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      Later in the evening Max arrived at her home. She turned the knob to the door and pushed it open, still thinking of the events that transpired earlier in the day. Life was falling into a perfect alignment with the stars and the universe. In the kitchen Jackson was leaned against the island, flipping through a thick folder full of pages. He studied them carefully and occasionally mumbled under his breath.

       "Hey." Max interrupted his train of thought. The results of his egotistical personality still hovered over Max's head, causing her to remain distant from her own blood.

       Jackson quickly slapped the manila folder together and shook his head, trying to focus on his daughter. He seemed spaced out. Like his soul had completely fled his body and the only thing left was a warm corpse that was gradually rotting from the inside out.

       "Everything okay?" Max stretched her words with a weary tone.

       Pulling a hand to his jaw, Jackson slowly rubbed his stubbled chin. He couldn't make eye contact with his daughter, though. It was strange.

        "Y-Yeah sweetheart. I'm fine. Just a long day at work." He reassured.

       Not buying it, Max grazed her sight to the folder. "What's that?" She motioned.

        Jackson immediately tensed up; the veins in the side of his head became much more definitive, and his neck muscles bulged significantly. He was hellbent on saving Max from the truth of the world around her, no matter the cost.

        "It's just another story for work." He shrugged, but never removed his hand from the folder. Jackson was a publisher at the Riverdale Register, for twelve years, with Alice and Hal; thus the beginning of the life long Myers and Cooper friendship.

         Loraine suddenly slid into the room unnoticed. She listened carefully to her son push his way through another lie, continuing to shield the child from more pain. Though in the end it wouldn't matter. She noticed Max continuing to pick at and feed off of Jackson's horrible cover up.

        "Maxine, honey, you're home earlier than usual." Loraine spoke up.

         The past few nights had obviously been a whirlwind of events. Max wouldn't even make it home til 11 or 12, always earning a scold from her guardians the next morning.

        "Right.. everyone was busy tonight." She answered briefly.

      "And school? That still going okay?"

       A sweet smile nestled on top of Maxine's slightly glowing face.

       "I'll take that as a yes." Her grandmother answered cheekily. "Met any boys yet?"

      "I sure hope not." Jackson grumbled.

       Max shifted her earthy irises between the two, who were now staring her down, and snorted. That was the least of her concerns at Southside. Or was it?

      An awkward silence followed suit as Max fell into a deep ponder. Excusing herself, she attempted to head down the hall to her room for a therapeutic jam sesh. However, halfway to the four walls of serenity, the echoes of her father and grandmother traveled through the halls at the speed of light, bringing her feet to a halt.

       "So that's it? You're going to hide it all from Max and push it under the rug, as if nothing ever happened?" Loraine took a deep breath and waited for an explanation.

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