The New World > Private Threads

do i make you cringe? — maxine.


She had always been the better part of this lonely heart of his.

But, just like that, something had changed.

Whenever Maxine smiled at him, Edmund’s lips could only falter, as if the softness of her face seemed different than what he had known for a decade. As if her lips tugged upwards but there was no emotion in her eyes. A little brokenness in her once ever-persistent stride, a slight waver in her voice whenever she spoke. Edmund would try to put it down to solely a response to Sebastian’s untimely passing, but never had he anticipated that there was so much more that he had yet to uncover.

He should have known better than to rekindle a former flame; those sorts of relit cigarettes could never taste the same as the first time.

As lips parted gently, Eddie’s soft eyes observed Maxine from across the lounge. Instead of together, they’d sit apart — whatever love they had was a quiet one, better suited to man as reserved as Edmund was. Gone were the days where Eddie had the confidence to proudly stand up and announce his love to a beautiful woman; his failed marriage had dampened his spirits, a hesitance in the way he spoke as if he was always warily observing the situations he’d place himself in. Never again could he dive headfirst into a romance that may seem better in his head than it was in reality.

Perhaps this was what it was. All the feelings that he felt trapped within, a fallacy of whatever he and Maxine could be. He wanted it all with her. They could continue their families’ legacy, raise a family together and live a comfortable life with a romance that could never die. Alfred would have been so proud to see the two families unite by marriage. Knee bounced with anxiety as Eddie silently observed Maxine whilst she sat nearby the fire, blanket over her lap and engrossed in a novel. A soft breath huffed gently through his nostrils. He could see his forever with her.

Brows began to furrow gently, hand sliding up his upper leg to feel for the ring that he concealed in the pocket of his trousers. His mother’s engagement ring. A family heirloom so precious to Eddie. This was it. This could be the start of their forever. He finished his whiskey and left the glass on the coffee table, clearing his throat nervously as he turned to glance out of the window. ❝ The snow has nearly all melted, 'ey? The summertime is well on its way in that case. ❞ He stalled, gentle gaze shifting towards her before he rose to his feet. ❝ Come for a walk with me… please? ❞ The corner of his lip twitched into an apprehensive smile. This time it would be different. No crowd to propose in front of. Just the quietness of the woods around them as they could take this next big step together.

As they began to make their way outdoors, Eddie trudged across grass towards the beginning of the woods, sparse patches of snow dotted around along the way. Once they disappeared into the woods, Eddie held the palm of his hand out towards Maxine, soon taking her hand and gently squeezing it as they wandered through the woods together.

❝ So… ❞ Eddie released a long sigh, chin tipped up to peer at the canopies of evergreens above before he began to mutter softly, ❝ I’ve been contemplating this for a long time… long time, even before you went to Northstar District, and… nothing has felt more right than this. ❞ He slowed to a stop, turning to face her as he slowly lifted his hand to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. After a short huff, he stalled once more, lips curling into a coy smile as he uttered, ❝ Your cheeks, they always turn pink from the cold. ❞ He admired her face for a moment before he lowered his gaze, trying to find the right words to say.

❝ The last conversation I had with Seb was one that’ll live with me forever. ❞ He explained with a slow nod of the head, then shifting his gaze up to look towards her with nervous eyes searching her features. ❝ You know what he told me? ❞ There was no way he could back out of this now; it was now or never.

Never had he been so scared at the prospect of love.

kenna had been curled up by her feet while max read her book, one of her hands reaching up absentmindedly to play with the front strands of her hair. sure, she was lost in thought, but it wasn't about the book that she seemed so deeply involved with. there had been a lot of things on her mind lately even since getting back from northstar district. it seemed like life had one goal in mind and it was the make everything difficult for the van doren family, even going as far as giving max some extra baggage on top of the recent death of her brother.

"tell him." the words in her book began to look foreign to her, mixing up into a pile of incoherent nonsense. "you owe him that much."

max knew that she owed him a hell of a lot more than that. they were never officially together since they reconnected, but they both knew of the feelings they each harbored for one another. she broke the trust he gave her and lied to him when she told him she was the one she loved, because that wasn't true anymore. the feelings that grew for aspen came out of nowhere and were hard to ignore even when she tried, but they were just feelings. she could have hid them if she tried, but there was no way around avoiding the baby she was pregnant with. the baby that wasn't eddie's.

an overwhelming feeling of guilt swarmed maxine's body as she agreed to accompany eddie on the walk. her hands fumbled around to try and calm her nerves, only for them to grow when he held his hand out for her to take. as as she out her hand on his, she flinched at the contact, but played it off as a shiver from the cold wind. she knew she needed to tell him, she knew she should have told him already, but the nerve wracking anxiety she felt about the whole situation was always there whenever she wanted to.

she could feel herself zoning out as they walked through the woods, her body and motions feeling numb as she let him lead her to wherever he had in mind. ever since they got back, whenever he would talk there was a sorrow that flared up, sending sharp pains into her chest. she did her best to focus on what he was saying, the warmth felt like it drained from her face as the words settled in, leaving a worried feeling in its place. "eddie-" she said softly as he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, trying to intervene before it went too far.

it was never that easy though, was it?

hearing him mention seb made tears prick in her eyes, more guilt flooding in at the mention of her late younger brother she promised to protect. her lips parted as she sucked in a deep breath, finally forcing herself to make eye contact with him. "what did he say?" she asked swiftly. did she really want to hear this? everything related to the youngest van doren was still raw, leaving fresh wounds each time he was brought up. would she be able to handle to hear what eddie spoke to him about?

Spoiler:  slight wip tags, updated 4/23/2021 • show◜BASICS ┊ SHORT / MEDIUM LINE OF LYRIC ◞
&. ❝ maxine cordelia van doren ❞ |  normally introduces herself as "max" and prefers to go by such, but won't react badly to being called her full name | afab cis female [ she/her pronouns ] .
&. twenty-four years old . | july sixteenth ; cancer .
&. resident of flintlock lodge . a member of the caregiving branch as a carer .

&. family oriented , reserved , highly intelligent , calming , distrusting , observant , overly selfless , motherly , emotional , nervous , independent , gentle , tired , reliable , trustworthy , loyal , cautious ,

&.  5'5 & 124 pounds ; reference .
↳ soft, collarbone length blonde hair ; mostly straight with a slight wave to it ; naturally falls into a middle part
↳ big bright blue eyes ; dark & thick eyebrows ; full lips ; high cheekbones
↳ slim build ;

&.  [ 0/10 ] physically  |  [ 0/10 ] psychologically .
↳ Difficulty w/ guns [ difficulty ] | Difficulty w/ melees [ difficulty ] | Difficulty w/ hand-to-hand [ difficulty ]
↳ combat information .
&. Attack in bold #A5A5B5 | @ACCOUNT | PM for any major plots .
&. Friendly or nonviolent actions may be powerplayed .

&. [ 0 ] weapons | [ 0 ] armor pieces | [ 0 ] consumables | [ 0 ] aid items | [ 0 ] misc .
↳ inventory .

&. malcolm van doren x elizabeth "lizzie" van doren | the third youngest of eleven children .
&. has eight older siblings and two younger siblings .
↳ cassian rowan van doren ; "cass" , 39 , alive
↳ beau dawson van doren ; 37 , alive
↳ range rover vincent van doren ; "greg dickinson" , 35 , unknown
↳ regina grace van doren ; 35 , dead
↳ scarlett rose van doren ; "scar" , 30 , alive
↳ tristan gray van doren ; 28 , dead
↳ tara naomi van doren ; 28 , dead
↳ julian dean van doren ; "jay" , 25 , alive
↳ josephine elena van doren ; "joey" , 22 , alive
↳ richard sebastian van doren ; "seb" , 20 , dead
&. pansexual ; panromantic ; mongamous . | very hesitant when it comes to relationships due to bad past experiences .
&. lover to aspen bloom .
↳ currently pregnant with his child ; approximately five months along .
&. lover to edmund stirling .
↳ childhood sweetheart that rekindled shortly after they reconnected .
&. ex fiance of ian pratt .
↳ broke things off after being in an abusive relationship with him for roughly two years .

It was always the eyes. The eyes told a story of love, a story that no words could define. It was the way that Edmund looked at Maxine that conveyed the way that he loved her. His lips did not need to move when his eyes spoke volumes. It was the way that Maxine looked at Edmund that conveyed the way she wished she could love him. Things would have been easier that way, after all.

But something wasn't right.

Edmund could not quite put his finger on it, otherwise he would not have been bold enough to put all nerves aside to propose to his high school sweetheart. They had a supposed love that had been rekindled, but relighting an old flame was a futile attempt to repeat the past. It would never be the same as the last time, and so Eddie should never have expected that much. As he led Maxine into the woods for their own privacy in this crucial moment, a wavering breath passed Eddie's narrowly parted lips. Perhaps a part of him was preparing to be turned down, and doing so in the quietude of the woods at least provided him with less humiliation than if he was to do so in the public eye.

But he wanted this so badly. After his countless failed romances and even a failed marriage, Eddie could no longer bear the thought of having to go through the insecurity and heartbreak of starting again with someone new. If he and Maxine did not work out, then Eddie feared that he would have to accept the fact that he may have been destined to be alone. It was quickly becoming a possibility that he ought to consider. Maxine’s disheartened nature was scaring him — he was beginning to wonder whether it was just because of Seb’s passing or whether it was because of something that Eddie, himself, had done.

He would never have guessed that Aspen was involved.

❝ We spoke for some time about the future... and he gave me his blessing. ❞ Eddie explained carefully, his voice managing to tremble ever-so-slightly as he fumbled around in his trouser pocket. With a clear of his throat, Eddie revealed a ring, a family heirloom that he kept close to his heart. It had once been his mother’s, his grandmother’s, his great-grandmother’s. A ring so dainty and elegant, minimalistic and beautiful. Holding onto Maxine’s hand, Eddie held out the ring so that she could view it, eyes scanning over her face with anxious anticipation as his lips twitched into a hint of a hopeful smile. ❝ I love you, Maxine, and I want to spend the rest of my life by your side. So, um... Will you marry me? ❞


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