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Signs of Life on Planet Spinelli
Part Two: The Stars Have No Number

I suddenly remembered why I stick to one chaptered things. Because after the first one they always suck. This isn’t as flowly and it isn’t as nice to look at it. But, well, here it is.


Maxie is as merciless and marvelous and beautiful as ever. As always. God, his throat gets dry when he looks at her. Something grabs his heart with an iron grip each time she takes a breath.

He want her to be the Cortana to his Chief, the Shadowcat to his Colossus, the Harlequin to his Joker, if need be. But now it seems more like she’s the holy grail just beyond his reach. When Meteor Maxie entered his life in a blaze of snark and grace, there was no way she could have known just how badly she’d rip his atmosphere to shreds. He is just a humble ant, one of millions, and she is the majestic rainforest in which he resides.

Today she is looking extra poised, hair pinned and curled and face lightly colored. He stares into her explosive eyes, fire in his veins, while her pretty lips, the ones that fit so perfectly against his own, brought noise to an otherwise soundless universe.

The space between them is laughable. Spinelli knows if he moved just a few muscles, lifted an arm, took just one step, he could feel her. If he just leaned forward he could smell the perfume on her neck, the lingering shampoo in her hair. If he moved his hand and curled his fingers he could hold her wrist, so small and pale. If he held her chin and tilted her head he could kiss her, right here and now, for all to see. But somehow that space between them is heavy and halting, and he can do nothing more than look.

He can’t see her the way he used to. Before she was always the Bad Blonde One, the Hostile One, the Wounded Blonde One. But now he looks at her and he can only see Maxie, the scared girl he’d comforted late into the night, who’d eased his loneliness as he’d eased hers. He sees all the things he never noticed about her, the sharp lines of her eyebrows and the dips of her cheeks, the patch of freckles across her shoulders that show when she turns just so. His eyes were caught on the smooth way she swayed when she walked, and how she propped her hand on her hips like she knew all the mysteries of the world. She was like a vision he’d seen every night in his dreams for years and years but had only just been able to remember upon waking.

“I’m not saying it was a mistake.” She says, all vulnerable eyes and that rare soft look, even though that’s exactly what she’s saying. The world around them is vague and completely unimportant. All Spinelli knows is Maxie before him and the oh god I’m going to be sick feeling in his stomach.

And all he can think is that it hasn’t even been two days since he had her. The earth had not even completed two rotations in the time since he’d held her to his body and discovered that elusive feeling that so many longed for. But each hour had been an eternity for him to wait and long and wish and set himself up for the horrible blow of rejection.

No matter what kind of words Maxie tried to shape it with, it still knocked into him with an unbelievable force. His chest tightened and his eyes burned and he very, very much wanted to run away and hide. He hadn’t thought so much of the future as the past, but it hurt, hurt, hurt to think she didn’t want to be in it.

Kelly’s seemed like a much more welcoming, beautiful place when she was in it, even when she said those painful clichés like “I hope we can still be friends.”

Spinelli cleared his throat awkwardly. Was it true that they had formed a strange camaraderie, a partnership between two distinctly different souls that had somehow worked? He thought of the times he’d sought her advice as she’s subtly looked for his comfort, of the times he’d gratefully received her belief in him while assuring her that he still held faith in her goodness.
If they hadn’t been friends, they had definitely been something. But Spinelli wasn’t sure he could just go back to that.

“Of-of course.” Spinelli forced out, feeling the world fall apart around him. “The Wounded Blonde One is one of the Jackal’s most trusted companions.”

Maxie’s face glowed at him. The corners of her eyes wrinkled and her lips formed a smile. For him. And it was the most heartbreaking experience of his life.

She is trying to hand him back his heart. His mind, body, and soul. But in that short amount of time since it had left him, he had forgotten how to grasp it. However he thought this worked, this rejection, there was no way he could have prepared for it. What cruel being in the universe would give him a glimpse of such a perfect thing and then rip it away from him?

He won’t blame Maxie for this. What they did that night was a mutual action, a mutual seeking of comfort and affection and ease from loneliness. It wasn’t her fault that his heart had clicked and filled it’s empty spaces with a want for her.

He was suddenly in love with Maxie Jones, and wasn’t it just his luck that she didn’t feel the same?

Part One
Part Three
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