“What are you doing here?” she called out as she locked the door.
“I’m here to talk to you.” he responded as he quickly met her at the bottom of the steps.
“I told you earlier that there was nothing more to talk about.”
“Well that’s your opinion because I can think of plenty of things to clear up.”
“Look, I’m leaving on Saturday and this will all be over. No need to clarify thing now.”
“Yes there is.” AJ said with frustration and took a step towards her.
Max’s face turned worried and she backed up, her back hitting the railing on the stairs. AJ was startled and realized how angry he must have sounded.
“I’m sorry Max, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
All she did was nod and he sighed. He meant to block her so he could talk without her being able to leave but it backfired; he was being too aggressive. Sinking onto the diner steps, he hoped it would be a sign of peace for her and he asked her to sit down with him. She thought about it for a few moments and then finally relented, taking a seat next to him.
“Thank you.” he whispered and she nodded again.
They sat on the steps for a while and didn’t even try to talk. AJ keep fiddling with a string on his sneakers as he kept running through everything he could say in his head. Max waited for him to speak but started to get tired of staring out at the trees. She finally got fed up and started to stand up.
“Please don’t go.” AJ said, stopping her.
“No offense but I’m tired of waiting for you to say something.”
“I’m sorry for everything.” he spit out quickly to prevent her from walking away.
“You don’t need to apologize. What’s done is done.”
“I wish I could undo it.”
“Well you can’t.” Max said flatly. “I’ve stayed here much longer than I expected and I really need to go.”
“Why? Why are you holding to some rigid time plan?”
“Because the shorter amount of time I stay, the less attachments I make. The fewer attachments I make, the better.”
“So are you afraid of making an attachment?”
“No.” Max lied and AJ’s heart sank. “There’s nothing here to tie me down.”
“What about us?”
“There is no us AJ.” Max answered and stood up. “Whatever happened, happened, and now we all need to move on.”
AJ watched her head over to her truck and climb in. For some reason, he couldn’t move to stop her. He would have to find some way to make her see things from his point of view.
The next night, AJ was waiting for Max again; instead of waiting on the front steps, he decided to make a home in the bed of her truck. He had brought a dozen pink roses laced with baby’s breath and he was determined not to leave until she heard him out.
He watched as Max turned off the lights and locked everything up. She was just about to her door when he called out to her.
“What the hell AJ?” she yelped and dropped her purse. “What are you doing here?”
Normally he would have helped her pick everything up but there was no way he was moving from the bed.
“Sorry.” he responded. “I was hoping we could talk.”
She sighed and finished picking up the contents of her purse. “We already talked.”
“No we didn’t really. I beat around the bush and you sat there.”
“Ok but we still talked enough for me. Now get out of the truck and let me go home.”
She unlocked the door and started to climb in. When he didn’t budge, she slid out and came around to the back. With her hands on her hips, she narrowed her eyes at him.
“You know I’ll drive home with you in there. I don’t care.”
“Go ahead.” he responded defiantly and laid down in the back.
She climbed in again and started the engine.
“Last warning!” she called.
“Ok!” he shouted back.
That pushed her over the edge. Max slammed the truck in reverse and peeled out onto the street. She thought he would budge but after driving around the block five times, she gave up and pulled back into the diner lot. Jumping out, she made her way to the back again and watched with surprise at he sat there whistling.
“You ready to listen yet?”
“Talk fast and then get out!” replied an irritated Max.
“I was thinking about what you said last night and I don’t want to move on.”
She groaned. “Please don’t start this again.”
“Because it doesn’t matter.”
“I think it does and I want a chance to explain everything to you. I want to tell you exactly who I am and why I didn’t tell you.” he paused. “Will you at least give me a chance and have dinner with me?”