Ella gasped and stared at him. “You are the one who made the move on me.”
Joseph looked at Max in worry. “Look dude, your sister is a hornball. I don’t want to be rude but she’s a bit of a slut. She turned up here with a box of condoms.”
Before he could say anything else, Max had swung his fist into his face and he fell down to the ground. “Oh shit. My eye, my eye,” Joseph screamed and Max stepped back.
Sophie and Ella looked at each other in shock. “If I ever see you near my sister again, I will come back and make it so you never touch anyone else’s sister again. Do you hear me?” Max growled at the man who was on the floor cowered in fear. “Ella get your stuff and come with me now.”
Ella ran to get her bag and came back to the room. “I’m sorry, Joe,” she whispered as they walked out. Sophie hooked her arm through Ella’s, too scared to walk with Max. She’d never seen him this angry before and she was scared at how easy it seemed to be for him to resort to violence. Maybe the articles she had read were correct.
“Max, how could you do that to him?” Ella cried to her brother as they got into his car.
“He is a married man, Ella. I thought you knew better.” He glared at her and sighed as he saw Sophie get into the backseat with Ella. “I don’t know what you were thinking, going to the apartment he shares with his wife.”
“It’s not what it looks like,” Ella sighed defensively. “You don’t understand, Max.”
“I don’t want you seeing him again, Ella.”
“Whatever.” She spoke defiantly but softly. “Why did you come anyway?” She looked at Sophie suspiciously. “What happened to you yesterday anyway?” She paused. “Omg, you weren’t upset over Max yesterday, were you?” She slapped her hand across her face. “Omg, you’re sleeping with my brother.”
Sophie looked at her friend and bit her lip, unsure of what to say.
“Max, you asshole. How could you start banging my best friend? You couldn’t find anyone else?” Ella’s voice sounded angry. “And Sophie, what are you thinking? You know Max is a sleaze ball. He is always hooking up with women.”
“Ella, enough.” Max pulled up in front of their apartment complex. “Go and have a shower and we will be back to take you out for lunch and to tell you more.”
“Aren’t you coming up, Sophie?”
Sophie looked to Max and then shook her head. “No. I’ll see you later.” She got out of the car and went to the front seat and they drove off, after they made sure Ella went into the apartment complex. They drove in silence back to Max’s apartment and Sophie studied the face of the man that she loved.
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me about Ella and Joseph.” Max looked at her angrily.
“It wasn’t for me to say.” Sophie was annoyed. She ran into the apartment and then grabbed her bag.
“What are you doing?” Maxwell looked at her in surprise. “Are you leaving?” His voice was sad and soft.
“What?” She looked at him in surprise. “I’m going to shower, Max.” She sighed as she dropped the bag and walked over to him. “I’m just going to take a shower.” She kissed him on the lips and gave him hug.
“I’m sorry, Sophie.” Max stared at her. “I’m just so scared that you are going to change your mind.” He walked over to grab her bag and Sophie saw some papers had fallen out of it again when she dropped it. She prayed that Max didn’t look at them, as she was sure it was the articles about him.
The room was silent as Max picked up the papers and glanced at them before putting them in the bag. He dropped the bag as he looked at the papers. He turned around to face her, all color gone from his face. “So I guess you are going to leave me now?” His voice sounded dejected.
“No.” Sophie’s voice was strong and calm.
“You aren’t even going to ask me about the articles?” Max’s voice was incredulous. “You aren’t even going to give me the opportunity to tell my side.”
“No.” Sophie stared at Max and studied the face of the man that she loved.
“So you are just going to judge me? Just like that?” Max sat down on the couch and he looked crushed.
Sophie walked up to him and sat next to him on the couch. She took his hands into hers and stared into his eyes. “Max, I’m not going to ask you about the articles because I don’t need to. I love you and I know the kind of man that you are. You are the teenager who played with a kid because you didn’t want her to feel alone after her parents died. You are the guy who snuck me midnight snacks. You are the guy who told me I was pretty, even when I was a geeky kid. You are the man who spent hours with me teaching me algebra. You are the man I dream of every night and I know and trust that you could never have done those horrible things. I love you so much that I don’t need to hear you say anything. There are no words left to say to convince me that you are a wonderful person. I already know that and I love you.” She stopped talking as she saw tears falling from Max’s eyes. “Oh, my love.” She drew him towards her and he held her close to him.
“I’m not deserving of your love, Sophie.” He pulled back from her. “Thank you for saying the words that have made everything right in my world. I’ve been so scared that you would hear these stories and believe them.”
“I would never believe you to be capable of such things,” she spoke softly.
“You must really love me to believe that, even after I just hit Joseph.”
Sophie laughed. “That certainly didn’t help matters, but any guy would do that to a man who was disrespecting his family like that.”
Max sighed. “Yeah. I’ll have to deal with him next week. But now I want to tell you what happened.”
“You don’t have to.” She squeezed his hand.
“No, I do.” He smiled at her. “Please reserve judgment until I’m done.”
“Ok.” She smiled at him warmly.
“So Sophie, I’ve been in love with you since you were about sixteen.” He sighed. “I didn’t realize it until that summer you were seventeen and started talking about boys. I felt so jealous and upset. I didn’t want to acknowledge it. I’d been seeing Alexis that summer and had gone over to her place to get you off of my mind.”
“Oh.” Sophie tried not to feel jealous.
“So we had sex. I’m sorry.” He frowned at her. “And as I came, I called out your name.”
“I was embarrassed. But I’d been fantasizing about you as I fucked her and well let’s just say that she wasn’t too happy about it.”
“I bet.” Sophie felt a weird thrill inside.
“The next thing I know she is screaming and her brother Mitch runs into the room. She tells him that I raped her and he starts beating me up. Then she screams and grabs him and tells him that I hadn’t raped her but that I was a pedophile and had been calling out your name. Well then, Mitch made some really crude remarks about you and the things he wanted to do to you. I just saw red and hit him back and it became a full-fledged fight and well, he ended up in the hospital.”
“So I couldn’t face you again. And I swore that I would stay away from you. I was too old to be in love with a seventeen-year-old girl. It was wrong. You were my sister’s best friend and you looked up to me. And all I could think of was what it would be like to have you in my bed.”
“I thought about you too,” Sophie said shyly.
“What?” He looked up at her in amazement.
“I was trying to make you jealous that summer.” Her face flushed. “I’ve loved you for a long time as well.”
“Oh Sophie.” He pulled her close and kissed her. “You’re not disgusted by me?”
“Of course not.” She snuggled into him. “But why did you date Alexis again?”
He groaned. “I’m a man. She’s a beautiful woman. She wanted to try again and I figured why not. I had already told myself that I could never be with you.”