As Alex and Max entered the school building, Jae took a step closer to Logan and offered a hand in his direction. He pressed his lips together in a shy smile.
“I thought you would have confessed by now,” he told Logan, “But seriously though, why even hide her?”
His words alarmed Logan and his brain instantly panicked. Did his brother know something? What did he exactly mean by ‘confess’? And who was he hiding? Did it mean Jae actually knew Alex’ gender? Was it his fault that he found out?
“Earth to Logan” Jae called him out of his daydream, “Dude, you have to stop overthinking it. This phone belongs to your girl, doesn’t it?”
Logan snapped out of his thoughts and looked at Jae’s hand. Sure enough, Alex’ phone with its shooting star case rested between his fingers.
When Logan didn’t make a move to take it, Jae waved it in front of him.
“Look, if you don’t want dad to know about her yet, you really shouldn’t meet at school. What if he actually went to the lockers that time?”
That caught his twin’s attention, “He wouldn’t have.”
Jae laughed, imagining their father in his pin straight suit walking into a stinky locker room, “That’s true. But, anyway, here. Take it.”
Since Logan still didn’t take the phone, he took his hand instead and placed it there, “I only kept it hoping you’d tell me about her but I didn’t want you to think I’d take her away from you.”
Logan weighed in his mind how much Alex would hate him for letting Jae think they had an intimate relation versus how much Alex would have hate him if he told Jae that he didn’t actually know the girl. The latter seemed to have more risks.
The phone was already in his hand. That problem was over. If he denied Jae’s claims then Jae might take it back.
And they would be back in square one.
For sure, even Alex couldn’t deny that logic.
Logan nodded, “Thanks, Jae.”
The older twin merely shrugged, “Don’t mention it. See ya in class, bro.”
Then, Jae Parker walked up to the building.
Logan stared at the phone in his hand, tightening his grip. The words he once told Jae replayed in his mind and the memories that came along with it. He knew his brother only wanted to bring peace between them…
Whispering, he said, “But this still doesn’t erase the past.”
Even when Max spelled it out for Alex and Lauren, they still didn’t seem to get what he was trying to say. It made him frown.
How could they not take this opportunity? He practically made it easy as pie!
“Since when was I going on a double date?” Alex sneered.
Uh-oh, did he made it too obvious so Alex decided to play hard to get? He cannot let this happen.
Max Peyton never fails.
He beamed at Alex, declaring, “I told you I’d make you the most wanted bachelor.”
Okay, maybe Alex wouldn’t admit his feelings but who didn’t want to be popular among the ladies? Ever since puberty and hormones popped it, attraction for the opposite sex (or same sex if a person swings that way—to which Alex denied) had become second nature.
His plan was foolproof!
He watched as Alex squeezed his eyes shut—probably unable to believe this chance had become a reality, delivered right at his doorstep! The brilliance was undeniable.
When Alex opened his eyes, he looked straight into Max’. They drilled right into his soul and crushed it, “I’m. Not. Going. To. Be. A Bachelor. I. Have. A Girlfriend.”
“You do?” Lauren blurted out in surprise.
Wait, what? Max thought, his jaw slackened. How could Alex have a girlfriend? He had never seen him with any girl before. Were Lauren and him already dating? Then, why was Lauren so surprised? Did they not label it yet? Or did it mean Alex meant someone else?
Alex nodded towards Lauren, “I do. Her name is Emily.”
”Aaww” Lauren cooed, “Sorry to burst your bubble then, Max—although, I’m really not.”
Max squinted at her, unable to tell how she felt about the situation. It couldn’t be easy to hear that the guy she liked had someone else. She had always been good at hiding her emotions.
She smiled apologetically at him, “I guess the double date just won’t happen.”
An image of Lauren hiding behind a hedge of bushes came to his mind. When Max found her, he called out her name and made her jump. He startled her so much she hadn’t wiped her tears before she looked at him.
Max didn’t want to see that look again. Maybe Alex did have someone else but who could she be to better than Lauren? Alex needed to realize that.
“Aw, come on. Hear me out” he insisted, pressing the idea, “I’m not exactly setting you guys up. I just think it would be a good way for Alex to develop his dating skills. Think of it as more of a tutoring session than a date.”
Again, they went mute. Max started to wonder if he spoke a different language and needed a machine translator for them to understand. Alex didn’t seem to change his mind—in fact, it seemed to infuriate him more.
But then, Lauren piped up, “That’s actually not a bad idea.”
Alex stared at her in shock, “Lauren!”
Triumph filled Max’ chest. Things finally took a turn to the right direction.
“Oh, it couldn’t really hurt” Lauren reasoned, “I think it would be a good way for you to socialize more.”
At this, Alex sighed deeply, “But this is completely unnecessary.”
Lauren chuckled and patted his shoulder, “I’m your date, Alex. I’m not gonna try anything.”
Alex bowed his head dejectedly, unable to deny Lauren’s wishes. Max took it as a good sign that he would do whatever it took to make her happy.
That was all he could ever ask for.
Max clapped his hands together to capture their attention, “So… are we set?”
Lauren answered for both of them, “As much as it pains me to agree with you, we will be there.”
Max smiled to himself, they already started to act like a couple. It was a good start.
Then, she scowled at him, daring him to protest her next words, “But I’m only doing this to help Alex.”
Oh, he knew that completely. She didn’t have to actually say it.
Max shrugged as their teacher finally walked in, “I’ll take what I can get. It’s a date then, guys!”