Max felt like her head was about to break into a million little pieces. The headache was coursing through her brain. It hurts so much she could barely stand. She could feel the familiar sensation of warm blood running down her nose, dripping on her chin.
This is the last time. It has to be.
She stepped into the white light. Here, everything was calm. No more headaches, no more nosebleeds. Just white static noise and her thoughts. She knew now that she couldn’t fix everything, God knew she had tried and failed each and every single time. She wished she could just pick a reality where everybody was happy but it wasn’t possible. She realised that now. It wasn’t an easy choice to make but was the only one that guaranteed both women remained alive. She won’t let Chloe suffer like this. She won’t let her die, consequences be damned. It was selfish but she didn’t care, she simply couldn’t do this any longer. Also, it was the only timeline Rachel lived. She couldn’t let a young woman full of life die in the hands of two psychopaths.
Unfortunately, there was no way to reverse time so Rachel didn’t go through all of that; drugged and tied up, being forced to pose so some sick assholes got their kick off seeing someone helpless like that, being their little doll to play with. No one should have to go through something so horrific, but Max couldn’t find an alternative where Rachel didn’t and got to live, so unfortunately it had to be done.
With one last deep breath Max took a step forward. This was it. The final jump. She wishes she’s made the right choice.
Max was back in the classroom again for the… she can’t even remember how many times she’s lived through this nightmare. Jefferson was talking again and the aspiring photographer felt her stomach turn. Just his voice was bringing back memories, clawing their way back to the surface. She wished her powers could erase instead of alter realities. But no matter what she tried, those events would always remain a part of her. She would never quite get the feeling of duct tape eating away at her wrists out of her mind. His voice plunged her mind back to the dark room, as Jefferson circled her like a vulture, his musky cologne overflowing her sense of smell as he leaned in.
Yet Max sat there and endured. Endured for what she prayed would be the last time.
The bell rang. Max’s heart began to race. Please let this work out. Jefferson was still talking to her; she still had to answer. Fuck the Everyday Hero contests, she thought. Dear Lord for someone who could control time, it sure seemed like each minute passed agonisingly slow.
This time Max didn’t go to the bathroom. She forced herself to pace up and down the student corridor, as far away from that godforsaken place as possible. She thought she might throw up from the anticipation. Her hands curled into a fist. Heart pounding in her chest.
And that’s when it was heard. A loud shotgun noise reverberated throughout the entire building.
And that was when she saw her.
A blue haired figure was bursting out the bathroom, face contorted with fear and shock. A few seconds later she saw David tackle Nathan to the ground as the later was trying to flee.
Thank you, whoever is up there Max thought, still not believing it had worked. She had sensed that there was something special in this timeline she had jumped in. It was the only one in which Chloe moved fast enough and pushed Nathan’s hand away before he shot her.
But it wasn’t over yet. For her to be sure this would work Max still had to leave the school in Chloe’s car. Without wasting another second the young student bolted out of the corridors and headed for the parking lot. Just as luck would have it, she didn’t really have to try hard to fall in front of Chloe’s car because she tripped and landed right on the hood.
“Max?” she heard Chloe’s voice, laced with surprise and incredibility at having almost run over her childhood friend.
“Chloe?” Max tried to act as surprised as possible, seeing how she had lived this moment before.
And just like that they were off once again.
The next few days were shrouded in mystery and restless expectation for a variety of outcomes. Max still had to step in and stop Kate from jumping off the rooftop. No matter how many times she had done it, it always left her shaken up. Thankfully, Chloe was there to support her. The good news from this whole ordeal was the arrest of Nathan and Jefferson after the police found the Dark Room from an “anonymous” tip to David, which Max had absolutely nothing to do with.
The final, and one of the main reasons why Max had chosen this timeline, was the outcome with Rachel. The next day of Max and Chloe’s meeting for the “first” time, when she was almost ran over, the punk had received a text from Rachel asking her to come to the hospital, yet again, because she needed someone, anyone other than her parents. Initially Chloe couldn’t believe her eyes. She had grabbed her car keys and dashed out of the house, driving like a mad woman to go see her. Chloe had actually cried from relief when she had finally gotten the chance to hug Rachel.
As it turned out she had been drugged. She had walked right into Jefferson’s trap. Falling for his charms and his reputation as one of the most accomplished photographers. God, she had felt so stupid. She had been furious and scared at the same time but the drugs in her system made it impossible to escape, until Nathan had taken it upon himself to impress Jefferson. Taking a half-conscious, at the time, Rachel to the junkyard and making her pose for his shot.
But that was where the timeline altered.
This time Rachel had regained consciousness much quicker, perhaps a mistake in the drug dose making it lighter. And so the blonde had found the opportunity to strike Nathan in the head with the shovel he had brought with him. Rachel couldn’t remember much but she had flashes of her wandering, barefoot in the street until a car passed by and picked her up, bringing her to the hospital. Now she lay there, bruised, scared both physically and mentally.
All this she had to relay to the police which was the final nail in the coffin for the two culprits.
Max knew this would scar Rachel for life but it was the only way to keep her alive. She just hoped that having Chloe around would help in the recovery. It was time to heal. For everybody.
This was it. Max had stalled as much as she could. In one month it would be June, which meant she would be graduating from her two year program in Blackwell and two weeks after that, Chloe, Rachel and herself would be moving to L.A. Rachel to fulfill her dream to become a model, Max to work as an apprentice/part-timer at a local photographer’s workshop and Chloe… well Chloe didn’t really care where she was going as long as she was far away from Arcadia Bay.
During her time in Blackwell, Max had reconnected with Chloe and befriended Rachel or more so Rachel had adopted her. “No way in hell am I giving up the opportunity to have my own personal photographer.” Her words, not Max’s.
And so it had come to be that the three would be moving to L.A together in a shared apartment. Max wasn’t going to deny that deep inside it hurt that she had to keep her feelings for Chloe a secret, that she was in love with her. And yes, she even felt a bit jealous because not long after meeting Rachel it was made apparent that Chloe and Rachel were together. She had convinced herself however, that she could weather the storm and had promised to never leave Chloe again and that’s exactly what she had done.
But before beginning a new adventure she had to come clean. Keeping her time travelling powers a secret was not an option. The new start demanded honesty.
This was how she found herself walking up the familiar path that led to the lighthouse. Chloe and Rachel were already there. Waiting for her.
“There she is!” Chloe greeted her as the brunette approached the bench.
“How’s it going Max? Ready for the big day?” Rachel asked, smiling at her.
“Y-yeah, I mean no? I don’t know?” Nailed it.
“Relax dude. You got this!” Chloe said as she made space for Max to come join them on the bench they were sitting at.
Why was this so hard? Did she really want to complicate things again? Now, that everything seemed to have calmed down? The only answer Max could think of was, yes.
“There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you guys but just didn’t know how or when to do it. And now that it’s almost time to move out, I figured it’s now or never.”
“You know you can tell us anything.” Rachel said. Voice gentle and coaxing, making Max’s nervousness ease just a tiny bit.
“You might think I’m crazy but just bear with me please. I can explain… almost everything.” Max said, anxiety washing all over her at the idea of revealing something so bizarre to anyone. Something Chloe picked up on immediately.
“Okay, now you’re worrying me. Max what is it?” the punk asked, clearly concerned.
Max had gone through thousands of scenarios of how to say this and prove her powers without tempting fate again. She had promised to never use them again except to prove that they existed.
You got this Max Caulfield.
“I know this will sound insane, but I can reverse time.” Better rip the band aid off in one go.
Rachel and Chloe looked at each other as if they were wondering if they had heard correct.
“I don’t know how I got these powers, but I can reverse time. I can also focus on any picture I’ve taken and travel back in time, to where and when it was taken.”
“You’re right. This makes no sense. Max, did you go through my weed stash?” Chloe asked mockingly, making Max flush.
“What? No! I’m serious you guys. I can prove it.” She frowned, her annoyance getting the better of her just for a few seconds.
“I think the pressure from graduation is getting to her.” Rachel said to Chloe.
“I was not expecting you to believe me so I will just have to show you. Who wants to go first?” Max said, making them both look at her immediately.
“What do you mean?” Chloe looked at her quizzically, eyebrow arched in that way that made Max all hot inside. The light from the setting sun was shining on Chloe’s features at just the right angle, making it such an amazing picture shot. God she was beautiful.
Max realised she must have been staring for a bit too long because she felt two pairs of eyes on her, studying her. She shook her head as if it would help her wake up.
She had figured the best way to show them was the same way she had proved her powers to Chloe in the diner in the first timeline. Only this time she would hold one of the girl’s hand one at a time, so they experienced the sensation of going back and seeing it for themselves. She couldn’t physically take them back in time with her but they would get to experience the moment of rewinding, where things became a blur before being spit back out to the present. Unfortunately, they would also get a taste of that nasty headache. This was a little rewind trick she had learned through playing around with her powers.
“One of you will show me the contents of their pockets. Then I’ll rewind time just before you show me and I will tell you what’s in them. While I do this, one of you will hold my hand and like this get some of the experience. I warn you though, you will end up with one very mean headache.”
None of the girls moved and sat looking at her as if she had sniffed all of Franck’s stash.
Max held out her hand, incentivizing them to follow her lead.
“Fine, I’ll bite.” Chloe took out of her pockets her lighter, cigarettes, car keys and some change. Max memorized every detail.
“Okay, so who wants to go first?” Max asked, eager to get this over with.
“Max, love, whatever you’re on please don’t take it anymore, it makes you all fucked up. I would know…” Rachel said, a bit self-conscious. Immediately after that small comment, Rachel felt a hand on her shoulder. Looking up, she saw it was her girlfriend’s hand, a gesture of silent support. Rachel gave a small smile to Chloe as a thank you which her girlfriend instantly returned, before turning her attention back to their obviously stressed friend.
“Guys, I’m not taking drugs. Now, someone take my hand before I just grab one randomly.”
“Fine! I’ll do it.” Rachel said while getting up, coming to sit next to Max and doing as asked.
“Okay this will feel super weird.” Max warned Rachel as she lifted her free hand and concentrated.
Suddenly the whole world stopped moving, everything became blurry and a sharp pain shot through Rachel’s head.
“Ow, what the fuck!” Max heard Rachel protest, knowing it was because of the headache she was feeling but she did not speak, needing to concentrate on what she was doing.
All Rachel could do was watch as time seemed to rewind, birds flew backwards, conversations became muffled and she became speechless. And without a warning she was dropped out of the rewind state, feeling dizzy and disorientated.
“Fine, I’ll bite.” Chloe was saying again. Max stopped her from taking the things out of her pocket and told her in every detail the contents.
“How the hell…?” Chloe’s mouth was agape when she looked at Rachel. Immediately noticing her girlfriend’s complexion and look of astonishment.
“Rachel? Are you okay??? You look pale.” The punk asked, concerned.
“I-Max what the fuck just happened?!” she spoke a bit louder than intended.
“You just got a taste of time travel.”
“Holly Shit! Chloe she wasn’t lying.” Rachel exclaimed; eyes rounded as she turned to look at Chloe.
“Okay, you guys are freaking me out!”
“Chloe take my hand. Rachel, show me what’s in your bag.” Max ordered, wanting for Chloe to be included into this before she freaked out even more.
And so Max did the exact same thing, reversing time while holding Chloe’s hand, going back to the moment before Rachel emptied her bag, guessing everything correctly.
“Max, what the hell… you weren’t kidding.” Chloe said in astonishment, trying to contain her excitement.
Max shook her head. God she was so dizzy. She felt like all her energy had been sucked out.
“Shit! Are you okay?” Chloe cried out when she saw Max’s nose bleeding profoundly.
“Y-yeah, I just haven’t used my powers in almost two years and this little hand trick is a real bitch.”
Both women gave her a concerned look before Rachel fished a tissue out of her bag and handed it to her.
“Thanks.” Max replied as she wiped the blood off her upper lip.
“Here, you missed a spot.” Chloe said as she took the bloodied tissue and cleaned the corner of Max’s mouth. A gesture that made the photographer’s stomach swoop like it was filled with hundreds of butterflies.
“Max that was incredible! Why the hell have you NOT used these powers?!” Chloe asked after helping her out. She sounded pumped up.
“Well this brings us to the next part of the story which is the one that sucks the most. I just want you to know that I have and will never lie to you. Neither of you.” Max promised, needing for the girls to believe her for what was to come.
“After what we just experienced, we are never doubting again.” Rachel assured her.
“This will be hard to hear but it’s the truth.” Max warned, preparing herself for the most difficult talk in her life.
And so they sat there, hours went by and by the time Max finished talking the sun had set, painting the sky in dark purple and blues hues.
No one talked for a long time after, digesting what they had heard. Max had told them everything about the original timeline. How she tried to save Chloe, how she failed to save them both. How she tried over and over again to find a timeline where they wouldn’t have to go through such horrendous events but couldn’t find any.
“Please believe me. I tried. I tried so hard to make things right b-but…” she choked up. Reliving all those memories had drained her, had brought back all the hurt and fear she carried with her. She couldn’t hold back the tears she had bottled up over the last months.
“I-I couldn’t let you die Chloe. I just couldn’t.” she sobbed and within seconds both girls were beside her, hugging her tightly and trying to comfort her.
As hard as it was to believe all of this, they did. How could they not after what they had experienced? Plus, she had relayed to them in detail events that no one else knew except the people involved; like the events that went down with Frank. And the pain in Max’s eyes; it was real. There was no faking that. They had both gone through traumatic ordeals, so they knew real pain and fear when they saw it.
“It’s over now. We got you. You can let it all out.” Chloe spoke in a soft voice, wanting to calm the sobbing girl in her arms down. Max needed to know that she had done everything she could.
“Thank you, Max. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you. Just know that we will always be here when you need us.” Rachel said reassuringly. Her own heart beating so fast she felt like she had run a marathon.
The next few days after the heavy confession were odd, to say the least. None of the girls knew how to process all that information and so they each took some time for themselves. Re-evaluating their lives and their relationship.
For someone with time powers one would think that Max knew a bit more than the average person about time, but there she was, not knowing when one month had flown by, receiving her diploma and award for the “Everyday heroes” contest with her parents, Chloe, Rachel and Joyce cheering her on. It had been an emotional day, happy day for everyone. Max couldn’t contain her smile. For once the future seemed bright, full of difficult challenges, yes, but she was ready to face them together with Chloe and Rachel.
Which brings the three girls to now, eight months later, in a cosy apartment in L.A living their life anew.
It hadn’t been easy, mind you. In the end though, they had managed to find a spacious apartment with three bedrooms, one for each. Max had taken the room facing the west so she could always look out the window during the golden hour. Rachel occupied the room facing East and Chloe the one in between which was exactly what she had wanted because she didn’t want the sun disturbing her during her midday naps. However, the punk rarely used that room as she always slept with Rachel but it pleased her to know that she had a place where she could retreat to, if and when, she needed it.
The entrance door opened to the living room area with an open kitchen, the kitchen island separating the two. Luckily, the place had a decent sized bathroom and bathtub which Rachel very much appreciated.
Max had found a part-time job at a photography workshop and did freelance jobs on the side. Rachel took up modelling jobs whenever she got the chance and also had started acting at a small theatre company while Chloe had gotten a job at a car repair store run by a guy named Mike, who actually seemed to love what he did and didn’t look down on Chloe, like everyone else tended to do when they saw she didn’t have a high school degree. The punk also drew during her spare time; she found out it was cathartic and helped ease her anxiety. A lot of her work adorned the walls of the house, something she was especially proud of.
Night had settled in, the stars shone above them even if they couldn’t make them out over the bright city lights. The three of them were returning home from a fun night out, the cool February breeze making the walk all the more enjoyable, yet slightly awkward, which had nothing to do with the weather.
Chloe and Rachel always included Max in their talks, made the best of efforts to make her feel like she belonged but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t act like a couple as well.
Neither Chloe nor Rachel failed to miss the side glances to their interlocked fingers as they walked, which Max tried hard to hide in vain. Chloe, the very embodiment of a tease that would usually banter with Max, kept weirdly quiet at times like these while Rachel on the other hand, had run out of patience. She had had enough.
Oh she was aware that Max had feelings for Chloe from the time they were in Arcadia Bay but things had changed now. She could see Max stealing glances at both her and Chloe when she thought she was being discrete. There were definitely some strong feelings involved. To her it seemed normal, all three had matured, grown out of their old self, shedding off old burdens and hurt making way for new and healthier emotions to take root.
Rachel could see how both women had looked at each other over the years and tonight was no different. She needed to take action. Now. There was so much a girl could take.
And that’s exactly what she did once they entered their apartment. Sitting them down around the kitchen island for a little girl on girl on girl talk, with Chloe and Max facing each other and Rachel in the middle. She felt like a referee, might as well be wearing a black and white striped tee.
“Soooo…. Why are we sitting here like we’re about to get the third degree?” Chloe asked, looking at Max as she balanced on the hind legs of the stool she was sitting on.
“Hey, don’t look at me! Rachel’s the one acting all mysterious for once.”
“You’re telling me none of you have figured it out?” Rachel spoke, surprise genuine in her voice.
“NoPe.” Chloe answered, lips drawn together before parting with a loud pop sound.
Max just shook her head.
Rachel closed her eyes and breathed in. Hard way it was then.
“Will you two finally admit your feelings for each other or do I have to force it out of you?”
“What?!” Max shot out in surprise, immediately becoming aware of her sprawled position over the counter and withdrawing, hunching over as if to protect herself. Her mind screaming BUSTED to her instead of trying to help. Totally betrayed.
“Yes Rach, please enlighten us!” Chloe chimed in, instantly sitting upright, the front legs of the stool coming down with a harsh thud, all while the punk attempted to ease her beating heart, panic rising from within, feeling like she had been caught red-handed and had fucked things up again.
“Oh, come on! Do you really think I drink dumb juice?”
Chloe raised an eyebrow at her to which Rachel responded by flipping her off.
“I’ve seen how you both look at each other like a pack of hungry wolves looking at their prey.”
“Rachel!” they both cried out in unison in complaint but knew her to be true.
Max did not want to admit her feelings because the two women were in a relationship and she would never be that person to get between them. She would never hurt Chloe, ever again nor would she admit that over the past year she’d fallen hard for Rachel too.
As for Chloe there was no denying it, she loved Rachel, but she had also had feelings for Max for years. It had first started as an innocent teen crush that never got developed into anything more. And now that she was back how could she bring it up? She did not want to mess things up with Rachel; the one good thing she had gotten out of her years in Blackhell.
The weak attempts to hide their feelings had not fooled Rachel. She could see how Chloe looked at Max. Knew her too well by now. The same applied for Max, the girl was an open book when it came to how she acted, around Chloe at least. In addition, Rachel wasn’t afraid by her realization that she herself was into Max. The brunette had seemed shy at first glance but Rachel was sure she was hiding more than she was letting on. Had a force that she would love to tap into. Plus, she was one of the best photographers out there and the only one she felt safe around after the nightmare she went through with that ass Jefferson and Nathan.
“Am I wrong?” Rachel persisted but her voice was calm, almost soothing as if she wanted to reassure them that everything was alright.
No way of getting out of this one huh? Thought Max. So much for being smooth as a ninja. Might as well bite the bullet.
“No. You’re right. And I think you know it too Chloe.” Max looked at Chloe straight in the eyes, wanting to show her she meant what she said and needing to see Chloe’s reactions to her words. “You can’t remember it because we are in a different timeline but when we were by the lighthouse and the storm was minutes away I told you how I felt and I…I kinda kissed you.” She said now averting her gaze and fumbling with her fingers nervously.
Both Chloe and Rachel stared at her in surprise.
“And I could never come between you guys. I chose this timeline knowing I might not have a chance with you but that didn’t matter. What mattered was for both of you to be safe. Alive .” Max tore her eyes from the corner of the table they had been glued on to look at Rachel. She cleared her throat, trying to find her voice again.
“Since we’re coming clean, I might as well say it. Rachel I um..” Where did all the confidence she had just now disappear to? She took a deep breath, abating her nerves.
“During the past year, I’ve fallen for you too. I mean spine breaking hard. Is that weird?”
“No, Max. It’s not. It’s completely fine.” Rachel said in a honey-laced voice as she reached for her hand and gave it a gentle, reassuring squeeze.
“Fuck.” Chloe grunted as she dropped her head on the tabletop with a dull thud. Max’s heart was pounding. She was afraid Chloe wouldn’t feel the same way. That she had made a huge mistake and even though she could rewind back time, it was out of the question. She would deal with it like all normal people did. Time she wore her big girl pants.
“Max.” Chloe looked up again. Why was she so nervous? She wasn’t being rejected. On the contrary. “Max, I’ve had feelings for you since we were teens. And then you left and that broke my heart.”
Max felt her heart plummet to her stomach. The words like a thousand knives being thrown at her.
“But I never stopped thinking about you. And then you returned, and I didn’t know how to process it. It was so sudden. Christ I nearly drove you over the first time I saw you after so many years!” she admitted, feeling a bit lighter from getting so many things off her chest. Chloe then turned to face Rachel.
“I was afraid of admitting it. Rachel, how was I supposed to bring this up? You know how much I love you and I can’t bear to lose you.” Under all the bravado, Chloe was insecure. Scared that she would somehow fuck up and be left alone again.
“Listen, both of you.” Rachel spoke up, drawing two pair of blue eyes on her.
“I get both of your reasons for not wanting to speak and I completely understand. I respect you both for not wanting to complicate things and hurt one another. But. I can’t just stand here and watch both of you avoid the subject and suppress your feelings for my sake.”
No one spoke, waiting for Rachel to continue.
“Chloe, we’ve been through some of the hardest times in our lives together and nothing or no one will ever change that. I love you. You’ve helped me become a better person, even if you have trouble believing it. You were the only person in my life that never lied to me. You stood by my side and even called out my bullshit. Not a lot of people can do that.” To this Chloe gave her a warm smile full of love. She knew Rachel was referring to the rough patch they had gone through when the former had a fling with Franck. Chloe’s then explosive behaviour hadn’t helped but she was glad that they overcame the obstacle, together. She never again doubted Rachel’s love for her.
“And Max, these past few months have been some of the most fun I’ve had in my life. Chloe is constantly smiling and is genuinely happy. How could I be mad at that? And to make things clear. You’re not the only one who’s fallen for a second someone.” She said, a small smile creeping in the corner of her lips, lifting a bit the mood that had fallen heavy over them.
“Wait. What do you mean?!” Max shot back immediately, not entirely sure she had heard correct or if her mind was playing tricks on her.
“I mean, dummy. I like you. You’re not the only one who caught feelings…” she trailed off, letting the statement sink in.
An awkward silence settled over them as nobody dared to speak, simply trying to sort through their thoughts. Chloe was the first one to break the silence.
“So, now what?” she asked although deep down she knew exactly what she wanted.
Rachel scanned them both before speaking. She needed to be sure she read them correctly before she suggested anything.
“Now if both of you are okay with it and it’s something you think we can manage; we try it out.” Rachel offered, voice firm despite the knot in her stomach, fearing she had crossed a line.
“Wait. You mean like the three of us?” Chloe inquired with an incredulous look on her face.
“Yes.” Rachel responded, keeping a straight face but deep inside the little voice in her head was yelling at her that she was out of her mind.
Throughout all this, Max was sitting tensely, rigid as if struck by lightning. The minutes seemed to stretch into hours, and she didn’t know how much more she could take, being in this state of shock.
Thankfully, Chloe came to the rescue.
“I’m willing to give it a try if both of you are alright with it.” Max had never seen Chloe so serious before. She really wanted this; she could tell. There was anticipation, excitement and fear in those pale blue eyes that made her heart skip a beat every time she looked into them.
Max had never been in a proper relationship before. It’s not like she had no experience in dating, but never something serious and definitely not with two people. She was terrified but if there was one thing she was certain about, was her love for Chloe and her newly developed love for Rachel. So why not? She had chosen this timeline for a reason. She had sacrificed so much, including her own happiness, seeing how Chloe and Rachel would most likely end up being together in her chosen timeline, eliminating all chances of Max being with Chloe. And things did end up happening exactly that way but now she was being given the chance to be with two amazing women. No way in hell would she pass up on this.
“I want to give us a chance too.” She finally said, locking eyes first with Chloe and then with Rachel.
“Max…Are you sure?” Chloe asked. Disbelief coloured her voice, yet her eyes were full of yearning.
“Yes, Chloe. How could I ever say no?” To this Chloe flashed one of her brightest smiles which was mirrored by Rachel and Max could feel her heart swell with joy because holly shit this was really happening.
Rachel didn’t waste another minute. She got up from her seat and took both women’s hands, pulling till all three were standing. She hugged Chloe and kissed her on the lips, smiling into the kiss when the other wrapped her arms around her waist and hugged her tightly. Once they, reluctantly, parted the model faced Max who was awkwardly standing beside them. Rachel closed the small gap between them with two steps. She placed her hand on Max’s cheek, smiling tenderly at her, making Max feel like her skin would melt under the touch.
“Can I?” Rachel asked, sounding a bit hesitant. Max couldn’t seem to remember how to form words, so she gave the next best thing. A nod.
Rachel started moving again, angling her head slightly to the left, leaning in and then Rachel was kissing her. It wasn’t a deep kiss, lips lightly brushing against hers but it was enough to have Max’s pulse speed up.
“Shit. That’s hot.” Chloe said behind them. Aaand the moment was ruined. Chloe was back.
“You really know how to read the room don’t you?” Rachel teased, backing away from Max.
“I consider myself an expert.” Chloe paused for a moment as if considering something. “Hey Max.”
“When you told us about the storm and the lighthouse. You said we were up there, together right?”
“Yeah…” Max didn’t really want to remember that day.
“How about you remind me then?”
Max looked at her, confusion plastered all over her face.
“Remind you of what?”
“You said you kissed me. Remind me or show me? Not sure how this time travelling shit works.”
Max was suddenly anxious, not only was another person watching them, with a sly grin spread all over their face at that, already enjoying this a little too much, but this would also be their first kiss well not technically but the first, nonetheless, for this Chloe.
The request had caught her off guard and now her heart was hammering so hard against her chest it threatened to burst out. Despite all the turmoil inside her, she took a step forward and placed her hand on Chloe’s nape just like that day, triggering bad memories that Max tried hard to suppress. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes.
The next thing her brain registered was a pair of soft lips on hers and Chloe’s perfume invading her senses. Max had dreamed of this moment for so long, getting to kiss Chloe without the sense of finality and knowing she would never see her again. To have the woman she loved, and was willing to sacrifice an entire town for, in her arms was overwhelming.
“You have no idea how long I’ve been wanting to do that.” Chloe said as they broke apart. “Hey, no offence.“ she said with a bashful smile to Rachel.
Max laughed and sniffled, holding back the tears, refusing to let them fall.
“What’s wrong?” Chloe asked with concern, thumb caressing her cheek.
“Nothing it’s just, this is one of the happiest moments but this kiss made me remember that day, by the lighthouse… God Chloe, the number of times I had to watch you die.” Max said, sounding distressed, as a flood of images of Chloe’s dead body rushed behind her eyes like a film.
Both girls rushed over to hug Max.
“Hey, it’s over now. I am never letting you go.” Chloe consoled her as she caressed her hair.
“You’re safe now Max and know that if you ever want to talk again about the things you’ve been through, we are here for you.” Rachel added before landing a soft kiss on her head.
“Thanks.” Max sniffled, already feeling herself calm down by the comforting embrace of the two women.
The three young women took some time to collect their thoughts after such big revelations been made. Feeling the discomfort the party clothes they still had on brought them, Rachel suggested they take some time to take showers and change into comfortable and clean ones before regrouping in the living room.
It took some time but soon enough all three of them were freshly showered and sprawled around in the living room couches.
“I say this calls for a celebration!” Rachel said, feeling exhilarated.
“Didn’t we just come back from one?” Max asked in bewilderment.
“Oh my sweet summer child. You’ve never partied twice at the same night, have you?” Rachel teased but there was no animosity in her voice.
“No, she hasn’t.” Chloe answered for her.
“Hey! You guys are already teaming up against me?!” Max protested, her fingers curling over the helm of her hoodie in the most adorable sweater paws Chloe and Rachel had ever seen.
“Oh, this is just the beginning.” Rachel poked fun at Max and gave her a small peck on the lips before shuffling over to the wireless speakers, switching them on and turning up the volume.
Max stood there, stunned by the kiss she wasn’t used to receiving yet. This was real. She couldn’t help but smile.
“Come on Maxipad. Join us!” Chloe called to her from where she had joined Rachel, dancing to the music.
“I don’t see how calling me a pad is supposed to motivate me.” She argued back.
“Smartass. How about this then?” Chloe said before taking her hand and pulling her in for another kiss.
Max was prepared this time and eagerly eased into it, feeling all types of mushy and in love.
“Mmm I like your methods of persuasion.” Max finally said after she unwillingly pulled away.
It didn’t take long for Max to get over her initial reluctance and soon she was dancing carefree with her new partners.
Of course, at some point, Max took a step back and went to grab her camera, capturing the moment with a few pictures from her polaroid. It was truly great that neither of her girlfriends were shy in front of a camera as they danced, posed and dragged her in so all three could be in the picture. This was a night none of them would forget.