Life of Phoenix

Chapter 20 - Love At It's Finest

Past Time: Max Age 16

“Hey, Scott...” A young Max sighs as he and his best friend hung out on their last day of their summer vacation. Both boys did not want school to start the next day. Scott was lying on his bed; Max was on the ground beside him.

Scott turned his head over to his friend. “What's up?”

Max sighed. “You know the kid, Phoenix the year before us?”

Scott thought to himself for a moment before recognizing the name. “Ya, I know him. Isn't he gay?” Max nodded. “What about Phoenix?”

With a deep breath, Max let out his inner feelings. “I like him... I've known him since we were young, like grade two young. We played around a bit as we got old enough to know what we're doing. With me realizing my feelings, I guess I realized I like him.”

Scott had this huge smile on his face. “Go after him then! You have to since you know you like him.”

“I don't think I can, though...” Max lowered his head between his knees. “I'm not ready for others to know about me.”

Scott rolled over completely and lay on his stomach. Well, whenever you want to do it I'm right behind you, promise!”

“Thanks, Scott.”


First Day of School.

“Hey... Max.” Nix spoke softly to Max sitting on the stairs heading into the back of the school.

Surprised by the sound of a voice Max jumped. “Oh, hey Nix.” Max had chosen the spot behind the school in thought no one would come by that way. Now that Nix of all people had ruined that, Max was caught off guard.

“What's up? Why are you back here?”

Max shrugged. “It's nothing; I could ask you the same thing, though.”

Nix shuffled from foot to foot. “I'm nervous about people harassing me, so I came back here in hopes of avoiding them for as long as possible.” Nervous, Phoenix did not look at his friend.

Nodding Max smiled. “You're afraid of a little harassment? What does Lyric do to you on a daily basis?” Nix laughed at the thought. It was true, Lyric above everyone else, harassed Nix the most.

“Ya, I guess so... It's just this is different than Lyric bugging me.” Phoenix continued to shift nervously. “Why are you back here? You never answered me.”

Max shook his head back and forth. “It's just been a rough summer; I don't want to go in just yet...” Nix didn't want to say anything in regards to his summer. He had a blast going around on trip after trip. He stood there looking at his once best friend.

“I'm sorry...” Was all Nix could manage to get out.

Max laughed. “What are you sorry about? It's not like you could have done anything about it. You were always out of town.” Nix stood there dumbfounded by what his friend said. “I spoke with your mom a couple of times over the summer. I had gotten a job as a bag boy at the grocery store.”

Nix found himself at a lack of words. “Oh... That sounds like fun.” Phoenix swallowed the buildup saliva in his mouth. He felt nervous, but couldn't explain why. They were friends; they've known each other for years.

The two boys stared at each other, silent. Neither one moved much, but they always seemed to achieve eye contact. Every time they did they would both blush and turn away from each other. Nix would smile afterward, looking at the ground. Max would think to himself, why can't I just look at him?

Nix eventually broke their silence with a very abrupt, “I... I like you, Max.” He had his eyes closed, to hold back tears and in fear of Max's reaction. When there was nothing, he opened his eyes. “Like... I LIKE you.” He made himself clear.

Max just smiled. “I know you have since we were little. I don't know what I am Nix, so I'm sorry, but I can't say I feel the same.” Max lied, not wanting to expose himself to his old friend “Whatever happened with Keon?”

“We're just done; I don't want to talk about it right now.”

“Okay.” The announcements came over the intercom in and outside the school. The message was simple; Homeroom started in a few minutes. Nix started to walk to the doors. “I guess we stalled all we can out here.”

“I guess we have. Time to face the music.” Together they walked into the school, both with their own fears. Having the other with them seemed to give relief to both Max and Nix. They felt a weight lift off their shoulders like their problems weren't as bad as they thought they were.

They both thought they could be friends again one day.

When they separated in the hall, Max stayed there watching his crush walk away. “Thanks, Nix... I don't think I could have come into the school without you.”


Oliver's POV

“Hey, loser!” Joshie called out to Theo while he was working. Joshie thought it would be best to get out everything he wanted to say and not give Theo a chance to say anything in return. “Ya, you Theo!”

All the workers looked over at us. Keon let out a little laugh but didn't do anything else. “What you do want?”

“I want you to stop being a problem in my friend’s lives, thanks.” that was pretty straight forward. “Because as much as you are an asshole to them, you know they can be just as bad to you. So why don't you just stop while you're 'ahead.'” He even did the air quotes. Wow.

Lakota laughed along side me. “Wow, Joshie.” Joshie stuck his tongue out at me.

“I'm going to the back now.” Theo started walking off.

Lakota yelled out. “If you don't leave me alone I will tell everyone!” He rolled his eyes and continued to walk away. “I'm dead serious.” He turned around and looked into Lakota's eyes.

“Fine, I'll leave your gay asses alone.” Again he rolled his eyes and walked off into the back room.

Satisfied Joshie leads us out of the store. “That went well! Anyways, what now?”

“LUNCH!” Lakota commanded as he pointed towards the food court. I laughed and followed him to his desired edibles.

It wasn't long before we had our food and sat down at one of the tables. Joshie stopped us from eating, though. “I would like to propose a toast!”

“Really?” Lakota and I said together.

“Yep! To you two! May your future together be filled with happiness!” Lakota and I were filled with glee at that toast and joined in. I'm very happy that Joshie is so accepting of us. My only hope is that Joshie finds someone for him in the future too!


Sadly today was also the day that Joshie had to go home. “It was a good visit while it lasted.” I smiled as my friend got out of line for his ticket.

“Yep! And if that Theo guy continues to bug you guys just tell me and I'll be back in a flash.” I chuckled at my friend but gave him a hug. “I'll post on facebook where I am in my travels; mom will kill me if I don't anyways.”

“Okay, stay safe. Next time it's my turn to come to England.”

Joshie gave me the thumbs up. “I'm going to hold you to it!” We walked our way to the security point. “Thank you for letting me stay for a week.”

Mom pulled me close. “No problem Joshie, you're welcome here anytime.”

With his signature full smile, Joshie gave off a wave. “I'll see you all soon!” And like that, he headed into the security check. We watched as he passed through and then out of sight.

I let out a sigh. “You'll see him soon.”

“I know... I still have Lakota here to keep me company.” We grabbed something to drink before heading out.

Looking up there was a plane just taking off. I would like to imagine that it's Joshie heading off back to England. I watched it as long as I could before I started drifting off to sleep.

See you later Joshie.


Nix's POV

“Hey, Braxton!” I had just arrived at the Stone household for the first time since prom. With everything that's been going on I haven't had the time to come and babysit Braxton. Mr. Stone understood since it's so close to graduation and all that stuff.

Even though I said hello, Braxton basically ignored me. “Well, I'll see you boys later, have a good day Braxton!” He waved silently to his dad walking out the door.

I tried valiantly for the next hour to try and get a reaction from the kid. It came to the point that I realized that he was purposely ignoring me. So I sat down right beside him, where he couldn't get away from me. Braxton tried really hard not to look at me.

“So why are you ignoring me?” Braxton let out a huff before turning away from me. “Hey, the problem isn't going to go away by not talking about it.”Again he ignored me. So I pinched his cheeks.

Braxton swatted my hand away and marched off a couple of feet. “It's not fair!” He said out of nowhere. “Why are you dating Max!?”

“Because I like him Braxton... Are you jealous of him?” Braxton said and did nothing. “Braxton talk to me.”

“Yes, I'm jealous! I like you too! You're supposed to wait for me!” He stomped his foot on the floor. His flustered face and tense body showed how angry he was. I couldn't help but smile and chuckle to myself. “What's so funny!?”

“Sorry just instinctive.” I stood up and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Braxton, you and I... Please understand something, it's not that I don't like you; it's that I don't like you like that. You're a sweet kid Braxton, and I've known you've had a crush on me for a while.

“One day you'll make a guy real happy Braxton. I'm just not the one to call your boyfriend.” Tears started to fall from the little guy's face. “Have you told your dad about being gay?”

He nodded. “Ya, I told him the night of the prom. Max really inspired me that night.” He whipped the tears away.

“Ya, he does that.” I lifted his head up to look him in the eyes. “You're a handsome young man Braxton any boy would be lucky to have you. I assume your dad was okay with it.”

He nodded furiously. “He was way more than okay; he was super happy for me. I'm sorry I was acting like a brat.” I giggled and then dragged him into playing games with me. The day went by so quickly that we forgot to have any proper food.

Mr. Stone came home, and that's the only reason we realized how hungry we were. He was gracious enough to offer me some food too. I ended up spending the entire day at the Stone household. By the time I got home, it was bed time for me.


“It's time to count the votes!” Student council had just sent out people to get votes from the classrooms. It was now time to count the votes to see who would be class president next year.

In our school, it's not really a big deal, but Lacey sure made it one. She had advertising up for Chelsea here, there and everywhere. I wonder if it actually did anything for her. Lacey's name was on them as much as Chelsea's was, so who knows.

“Candidates are not allowed to count, and neither is any of the grade 12s.” Ms. Payne made sure the kids counting were vocalizing their count. In the beginning, there were plenty of votes for Chelsea, to the point where I wasn't sure if there was even a chance I was going to win. There was a few here and there for me, but overall it was all her.

After a bit, her name stopped coming up as much, and mine was more common. It wasn't long before the gap between our votes closed. When the votes got all tied up, Lacey let out a huge huff and was clearly not impressed.

We got to the last ballot box, and I was in a clear lead. “I swear if you win, I'll shit a brick.”

Ms. Payne quipped at Lacey. “Language!”

Ya ya, I'm sorry.” She brushed it off like it was nothing.

Moments later the last vote was counted. “Well, Nix got the most votes meaning he's the class president for next year.” Wow, I actually won

“I DEMAND A RECOUNT!!” Lacey stood up immediately shouting. With a stomp of her foot, she made sure everyone knew she was outraged.

One of the counters looked at the pile of votes for each person. “Seriously Lacey? You can do it if you want but the result will probably be the same...” The kid shrugged and started cleaning the room up.

Lacey pushed through my pile of votes, creating an even bigger mess. “No, there's no way this boy could be the next class president. How could anyone vote for this looser?”

Ms. Payne looked like she was about to say something but I spoke before her. “Well, you won't have to deal with it so that you can keep your preppy bitch opinion to yourself.” I sat there grinning at her. I won, and she hates it, but that doesn't even matter.

“You're going to let him talk to me like that!?” Lacey looked over to Ms. Payne like I had just caused the apocalypse.

Ms. Payne looked at both of us. “Treat your peers with respect you two. But there is truth to what Nix is saying Lacey, you have no say in this, and the student body has spoken.” With one more squeal of anger and she marched out of the room, Chelsea in tow. “Well, congrats Nix.”

“Thanks, Ms. Payne!”


“Hey, Nix.” Max looked over at me as we were lying in his bed. “It's my grad banquet tomorrow; I'm almost done high school.”

“Ya, you are...” I snuggled in close to his chest. “What do you plan on doing? Like have you sent out any applications to schools?”

Max pushed his nose into my hair. “I think I'm going to stick around for a year, just take things slow for now.”

“You're not staying because of me right?”

He shook his head. “No, life has been a little hectic with everything going on, so I just want to take a year off, who knows maybe it'll only be part of a year. But one upside is getting to bond with you again.”

I could feel sleep coming on fast, so I turned my head up and gave him a small kiss. “I love you, the boy who helped me through my first day of school.”

“I love you, the boy who helped me find myself.” Just like that, I headed off to dreamland, awkwardly comfy in the arms of Max.


Future Events: Nix Age: 23

“Do you Phoenix Russell; take Maxwell to be your lawfully wedded husband?” The officiate asked the young man.

“I do.” Nix smiled trying to hold back the tears that were trying to escape.

The Officiate turned to Max. “And do you Maxwell Harper; take Phoenix to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

“I do a million times over.” Max squeezed his future husband's hands ever so tightly. Their smiles growing with each passing second.

“By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you married! You may kiss your groom!” The crowd went up in cheers for the newlywed couple. They gave quite the display before separating for the ceremony to continue. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mister and Mister Russell-Harper” Again all the attendees cheered and clapped for the happy grooms.

The two of them stepped down and into the crowd holding each other's hands. They were met with all kinds of reactions. Cries, smiles, and proud people all congratulating them on their big day.

After an hour or so, everyone had made their way to the hall where the banquet would be held. The couple had their first dance and fed each other cake. Speeches were made by the best men, Cooper and Lakota for Max and Nix respectively.

When the night was finally winding down, Max found time to pull Nix aside. “We finally did it. We tied the knot.”

“Yes, we did Mr. Russell-Harper. You're sure my surname first?”

“I insist sounds better anyways.” He gave his husband a kiss. December 19th is the happiest day of my life Phoenix, and it's all thanks to you.”

“Now, we finish post-secondary school and get great jobs and then raise some awesome kids together. Max... It's been one wild ride, sir.”

Max chuckled. “It's just getting started.”

Story End.


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