They were gone. The touch, the sensation of pressure was gone. But the taste, it was still there, lingering on his lips, like it had been forcefully attached to them, clinging onto him. Maxim exhaled. It was over.
No, it was not. The kiss, yes, that instance of uncomfortable physical intimacy, that was now only a mere moment in the past, nothing else. But the situation, it had not changed. They were still there, in the restroom, all by themselves, though he was thankful for the latter.
He only then noticed that Brendan was still holding his hand. The kiss seemed to have numbed his senses to any other outer exposure, but now he could feel the heat on his hand's skin, the gentle yet to him so rough clasp, it felt like a terrible itch he could not possibly be rid of.
Well, of course he could. Pull back the hand or slap his away. Again, he would not do that. That would have been a sign of anger, of condemnation. He wasn't angry at Brendan, he had no right to be. He of all people, who had done the same in the past and had rightfully gotten rejected. It would have been an act of pure hypocrisy to deliver cold judgment on his friend, poor Bren, who was not at fault here. He didn't blame him. No way he could.
Shaking, quivering, he tried to regain his composure. Brendan had let go of him, removed his hand and his gaze from him for the moment. God knew that Maxim did not know much about people, but he did know one thing or another about misery. And that was exactly what he recognized in his friend. Yes, his friend. He still was his friend, his buddy, someone he liked being around. Not Bren's fault that Maxim was the way he was, aloof, timid and shying away from any feelings that crossed the border of comradeship.
Still, he didn't feel well, not at all. Like he wanted to sink into the ground, something of that sort, disappear from the scene. He had to leave, now more than ever. He needed to be alone with his guilt. Brendan did not deserve being dragged down by the likes of him, he deserved spending Sadies in a happy mood, like he had before Maxim showed up. He would have to ditch him, for his own good. But only for the evening. Only for now.
"Hey...hey, look..." His accent was coming through. He hated it, but he had no other choice but to endure it for now, tolerate his own shortcomings just a little longer. For Brendan's sake. "Look, I..uh...I don't really know how to react here, do you understand? This is a little weird...no, I didn't mean weird in that sense, but more like...surprising? Yes, maybe that, overwhelming, something like that." Voice was shaking, couldn't have that. Brendan couldn't get the impression that he was scared, which he was. He needed to play it off somehow, pretend it was no big deal. Make his friend feel a little better about himself. Maybe it would make Maxim feel better as well, who could know?
"I just...I need time to think, I guess? Like, I'm not...not mad or anything, okay? Don't worry about me, or you or - just don't worry, yes? This is fine. It's fine, really. I wanted to leave the dance anyway. Not because of you, I swear! I am just exhausted, physically. I did enjoy your company, believe me."
Did he mean those words? He wanted to believe he did. He thought he was sure, certain that he wasn't just telling white lies to encourage Brendan. He was still standing there like a statue, frozen on the spot, but his mind was beginning to defrost, at least.
"I just need some time for myself now. Need to think about...stuff. Think about what to say later, yes? I am not really able to handle - I mean, to put my thoughts into words right now, you see? Just give me some time, and maybe tomorrow or so, I can call you or...somehow contact you and talk about this, okay?" Was he trying to buy himself time? Escape this and procrastinate the inevitable? Hell, he didn't know anymore.