Whatever god is playing Sims and trying to clumsily shove me into a tragic romance can kindly go straight to hell…
...I thought as I made goo-goo eyes at Max over a Monopoly board. I’d never been in a relationship before, and I’d definitely never tried to search one out at my school. So why exactly was this stranger so appealing to me?
I sneezed and watched as Max leaned over to hand me a tissue.
“Your turn,” he said, dropping the dice into my palm when I held out my hand. They still held the heat of his own fingers, which sent an annoyingly pleasant shiver through me. After he’d suggested a board game to pass the time, my brain kind of came to its senses and realized how bad this could end up being.
Apparently my body still needed to catch up…
I rolled the dice and moved my little dog five spaces to land on a community chest spot. When I picked up the card, I groaned and tossed fifty dollars into the center of the board for ‘hospital fees’. “Very ironic, thank you.”
“Aw, is someone feeling bitter?” Max teased, adjusting my lost money on the pile I’d haphazardly thrown it on.
I raised a brow and jerked my chin at the disturbing amount of money he’d collected off of me. “You make enough to pay off your student loans yet?”
He dropped his head down, making a few locks of russet hair fall across his forehead as he giggled. “Not even close, Charlie. Not even close.”
“What are you going for, anyway? And why Kistler of all schools?” The nearby college was known for its asbestos, job-security for local police, and alcohol poisoning. “You don’t seem like a complete delinquent.” I stared pointedly at the black studs in each ear, with two similar-colored loops in the top of his right one.
Max placed a hand over his heart and gasped jokingly. “You wound me! If you’d like to know, they have a pretty good art program. And I happen to be a legacy student; my mom went there way back when, so...tuition discounts.”
“Oh, an art major?” He was building another hotel on one of his properties--so basically the game was over--but paused and rolled his eyes good-naturedly when I showed interest in his studies.
“Yes, yes. Get all your art major jokes out now.”
“Hey, I can’t judge. I don’t even have a high school diploma. Judging by what’s going on, I don’t think I’ll be getting it any time soon.”
Max’s eyes flashed up to mine, showing a hint of panic. “Wait...how old are you?”
Grinning like an imp, I crossed my arms and leaned back against the couch. “Why, how old do you think I am?”
He blushed ever so slightly at my playful approach and blinked hard. “Um...eighteen?”
I maintained my teasing expression for a few more seconds before giving him a break. “Yeah, I’m just messing with ya. I’m eighteen.”
For someone who’s wary of romantic feelings, you sure are mighty flirty.
Max stifled a sigh of relief and smiled at me. “I thought for sure you were a college student.”
“Sorry to disappoint.”
He handed me another tissue when I began sniffling, still smiling. But now that he didn’t have to worry about living with a minor, he got a sparkle in his eyes. “You’re a baby.”
I pointed at my chuckling companion and scowled. “I’ll have you know, I’m a big boy. I do my own laundry and everything.”
“You’re a baby. You have kitten sneezes, you’re small--oh my god, you’re fucking adorable, Charlie.”
“Oi!” He was still wheezing--and not yet aware of what he’d said--so I grabbed a pillow from the couch I’d been leaning on. “Swear to god, I’m gonna smother you.”
When he couldn’t stop laughing, I rolled up my sleeves and jumped over the Monopoly board to tackle him.
Here's some concept art I did. Yes, Max is right: Charlie is short af.
(Please ignore the angst happening in the middle, I wasn't able to get his features right. Also please enjoy the pervy frog?)