She'd stood in the middle of the dirt road feeling cold and empty as the rain poured down around her. In her mind Max Baker knew this was the best thing to do, under the circumstances, but that didn't keep her heart from breaking or calling out to the only man she'd ever loved. He needed this, this was his chance of fulfilling his dreams and she'd only be in his way.
Sergei Mishkin had been working toward this all his life, and to have kept him here would have been wrong. One day he would be a great violin prodigy and it would all be thanks to her sacrifice and his hard work.
But that didn't stop her heart from shattering or crying out to him, even now three years later as she watched his limo pull up to the entrance of Cheever's High school.
As the limo driver got out and walked around to open the door freeing its occupants from the small confined space. Her heart beat faster in anticipation of her first glimpse of him.
Since that terrible night when she'd last said goodbye to him she'd been watching his career closely, she felt every one of his disappointments and rejoiced in every victory, so she knew what a rare treat his involvement would be for the people assembled to greet him.
She held her breath as he finally stepped out and onto the sidewalk letting it out only when he smiled. That smile that was burned in her memory, that smile that she loved so much, and a tear slipped down her cheek. Hidden behind an old oak tree on the school campus, she was happy for its cover, because she didn't know if she could stand for him to see her cry.
As soon as he stepped into the crowd she felt safe enough to make the long walk back to her little blue Volkswagen bug. As she slide in behind the driver's seat she found her hands shaking and her tears flowed harder as her mind recalled the events leading up to their break up.
The sun shined on the first day of camp as the kids jumped off the buses eager to start the fun. Grabbing onto their duffel bags and pillows they made their way toward the makeshift sign in desk sitting a few feet from the entrance to the massive playground.
Or at least that's what Max thought as she gazed at the finally cut grass and the lake situated behind it. The bungalows lay side by side and in opposite corners from one another, as signs pointed to which side would be assigned to the boys and which side would be assigned to the girls.
She had begged and pleaded with her parents to let her attend the Rising Stars Talent Camp it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity she'd told them as she listed her reasons. At first they were skeptical, but knowing how happy this would make her, soon gave in.
More than anything in the world Max loved dancing and this would be an opportunity to really showcase her talent, who knows she stated I may end up in a music video one day, she emphasized with a big grin.
So here she was one of the hundred and fifty who had been accepted to the summer program, yes this was her chance and nothing would stop her from reaching her goals.
She was so deep into her thoughts she wasn't ready when she was suddenly slammed into the dirt by a rather large duffel bag.
"Hey, would you watch what you're doing?" Max stated half shouting at the boy who stood before her.
"Maybe you should watch where you stand." He replied with a half cocked look on his face. "After all you were the one in my way."
Max gave him her best oh no he didn't expression and stood up to give the jerk a piece of her mind. "Dude, I think you owe me an apology." She stated as he looked down at her as if she were a fly on his windshield, which of course only angered her all the more.
Not one for backing down she stepped in front of him blocking his path and folded her arms waiting for him to say something, which in her mind, should be an apology. But to her astonishment a moment later he calmly put down his things placed two hands on either side of her waist and gently picked her up, putting her down on the other side of him.
She didn't know wither to be embarrassed or pissed off, she decided on the second. But before she could do anything about it the horn blew and was followed by the announcements that the buses would be departing.
Torn between wanting to placate her bruised ego and wanting to get situated she stood there staring at the guys retreating backside and in that moment she decided to hate him, of course that would mean paying him back for his boldness, but she would have to take care of that later. She was not going to let him ruin her first day here.
The next few days went by without incident or another confrontation so she decided to put the entire matter behind her, besides her days were filled with instructional lessons and endless hours of practice to hone in on her craft, and she was exhausted.
So when classes were postponed on that first Friday of camp, she welcomed the chance to have some down time. Little did she know she would have been safer in class, when her and a couple of her bunk mates decided to take a short hike through the wilderness she never dreamed that she would end up in a life and death situation.
Max walked down the path with her two friends in tow talking and laughing about the different courses they were taking and who they thought had the talent to go all the way and who didn't. An hour and half later they found themselves quite a distance away from the campsite, but Max was determined to get some good pictures.
Noticing a small jagged cliff she began to climb despite the objections of her friends. Ignoring the sharp rocks and slippery slope made up of gravel and loose rock she continued her journey until she had reached the tip top.
"You might want to watch yourself it's easy to slip on such a jagged cliff," turning toward the male voice she noticed it belonged to the kid she had a run into when she arrived.
"Thanks but I think I can take care of myself," She huffed rolling her eyes in his direction. "I don't need you telling me what to do."
"Sute yourself, I was just trying to help."
"Well don't if I wanted your help, I would ask for it," She added. "I'm sure all your little groupies would be happy to know what's on your mind every waking moment of the day, but I don't, so don't bother even talking to me."
Sergei put his hands up in defeat and turned to view the scenery in the opposite direction. She heard a curse word come from him right before she stepped forward a bit to get a good angle. But before she could snap her picture her foot got caught in a small hole and she fell forward, sliding over the side.
Max heard someone scream in the distance and only realized after she had slammed against the mountain that she was the one doing the yelling. Taking a deep breath she tried her best to hold onto a branch that was hanging off the side.
Looking up in the direction of the voice she was surprised to see an outstretched hand coming toward her, and even more surprised to see who the hand belonged too.
"Can you reach my hand?" he asked as he tried his best to make a grasp for her fingers.
"I can't it's too far."
"Just hang on," he told her. "I think I can grasp you if I just move further down."
Max breathed a sigh of relief when she felt his hand take a hold of hers and managed to pull her to safety. Scared and a bit shaken up she wrapped her arms around his neck and held on as if he were a life raft.
He held her in his arms while she cried into his shoulder taking comfort in the warmth he offered her. His nearness helped to ease her fears as well as her shaking form.
She was still pressed close to him when she left his shoulder and brushed her tear stricken cheeks against his own. Their eyes met and their breathing hitched as they gazed at one another in surprise.
Her heart beat raised and she was very aware of his masculinity and the strength in his embrace. So many emotions began to stir in her and she found she rather liked the feeling. Her breathing became shallow and her eyes wandered over his lips as her fingers grazed them gently.
He gently took a hold of her hand as their eyes once again connected and she found he wanted the exact same thing. Slowly she felt his lips brush against hers tenderly in contradiction to how she felt, as she found that it also ignited a fire she couldn't quite quench, and wasn't sure if she wanted it too.
"Max!" The two heard the sound of her name being called. "Can you hear us?"
"I better answer them or they might try to climb up here themselves," She said in a whisper.
"I think that is a good idea, in fact I think we should both head down together," he replied with a sigh.
All Max could do was nod in agreement as they slowly parted and she forgot about what had transpired a few minutes before to bring them together in the first place.
Her bunk mates knew something significant had happened when Max and Sergei climbed down and walked past them hand in hand with cheesy grins plastered to their faces. Not a word was spoken as the quartet made their way back to camp.
The next few weeks were like a fairytale come true. Max never really believed in the whole prince charming thing, but if she had to compare her prince to one in a fairy tale she would say he was a cross between prince Phillip, the beast and Shrek. But she loved every part of him his good hearted nature, his temperament, and yes even his absurdities and sarcastic nature and above all it was easy to see he shared the same sentiments.
They made quite a pair, the violin prodigy and the hip hop dancer. Several times she found herself wondering if they actually had anything in common when an argument would arise. She could be just as stubborn as he when it came to getting her own way and that fact had been proven more often then she'd care to realize.
Yet for all their arguments they had a great relationship, they understood one another in a way no one else could. Their passion for their individual gifts, their drive to succeed in a business dominated by just a few, and the longing to make themselves heard.
He invited her into his world of music and she invited him into her world of dance, coincided in rhythm as the two met in a fiery exchange of breathless longing. Their age becoming but a number as their hearts joined the melody they were creating, a melody she knew one day she would have to share with the world.
The world that separated them, eventually bringing them here, a sad cold and rainy night. Max wrapped her coat around her shoulders a little tighter as she watched him come out of his cabin with two bags in his hands. As he looked over she could see tears in his eyes and she feared those tears mirrored her own.
He had given her the news over breakfast. It was a great opportunity for him. His life would be set and she would forever know that she had done the right thing in letting him go. Then why did their impending separation hurt so bad.
She promised herself she was just going to watch him go, she wouldn't say a word or make as sound. But her heart wouldn't let her do that when she noticed he had his arms open for her. She found herself running into the warm cocoon of those arms. She never wanted to let go, but she knew standing there with him soaked and wet that she would eventually have too. And that's just what Maxine Baker did.
Max was brought out of her thoughts when there came a tapping on her window, wiping her eyes and looking up she was shocked when she came face to face with a ghost from her past. She rolled down the piece of glass as sympathetic eyes met hers and once again she felt her heart soar as if he were playing it like a violin.
"Max, it's been awhile."
"Hi," was all she could think of to say.
An awkward silence passed between them and then finally she felt a hand rest on her shoulder. Just as before her senses came alive with his touch and she felt an electrical charge pass between them. She was now very aware of his close proximity and could feel his warm breath against her bare shoulder.
"How have you been?" she heard him ask.
"I've been okay," she replied timidly which was a complete contradiction to her usual personality.
"Max…can I come in?"
She watched him as he walked around the car and got in on the passenger side. "It's been awhile."
"Yeah," was all she could say. "You've done well for yourself."
"Thanks," he replied as an awkwardness passed between them. "I hear your not doing so bad either."
"So have…" they both began as echoing one another's words.
"Sorry you first," she stated quietly.
"Truthfully I'm not sure what to say," she stated.
"Yeah, I know what you mean," he replied. "Which is funny, since there was a time we could talk for hours on end."
"I miss that," he said with genuine sadness.
"I do too."
"Do you ever wonder what would have happened if I'd turned down the request to play with the philharmonic orchestra. "
"Sometimes," she sighed. "But then if you had stayed you would have come to regret it. The truth is you would have hated yourself and eventually me."
"What will you be doing in the fall?"
"I've applied to the New York School of Performing Arts."
"That's great, did they accept you?"
"I start in the fall," she told him.
"I have no doubt you'll do an incredible job," he said. "Might even end up in one of those videos you so desperately want to be a part of."
"Well no one is banging on my door quite yet," she smiled.
"They will," he said with confidence.
"I should have never left you."
"Sergei, what's done is done."
"But the way I left," he sadly stated. "I could have made it a bit easier on both of us."
"I believe all things happen for a reason. Even if its hard to figure out sometimes."
In the distance a woman waved her arms around indicating to him that it was time to go inside. Reluctantly he prepared to get out of the car. But before he did he had one more thing to say.
Sergei looked at the girl who'd always own a part of his heart and wished things had been different. "I could never hate you," he whispered placing a tender kiss on her cheek before leaving the confines of the small car.
AN: Another entry for this wonderful collection. This was actually a pairing I began last year but never finished. I hope you like it.