Max entered the apartment feeling drained. It had been such a bizarre day. All she wanted to do was curl up on the couch with her girlfriends and watch movies, after she took a shower and ordered dinner even though the poor veggies she had bought a couple of days ago just sat in the fridge, uneaten. Why did they even bother to buy them if they were just going to order in anyway?
The young photographer didn’t expect anyone to be home, but to her pleasant surprise, heard music blasting from Chloe’s room. Without making a sound, she dropped her bag by the couch and took out her polaroid; the same polaroid Chloe had given her as a belated birthday gift. Her father’s polaroid. It was the only thing Max had kept from that timeline and was her most treasured possession.
Making sure she wouldn’t be heard, she made her way to the other’s room and very slowly tiptoed in. Chloe had her back turned to her, busy drawing away at her desk, humming alongside the song. Max smiled, this was going to make a great shot. With steady hands she lifted the camera and click . The flash went off and the satisfying sound of the photo being printed filled Max’s soul with content.
“Jesus Christ!” Chloe jumped, making the black marker skid across the paper. “Aw man.” She grunted looking at the ruined drawing.
“Sorry.” Max said self-consciously.
“It’s okay, I didn’t like it very much to begin with.” She said while turning to look at Max. “They taught you stealth in the last year of Blackhell or what? You’re truly a Blackwell ninja.”
Max shot her a look at hearing the last remark which made Chloe eye her inquisitively.
“Nothing. It’s just that you’ve said something similar. In the previous timeline.”
“I did huh? I guess some things don’t change.”
“No.” Max answered with a fond smile on her face. “So, how come you’re back already?”
“Slow day. Mike gave me the rest of the day off. How about you?”
“I just came back from a freelance job I had taken. You won’t believe what I was hired to do!”
“Another of those cliché wedding photos?”
“Thank God no! But also, yes.”
“You lost me.”
“Come out to the living room and I’ll show you.” Max said and led the way out. She put her beloved polaroid and her new picture on the coffee table before taking out her Canon.
“This woman hired me to take professional pictures of a wedding…her dog’s wedding.”
“You’re shitting me.” Chloe said while making herself comfortable on the couch.
“I shit you not!”
“Dude! You have to show me, like right now! Get your bony ass over here!” and before Max could go and join, the punk grabbed her by the waist, pulling her down, right on her lap.
Max giggled and leaned in to peck her on the lips. She then proceeded to switch on her camera.
“I swear to you Chloe, they were the cutest things! Look at this one wearing a little tie!”
“People actually go through all the trouble to dress up their dogs?”
“She had a whole altar set up!”
Chloe had an incredulous look plastered all over her face. “And they say I’m the one who gets high.”
“Honestly, I’d take this type of photoshoot over any boring wedding one. Plus, it pays the bills.”
“I still don’t get how you manage to balance freelance and a part time job Super Max.”
“Hhmm I sometimes wonder myself.” She turned her head to face Chloe and continued on. “But that’s why I have my awesome girlfriends to help me keep my sanity.”
“At yer service m’lady!” Chloe said in her best pirate voice while kissing her cheek.
“Oh! Rachel texted me to say that she will be late. They are rehearsing till late at night.”
“Oh? Just the two of us? Seems this pirate gets to plunder some booty!” Chloe said with a playful voice, quirking both eyebrows consecutively with a shit-eating grin on her face.
Max let out a defeated groan.
“Hopelessly in love with you? Maybe.”
Okay Max had fallen right into that one. Her eyes rolled at the back of her head despite the sensation of fluttering butterflies in her stomach upon hearing it.
“Oh maybe , is it?”
Chloe winked at her.
“You’re an idiot.”
“Mm your idiot. So how about this pirate here starts her treasure hunt for the…G that marks the spot?”
“Oh my God!” Max burst out laughing, “I can’t believe I actually laughed at that! But your treasure hunt will have to wait another 5 days.” She pointed down, between her legs.
“You think you’re so funny don’t you?”
“As a matter of fact, I do!”
“Look at you so confident. Who are you and what have you done with my Max?”
“I had her time travel to make her wiser and funnier.” She said in a dead serious tone.
Both women looked at each other then. It was supposed to be one of those jokes that didn’t really hold any truth to them because time travel? That shits not real! But they both knew better so when they locked eyes, they snickered before having a full-blown laughing fit.
“What do you feel like doing tonight?” asked the punk once they caught their breath.
“Take a shower for sure and then maybe order some Japanese and watch a movie?”
“Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children?”
“Oh you misspelled Blade Runner there.” Chloe quipped.
They both stared at each other, eyes narrowing into a glare.
“There’s only one way to settle this then.” Chloe said in a serious voice.
“Tekken 7. First to 5 victories wins.”
By the time the food arrived, Max had showered and set up the game. Once again Max hadn’t failed to tease Chloe about the character “Lucky Chloe” in the game, saying she would look so cute cosplaying her and making the punk cringe at the thought of having to wear such an outrageous outfit, for her standards.
“Hell no!” the punk said with a mouthful of noodles.
“Aaww come on sweetie! Comic con is right around the corner.”
“Good, you can take Warren and geek out all you like. I am NOT wearing that. Stop looking at me with those puppy eyes and pick your character so I can whip your ass.”
“Too sure of yourself, you are mmm.” Max said in her best Yoda impersonation as she picked Yoshimitsu for the 100 th time.
To spite her off, Chloe picked her second favourite character, King, so they would have to fight each other.
“How dare you!” Max accused her.
Chloe’s face split into an evil grin. This was going to be fun.
At some point during the game, Chloe looked sideways to take in Max’s face which was lit up from the screen. She was focused. A light frown creasing her brow, lips pressed together, freckled cheeks pink from the excitement. Chloe couldn’t believe Max was back in her life. It felt surreal sitting here playing games again with someone she knew most of her life. A person she could now hold, kiss and love. She found it hard to believe this was all real. That she deserved any of this. She had people in her life that loved her and weren’t dropping out like flies. A fear she still battled against but was getting better at dealing with.
“Booyah! And that’s how it’s done shaka brah!” Max cheered, bringing Chloe back from her reverie.
“You okay there?” she asked, noticing Chloe staring at her and not immediately commenting on her use of “shaka brah”.
“Y-yeah. More than fine. I sometimes still can’t believe you’re here.” She said, failing to hide a light blush.
“And I’m never leaving.” Max said, resting her head on the other’s shoulder.
“Okay enough with the mushy feelings! We’re tied so next game determines the winner.”
“Spare yourself the humiliation and let me just play Advent Children already.”
“Careful there Max, your arrogance will be your downfall.”
“Oh aren’t you a wise-ass now?”
Not three minutes later, Max was sitting, mouth agape, defeat staring her in the eyes.
“Oh I’m sorry Maximus. You were saying?”
“A master never reveals her secrets. But hey, it’s not the first time I leave you speechless.” Chloe said winking as a smirk played at the corner of her lips.
“Oh sweet victory. Now I believe we were just about to watch Blade Runner?”
Max accepted her defeat. After putting on the director’s cut of the movie, she sat comfortably next to Chloe on the couch with the other’s arm resting on her shoulder. Max sighed in contentment.
The door to the apartment opened with the sound of keys clinking together as Rachel entered, drained and exhausted. The rehearsals had gone well into the night, everybody staying after hours, working hard as the opening night approached. The actress usually didn’t mind working late but this time even she felt the pressure. This was going to be a big production that many people anticipated. Important people. So yes, Rachel was officially stressed.
Hot bath. Glass of wine. You’re almost there girl she mused to herself. You’ve earned it.
Despite it being close to midnight she hadn’t expected her girlfriends to be asleep, least of all Chloe, so the display in front of her had caught her off guard.
The movie on the tv had finished a long time ago, now only black static playing in the background as a sleeping Max lay on the couch with a sleeping Chloe splayed over her, head resting on her chest, rising and falling in unison with the brunette’s breathing.
It was such a heart-warming scene that made her smile tenderly. Carefully, so as to not wake them up, she tiptoed towards the coffee table in front of the couch to switch off the tv and gently took the blanket that rested on the armrest of the couch and covered both women with it. Not before snapping a picture of the two. She just couldn’t resist.
“It’s just you and me now.” She whispered to the glass of wine she had gone to the kitchen and poured for herself, not after kissing both her idiots goodnight and headed straight for the bathtub.