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Walkin' On Air, #maxie
"I have nothing to wear," Addie huffed defeatedly as she laid back onto the floor of her walk in closet. Hyperbole of course, she had plenty to wear, but she was so out of practice with this first date business that she wasn't sure which way to go. Formal? No. Casual? No. Somewhere in between? Okay, but how far one direction?! This was just too fucking difficult. After texting about seven different outfits to Molly, they were finally able to settle on one. Just a nice blouse with some shorts - simple but stylish. And also functional, if they decided to go for a walk or something after.
Addie was not only excited to be going on a date, she was excited that it was with Max. He was the first guy she'd met in a long time that hadn't ended up as a one night stand. She could actually boast that she'd hung out with him twice and nothing had happened. Actually, the only contact they'd shared was when she grabbed his arm at the zoo. So when he'd asked her out for dinner and they'd finally exchanged phone numbers, Addie was satisfied that this was heading in a good direction. It was nice to see this play out - two adults meeting in person and just seeing where things went, having a good time with each other. She was admittedly really excited to meet Max's kids, but understood why she needed to wait. If he went and introduced them to every girl he talked to they wouldn't know which way was up. So Addie definitely respected him for that, but the excitable part of her had baby fever a little bit, so she wanted to meet them and squish them with love.
Once she'd messed with her hair and makeup to her satisfaction, she resigned to sitting on the couch with Bane while she waited for Max to pick her up. In a way, she felt like a teenager again, waiting for her prom date to show up. As progressive as she might have been in terms of feminism and sexuality, she was still old fashioned in that she liked Max's offer to pick her up. Most women were lying if they said they didn't appreciate a little bit of chivalry now and then. So when the doorbell rang, she practically jumped off the couch and landed on her feet by the door. She'd kicked Joe out for the night (not that he needed kicking - the Chevalier siblings hadn't exactly reconciled since their huge blowout at Mimi's), so she didn't have to rush them out the door to avoid any awkward encounters. "Hi!" she greeted, a wide smile on her face when she opened the door. Bane took one peek around Addie's legs and let out a whimper before attempting to hide behind her entirely.
Max felt sick on his stomach.
Legitimately sick, like he might throw up at any moment, and he was pretty sure his palms were sweating. Knees were weak. Arms were heavy. That was it. If he could just channel his inner Eminem, he'd be fine. Only Max didn't have an inner Eminem and couldn't even pretend to. Even if he did, he wasn't sure that Eminem had much luck with women either. His kids were running around downstairs doing God only knew what while Max was upstairs giving himself plenty of pep talks and encouragement. He'd been nervous to go on that blind date a few weeks back, but he was astronomically more nervous to take Addie out to dinner. It felt like it was a bigger deal to him, since they actually knew each othere and there was a bit of an expectation there. He kept trying to tell himself that they'd already spent time together twice, and it hadn't been awkward or uncomfortable in the least. Conversation had flowed easily between them. There was no reason that it couldn't do the same tonight. She was a great, great girl...so great that he had no idea why she had accepted his invitation to dinner, but he knew that was why he was winding himself up about this. He knew that he was impressed by her, and wanted to impress her in return.
When he was satisfied that he looked nice without looking too nice, Max rounded the kids up and put them in the car for a night at grandma's house. They were spending the night, not because Max planned to bring Addie back home with him or anything like that, but because they generally liked sleepovers at grandma's house and because it meant Max didn't have to stay on a schedule or anything like that. His mom had asked questions about where he was going, especially after she took a look at him in her living room, but Max merely said he was going out for dinner. He didn't want to...make this a bigger deal than it needed to be. He was taking a woman out to dinenr. But he knew his family. They would want to know. Who was she? Did he like her? Was she pretty? Did she have kids? How old was she? Max wasn't prepared for all of that. For all he knew, this was both a first and a last date, so he didn't want to mention anything he'd have to answer for later.
The final step in preparation was actually getting to Addie's apartment, and once there, Max felt the full weight of all of this. He too felt like a teenager again, terrified to go pick up a girl. At least this time there wasn't likely to be a father behind the door to read him the riot act about his time out with his daughter. Max cleared his throat, smoothed his shirt, and knocked on the door. He still felt a little like he might faint. But when she opened the door, that smile on her face, Max found himself smiling too, and it was easy. "Hey," he greeted, his eyes lingering on her face for a moment before traveling down to see who he could only assume was Bane. "Hey to you, too, big guy," he chuckled at the dog. She hadn't been kidding about him. Even with a name as fierce and as intimidating as Bane, the dog himself was a bit of a baby.
In her excitement, most of her manners went out the window and she couldn't resist pulling him in for a brief hug. Addie was a hugger - probably the only one in the Chevalier clan to boast such a trait. There was just something so stimulating about the physical contact that she couldn't ignore. Plus, Max was adorable and smelled divine. "Well look at you, so handsome," she commented with a cheeky grin. He was looking extremely handsome, and Addie was having a little difficulty believing that he was her date for the evening. She might have to go around clubbing other girls off him. Probably not, but Addie wasn't opposed to bringing along one of her old softball bats.
When he greeted Bane, her eyes fell to the ground behind her, where she knew he would be. She wasn't sure what he'd do if he were ever exposed to a stranger without her being around, maybe she'd get lucky and he'd bite an intruder out of sheer canine reflex. But probably not. He'd probably just pee on the floor and then slip in it trying to run away. "Come on ya big scaredy cat, say hi," she tried to coax, but ended up pulling him by his thick leather collar out from behind her. Eventually she was able to scoot the big dog in front of her, where he immediately parked himself on top of her feet. Just in case, she shut the door behind Max - that was the last thing they needed, her doberman bolting out the door, panicked and running like a lunatic. "There, look, he's nice," she soothed him and stroked his head a little bit. Maybe his timid nature was her fault, she probably should have socialized him more as a puppy.
i laughed out loud. #mom'sspaghetti
Rule number one of picking up the girl, and Max had forgotten it. He was meant to compliment her, and she had beat him to the punch by complimenting him. Now if he talked about how nice she looked, it would seem as though he were only doing it because she had done it. He decided to wait. "Thank you," he smiled earnestly. Her dog and his dog were two completely different breed of dogs - literally, but Max meant figuratively speaking. Dog was friendly to the point of being obnoxious. She wasn't content until she became best friends with anyone and everyone around her, and she needed to be in the middle of everything. This guy seemed much more shy. Sometimes Max wondered which was better. When Addie finally managed to maneuver Bane around so he was in front of her, Max laughed and bent down a bit. Before trying to pet him, he held out his hand so Bane could sniff at it. After deciding that ample time had been spent on greetings, Max reached forward to scratch at Bane's ears. "There ya go," he grinned. "I'm not so bad," he chuckled.
After getting acquainted with Bane, Max finally looked back over to his owner. "Well, are we ready?" he wondered. You really never knew with women. Addie appeared to be all set though, and Max made sure to bid Bane farewell before showing Addie the way to his car. He'd done a haphazard job of cleaning it, because honestly he hadn't thought about it until after he'd dropped off his kids. All kinds of toys, books, and who even knew what else had been tossed into the trunk of the SUV. Out of sight, out of mind? When he turned the radio on though, some sort of Disney style music came out of it. "Sorry," he laughed, hitting a button to switch the station. He'd forgotten to do that amidst Charlie's belting a rendition of some song from The Descendants. "I gotta say I'm glad Bane is the only guy I had to meet," he chuckled as he headed for the highway. Addie had mentioned two older brothers, and...well, Max was easily intimidated. He didn't miss the days of trying to win over fathers and brothers while taking their daughters and sisters out on dates. Was this a date? Max was pretty sure it was. He'd asked her. She'd said yes. He'd picked her up. They were goingt to a semi-nice place. Nothing too formal, but not some place he'd take his children, either. He was pretty sure this counted as a date?
Addie grinned like a proud mom when Bane actually sat there and let Max pet him. It wasn't like the dog had much of a choice, she kind of had him cornered. No matter how many times he saw it wasn't so bad, it didn't seem to calm his fear of strangers. The next time Max was around (hopefully there would be a next time), Bane would be a little more receptive. Each subsequent meeting was a little easier than the previous one. Baby steps.
"Yep!" she replied and stepped out from under her Doberman's butt. She pulled up the backs of her strappy sandals and grabbed her purse from the hooks beside the door. She followed him out to the car, chattering loosely about the weather, because Addie and silence were not the best of friends. Ever since Dan the weatherman had retired from the station, she'd had to start trying to trust the other rookie weather people and it wasn't going well. Louisiana weather wasn't all too unpredictable except when it decided to be - a concept that was somewhat second nature to the natives but foreign entirely to transplants. She slipped into the passenger seat, unable to keep the beaming smile off her face. Addie was so excited to be on this date - she was calling it a date and no one could stop her - that she was practically vibrating with positive energy.
When the Disney song came on, Addie couldn't help but laugh a little. She could picture a little tyke in the backseat jamming along with her favorite princess, or whatever kind of movie the song was from. As up to date as she liked to think she was on Disney, she didn't recognize the song. "I gotta agree with ya," she stated honestly. "One of my older brothers lives with me. He's sort of, between jobs... and has been for a while," she admitted. What with the recent conflict, she hadn't seen much of Joe and for that she was thankful. If she saw either of her siblings right now she'd give them the beating of a lifetime for being grade A pricks. "But I kicked 'em out for the night. He has a tendency to be a helicopter brother. But he's harmless." A wave of her hand dismissed the thought of Joe doing any harm to anyo--... well, okay, there was that one time her brother murdered a man and spent ten years in prison, but y'know. "Kinda a theme in my life I guess," she chuckled, realizing that many of her male counterparts looked quite intimidating but here just big ole softies. She tried to remain calm as her stomach growled and mixed with the butterflies that had her even more energetic and bouncy than normal.
i laughed out loud. #mom'sspaghetti
Max was so fervently aware of the fact that he was not the type of person women typically went on dates with these days. He was the type of guy who was usually already married, off the market. Most guys didn't have to worry about the childrens' toys in their car when they picked up a girl, or what radio station had been playing before they picked up a girl, things like that. This was Max's life though, and he wasn't ashamed of it, nor was he going to be embarrassed by it. He loved his kids more than he loved anything else in this world, so it wa probably best that she gain experience with that aspect of his life now, because they couldn't even be friends later if it bothered her. Fortunately, it didn't seem to bother Addie. Actually, Max didn't know if anything bothered Addie; she seemed to be an expert in taking things in stride.
He was simultaneously horrified and relieved to hear that one of her brothers lived with her - horrified because that was intimidating and he didn't want the brother to be there when Max dropped Addie back off, but relieved that he hadn't been there when Max had arrived to pick her up. He understood being between jobs. With as many siblings as Max had, it happened. Of course they banded together to help out when and how they could. He was assuming Addie had opened up her home to her brother until he could get back on his feet again, which was kind of her. He laughed when she called her brother a helicopter, and hoped that she was serious when she said he was harmless. Max did not do well under pressure, and meeting a brother would be a lot of pressure. "Better to look tough and be sweet than the other way around, I guess," Max shrugged. That was like...well, like his daughter, Charlie. On the outside, she looked cherubic - like a little angel. Blonde hair, blue eyes, rosy cheeks? On the inside though, that girl was a hurricane, and people often didn't know what hit them.
Eventually Max eased the car into the parking lot, hoping the place was fine with Addie. He'd opted for a reservation at NOLA because the food was out of this world but the atmosphere was fairly laid back without being something as casual as a burger joint or something. "Ever eaten here before?" he wondered as he joined her at her side. Max had been a few times, enough to know that he enjoyed the food and that the dinner itself would not disappoint. He could only hope that the company didn't disappoint her too, but as they walked into the restaurant, Max was struck with the realization that his initial nerves had calmed immensely. It wasn't hard to be in Addie's presence. Actually, he found it quite easy and almost comfortable. There was an underlying discomfort, of course, but he figured that came with not really knowing her that well. It was an exciting sort of discomfort anyway, not a bad kind.
"Good point!" Addie agreed eagerly. Though even when her family was being intimidating, Addie could more than hold her own. The three of them all had learned from a very young age how to show their fangs and use them when necessary, usually when in combat with each other. It gave Addie a ferocity that helped get her through, especially in a male-dominated career field. She wasn't afraid to pull out the big guns or use them either.
When they arrived, Addie took in the appearance of the restaurant while she climbed out of the passenger seat. As Max arrived at her side, her smile intensified and she hooked her arm in his. She was so caught up in her own excitement that she didn't think about the possibility that he wasn't comfortable with how forward she was. That was something she never thought about. And some people took it the wrong way, but Addie never meant to be pushy. "I haven't," she admitted. There appeared to be a lot of things in New Orleans that she hadn't yet done despite living in the area her whole life. "But it smells so good," she laughed. Luckily they'd already cleared the topic of her being able to eat like a damn horse, and she was about to demonstrate that ability.
They were escorted to their table by the hostess who assured them their server would be right with them, and Addie expressed her thanks as she walked away. This was fun! "Gosh, what's good?" she asked, picking up the menu. Growing up Addie had been somewhat picky, but college taught her about eating things she didn't really want to. With soccer, she didn't exactly have time for a job, so it was a lot of Ramen noodles and other collegiate delicacies that probably weren't the best fuel for an athlete. "How's your week been?" she asked, having to fulfill that compulsive need to fill the silence.
Max had grown up in a very affectionate family, and because of this, human touch rarely bothered him or was unwelcomed by him. Some were, obviously. He'd object to someone walking up and punching him in the face. But that was a far cry from a woman hooking her arm through his on their way into a restaurant. In fact Macon was rather glad she had done it because it took the pressure off him. He was still a little unsure of himself and what he was doing. He didn't want to come across as too forward, so it was a relief when she had done that. He was also a little pleasured that she had never been to NOLA, because now it felt like he was introducing her to something here. He sure hoped she liked the food though, considering this was her first experience. He figured she would though. Max had never met anyone who didn't like the food at NOLA. "It is good," Max smiled as they walked in through the front doors. He approached the hostess and gave his last name, silently praying nothing had gone wrong with the reservations. There was no reason to expect that they would, and yet Max worried about things like that because sometimes it was just his luck. Fortunately though the woman smied and led them straight to a table, and as Max followed along, he too decided for himself that it smelled so good.
Max reached for the menu at his place and picked it up, though he had an idea of what he wanted. He was one of those people who would read over a menu for what seemed like hours and end up ordering something he'd already ordered a half a dozen times before. "All of it," he told her honestly. "Think I like the salmon best," he admitted. He'd tried a couple of things on the menu before, but the salmon would be what he went for tonight. Mostly because his other favorite on the menu was the ribs and he didn't want to end up with sauce all over his hands and face in front of Addie. "What are you thinking about?" he wondered as she looked over the menu. He figured you could tell a lot about a girl on what she ordered at a restaurant? Was she going to go for a salad? A steak? A bowl of soup? Max didn't take her for a salad kind of girl (maybe a salad with her meal), and he already knew she could put away some food. When she asked about his week, he leaned back in his chair a bit. "It's been good," he nodded. "Busy," he admitted, "but good. Yours?"
"Oooh, salmon!" Addie purred, realizing she hadn't even thought about seafood. Much to her mother's chagrin, Adelaide was not a shy eater, nor did she gravitate toward healthier options. From a young age, her favorite food was ribs slathered in whatever sauce concoction her father had whipped up at the grill. She liked deer jerky and thick cut burgers, fries and beignets. All that shit that eventually ended up as the infamous Chevalier love handles - which Addie hadn't yet met, but her mom assured her they'd get acquainted soon if Addie didn't make better choices. In a lot of areas, Mary Ellen Chevalier was harder on Addie than her brothers. She wanted a debutante pageant girl to parade around in front of her friends but essentially what she got was a third son with the ability to get knocked up.
Addie hummed contemplatively when Max asked what she was thinking of. It all looked so good and she was getting a bit of choice-paralyzation. "Uhhh," she hummed to filled the space a bit. "I'm not sure I can pass up the gumbo," she finally decided, having looked over a few options.
She mirrored him, leaning back some when the conversation about their weeks started. While he spoke his brief response, she couldn't help but admire his physical presence. Addie wasn't sure she'd ever spent so much time looking at someone's eyes, but his were just so damn blue. Her week had been plagued with negativity, having fought with her mother and her brothers, and she still wasn't speaking to either of them. But she wasn't going to bring that to his attention - Max didn't need to know what he was getting himself into just yet. "Busy too. But the Red Sox beat the White Sox and the Pirates lost, so it was a good week for baseball," she explained with a wide smile. She knew Max didn't much care for sports, so she didn't bore him with the details. "I've gotta head to Memphis next week to cover the Baby Cakes/Redbirds game and I've not even thought about packing," she admitted with a laugh. It was always fun getting to travel for work, but Addie was a notorious procrastinator, and that didn't mix well when you had strict deadlines such as a flight to catch.
Max wouldn't say that he was a healthy eater by any stretch of the imagination. His mother was a queen in the kitchen and rarely paid attention to calories or carbs or anything like that. She whipped up stuff that tasted amazing, and no one ever cared how it was going to inevitaby clog their arteries or rot their teeth. When Addie mentioned that she was probably going for the gumbo, Max oohed at her choice and nodded. "Solid pick." He approved. Not that Addie needed his approval, obviously. Anyway now he was rethinking his own selection because gumbo did sounds really tasty, but he decided to stick it out with the salmon. "Are you a cooker?" he wondered as they waited for the waiter (ironic) to return for their orders. Max was aware that he asked Addie a lot of questions, but he was trying to get to know her better. He felt like the only way you could really get to know a person was to spend time with them (check) and ask questions (check). How else was he supposed to learn these things?
He imagined her work schedule to be busier than his...he didn't know why. It just seemed like what she did probaly required a faster pace than working with nearly domestic animals at a zoo. He caught on quickly that she was giving him a rundown on the games that week but had zero indication if these were good or bad developments until Addie flat out said it was a good week for basebal. He smiled, right on cue. It was true that Max wasn't a fanatic, but he didn't mind hearing about sports, and now at least he had a stat or two to throw out over the weekend while shooting the breeze with his brothers. It was the sports information she shared next that really caught his attention though. "I'll never understand why Baby Cakes became a good name for a baseball team" Max wondered aloud, genuinely perplexed and amused. That wasn't a very intimidating team name, and what even was their mascot? Sports team names always intrigued Max a little. Most were hyper-masculine and macho, like the bears or the bulls or the mustangs. Then out of nowhere you'd get a team called the grasshoppers or, you know, the Baby Cakes. "That's cool that you get to go to Memphis though," Max acknowledged. He didn't get much traveling in these days between work and family commitments, but he knew he'd like to be doing more of it. There were a lot of places around the world - actually there were even a lot of places around the southeast - that Max would like to visit.
Addie stifled a laugh and it came out as a snort at the thought of her being any sort of chef, or handy in the kitchen at all really. "I'm not," she admitted with a bashful grin. "I can grill though!" While her mother slaved away in the kitchen, Addie always preferred to hang out with her dad while he grilled or wrestle her brother in the back yard. Growing up she was so active she didn't have time to sit around and learn to cook! Besides, Mary Ellen was a homemaker, there was never any need for Addie to know how to cook. College taught her how to keep herself alive, but to be fair, she ate a lot of takeout. Even now her diet could use some substantial improvements. "What about you - do you like to cook?" she asked, genuinely curious. She'd never given it much thought before, but a man in the kitchen might be pretty sexy. A new sight for her, considering the only time a Chevalier male stepped foot in the kitchen was to get a beer from the fridge.
The waiter returned and Addie gave her order, and once Max gave his the waiter disappeared. When Max then brought up a statement very near and dear to Addie's heart, she thought about asking him to marry her right then. "Thank you!" she exclaimed, glad someone else seemed to have a similar opinion. "Why the hell couldn't they have just stayed the Zephyrs? I'll never understand the Baby Cakes," she leaned back in her chair, somewhat defeated. "Have you ever tried talking into a camera while being totally serious about a team called the Baby Cakes? Damn near impossible." That was a running joke amongst her colleagues.
She nodded in agreement as she took a sip of water. Addie was pretty excited to go to Tennessee - she'd actually never been before. Had it not been for her soccer team in college, she probably wouldn't have ever left Louisiana. "I'll have to see Graceland," she chuckled. Her dad was a big Elvis fan - he'd probably never speak to her again if she visited Memphis and didn't pay homage to the rock 'n roll legend. "Have you ever been?" she decided to ask, curious as to how well-traveled Max was.
He could tell by the noise that came out of her that Addie was no cook and grinned. When she elaborated that she was pretty good on a grill though, Max could picture her there. Addie struck him as even more of a tomboy, which made sense now that he knew a little more of her family background. There was nothing wrong at all with being a tomboy, either. As for his own family, Max was pretty sure everyone in his family knew how to cook. It came as a by-product of having a mother who loved to cook and was almost always in the kitchen, because that meant they as children were almost always in the kitchen. She had taught them, some more than others, but he thought all of them knew what they were doing in a kitchen enough to whip up some good meals. Most of them were grown with their own families by now, too. Being able to cook was kind of a necessity at this point. Max had definitely gotten better at it as he had been the only one cooking in his house for a few years now. Practice made perfect and all of that. ”I don’t know if I like to,” Max chuckled, ”but I’m not bad at it.” It was way easier to go out or order in, but Max wanted his kids to know family dinners the way he had known them. Plus, he liked being in control of what they were eating and how it was cooked. Besides, going out to eat as a family of four could get expensive.
Max really didn’t even know what Baby Cakes meant. There were king cakes for Mardi Gras, but baby cakes? At least the King Cakes sounded slightly more intimidating and imposing. He could tell immediately that Addie agreed with him. To be fair, he didn’t know what a zephyr was either, but it sounded significantly cooler. ”Or the Gators,” he proposed. If they were going to change the name, why not change to something good? Lousiana was notorious for its gators and crocs. ”Bobcats…Coyotoes…” Literally off the top of his mind he could come up with plenty of better names. Maybe they were all taken though, and that was why Baby Cakes had been their only option.
Max had been to Tennessee once as a kid but hadn’t been back since, and he’d been so young that his memories of it were garbled and fuzzy at best. He knew about Graceland though (who didn’t) and grinned. ”That’d be cool,” he nodded. Max liked that era of music when Elvis and a couple others had hit it big in Tennessee. Elvis was a legend. ”Once,” he nodded. ”But I was a kid…probably like seven or eight years old. All I really remember was everyone wearing boots,” he laughed. It seemed like a stereotype, but it was true? It had seemed like all the adults around him had been wearing boots in the dead of summer, and Max had wondered at the time about how their feet weren’t sweating because his had been in his sandals.