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max sirius melli

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#1 Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 06:20 AM

Bridget had tried to get that weird little encounter at the library out of her mind almost as soon as it had happened. She'd walked out of there feeling awkward and like she'd spoken entirely too much to someone who was not only pretty much a stranger, but had pre-judged her pretty harshly. Their first meeting had made their second one all the more stranger. It should have been so easy for her to dismiss him like she'd done before he'd hit his head, but instead she found herself in their weird little conversation that had left her feeling nothing short of unnerved. Try as she might there really was no way she was going to forget that ever happened.

 

Of course the thing was she wasn't really too good at pushing things out of her mind like that. Considering she didn't have many conversations in the first place, that one seemed to try and take over her head whenever there was nothing on her mind. Far too often she'd revisited the conversation and wondered how it had turned that way. She'd kicked herself for telling him so much, even for playing the video game with him and actually enjoying it. But even though she was resenting herself for it happening, the fact that she enjoyed it seemed to bubble up constantly, not letting her forget. It was teasing her.

 

So she'd thrown herself into her writing. Concentrated on work that she wouldn't have to do until later on in the semester and taken more photographs than she could remember. She'd done a damn good job distracting herself, too, and it wasn't until she realized that her portfolio went missing that her mind drifted back to that encounter. Bridget could remember having it in the library, she remembered working on it, but when she returned to see if someone had turned it in, there was no luck. Even with the fact that losing the thing had made her feel beyond anxious, she still couldn't get the damn conversation out of her head.

 

It seemed to make things far worse when she got the text message from Max, as again he and that whole chat came to the forefront of her mind, and honestly, had she not felt she had to, she would have easily ignored him. But he had her pictures and that needed to be put together, so after some hesitation on her part she agreed to meet him at the student center to get it back. 

 

He was already there when she arrived, and she felt a little weird talking to him in such a public setting. Not that she was embarrassed to be seen with him, but their last two conversations had been in more private settings and this threw her for a loop. That was another thing she tried to ignore, the overwhelming amount of people, as she approached Max and plopped down next to him. "Hey, so where is it? The pictures are still okay, right?" Even though she was actually quite grateful, for him grabbing it, she still ended up a bit on the tense side about the whole thing.



#2 Max Sirius

Max Sirius

Posted 08 June 2013 - 02:12 PM

Max expected the tension. Hell, there was tension both times they'd met before-- certainly the first time because they hadn't been cordial in any sense of the word towards each other, and the second because they were getting along too well. Based on her words and the way she was acting, he had the feeling she didn't do that so often, which just fed into his need to talk to her even more. Regardless, he expected things to be weird upon their next meeting, though he definitely wished he had some Left 4 Dead to diffuse the situation. Unfortunately they were meeting in the student center, though, and he had a feeling hooking up his xbox so publicly there would either be a death sentence or such a great idea that people would start demanding turns.

 

So he sucked it up and dealt. He could do this; despite being awkward, he was a fun and goofy guy to be around, so maybe he'd try to summon that side of himself today. He hadn't been able to summon it back at the Beta house; he'd been far from charming, what with his hand-wringing routine and quiet, nervous questions reminiscent of his sister, though things had been far easier than he anticipated as far as getting her number. He almost stopped by her room but figured that was a little too personal, regardless of their last meeting.

 

He arrived at the student center perhaps a little earlier than he arranged, too, though there was this part of him that felt slightly stir-crazy within the hour up to it. Had he allowed himself to dwell on it, he might have discovered that he kinda liked the girl. To put it in junior high terms, he like-liked her. And we're not referencing the Zelda enemy here. Either way, he wasn't completely aware of his attraction to her quite yet, which was good considering their meeting. It'd only be more awkward in the end.

 

As she plopped down next to him, he sort of spun towards her, as he hadn't seen her coming. "Oh, hey," he said, disappointed that she'd gotten straight to the point. Would that be it? She'd take her portfolio and leave? He wasn't sure why he expected any different. No matter-- he slid the thing, still in perfect condition, over towards her.

 

"Everything's how you left it," he said with a nod. "I still didn't look through it." There was something in his voice that suggested that he was tempted but hadn't done it, but his tone undoubtedly implied his honesty. Which he was being honest. For some reason he'd held back. 



#3 Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 03:09 PM

There was something so awkward and strange about the whole thing that Bridget didn't quite know how to deal with. It had always been so damn easy for her to just push people away, she'd give someone the cold shoulder and act like the person she'd become and they'd back off with no questions asked. For some reason though, and she blamed it on their strangely serious conversation over zombie killing, she couldn't seem to just walk away like she normall did. She didn't like it. She didn't like it at all and she couldn't really stand the fact that she'd opened up to this kid that she barely knew.

 

Even the thought of just trying to brush him off again seemed weird, though Bridget didn't know that he would be insistent on not letting her do so, she couldn't actually bring herself to do it regardless. A part of her wanted to grab the portfolio and walk away, but as he slid it towards her and she nodded in thanks she didn't seem to budge at all. Instead her fingers tapped against the cover of it, more than a bit nervous at this whole silly thing. 

 

There were too many people in the student center, first of all, and not that she got anxious in that way that she hated being around crowds, but she couldn't help but assume that she was constantly being judged, much like Max had done at the masquerade. it was a feeling that made her feel sick to her stomach, and she wished for once people wouldn't terrify her as much as they normally did. Except of course, for some weird reason, being around Max didn't seem to give her those worries. There was still a level of hesitation there, one she always experienced but not as intense as usual, but she'd already sort of been friendly with him and she could see that he was actually pretty harmless.

 

"You didn't?" She was surprised that he hadn't looked through the photographs, and though she was grateful that he'd respected her privacy, she didn't actually mind all that much. In fact, the ones she put a lot of thought and work into were something that she was incredibly proud of. Bridget wasn't a show off, but she didn't mind people looking at her work. "They're nothing special, really," she shrugged and looked up at him, pulling the portfolio against her chest. "I mean I like them, don't get me wrong but these are the ones I take for the Herald." She opened the thing up and flicke through a few pages until she came up to the one she'd thought of. 

 

She'd kept all her pictures from the masquerade, and one of them was a startled Max just as he was about to fall out of his chair. "I didn't submit these to the paper, but I thought it was kind of...funny."



#4 Max Sirius

Max Sirius

Posted 08 June 2013 - 03:32 PM

"Oh," was Max's only response at first, a hand immediately coming up to scratch the back of his head in something like embarrassment. Brady's words rang in his ears for a second, and he felt increasingly stupid for, of all reasons, not invading her privacy. The pictures were for the Herald; they were public territory anyway, so it was his business in a roundabout way. "I just thought, I mean--" He said, trying to find the right words to express why he'd done it. "You know, I wasn't sure if it was a private thing or not. Something you didn't want people to see, like a journal or something."

 

He knew his cousin, Cricket, kept a lot of her photos private. She took pictures mostly of nature and animals and even dabbled in astrophotography, though, instead of messing with pictures of people. Aside from being forced into yearbook staff, she usually flew under the radar with her major. So he was sort of used to dealing with people who kept things private, including his own sister and her precious little journal.

 

There might have been a moment of confusion as she mentioned funny, though, as he couldn't recall her finding anything funny before. While he'd been polite enough to keep out of her business before, now he was scooting around in his chair to sit closer in hopes to see the picture. At first he didn't grin or laugh or anything so much as he winced slightly, a hand involuntarily coming to the back of his head to inspect if it was alright. "That wasn't funny, that was painful," he said like a pouty child, though the longer he inspected the photo, the more he started to grin.

 

"Okay okay, it's a little funny," he admitted after a second, even laughing a little to confirm it. "I see how it is. You took pleasure in my pain. You totally did that on purpose just to see me hit my head like some shitty Ben Stiller movie." There was absolutely no malice in his voice, however, as he was only teasing her, a sideways grin on his features that showed off his dimples. He considered being even more insufferable and mentioning that maybe she only did it so she could doctor him, but even he was uncomfortable going that far. Hell, he was slightly uncomfortable with sitting so close to her, now that he stopped long enough to notice.



#5 Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 04:16 PM

There was something sweet about the gesture that she could appreciate. She didn't really recognize that he'd felt embarrassed, as she really wasn't all too good at reading people anymore, but she still nodded at him, a small smile of gratitude on her lips. "It's fine. I have private pictures, too, it's just these aren't it." Even though the pictures she took for the newspaper weren't really like the ones she liked taking for her own enjoyment, she didn't really mind being a part of the staff. The main downside was that she was the one they called on for all of the events. Like the Masquerade. But even then it was easy for her to hide out and take candids of people and call it a day.

 

Her private pictures, were definite;y a different matter completely. Even though many of them involved people, still, there was something completely different about the moments she captured on a crowded street than people dancing awkwardly at a school function. But then again, they weren't really that private. She really did take quite a great deal of pride in her work, and she actually hoped that one day some of these so called private pictures would be seen by other people.

 

She didn't notice the closeness right away, had she, she would have moved back on her own as she was already having a hard time grasping the fact that she was having a semi decent conversation with this kid and for the second time. Her mind was preoccupied with the slightest bit of amusement at the memory and she was relieved that it was something that they could actually laugh off now, instead of getting upset with each other like they had originally.

 

There was the smallest fraction of a smile on her face, her eyebrows raised as he made his accusation and she got the implication behind it right away. He wasn't making fun of her. He was teasing her in a strange playful sort of way that she just wasn't used to at all. For the second time in his presence she actually laughed, shaking her head as if to deny it all. "That definitely wasn't the case," she said, turning her head towards him. "I was worried. I thought I gave you a concussion." She remembered feeling ridiculously guilty, too, and though she was more than irritated because he was a bit of a baby about the whole thing, she did want to make sure he was alright in the end. "And I didn't mean the moment was funny. Just the picture." She added, that guilt bubbling up in her again, she really didn't want to seem like she was laughing at his misfortune after all.



#6 Max Sirius

Max Sirius

Posted 08 June 2013 - 05:31 PM

Hearing that she had private pictures, too, made him feel a little better about not having looked. He understood that sort of thing, in a way; while he didn't personally have anything that he considered his own exclusively, he understood why others would take theirs so seriously. God knows he'd been smacked a few times for trying to sneak a peek at Melli's journal in the past, though even then it was only to tease her. He didn't really care to see the contents inside, as none of it was his business. Despite his curiosity, he didn't like to cheat to find out what was going on. It was far more fun to figure out from observation or pressing questions.

 

"Cool," he said semi-awkwardly, tapping his finger against the back of his hand idly, as if drumming. Now that he thought of it, perhaps he did have a few things of his own. His stuff that he was working on in his design classes were things he didn't like showing off, but that was mostly because they were unfinished projects. Once done, he wouldn't mind showing the world if it was cool enough. 

 

But that was a sensitive and strange subject for Max; while his passion undoubtedly lied with all things involving gaming, he was a bit ashamed of it. Mentioning his actual major by name in the Kappa had warranted a few laughs and looks, so he just called it by another name-- computer programming, which still merited a few looks, but at least it wasn't as bad. So it went without saying that he wasn't all too eager to show off his work, especially at its infant stage.

 

Her laugh threw him off guard, even if he'd been joking around to begin with. Slowly his sideways grin grew into a full one, and he shook his finger at her. "Sure, that's what they all say." That rebuttal didn't even make sense, but she was smiling and that was all that mattered. "I still remember the look on your face, you know. I thought you were going to flip out." He didn't mention that he had noticed the concern on her face, or at least the guilt. Both were sort of hard to differentiate.

 

"It healed, though. No brain damage here," he said with a quick wink, turning his focus back to the photos. "Show me some more, though. That one was good."



#7 Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 01:12 AM

It was sort of strange to actually show off her work. Aside from her instructors and her family there hadn't really been anyone that she did this sort of thing with. For the most part she didn't let anyone close enough anyway, but most people didn't really care. Creativity didn't seem to be such a big deal to some and other's people's accomplishments didn't matter because it didn't involve them directly. That was another one of the things that she truly didn't like about people. Everyone was so selfish and self absorbed she really didn't see the need to make friends since they only cared about themselves.

 

At one point, before high school and before people teased her and before her friends threw her under the bus for popularity, she'd been appreciative of other people's art. Or other people's accomplishments. She'd liked looking at the things others were proud of. Bridget understood those people on another level and it was nice to share something in common with. After things went south for her however, she made it her best attempts not to care. Shutting herself away from everyone completely made it all too easy, too. If she didn't have friends, if people thought she was a bitch then she wouldn't have to care. And not just about their accomplishments, either.

 

But it felt disappointing knowing that because she'd allowed herself to do that, there would be no one there for her either. Her desperate loneliness manifested itself in every little thing. From not having anyone to talk to about her daily life, to not having someone to share the things she loved with. It was a constant reminder that she didn't have anyone at all. So this was definitely more than a little foreign to her, and she wasn't sure what felt stranger, the fact that she was doing it in the first place and actually once again having a decent conversation with him, or the fact that she didn't want to pull the book away and just leave.

 

Again, she still didn't really see a friendship forming here. There would be no telling when she wouldn't freak out and shut down. It was all baby steps for her and she wasn't really sure how good she would be at this sort of thing, but the more and more he spoke, the more she felt at ease. The more and more the talked the more she wondered if she could actually have a friend here. And the more she considered that, the more terrified she became. It was too many things going on at once in her head and it was far overwhelming.

 

At the very least she was enjoying the conversation for now. She'd try not to think too far ahead in terms of whether she would be able to become his friend and whether or not he'd even want her as a friend, considering she wouldn't really make a very good one in the first place. She pressed her lips together to conceal her smile, a little stunned that she'd yet again managed one, and shook her head. "I heard your head hit the ground and I kind of freaked out, and it really was kind of my fault in a way, I mean I shouldn't have taken the picture, I guess you just sort of pressed the wrong buttons." She shrugged but it was clear that at the time it had bothered her.

 

"Yeah, I guess it did," she looked away, down at her lap where the photos lay as he winked and she shuffled through a page or two until she came to a few she liked. Candids were always her favorite. There were a few there of random couples. A guy she knew that was an Omega and a short adorable girl. A black haired girl dancing with her cousin's friend from Alpha whose name she couldn't remember. "You can just...I mean you can look through them all if you want. There's some from the date auction, too. I do most of the events."



#8 Max Sirius

Max Sirius

Posted 09 June 2013 - 04:05 AM

While Max might have been under the assumption that they weren't friends prior to this meeting, that idea went right out the window the moment she laughed. If their every conversation went this way, friendship was only inevitable. Already he already thought of her as something akin to a friend, which was so strange, considering the stark contrast she was in comparison to the Betas he'd met before. Even if they hadn't sacrificed him in some sort of beauty ritual like he was afraid of, they'd given him enough looks to make him shrivel up and walk out with his tail in between his legs. And they certainly would not be caught dead with some geeky Kappa reject, yet here she was trying not to smile at him.

 

Which he did recognize, actually. At first he didn't know her well enough to read into her pressing her lips together, but now he could see what she was hiding. With Max being the sort of the guy he was, there was no doubt that he'd try to get her to slip up and show him that smile as many times as possible. It was simply in his nature to be a goofball; approval, to him, was the amount of sincere laughs he got. Sometimes he appeared overeager and tried too hard, but part of him felt a little at ease with her, even if she was... Bridget.

 

"I'm good at that, I hear," he said, nodding appreciatively. It was nowhere near the first time he'd heard that "pressing buttons" comment, as he heard it damn near every day from someone in their family. Usually Melli, but his other cousins tired of him fairly quickly, too. Blame it on the ridiculous amount of pranks he felt the need to pull just to entertain himself. "I'll play nice, though, promise." A weird, goofy part of him felt like holding his pinky out for a promise, but he held it tightly by his side, remembering that he was in fucking college and that wasn't adorable anymore.

 

His face lit up in recognition as he started to look through the photos, though. "That's my cousin," he said, pointing to a particular brunette, grinny guy who just so happened to be named Avery. The more he looked, the more faces he started to recognize, and he just sort of snorted to himself. "And that's my sister, actually." He said, tapping to a particular picture of his sister looking both bored and pissed off. "That's her best side, right there."

 

He resisted stereotypical comments about what each fraternity or sorority were doing in the photos, as he figured it was best to avoid that conversation again. As he sorted through a few of the Kappa brothers attempting to breakdance after too much alcohol, though, he could hardly resist his outright laughter. "How are these not blurry from you laughing your ass off?" He glanced over at her for a second, his expression reflecting some sort of understanding.

 

"This seems pretty cool, actually. Kinda like you're spectating a whole bunch of different scenes at once. Is this your major?"



#9 Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 04:39 AM

There was an odd moment of clarity for her where she actually realized that for some strange reason she was okay being in Max's company. It still scared the ever loving hell out of her, she still felt that lump in her throat there, but somehow she just didn't seem to mind having him around. She still had her doubts about any sort of tentative friendship, as even if she allowed herself that, it would take far too long for her to let her walls down completely to trust him. That fear would always remain in the back of her mind that he like many others would look down on her for the things she couldn't control and that was what made her the most hesitant of all.

 

But she realized that even if it was just the slightest bit, she was already slowly letting him past some of those walls and aside from being afraid of what might happen in the future she didn't actually think about it all that much. Max was surprisingly nice. They'd gotten off on the wrong foot and had gotten under each other's skin, yes, but she realized that she, too, had judged him pre maturely. He'd come off as an idiot when they first met. He'd hurt her feelings in the way he'd called her a rich privileged white girl, but once they got past that, she realized that he was actually overwhelmingly likable. 

 

Unlike her sisters and a good part of the Greek system in the school, she hardly cared much about the things he liked and whether or not he was a bit of a geek. She wasn't exactly Ms Popularity herself, nor was she the superficial, typical girl that Beta was known for, either, so perhaps it was easier for her to forget all those little stigmas that came with being a nerd. Had she known a little bit about Max and his interests she certainly would have no room judging him for it. After all, though she'd never use the term, she could definitely be a bit of a nerd with her interests in photography and writing.

 

"Yeah," she said, looking down at her lap. He had been good at it, though she was just as good as a target as he was at pushing her buttons. There was definite relief for her that they'd seemed to get past it, anyway, and she believed that he'd play nice from now on. From now on. She'd rejected the word next time just a few days ago, so really she had no idea what she was thinking then. Except the fact that Max was nice and she liked being in her company. "You better," she raised her eyebrows in her best attempt to look menacing, but she was a bit of a kitten, honestly.

 

She leaned over as he thumbed through the pictures, interested a bit in his family. She registered his cousin's familiar face and looked up at him curiously. Nodding as he showed her his sister, too. "I know your cousin. I mean I don't know him, I've never talked to him directly but my cousin Eli's in Alpha with him. They're friends I think." Bridget was a little over protective of her cousin who was actually a year older than her. He was a bit of a social idiot, and she always felt like she had to look out for him. She could remember seeing Avery at the house the few times she'd visited.

 

At his question she sort of shook her head, another hint of a smile beginning to show. "I'm an unbiased spectator," she said, though that was clearly a lie. Really, she had thought it was all pretty damn funny and she couldn't deny it. "Shutter speed," she said, nodding and confirming his question that yeah, she had laughed her ass off.

 

"I guess so. There's usually too many people. Makes me kind of..." she waved her hand in the air, not really keen on continuing that sentence. She was sure he understood in a way. "But I like it, a lot. So I deal with it." Again, she looked down at her feet and blew out a puff of air before continuing. "That and creative writing. I'm a double major. What about you?"



#10 Max Sirius

Max Sirius

Posted 09 June 2013 - 05:55 AM

It was stupid how consistently shocked Max was to see small sides of Bridget come out. "You better" alone threw him a bit off kilter, as if he was hearing right, it was almost flirty. It was easy to let that thought process fade before it came to fruition, however, as he knew for sure that it wasn't the case. Already she was having trouble being friendly towards him, so flirting was way, way off the table. He tried not to let it get to him, but he was far from blind to her pretty face and blonde hair. He'd caught himself staring a few times when he wasn't supposed to, and while he continuously reminded himself that he was lucky to have friendship with this girl, those thoughts remained in the back of his head nonetheless.

 

He was clearly taken aback by the fact that she knew Avery of all people, though he tried unsuccessfully to mask that shortly afterward. "Oh, uh--" He started, trying to think of a way to bounce back, but another name she'd thrown out there caught his attention first. "Wait, Eli's your cousin? I know him! I met him a few times back when I was a freshman, y'know, during rush week." He didn't bother to disclose why he hadn't rushed Alpha, as that was probably obvious just from looking at the place. The more time he spent here at CSU, the more he realized that he probably was a good fit for it, but his pride just couldn't take it. Kicked out of Kappa pledge period and landing himself a spot at the Alpha house? Yeah, that was about as sad as it got.

 

"But yeah, yeah. They're really good friends. Avery talks about him a lot," he said with a nod and a grin, and he knew very well that he and Eli were a lot like himself and Brady. Their friendship was one of those impenetrable, inseparable sort of things, and it was their friendship to some extent that Max envied when he first came to CSU. Fortunately Brady didn't keep him waiting long, as gay as it was to say.

 

His grin brightened as she admitted that she found it all funny, though his mind immediately started to work in mischievous ways. "Do you ever like... purposely set up situations so you can, uh--" He paused for a second, one eye closed as he tried to phrase it correctly. "So you can get the proper reactions in your photos?" The glint in his eye suggested that he was talking about pranking someone in some way or another, akin to a very toned down version of candid camera. "If you ask me, those are the best candids."

 

"Sounds like you're a creative spirit," he said with another nod of appreciation as she mentioned her other major. He'd always been somewhat creative himself, but not to that extent. Mostly he just wasted any potential away in front of a game system. Visibly he clammed up at telling her his major, though, and he attempted to shrug it off. "Computer programming--" He started, but after a few moments he realized how ridiculous it was to still be self-conscious around her now that she'd opened up a bit, herself. "Actually, video game design. As nerdy as that is."



#11 Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 07:00 AM

It hadn't been something that had come off as flirting in her mind. In fact, she had no idea whatsoever how to flirt and the thought that she might have actually been doing it was laughable. It was surprising to her that she hadn't completely lost touch with people in general as she'd known that she hasn't been too nice and welcoming before. She wondered what he would think knowing that she'd been a downright bitch to his sister before, the realization when he'd pointed her picture out caused her to feel incredibly guilty.

 

Even these interactions she couldn't help but criticize herself offhandedly. She talked to her sister's daily, sure, she had no choice honestly considering she lived with them, but those were mostly forced pleasantries, a how are you there before she was moving away from them, not really enjoying being in their company all too often. The same went for her classes or her peers in the newspaper, or anyone who was on the tennis team with her. She just didn't talk to people like this, much less flirt. The concept was completely foreign to her.

 

Bridget knew for a fact that Max wasn't in Alpha, considering she'd been over there to visit her cousin and she was pretty sure she'd at least seen all of the members--there weren't that many--if she hadn't met them all. So the comment about rush week made her wonder if he was in Kappa, and the thought made her frown just a bit. She was trying herself not to make generalizations as that was a topic they'd both had a lengthy discussion about, but it was those type of people, the ones that usually joined Kappa an Delta that made her the most nervous. Those type of people who'd let her down in high school in the first place.

 

It was difficult not to dwell on, and she was dying to ask, but she let it go for the time being, instead nodding her head and running her teeth over her bottom lip. "Yeah, remember when you asked me about the video game I told you my cousin played? That's him." She was surprised that he knew the kid, and she made a mental note to ask him about Max as she listened to him speak about his friendship with Avery. Admittedly, it was friendships like that that she envied, too. "Same. I mean he talks about Avery quite a bit. Sounds kind of nice having a friend like that."

 

For the tiniest of moments, Bridget looked up as his grin brightened and she couldn't help but find him stupidly adorable. She shook it off rather quickly and concentrated on his question instead, feigning shock at his suggestion. "I'm just an impartial bystander," she repeated again though she was terribly curious as to what sort of thing he had in mind. "I uh, I have been guilty of submitting some less than flattering pictures to the paper though. It's surprising the things that people do when they thing there's no one looking." She wasn't aware that she sounded a little weird with that, but really, she was completely harmless. Just a girl with her camera is all.

 

It didn't come as a surprise that his major was video game design at all. What did was the fact that he'd seemingly tried to hide it at first, calling it computer programming. She didn't really think it was too nerdy at all, either. Even though Eli was a definite nerd, she didn't think one had to be to enjoy video games. After all, she'd sort of liked one, hadn't she? "So does that mean you're a creative spirit, too? That actually sounds...it sounds pretty cool. I mean I still know nothing about video games but I don't think it's nerdy at all. Kind of impressive actually."



#12 Max Sirius

Max Sirius

Posted 10 June 2013 - 05:01 AM

Max smiled and nodded pleasantly at the idea that Eli was the one she was referencing, and from what he could tell, she was actually fond of the guy rather than judgmental. He knew a lot of his cousins (Toby in particular) were sometimes afraid to be seen in public with him, so it was nice to hear that Eli didn't suffer the same. Then again, Max brought a lot of that on himself for being so damn obnoxious and irritating sometimes, so he couldn't really hate Toby for it.

 

It was nice to hear that Avery had his own sort of "niche," though. The guy had gone to a much bigger high school than Max-- at least five times bigger-- but he'd been nearly as alone. Then again, he was lucky enough to have Brandon, Andy, and Nick around, something Max had always envied. Regardless, he'd started to think the guy was just incapable of making new friends, yet here he was the president of some fraternity. The geek fraternity, sure, but Avery was happy, so it didn't matter.

 

In a sense Max was still jealous, as the guy was way geekier than him and somehow lucked out. Either way, he was still happy for Avery and still happy to have Brady, too. "Yeah. They seem pretty close," he said, though otherwise he dismissed the topic in his mind. 

 

"Impartial bystander, right," he said with a slow nod, eyebrows raising. "Just a girl behind a camera. You should set up something around Halloween, get some terrified faces like the pictures at a theme park on a rollercoaster. Those are always the best." His sideways grin returned, the glint in his eyes ever present. "I'll help, y'know. I'm quite experienced in, um... getting reactions out of people."

 

There was something about the kind way she comforted him that made him double-take, though, and he realized his heart was doing that flip-floppy thing it did when he started having a crush on a girl. Beta-- way out of your league, he made himself think, but even so he stared at her for a few seconds, a sheepish grin on his lips. Impressive. That was a really different take on it than most people thought. "You think so? That's not weird or anything?" He looked down at his hands for a second, tapping his fingers against one of his palms idly. 

 

"I could teach you more," he said, clearing his throat in an effort to regain his composure. "If you wanted to come by and play sometime, that is."



#13 Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 06:07 AM

As strange as it was, Eli was probably the closest thing she had to a friend in Colorado. Unlike Max, her family wasn't particularly large and the only other person she had was her brother and he was still in Vermont. Though even if he wouldn't have been the only thing she had, she couldn't have ever seen herself being judgmental towards the kid. It wasn't as if she wasn't guilty of being that way, she'd done it many times before, but not with Eli. Not because he was a little bit of a geek--okay, a lot bit of a geek--who was into video games and physics. That was one concept she could never grasp.

 

She didn't dwell on the topic either, though even after he dismissed it there was still a tiny pang there, as anytime she was somehow reminded that she didn't have any friends her overwhelming loneliness seemed to grow tenfold until all she could do was feel sorry for herself and the strange isolated bubble she created for herself. It was such a silly thing to be upset over. After all, in a way she'd done this to herself, but for Bridget, there was a difference in closing the door on everyone who came around and sitting there thinking about the fact that she had.

 

But there was Max. Which was weird to think about. Max that she barely knew and was still a little scared of. Max who was actually kind of funny when he wasn't flailing around and wailing about injuries. He was surprisingly nice and she really didn't know how to handle it. Not that she hadn't met nice people before but the fact that she'd found it so easy to talk to him had her thrown for a loop. She remembered the bit of conversation they'd had on the night of the masquerade. High school sucked. And it dawned on her that yeah, they probably had more in common than either of them realized.

 

This tentative little friendship still worried her though and it might have been clear to anyone who really knew her by the way she kept glancing at her feet and chewing through her lip. For once she wished she could summon that bright, friendly Bridget she'd been before all of this had happened. She'd be pretty good at this whole conversation thing without feeling incredibly timid. But she was pretty sure that girl was long gone and she'd have to make do with what she had.

 

"Like a prank?" She asked, brows furrowing curiously. That sort of thing wasn't her forte and while the idea seemed humorous she really wasn't sure if she could imagine herself doing it, though she realized it probably wasn't all too malicious either. 

 

All she did was nod at his question, not really looking at it as comforting in her eyes. Though Bridget honestly had no idea that he was so self conscious about it either. "Why?" She asked, almost incredulously. "It's something you like, right? Why would that be weird?"

 

She cocked her head to one side and glanced at him curiously, giving him a sort of half smile at his offer. There was no harm in trying, right? It was difficult for her not to think ahead of herself and feel terrified that she might end up getting hurt, but for once, for some reason, she really wanted to give this whole friendship thing a shot. She could only hope that it would work in her favor. "Yeah, I think...yeah that sounds pretty cool," her smile grew just the slightest bit as she nodded. "You can call or...or text me sometime if you're free for something like that. Aside from tennis and the paper I don't really do that much, so I'm sure I'll be free"



#14 Max Sirius

Max Sirius

Posted 10 June 2013 - 07:01 AM

Max wasn't blind; he could simultaneously tell how tentative she was and even, to some extent, how lonely she was. Not that he knew the extent of it or why, but he'd seen that look a few times before on a couple of family members of his. Perhaps she was just anxious around people, a feeling he knew all too well, so he'd try to accomodate for that. Try. He seemed to already be in her good graces despite their first meeting, however, so maybe he didn't need to "accomodate" all that much in the end. She seemed to like him well enough.

 

Which just stirred up another entire storm of thoughts in his mind, though he managed to press them down for now. Girls didn't normally like Max. Especially Beta, blonde, pretty girls that were way out of his league. Not that he was under the assumption that she like-liked him (again, not referring to the Zelda enemy), but even in friendship girls didn't seem all that interested. It was something he wasn't really used to, so he knew it'd be a difficult line to walk on without tipping over onto the other side.

 

"Now you're talking," he said with a wink and smirk, obviously experienced in that line of "work." "As far as what you could do, I'll have to get back to you on that one. But I'm sure it'd make for a... fun article in the Herald." He never really read the Herald, admittedly, as he just didn't have an interest in the goings-on at school that didn't involve him. He went to a Kappa party every now and then and a couple of SGA events, but mostly he just kept his nose out of things and his eyes on his video games.

 

He buzzed his lips in thought at her question of "why," taking a moment to decide if it was okay to confide in her. In a strange way she'd already done so in him, so he figured it couldn't hurt. "I dunno, it just wasn't very 'cool,' y'know, in high school. And so far it's not very cool here, from what I can tell." He looked over his shoulder in search of any Kappas, but everyone looked harmless. Even so, the Kappas hadn't been all that bad; sure a little teasing might have been involved, but they did that to everyone, even Toby. It was just that he was so accustomed to real teasing that any form of it really bothered him.

 

"I always uh-- I mean, I guess people thought video games were really stupid. And comic books and comic book movies and-- okay, yeah, I guess I can see why they thought I was a dork," he said, one eye closed and nose scrunched as he looked back up at her, though he was still smiling slightly. "It's more acceptable around here, but I'm just not used to it. Especially from a girl, no offense."

 

Her acceptance of his offer had him grinning from ear to ear, though, and he couldn't help but act like a stupid little kid. "Really? I mean-- yeah, I'll definitely text you. I don't really have much going on either, other than painting this stupid house at some point." He still wasn't sure why he agreed to it, but it was kind of whatever to him. An idea occurred to him and he was already speaking it before he thought it through. "You could come with me to that, if you want-- I mean, uh." He paused, laughing at himself. "Nevermind, that's totally lame. I don't know why I asked."



#15 Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 07:53 AM

She did like him, which was the problem in her eyes, as it was something so completely foreign to her now that she wasn't really sure how to process it. She didn't think about the possibility of like-liking him though, as that would have been a ridiculous train wreck in which she would have most definitely distanced herself from him the minute the idea came to her head. Their strange little friendship was safe for now though, as that sort of thing was the farthest from her mind. 

 

And even if it had ever occurred to her she probably would have had similar thoughts about him. Not those way out of my league thoughts--although she'd constantly thought herself as better than a lot of people she thought that line of thinking was utterly ridiculous--but had it come to her mind it would have been more of a why would anyone, much less someone who was seemingly as nice as him, waste their time on someone like her.

 

The only thing she had going in her eyes was all superficial, and already she was surprised that he was even wasting his time on her. That was something that she'd considered which again opened up another line of thinking for her that she quickly stifled. But not quick enough. He'd get tired of her being so distant eventually wouldn't he? Bridget couldn't ever picture herself fully opening up to him. While she liked him thus far, earning her trust would take a lot longer than that and who really had the patience for such a thing anyway? Again, she pushed those thoughts away quickly before they could manifest into something much worse.

 

"I don't write for the paper, just take the pictures." She thought about the columnists there and agreed that yeah, it would probably make a good article but if this was something that she'd end up doing, for some reason she wanted to keep it for herself. And Max of course.

 

The topic of high school made her stomach turn, as just hearing those two words brought up too many bad memories. While he still hadn't told her too much she could tell just from the way he spoke that he'd probably been teased, too. It was two totally different things to get teased over but she could definitely related. Had she been more confident in herself she would have liked to tell him that it didn't matter if it was cool or not, but she could remember that overwhelming urge to want to fit in again when everyone had made her an outcast and she couldn't find it in herself to form the words. "People suck," was all she said instead, her gaze once again focused her lap, her fingers idly playing with the hem of her dress.

 

"Everyone's really...they don't like giving others that are different a chance I guess. Whether it's because they like video games or...if you're not like them, if you don't fit into their mold they assume it's okay to be harsh." She swallowed the lump in her throat and pushed away every single shitty memory that was trying to bubble up in her mind before she got close to tears because of it. "I can't--I can't say that I didn't think video games were pretty silly but you like them, right? It shouldn't matter if others thought they were stupid, and I like comic books." Her lips twitched slightly and though a bit of it still lingered, most of the sadness was gone. "Or,well, I guess...is it cheating if I say comic book movies?" She shrugged and shook her head at his comment, waving her hand in the air as if to brush if off. "None taken."

 

It really was difficult not to smile back at him, her grin all too wide at his enthusiasm. He really was ridiculously adorable like that, she was hard pressed to deny it, and she couldn't help to actually look forward to hanging out with him after such a reaction. "Who's house? Um--I don't...I mean just tell me when and I'll tell you if I can come. It might be...I dunno, I'm probably not a good painter but I don't see why not."



#16 Max Sirius

Max Sirius

Posted 10 June 2013 - 09:07 AM

It occurred to him that it was sort of odd that she didn't write any articles for the paper, being a creative writing major and all. But he supposed the two were extremely different in practice, so he said nothing in response so much as he nodded. Pranking with Bridget wasn't necessarily something he wanted to advertise, either; he could just imagine Melli's face when she bursted into his dorm room, eyes blazing. She never liked it when he turned his torture onto other victims, even if she begged him to leave her alone.

 

He couldn't help but focus his attention on her as she mentioned, again, that people sucked. Feeling as though the conversation was spiraling just as it'd done the last time they met, he wasn't sure how to salvage it. For the moment he just bit his lip and let her finish, though, brows furrowed in a mixture of worry and understanding. As strange as it was for him to imagine (he hadn't asked because he felt as though it was prying), it was easy to tell that she was made fun of in high school. He figured they'd eventually get around to the topic, though, so he let it rest. "Yeah, they do."

 

Max listened to her quietly, trying to keep a cap on his expression as she mentioned that she previously thought they were silly. It was no surprise, really; he was thankful that she'd given him the time of day, but he knew that sort of perception would never change. She was right, though. It didn't matter. He brightened considerably at her second attempt at comforting him, something like a soft smile on his features. "Nah, it's not cheating," he said, looking down at his hands and finding her painfully, undeniably cute. Poor guy already had a ticking time bomb strapped to his chest.

 

His surprise was evident on his features, what with his eyebrows raised, his mouth agape, and his general stance sort of taken aback at her acceptance. Why he was still surprised by her was really stupid, and he hated that he kept letting himself get that way. "Really?" He asked, nodding. "I mean, it's like this old bed and breakfast my grandparents used to run. My cousin and brother are fixing it up and they wanted people to try to take charge of a room, but I felt like it'd be sort of boring without someone there to talk to."

 

It was odd thinking that Bridget would be his someone to talk to. A beat late, he realized that he'd already invited Brady and he was also going, but he wasn't about to retract his invitation or tell her that, as shady as it was to keep it from her. He just wanted her company and was slightly afraid that she'd back out if she knew Brady would be there. Besides, he had the feeling Brady would maybe back out anyway.

 

"That'd be awesome if you did, though," he said, having trouble not grinning at her like an idiot. "I'm a shit painter too, so we'll see how it works out. Maybe they won't ask me to help anymore if we do a bad enough job." He didn't seem bothered at all by that prospect, as he winked for the third time that day. 



#17 Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 08:14 AM

Bridget had far since reached the threshold where she honestly felt comfortable. It had been much easier to have such a serious conversation in the library, where it had been just the two of them, video game serving as a distraction. And even then she hadn't found it that simple. Even then she'd still felt incredibly nervous and awkward and all of the things that normally came with being around people in general. Now it was a lot different but still as difficult to deal with.

 

All of those things together, the fact that this conversation had also taken that weird serious turn, along with the fact that they were in the middle of the student center where other people were milling about, well, her hands were trembling and her mouth was dry and she was in turmoil over leaving or staying. She wanted to leave. Wanted to get away from this crowd of people. Wanted to get away from Max and the unnerving way he got under her skin.

 

But then there was that part of her that didn't want to leave. She wanted to stick around and talk to him, serious conversation or not. She felt a bit stupid about it, and she was a bit of a nervous wreck because of it. Bridget chalked it up to the general atmosphere of the situation, but part of her knew that it was because it was so damn effortless being around Max. It was why she was able to tell him so much, though still so little, without hesitation. Why she seemingly didn't seem to mind his closeness or the fact that he made her smile far too much. A little bit of that old Bridget seemed to come about when Max was around but it made all of her anxieties and insecurities come out as well.

 

Letting out a slow breath, Bridget nodded, "Yeah, I uh...this is silly but I don't really have a lot of friends, any friends, actually. And it's kind of-- well I actually really like hanging out with you so far," she pushed a lock of hair behind her ear and let out another breath, her chest heaving nervously. "This is really lame. Forget all of that, I didn't say any of that. Just...I don't mind helping at all." She was sure her emotions were written all over her face, and though thus far he didn't seem like the type to judge, she couldn't help wonder how strange Max would think she is after this.

 

A thought occurred to her as he said his next words and while she wasn't terribly malicious she couldn't help but smile slightly at the idea. "You could always just do a terrible job on purpose, spill paint on the floor or something. That way they really won't want you around."



#18 Max Sirius

Max Sirius

Posted 11 June 2013 - 08:53 AM

What she said didn't really surprise Max. It was along the same lines of what she was talking back in the library, and while he sort of frowned as she spoke, he was far from judging her. Truthfully he completely understood where she was coming from, and if anything it made him want to be around her more. Not that he normally had some sort of weird messiah complex, but if he liked her too, why wouldn't he want to solve the problem? Watching her retract her words, though, he almost involuntarily reached out, his hand touching her arm.

 

"Nah, I totally get it," he reassured her with a nod. "I didn't have many friends before..." He wanted to say before Brady, but he figured it was a bit odd to bring up his best friend in light of this. "But I like hanging out with you, too. So far." He smirked with those last words, brows furrowing as he waved his finger at her. "So far. You gonna change your mind on me? Can't back out now, I'm pretty sure we're friends. Nothing you can do about it."

 

His smirk widened a little more as she gave some suggestions, though he gave a long sigh. "Thing is, they plan to replace all of the flooring anyway, since that part is basically beyond repair. We'll figure out something, though. We could always bring our own shade of paint and surprise everyone with a bright red room or something." He could just imagine the look on Melli's face at that, though part of him wanted to play it safe. Now that she'd said she didn't have any friends... well, he almost wanted her to make a good impression on everyone. He couldn't be the only one.

 

Again, he didn't mention Brady, if only because he didn't want her to feel like the third wheel. Which was sort of gay to think, but Max didn't dwell on such things. Besides, at this point Brady would undoubtedly be the third wheel, but at least he was alright with his family, so maybe he'd find someone else to hang out with for a while. A pang of guilt hit him at abandoning his friend like that, but surely he'd understand, right?

 

It occurred to him that he had to tell Brady about all of this, and he wasn't even sure if the guy would believe him. Probably not-- a Beta was grinning at him and acting almost grateful to be his friend. She wanted to play video games with him and help him paint his family's bed and breakfast and spend time with him. And yeah, there was absolutely no doubt anymore that he was developing some sort of weird crush on her, out of his league or not.



#19 Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

Guest_Bridget Carlson-Baylor_*

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 11:25 AM

Truthfully, she really wasn't sure being tentative friends with one person would solve all of this for her. She wasn't even sure if she actually wanted it, really. Her words back at the library rang through her mind again, she deserved to be alone. She couldn't help but think that after the way she'd treated people--Max's sister included. Meeting someone like him, that made it so overwhelmingly easy to be around, that made her want to be friends with him, made her want to come out of her shell and be outgoing, bubbly, Bridget again was such a rarity that the thought of pinching herself to make sure she wasn't having some sort off but very vivid and very long dream had come to mind several times.

 

For a moment she just sort of stared at his hand on her arm, swallowing visibly as she glanced up at him. The touch didn't bother her, she wasn't one of those people who didn't do human contact, but hardly anyone did come that close to her, not even her cousin, so it definitely took her aback momentarily. The fact that they had so much in common was incredibly relieving to her, and as mean as it might have seemed, a part of her was oddly glad that he, too, hadn't too many friends. Not that she was jealous or terribly possessive, but she wasn't sure how she would be able to handle it if he was one of those guys that were constantly surrounded by people trying to get his attention.

 

"Yeah?" She asked, not exactly surprised by the fact that he shared the same sentiment, but still appreciative of the words alone. And she couldn't help but fully smile, shaking her head as he wagged her finger at her. "I'll try not to change my mind," she nodded, running her teeth through her bottom lip. This whole time she'd been wondering in her mind whether or not they were friends, whether or not she wanted or could handle being friends with Max, and there he was pretty much laying out on the line for her. And really, she couldn't say no. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure we're friends, too." Honestly, Bridget didn't want to do anything about it. Hell, she might have actually smiled widely to herself after saying those words because after such a long time she had a friend.

 

Had she realized how incredibly large his family was, she might have given second thought to his offer. Or to her suggestions on the prank. She would probably become incredibly awkward and scared yet again in their presence, much too meek and closed off to make a good first impression in the first place. That thought wasn't in her mind then and there, though, thankfully. It might have made her run off after all they'd talk about. She just sort of half shrugged as he told her more about the house, not really offering up any other suggestions as really, she was absolutely terrible at that sort of thing in the first place.

 

After a few moments in silence it was becoming increasingly obvious that they were surrounded by so many people and her nerves seemed to be multiplying with the realization. There was still that part of her that didn't want to leave, but she wasn't too sure how long she could sit there anymore. Holding her portfolio to her chest, Bridget stood and rocked back and forth on her heels in a nervous gesture. "Thanks for um, you know grabbing my photos and for not looking at them when you could have...and for being really nice and easy to talk to. Thanks for that, too." She stared at her shoes again for a beat, sort of like a shy schoolgirl, before she looked up again. "I should probably get going. I've got practice and--don't forget to text me sometime, alright?"



#20 Max Sirius

Max Sirius

Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:55 AM

Max just blinked a few times as she admitted that they were friends, and he knew there was really no turning back now. Not that he quite knew he was already doomed; sure, he was aware that he was attracted to her and that he might've been forming a little crush, but he hadn't understood how dangerous it could be yet. So he gave a full-on grin, eyes brightening considerably (if it was at all possible at this point). 

 

However, she suddenly seemed to clam up, and he wasn't sure how to deal with it. Glancing around, he too started to realize that there were a bunch of people around. Originally he'd been afraid that she wouldn't like to be seen in public with him, but now that he'd spent some time with her... well, he felt as though that wasn't a problem. Friends, right? Maybe she wouldn't be so secretive about it like Kaida was. Either way, he was grateful for the opportunity, so he could deal at least for now.

 

"Yeah, it's no problem," he said with a small nod and smile, perhaps blushing a little. He rose, too, though it was sort of awkward in the sense that he didn't have anything to gather. "Thanks for the same, y'know. From you. It's cool." Now he was staring at his feet like a silly schoolboy, too, reflecting her almost exactly. He rubbed the back of his neck, trying not to let himself grin.

 

"Yeah, yeah, I totally will. See ya," he said, and then it occurred to him that he had no idea how to conclude this conversation. For some reason he felt like giving her a hug of all things, but he knew that was incredibly awkward, so he held back. Nor could he do some sort of weird brofist thing, so he just sort of waved awkwardly before turning in the other direction and meandering off, sticking his hands in his pockets.

 

Already he was getting out his phone to text Brady about this shit, because there was no way he was going to believe him.







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