The sun was setting as she entered her hometown’s city limits. She was thankful Max recently filled her car with gas, because she refused to stop, going about 80 miles per hour most of way. She parked and grabbed her girlfriend’s bag from the passenger’s seat. Chloe ran as fast as she could up the path to the lighthouse, and saw her favorite blonde sitting on the bench.
“Good you’re here,” she wheezed, out of breath from the run, slouched over for a moment of rest. “I didn’t see your car.”
“I’ve been here a while, Chloe. My dad dropped me off, so you’ll have to give me a ride back to his house later. I know this is important to you, but damn, I’m pooped.” Rachel looked like she was about to pass out; she needed sleep badly. “I haven’t eaten that much in a long time, though. It was nice to catch up.”
“Hey, remember that one time we were eating dinner and you smashed your parents’ table to pieces? That was priceless… and I’m very punny tonight.” The punk loudly cackled to herself. She noticed her friend did not find her comments too amusing, so she quickly stopped giggling and faked a cough.
“Okay, Rach. I have no idea what the hell we’re supposed to do, I just know that… shit!” She grabbed the bench and was forced to take a seat beside her friend.
“Chloe, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” Rachel reached over and placed her hand on her friend’s shoulder, pulling herself closer.
“Fuuuuck, it felt like Max rewound for maybe a second. It was like she tried but couldn’t quite do it. Dammit, Rachel, I think she’s in big trouble.” She stood up and paced back and forth in front of the bench. “You got any cigs?” She realized she hadn’t lit up in several days. Something about being back in Arcadia Bay and the stress of her partner’s current situation made her crave a smoke. That first drag of a freshly sparked cigarette would set her just right.
“No, and stop, please. You are going to drive me nuts. I do not know what we can do from here, but you need to calm down.” Chloe realized her friend was right. Until they knew what they needed to do, there was no point being overly stressed and anxious. Channeling her inner Long Max Silver, she decided to relax and wait for a sign.
“Before anything else, I want to give you something. I was thinking, I don’t wear it anymore and it represents a special time in our lives. I actually saved it just for you at the right moment, and this feels like a really good time.” Locking her hazel eyes on her blue-haired friend, Rachel tilted her head and smiled. “No matter what happens after all of this, please know I love you. Here, take it.” The blonde popped open a white padded box revealing the item. She reached in and pulled out her blue feather earring. She slowly touched Chloe’s neck and slid her hand down towards her chest. Grabbing ahold and revealing the girl’s bullet necklace, she clipped on the earring. “Looks damn good on you.” Releasing the necklace and tucking it back in, Rachel leaned over and pressed her lips against her friend’s cheek.
“I… I don’t know what to say. Thank you. I guess that’s the right thing. I love it.” She leaned over and put her head on her friend’s shoulder. “Rach, I’m so glad you’re here with me. It sorta feels like old times, just… different.” She pulled the necklace back out and ran her fingers through the feather. “I’ve told you about some really fucked up shit recently: time travel, different timelines, opening portals, mine and Max’s relationship; and you’ve had my back regardless of how crazy it all is, thank you for that.”
“OH! I know what,” the actress excitedly blurted out, turning to directly face her friend. “Let’s do that thing we used to do.”
“Uh, you’re gonna hafta be a little more specific there, Rach.”
“You lie down, here on the bench, and pretend it’s your truck. Put your head in my lap and let’s have an old-fashioned Rachel and Chloe therapy session.” She had a playful, yet loving look in her gorgeous alomond-shaped, hazel eyes.
“THAT might be the best idea I’ve heard today.” She scooted sideways and gently rested her head on Rachel’s legs, taking a deep breath and releasing.
“So, what seems to be bothering you, Miss Chloe Price?” the actress asked, with a bit of bass in her best doctor’s voice. “Tell me all of your troubles.”
“Well you see,” the therapy patient began, “there’s this girl.”
“Ah, it always comes back to a girl… sorry. Please continue.”
“There’s this girl, Doc. We grew up together. I think I had a crush on her even back when we were kids, I just didn’t realize it. All I knew was this girl is very special.” Chloe paused, meeting eyes with her therapist. “Are you really fine with this, Rach? I mean, we can stop if…”
“Yeah, no. You two are so damn cute together. I still think the three of us could have something special too, buuuuuuut, yeah, I’m good. Really.”
“There’s no way it could happen. I couldn’t risk her falling in love with you, Rach. She’s all mine, and I don’t think I would be good at sharing,” the blunette smirked.
“Honestly, I doubt that would happen; she is pretty locked in on you. It really seems like you’re the only thing that matters to Max. So…” the blonde continued, coughing in an attempt to get back into character. “Where were we? Ah, yes. This girl was special… Please continue.”
“I thought we were only playing pirates when we were kids, but she ransacked my ship and stole my heart.”
“Fuck, that’s beautiful, Chloe. You really are going soft.”
The patient held up her hand, with a specific finger raised in the middle. “Well, I was gonna say ‘she plundered me booty,’ but figured that wasn’t the best choice of pirate words.” The girls shared a laugh, and Chloe continued. “A wild crew called ‘parents’ swept her away, but she found her way back. She, uh, navigated the high seas to… uhm, dammit… Enough pirate talk!”
“Tell me about now, how things are now?” Rachel stroked her chin pulling downward on her imaginary beard.
“Well, this girl came back into my life with a superpower. She saved my life over and over again using said power. But now she’s somewhere I cannot go, and she’s in danger, and there’s nothing I can do. We both felt like it was important for her to go, but I’m not so sure now. I feel lost, Doc. I miss her so much.”
“Hmm, there’s always one thing you can do. You can hope. Hope is powerful, Chloe, I… I mean Ms. Price. We can both hope… for Max.” She leaned down and kissed her patient on the forehead while stroking her soft blue hair. They sat in silence embracing the moment of calmness, briefly escaping the current turmoil.
Chloe snapped back to reality and sat straight up. She turned to the girl, clutching both of her hands. “I have an idea. Remember how I told you some of Max’s power somehow seeped into me? Well, maybe I should try to use it here, right now. I have no idea how or why it would help bring her back, but shit, I feel like I should try it.”
Rachel nodded and released her friend’s hands. Chloe stood up, closed her eyes, and stretched her arm forward, palm pushing outward. She searched deep in her mind for the syrupy, meshed spot she previously discovered. She found endless crooks and crannies, dips and rises, valleys and peaks, but couldn’t locate the sweet spot. Reopening her eyes and lowering her arm, she looked back at the girl, still sitting on the bench, legs crossed. “I can’t find it. It was easier when she was with me.”
“Maybe somehow you need her near you to do it,” Rachel suggested, arms crossed at her chest with her hands tucked at the pits.
“I have to do this without her here, Rach. I have to keep trying. She needs me, I just know it.” The Chloe realized her own words sounded distressed and desperate, but it didn’t matter. “Here we go.”
She stretched her arm back out, towards the bay, and began her search. The endless grey rushed past as she frantically hunted. Getting frustrated, she tensed all the muscles in her body. As soon as she released, she noticed a bubbled, meshed area amongst the grey. “Fuck, there it is!” she screamed, startling her blonde friend. As she approached, she noticed the syrupy consistency of the bubble. She prodded the area, and her body violently began shaking.
“Chloe!” Rachel jumped up and grabbed the punk’s non-extended arm.
Suddenly, a pulsing blast erupted from her hand. “Shiiiiiiit!” Chloe screamed, voice bouncing with a stutter, eyes remaining tightly squeezed shut. Fear radiated through her body, causing her to quickly plug the pulse. Once it was shut off, she crumbled to the ground.
The high-pitched ringing in her ears rapidly diminished. Opening her eyes, she noticed Rachel stirring next to her also working her way back to a consciously controlled state.
“Fuck, what the hell was that?” Rachel incredulously asked. Helping each other up, they pushed their way to a standing position. The lighthouse beacon seemed much brighter than before; lights from the city glowed more radiant. “Look how dark it is now, Chloe. Damn. I don’t think you rewound; I think you just fast-forwarded.”
Death. Disasters. Sacrifices. More death.
Over and over, one by one, the scenes continued to speed by. Every few moments, a word or two of gibberish escaped the brunette’s mouth, but nothing coherent.
After what seemed like an eternity, a wave of energy shot through the girl. Her eyes rolled forward and the trance was broken. “Chloe!” the girl screamed, lifting her body off the ground. “She’s searching for me; I can feel her.”
“How?” the Watcher shouted in disbelief, voice echoing through the chamber. “She is bound by time and you are here, outside of time.” The man stroked his beard and approached the girl. “But your connection stretches beyond time? Hmm. No wonder you are unable to be broken. I know the answer, but I must ask anyway. The cycle demands a life; will you comply?”
“Fuck no,” she replied without hesitation. “I will NEVER break! Do whatever you want to me, SHE is all that matters.”
“If you will not willingly comply, this will surely scramble your mind. Then, you will be unable to resist. You will comply without knowing you are doing so.” The Watcher began waving his arms again, more swiftly than before.
Max stood strong. She stepped forward and closed her eyes, tilting her head back slightly and taking a deep breath through her nose. Her chest was puffed forward, and her arms hung beside her, hands clenched. Reopening her eyes, she defiantly rebelled, “Bring your best, motherfucker.”
Despite her greatest resistance, her eyes were forced back in her head once again and the scenes continued.