“What about your story?” Piaget dared to ask softly.
He reached out to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear then gently took her hand. “My story… Well, once upon a time there was a boy who was given everything he ever wanted. He did good in school, he had a lot of fun, he worked really hard. Then he had a disagreement that couldn’t be resolved. And because he stood his ground, he lost everything he had and almost everyone he ever knew. But he wouldn’t change it for the world because he did what was right. And because now, he has real friends, a real purpose. He also met you.”
“A real purpose?” She asked curiously. Piaget knew he helped out Ed, but she wasn’t sure if there was something else he was spending his time on.
“Trying to make the world a better place.”
“That’s definitely a good thing to do,” Piaget agreed. It was a little vague, but maybe he just meant helping other people like at a soup kitchen or something. And that was okay, he was at least doing something. Piaget liked this. Laying next to each other, holding hands and just talking. It was the first time she had ever done this and she hoped it wouldn’t be the last.
“What is your story?” Max returned the question to her.
“I gave you mine.”
“Barely. There were no real details. Wife? Kids?” Piaget raised an eyebrow.
“No wife, no kids. Now stop stalling. Unless it’s really terrible,” he teased. “I’d hate to spoil such a nice night.”
Piaget rolled her eyes then looked up at the sky. “I had a good childhood. I loved my life. I went to the right school, did the right things. I was wooed and married in my first year of college. I dropped out and became the perfect housewife. No kids.”
“Did you want kids?” Max enquired.
“Very much.” Piaget didn’t mean to but she couldn’t help a tear. She wiped it away angrily. It was an old wound and her situation wasn’t likely to change anytime soon so she didn’t know why she kept tearing at the scab. “He passed away in an accident last year. I feel like I’m just finally figuring my life out.”
Max slowly pulled her into his arms and she took a deep breath, settling into his embrace. He felt warm, solid, dependable. He was so nice and comfortable. A soft, worn shirt with a steady heartbeat. Piaget could feel herself relax. “I think you’re doing a good job.”
“Really?” Piaget asked dryly. She felt like she was a wreck. She cried, she was a klutz, she was trying but she felt like the bills were going to eat her alive sometimes. Piaget loved what she was working towards, to become a broadcast personality but that wouldn’t happen for some time yet. Until then it was going to remain a struggle.
“You’ve got a roof over your head. You pay your rent on time, according to your landlord. I know you have food in your cupboards. You have friends who really like you and wished you spent more time with them. You’re trying to learn to do something that you’ve always wanted to do. I’d say you’re pretty blessed.”
Piaget realized that her situation could be much worse than what it was now. She was blessed and Max had gently reminded her of that. “Thank you.”
“For tonight,” Piaget yawned and closed her eyes. “It’s been really nice.”
She must have been tired still because the next thing Piaget knew she was being laid down on her bed. Someone took off her shoes and pulled the covers over her. The hall light was on, but the bedroom was dark and in her sleepy confusion Piaget asked, “Gary?”
The figure arranging her covers paused and reality dumped back on her. Gary was dead. This was Max. He gently pushed her hair out of her face and gave Piaget a lingering kiss on the forehead. “No sweetheart, not Gary.”
Piaget was glad the dark hid her humiliating blush. “I’m sorry Max.”
“It’s okay. Get some sleep. I’ll lock the door after myself.”
But it wasn’t okay. She knew he was interested in her and she had just accidently called him her dead husband’s name. What could she say to make it better and not worse? Piaget listened miserably as he left, the door clicking softly. She curled up into a ball and wished her mouth would just stop talking before her brain could think.
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