December 19, 2013
It’s been a while since I’ve written here, and part of me feels silly needing this thing anymore. When I read my old entries, I sorta cringe. I used to draw doodles everywhere, and it all seems so childlike now for some reason. I feel like a completely different person from the day I was accepted into Blackwell until now. I probably won’t write every day, but after the last couple of months, I’m hoping this will help clear my mind a bit. Plus, I heard Chloe laugh this morning for the first time in what seems like forever. I literally teared-up hearing the old Chloe still in there.
Losing Rachel was hard on her. Losing Rachel a second time broke her. When we left Arcadia Bay, we had a long conversation. Well, I did all the talking while Chloe drove us to Seattle. Occasionally, she would nod and mumble. “Yeah, ok, Max,” she’d say, while blankly staring at the road. I’d catch her looking over at me from time to time, but not much more.
I explained how Rachel was a hero by saving not only our lives, but the lives of countless others. The cycle demanded a life and she sacrificed herself making damn sure it wouldn’t be either of us. In choosing to save us, she tricked the cycle, which accepted her life, rather than our lives, apparently resetting the timeline to the original storm day. I’m not 100% how any of it works, though.
I also explained what I learned about our deep connection, The Watcher, the atomic level, and the yin and the yang stuff – how she could fast forward while I could rewind, but she only nodded. I think she has accepted everything, but I really don’t know. It breaks my heart seeing my beautiful blue-haired punk with tats and ‘tude so… lifeless.
She did open up a little yesterday. She briefly expressed regret in not calling Joyce during the week that never happened. At the time, we didn’t understand we only had one week before we would return to the day of the storm. How could we have known? I deeply regret not reaching out to Kate or Warren too. Part of me is still hopeful Kate somehow survived in the hospital. I’ve tried her phone several times, but it seems to have been disconnected.
David stuck around town helping pull bodies from the rubble. From my understanding, he worked as a point person on the rescue team. He and Victoria were among the only survivors by being down in the fucking darkroom during the storm. As soon as we left, he called Chloe and they had a similar conversation to the first one – it was kinda eerie. After that, she was mostly silent despite my pleas to not keep things bottled up inside. She did hold my hand tightly most of the trip – that was really nice. There’s probably a textbook somewhere with a definition for how she feels. How would science even begin to explain what we went through during those weeks? Aside from the laughter this morning, she seems to have two settings:
2) Overly protective of me
She snapped at the gas station attendant last weekend for disrespecting me. He didn’t even really do anything wrong. I questioned the change he handed back and he corrected me. Then she jumped down his throat and caused a huge scene. I had to drag her away. She doesn’t want me to ever be out of her sight for longer than a minute or so, which includes bathroom time. In the shower, I can hear the door crack. She briefly sticks her head in and listens, just to make sure I’m okay.
We hug all the time, but it feels more like she’s just holding on to me rather than any show of affection. I feel a little guilty because all I want to do is be around her, so I can’t say I mind her protectiveness. She also kisses me on the lips sometimes, but it feels very mechanical and never more than for a second or two. We’ve not had any more shower-like experiences together, which I really want to get back to at some point. I have zero doubt she is still in love with me, I just miss the goopy stuff. Those were my favorites. Like everything else, we need time. I just miss… us.
It’s strange thinking about that word now. I haven’t been able to rewind in months. I think it’s gone for good, and I’m very glad. I can see why Tom turned out the way he did, having the power for six months – wowser. In a way, I miss how it made my body tingle. It being gone, though, means my purpose has been fulfilled, and we might actually be able to move on and have normal lives… one day… I hope…
Speaking of normal lives, I am studying to earn my GED. The exam is scheduled for early February. I couldn’t go back to school after everything we’d been through, but Mom and Dad insisted I earn my diploma. They’ve been so supportive of me and Chloe, which I’m very thankful for. They told us we could live with them as long as we needed to. We’ve never had the conversation, but they know we sleep in the same bed, and I noticed that Mom saw us, a few weeks back, when Chloe kissed me goodnight in the hall. She just smiled and turned back towards the kitchen.
I’ve picked the camera back up. I guess I never completely put it down, but I went several weeks without the desire to snap a shot. Even though we’re both a bit fucked up, Chloe is still as beautiful as ever, and I can’t resist taking as many photos of her as possible. She hasn’t colored her hair since before the first storm week. It’s beginning to fade some, but I really like it. You can see the strawberry blonde roots showing just a bit. Blue-haired Chloe is wonderful, but there’s something special about her natural hair color coming through. It probably reminds me of us playing as kids together. Those were some of the best days of my life.
Tonight, in bed, I am going to ask Chloe to cuddle with me. She used to clutch Rachel’s feather earring to her chest and fall asleep facing the opposite direction, but I always woke up with a part of her body touching me. Sometimes it’s a foot or a hand, just causally grazing my leg or arm. Other times she has an arm completely over me. I feel pretty messed up when I think about what we went through, but I can’t even imagine what she’s feeling now. I realize abandonment is all she’s ever truly known, which is largely my fault, in a way, and she’s afraid something bad will happen to me. Deep down she fears I will in some way leave her.
THAT WILL NEVER FUCKING HAPPEN!
I AM NEVER LEAVING YOU CHLOE!!
December 20, 2013
Last night was amazeballs! I asked Chloe if she would hold me and she readily agreed. We didn’t talk much, but we kissed a lot. It was so sweet and… raw. Just writing this fills my heart. Even though she’s been lying next to me every night for months, I’ve missed her so much! It feels like we’ve been wandering around in a fog for the longest time. The last few days have been a little better. I can see the beacon guiding us into the light. We have a long way to go, but the waters don’t seem as choppy as they once were.
December 22, 2013
We fell asleep in each other’s arms again. When I woke up, Chloe was lying there staring at me. Her clear sapphire eyes are the perfect sight to wake up to, my dog! I feel like a schoolgirl, hoping my crush just notices me. The best part, when she realized I was awake, after our eyes locked, she smiled at me. Fuck, she fucking smiled! I love it when she smiles. Then she traced my face with her fingertips, and we kissed for several minutes.
She asked if we could talk and I nearly wept. Yeah, I know… it’s only been a couple of months, but it feels like so much longer since we’ve had a real conversation. She basically just told me how pretty I am over and over again. I’ve never been good at taking compliments, but when she says it, I believe it. We hadn’t connected like that in quite a while. No, we didn’t REALLY talk about anything earthshattering, but I think that’s absolutely fine. We’ve had enough earthshattering shit to last ten lifetimes.
I keep seeing signs she’s coming around, but I have this feeling that something is still missing. I noticed Chloe rub Rachel’s feather on her necklace earlier, and it gave me an idea. At this point, it feels like my idea will help Chloe, and me, move on. I just want to give her something she wasn’t able to have before. With Christmas coming up, and me having zero moolah, this will be my gift to her. The toughest part will be getting her to give me enough time and space to set it up without her knowing. If I still had my rewind it would be much easier. I’ll definitely need my parents to help. Something just feels right about Christmas Eve. It feels like the perfect time…
“Chloe!” Max’s mom called from downstairs, which was all part of the plan. “I need your help!” Chloe shot up from her normal spot on the bed and muted the TV. She quickly turned her head and locked eyes with Max, seemingly shocked. Most days, she just laid around watching Netflix or a cable show – with the occasional hugging session that Max loved so much. She rarely interacted with Ryan and Vanessa besides infrequent meals at the dinner table. She mainly remained silent with short one-word answers during those awkward moments. The brunette nodded in confirmation and Chloe opened the door, heading out of the room and down the stairs.
Max knew she did not have much time. She acted quickly, pulling out the small square folding table and large cardboard box her father had hidden in the upstairs closet. She set up the table in the corner of her room and covered it with a nice satin tablecloth. From the box, she pulled out a single candle, three nice china dinner plates, silverware, and a vase already containing two red roses. On one plate Max laid another, a white rose. Next to each place setting, a wine glass awaiting to be filled from a bottle her Dad offered without question. Over the back of one chair, Max carefully placed a familiar flannel shirt.
Once Max completed the preparations she reached into the box for the remaining items and moved over to the other wall; her photo wall. Carefully she rearranged the pictures in order to make room and filled the spaces with dozens of new additions. She had this new arrangement in her mind for days, so it was nice to finally realize it with the photos that she had recently received back from the printers. Max stepped back and looked at her handiwork, patiently straightened a larger picture that was slightly crooked, and then dimmed the lights so only the table glowed by candlelight. It was time to get dinner before Chloe caught on.
Max quietly opened the door and looked to make sure Chloe was not in sight. She headed down the stairs and poked her head into the kitchen just as her mother turned to work on their meal. Each caught the others’ attention.
“Where’s Chloe?” Max whispered as loud as she could and still retain a soft voice.
“She’s getting a couple of bottles of wine,” her mom responded, pointing towards the garage.
“Uh, that’s not going to be enough time, is it?”
Vanessa winked at her daughter. “Don’t worry, sweetie. I asked her to get the ones on the bottom. If I know Chloe, she won’t pass up a challenge.”
“Sneaky. Is everything ready?”
“Go grab the plates and I’ll get things taken care of down here.”
Max quickly raced back up to her room, collected two plates, and returned to find her Mom slicing dinner. The smell of the roasted meat, potatoes, and other side dishes filled the kitchen with savory scents. They both carefully plated two servings for each of the girls and then Max headed back upstairs.
When she reached her room, she realized she hadn’t the hands to open the door. Luckily, her Mom had knowingly followed behind her and helped her not only open the door but offer a piece of advice. “Max, you might need this.” Vanessa held out a corkscrew for the unopened bottle of wine on the table. With a quick wink and a small chuckle, she went back downstairs to finish dinner. Max quietly closed the door, set the plates in place, sloppily uncorked the bottle, and poured some wine for each place setting.
With the candle lit, Max moved back to the door, cracking it open just in time to hear Chloe enter from the garage. Her mom and her girlfriend held a brief conversation, and then she heard footsteps on the stairs. Max slowly opened the door, walked out, and closed it behind her back to patiently wait for the person this whole evening was about.
A few seconds later, faded blue hair, then blue eyes, and finally a punk goddess rose from the stairwell to be met by the shorter brunette. They looked at each other quietly, then Max reached out her hand and softly took Chloe’s, guiding her into the candlelit room.
“Max? What’s this?”
“It’s for both of you. And it’s for both us.”
“Both?” Chloe was caught off guard. She looked perplexed yet curious.
“You and Rachel, Chloe. Come, sit down.” Max pulled out the chair directly across from another and waited for her partner to sit. Then Max sat down between the two, completing the trio of guests.
Chloe looked at the table and the place settings. Then she glanced at the roses in the vase and the one across from her and realized what Max was doing. Her facial expressions showed a whirlwind of emotions, but the blue-haired girl remained silent.
“It’s okay, Chloe, take your time. Why don’t you try dinner?”
Chloe looked down at her plate then back at her girlfriend, then back to her plate. She started in on her dinner, slicing meat, tasting small bites, sipping the wine. All the while, she couldn’t stop looking at the vacant seat across the table. She continued to unsuccessfully bottle up her feelings to the point her body started to shake with the unreleased sobs.
Max reached over and took Chloe’s free hand, covering it with her own. Both young women sat there as the candle’s light slowly flickered, seeming just enough to shine on the three roses; two together, one apart; laying at a place of honor, friendship, and love. Silence filled the room, and the girls could only hear each other breathing.
“You were right, you know. You said you wished we had met, and that we would be great friends.” Max broke the silence with tender words, not more than a whisper.
“…Yeah…” Chloe responded.
“And we did meet. We became friends.”
Chloe looked towards her, eyes wide and watery. She blinked once, and the tears started. She squeezed her eyes closed trying to stop them, trying to be strong, but nothing in time or space could stop it. Chloe attempted to restrain her emotions as tears dropped onto the white tablecloth. Gasping for breath that she could not catch, the anguish and pain poured out as she finally mourned her lost angel.
Max patiently moved her chair next to Chloe’s and encircled her arms around her girlfriend’s neck and chest, while Chloe sought the refuge of Max’s shoulder. She lay there crying onto Max, soaking her shirt. All the while, Max rocked her and whispered quiet words of love, understanding, and encouragement to let it all out. In the dim room, the candle continued its slow decent casting ever changing shadows on the ceiling and walls, yet never hiding the three flowers that adorned the table.
Chloe cried until she was out of tears and still, she clung to Max. The wracking sobs had exhausted her and left her voice rough and broken.
“It’s so hard, Max.”
“I know.” Max slowly and tenderly rubbed her girlfriend’s back, giving her as much time as she needed.
Minutes passed as the girls held each other.
“Why? Why did it have to be her? Why Rachel?”
Max was silent for a few more minutes. She turned and kissed the top of Chloe’s head and then carefully lifted her girlfriend’s chin to gaze into her puffy yet still gorgeous eyes.
“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.”
Chloe gazed longingly into Max’s eyes searching for meaning and truth in the one person she trusted above all others. In those eyes, reflecting three candlelit roses she found what she needed. She found friendship and gratitude for what Rachel had done. But more, she found an overwhelming sense of love pouring out to her. A love that had been given a chance because Rachel had chosen them over herself. The love wrapped itself around Chloe’s broken heart like a warm blanket, comforting her, mending her.
As she continued to gaze at her love, Max carefully dried Chloe’s cheeks where the rivers had run. Then she took both of her hands and slowly stood up.
“I have something for you,” Max said.
Walking backwards, never once looking away from Chloe, Max guided them towards the other side of the dim room. She reached over and turned up the lights to illuminate her photo wall.
Chloe raised her eyes and looked behind Max. The familiar photo wall was always Max’s personal gallery of memories. It was record of events which, more often than not, featured herself or the two of them together. Yet this evening, it had been rearranged. Chloe’s eyes drifted amongst the images and picked out new additions, some were photos Max hadn’t taken. These new pictures featured herself and Rachel, and in some cases Rachel alone. The images presented fond memories of fun, companionship, new love, and excitement the two girls shared in their time together. The clusters of new images were grouped around a larger one, the centerpiece, lit more brightly as if the lighting had been purposely arranged. It was the shot of the three of them Max had taken right before Rachel left for Arcadia Bay. It showed all three, laughing, happy, and most importantly together. Having been in her bag during the storm events, the photo thankfully made it out unscathed. Below the picture was a framed caption, crafted carefully with scripted lettering.
Hella Best Friends Forever
“Rachel Dawn Amber, our friend, our hero, our angel. Should you find your way back to us, you will always be welcome. Always. Until then, you live on in our hearts forever.”
Beside the picture, in a nicely matted blue frame, was a single napkin. The napkin still messily contained the words that not only touched Max’s heart deeply, but also filled her with strength and courage allowing her to break free from The Watcher’s trance. It signified the pure love the two girls shared for one another, and belonged amongst the wall of significant and loving memories.
Next to the blue frame, and beside the lettering, was a small unadorned peg.
Chloe was mesmerized by the scene and continued to focus on the three of them. The images expanded in her view until the only person she could see was Rachel herself. She had always been beautiful, but this specific picture was something else. It captured who Rachel really was, not just her looks, but her fun-loving, often impulsive, friendly self in a moment of her real life. And as Chloe stared, it was like Rachel knew who was watching, as she was captured for all time winking back at the camera, at Chloe. A small smile, but a genuine one, formed on Chloe’s face.
With slow movements, Chloe released Max’s hands and reached to her necklace. On it was Rachel’s feather earring that had been close to her heart these many days. She carefully released it from its tether, cupped it in both hands, and raised it to her lips, brushing it lightly.
She then placed the feathered treasure onto the empty peg, where it fluttered once in the air currents and then came to rest nestled next to the photograph. It completed the scene.
“Thank you, Max.”
After a few minutes, the pair returned to the table where each raised their glass and stood facing the empty chair.
A silent toast to their friend…
The dishes had been put away, and the table cleared for a couple of hours. Max and Chloe were in the middle of the bed lying on their sides just gazing at one another, two pairs of beautiful sapphire eyes locked. Hands were held and fingers intertwined, as the girls embraced their love, enjoying the occasional kiss or two.
“Max,” the older girl tenderly said after a gentle kiss on the lips, “Merry Christmas.” Max looked over at the clock on her nightstand – it read 12:00am. “Thank you for my gift, it means so much to me.”
“Merry Christmas, Chloe. I love you.”
“Max, I love you too. And I’m sorry for being distant for so long. That memorial… thingy, was so goddamn beautiful. I don’t deserve you.”
“No, Chloe, we deserve each other. You’re my perfect person. And please don’t apologize for grieving. I’m NEVER leaving your side… never. Do NOT forget that. In sickness and in health, I will always be here. Forever.”
“Should we just say our vows and go ahead and get hitched,” the older girl responded with a smirk. “I mean, we might as well, right?”
“Well, you have to propose to me first,” Max giggled in her hands.
“Whoa, why do I have to be the one to ask? Shouldn’t you ask me, Maxter?” She gently pushed the freckled girl’s shoulder batting her eyes in the process.
“It doesn’t matter one bit to me who asks, or if we do or don’t. No piece of paper is needed to know we’re in love with each other. Chloe, I know I keep saying it, and I know it was in your amazing poem, but I can’t stop thinking about how lucky I am. You’re my best friend, and you’re so much more; you’re my everything. No matter what happens next, if we’re together, nothing else matters.”
“So goopy, Caulfield… so damn goopy…” Chloe pushed the girl over on her back, crawled on top, and began kissing and dragging her tongue along sensitive areas of her neck. Max released a pleasurable moan while reaching up and running her fingers gently through slightly faded blue hair. The older girl sat up, still straddling her best friend, and tied her hair back with a band. “You’re all that matters to me too, Maximus. I love you more than anything in this world.”
She slid off and back to her side of the bed and continued. “You said don’t apologize, but I really am sorry. I know you’ve waited on me, and you’ve been with me through this. It felt like I was trapped in a dark cloud and couldn’t see my way out. The only thing that kept me sane was your love. Your clear blue eyes cut through the darkness, and your beautiful flawless face and freckles radiated… and…”
“Chloe are you trying to make me cry,” the brunette interrupted. “Because it might just work. Who’s the goop now, dork?”
“I guess we both are, but I can’t help it. It’s all your fault, Maxi Max.” Chloe began attacking her partner with a barrage of pecks and short kisses. She pulled back and traced Max’s freckles with her fingertips as she frequently did.
“Chloe, I feel like we’re at a crossroad,” Max mentioned, changing the subject. “What are we doing next? I guess we need to get our own place at some point, and I’ll earn my GED in a couple of months. Are you still sure you don’t want to get yours? Mom and Dad said they’d pay, and it would be super easy for you, you’re the smartest person I know.”
“Naah, I’m still sure; not really interested. BUT, Max… I… uh, didn’t want to say anything yet, but I have an idea for what we do next. Since I didn’t get you anything for Christmas, I want to do something special for you. Focus on your GED for now, and I’ll do my thing.”
“Aww, Chloe. You don’t have to do anything for me.”
“Dude. Are you kidding me? I made a promise to myself to take care of you. I know you’ve taken care of me the past couple of months, but now it’s my turn. Plus, if this thing turns out good, it’ll be for both of us and our future. All I want to do now, is give you special experiences.”
“Every experience is special if you’re with me, Chloe.”
No more words were needed. The girls embraced in an affectionate tangle of kisses, and playful groping, eventually falling asleep in each other’s arms.