Epilogue: "Something Better"
"So, you're really gonna do this, huh?" Max watched as Joshua carefully packed into the small box whatever few items he planned to take with him for his move to Terminal City.
"Don't wanna be alone, in this house, anymore," he replied quietly, though not sadly. In fact, all morning he had seemed much better than he'd been ever since this whole thing with Annie had begun, and he'd been forced to put an end to their relationship. Not great, not perfectly healed, but better.
"You're not alone here," Max protested. "You have me, and Alec, and Original Cindy… and even Logan."
"When you come here," he pointed out. "But rest of the time, I'm alone. I have to lie low. In Terminal City, people are like me. They're not afraid. They don't run away, and they don't want to hurt me."
She nodded, letting out a sigh, not of defeat but acceptance. "I guess you're right, and I really shouldn't try to stop you from leaving. I mean, it's all about letting go and moving on, right?" Staring down at her hands thoughtfully, she fiddled with the strap of her watch, "Sometimes you just have to know when to let go of the past and move on. Because if you don't, you might miss out on something that's just as good—if not better—than what you were trying to hold onto."
Glancing up, she found Joshua had stopped packing and was now watching her, a genuine grin on his face. "Max and Alec happy?"
Smiling somewhat sheepishly at her own transparency, she answered, "Um, yeah, we are."
A throat cleared behind them, and both turned to find Alec waiting in the doorway. Alec politely announcing his presence? What next—'thank yous', a 'please', and maybe 'bless you' after she sneezed? It was almost scary.
"Mole's getting a little antsy out there," he said, jerking a thumb toward the front, where Joshua's ride awaited him. "You might want to get out there before you earn yourself a spot on his bad side. The guy makes Logan look easy-going." That earned him a slight glare from Max, which he returned by blowing her a kiss and tracing a heart in the air with his fingers.
She rolled her eyes, suppressing a grin as she mouthed back, "You're such an idiot." Alec placed one hand over his heart and wiped away an imaginary tear.
"I'm ready," Joshua announced, drawing their attention away from each other as he pulled up his hood to cover his face for the trip from the house to the beat-up little van.
Max took the box from his hands and shifted it over to Alec before giving her friend a hug. "Alright, you be careful and stay out of trouble. I'll come to see you tomorrow, after work."
He nodded then pulled away and retrieved his box, receiving a "Take care of yourself Big Fella" from Alec.
"You too Medium Fella," he returned, giving him a hefty slap across the back that almost sent the other transgenic to the floor. With a part grin, he headed out the door, leaving the pair behind to observe his departure.
Next to her, Alec sniffed slightly and threw an arm around her waist, pulling her tightly to his side. "They grow up so fast," he remarked, watching the van pull away. As soon as it was out of sight, he abruptly ushered Max back inside, closing the door behind them both. "So, what do you wanna do now?" he asked, grinning suggestively. Oh, like there was any other way he knew how to grin.
Max ducked out of his embrace. "I'm thinking we should go to work—see if we're even still employed there."
"I'm not worried," he returned, following her when she slipped out of his reach. "After all, I am Normal's golden boy."
"You mean the inspiration for his wet dreams," she corrected, as he managed to pin her against the wall, his hands resting on either side of her head.
Alec's eyes fluttered closed as a slight shudder went through his body. "No, I am not," he said, his tone belying that it was not so much a statement that he believed as one which he needed to believe. She didn't argue with him. Then his eyes reopened, and he grinned. "I think it's just because I'm much more personable than you. People tend to like me."
Max scoffed, "People who don't know you, maybe."
Giving her a pout, he leaned in and brushed a stray piece of hair from her face, letting his fingers linger on her cheek. "And what about people who do know me?" His other hand slipped under the edge of her shirt, traced the bare flesh up to the scant silk covering above, while his lips sought out that spot right in the hollow of her throat that was always guaranteed to melt her resolve. Warm breath hit her skin as he asked, in a deep, low voice, "You like me, don't you Maxie?"
"Mmm…" she moaned as he lowered himself slowly, placing kisses along the way wherever he could find naked flesh. Then his tongue was dipping along her navel while his fingers worked the button of her jeans. "I like what you're doing to me." Her pants pooled around her ankles and he guided her out of them, coaxing her legs apart.
"Hmm," his voice sent a slight vibration through her and his lips brushed along the last remaining barrier between them, "not good enough." Her fingers wound into his hair as he hooked a thumb through one edge of the fragile cloth, pulling it aside. His tongue dipped in and she arched up with a harsh cry. "Do you like me?"
She didn't answer with anything more than a moan, causing him to repeat the action over again, and again, while she hooked one leg over his shoulder, enclosing him against her, her body moving in rhythm with his tongue. But just before she could reach the edge, he abruptly he pulled back.
"Max…" he prompted.
"Alec," she whimpered, tightening her grip on his hair, urging him to complete what he'd started.
"I'm waiting." He leaned back his head to stare up at her.
Frustrated brown eyes glared down at him as she finally gave in, "Yes, damnit! I like you! Now, will you finish it already?"
Alec laughed, but seeing that impatience had dissolved her sense of humor, he quickly complied. It didn't take long before she was shuddering and screaming his name, the only thing keeping her up the wall at her back and his own strong arms. When it was over, and the waves had ebbed, she slid slowly down the wooden panel, joining him on the floor, letting him pull her into his embrace and seek out her mouth with his own.
"I do like you, really," she said finally, breaking away. "Even when you're driving me insane, I like you."
"And I like you too," he returned. "Even when you're being a bitch—" a backhanded blow to his shoulder interrupted him "—but, the important thing is that I do like you," he reminded her. Any further repercussions were avoided as he pulled her back for another kiss, letting their tongues mingle, tasting each other leisurely before breaking off for breath.
"So I'm 'something better', huh?" he questioned softly through a grin she felt more than saw.
Max drew back sharply, surprised he'd heard her earlier remark to Joshua. When she saw the cocky expression on his face and the mischievous sparkle to his eyes, she sighed, "You are so full of yourself."
"Mmm," he kissed her, his hand slipping up the back of her shirt, unhooking her bra as he spoke, "but you wouldn't have me any other way."
Laughing softly, she agreed, "No, I wouldn't."
Some final thoughts: Kind of short and fluffy, I know, but I had to wrap this sucker up somehow. But that's it… done, done, done. I'm so proud of myself—I actually managed to finish a story. And I want to thank everyone who reviewed for their kind words, because despite the shaky start, your guys' encouragement really helped. This was a hard fandom to start writing in, but I think I have learned and grown from this experience. Anyway, clearly I'm not done with the whole thing (seeing as I already have three other unfinished projects going… and yes, to everyone who's been asking about those, they will all be continued in due time), so I'm not really sad that this one's over.
But don't forget to review, to let me hear your thoughts on just this chapter, or on the whole completed version of the story.