Hey Maksyl fam!
After a long wait, here it is! Chapter 6!
Thank you so much for all your continued love and support, fam. It seriously means the world to me.
I love each and every one of you so much and I wouldn’t be here writing if it weren’t for you.
Sorry for the emotional moment there; just thank you & I love you guys!Fast forward one year from the last chapter and we have chapter 6! Maks is now 15, Meryl 14, and Valdaya are both 13. In case you haven’t read the previous chapters of Time At The Studio, they are here, here, here, here, and here!
Without further adieu, friends, here’s TATS Chapter 6!
Meryl woke up to the sound of rain pitter-pattering against her bedroom window.
She groggily opened her eyes and glanced towards the offending window, expecting to witness a huge rainstorm going on outside the safe haven that was her room.
Her brain began to whirr with sleepy confusion—the sun was shining brilliantly outside.
How could it be raining in bright sunshine?
She stumbled out of bed, sheets stubbornly clinging onto her pajama pants, and glanced outside.
No, the constant tapping couldn’t be rain.
The weather was far too nice and sunny for that.
But why on earth were the Chmerkovskiy brothers standing outside her window?
And why were they holding pebbles in their hands?
Did they not hear the—
She slid the bottom of her window up so she could call down to them.
Her sleep-deprived brain was screaming at her to get back in the bed and sleep, but she chose to ignore it. She liked having a social life.
“What do you want?” She called down to the boys, her voice thick from her previous slumber.
“Did you not want to wish me a happy 13th birthday?” Val pouted up at her.
“Valentin, I have known you for a year now. That’s a long time, is it not?”
She waited for a hollered “yeah,” to continue her statement.
“I have known you long enough, by now, that you should know I would have come down to your house in about—” she glanced at her alarm clock, “three hours to wish you a happy birthday. You know, once I had actually woken up on my own.”
“Sorry, Meryl,” Val hollered up, “but you still love me, right?”
“Debatable,” she replied, laughing at the stricken look on his face.
“Please open your door, Меріл, there are bees out here.” The older brother begged. Meryl didn’t even blink.
“Maks, I’ll sting a lot worse than the bees will—you woke me up from an awesome dream!”
“Yeah, but the good news is you don’t have to dream about me anymore; I’m right here in real life for your enjoyment,” Maks called up.
“Val, you can come in. However, your brother’s officially on the no-entry list,” Meryl concluded, shutting her window to Maks’ cries of protest.
She padded down her stairs, pausing to glance at a Post-It note on the bottom of railing.
Your father and I went out shopping with your brother for school supplies and hockey gear. We won’t be back until later this afternoon. I didn’t want to wake you up. You looked so peaceful while sleeping! Call me if you need anything.
All my love,
Meryl speed-read it, nodding to herself. That’s why the house was empty.
She clicked the front door open with a simple slide of the latch, greeting the boys standing on the other side.
“Val, happy birthday! Come on in!”
She gave the younger Chmerkovskiy a hug, then ushered him inside.
“Didn’t I just say you’re not welcome here?” Meryl teased Maks, who promptly frowned.
“But I’m always welcome here,” Maks argued, “your parents told me so themselves.”
“But they’re not here. I am,” Meryl countered, “and I officially don’t like you after that stupid comment you just made about the content of my dreams.”
“You don’t like it because you know it’s true,” Maks winked, chuckling when Meryl playfully shoved him backwards.
“Please, only in your dreams would I ever dream of you,” Meryl retorted.
“I mean, you’re in my dreams every night. The last thing we’re doing is sleeping, though—”
“Ew,” Val interjected, standing off to the side.
“Yeah, ‘ew’ is right! Thank God you stopped him when you did, Val,; I would have hurt him if he continued.”
While she had her head turned, Maks snuck under her arm and into the house.
“Oh, sure, come on in,” Meryl sighed sarcastically, noticing him too late.
The boys laughed.
“What were you thinking we should do to celebrate?” Meryl questioned, genuinely curious.
She’d officially given up on getting more sleep—it was futile now that they were in her home.
Maybe before she could’ve told them to come back later, but now that they were both in her home…
“I was thinking we could spend the day together, and then maybe at night we can go to our studio and have a bonfire with s’mores and everything?” Val suggested
Ah, their studio. Ever since they’d taken the run-down cabin under their collective wing, it blossomed into a gorgeous work of art. They went there constantly.
Eventually, they had to explain to their parents where they were going.
One day, they had to break the pact they’d made to show their parents that yes, they were safe and no, there was no psychotic drug-dealing crime ring in the surrounding woods.
After it was determined safe, the kids were allowed to resume their days there.
“I’m down with that idea, birthday boy,” Meryl grinned, ruffling Val’s hair.
Val groaned at her actions, distressed.
“The one day I actually styled my hair, Meryl. The one day.”
Meryl felt like a bad person for laughing at that.
Change the subject.
“So, is there anyone else you want me to call?” Meryl questioned, wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.
She’d already known the answer.
Her question had the desired effect; Val’s cheeks reddened immediately.
“Stop that. You already know the answer,” he mumbled.
“Relax, Romeo, I already called her for you last night. She should be here in 15 minutes.”
Meryl let out a gleeful laugh as Val’s expression turned to that of panic
It was like a light switch.
“And you messed up my hair now of all times, Mer?!”
“You know where to find the mirror,” she supplied, grabbing a spare comb from her coffee table and tossing it to him. “Go fix yourself up.”
Val caught the comb and sprinted to her bathroom.
“Run, Forrest, run,” Meryl giggled.
Once Val was out of earshot, Maks quirked a questioning eyebrow.
“Weren’t you just asleep? How could Zendaya be coming over now if you were planning on sleeping for a few more h—”
Realization dawned on his face immediately, and soon he, too, was laughing.
“You’re evil,” he grinned, raising a hand to high-five Meryl.
She ignored it. She was still keeping up her mad at Maks facade.
“Simple revenge for waking me up from my beauty sleep,” she shrugged, then added “I should probably text Z to come over, though. One second.”
She took out her phone and shot Zendaya a quick text.
Maks hesitated in his response, choosing his words carefully.
“Sorry we woke you up, Меріл. If it’s any consolation, though, I don’t think you need any more beauty sleep. You’re gorgeous as you are,” he kept his eyes trained on an unseen speck on the floor.
Meryl inwardly smiled.
“I still don’t like you,” Meryl tried to frown, but it didn’t exactly work in her favor—the corners of her lips turned up instead of down.
“Really? Damn it,” Maks snapped his fingers, reverting back to his usual jokey self.
Val emerged from Meryl’s bathroom, his face a question mark. “Look okay?” He pointed to his hair.
Meryl nodded just as the doorbell rang.
“If it wasn’t your birthday, you’d be a dead man,” Zendaya shook her head slowly.
The four of them were out to eat at Sydney’s, a local diner that Val had been raving about.
Val, in the midst of a clever retort to one of Maks’ witticisms, had accidentally knocked over his vanilla milkshake onto Zendaya’s leather pocketbook.
"I’m so sorry,” Val apologized, not noticing the way Zendaya was trying to keep from breaking out into laughter.
She kept silent (taunting an unsuspecting Val), allowing the air to be filled with Val’s profuse apologies.
“It’s fine,” Zendaya finally let out after a minute, unable to let him go on.
“I really don’t care. It’s an old purse anyway,” she chuckled.
Val appeared relieved at once.
Meryl flicked her wrist forward and made a sound like a whip cracking.
Maks noticed her actions and promptly burst into laughter.
“You’re whipped, bro,” he agreed.
“Oh, you wanna talk about being whipped, Maks?” Val smirked, a dangerous gleam twinkling in his eye.
“That’s a pretty scary look in your eye for a 12-and-three-quarters year old,” Meryl teased, referencing one of the first conversations she’d ever had with the boys.
“I’m 13,” Val whined, although he was grinning at Meryl’s reference. He automatically understood what she was talking about.
Against Val’s wishes, Zendaya had to return home.
It was 9:30 at night, and she couldn’t stay out forever.
The trio walked Zendaya home, retelling favorite memories from the day’s escapades the entire way.
Meryl glanced down at the road’s dark pavement as she walked, noticing the four elongated shadows in front of them.
The sun was setting, the sky above them awash with brilliant oranges and purples.
Meryl stared at her companions in that moment and quietly thanked God that they were sent into her life.
They made her feel important—they made her feel like she mattered. They didn’t treat her any differently when they’d found out about her depth perception problems a few months before. They were a bit angry at first that she hadn’t told them sooner, but upon explaining her reasoning, they’d softened.
She trusted them with all her heart and all her soul.
And as she stared at the four elongated shadows walking side by side directly in front of them, she silently wished that everyone could have at least one person in their lives like her friends. Everyone deserved at least one friend that made them remember why they were alive every day; everyone deserved at least one friend that made them thankful to be alive every day, and to feel that they were that person to someone else.
She turned to her friends and rejoined their conversation.
“To our studio?” Val questioned his remaining two companions on their walk back from Zendaya’s house.
“To our studio,” they chorused, cheering.