Self-pity Dealer

Magic Hollow 

The sound of Maxine’s car in the drive pulled his attention attention away from the video he’d been watching about a modification he was considering for his bike. A hand grasped for the remote to pause it, cutting off the sound of revving and leaving the house in relative silence. A fan whirred from his bedroom upstairs, and the songs of early evening birds drifted in through the windows. He could hear her door close and her feet on the pavement, and he pulled himself from the couch to meet her at the door.

He opened the door for her at the sound of shopping bags rubbing against each other from the other side of the door. A smile stretched across his lips as he stepped aside to let her in. “How was the mall?” He inquired as he shut the door and followed her in.

Outfit no tears pls

Oh thank heavens the door was being opened for her.

"Thaaaaank you." Maxine wiggled inside, three packs of beer to her chest, a shopping bag from the mall in one hand and Cliff's bag of food in the other. She lifted the food towards him in hopes he'd take it.

"Good. I found some nice bedsheets for the guest room." That made her feel strangely settled. Coming home, bringing Cliff dinner after browsing the mall for... bedsheets. Okay. "You get up to much?" she asked, glancing to the muted television as she moved to the kitchen.

Cliff’s hands extended to take the food and the beer if she’d let him, freeing her to put her stuff down in the living room whilst he went to the kitchen. He set the food on the counter and put the beer in the fridge before peering over at her bag. Bed sheets. He chuckled at the idea of her picking out a nice set, but it was a weirdly domestic feeling. He didn’t know if he liked it. Or rather, he didn’t know why he liked it so much. Anyway.

“As you can tell by my attire, I was in a bunch of important meetings all day.” He said with a chuckle as he worked at the tied plastic bag.

She only wanted him to take his own food she was heading to the kitchen anywayyy but he took the beer too and okkaaaay.

”Thanks,” Maxine said only for the second time, dropping the shopping bag beside the stairs which led to the second floor. She’d put her purchases away later.

”Oh yeah?” she teased with a smirk, catching the door of the fridge as it began closing. She peered inside, stared for a few moments, decided against eating more food on top of all the junk she’d already had at the food court, and instead just poured herself a glass of cold water from the fridge. ”Tell me all about them.”

The bag came undone easily enough and he went about pulling the boxes from it and setting them on the island. “Oh, met with all kinds of CEO’s and presidents. Turns out I’m buying half of Mountainside.” He joked with a snort at his own words. Cliff wasn’t blind to the fact that he sorta came off as some rich asshole by offering to pay for so much. So it was harmless to poke a little fun at it.

It wasn’t until he retrieved a plate and started piling the contents of the boxes onto it that he realized there was only food he’d asked for here. “Uh,” He glanced over his shoulder at Maxine just in case he’d missed her own takeout bag. Nope? “Where’s yours?” He asked dumbly.

If Cliff had had meetings like that, she sincerely had no idea if they were the sort that took place at a person's home or... wherever else. Not that he had. It was a joke, sure. But Maxine... didn't even know what a meeting like that entailed.

It was probably why he was rich and she wasn't. Funny joke buying out Big Bear would've been - she would've likely ran it into the ground after three seconds even under supervision.

"Oh-" Maxine said with her face in the glass, pausing her drinking. "I ate loads at the mall earlier. I ordered your food at a Chinese restaurant, went and bought beers, then picked it up," she told him.

Busy busy!

"I'll have a snack or something later if I'm hungry."

Oh. He hadn't realized she'd just like bought him dinner without getting something for herself. Cliff's brow furrowed some, and he thought about insisting on paying her back. But he'd bought her plenty food before and it would probably seem sorta like he was just rubbing it in that he could afford shit. "Oh, thanks. You didn't tell me you weren't eating, I woulda found something here." He decided instead, but was genuinely appreciative. "You can have the fortune cookie." He offered with a smirk before closing up the boxes and motioning for her to follow him to the kitchen table.

"Come sit with me at least."

It was like he’d never had someone buy him food.

”It was on the way, don’t even worry,” Maxine replied with a small laugh, somewhat amused. Cliff was sometimes borderline aggressively considerate.

”Don’t try and force fortune cookies onto me just because nobody likes them,” she added, clearly joking, following him to the kitchen table as she sipped her water. ”Just tell me what the fortune says. Actually, I take that back - don’t tell me if it’s something depressing.”

Cliff was wounded.

“How dare you. Fortune cookies are good.” See the hurt in his face, Maxine? You did this.

But he chuckled all the same and unwrapped the cookie he’d brought with them. His thumbs pried it in half, and he pulled the fortune from the center. He stared at it a moment. “Your road to glory will be rocky but fulfilling.”

Cliff feigned a grimace. ”It says you’ll lose all your left socks in the dryer.” Welcome to improv with Cliff.

Fortune cookies were gross, Cliff. :D Please why are you like this. :D

”Who has left socks and right socks to start with?” she asked, leaning back into her chair.

Cliff had never been judged for his cookie choices before. Honestly he was feeling so attacked right now.

“I guess people that like fortune cookies.” He sulked, but cracked a smile moments later. “Joking, I just pulled something out of my ass.” He shrugged as he handed the actual fortune over to her and picked up a fork to dig in.

“How’s work?” Generic topic to segue into a topic he’d really rather not talk about :)

Raylee and Anna perpetually struggle to educate themselves on the schooling system, so Maxine answers vaguely. ”Stressful but good. No disaster in the realm of kids today,” she told him, putting the glass on the table.

”Everything okay with you?” Maxine asked, just because... he’d wanted her to sit with him? Maybe he just wanted the company?

Actually, before Cliff could answer, she noticed he had nothing to drink. Not okay.

”Do you want something to drink?” Maxine added, getting out of her chair.

He couldn’t imagine what sort of disasters there could be, but then again he didn’t spend much time around kids. Ale was about the extent for the past year, but she was pretty cool. Kids.

Was he okay? Uh. Sorta? Did he want a drink?

“Oh, nah that’s okay.” He said with a wave of his hand to motion for her to sit back down. “Not thirsty.” He assured her with a smile.

“You liking things though? Kids and stuff.” How did he do this. What the fuck was happening. He couldn’t just like straight up ask her “hey are you sure you’re not pregnant I know it wouldn’t make sense but I legit can’t sleep because of it :)?”

She fell right back into the seat again.

”Yeah, you know I am. Wouldn’t have applied otherwise,” Maxine said, none the wiser as she glanced at his food. Smelt so good but nooo bear, that was unnecessary, Maxine had quite literally pigged out over food court food.

”I feel like a summer program’s a good way to get me into the rhythm of it.”

She brought her hands together on the table, shifting her gaze up to him.

Cliff smiled since there wasn’t really a good reaction to that. “That’s good. You seem like you’lol be really great. You’re good with Ale and stuff so.” So? Cliff took a bite of chicken to prolong the inevitable.

“So all that stuff about were pregnancy. Sorta freaked me out.” Hello, kill him.

Not as good as Jackal.

Her brows rose at what came next. It prevented her from moving too far down the pity-party lane.

”Yeah, I didn’t know about it either. Asha mentioned we can get pregnant but obviously we can’t hold it after we shift, so. Strange.” A small shrug. ”Why’d it freak you out?”

She was just so chill about it. So that was good right? He didn’t want to even know what happened if your shifted while pregnant.

“I dunno. I just- uh. Well, when we had sex I didn’t exactly do the best at pulling out.” He was a man. He could talk about this without getting weird.

“You’ve shifted since then right?”

Maxine didn't expect the conversation to go this way.

"Yes?" Did he... not remember her shifting? Maxine gawked, just a little. And then she paused.

"Are you alright Cliff?"



This is where Cliff decided he would be happier if he just buried himself in the back yard.

“Yeah, uhm. I’m good. Just making sure.” Another bite of food.

Maxine was definitely going crazy.

She kept staring at him, and maybe that was impolite when he was trying to eat. "You remember we've shifted together...?" What if a Vampire had compelled him to forget?

Why would a Vampire ever compel him to forget shifting.

Had they? Cliff blinked, slowing his chewing. Oh.

“Oh. Yeah. Sorry, there’s just been a lot recently.” His head shook as he laughed weakly, a hand moving to rub at the back of his neck.

Cliff was being really strange.

Maxine frowned, more out of concern than anything. "You haven't met any Vampires recently, have you...?"

Um what.

“No? Other than the one in- oh, fuck. Yeah, the one in the swamp when we got here. I’m an idiot.” Good job, Cliff. “Besides that one, no.” He’d definitely remember that. “Why?”

No? YES? No?

She processed the confusing answer a little slowly, before shaking her head as if to dispel the thoughts. ”Nothing nothing,” Maxine said. ”I just got worried one might have tried messing with your head or something.”

Why did this conversation exist why didn’t he remember that they’d shifted together why was he an idiot.

“They can make you just forget shit, too?” Honestly what the fuck. Since when did being undead give you mind control?

She gave a small shrug. "I don't know. If they can get you to not say things and not scream, they can probably do whatever they want." Maxine finished her glass of water.


“All we get is lots of hair.” He said with a feigned pout in attempt to make her smile maybe? Recover from the worst conversation to ever happen maybe.

“But no it’s just me forgetting shit and being irrational.” He shrugged. “So good to know for future reference, if uh...” Was he assuming they’d have sex again? Was it shitty to assume that? He shut himself up with more food.



”Right? Yeah,” Maxine said back to him after a noticeable pause, still gawking, but now out of plain awkwardness.

She wasn’t sure roommates sleeping together was exactly the best idea. But also how did you say that. But also did she want to say that because what if things happened and she went back on her word and just looked like the most indecisive person ever.

”Think I’m going to have a shower?”

He probably shouldn’t have said that. It was so ducking frustrating. He wasn’t the type of guy to stumble over his words or say the wrong shit or doubt himself but here he was. Acting like some school boy talking to his crush. Just making things so awkward. And not knowing what the fuck to do with her awkwardness.

What happened to no strings attached, dude? You’re a grown up, Cliff. Learn how to deal with your feelings.

“Okay, yeah.” He said, his foot moving to bump against her calf lightly. The Kodiak gave the black bear a playful nudge. “Thanks again for the food. And ah, sorry. For making things weird.” You know when you apologize for making things weird and just make things worse?

The black bear nudged back in equal playfulness, and it left her with a smile. This totally wasn’t awkward.

”You didn’t make things weird,” Maxine said.

Totally had.

Or more like, Maxine totally had in the last fifteen seconds. How fast could she make it to the shower from downstairs and leave this conversation?

She went to ruffle his hair gently as she passed. ”Let’s watch a movie or something when I come back down.”

It was nice that she tried to lie to make him feel better. Why couldn’t they have one conversation that didn’t get awkward? Why could he not just say what he meant and mean what he said? But she was willing to just roll right past this and he wasn’t protesting.

“Sounds good.” He said with a soft chuckle as he pulled away from her tousling. Now to eat and not think about Maxine in the shower and how even the thought of them doing it had made her so uncomfortable :) Maybe he could find a vampire to come and erase the memories of them doing anything sexual so things wouldn’t be so awkward for no reason.

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