In the beginning, Rachel wandered around without much destination in mind. She covered the length and width of what remained of Arcadia Bay, watching each day yet only finding a handful of survivors as they dug themselves out of the wreckage the storm left in its wake. Every evening, she watched as the sun went down while she sat on the bench at the lighthouse, like a sentinel watching over the bay. Eventually she headed North along the winding coastal highway that took her past Cannon Beach, Astoria, and into Washington State. The traveling gave her time to think about her life, the decisions that she had made, and her current situation. And while time, to her, didn’t really matter anymore it did take time to figure out her place, where she belonged. She chuckled, ‘Of course this is where I’d end up. Hell yeah it is!‘ The state of affairs didn’t bother her, in fact, she even poked fun at herself about it. At the end, she made a choice–THE CHOICE. And now, as back then, she remained convinced it was worth it; all she had to do was see how much Max and Chloe had grown together since that day to see the truth in it. The joy, love, comfort, and healing they gave each other was almost too incredible to describe; they were a matched set that not even the universe could deny. ‘They are simply hella awesome together!‘
She watched over them both. She witnessed Max overcome her self-doubt and fears; bolstered by the knowledge that the cycle was finally broken. She watched as the brunette pushed to get her GED and prepare for the future with her love. ‘And Chloe? Oh Chloe… please be okay.‘ Rachel lamented for her friend as she suffered and yet refused to morn. She watched as the girl bottled up all her feelings and lost most of her will to continue, yet did so for the good of her soulmate alone. The punk was an empty, aimless shell of her former self, and while she couldn’t physically comfort the blue-haired girl, not anymore, she resolved to stay beside her and share in her pain, just as Max did. Perhaps in some small way maybe, just maybe, her presence could provide a small flame to keep her stricken friend moving forward each day. Occasionally, the old Chloe would peek out and look around but, like a scared bunny, would quickly seek the refuge of her home, Her Max, all too soon. It broke Rachel’s heart, yet, like a sentry, she stood guard by her friend and would continue to do so no matter how long it might take.
Time continued its march as it always did, and wherever the pair went, like a wraith, Rachel silently followed; only separating to give the two the privacy they needed, and yet she was never far.
The table was set, the candle lit. It was a beautiful scene that Rachel observed. She didn’t know what Max had in mind, but clearly it was something special. She watched as Max poured the wine and lightly giggled to herself as the brunette made a bit of a mess of it. ‘First time with wine, huh Max?’ she giggled again and shadowed the photographer to the other side of the room. She looked on as the brunette rearranged her photo wall, observing with delight the new additions, and she started to get an idea regarding the reasoning behind the efforts. As the main lights dimmed a few moments later, she noted how the candlelight spread its beams. It was classy and elegant. ‘I really hope this works…for Chloe.‘ Rachel ghosted to behind a chair, one with a familiar flannel laid across it as her two friends entered the room, the brunette leading the taller girl to her seat. She waited until they were seated, and then joined them.
The punk, she observed, was having problems keeping it together and fiddled with her dinner without much success. She saw as Max consoled her love with considerate and caring words. Rachel got up from her place and quietly moved to Chloe’s side, opposite Max, and kneeled next to her.
“You were right, you know. You said you wished we had met, and that we would be great friends.”
“And we did meet. We became friends.”
Max’s words brought joy to her heart. She’d only known the freckled girl for a few days, but they had quickly become friends. ‘Hella best friends.‘ Rachel smiled at the thought, but then returned her attention to her troubled friend as she broke down at last. ‘That’s it Chloe… Just let it out… We’re both here for you.‘ She wrapped her arms protectively around both girls and leaned her head on the taller girl’s shoulder and simply held them while Chloe’s sorrow filled the room. She wished she could take the pain, but her friend had to take the first step, the hardest one. She moved closer and ever so quietly whispered, gently brushing her lips against the broken girl’s ear. “It’s okay Chloe… You need to let me go.” She leaned her head back to the girl’s shoulder. Eventually, with her grief spent, the room grew quiet.
“Why? Why did it have to be her? Why Rachel?” The exhausted girl looked to Max seeking some answer as to why the universe was so cruel.
Silence followed once again as she remained wrapped around both girls. “…Because I chose…” She stopped as her freckled friend slowly moved to reposition herself. She smiled as Max kissed her soulmate’s blue head and then answered.
“Because she’s our angel. Rachel chose us. She chose to give us our chance, and she will always have a special place in our hearts.”
‘…A special place in our hearts…‘ It shouldn’t have been possible, yet a tear rolled down her pale cheek, one overfilled with happiness rather than sorrow. She felt the soothing love flowing from Max and did everything she could to add her own. They stayed this way while the healing currents wrapped Chloe in warmth and comfort, rebuilding her despondent friend’s devastated core. Slowly, she released her protective embrace and stood up, stepping back as the two other girls did the same. She followed as the brunette led her love to the other side of the room and turned up the lights. Rachel stayed near her mending friend as she admired the collection of photographs, giving particular attention to one featuring the three friends together. She watched on as her blue haired beauty slowly released her soulmate and retrieved her necklace.
“Thanks Rach.” She listened to Chloe’s voice; it was sad yet stronger as if the healing had taken a life of its own.
Another impossible tear fell as the object which had defined her late life was briefly kissed and then lovingly carried and set in its final resting place. As Chloe stepped back and wrapped her arms around her soulmate, Rachel reached and ran her fingers down its length for the last time and it fluttered gently, as if by the winds, and then came to rest next to the picture where it belonged. She was reminded of all the fun, impulsive excitement, and friendship she’d had with first Chloe and then briefly with Max.
“Thank you, Max,” she said at the same time as Chloe, and then watched as the two remained quiet, in respectful contemplation. Her heart soared just watching the pair. ‘They are so meant for each other! They’ve got this!‘ She smiled.
When they finally returned to dinner, Rachel took her place as the two girls raised their glasses to her. ‘Yes, it had been worth it, hella worth it,’ she mused as she thought about their future. What awesome things would they do? Who would they meet? She knew in her heart they’d conquer the world, it made her content and freed her to move on. After all…
They were Max and Chloe, and they would be together. Always!
As they sat down to continue their meal, she resolved to keep an eye open for them. Who knew? Maybe one day their paths would cross. She bounced lightly on the balls of her feet. ‘We’ve all got new adventures ahead of us! I’m so excited!‘ As she slowly faded into the background, she swiped her hair over her shoulder, gave them both an actor’s bow, and with a quick wink, she bid them farewell… for now… “Laters!”