Title: "Crush"
Author: Mala
E-mail: malisita@yahoo.com
Fandom: "General Hospital"
Rating/Classification: PG-13, Zaxie-ish
Disclaimer: Nope. Zander Smith does not belong to me, despite all my efforts to claim him in the name of France.
Summary: As my mom used to say...sometimes not helping is the best help.

"When the police were in the hospital, I helped Zander get out and I took him home, where he slept in my room. But he was a total gentleman. He -- he slept on the floor and he never even tried to kiss me. I know I shouldn't have gotten involved and I should have come to you. But, Mac, I really wanted to help him. People don't understand Zander. He's not this -- this mean, horrible person. He was really sweet. And I honestly thought he was my friend." -Maxie, 3/10/04.

You recognize the way she opens the door.

Not crisp and professional like the nurses or with that rhythmic knock of Felicia's. Definitely not like Georgie opening it slow, every inch creaking, as she shuffles into the room. Maxie opens it in one fluid motion and pauses on the threshold. And then you recognize the way she smells. Like the cucumber-melon lotion she keeps on her dresser. When you were sleeping on her floor those two nights, you rolled over and pretended you weren't watching her smooth it across her freckled arms before she climbed under the covers. She smells sharp and delicious at the same time and you're pretty sure she's wrong...you're not sweet at all. You're terrible.

She doesn't call Mac "Dad" like Georgie does. When she says "I love you," it doesn't sound the same. Maybe it's just you. Hearing things you're not meant to hear. It's easier to block out Felicia's teasing...Georgie rambling about Dillon...to try and catch some sleep or think of what you're going to do to Ric and Nik, the Prick Twins, when you get out of here.

When Maxie talks, you want to listen.

More than that, you want to grab her and shake her and tell her she's just a kid who doesn't know anything about you...that you're not a gentleman and she's wrong to trust you...and shhh everything's going to be okay.

Maybe it's just you. Seeing things you're not meant to see. Feeling things you're not supposed to feel.

You never even tried to kiss her.

You want to laugh when she tells you that. You settle for making some tiny fatherly "holy crap, my daughter is telling me about kissing people!" gesture, a moan, a squeak, something, anything, other than "you're goddamned lucky I never tried anything, Kid."

She'll never know. She'll never know what it was like listening to her breathe in the dark, surrounded by the edible scent of her girly lotion and trying to think of EmilyEmilyEmily when there was this pretty girl sleeping three feet away.

You honestly thought you were her friend, too.

You recognize the way she opens the door.

You move your fingers and touch the soft side of her hand.

You recognize the way you close it.



March 11, 2004.

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