Max wondered now if Oliver had intended this all along. Get Chris to Max's. Maybe it wasn't like that at all. Maybe it was all about the car. He hadn't even came over with them to see the car. He'd given Chris the key to the car and said, "Have your way with that baby."
Max wondered if that was a bit of an innuendo. Something subliminal, perhaps. But Chris came to look at the car. Just the car. And he stayed under the hood what seemed like hours.
Max finally went in and hunted up something for supper. He guessed Chris would stay for supper, wouldn't he? Perhaps it would be the perfect time to really talk. They would be alone. And as it was there were no Sunday evening church services. Maybe he'd try harder by spring or warmer weather. As it was now, it was getting colder and darker, earlier, people were wanting to stay inside. It was near freezing right now.
Max kept pacing, pushing his fingers through his hair. What if this was so wrong? OK, he knew it was wrong. He could find the passage in the Bible that said so. But it was this suspense of wondering if he'd been wrong about Chris. It frightened him then, maybe he should just not say anything.
But he wanted to say something. He had to. He would. Finally after the salad was made and the egg and hash-brown casserole was done, he went out to the garage to find Chris. It was dark. He'd been working in the dark. Just a dim street light glistened.
"Don't you want to come inside," Max asked.
"That's all right, I'm just fine," Chris was quiet as if perhaps working on the engine was therapeutic.
"Its getting cold. You, are done for the night." Max found himself scolding. "I made supper, you should eat."
Chris just let out a breath as if he had been avoiding this very moment, but he followed him in. Went to the kitchen sink to wash his hands. Max patiently waited for him to come and sit across from him at the little dine in table in the kitchen.
Chris almost jumped when Max took his hands. It was a silent prayer. Chris shut his eyes closed for the longest time.
"You can open your eyes now," Max finally said letting go of his fingers.
Chris nodded. "Looks really good," Chris managed to say. "I wasn't really expecting anything, you know."
"I know, but you've been going at it out there," Max smiled. "What would you have eaten when you got home, anyway?"
"Bowl of Corn Chex, maybe a can of mushroom soup if I felt like opening it." Chris mentioned.
"I like Corn Chex, too."
"Really." Chris then smiled.
"I eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, some of the time."
"Can't beat Corn Chex." Chris' smile was open, but he started eating then so he wouldn't have to talk.
Max mentioned the salad had spinach in it.
Chris looked at it oddly. "Like Popeye?" He squinted.
"Its not from a can," Max remarked. "Just try it." He coaxed a bit.
Chris poured ranch dressing all over his bowl of salad and took a huge mouthful. Dressing dripping down his lip.
"You gotta little-" Max licked the corner of his bottom lip which was just the opposite where Chris' dressing smugged his lip.
Max pressed his lips and looked away just then as he caught Chris really looking at him. Finally Chris took a paper towel and wiped his mouth clean, choking down the salad. He started with bit of a cough, it might have been a gag.
The sound alarmed Max so, that he jumped up to see about Chris who was really choking. Of course, Max's arms came around under Chris's chest and he gave his fist a push and punch into Chris's abdomen. He smelled Chris hair that pharam of late Fall as if the leaves had combed his hair. Max didn't want to let go of that scent so feral like the wilderness would savor.
At last, Chris upchucked the spinach on the casserole leaving it looking more like a sick green hairball the cat vomited.
Chris seemed a bit shaky. Max closed his eyes then and felt Chris' neck with his lips. This had to be the most uncomfortable position Max had ever been in with his arms still around Chris, sitting at the dining table. Max was practically straddling the back of the chair, but he didn't care. This was right where he wanted to be, breathing in Chris.