“So, whereabouts do they live?” Max asks as we leave the warehouse. Briefly I look back.
“Do you think he’ll be alright?” I ask, ignoring the first question.
“Who? Aaron?” His voice has a snide tone and I scowl. There is no reason to be jealous.
“Colin,” I answer.
“Yeah,” he says, “he’ll be fine.”
He sounds confident but his hand tightens around mine and I know he is worried. “I can check myself,” I say.
“No, I can’t let you go alone.”
I sigh. This macho shit is getting tiring. I mean it’s nice to have someone look after me, especially as I’ve been alone since Ricky’s supposed death, but it is starting to grate on my nerves. “You understand that I don’t need looking after.”
Max raises an eyebrow. “Really? And who just saved your arse?”
“Who saved yours?” I snap.
He falls silent. “I have to.”
“What?” I’m in a foul mood and I’m not sure why.
“It’s almost as if it’s a drive, a need. I have to make sure you are all right.”
“Is it like that with Colin?” I ask.
Max looks away and he tightens his grip on my hand, almost as if I’m going to run. “I don’t want to mate with Colin.”
“Oh…” There are very few times that I’m lost for words, but this is one. And to use that word, ‘mate’. It’s more permanent, almost like married. I don’t pull away though. I feel safe with him. Does that mean I want to be his mate?
“Why say mate?” I ask.
“It feels right.”
“Yes, but why not lovers?”
He stops and pulls me into his arms. We are standing in the middle of a vast expanse of tarmac with a burnt out terminal to our left. The air smells of death and smoke, yet at the same time I can block it out and only scent Max, the earthy aroma that is his. I can’t help but lean in. “I want you as mine, and mine only,” he rumbles and I nod. I can understand that.
I mean at the moment there is only me, the lone female in the group, but the thought of him being with anyone else fills me with anger.
“If I were agreeable?” I ask.
He gives a low growl and lowers his head. I raise mine and we kiss. I’d expected fireworks and explosions, but this is like sinking into a warm bath. It is as if his essence takes hold of me and cradles me close. I am warm and safe.
When he breaks off the kiss I want to cry out at his leaving. I need him to be with me, always.
Then my head starts to clear. I’ve never felt anything quite like it. It makes everything that I’ve experienced before, including Ricky, a pale comparison. It’s almost as if I have been experiencing everything in black and white and Max has just shown me what it is like to look at a full colour spectrum.
“Wow,” I say quietly.
I look around and notice that everything is the same. Nothing has changed yet I feel as if I have changed.
I clear my throat.
“We need to go.”
Max nods, but neither of us move. Not for a moment.
“The sun will be gone in an hour or so,” I say, not loosening my arms that are around his waist.
“Then you better let me go.”
“You first,” I say.
And just like that I step back. As I do it feels like a part of my soul has been ripped from my chest. Max is gazing at me and his eyes say that he wants continue this. I shake my head.
“We’ve got to go.”
He nods and holds out a hand. I take it and he swoops in for a kiss. This time I feel a burning in my stomach. It isn’t unpleasant and for a moment I wonder what it is and then it becomes an urge. Now I understand why he wouldn’t pull away. I desperately want to wrap myself around him and lose myself. Instead he finishes the kiss and we start walking.
“We will need to finish this,” he says.
I say nothing. I know we will.