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Endurance

By freshman year of high school, Max had developed a powerful crush on Mei Gordon. The problem, of course, was Mei. She appeared to not ever notice him and would not even look in his direction. Max did not dare to approach her. He could not understand if it was the intense feelings he carried for her, churning in his gut, or if it was merely her sheer existence that intimidated him. Either way, he only fumbled on his words whenever he tried to speak to her.

 

On occasion, he would build up enough courage to ask her for a pencil or the time, but that’s not what came out. His words seemed to wrap themselves around his tongue, causing him to look like a babbling fool. He finally accepted that the Universe was telling him, “Mei Gordon is out of your league, buddy.”

 

I need to get her out of my mind. It is the junior year... Soon we will be in our senior year of high school, and she won't even look in my direction. Does she find me to be that repulsive? She’s like an immortal vixen, oblivious to how much power she has over me. I’m too young to have these feelings! Max thought, while sitting in his last period class that he so happened to share with Mei.

 

It was two-thirty in the afternoon, March thirteenth. Friday had finally rolled around. Everyone was eager to get out of class and start their weekend. Flyers had secretly moved between students about tonight's house party at Zack’s. The entire high-school football and the cheerleading team planned to be there, including Max and his best friend, Nelson Lopez.

 

Max and Nelson had played football since their freshman year. Nelson was the primary player on the field, holding the coveted, quarterback position for the Belmont Eagles. Max was a wide receiver and being one of the fastest runners on the field was giving him much attention. Although both Max and Nelson were well known for their skills on the field, people remarkably knew very little about them outside of school.

 

Nelson was a painfully obvious flirt, but Max was enticingly full of mystery. Many girls assumed Max was like his best friend Nelson, only interested in what girl would give it up to him; however, Max was different.

Max had gone on many dates but had never considered himself a part of any relationship. Some speculated that he was afraid of dating a gold-digger and assumed that he thought all women were like his mother.

 

Everyone in town knew of his mother’s scandalous reputation and openly licentious behavior, but Max had other reasons for why he didn’t take the girls he dated seriously.

His latest catch, Taisha Ledell, although beautiful and shapely, was still someone Max never considered his girlfriend. For starters, he found her too shallow and self-centered. He held fast to his belief in casual dates and fun times. He didn’t want to be tied down to one girl, especially her, but Taisha told a decidedly different story.

 

Max enjoyed going on dates with Taisha, but would not allows the relationship to go any further, emotionally, claiming that he just wanted to feel things out first before jumping into the deep end. Deep down, this was a blatant lie. There was only one girl he could not get out of his mind nor could he get her attention. Mei was the exception to every rule for Max. He found her intoxicating, a warrior queen of exotic beauty. Her medium frame proudly carried well-sculpted, yet feminine muscles. She was also one of the most intelligent girls in the class, but she kept that to herself.

 

She appeared to be particularly selective of her friends, only maintaining a friendship with a few. Max knew she had a best-friend named Cora Pennington, but she didn’t show any interest in joining the cliques at school; Mei definitely stood apart. She was an untold mystery wrapped in a tantalizing enigma, and Max desperately wanted to unravel her.

 

He leaned back in his chair, casually glancing over at Mei. Such a beautiful mix, he thought. African American and Asian with brilliant green-eyes, golden complexion, gorgeous smile, and a gentle heart, he observed, his thoughts rambling on about Mei’s beauty.

 

His grey eyes sparkled when he looked at her. A slow smile grew on his face when he suddenly felt a sharp jab in his side. He spun his head around to see Taisha Ledell glaring at him.

 

They bickered under their breaths until the teacher loudly cleared her throat. The entire class looked at them. Out of everyone who was staring at them, Mei’s eyes were the ones he felt piercing through him. Max turned his attention to Mei. Intensely, their eyes locked.

 

If you can hear this, then you’re the one I’ve been searching for. Come back to me, Max’s heart channeled to Mei.

 

She felt the strangest sensation; her ears began to ring until she could hear audible words. Come back…to me? Mei grabbed her left ear, confused and frightened.

It seemed as if Max Martinez was communicating with her. She didn’t realize she was staring right back at him. She felt oddly relaxed as if in a trance. Mei looked away quickly, still holding her ear. She immediately grabbed her books as the bell rang, darting for the door.

Max quickly stood up, noticing Mei’s reaction.  I know she heard me, he thought. This realization only threw fuel on the inferno blazing inside of him. He swiftly grabbed his books, attempting to pursue her. Just as he made it out the door, a very angry Taisha roughly yanked him backward.

 

She peered at him with confused anger in her eyes, clearly piercing with questions. “Where do you think you’re going?”

 

Max turned around to face her. After seeing the reaction from Mei, he could not let anyone or anything come between him and his one, real desire. “Taisha, Look we had a couple of dates; you know how I am, I don’t do steady. I am just not ready for a relationship,” he lied.

 

Max then hastily walked away. His only concern was catching up to Mei.

 

Taisha, desperately trying to catch her breath, felt dumbfounded by his words. She was very much in love with Max. Taisha foolishly believed that Max at least liked her. They had dated for a month, and he was an excellent catch. After they had had sex just a week ago, Taisha couldn’t get enough of him. She was sure he wanted to be with her. Taisha also admired his gentleman-like demeanor. He would open and close doors for her. Max was the one for her, and she was not ready to let go.

 

The final bell rang. Mei couldn’t make it to her locker fast enough to shove her books in and escape the hell called high school. She casually noticed the eye of Max Martinez staring in her direction but decided he must be looking at Paula Waters, who was walking behind her. “All the guys wanted to get a piece of Paula Waters.” She was a Little-Ms.-Everything. “Who could compete with that?” Mei grumbled under her breath.

 

Mei made it to her locker, shoving her books inside and slamming the metal door closed. She quickly headed out the main doors, making it toward her bus. As she rushed out the door, Mei felt Max’s stare again. Is he looking at me? Mei questioned herself. She jumped onto her bus, putting the question behind her.

 

Max stood at the foot of Belmont High School steps, imaging what it will be like to talk to Mei. Her beautiful, almond shaped, green eyes and golden complexion enthralled him. He loved her long, soft, wavy hair and beautiful smile, the rare times he could catch a glimpse of it.

 

“Oh boy, you got the stare! That could only mean one thing. You’ve just seen Mei,” Nelson Lopez stated as he approached his friend.

 

Max couldn’t help the smile that stretched across his face. “You know me too well,” Max replied.

 

“Don’t give up; one day she will notice you. You’ll just have to break your neck on the field,” Nelson joked. “But, in the meantime, let’s hit the house party tonight. Everyone is going to be there; so many honeys to help you pass the time. You know what I mean?”

“Ah, I'm not into that scene, you know that,” Max replied as they began to walk towards his car in the student parking lot.

 

“Come on man! It’s almost the end of the year, and you haven’t gone to any parties. If you’re not going to do it for yourself, don’t be selfish; do it for me?” Nelson laughed.

 

“I'm supposed to help my uncle with something tonight. I can’t,” Max shrugged. “Hey, I promise, if something comes up if something changes--I’ll go…promise,” Max ended. He knew his uncle all too well. Tamarius never canceled on him. Each Friday the thirteenth, his uncle would insist that he stay at the mansion, and far away from his mother. Max didn’t always understand his uncle, but he obeyed him.

 

“Deal; that’s fair…so what’s your uncle’s number?” Nelson teased.

 

Max laughed as they entered his new, gold Chevy Suburban that his father had recently purchased for him,