(A/N: So to make up for those months that we didn't post at all, here's another chapter! This one's a lot longer so enjoy! Also make sure you check out our new cover picture Emily drew of the writers as fairies. Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: we own all the OCs in this story but we do not own maximum ride or anything else we referenced in this chapter.)


"Jingle Bells" rang through the high ceilings of Lissa's main dining hall as Fang and I entered the room. I'm not sure if I've stressed this enough yet, but just in case you don't know, this place is HUGE. Like you need a skilled navigator to get around. The hall is covered in tinsel, mistletoe, and red and green streamers. Looming next to the grand fireplace is an enormous Christmas tree decked out in ornaments and oddly enough the Star of David at the top.

"Must be trying to be religiously inclusive," Fang mutters. I don't recall any of us being Jewish, but whatever.

"Then where's my Kwanza candles!?" I chuckle in fake outrage. It was 6:00 and almost everyone seemed to have arrived except Nudge, Emily, Ella, and Dylan.

"Maaaaaxx!" Lissa trills from all the way across the room, still piercing my eardrums. I'm pretty sure she was wearing the slutty Santa outfit from Mean Girls, because she was all legs and a little extra if you know what I mean. "And dang, Fang! You're looking handsome tonight, aren't you!" He was wearing khakis and a black button down shirt. I was about to throttle her when Fang squeezes my hand. I know this whole jealousy thing has got to stop, so I, being the bigger person, reply, "Merry Christmas, Lissa. Are you dressed as the Grinch or is that just your outfit?" She fakes a grin. "Well I'm sure your secret Santa got you some complexion cream, because you-!"

"Max! Fang! You're here!" Hannah interrupts, giving Lissa a restrained smile. Lissa rolls her mascara-laden eyes and pouts over to the dessert table. I hope she eats her feelings.

"Sup'" I reply casually, trying not to make a face. Hannah is once again wearing one of her apparently "sexy" sweaters, which features Rudolph the Reindeer, complete with a light up nose. Kill me.

"So you guys can put your presents over there under the Christmas tree and then enjoy the party! Have fun!" She struts over to the couch and sits on Iggy's lap, giving him a quick kiss. He and Fang lock eyes for a split second and glare but the moment is gone faster than it started. I take his hand and we walk.

"Let's go put our gifts over by the tree," I mumble, pulling him towards the wilting pine. A look if panic registers on his face.

"Crap! I totally forgot!" He whispers.

"Just put like 20$ bucks in an envelope. It's lame but that's the best we can do. Who is it?" I ask.

"...Lissa..." He chocked out. Shoot. The one person who could care less about money. We sneak out through the kitchen door into a spare room.

"I've got an idea," we find the nearest bathroom and rummage through a closet until we find what were looking for. I grab the fanciest looking bottle of lotion and peel off the label. "Here," I hand it to him. "Now write a note in your NICEST handwriting and say it's from some fancy pants scent line imported from France or something like that." He laughs and finds a pen.

"To Lissa, from Paris's exclusive fragrance line: Le Downstairs Bathroom...Sounds French enough." We grab a paper bag and scrawl Lissa's name on it and sneak back into the party.

"You know," Fang mutters," that was a pretty great idea. I'm surprised you haven't robbed a bank or something yet with your wicked mind."

"Who says I haven't?" I tease. Looking around the room I see Nudge hooking up some DJ equipment while talking to Rachel.

"Watcha doin?" I ask them. Standing next to Rachel with some random guy I've never met.

"Rach said we could borrow her equipment for tonight to do Karaoke."

"You're a DJ?" I ask her.

"Yeah," she shrugs. "This is Mitch by the way." The random dude puts his arm across her shoulders. "What time is it?" She asks him.

"Quarter past not happening!" Mitch answers. I guess that's an inside joke.

"Time for you to get a watch." Rachel checks her phone.

"And we've gotta jet so bye!" When they leave I scan the room for Ella and see her playing pin the nose on the reindeer with Sarah, Katie, and the others. They seemed to be impaling a plush Rudolph with pins and Velcro fabric. How delightful. I noticed Emily sitting near the edge of the group putting a blindfold on a pretty hot brunette guy (although he had nothing on Fang) that I didn't know. They seemed to be having a good time but I could see Iggy staring daggers from the couch. Fang and I grab a seat on the floor to watch. It felt really nice to have Fangs arm around me again.

"Yo!" Nudge calls over to us. "Anyone want the mike?" She says, pulling a pair of microphones out.

"Totally!" Sarah and Katie shout at the same time. "Hit it!" They sang the Love is an Open Door duet from Frozen without missing a beat. Hannah somehow manages to make Frosty the Snowman to look sexy, filling it with winks and hair flips. (Barf).More like Thirsty the Snowman. Fang and I pass on our turn and are luckily saved by Emily and Random Hot Brunette Guy (RHBG until further notice) who take over with "All I Want for Christmas." We all messed around like this for about half an hour then took a break to eat.

"Perfect! I specially arranged seating and the entrees!" Lissa yells, pulling down her skirt that rides up even when standing. We all scramble to find our respective places. Of course Fang is seated with Lissa and as far away from me as possible, but he quickly switches his and Katie's place card. RHBG looks around awkwardly as everyone takes their place, noticing he doesn't have one.

"Not to worry, darling!" Lissa purrs, striding across the room and pulling up a empty chair next to Emily. "We had an extra anyway. Dylan got sick and couldn't make it."

"Huh," Iggy laughs bitterly from across the table, "seems like this guy likes to take stuff that's not his." Hannah looks annoyed and elbows him into silence. RHBG doesn't seem to notice and introduces himself.

"Thank you," he says to Lissa and sits down. "I'm Ryder by the way." We all say hello and introduce ourselves.

"What school do you go to?" Katie asks while unfolding her napkin. A group of waiters comes in and serves some appetizer salads.

"Wheeler." He replies with a grin. He pulls his hand through his short brown hair. He's wearing a maroon sweater that accentuates his muscles and a pair of jeans. He seemed nice enough. "I play for their basketball team."

"Well that explains why you know Emily!" Sarah puts in with a polite smile.

"Sure does," Iggy rolls his eyes while picking at his salad. Hannah is obviously not pleased. "Will you excuse us for a moment?" Nobody protests as she drags Iggy to the kitchen.

"Yeesh." Ruth pipes up, breaking the tension. "Can someone pass the dressing?" We continue with small talk until Hannah and Iggy arrive back just in time for the entree: roast chicken. As they crossed the threshold Hannah abruptly stops and looks up. "Mistletoe, babe!" She pulls him into a kiss that wasn't exactly PG and made the room ten times more awkward. I look over to see Emily biting her lip and looking down. When they finally finish up they get seated at the table. I'm about to dive in when Ella yells, "Stop!"

"What Ella?! The food better be poisoned because-"

"We've gotta say grace!" She says, grabbing Lissa's and Nudges hands. "Come on, we've gotta all go around and say stuff were thankful for!" I'm pretty sure that's thanksgiving, but everyone rolls with it. "I'm thankful for Channing Tatum, who graces us all with his abs everyday!" She begins.

"I'm thankful for Prada," Lissa gets a daydream-like grin. Hannah goes next, "I'm grateful for great friends and company." Whatever. Ryder was next, "I'm grateful for the great life I've been given and for being invited to such an awesome party." Iggy scoffed behind his glass of coke.

"I there a problem?" Ryder asks Iggy with a hint of annoyance. Iggy leans back in his chair and raises his eyebrows.

"Yeah, actually-" he starts. Before he can finish Hannah butts in.

"I'd say it's about time for secret Santa, don't you guys think?!" She plasters on a fake smile.

"Nooo!" I moan looking longingly at my plate of hot bird. Is it cannibalism when I eat other winged creatures? I hope not, because I'm in no shape to give up chicken nuggets.

"I mean can't we eat first!?" Everyone nods in agreement. Hannah looks obviously annoyed at being overruled. We continue through the meal with conversational small talk about this and that and finish with a serving of pudding.

"Alrightttt!" Katie announces. "Gift time!" Everyone rushes over to the tree and sits in a lopsided circle. I glance over to my gift for Hannah. Despite my completely healthy loathing I had gotten her a really cool headphone set with the Union Jack on it. I had it all wrapped up in a silver box with a red bow. I thought it would be a pretty good peace treaty of sorts. That's funny... I thought I had put it on the left side of the tree...

"So since I'm dressed as Santa's little helper," Lissa grins and gestures to apparently qualifies as her costume, Santa's helper? More like Hoe Hoe Hoe. "I'll pass out the presents!" She first selects a green bag a reads the name out.

"Saaaaarrrrraaaahhh!" She sings out enthusiastically. And tossing it toward her. Sarah grins and quickly opens the bag,

"Yes!" She squeals. "I got a new curling iron! I've been wanting one for months!" She pulls a light gray wand looking thing. "Who was it?!" Ella raises her hand with a smile and is immediately squished with a hug. A few more presents are passed around. Alois got Ruth a new Eno, Katie got Fang a new pocketknife, and Sarah got Iggy a tattoo gift card. Yikes. I don't want to imagine him with a tramp stamp or something creepy. Lissa frowns at the paper bag with her name scrawled across but grabs it anyway.

"For Moi?! Oh I cannot wait to see.." She reaches in and pulls out the bottle and reads the card. "OMG! Look! It's imported from Paris, France! And it's my favorite exclusive brand: Le Downstairs Bathroom!" She yelled, pronouncing the title in a French accent. Fang and I are about to double over laughing.

"And what kind lady/gentlemen has purchased me such a lovely gift?" Lissa purred looking around. Fang raised his arm, trying not to smile. Lissa's eyes widen in a way that made me want to slap the mascara of her face.

"Well," Lissa said, leaning down so everyone got a show of her cleavage.(anyone have a fork to impale my eyes out with?). "I cannot imagine how to thank you..." She trails off, batting her eyes.

"Nope!" I say reaching across Fangs chest protectively. "No need to thank anyone. Fang gets it." She frowns and sighs and goes back to her job. There's still 3 or 4 presents left and it was already 10:23. Everyone seemed to be getting really tired. Iggy about loses it when he sees Emily rest her head on Ryder's shoulder. Lissa finally grabs my gift and brings it over to Hannah.

"That's from me!" I shout out. I'm not really great with secrets. Plus I want props for my awesome gift.

"Well then I will say thank you in advance!" Hannah smiles with a hint of sincerity. She slowly unwraps the paper and then opens the box. All of a sudden, chaos breaks out. Hundreds of wasps erupt from the present and swarm around Hannah and start to buzz around the room.

"Aahhhh!" She screams. Everyone jumps up in a screaming pandemonium as the bugs spread out across the room. Sarah and Katie sprint out of the room with Xavier and Nudge in their trail. Alois puts his jacket over Ruth to protect her from the onslaught of wasps and they scurry out towards the kitchen door. Ella squeals and is too frozen to move. Ryder throws his arms around Emily to cover her from the swarm, but Iggy was obviously not having that because he shoved him off and started throwing punches.

"Get off of her!" He yells, giving Ryder a left hook.

"What's your problem?!" Ryder yells back, pushing Iggy to the ground. "Why do you care?!" Fang and I don't stick around to see how it turned out. Throwing open a window, we jump out and unfurl our wings. Once we were a couple hundred feet above the mansion we look down at the chaos. I could see the dark silhouettes of my friends running out along with a few of Lissa's servants.

"What the hell was that?!" Fang yelled grabbing my arm.

"I have absolutely no clue! I swear! I got her some really cool headphones!" I shout over the wind.

"Oh really?" He narrows his eyes. "Because I could have sworn a nest of wasps just attacked Hannah!"

"I'm not lying!" I plead with him. I can't lose him now. "I'm not." My voice gets quiet. For a minute he just stares at me.

"Ok." He answers.

"Ok?" I ask. "Like ok you believe me?"

"Yes," he pulls me into a hug. For some reason hugging 300 feet up is a thousand times better than hugging on the ground. "I...I trust you, Max."

"Thank you, Fang." We let the moment linger a while longer until we let go.

"Let's find out who did this," Fang looks me in the eye and then takes off East.

Iggy POV

The thing about Lissa's mansion is that it's so big they had to clear out a section of forest to build it, so it's completely surround by trees and bushes. Which makes a really crappy place to look for people. I'm trudging through bushes when I finally see her. Emily's leaning against a tree with her head in her hands.

"Emily!" I call out, which was probably the worst thing I could've said considering I'm the last person she wants to see. She takes off running into the wilderness. I consider giving her some space but then talk myself out of it. She could get hurt, you know? I sprint to catch up to Emily, but I've lost her. Spreading out my wings I navigate my way through the foliage until I can see her blond hair trailing behind her. I swoop down and grab her from behind. She screams and starts to struggle.

"It's ok, I promise!" I shout frantically. Instead of landing I fly higher until I get to the tallest and sturdiest tree near the edge of the forest.

"Put me down, jerk!" She yells. Placing her on the highest branch I drop down onto the nearest one. She clings to the trunk of the tree. Crap. I forgot about her intense fear of heights. She looks for a foot hold to climb down but the nearest one is a good 10 feet away.

"Just wait a minute, Em." I plead, putting my hand softly on her shoulder. She looks so beautiful up here, with her long golden hair flowing over her shoulders and her navy sweater wrapped around her. She stares at me with her blue-gray eyes. She shrugs away my hand. Little flakes of snow start to flurry and she shivers. I pull off my leather jacket and hand it to her.

"Thanks..." She says, staring at the ground and pulling it tightly around her. "Now put me down." She says quietly, her warm breath looking like steam in the cold air.

"Em, we've gotta talk-" I try to convince her but before I can she's already at the edge of the branch.

"Fine." She whispers harshly then freakin jumps off the branch! It's my first instinct to leap down and catch her. I grab her in my arms and unfurl my wings seconds before we reach the ground. When we land with a tumble to the ground I manage to fall on top of her. Quickly getting off, I'm furious.

"What the hell was that, Em!" I shout in frustration, grabbing her by the shoulders.

"I told you to take me down!" She shouts back.

"And when I didn't you freakin jumped?!" At this point I don't know if I want to fight or kiss her.

"It's not like you were gonna let me fall!" She crosses her arms stubbornly.

"You're lucky I didn't! You could've died!"

"It's not like you would've cared! You were too busy making out with Hannah!" She tries to sound mad but it just comes out hurt. The pain in her voice etches away at my heart.

"It's not like that-" I start.

"What? Like you didn't kiss her? Or the part where you cheated on me?" The snow starts to fall harder, making the tiny flakes in her hair look like stars.

"At least I tried to talk to you about it!" I pause. "But you wouldn't even let me try to explain!"

"Explain what? I know what I saw!"

"Why don't you explain the new guy, then!?"

"Ryder's just a friend!" She yells, narrowing her eyes.

"Oh sure!" I shout sarcastically. "One that of course plays basketball, and is 'perfect' and 'funny.' I bed he'd leave you in a heartbeat as soon as another girl comes along! It's only been like two weeks! Are you seriously over us already!?"

"No," she whispers, finally looking up at me. No more yelling, just quiet. I see a small tear runs down her cheek. "But at least I wasn't over it before it was finished." Her last words hang in the air as she backs away from me. Near the edge of the forest a car's high beams shine through the trees. A faint voice calls out. Emily looks towards it then wipes the tear away.

"I have to go," she says quietly, turning away from me. She pulls off my jacket and shoves it to my chest.

"Wait-" I plead, just wanting to wrap her in my arms and sit quietly and watch the snow fall. "Come back, we can-" she doesn't let me finish.

"James," her eyes looked hurt and tired. There were not many people who knew my real name, but she did. The way she said it made me remember how much I loved and trusted her. No, love and trust her, present tense. "Let me go.."

And for some strange reason, I do. I let her walk away. I watched her disappear into the bushes. I let her get in Ryder's car. I didn't stop her because it hurt too much to do anything about it. I fall to my knees in the snowy clearing and notice something silver under a leaf. Picking it up I can distinctly recognize it. As the memory pops into my head I feel a crushing pain in my temple. The last thing I can see is a dark, masculine silhouette before I black out.

(A/N: So I hope you liked it. This one was written completely by Emily again so review if you think she did a great job. Also I changed the cover picture of this fanfic to a picture Emily drew of all of us writers as fairies so you get a very general idea of what we look like. So make sure you check that out and review with an opinion! Also we would really like to hear your answers to these questions:

Fan Qs:

1. Should Emily take Iggy back or nah? Ryder or Iggy?

2. Who do you think sabotaged Max's gift?

3. What did Iggy find?

4. Favorite song?

5. Favorite TV Shows?

Thanks for reading!