Two weeks later, everything was starting to get back to normal. Everyone decided it was best to help Kevin pitch in at the auditorium with the cleanup and so far it became a sweet success. Otherwise everyone was very busy catching up with school work, part time jobs, and other tedious activities.

One Saturday afternoon at the Russo house Max was busy cleaning up the living room when Zeke and Mason came upstairs from the substation with some important mail.

"Looks like you got something bigger than a special delivery," said Zeke, handing Max an envelope. "Maybe you're an undercover spy or something."

"its from the state," said Max, as he nervously opens the letter.

"Wow, they sure like picking on you, mate," joked Mason. "it's like they have you under those microscopes or something."

"Oh my God," said Max as he looks amazed.

"What is it," asked Zeke.

"I got my money back," beamed Max. "Only this time they doubled it."

"Really," said Zeke as he looked on with Max. "Woa, that's incredible! I wish I had twenty grand to my name. This means you're going to live like a fat rat."

"Totally," said Mason. "I bet the whole family will be thrilled."

Then Max looked at them like he was going to do something that is underhanded.

"You are going to tell them aren't you?" asked Zeke.

"Yeah, that's not going to happen," said Max. "After what they had put me through that week, I'm keeping this to myself. But maybe I'll save some of it for college."

"Well, at least you're thinking about your future," said Zeke. "And that definately matters."

"It sure does," smiled Max

Then there was a knock at the door and Max goes and opens it. It was Collin, who looked more refreshed and vibrant then ever.

"Wow, someone looks swagarific today," chuckled Max.

"Of course I do," said Collin. "I have a dinner date with Susie Lane. The most prettiest girl of the class of 2013."

"That's awesome man," said Max. "Just make sure you pay this bill this time."

"Yes, definately," said Collin as Max invites him in. "I brought a whole wad of cash just in case."

"That's good to know," said Max. "You care for some fresh squeeze lemonade?"

"Sure," said Collin, as he sits on the sofa. "Wow, you're place must be really spotless."

"I know," said Max. "Me, Max Russo. A neat freak. Hey, I got this letter from the state and they gave me twenty thousand dollars!"

"Really?" asked Collin amazed. "Wow, that's like double than what you had before!"

"I know," said Max. "I feel pretty amped about it."

Soon as Max comes back into the living room with fresh lemonade and refreshments. Collin prepared himself for the real reason why he stopped by.

"Listen Max," said Collin, as Max plops down on the couch next to him. "I know that our frendship has been rocky for quite sometime, but I just to say that I'm sorry for all of the stuff I done. I should've had a stronger backbone or-."

"Hey, don't sweat it man," said Max. "it's water under the bridge. Besides we're human we all make bad choices from time to time but our hearts are in a good place no matter what."

Collin agreed as he takes a sip of his drink.

"I'll tell you what," said Max. "Let's put all of this, hogwash stuff behind us and just start off fresh. It's been hard for all of us, and we all shouldn't dred on the past. Do we have a deal."

"Couldn't have said it better myself," said Collin.

"To friendship," said Max, as they cling their glasses together. "And may it last long and well as we turn old and frail."

"Cheers to you, buddy," said Collin, as he cling his glass again with Max's. They sipped their lemonade in silence as it melts away the rest of the tension and the negativity that was between them.

"Hey, I finally found that Xbox system you gave to me," said Max. "I didn't know that you had good taste in games."

"Okay, you're kidding right," Collin said. "Max, I gave you that game three months ago and now, you're just bringing it up?"

"I lost track of it," said Max, trying to make up a good excuse. "I didn't know that it was covered in mulch."

"How dirty was your room?" asked Collin with a disgust look on hos face.

"Very," said Max, nervously, as Collin shook his head. "But as I said before I'm now a neat freak. Oh, and get this, not only do I have a clean room, I just discovered that I have my own balcony."

"Really?" asked Collin. "Does it have a good view of the city skyline?"

"It might," said Max, as they get up and head towards his room."I was so busy stuck on the fact that I had one that I didn't get a chance to look out on it."

When Max said that his room was spotless he wasn't joking at all. Everything was well organized and neat, and easy to find. Even his bunkbed was spic and span. The balcony was on the right side of the room and it was seen plain as day.

They was going toward the doorway when they saw someone sitting at Max's chair facing the wall. But as the chair turns around they knew instantly that it was Ruben.

"Well, looks like the ex-wizard knows how to throw down in the bedroom," chuckled Ruben. "Shoot, I never seen a room so spotless. You got to show me some pointers sometimes, don't you think?

He gets up from the chair and gives both Max and Collin a famous handshake.

"How you been man?" said Max with a smile. "its been a while."

"I kmow," said Ruben. "I finally have a little time to relax. Between working at the clothing store and staying on top of's like I'm David fighting the Goliath you feel me?"

"Yeah, I umderstand," said Max, who was now in a better mood than most days.

"So, how are you holding up?" asked Ruben. "It looks like you're in a good place right now."

"I am," said Max. "I never felt so much happier in my life."

"That's good," said Ruben, with a chuckle.

A moment later Theresa comes in with Max's laundry and she was amazed on how a good job Max did on his room.

"Oh my goodness," said Theresa. "Am I really dreaming?" jokes Theresa. "Max's room is fresh and clean? Someone pich me!"

Max goes over and pinches her arm and she flinches.

"Well, I guess not," she said sarcastically as she rubs her arm.

"Good afternoon, Mrs. Russo," Collin politely.

"Oh, mom," Max said quickly as he goes over a get Ruben. "This amazing guy right here is my good friend Ruben. Ruben Cunningham."

"How do you do ma'am," said Ruben with a humble smile.

"So, you're this unusual sidekick that Max was talking about?" asked Theresa.

"Well, kicking people's butt is like my favorite specialty," joked Ruben.

"How can I ever thank you for helping to fight for my son's innocence," said Theresa.

"Hey, it has always in a pleasure," said Ruben. "And if I had to do again, I would."

"Oh, aren't you sweet," commented Theresa. "I'll tell you what, you can eat at the substation as many times as you want, on the house."

"That's cool with me," said Ruben. "Maybe I'll bring the family down one day to try it out. They would love to meet you guys."

"Oh, that is a definately an aye okay," said Theresa.

"You raised an extrodinary good kid Mrs. Russo," said Ruben, as he nudged Max's hair a little bit.

"I sure do," said Theresa. "He surprises me everyday."

"He's more than a conqueror," said Ruben. "Just continue to love and support him, he'll be alright."

"I definately agree," said Theresa.

Moments later Max, Ruben, and Collin hangs out on the balcony looking out the skyline of the city. Everyone was really amazed on how the view looks. All of them sighed as the comfortable breeze flows throughout their bodies.

"If only I could bring my recliner out here to sit," said Ruben. "With a ice cold glass of root beer."

"Yeah, that would be nice wouldn't it?" said Collin."

"Heck yeah," said Max. "Uncle Kelbo should really sees this, man."

Then right after Max finished his sentence, Kelbo appeared in the blink of an eye indicated that he used his magic. Both Max and Ruben looked at Collin, to see if he was surprised.

"Oh that's okay," said Collin with a smile. "I found out a week ago when we bumped into each other. It's a long story."

Kelbo was a very big smile on his face like he was a little kid opening up presents on a Christmas morning.

"You guys are not going to believe-...Hey nice view," said Kelbo. "Anyways, today is going to be my lucky day."

"And why is that?" asked Max skeptically.

"Because, I'm going to give Robyn something so special that she will never forget it."

Then he reached in his pocket and pulled out a case with a ring inside of it. Everyone was so amazed on how the ring looked.

"You're going to propose?" said Max. "Wow man, that's amazing."

"Not only that this ring is suitable for her," Kelbo went on. "It's filled with awesome gadgets."

"What?" Max said with all the excitement drained out of him."

"I call it the compatiable," said Kelbo. "My favorite thing about it, is that it comes with a special lazer. It puts everything on fire."

"Why couldn't you just give your girl a normal ring?" asked Ruben.

"And why would you want a ring that sets everything on fire?" asked Max, like Kelbo was ridiculous.

"No, I didn't mean it like that," said Kelbo. "Unless there's an arch nemesis our there somewhere. I'm talking about if you want to light a candle or a fireplace or something."

"Right," said Max, skeptically.

"I'm serious man," said Kelbo, as he looks around the balcony to do a demonstration. "You see that candle over there?"

The three of them looked across to the other apartment as Kelbo puts of the ring quickly.

"Watch this!" Kelbo said quickly.

All of a sudden Kelbo shoots the lazer out of the ring and it goes staight towards the candle. Unfortunately due to Kelbo's bad aim, the lazer bounces of the fence just inches from the candle and it was instead placed on Jerry's back jean pocket, which he came outside in that particular moment. Then it started to sizzle.

"Turn it off!" Max said quickly.

"Uh oh," said Kelbo as he tries to turn the lazer off. I think the botton is stuck."

Meanwhile, Alex magically apeared with Harper as they were eating ice cream. Then Justin came out from the substation because he was going to ask him a question.

"Why do I smell something burning," asked Jerry. "And why do I feel hot heat on my butt."

Kelbo smashed the top of the ring on the railing and then the lazer stopped. But he was too late."

"Dad, your pants are smoking!" exclaimed Justin.

Then all of a sudden the back of Jerry's jeans went up in flames. Jerry yelped as he dropped to the floor and rolled around. Alex takes off her jacket and rushes over to tries to put out the fire. But Justin grabs a pitcher full of water and threw it on his behind. Luckily Jerry wasn't hurt as he indicated moments later that he was fine.

"Well, said Kelbo, with a sigh. "So much for a wedding ring."

Alex and Justin helps Jerry up from the ground. Harper goes in the back of Jerry to see the condition of the Jeans, which were ruined of course from the blaze. But what Harper saw also was very alarming but very amusing.

" might want to take cover really fast," said Harper awkwardly, as people who were walking by him pointed and giggled.

"Oh snap," said Ruben, as everyone stared at Jerry's bottom from the balcony.

"Is it really that bad?" asked Jerry, nervously as Alex and Justin went behind him as well.

"Is that mom's purple thong you're wearing?" said Alex as her and Justin tried hard not to laugh.

"I ran out of clean underwear," muttered Jerry, his face turning red. He then looked up at the gang from the balcony as they try to look like they are doing something else. Jerry knew instantly that it was something magic related.

"You guys are in so much trouble!" shouted Jerry shaking his fist at them.

"Ah, do you think that their room for the three of us to stay at your place for while?" asked Max as he cringed at his father.

"Couldn't have set it better myself!" said Kelbo, as he waved his wand and all four of them disapeared into thin air.

"Here give him this," said Justin as he quickly gives Harper the tin tray to cover Jerry up as her and Alex helped him inside the substation.

All of the people from the substation caught wind of the embarrasing moment and for a while he was the butt of the jokes. However later that evening at dinner as they told the embarrassing moment to Theresa, she kissed him on the lips and said that he was her sexy Victoria Secret sumo wrestler. Jerry laughed lightly and both him and Theresa said that they loved each other. Other than that, day had turned out wonderful as the whole family was interacting with each other again. And for Max he was greatful.


Max: Several months later , there was some big changes that occured in life. The auditorium was complete, thanks to the architects and Kevin for their help. I would say that the current auditorium is much better than the old him that's for sure. Speaking of Kevin, he went to theoropy and handled his problems head on. Especially when it came to his home life. He reconciled with his parents and now they are closer than ever. From time to time Kevin and I began to rebuild our friendship, we still kept our word about sticking together. The rest of his so called posse decided to call it quits on their devious scemes to do better as well. According to Officer Barry, he said that Sherry Struthers the probation officer has relocated to work in her hometown in New Jersey. Barry joked with me and asked that if I wanted to stay in contact with her. I instantly told him no, because I didn't want to be bothered with negative influences. I never heard from her again. As for Stan and his men facility, the program has stopped running for a while and people decided not to recomended him anymore. I don't know if it was because of me telling the police about the trashing incident or that the teens were mortified themselves to even bother going. Collin and I are on good terms again and have a more stronger bond with one another. His goal was to become an actor, so his parents enrolled him into an acting class to practice on his craft, which he his now thriving. Ruben, Collin, and I helped Uncle Kelbo pick out a new engagement ring. Later that evening he proposed to Robyn, which she emotiomally accepted. They got married in the spring of 2013, I was Uncle Kelbo's best man, and my sister Alex was Robyn's maid of honor. That was also one of the best days of my life.

As for me life as I know has been going much better than I have expected. And for that I want to thank God so much on putting my other good friend Ruben into my life. If it wasn't for him with his help, support, and brotherhood, I wouldn't be the strong person that I am now. He showed me how to deal with the reality the right way, despite the hardships that was faced in the process. Ever since I did that, life has been so much easier. Even though my life is far from perfect I kmow now how to handle things a lot better. As of today I finally know what I really am. Yes, I may not be the coolest guy on the planet or the guy who has the highest education, or the guy is the world's top perfectionist. I'm Max Russo for crying out loud. I'm creative, energetic, friendly, a son, a brother, and a dedicated hard work. And most of all I am myself, and that's what really matters the most.


Like to see Max Russo save the day again? Or watch him fall in love? Tune in next week to see his adventure continue in: THE LOVE RETREAT.