Her legs were laid out and her feet were off the floor when awareness returned. Max’s perfect person was holding her in the air gazing down with a pleasant and loving look on her face. “Oh, Chloe! Dammit, my Chloe!”
After the photo, Chloe gently placed Max’s feet on the ground allowing her to stand upright with ease. The photographer set the photo and camera down squeezing her fiancé tightly around the waist. In her mind, she would never let her do that again. But in her heart, she knew the future still needed to be changed. She also knew she had limited time to make sure their first failed attempt didn’t happen again.
“Okay, Max. Down, girl.”
Pointing over towards the camera and photo, the time traveler quickly spoke, “Chlo, we failed. I just jumped back here using that picture and we don’t have a lot of time.”
“What? Fuck, I thought I felt something. Wait, is your power back?”
“Yes, you jumped to the future but were unable to bring me. It didn’t go well, and you weren’t pulled back here. I had to jump to this moment to bring you back. Anyway, residuals from my power originally gave you your own and when you jumped forward mine got reactivated… I think. It’s confusing, but regardless, you have to not jump, at least not yet. You’ll be with auto-Max soon. Just keep us here.”
“Fuuuuuck! Okay, let’s just lay on the bed and we’ll stay there until you return. Think that’ll work?”
“That sounds perfect, babe.” The pair laid down on their sides peering at one another, waiting for the transition. “Chlo, I spoke with Rachel. She pulled me into a dream when I passed out after you jumped. It’s so surreal to see her. And,” the brunette’s words shook as they came out, “she showed me our beautiful daughter. She showed me what happens to her if we don’t change the future. It’s fucked up.”
“Damn, Max. I’m sorry you had to see that. I wish you didn’t. Hell, I wish I didn’t either. After all we’ve been through, I don’t know how…” The edges of reality were beginning to burn out of Max’s view.
“Listen, Chlo,” she broke in, “under no circumstances do we leave this room. No powers, no being apart, nothing! Do you understand?” She couldn’t hear nor see her partner’s response, but she knew in her heart the message was understood. The last bit of tangible clarity trickled away into a bright white light.
Almost immediately, starting in the center of her sight, perception began returning to a state of normalcy. The lights in her room were off and the TV was on. The time jumper looked to her side and watched as her favorite person placed her hand into a bowl and clutched a handful of its contents. She slowly raised her hand towards her lips and shoved most of the popcorn she had just grabbed into her mouth, allowing several pieces to drop down to her shirt.
“Babe.” Max whispered, startling the messy girl.
“You’re back!” She brushed the pieces from her shirt and leaned over for a hug. “We’re about halfway through Independence Day: Resurgence if you’re interested. I will say, this movie blows… and I mean hard. It’s literally fucking dumb.”
“You left the room and made popcorn? I thought I told you to stay put.” The smaller girl wasn’t really angry; she was just glad everything seemed fine.
“Dude, I decided to watch a movie and wanted a snack, chill. Plus, dealing with auto-you is easy if I just prop you in front of a movie and feed you popcorn.” Max leaned over and laid her head on her fiancé’s chest. She could hear her heartbeat and her lungs fill and empty with each inhale and exhale. Every single breath felt like a tiny little gift to the smaller girl.
“Shit!” Blood began trickling out of her nose and down to her top lip. “My head.”
“You’re okay, love. I’ve got you.” Chloe ran her fingers through soft brown hair and tenderly rubbed her girl’s back. “We’ve been through this before; we’ll get through it again.” She reached to the nightstand and obtained a mass of tissues from the box. Placing the bundle under Max’s nose, she did her best to catch and wipe away the scarlet ooze.
After several minutes of darkness, clear thoughts returned. “Damn, I forget how much that sucks.” She slowly shook her head and sat upright, removing her head from her partner’s lap. “Chlo, I thought these days were behind us. Everything was perfect. Fuck, I don’t want the rewind anymore. I hate it so much!” Unexpectedly, the smaller girl broke down in a pile of tears and sobs.
“I know, Maxi, I know.” The older girl grabbed her fiancé’s hand and started rubbing it then brought it to her lips, tenderly kissing each finger one after the other. Somehow, the concern and care Chloe was showing, filled Max’s heart with joy. The tears stopped and the pair hugged.
“You’re my everything, Chlo. Everything. I love you so much.” Max flipped their hands over and returned the finger kissing gesture. “I think I need some air. Let’s go do something.”
“That’s a fantastic idea, dude. We still have our lives to live, ya know? You and I are very different in so many ways, which is why we are perfect for each other. But we’re extremely similar too. We’re both hella passionate about those we love. Knowing what could happen to our daughter, threw us both in a panic, but let’s pump the brakes. We both have powers now, Rachel has this dream power thingy, and I have no doubt we can figure this all out.” Max expected some form of what was about to be said; she felt the corners of her lips curling upward as a twinkle glimmered in her partner’s eye. “We’re Max and Chloe, when we’re together, there’s nothing that can stop us. Even when we’re briefly apart, we’re still together. We got this.”
“You were right, babe. Knowing we will have a daughter… it changes things. It feels like the most important thing in the world. But let’s look at it like we always do. This is another adventure for Captain Bluebeard and Long Max Silver. Our love will win, just like it always has.”
The older girl edged in for a kiss but stopped inches before their lips touched. “Max, beautiful fucking perfect Max. I love you so goddamn much… annnnnd I’m literally about to attack you. Before I do, how is your head?”
“Fuck my head,” the younger girl snapped, grabbing and sliding her partner over, landing on top. “You’re mine.” Straddling her lover, Max glided her lips and tongue up and down the other girl’s neck, her hand successfully tearing at the button on her pants.
“Oh, shit,” was all the blonde could say, as her best friend’s lips found their way to her belly button and inching further south. The girls enjoyed several fiery and heartfelt minutes, clothes landing all over the room, ending in a tangled pile of legs and arms. Their pure love and passion helped them forget about their troubles, if only for the moment.
“Damn, love, that was amazeballs! I mean, it always is with you, but… dammit, that was hella good.”
“I just love you so much, Chlo, and I love being able to do this with you. The world is fucked up and we have a mountain to climb soon that flat out sucks. But this doesn’t suck, and I wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else.”
“Do you wanna go for a drive, maybe pick up some hair dye?” The former bluenette waggled her eyebrows and half-grinned.
“Exactly what I was thinking. And I’ve decided, I want the exclusive shots for Victoria to be of you with blue hair, but not the same as the others. Let’s do an updated vintage look: blue hair, covered tat, new Chloe. What do you think?”
“Hmm,” the taller girl considered. “It sounds perfect. It’s your eye for the art, that’s why your photography is loved so much. Dude, it still amazes me watching you work.” She giggled to herself for a moment, enticing a puzzled stare from her best friend. “It’s funny to think about how far we’ve come. Don’t get mad, but, when we were kids, you annoyed the shit outta me at one point with that damn camera.”
“Chloe!” Max’s face scrunched up as she lowered her brow.
“Hear me out, dork. I just wanted you to play with me and focus on me only. I was in love with you, and you seemed to care more about photos than your best friend.”
“Aww. No, never babe.”
“We were kids, I get it. But at the time I was like, ‘Pay attention to me, dammit!’” The girls shared a laugh and cuddled for a few more moments then cleaned up and got ready to head out. Before leaving, Chloe used the laptop to send the addendum to Jessica informing her about the updated exclusives plan.
On the drive, the photographer had an interesting idea. “Remember that guy you sold your truck to a few years back? I wonder if he still has it. He was nice, maybe he’d let us take a couple of photos with it.”
“Oh, damn, that’s a great idea. I haven’t even thought about that old beater in years. What a piece of shit. Lemme check and see if I still have his email and number, kinda doubt it though.” Max was behind the wheel, where she preferred to be these days, which freed her partner to use the phone.
“You know what, never mind. Let’s go somewhere I’ve been dying to see. Ever heard of Deception Pass? It’s only about an hour and a half from here, and I’d love to shoot you there.”
“Shoot me? Welp, at least I’d get to see your pretty face before I die, and if I gotta go, might as well be by your hand.”
The freckled driver abruptly turned her head towards her smiling fiancé. “Shut your damn mouth, Chloe Price,” she scoffed. “You can say and joke about anything else, but not that. Losing you is my worst nightmare… please don’t.”
“You’re right, I’m sorry, love. Sounded funnier in my head. Just trying to keep the mood loose. That was too far, I get it.” The pink in her cheeks and the concerned look in her eyes informed Max she genuinely regretted what she had said, even if in jest.
“It’s fine. After everything we’re been through, I just don’t even like to joke about it. You’re my world.”
Chloe quickly leaned in and snuck a tiny smooch. “So, hair dye, back home, then Deception Point. Got it.”
“Deception Pass, not Point.”
Beginning with just a smile and quickly transitioning, Chloe’s last comment forced her soulmate to bust out laughing. With the degree of laughter Max was enjoying, her partner couldn’t resist laughing too. The pair found themselves in a giggle fit, neither could stop. She pulled over to the side of the road, as her squinted eyes were brimming.
After gathering her wits, the brunette bubbled, “Never change, Chlo. As long as you can make me laugh like that, I guess you can joke about anything you want.”
“I just love to see you smile. Have I ever told you that I love your smile more than just about anything in the world, Maximus?”
“Only about a bajillion times, but please don’t stop,” the still grinning girl in the driver’s seat jokingly pleaded as they pulled into the store. A curious thought crossed her mind as she closed her door and joined her partner beside the car. “I don’t even know what type of hair dye you used or where to even start.”
“Remember the tube of Bombshell Blue you got for our pirate shenanigans when we were kids? I used that at first, but the company folded, I guess. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I literally just picked the first box I saw that said ‘semi permanent’. But as long as they have blue, we’re golden.”
The girls picked out a tube of blue dye and checked out. “I’m starving,” the blonde admitted as they were walking back up to the Hyundai. “You wanna grab some Dick’s?”
“Excuse me. Grab some what?” the cute photographer chortled.
“Burgers. Dick’s Drive-in. What the fuck is wrong with you, Maximum Crazy-ass? Dick’s is like a Seattle… thing. You know!” After a swift nudge by the taller girl, the engaged couple cracked up again falling on top of each other on the hood of the car. A couple of playful minutes passed, and they got back inside.
At the restaurant, they got out and ordered their burgers at the counter, then paid and jumped back in the car. Scarfing down their food and slurping their sodas, both girls realized how hungry they truly were. They discarded their trash and hit the road.
At home, the engaged pair went upstairs with Chloe disappearing in the bathroom behind a closed and locked door. Despite the smaller girl’s pleas, Chloe wanted to apply the coloring herself to sort of surprise her partner. Max kept busy online, finishing her blog entry, making sure last week’s photos were placed in the best spots on the site. She leaned back and enjoyed a proud moment after another job well done.
“Chlo, I didn’t realize this was going to take all day.” The blogger called out after gently tapping on the bathroom door.
“Great timing, Super Max. I’m just about finished. You’re gonna love this!” The door flung open as Max took a step backwards tilting her head towards the ground. Time seemed to crawl as she slowly scanned her lover, starting with her feet and making her way upward. Her eyes were nearly to the girl’s chin when her peripheral vision started noticing a darker frame cropping the beauty’s face. By the time she got to her radiant blue hair, Max’s mouth was wide open and her eyebrows as high on her face as she could lift them.
The gorgeous, freshly blue-haired girl slightly curtsied with her arms out from her sides and her palms facing the ceiling. “What do you think, love?”
“Holy shit, Chlo. Jesus. You look… you look… blue.”
“Well, thank you, I guess. But you could’ve said I look amazing, beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, tasty…”
“Tasty? Yeah, okay. Chlo, you look rather tasty now.” She pumped her eyebrows and craned in for a kiss. Pulling back, she continued, “Yep, definitely tasty. That’s the right word. Although, not quite blueberry, as one would imagine. You taste much better than that.”
“What tastes better than a blueberry, Maxi Max?”
“Uhm, well. A Chloe… uh, berry? Yeah, a Chloeberry.”
“Damn, and I thought I was the one with the knack for nicknames. You’ve outdone yourself with this one.” A slight grin on the former blonde’s lips.
“Oh, shut up, dork face. I don’t really do nicknames. You’re Chloe. MY Chloe. That’s it. And I fucking love the blue, babe. I was wrong, it feels more like a step forward than backward. Feels like we’re screaming, ‘FUCK YOU,’ to the universe.” The shorter girl reached up to touch her friend’s hair, but her hand was batted away.
“You can’t touch it for a while, hippie. It’s gotta set, and shit. You can look but you can’t touch,” she teased. “But you can’t stop me from touching yours.” She grabbed the back of her fiancé’s head and pulled her into a hug, burying her face down in a heap of brown. Tilting the girl’s head back, she pressed her lips to her lover’s freckled forehead. “I love you, Max. More than anything.”
“Love you too, babe.” The engaged couple pressed their bodies together. The smaller girl buried her head in the bluenette’s chest and wrapped her petite arms around the girl’s stomach, latching her hands in the back. They remained in a hug until she realized how late it was getting. “We should just stay home tonight and head to Deception Pass in the morning. Maybe we can get out there early and catch some nice sunrise shots.”
“Did you say early? Max, no.”
“Pleeeeeease,” the shorter girl pleaded, locking eyes with the blue-headed girl and grinning. “I know what I want with these photos. It’ll be perfect this way. Please wake up early and do this with me.”
“Fine, you win. How can I say no when you aim those perfect blue eyes this way? You put a spell on me, Caulfield, you’re an evil witch.”
“Hmm. Sure you don’t wanna call me an evil something else?”
“Nope. I’m hoping if I wake up early, and be a good girl, taking photos isn’t all I get to do with you tomorrow.”
“I hope you’re always this turned on by me. I know we’re about to get married, and I’m sure most couples can’t stay away from each other at this point, but I would hate it if you suddenly didn’t find me attractive anymore. You’ve spoiled me, Chlo.”
“First of all, have you seen yourself? You’re hot as shit. Second, our connection is so deep, God herself couldn’t stop me from being with you, and, you know… tearing your clothes off. But toniiiiiight… wanna get Chinese and watch a movie?”
“I would love that, babe. Tomorrow we can worry about the photoshoot, maybe test our powers a little, and you’ll let me run my fingers through your hella awesome blue hair.”
“And you’ll let me run my fingers and tongue… somewhere else,” The taller girl quickly added with an impish grin.
“Seems like that’s all we do some days.”
“Are you complaining?”