Maximum Ride is owned by the talented Mr. Patterson

Maximum "Max" Ride smiled at Ella Martinez as they sat across from each other at the crowded lunch table. Amongst her countless companions, the football players rowdy and teasing the flirtatious cheerleaders, Ella was the only one that Max actually considered a friend, the only one that didn't seem to like her simply because of her popularity. Perhaps it was because they had known each other since freshman year, when both were transfer students and before they'd joined the cheer team together. Whatever the reason, Ella's presence calmed her, filling the atmosphere with the type of positive energy that only her co-captain could. That sense of peace was shattered when Max's phone began vibrating, and she absently picked it up.

"My my, darling, we've been out of touch for far too long." The honeyed voice sent chills down her spine and Max glanced covertly around, trying to ensure that she wasn't drawing attention. Unfortunately, she caught Ella's curious gaze as she growled back.

"You're dead." Her statement was met by a chuckle.

"It would seem that you're wrong. I'm very much alive. In fact, I'm in town for a visit to my favorite little family. You know, the ones that tried to kill me."

"Guess they didn't try hard enough. Let's cut to the chase; what do you want?" The threat that lay evident in her voice began to draw the attention of her table-mates, and so she made a vague hand motion, signaling that all was fine. She strolled a few yards away, her hand keeping a white-knuckled grip on her phone.

"Oh my dear, this isn't about what I want; it's about what you want. Or, more specifically, who." A familiar voice came on before Max could ask what the hell he was talking about.

"Max, don't listen to him. He'll leave if he can't get-" Max's heart almost stopped. Angel. The youngest of the "family" they'd created, she was only a freshman and had only recently entered the crime ring with her brother. She was brave, but Max knew her well enough to pick up the slight tremble in her voice, the underlying pain. As soon as Max's heart began to beat again, her blood boiled.

"Brave, isn't she? And very difficult to catch. You've taught her well. But enough of the trivialities; I'm prepared to make an offer." Max scowled. The idea of dealing with Mad Jackson made her sick, but if it was the only way to save Angel, then she'd take it. Clearing her throat, she spoke up.

"What do you want? We've got Metal, Blue, Green...Hell, we could arrange for some Red if that's what it takes."

"I want Flesh." Max's expression darkened further.

"We don't deal in Flesh. Too messy. You know that."

"Oh, but I think you'll make an exception. You see, this isn't regular Flesh. This is specific, easy to get."

"Then you can get it yourself."

"I would, but…it's you."


"Yes, you. I'll make the exchange at the Willow, at sunset. You for her. Bring a second,no one else." The line went dead, and Max allowed herself one second in which to let herself internally crumple, to consider Angel's words. One second, and then she was back into leader mode, calling Fang. Her second took entirely too long to pick up, especially as he wasn't at school (he'd feigned sick in order to oversee the delivery of a new shipment of Blue).

"Max? Aren't you in school right now?"

"You told me Mad Jackson was dead."

"He is. I pushed him off that building myself."

"Then how the hell did I just talk to him?"

"What? Max, you're not making any sense."

"Nevermind that, I'll explain the whole thing later. Point is, he's got Angel and he wants a trade. For me. It's going down at the Willow tonight, and I can only bring you. Tell Iggy to keep Gazzy occupied until Angel's back in our hands. I'll be at the Warehouse at 7:30. Prep some metal; he'd be a fool not to try to double-cross us." She hung up before he could reply and took a deep breath to steady herself before returning to her table. Ella gaped at her as she sat.

"What the Hell was all that?" Max hated keeping things from Ella, she really did. But the lifestyle that she lived was not one that she would wish upon her best friend, and now was certainly not the time. So she lied through her teeth to one of the only people in the world that she could trust.

"All what?"

"'All what?' You answer your phone, look like you've seen a ghost, go off and shout at whoever you were talking to, then come back like everything's fine." Ella lowered her voice and glanced around. "Unlike these airheads, I know you. So don't shut me out!" Max sighed in resignation and allowed some of her fear to show on her face.

"It's an ex. He says he knows where I am and that I better do what he says."

"Ohmygod, Max! Why didn't you tell me? You should go home and lay low for a while. I'll tell the nurse you had cramps or something, m'kay?" Max smiled in appreciation, already grabbing her things. She had a lot to prepare for.

Author's Note: This is my first Maximum Ride fic, I hope that you like it! I've been toying with the idea for a while and have some basic plot points, but suggestions are welcome. The next chapter should be up after I update Miss Potter? (check it out!), please read and review!

Much love, Miss Luxe