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C3 Three

Let me tell you something, mum was not happy. She said that if she ever saw James again that he'd no longer have his manhood. My mum's scary, I know.

On the plus side she's making a chocolate cake for me to make me feel better — she really is the best.

I didn't get any homework today, hallelujah, so I just relaxed until eight. By that I mean I slept, don't judge me today was emotionally draining so I deserved that sleep.

"Mia," I hear my mother call, "your friends are here, come down sweetie."

Groaning to myself, I hop out of bed and fix my hair before making my way to the living room. "Hey guys," I say to my friends, who have already made themselves comfortable on the sofas, Max even has a bowl of popcorn.



"What's up."

I plonk myself down on the sofa with Max and place my head on his lap while snatching the popcorn out of his grasp.

"Oi," Max whines. "That was mine."

I stick my tongue out at him. "Stop acting like a little kid and share."

Max grumbles to himself but doesn't reply.

"So what movie are we watching?" Ava asks.

"Dunno, it's Ari's turn to choose," Mason says.

"Yay!" I squeal, grabbing the remote. "It's Disney time bitches."

All three of them groan in unison and Mason gives me a dirty look. I just smirk at their displeasure as I get up to look through my immense collection of Disney movies.

You can't blame me for loving Disney. I mean I named after a freaking Disney princess for crying out loud. I grew up watching everything Disney countless times — thanks to my mum, who shares my passion — so naturally I love it.

My eyes scan the endless number of DVD's in front of me until they land on one that catches my eye. I pick up the case, relishing in the fond memories that came with it, it's probably one of my all time favourites and that's saying something.

After putting the disk in I jump back onto the sofa, making Max to bounce on it and glare at me. I gave him a sheepish smile as I press play.

Once it starts, all three of them groan again. "Oh come on. You can't hate this one, especially the beginning, it has one of the strongest openings ever! CinemaSins even removed five sins right off the bat for the opening," I tell them.

Mason sighs, scratching the back of his head. "It's not that it's not a good movie Ari-"

"Yes, it is," I heard Max mutter so I whack his arm, causing him to go silent.

"-it's the fact that you've made us watch it too many times, more than I can count on both of my hands and feet."

I guess that's a fair point but it's such a good movie. Besides, it's my choice so we will watch it, there's no way he's winning this argument.

"Does it look like I care? It's my turn so we're watching it. I have to put up with all of your dumb movies so I'd appreciate it if you extended me the same courtesy — I'm not saying Disney movies are dumb just to clarify."

Mase is about to protest but I notice Ava nudge him with her elbow and shoot him a look, probably because she knows what I was going through and thinks Disney will cheer me up.

Mason sighs but put his hands up in defeat and I give Ava a grateful smile.

Happily, I rest my head on Max's lap and we watch the whole movie. I sing along to every song, obviously. Even Max and Ava sing to a few of them as well and Mason, let's just say he belted out all of 'I just can't wait to be king' like there was no tomorrow — see, no one can hate Disney. (If you haven't guessed we're watching the Lion King.)

After the movie was over I smiled widely at the three people in the room with me who I call my friends. "I knew you guys secretly loved this movie, I mean it's a classic how could you not?"

Max glares playfully at me as he messes up my hair by rubbing my head. I roll my eyes in return but he just grins back at me. He then gets up, dusts his jeans and says, "I'm going to take a piss," and leaves the room.

A look of disgust crosses Ava's face as she yells "TMI!" But Max just laughs from another room.

"Ari, can I ask you something?" Mason says, getting up from the other sofa. I nod and he studies my face carefully before continuing. "What's wrong? And don't give me that bullshit answer of 'I'm fine' or 'nothing' because I can tell that something happened, I can see it on your face."

Mason. Always so observant, can't get anything past him plus I guess the look Ava gave him earlier made it kind of obvious.

I sigh and run my fingers through my dark hair a couple of times, making it even messier than it already is. "I just had a shit day today because James broke up with me."

I can't recognise all the emotions that cross his face but I manage to pick out two: sympathy and anger. Anger being the dominant expression by far.

To be honest, anger was an understatement, he looks absolutely furious, to the point where you could imagine smoke coming out of his ears. His jaw clenches and from the corner of my eye, I see him bawling his hands into fists. To be clear, Mason isn't a violent person, not in the slightest and there are very few things that can set him off, but like everyone he has his limits — things that just make him snap — and, I guess, this is one of them.

His eyes are fixated on me and it feels like they are piercing through my very soul. "What did you say?" he asks, surprising softly for his mood set but the anger behind his soft words is obvious, giving them a threatening edge. I'd never admit this to him but Mason can be a hell of a scary guy when he wants to be.

I feel myself shrinking into a corner as he gives me that look that says 'don't you dare lie to me'. "I said that James broke up with me."

He takes deep breaths, trying to calm himself but it doesn't seem to be working very well. He very slowly turns to Ava. "You knew about this and didn't tell me?" It was more like a statement than a question.

Ava just shrugs, she's a lot better at dealing with Mason than me — to be honest, she's a lot better at dealing with people than me in general — she's very headstrong so doesn't get intimidated anywhere near as easily as I do.

"Why the fuck didn't you tell me?!" he screams, letting out some of his frustration.

"Because it wasn't my place to tell, it was Ari's," she responds calmly. Damn if I were her I'd be shouting at him for screaming, how does she do this?

His anger dies down slightly at her words. He stares at her intensely and she returns his look with equal force, they stay like that for a while, it's almost like they're having a silent conversation with just their eyes.

After a few minutes he turns to me again and runs his fingers through his very tightly curled hair. "Ari, I get why you might not have wanted to tell us but I want you to know that you shouldn't feel that way. I'm here for you no matter what because you're my friend and I care about you. Hell, even Max cares about you in his own... special way."

I give him a small smile. "I know, Mase, and trust me when I say I was going to tell you soon but just not right away. I guess it hasn't really sunk in yet. Two years is a long time and I was just processing it all. If I say it out loud it's confirming that it's true and that's difficult, it's really fucking difficult."

Mason's eyes don't stray from mine throughout my entire speech like he was holding onto every word I said and every emotion that came with each sound.

Without warning, he steps towards me and hugs me and I immediately relax into the embrace. It feels so comforting and puts me at ease, like no matter what happens Mason will be there and I need that, I really do.

Once we pull apart I see something pass over Ava's eyes but I can't decipher it as it's only there momentarily so I dismiss it. Before I know it I'm being pulled into another embrace, this time by Ava, and again I relax immediately. "We'll always be here Ari, remember that," she whispers soothingly.

"I will," I reply as we pull apart.

Behind me, I suddenly hear a ninja cry. Wait. What?

Before I can even turn around, something hard collides with my back and strong arms wrap around my waist tightly, engulfing me.

"Max," I whine as his grip gets tighter. "You're squeezing me too tight," I choke. "Can't-breath-let-go"

His hold loosens slightly and I gasp for air. I yank his arms off of me with difficulty and turn to glare at him. He gives me a sheepish smile in return.

"Sorry Ari," he scratches the back of his neck "I saw Ava hugging you so I thought I would too, ninja style." So almost crushing someone's lungs to the point where they can't breathe is considered a hug?

I roll my eyes at him as his face scrunches in confusion. "Wait, why were we hugging?"

"Don't ask me, you're the one who hugged me," I say, exasperated.

"No, I don't mean that," Max says irritatedly, "I mean why was Ava hugging you in the first place?"

At that, I freeze. Mason getting mad is one thing, Max is on a whole other level. If you think Mason was bad you haven't seen anything yet. Imagine the Hulk on a bad day and that's about half as mad as he can get.

Ava opens her mouth to reply, seeing as I wasn't going to, but I shoot her a glare and she shuts up instantly. I am not about to let her tell Max, especially since we were in my house — I don't want anything broken.

"Mase can tell you later," I reply, dismissing the topic.

Mason instantly rejects the idea. "No way. I'm not going to tell him. Ari, this something you have to say, or Ava if you don't want to. If I say it he'll kill me and I happen to like my life but he'd never hurt a girl so you or Ava can do it."

I look at Ava and she backs up, shaking her head and holding up her hands in defence. That little bitch. She was more than willing three seconds ago.

"Fine," I sigh in defeat. "But I'm telling you outside. I don't want you breaking anything."

Max gives us all a look. "What could possibly get me so mad guys? Have a little faith in me."

We all shake our heads at him, he pouts like a child and begins to follow me to the back garden.

Here goes, deep breaths Mia.

"Mind telling me what the hell is going on?" Max asks, frustration clear in his voice. Great, he's already in a bad mood.

"Um-well-you see-m-m-I-yo-you-"

Max gives me a look that says 'just get to the point' but at the same time says 'I'm worried about you, let me help you'. He must have noticed something was wrong as well. He's actually a big softie beneath his cocky, goofy and annoying exterior. Believe it or not, deep down he cares and a lot at that.

I sigh, running my hands through my hair for the umpteenth time today, knowing there is no way out of this. Besides Max is one of my best friends, he has the right to know.

"James and I broke up."

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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