This definitely wasn't the way I wanted her to tell me she loves me for the first time. I could only sit and wonder what was going on. "Come on Max, we're heading out for dinner!" I popped my head up and saw Tanger starring at me. "Have you talked to her again?" I could only shake my head no. "C'mon Max, I'll buy you a beer." I shook my head again and got up from the bed. "Are you even old enough to buy me a beer Tanger? You can't be a day over 18, honestly." I watched as he rolled his eyes at me and walked out of the hotel room. I pulled my cellphone out as I followed behind Tanger. That phone call was a little weird, is everything okay? I sent the text message off to Lillianah hoping she'd reply soon. By the time we hit the elevator I heard my phone ringing in my pocket. Still in meeting, I just miss you. Can't wait til you get home. I smiled to myself and shoved my phone back into my pocket. "Everything good?" Flower asked from the back corner of the elevator. "Yeah, but what's this shit about Tanger buying me a beer, he's not old enough!" "You're mistaken, he's old enough, he still has that baby face though. It's confusing I know." We all laughed as Tanger glared at Flower.
We all crowded around a table in the restaurant and a very cute waitress approached us to take our drink orders. She looked down at Tanger and I could only lean back in my chair and watch, and see if he would actually buy me a beer after giving him such a hard time. "Yeah, I'll take a Grasshopper, and I owe that guy over there a Hefeweizen." Wait for it, wait for it. "Sure thing, if I can just see some ID." There wasn't a dry eye at the table from laughing so hard, well except for the very confused cute waitress and the very angry Tanger. "Sorry sweetie, we're just giving Tanger here a bad time, didn't mean to scare you or anything," I managed to laugh towards the waitress. She laughed awkwardly with us and then tried to get the rest of the drinks orders. After she left Whit was starring me down pretty hard. "What's up Whit?" "She was a hottie there Max, you going to go after that?" I looked back over toward the waitress and a smirk climbed it's way on to my face. By some greater force, right at that moment I heard, "crash and burn girl, going down, down, down, down, down. Crash and burn girl, you don't mind the fall until your face hits the ground." The guys all looked at me and started laughing as I pulled my cell phone out. "Hi Lil," I smiled into the phone as I got up from the table to find a quiet corner. Any other time this were to happen, I'd hit ignore and go after the waitress. I'm a new Max though, I'm a tamed Max. "Max, I'm sorry I keep bugging you." I could tell she was either crying or had just recently stopped crying, my heart sank to my gut. "You're not bugging me, you will never bug me. What's wrong Lil, something doesn't seem right." I braced myself for the worst possible news ever and was hating the fact that I was in Boston and not there with her. "Max, there's something about me that you don't know. I don't know, when do you get home?" She was struggling with herself, she didn't want to tell me over the phone, I could tell. "What if I got you the next flight out here? I won't be back for another five days." Please say okay, please say okay. "I don't know Max, I can't just up and leave, I have work and Kevin wants to work with me tonight to see if we have a professional chemistry. I can't just leave." "What about first thing tomorrow morning?" I heard her take a deep breath and I knew she was thinking about it. "I guess getting away from here will help. I can't afford to buy a plane ticket right now though." "Baby, I will not, nor will I ever make you pay for a plane ticket to come see me. I'll get you a flight for in the morning, then I'll send a car to pick you up because I won't be able to. That work for you?" "Okay. Thank you Max, but I have to go. See you tomorrow." I smiled into the phone hoping she could sense it from hundreds of miles away. "See you tomorrow."
I kicked my legs back and forth against the edge of the bed, starring up at the ceiling. "Will you stop that, it's annoying," Flower growled as he got up from the bed and headed to the bathroom. "I'm flying her out here tomorrow morning, something is wrong, and she won't tell me over the phone." Flowers head popped out of the bathroom door, looking at me like I was crazy. "I will not sleep in this bed while you're having sex with her in that bed just so you know. I know we're best friends and all, but it's bad enough I sleep in fear that you'll rape me." I sat up on the bed and looked at him in disbelief before we both started laughing. "I'd only rape you if I was desperate. Sorry Flower, I just don't like skinny guys like you. I need meat." He laughed before he started brushing his teeth. "So what do you think is wrong?" I sat there looking down at my hands folded in my lap, I truly had no idea. "She had a meeting with some rock star today named Kevin, maybe he did something to her." The light bulb went off. "What if she slept with him?" The blood started to boil in my veins. "I don't think she would fly all the way out here to tell you she cheated on you." Flower had a point, she would have just told me over the phone. "What if he made her sleep with him, she'd want to get away right?" "Well yeah I suppose so, but let's not jump to conclusions okay, it could be anything."
I waited patiently at the arena for her arrival. She sent a text message telling me that she had landed and was struggling getting around the airport on crutches, but she would see me soon. I skated circles around the rink, trying to shake the nerves away. I did one more lap when I saw a beautiful women with pure black hair and red highlights watching me from the corner. A huge smile crept onto my face as I skated towards her and noticed her eyes were puffy and it looked like she didn't get any sleep the night before. I motioned for her to open the door in front of her and she managed to lift the lever and I slowly pushed the door forward, allowing her to move so it wouldn't hit her. "Lil, you're scaring me, what's wrong?" She looked down at her feet and then looked over at a chair that was in the walkway. She hobbled over and sat down. I took my helmet off, along with my gloves and tossed them to the side. The area she was sitting in was all concrete so I quickly unlaced my skates and walked up to her. "Lil, you can tell me anything." She looked up at me with fear in her eyes, and I knew that whatever she was about to tell me was a really big deal to her. "I, well . . . Max, I use to have a drug problem."
I was scared, tempted, I didn't know what to do. I removed all the people from my life that were a bad influence on me. I never wanted to see drugs again, I didn't want to be anywhere near cocaine ever again. There I found myself relaxing in the lounge after messing with music for awhile with Kevin and five of his male friends. He wasn't touching it, the other guys were going crazy with it. I could feel the affects it would give me, and it took every bone, muscle, thought and prayer to keep myself away from the cocaine sitting in front of me. "You can have some you know," the guy sitting next to Kevin said to me as I broke my concentration on the white line in front of me. I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket and pulled it out to see Max was calling. I waited as long as possible before answering it. "Hi Max, I'm really sorry but I have to go. Hope you had a good flight, good luck at your game. I love you." I shut my phone and crept closer to the edge of the couch, leaning over the table. I picked up the hotel card key that was lying on the table and started dividing up the coke. The motion of my wrist quickly came back to me, reminding me of the countless nights and days where I never remember being sober. Then all of a sudden my head sprung up and I dropped the key. I just told Max I loved him.
I quickly told Kevin that I had to leave, and the tears fell from my face the minute I turned my back to them. I called a cab and cried the whole way home. I almost felt like sleeping in the street rather than climbing the three flights of stairs up to my apartment. Of course it started to snow so I began my trek up the stairs. Once I was in my apartment I locked the door and crashed on my couch, sleep quickly coming over me.
When I woke up a few hours later I just wanted to hear his voice. I dialed Max's number and waited for him to answer, I had no idea what I was going to tell him, I just wanted to hear his voice. "Hi Lil," I could tell he was smiling as he answered the phone. "Max, I'm sorry I keep bugging you." "You're not bugging me, you will never bug me. What's wrong Lil, something doesn't seem right." How could he tell? I thought I was keeping my voice as calm as I could. "Max, there's something about me that you don't know. I don't know, when do you get home?" This was something I couldn't drop on him over the phone. If we were getting as serious as Alicia told me we are, then I knew he needed to know this about me. "What if I got you the next flight out here? I won't be back for another five days." What? Five days might be too long for me, I might relapse, I can feel the drugs on my fingertips still, but to fly out to wherever he was, that's a little extreme. "I don't know Max, I can't just up and leave, I have work and Kevin wants to work with me tonight to see if we have a professional chemistry. I can't just leave." I couldn't believe the lie that just came out of my mouth. I didn't have to work, as long as I kept Kevin happy while he was in Pittsburgh, that was my work. I was starting to fall back in to old habits. I finally allowed Max to fly me out to Boston, the only thing I needed to do was survive the night.
My fingers trembled the whole 2 hour flight into Boston. The minute I stepped off the flight, I almost stepped right back on. I didn't know what was going on with me, I had been sober for a little over a year, now all of a sudden I see it in front of me and I want to dive in nose first. The ride to the arena felt like it took hours, but I finally found myself walking into the massive rink, I was escorted down to ice level and watched as Max skated in circles around the open ice. He caught sight of me and headed over and I took one last deep breath. It was now or never. I took a seat in the hallway only because I felt like I could collapse at any minute. "Lil, you can tell me anything." I looked up into his eyes only to find pure fear and concern. "I, well . . . Max, I use to have a drug problem." There it was, out there in the open. Now I could only prepare myself for what he would say. "What kind of drug problem?" He spoke his words slowly and softly. "It started out with pot, then I went through an LSD phase, but mostly cocaine. Yesterday when you called, Max, you probably saved my life with that phone call." He knelt down in front of me and pulled me into a tight hug. I felt the tears start to build up again as he pulled away, holding my shoulders in his hands. "Lil, did you relapse yesterday? Is that why you were so short on the phone? What happened at the club?" I choked back a sob and wiped away the few tears that managed to escape. "No, I didn't relapse, but I almost did. It was right there in front of me, I could taste it. Then I realized I told you I loved you, and I do. I love you so much Max. I am so in love with you it's fucking scary. I've been denying it to myself for so long, because I honestly didn't believe that I was capable of being in love, but I am. That's when I left though, I knew that if I touched the coke in front of me I would have thrown my life away. I would have lost you, and I don't want to know what life will be like without you in it." He pulled me tight in to his chest, and I fell to my knees in front of him, flinching at the pain in my leg as my cast hit the concrete awkwardly. His hand ran through my hair and I cried into his shoulder. "Move in with me." I pulled back a little to look him in the eye. "Wh-what?" "Lil, move in with me." I wasn't in the right state of mind to answer that question, I actually didn't really understand it. The only thing I could do was smile and kiss him.