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The Problems of Three Little People; Lost Children Memory Thread
Topic Started: Oct 1 2012, 03:40 PM (1,027 Views)
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((Louisa Bloom continued from Mother Bird))

Yes, this dough is perfect. Grandpa's recipe is still the best.

Louisa stretched the ball of dough in her hands. The touch was nice. It was gooey, full of yeast, but she knew it was fantastic. When one grows up in a pizza parlor, they begin to pick up the intricacies of pizza making. Louisa knew that her family's pizza was the best in Milwaukee, and the proof was in her hands. The color, the smell, the texture, this dough would make one fantastic pizza.

Louisa had the dough completely stretched and began tossing it in the air. It was a trick that took her several years to perfect. When her dad came back from his tour of service, he made sure to make up for the time he lost with his family. One of the best ways he knew how was to teach Louisa and her brother the art of making pizza. Sure, a few pizzas fell to the floor or got caught on the ceiling, but Louisa soon mastered the trick of tossing dough.

She tossed the circle of dough onto a flour covered table. It was time for toppings. She grabbed a nearby ticket and read the ingredient list.

Okay, pepperoni, bacon, chicken. Man, Maxim really likes meat. Oh crap! I did not just think that! Ugh, better not bring that up unless I know he would find it humorous. Well, pizza bases.

Louisa grabbed a ladle from a nearby plastic bin containing red sauce. Louisa loved the family pizza sauce. It had all the right ingredients: fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, oregano, and just a hint of pepper. Louisa turned the ladle over the dough and spread it in a circle. The Bloom way was to keep the sauce thin but spread. It helped balance all the ingredients together.

After that, Louisa reached over to another bin and began to scatter shredded mozzarella cheese over the pizza. She knew her friends really liked cheese, so she made sure to add a little extra mozzarella to the pie. After that, pepperoni slices were arranged with some pieces of bacon and shredded chicken. The pizza was looking a bit red and brown, so Louisa quickly tossed some green peppers and pieces of onion onto the pizza. After a few shakes of ground Parmesan and pepper, the pizza was ready.

Louisa scooped the pizza up on a pizza paddle and slid it into the oven. The oven was presently empty. It was late afternoon, and Bloom's wouldn't get busy until about 6 p.m. when the Saturday night crowd piled in. Until then, Louisa was allowed to use the restaurant kitchen to make a pizza for her friends. She peered in the oven and looked at the pizza.

Yum. Man, pizza just makes everything better.

It would be a few minutes until the pizza was ready. Louisa would've liked to go out and sit with Maxim, but she knew she would have to make sure the pizza would turn out okay. She could join him later to make cracks about Bryan and Dylan, she just needed to make sure their dinner wouldn't burn

We sure have had a lot of pizzas here. Wonder how many we've had since we met?



Louisa sat on a bar stool and looked over the room. Bloom's was closed for the evening, at least to the general public. Louisa was excited.

A few days ago, her father's tour of service finally ended and he was able to come back home. Louisa couldn't hold back how happy she was to see him when he arrived at the airport. He looked much different than she remembered, but the way he hugged her reminded her that he was her father after all.

Her mother had planned to have a big welcome back party when he returned. They'd close the restaurant down, invite some good friends over, and all catch up while sharing pizza, garlic knots, and wine. Louisa thought this night would be sort of dull, since she and Tori would most likely have to run off and deal with Amos. Then again, there was plenty of pizza and treats to eat the whole night, so she wouldn't be that upset.

The place was all set for the party. The buffet of pizza and other foods was set, decorations were hung, and the whole night was ready to go. That's when Louisa remembered something. When her parents were discussing the party, her dad mentioned that there was someone else he wanted to invite to the party. He met a man named Senders while on duty, and the two men became good friends during their service, mostly due to their Milwaukee roots. Apparently, her dad wanted Senders and his family there, mentioning that Senders had a son about Louisa's age who would be coming as well.

I wonder what that boy is like. Never really had a boy friend before.

Until he came, Louisa helped herself to a bottle of orange soda. The party would start soon.
Edited by Laurels, Oct 7 2012, 04:04 PM.
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((Maxim Senders continued from Motherbird))

Maxim waited for Louisa at one of the tables in the restaurant, mindlessly picking at his bandanna. What recently just happened kept Maxim quiet and for most of the trip to Louisa's place. Tori couldn't stay for pizza and had since gone home, leaving Maxim alone with Louisa in the pizza place.

As Louisa worked on the Pizza he requested, Maxim took some time to really think about things. Something felt wrong. He thought that he was content with the life he was living, but his recent interaction with Callison and Dylan really made him question things. The way he acted, was he just being a hypocrite?

Maybe he overreacted with Dylan. Chucking her camera away in the river was a pretty cruel thing to do and the insult she shouted still echoed in his mind, even though he tried to shrug it off. Was he really the good guy here? He had to be. He was standing up for minorities, the downtrodden, the ones who needed the help. Why was it then did he feel guilty about how he interacted with Dylan?

He let out a little sigh as Maxim stopped fiddling with his bandanna. Louisa was taking her time making the pizza, obviously making it to the best quality possible. He appreciated that, but he wasn't the most patient person in the world.

"How long are you going to take with that pizza?" Maxim called out to her in an attempt to get her attention. It was a common line he said to her, normally due to the fact that he couldn't wait to have some of her pizza. He swore it was the best in the world, bar none.

His mind drifted from there to remembering the many times he had spent with Louisa and Tori, eating pizza and doing other stuff. One in particular stood out for him though at the moment. It was probably the moment that changed his life.



"Do I have to go to this party?" Maxim whined loudly in the car as they drove to the pizza place. Having recently gotten back from his years of service, Maxim was glad to see his father again. However, it came at a cost.

"Now son, you have to come with us to meet my friend's daughter. He specifically requested for your presence at the party." Maxim's dad called out in reply, his eyes never straying from the road. His father's face was scrunched up as he tried to remember the directions that he was given, to little success.

"Isn't Jason's daughter around the same age as Maxim?" His mother asked his father as she was doing last minute preparations with her makeup. She looked into her compact and was applying some deep-red lipstick that extenuated her lips. She wanted to look her best for tonight.

"Yes and that is exactly why Maxim has to come with us. Now come on, we're here now. Wipe that frown off your face or you're grounded." Maxim's father said to Maxim, finally recognizing his surroundings and now looked for a parking space.

Maxim let out a little huff as he crossed his arms and sulked in the back of the car. He didn't want to go. There was no reason for him to go. He didn't care about this girl that his parents were talking about, even though they were the same age. He'd rather be hanging out with Brian. At least he was interesting.

Maxim's father was eventually able to find a parking spot and the three of them exited the car. He gave Maxim a warning look as he lead the other two to the entrance of the restaurant.

"He wasn't joking when he said he owned a restaurant..." Maxim's father muttered to himself as they waited outside the restaurant for a moment, not really sure what to do.
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Louisa tapped her foot against the bar. Guests were already coming in, but Louisa didn't pay attention. The preparation for the party made her extremely hungry, so she was sitting at the bar eating a piece of cheese pizza and drinking orange soda. Her little brother was sitting at the bar next to her. Amos didn't really seem to have much focus on the party. It looked like he was more concerned with tossing garlic knots in the air and catching them in his mouth. He was yet to be successful, so most of the garlic knots ended on the counter or floor. Louisa finally reached over and grabbed his arm.

"Come on, don't waste 'em," she said. "Mom might yell at you."

Amos set the garlic knot down on the plate and pouted. Louisa patted him on the back.

"Hey, Dad's back now," Louisa said. "He's done with his service and he won't leave us again. Let's not look sad tonight. Why don't you pick up the knots on the floor and clean up a bit?"

Amos hopped off the stool and began to pick the knots off the floor. Louisa spun around on her stool and looked at the folks in the crowd. Tori and her parents weren't able to come do to some personal reasons, so Louisa didn't really know anyone here. It was mostly friends of her parents, frequent customers at Bloom's, and nearby family. There wasn't anyone really around her age.

Louisa made slight turns on the stool. She sort of wished she brought some paper down so she could try writing some poetry.

Eh, guess there's time for that later. Dad's home. Just try to be happy that things will be better.

That's when Louisa heard the sound of the bell over the door. She looked up and saw some adults she didn't recognize. Were they the Senders? She couldn't see if their kid was with them, there were too many adults in the way. What was this kid like?
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They stood there for a moment as they tried to take in everything. It was clear to Maxim that his father and mother were surprised by the fact that his father's war buddy had a restaurant and Maxim was surprised by this as well. He never expected to be family friends with someone who owned a restaurant, let alone a pizza place. A part of him wondered if this would mean he could get free pizza whenever he wanted. That sounded awesome.

"We might as well go in..." Maxim's father said to Maxim and his mother as they entered the building, the bell ringing as they opened the door to Bloom's Pizza. They looked around for a moment as they stood awkwardly at the entrance, not really sure what to do. It was then that Maxim's father noticed a girl sitting one of the bar stools and indicated her to Maxim.

"I think that's Jason's daughter, Louisa. Why don't you go introduce yourself to her Maxim while we try to find her parents." Maxim's father whispered to him, shooting him a large grin before dragging his wife off to find Louisa's father and mother. As his father left, Maxim let out a sigh and made his way over to Louisa, frowning a little due to the fact that he didn't even want to be here.

If I have to be here, I might as well be with someone my age. He thought to himself as he eventually approached Louisa. She looked like a nice girl, with bright red hair and small, brown eyes. At least he could keep her company for the evening. He very much doubted tonight would be fun, but he might have a chance of making a new friend in the process at the very least.

"Hey there, mind if I sit with you?" Maxim asked as he jumped onto the seat next to her, not even bothering to ask for her permission. He probably should be pleasant with her, didn't want to get his dad angry at him for not being sociable and pleasant with his friend's daughter. He gave her a youthful smile as he turned to face her.

"You're Louisa, aren't you? My name's Maxim, nice to meet you." Maxim said to her kindly, extending his right arm as an indication to shake hands. She seemed nice.
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Louisa continued to look out at the party. A boy soon emerged from the crowd and sat on the stool next to her. He introduced himself as Maxim, offering his hand to shake. She studied the boy. His eyes were pretty big and blue. He had messy yellow hair. Louisa thought he looked kind of cute.

"Nice to meet you too, Maxim," she said.

She then noticed that Amos was still on the floor picking up garlic knots.

"Amos, this is Maxim. His dad is friends with our dad. Say hi."

The young boy on the floor simply waved before running off. Louisa turned back to Maxim.

"Don't worry, he's just shy," she explained.

"So, do you want some pizza? We've got a buffet set up and plenty of types of pizza to eat."

Louisa grinned. She really hoped this boy liked pizza.
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Maxim smiled happily at the girl as she responded to his introduction. The way she talked to him made Maxim feel comfortable and he shifted his whole body to face her on the chair. He leaned a little on the table next to him to make himself comfortable and looked at Louisa, smiling as she introduced her little brother.

Maxim waved back at the boy and gave him a friendly smile and laughed when the boy ran off. He found the boy quite cute and when Louisa went to apologize for the boy, Maxim waved his right arm a little and gave her a wide grin.

"It's cool. I understand." Maxim reassured Louisa.

At the mention of the word "pizza", Maxim perked up. His mouth salivated a little as he listened to Louisa talk about the buffet of pizzas on offer and for a moment wondered if she was being serious. Looking around the room in an attempt to find the aforementioned pizza table, Maxim eventually saw it hidden behind a crowd of people.

"You have a buffet of pizzas?" Maxim exclaimed in surprise, his eyes turning wide as he took in the sight.

Maxim loved pizza. He loved the cheese, he loved the meat and he loved the taste of pizza. He enjoyed how the flavors exploded in his mouth and most of all, Maxim enjoyed the fact that he could share it friends. Maxim wanted that pizza. He wanted it now.

"What are we waiting for Louisa? Let's get some pizza!" Maxim shouted as he jumped of his seat and turned to face Louisa.

He had to be nice to her. After all, she was the one that invited his family here. If Maxim was rude to Louisa, he wouldn't hear the end of it from his parents. While he would rather spend his time at home with his parents alone, his father wanted them to be there. It sucked, but it was something he had to do. He wanted to make his father happy. After all, he just got back from his years of service. Therefore, he needed to be nice.

"Are you coming or what?" Maxim asked her, raising his right eyebrow.
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The boy seemed pretty nice, or at least could attempt to appear nice. He must have been raised to be kind to people he just met. He was even cool with Amos' shy nature. He especially was cool with the idea of a pizza buffet.

Dang, this kid is cool.

"Yeah, follow me," Louisa said, showing Maxim to the buffet table.

Several tables had been pushed together and covered with a red tablecloth to make the buffet table. There were several pizza stands covered with various types of pizza. Along the table were baskets of bread and garlic knots, chilled bowls of salad, and several coolers of drinks. Some of the restaurant's employees were being paid extra to make sure there was plenty of food on the table.

"Alright Maxim," Louisa began, "we've got cheese, pepperoni, mushroom and onion, meat lovers, white, and barbeque pizza. Help yourself."

Louisa grabbed a plate and spatula. She lifted a piece of cheese pizza and placed it on the plate.

"We've got the best pizza in Milwaukee," she told Maxim. "Don't be afraid to try anything on the table."
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Maxim followed Louisa to the buffet table, already excited for the prospect of pizza. The idea of eating as much pizza as possible was just too good an opportunity for him to pass up. It was taking all of his self-restraint to prevent himself from just running to the buffet table and leaving Louisa behind. However, he had to be polite. For his father.

By the time they had reached the table, Maxim had already started picking up slice after slice of pizza, ignoring Louisa at this point as he saw all the flavors on offer. Taking all of the pizzas with meat on them as well as a slice of cheese pizza, Maxim's plate started to pile up with slice after slice of pizza.

"Really? Even better than Domino's?" Maxim inquired as he heard Louisa assert that her pizza was the best in Milwaukee. "I'll have to eat all these pizzas just to be sure. I'd describe myself as a pizza connoisseur. I can tell whether a pizza is good or not. Here's hoping yours makes the grade" He confidently announced to Louisa, smirking at her after he had picked up his last slice of pizza. For now.

At this point, Maxim quickly lead Louisa back to where they were sitting before once she had finished picking up her food. The sight of all the pizzas on his plate was making Maxim hungrier by the second and he wanted to just tuck into the meal he had picked out.

Once they had made their way back, Maxim quickly moved to his original seat and began eating the meat lovers pizza. It was as if the pizza was made just for him. Maxim loved meat. He loved chicken, beef, lamb and everything in between. He especially loved pepperoni on pizzas and this one was no exception.

"This pizza is amazing!" Maxim declared while the pizza was still in his mouth. The pizza he was having had so much flavors that meshed well together. The flavors exploded in his mouth and were so rich that Maxim couldn't believe that such a pizza existed. This pizza was amazing. Louisa was right, this pizza was the best in Milwaukee, if not the world.

"You guys made this? That's amazing!" Maxim exclaimed at Louisa as he continued to eat the pizzas, the slices rapidly disappearing from his plate. What was with this pizza? It was out of this world.
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Wow.

Louisa was surprised at Maxim's enthusiasm at the pizza buffet. He wasn't going to pace himself, he was going to eat everything on the table. The single piece of cheese pizza on her plate seemed inadequate compared to what Maxim was getting. He said he was a pizza connoisseur and needed to see if Bloom's Pizza made the grade.

"Well, I can tell you we are much better than Domino's," she explained.

Maxim moved back to the bar, so Louisa followed after him.

Amazing. He loves pizza and uses words like "connoisseur". We're going to get along really well.

Louisa hopped on the bar stool as Maxim tasted some of the meat lover's pizza. He was really in love with the pizza, and the pizza was quickly disappearing from his plate. Louisa patted him on the back.

"There's plenty more, so don't eat it too fast."

Louisa took a sip from her drink

"So Maxim, tell me about yourself. You clearly love pizza, but what else do you like to do?"
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"Don't worry about me, I'm making the most of this opportunity!" Maxim informed Louisa as he gorged himself on pizza after pizza. He was enjoying the food so much that it was disappearing from his plate nearly as quickly. He wondered how much pizza he could eat before he felt full. He didn't care though. It was pizza!

After a while, he eventually finished all the pizza on his plate. He had to admit, he was a little disappointed. But at the same time, he was also feeling full. He felt content eating that much pizza though and was now ready to have a proper conversation with Louisa. It seemed like he finished just in time too as Louisa asked about other things he liked.

"Me? My main passions are singing and dancing. I know it's girly, but I personally really enjoy it. It's a chance to express myself after all. While my dancing may not be really good now, I'll get better as I practice more." Maxim told Louisa, not really hiding anything from her. He didn't care about things like that. It wasn't his style.

"I also like hanging out with my friends. They're a pretty cool bunch of people, if not a little racist." Maxim continued to say, letting out a little sigh at the end. He kept telling himself he didn't care about hurting minorities but a part of him yearned for him to stand up for the minorities as he stood by and watched his friends make fun of them. However, he had to go with the flow. That was how he was going to get through life.

"What about you Louisa? What do you like doing?" Maxim decided to ask her. He might as well as Louisa did ask him about his hobbies. Maxim leaned on the table as he looked at Louisa, but he started to think about his friends, especially Brian. He wondered what he was doing at this moment. He sorta wished he was here.
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Louisa couldn't believe he actually ate all that pizza. She figured he must not have eaten for days or he just really liked the pizza. Still, she was glad he could stomach her family's pizza, since the restaurant was also her home. Maxim was already showing that he could belong in her home.

He then told her he likes singing and dancing. Louisa smiled. She never knew any boy who liked to do those activities. From what he also said, it looked like he was an artistic type, choosing to express himself through his craft and hoping to get better with practice.

"That's very admirable," she told him.

He then mentioned hanging out with some friends, although he did mention that a few of them were a little racist. Louisa was a little upset by that. Her parents always taught her to respect everyone regardless of appearance, since everyone needs love, friendship, and pizza. She knew pizza wasn't as important as the other two, but she knew it meant that every person has the same basic needs and wants. Plus, her best friend was Filipino-Russian, and Louisa wouldn't trade her friendship with Tori for anything.

That's when Maxim asked Louisa about her interests.

"Oh, well, I'm a big fan of writing. I really like poetry, particularly writers like Emily Dickinson and Shel Silverstein. It's just really fun to be as descriptive and creative as possible. I'm also really like riding my bike. I prefer riding it than walking anywhere."

"I also like to hang out with my friend Tori. I thought she'd be here tonight, but I guess not. She'd probably get along with you as well. She's kind of wacky, but she's very nice and fun at the same time."

Louisa took another sip of her drink.

Hmm, I bet the three of us would be an interesting group.
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Maxim laughed a little when Louisa said him singing and dancing was "admirable". He'd gotten a lot of flack from his friends for taking activities that are normally suited for females, but he was normally able to laugh it off. However, he also sometimes got asked about his sexuality. It was then that he quietened as he was conflicted when it came to that. He never was attracted to females, but at the same time he never was attracted to guys either. While he did spend some time thinking about it, he didn't let it consume him, or to be more precise, he didn't want it to consume him.

Maxim appreciated the fact that Louisa accepted that part of him, the part of him that his friends didn't like. It was refreshing to finally be able to say he liked singing and dancing without being on the receiving end of a ton of insults and slurs about his possible sexuality. The fact that Louisa didn't comment on how he wasn't supposed to be into those "girly things" and instead encouraged it meant a lot to him. It made Maxim happy.

"You're a writer? I bet you're pretty good at it." Maxim commented happily, genuinely smiling at Louisa. Maxim didn't know why, but he had the feeling he was going to get along very well with Louisa. It just sort of clicked. It took some time, but something happened that made Maxim like Louisa. She was friendly, she was accepting and most of all, she owned a freaking pizza place!

"Shame your friend couldn't be here. She sounds like a fun person to be with." Maxim replied. Maybe he should try to make more friends. Maybe they won't be racist like his current friends. He kept telling himself he didn't mind it, but at the same time, a part of him felt like it was wrong. Maybe it was because he didn't get how someone was different just because they had a different skin color. A part of him thought that was a bit stupid, but he couldn't express that. He just needed to go with the flow.

"Oh well, we might as well make the most of the night." Maxim exclaimed to Louisa as he turned to face her. "Maybe she'll come later, then we can have fun together!"

Maxim thought tonight was going to suck. Oh how wrong he was...



"It feels like so long ago when we first met. So much has happened..." Maxim said quietly, more to himself than Louisa. It was true. So much had happened. So much had changed and he wasn't sure whether or not it was for good or not. Sure he was free to express his feelings about how discrimination is wrong and that they should be open to minorities and sure he was able to protect said minorities, but what difference did it make in the end? No one else cared that much.

Maxim let out a heavy sigh as he turned to where Louisa was making his pizza. They've been through so much together. Through ups and downs, highs and lows, moments which they fondly remember and moments which were better left forgotten. Their friendship with Tori had been through thick and thin and at times, it reached straining points. However, here they were, at their final year of school. They needed to make the most of it.

Which was why he felt really bad for what happened today at the river. He should've taken it better and he shouldn't of lost his cool, but he did. Callison. Stupid Callison. He was so annoying. Not Dylan annoying, which could be easily ignored, but the type of annoying that would never go away. It pissed him off and he just wanted to be rid of him. If Callison wasn't there, they could've enjoyed the day. After all, they could've easily ignored Dylan.

"Hey Louisa?" Maxim called out to Louisa in an attempt to arouse her attention.

"Sorry about today. Not only was I late, but I also ruined it by getting in that argument with Callison. It's because of me that the day was ruined with all my drama and everything. I just wanted us to make the most of our time together and then this this shit happened." Maxim apologized to Louisa, the guilt ever present in his face.

"It's so stupid. I'm getting sick of all these arguments and yet I can never escape from them! I have to do it because if I don't, no one's going to protect the minorities, but at the same time, I never get a chance to relax anymore. It's like one argument after another and there never is a reprise! Is it too much to ask for just one day where I can just hang out with my friends without drama screwing with my life? Is it?" Maxim asked Louisa, his voice drained of the usual gusto that was present when he spoke.

"It's like the final year of our lives before we go on our separate paths to college and I want to make the most of the short time we have together Louisa. Despite that though, I can't ever get a break from it all and it drives me crazy! Time is running out and the moments I want to spend with you are getting taken away by all of this fucking drama." Maxim continued to vent, Louisa being one of his only confidantes when it came to how it felt.

"It isn't fair!" Maxim shouted in frustration, slamming his hand on the table as he did so.

"It isn't fair..." Maxim said again to himself, tears forming on his face as the emotions started to overwhelm him.
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"Well, yeah, I think I'm good. Like you're dancing, I hope to get better. I would love to get some writings published."

Maxim also sounded like someone who might like Tori. That was pretty great. Maxim looked like he had the kind of personality to handle her, so they'd probably be compatible. He was pretty cool. Louisa was glad her dad could find the right friends in the military. At least something good came from his forced service.

"Yeah, let's all have fun tonight," Louisa said in response to Maxim's declaration.



Louisa pulled the pizza out of the oven. Perfection. She whiffed the scent of the pizza. Heavenly.

You've outdone yourself again, Louisa.

The pizza had to cool a bit before she could take it out, so she decided to refill Maxim's drink and check in on him. That's when she heard Maxim calling for her.

"Yes?" she responded, grabbing a pitcher.

Maxim then began to apologize for today. He looked really guilty about everything, blaming himself for the jerks who had to ruin their day.

"Max, you had a reason to be late, and you couldn't help it if those creeps showed up."

That's when he began to vent. Louisa was frozen as Maxim began to yell about his frustrations. He hated all the fights he was getting into and the problems he had to deal with. He slammed his fist onto the table in frustration and began to cry, complaining about how unfair it all was.

Louisa quickly set the pitcher down and brought some napkins over to Maxim. She sat on the chair across from him, setting the napkins by him as she took his hand.

"Hey, hey, hey," she began, trying to be as comforting as she could be. "Look, I know it seems tough, but it's something we all have to deal with. I'm not pleased with how minorities are treated, I'm not pleased with the kinds of people we run into, but I've learned to deal with it. I've found ways to channel that anger and frustration, it's why I'm able to avoid confrontations."

"Look, you're a great guy," she continued, "you're nice, funny, and you've got a great heart. You clearly sympathize with people who don't get the best in life and you are willing to defend them. That's very admirable of you. The problem now is that you are reaching adulthood. Yes, time is running out for days of walking the city and eating pizza, and soon, we will be forced into military service and have our lives ruled by bills, dates, and meetings. The problem is that we are now getting our first real look at the world we have to live in. It's frightening, but we have to learn how to deal with it."

"Maxim, I know it's going to be hard, but there are other ways to handle your frustrations. If you think something is wrong in the system, work to change that. Try to find ways to change from the inside. If that's too hard, dedicate your life to doing good for others. Help your neighbor, give to others, whatever it takes. All you really need to do is make a life that you want to live, one you feel you should be happy with."

"And Maxim, if that life somehow involves me in it, then know that I'm there. I've already told you once before that I'd be there for you no matter what, and if you still want me by your side, then I'll be there. Maxim, you are my friend, and you know I love you like you're my brother. You know how the world is, and you know there are people who aren't going to agree with you and do wrong to others, but you need to make a life that stands against them. You need to make a life that is worth living. You need to make a life you will be happy in. It's going to be really hard, but you don't have to do it alone."

Louisa let go of Maxim's hand and wiped her eyes. She couldn't remember the last time she had been that emotional and honest with someone.

"Okay, I'm going to get the pizza. When I come back, we aren't going to talk about Bryan, Dylan, or any injustices in the system. We are going to be two friends sharing a pizza and having fun together."

Louisa stood up and began to walk back to the kitchen, patting Maxim's shoulder on her way out. She hoped everything would turn out alright.
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The tears started to fall thick and fast as Maxim broke down, overwhelmed by the feelings inside him. It had been a long time since he cried like this. It had been a long time since he let his emotions take him over and take over him to the point where he would completely break down. Maxim kept his head down as Louisa began talking to him.

Maxim kept on crying as Louisa began comforting him, her words helping Maxim calm down as he let the rest of his emotions out. The catharsis of his negative emotions helped Maxim feel a little better as time went on and Louisa's reassuring helped with that as well. Progressively, Maxim began to stop crying and his frown turned to a pained smile as he looked up at Louisa.

She left to get the pizza, saying that they were going to stop thinking about Callison, Dylan etc. and just enjoy pizza together as friends. Maxim nodded at that idea as he reminisced about how similar this was to that time so long ago. He didn't know why he felt so pensive today. it probably was due to everything that happened. But he found himself recalling that moment in the past. The time where there friendship was cemented.


Maxim was sat at the bleachers, crying his eyes out as the events of what had just happened replayed in his mind. The fact that his friends rejected him so easily just because he liked minorities was soul-crushing and made him feel so alone. Even Brian, his closest friend in the world, left him behind and called him names. Then again, he did punch him in the face. He didn't know why he did it. He just found himself moving before he even realized what was going on.

It was Louisa and Tori's fault. It had to be. He never normally would do that to his best friend but they did something that messed him up, made him think bad thoughts that he wouldn't normally think and in general, it was their fault that Maxim lost all of his friends. Why did he even become friends with them in the first place? Ever since he became friends with them, he began questioning whether he was actually friends with Callison and his former friends. How could he do that?

He saw out of the corner out of his eye the approaching figure of Louisa, probably attempting to comfort him or something like that. Almost immediately, he turned to where she was and glowered angrily at her. It was her fault! She started everything! The way Maxim thought and all the events that happened were because of her! She took his friends from him.

"What are you doing here?" He screamed at her, standing up as she halted at the sound of his voice. His eyes were red with tears and he couldn't fully make out her face, but that didn't matter to him. All that mattered to him was to release his anger at someone and he was glad that it was Louisa that came. It was her fault after all.

"It's your fault Louisa! It's your fault that it happened! You made me start to have thoughts about whether or not Brian was really my friend! If it wasn't for you! None of this would've happened! I wouldn't of lost my friends and I wouldn't be in detention! It's all your fault Louisa!" Maxim cried out, his tears stinging his eyes as he did his best to glare at Louisa. His eyes were filled with such anger that never used to be present in his eyes as he screamed at Louisa. She ruined his life! It was her and Tori! It was their fault!

After a moment, Maxim couldn't keep up the glare and in time slumped on the bleachers and went back to crying. He had never felt so miserable in his life before. Everything was falling apart before him and there was nothing he could do to stop it. It was all because of Louisa and Tori. It had to be. It made sense if it was their fault. It had to make sense.
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Louisa walked back into the kitchen and grabbed a pizza cutter. She made her way to her pizza and stood over it. A simple exercise in fractions awaited her, so she began. She held the pizza cutter in a way that made it look like a unicycle, then moved it across the pizza four times. Now there were eight slices.

Louisa grabbed the pizza tray and grabbed a spatula. She was ready to take it out to Maxim.

Okay, just gonna have some pizza. No Dylan. No Brian. No racism. Just two friends talking. That's what we are going to do.



Louisa heard about it through the grapevine. Maxim had been in a fight. She couldn't believe such a nice guy would get into such a scuffle. It was even stranger when she heard it had been Brian who he punched.

Oh man, he couldn't have been following what I told him, could he?

Louisa had never been fond of Maxim's other friends. They were kind of boorish, and their racism and xenophobia always annoyed her. She recently asked why Maxim continues to hang out with guys who act so mean when Maxim himself didn't seem to fit in.

Great, my pseudo-philosophical ramblings got him in trouble.

Louisa wasn't sure where Maxim was. She checked all around the school area, but no sign of him. She wanted to talk, at least try to understand everything that happened. Fortunately, she had decided to check the athletic fields when she saw Maxim on the bleachers.

Louisa moved closer. She gasped when she saw that he was crying. She couldn't recall ever seeing Maxim cry like that. He was always such a happy kid. She needed to comfort him, to try and talk things through.

Maxim turned towards her as she got closer.

What are you doing here?

Louisa froze. She had never heard him speak like that. It was frightening.

"I, uh-"

It's your fault, Louisa! It's your fault that it happened! You made me start to have thoughts about whether or not Brian was really my friend! If it wasn't for you none of this would've happened! I wouldn't of lost my friends and I wouldn't be in detention! It's all your fault, Louisa!

Maxim then broke down and continued crying. Louisa was stunned. He really did blame her. He hated her. The same boy who gleefully gorged on pizza three years ago and said she was a good writer. She couldn't believe that.

"Maxim, I'm sorry you got hurt. I'm sorry you got detention. You have every reason to be mad at me, and if you honestly think hating me will make you feel better, then go ahead. However, I don't think you want to lose all your friends in one day, so I think you should calm down a bit."

Louisa sat down on a bleacher a few rows down from Maxim.

"Max, it was never my intention for you to get into a fight with Brian. I just asked you to honestly evaluate your friends and determine if they are even worth being friends with. If you thought they were, then so be it. But were you honestly happy with them? When we first met, the one flaw you had for them was that they were a bit racist. Every time we've hung out, you've had issues with their racism. You could stand to be friends with Tori despite her heritage."

"Maxim, I know you're hurting right now, but I think this can be a good thing. You can evaluate your life and everything around you and decide what matters to you. So tell me, would you much rather be miserable with people you don't share values with, or happy with two girls who think you're the coolest boy in the world and love you so much?"

Louisa looked down. She asked him a really big question, and he might not be in the right emotional state to answer it. She just hoped he wouldn't regret his response.
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