally returns the sentiment. He just stands there open mouthed, gaping like a fish.
"Well? Are you gonna say something, you silly boy?" She demands and he scoops her into his arms in a tight hug, spinning them around and around. He doesn't even know why he does it, it's completely on a whim. Like in every bad Rom-Com he's ever had to endure with Danni.
When they stop spinning, he presses their mouths together in more then a chaste kiss, the way she had on Halloween. It's a kiss for her helping him, for him nearly losing her. For the teenagers that have monster sized crushes on her, for their explosive fights and bouquets making up for those fights. It's for everything and nothing at all.
When they break away, he smiles at her.
"Marnie. I love you."