“I’m here, love.”
The brunette perceived a mild dribble of pleasure, beginning behind her ears and slowly inching downward. It seemed like a trickle of stream water flowing down a rocky hill and passing over the tiny stones of love in her heart. She felt the same sensation earlier and resisted when her innermost intimate and private portions of her soul were accessed without her acceptance. She discovered that her soulmate had tunneled inside of her and, after she consented, it was one of the greatest feelings she’d ever experienced.
The last thing she remembered, she and her daughter had broken into the lecture hall and were propped against each other in the auditorium seats attempting to fall sleep. Her body felt limp and almost out of reach, but her mind had awoken to a strange new affection of hope. Her thoughts were cloudy and full of caution, but she vaguely heard the sweet, tender voice that made her heart jump and her breath hitch, and she knew everything would be just fine.
“Follow the blue, Maxter.” Chloe’s words began to resonate with more clarity, and Max wanted nothing more than to find and squeeze her tall blonde goddess. “Find your power and don’t press down. Grab and pull, then make your way to me.”
“The blue?” She questioned to herself but received no response at first. Like an uncontrolled reaction, the brunette found herself soaring across the endless prairies of grey before locating the sweet spot. She never admitted it, even to herself, but the rewind still frightened her a little. At one time, she felt like she had mastered the power, but that time had long passed now, and she realized she knew far less about it than she ever imagined. Just as her partner requested, she gripped the tiny mound and lifted it upward. “Holy shit!” To her surprise, it slid perfectly within her grasp and she viewed the most fantastic sight.
The inner workings of her mind were equally beautiful and inconceivable. She glanced around at the swirls and wisps of circuitry and was blown away by how large this brave new world felt to her. It was vast and filled with more darkness than light, but she did not waiver. “You’re almost here, I can feel you. Find my coil and latch on.” Her wife’s voice was amplified so she knew she was getting close. Scanning the area, she spotted a glow of blue incandescing on the horizon. She sniffled with delight and focused all thought on traveling to the rays of blue as quickly as possible. Her heart was leading her towards the glow, and, no matter how fast she went, it didn’t seem quick enough.
Her pace slowed as she approached the radiant azure. It was magnificent and brilliant, and Max wanted nothing more than to dive in and bask in its warmth. The anticipation was nearly overwhelming, as she knew who she was about to connect and bond with. She reached out and, like holding hands, interwove her essence into the pulsating fabric of the coil, and suddenly she was transported to an infinitely vast and dimly lit area that looked like a ballroom.
As awareness caught up to her, she found herself staring into the deep pools of sapphire that she longed to swim in again. “Fuck, Chloe!” She threw her arms around her wife and clutched her with all of her might. It didn’t feel like some distant thought in her mind, she was physically touching her favorite person in the world. “Goddamn, I’ve missed you!”
“You fucking beautiful bitch! You made it!” Chloe buried her nose in Max’s hair and took a deep heartfelt sniff, then let out a joyful coo. They stood in silence for several moments enjoying the way the curves of their bodies felt pressed together. The warmth was undeniable; this wasn’t merely some dream or hopeful thought; the girls were together again and it was real. “I’m never letting you go.” The lovers marginally pulled apart and sloppily pressed their mouths together, dragging their lips and tongues inside and all around the other’s in a playful game of tag.
They took a brief moment to breathe, then Max whispered, “Good. Because if you let go, I’ll still be holding on with everything I have. If this is where we exist for the rest of eternity, it would be more than enough. You’re so fucking perfect, babe.”
“So so goopy, Caulfield.”
“That’s Caulfield-Price to you.”
Chloe raised her eyebrows and bit her bottom lip. “You’re so sexy, Max. When I hear our names connected like that, I just can’t control myself.” The handsy touches and tangled tongues grew with intensity, and before she knew it, the lovers were on the floor in a pile of both selfish desire and passionate generosity. Max dragged her tongue down her partner’s jawline and teasingly kissed and licked her earlobe and the sensitive area behind it. She could feel Chloe’s skin shiver and form tiny goosebumps that helped inform her to continue her approach.
As her supple lips trailed further south, she realized the girls were wearing their ivory-colored wedding dresses. She hadn’t noticed it, or even cared before, but her eyes glanced to her soulmate’s hair, which flowed with silky locks of blue. For some reason outside of her own understanding, the two girls existed within a partial memory. Their souls were together beyond reality, yet it was a moment from their wedding day in this place, and they were alone together. The realization of where they were shot a cascade of electricity through the smaller girl, and her body gave into its primal urges. She reached her hand up the front of her wife’s dress and, in a circular movement, began rubbing where cloth touched skin intent on pleasing the love of her life.
A lightly pleasured moaning cadence drummed from inside Max’s best friend enticing her to not only continue but take the moment to the next level. She located the band that held the covering piece of fabric over her most intimate areas and slid it to the side. Her fingers touched soft folds of skin and she continued the medium-paced circular motion while still kissing her neck. After several seconds, Max realized she was being touched as well. Chloe joined in with the playfulness while pleasing her soulmate’s body. It didn’t surprise the shorter girl, as her perfect person promised to make each moment special for her and part of Chloe’s charm was her exuberance.
Each touch tingled and grew with a greater sensation than she ever felt, only comparing to the time they conceived at the cabin. Chloe removed her hand then shifted and rotated her body from where she laid. Their faces had been aligned directly across from one another previously, now their heads were on opposite ends in the shape of a yin and yang. Max began carelessly trailing her lips down her partner’s thighs towards the tender destination where she longed to linger. She reached over with both hands and disrobed her lover who, in turn, did the same for her. Simultaneously, the girl’s mouths reached their targets in a moment of purity and perfection. The girls equally gave as they received ending with a simultaneous eruption of love and trust. Chloe slid back around and the lovers laid face to face, clear blue eyes aligned, lost in each other’s embrace.
Max began tracing the covered black tattoo on her partner’s right arm. She felt the gentle graze of Chloe’s fingertips running over her face, playing connect the dots with her freckles as she did from time to time when she felt content. Several indiscernible moments passed by as the girls enjoyed each other’s complete companionship. All sense of concern was lost, and existing in this place together was entrancing. Per usual, the girls connected in a way where the rest of the universe existed in the background somewhere far in the non-important distance.
“This is all I’ve ever wanted, Chlo,” Max broke the lengthy silence, as she muttered in her favorite person’s ear. “You’re all that matters to me.” She quickly realized that her last words were not entirely true. There was one other person that mattered to her at a deep and profound level, and it was the only reason she would want to leave her wife’s embrace. She needed to get back and figure out how to return home. Both the Destiny of the future and her two-year-old daughter needed their mothers. The thought of being away from Chloe, however, broke her heart and tormented her thoughts.
“I know what you’re thinking, Maxi Max.” The pair knew each other’s bodies, hearts, and souls like it was their own. “We have to leave each other again. But it’s only for a little bit. Look at it like this, we now have this secret place that only we share, and we can be together any time we want.” A brief silence set in as the married couple stared into each other’s eyes, each breath the only sounds. “Plus,” Chloe finally continued, “you get to see my blue hair again when we’re here it seems.” She ran her fingers through the blue, from front to back, then tilted her head and raised her eyebrows.
As per usual, Chloe’s words made Max smile and a wave of confidence poured through her body. “I do love my Chloberry… not gonna lie.”
“Shaddap, dork,” the temporary bluenette laughed as she playfully pushed her partner’s shoulder then helped her to her feet. Once standing, the couple hugged and teased each other with small kittenish pecks all over each other’s faces.
“So, how the hell do we get outta here anyway?” Max questioned. She still didn’t really want to leave, but knew it was the next right move. After all they’d been through, she knew the best thing to do was keep moving forward and take the next step.
“I guess we leave the same way we came, love. Maybe we close our eyes and like… I dunno, disengage or some shit.” Chloe shrugged her shoulders and took a step back as if giving Max full authority to give it a try.
“Before we go, I just wanna tell you how much I love you one last time, babe. I know we’ll be back here or back in our universe together soon. It just feels like it might be a while before we can see each other again. Des has no idea how to get back, and I’m worried it might take some time to figure it out.” Max stepped forward and snuggled back in burrowing her face in her soulmate’s chest. Two perfectly matched hearts held one another for an extended time, neither wanting to let the other go. “If I’m being completely honest, I’m terrified. It feels different this time.”
The older girl slowly pulled away and locked eyes with her best friend, a stony expression materializing on her face, which produced a slight twinge of sadness in the smaller girl’s heart. “Max Caulfield. Don’t you forget about me.”
“What?! Chloe… fuck! Don’t you fucking dare say that!” Max was livid. Her knees felt weak and she slightly stumbled backwards. It was like all the cool air in her lungs had suddenly been replaced with hot burning stones. A joke about losing her partner was the one thing she felt was off limits, and that phrase filled her soul with a terrible darkness.
“I’m so sorry, love, I had to. It was just a shitty joke, well… sorta. I still remember both choices at the end of the first storm week, ya know? Somehow, we experienced both realities. It’s in the past and doesn’t really matter now, but our amazing love was so damn strong that choice became irrelevant; we were gonna be together and the goddamn universe could never keep us apart. I probably shouldn’t joke like that, but we both need to remember what we’ve been through. We kicked death’s ass and we’ll do it again and again if we have to. We’ll look back at this one day and laugh, I’m telling you. We’ve been through worse, Maxi Max.”
The brunette felt her face suddenly soften and she released her down-pressed eyebrows. She was pissed her wife would make a joke like that, but the girl made a lot of sense. She knew her partner’s intentions were to prove a tough point and, even if it was shocking, she realized she needed to hear it. “Max, I fucking love you so damn much. There’s nothing we can’t handle together, and there’s nothing to worry about. How about this: we plan to meet here tomorrow night and every night we’re apart. If it takes you a while to get back to me, we’ll at least get to see each other once a day. Does that sound like a deal? Promise you’ll meet me back here. Promise, dork!”
“Promise,” Max agreed. Chloe craned forward for a kiss but Max backed away with a playfully skittish smirk gleaming from below her nose. The blue-haired girl lowered her head while squinting to show she wasn’t about to be denied, placed both hands on the back of her lover’s head, then forced their lips together. This time, Max didn’t resist and a series of sloppy, yet tender, kisses ensued. She felt Chloe’s fingers glide through her hair, tingling her scalp, which sent a pleasurable shiver through her entire body. This was the girl of her dreams, and despite knowing destiny and fate pulled them together, she felt like the luckiest girl alive.
Suddenly, mid kiss, a screeching gong-like noise pierced through the silent ambiance of the ballroom and both girls dropped to their knees cupping their hands against their ears hoping to muffle the horrendous sound. Looking over at Chloe, Max watched as the girl faded away and the room disappeared into the dark backdrop of nothingness. It happened so quickly she couldn’t call out or even touch her wife one last time.
A flash of white light and a rushing vortex of wind lifted Max’s body and pushed her sideways, suspending her in midair before catapulting her forward. All sight vanished and was replaced with a dark shadow. Though she was unable to see, she realized she’d felt this before when Destiny glitched the previous day. She fought the maddening pressure of losing her mind from being outside the bounds of space and time. Wherever they were, they were moving fast and reality appeared more abstract than defined. Keeping her thoughts and focus solely on her gorgeous wife and sweet little daughter helped her maintain control and not go crazy. It occurred to the temporarily sightless girl that she could feel the teenager’s presence near as her body hurled through the spire of wind towards their next destination.
“Fuuuuuuuck!” Blasting backwards past the wisps and loops of circuitry, through the prairies of grey, and into her bedroom, she found herself wide awake and under the sheets. After her shower the evening before, she was determined to connect with the love of her life and did so successfully, and her heart was still brimming. If she didn’t know her partner’s love the way she did, she would have been terrified the way their bond was abruptly severed. In her heart, she still believed the same thing she always had. They were Max and Chloe, and they would be together for all of time.
Not long after her return, she felt a sharp cutting pain beginning in her head and splintering outward into her limbs and torso. Chloe rolled over on her side and balled up in the fetal position. Her entire body ached from head to toe like a full-body ice cream headache. Inside felt icy and cool, but outwardly her body was on fire. A cold sweat dripped from her brow and she uncontrollably shivered for the better part of half an hour. The effect of returning from their linked mindspace hurt like hell, but was more than worth it.
Finally, the pain subsided and she started feeling like her normal self again. Sitting up in her bed she glanced over at the digital clock on the nightstand on her side of the bed. It was nearly noon and she realized she hadn’t called to check on their daughter yet. Her eyes were still heavy and she knew coffee was very much needed. Usually Max would either greet her bedside with a fresh cup, or she would have it brewed and ready in the kitchen. She never took Max’s love and care for granted, but without her soulmate around, Chloe appreciated the special things she did for her just a little more now.
She raised up out of the bed and went straight to the kitchen to start a fresh brew. The machine gurgled and spat before a tiny stream of thick black trickled out eventually filling the pot. Having not actually made coffee for herself in years, she wasn’t sure about the correct proportions anymore. After pouring a cup and suiting it to her desired flavor, Chloe took a large gulp and enjoyed the slight burn as it hit her tongue and cascaded down her throat. She was no connoisseur, but it was easy to admit Max was much better at this than her. As much as she missed her wife’s talents, the caffeine might have hit just a bit harder with her concoction.
Before bringing the mug back to her lips for a second sip, the doorbell chimed startling the girl, who almost spilled her coffee. Chloe walked from the kitchen to the front entrance of the townhome and peeped out the window curtain beside the door. Their friend and colleague, Victoria Chase, stood under the stoop with a large binder and several folders awkwardly positioned in her hands and tucked beneath her arm. Despite a thin mist of rain and a sky lined by clouds of grey, the owner of The Chase Space wore sunglasses behind a puckered and endearing smile.
Chloe opened the door and the girl walked in before the first word was even said. “Super glad to see the new digs. This place is quite charming. Your hair… love the bead-head. Where’s Max? We planned to go over photos for the new collection today.” Victoria was speaking way too fast for the taller girl’s liking, having just woke up. She stepped aside and watched as her guest set her belongings on the coffee table, spreading out the contents of her binder and folders.
“She’s not here,” Chloe softly spoke while shrugging her shoulders and looking down at her feet.
“Not here? Yeah right. You two lovebirds are never far from one another. Makes me sick… kidding, of course. You’re so cute. But anyway, where is she for real? And where is that beautiful little girl of yours? I’m sure she’d love to see Aunt Vicki.”
“Destiny is with her grandparents. Speaking of, you get everything set up and I’ll go through the photos with you in a moment. I need to make a quick call.”
“No offense, Chloe, but Max usually likes to hand pick which pieces go up. Do you think she would mind not having input? Like, do you even know what you’re doing?”
A tiny spark of defensive anger formed in the freshly caffeinated girl’s mind. “I may not be half the goddamn photographer Max is,” Chloe huffed, “but I know what she likes. I can do this, just give me a moment to make a phone call.” Stomping away, the annoyed girl grabbed her cell to call Vanessa. For some reason, Victoria always rubbed her the wrong way, even though she knew the gallery owner didn’t mean any harm. Max always told her to look beyond Victoria’s words. She really cared about her friends; she just didn’t word things the right way a lot of the times.
Vanessa didn’t even hesitate; she was thrilled to keep Destiny another night. The toddler jumped on the phone and asked her mom to video chat. Chloe missed her daughter very much, so she hit the Facetime icon and the little girl appeared. A saccharine grin developed as she stared into the magnificent blue eyes that glittered through the phone screen. She regretted sending her to her grandparents’ house, but it was better this way as she worked to get Max back home safely. She didn’t want to admit it, but she felt her partner was probably correct. This time, it might take a while for things to get back to normal.
After the conversation with Vanessa and Destiny, Chloe rejoined her guest on the couch in a much better mood. Whether she was romantically gazing into her best friend’s beautiful eyes, or lovingly sharing a smile with her daughter, her little family lit a candle in her soul. Their love for each other not only kept her strong, but filled her heart with a deluge of joy.
When Chloe ended the call and walked back over to the couch, she noticed Victoria had spread the photographs out on top of the table, and she had pulled a few boxes over to the sides. The pictures they were considering took up more room than expected and the moving boxes served as perfect overflow surfaces. After nearly an hour of discussion and light debate, the new collection had been chosen. Thirty new pieces would go up in a couple weeks’ time, and Chloe was very proud of herself.
“I’ll give it to you, girl, you do know what you’re doing. I’m sorry I doubted you earlier.” Chloe noticed a grin form on her guest’s face and she knew the girl was about to say some smart aleck remark. “But to be fair, this is Maxine Caulfield’s work. You could have picked any combination of thirty and it would have worked perfectly fine.”
“That’s Maxine Caulfield-Price, Vickers. You better get it right or pay the Price.” Victoria glared back at her with narrowed eyes and confusion littering her face. “Get it… ‘Price’?” The girls shared an awkward smile then gathered the items, placing them back in the folders and binder in the order they had selected.
“Well,” the shorter girl began, “I guess that’s it. I was hoping to grab lunch with you and Max, but with her gone, I suppose I’ll just go. Thanks again for your help.” She turned towards the door and was about to leave and head back into the city.
“Wait,” Chloe hesitated. “Why don’t we… ya know, go get something to eat, just me and you; my treat.” She wasn’t sure if she was going to regret it, but the last hour or so hadn’t been all that bad. Chloe was sure there would be awkward moments, but she missed her soulmate and wanted the company. She considered tunneling back through the mindspace to feel their connection again, but she didn’t want to cause any trouble for Max and Des if they were working on coming home.
“Yeah, that… that would be nice actually. Thank you.”
Chloe changed clothes and quickly brushed her teeth. Most times, when she was getting ready to go out, she worked hard to smell and look nice for Max. With her temporarily out of the picture, she didn’t care as much about her appearance.
The two blondes walked outside and got in the Subaru with the intention of sharing a meal together. Chloe would never have dreamt of a time when she was glad to be around Victoria, but in a small and subtle way, the girl reminded her of her partner. Not in personality or appearance, they were extremely different in many ways, but she reminded Chloe that her wife, despite being enemies in high school, had forgiven and forgotten the person Victoria used to be. Max’s heart was so big she only cared to see the good in others, and that thought filled her heart with delight.
“Wake up! We gotta go.” Des shook her mother’s body with no success. “Somebody’s coming!” She pulled the brunette with all of her strength but her mother wouldn’t budge. Max was breathing but still completely out of consciousness with her head propped against the backrest of the cushioned seat. “Goddamnit, fine! There’s no other choice. I love you, Mom! Here we go!” She kissed the older girl on the forehead, closed her eyes, then the two women vanished from the auditorium.