It was still early and the sun had only just started to rise. The air was still frisky with the cold of the night that was fading into the morning; dew covered the blades of grass and the leaves of the bushes and trees. It was an amazing sight that had Max breathless for a moment, her face lit up and she felt excitement grow inside her.
“Chloe, isn’t this beautiful?” she asked, a smile beaming from ear to ear.
Chloe was a few feet behind Max, her blue hair mostly covered by a dark blue slouchy beanie. Chloe stopped beside Max and took in the view, which indeed was a gorgeous one. There were mountains in the far distance, their peaks covered in snow that reflected the early sunlight as the sun rose higher into the sky. The faraway villages were still in the shadows of the mountains, morning hadn’t quite started for them yet.
“It sure is, Caulfield. But not as beautiful as you,” Chloe whispered, her arm still wrapped around Max’s waist. She chuckled as she noticed the blush on Max’s cheeks, which wasn’t from the hike.
“Then you haven’t looked in the mirror yet,” Max replied, bumping her hip against Chloe.
“Oh, I have. I know I look good, Maximus, don’t worry. But you should know how gorgeous I think you are.” Chloe looked at her girlfriend and smiled lovingly. “Look at me, getting all mushy.” Chloe laughed it off and nudged Max, wanting to continue and finish this hike.
Not that Chloe would admit it, but she was pretty tired still and wanted to get to the spot where Max would take some pictures and she’d be able to sit down for a while. It hadn’t been her idea, obviously. Just for Max she’d woken up in the middle of the night to accompany her girlfriend on a trip towards the mountains; to take some pictures of the sunrise there. Chloe had agreed to the plan, partly just so she could see Max’s face light up the way it always did when Max saw the perfect picture in front of her.
They finally reached the spot that Max had wanted to go to, having Chloe feel relieved as she could finally sit down and have a smoke. Chloe watched Max walk towards the edge, looking over the villages below and the mountains on the horizon.
As Chloe lit her cigarette, Max grabbed her camera and looked through the viewfinder, searching for that perfect picture. Chloe inhaled, the smoke filling her lungs, until she blew it out again. She watched Max with admiration, who was completely in her element. The short brown hair danced around the soft features of Max’s freckled face as the wind carried a chilly breeze into the clearing.
Max took a picture of the villages below, which were now about to be lit up by the rising sun. Just as the sunlight touched the roofs of the houses, Max took another picture. She lowered the camera and inhaled deeply, smelling the scent of the morning. She could smell the pine trees and the wild flowers that grew in the grass. How she loved that scent, which could only be found in the forest and mountains.
Max turned around and looked at Chloe, who was lying down on the big log that had been sawed in half to serve as a bench. She was exhaling little circles of smoke into the air, her eyes closed and head resting on her free hand. Max smiled and brought the camera back up to her eyes, looked through the viewfinder and took the picture when she felt it was the perfect shot.
At the whirring sound of Max’s camera, Chloe opened her eyes. She lifted her head slightly and looked up at her girlfriend who was standing a few meters away from her. She was about to protest, but as Max lowered the camera and revealed a loving smile, Chloe just couldn’t. She stuck out her tongue, to which Max replied by blowing a kiss. With the hand that held the cigarette, Chloe reached out and pretended to catch the kiss and pressed it against her chest where her heart was.
“Thanks again, Chlo. For coming with me.” Max sat down next to Chloe and took another picture of her.
“Well, I have to make sure nothing happens to my favorite hipster,” Chloe replied teasingly and received a playful punch in the shoulder from her girlfriend. “ Hey! I’m just saying.”
“Afraid I can’t handle myself out in the open?”
To that, Chloe shook her head. “I know you can handle yourself, but you’re just hella clumsy. That, in combination with these heights… Not a great combo, Maxaroni.”
With a huff Max got up. “I’m not that clumsy,” she muttered. As if to prove Chloe right, she nearly tripped over the root of a tree that stuck out of the ground. “Don’t you dare say a thing!” she warned, slightly embarrassed. Chloe chuckled softly and Max could feel her cheeks burn, but refused to let her girlfriend see that.
“You’re pretty damn cute, you know that?” Chloe said after a while, staring at the clouds in the sky. When she didn’t get any kind of reply from Max, not even after an entire minute had passed, Chloe sat up with a frown. “Max?” she called out while looking around, scanning the clearing. There was no reply and no Max to be found. “Har har, very funny.”
As some time passed and there was still no sign of her girlfriend, she started to get slightly worried. She called out again and again, until she finally heard her name being called. It sounded faint and thus pretty far away. Instantly she rushed off into the direction of the calling and called back, instructing Max to keep calling her name.
For some reason, Chloe started to have the feeling that she was going in circles. Even though she had been going downhill mostly; she had gotten closer, but still not nearly close enough.
“Max, I’m trying to find you, where are you?!” Chloe shouted, panting as she ran into the direction of Max’s voice. She just hoped and prayed to whatever entity being out there that Max was okay.
“Chloe! Finally!” Max smiled excitedly and Chloe stopped dead in her tracks, panting heavily and desperately trying to catch her breath.
“What the hell, Max?!”
Max’s smile disappeared instantly and was replaced by an expression of fear and guilt.
“I was getting hella worried, I thought something happened to you!” Chloe said with frustration clearly audible in her voice. Max just stood there and looked at her, the look on her face tugging at Chloe’s heartstrings.
“I’m sorry…” Max stuttered, her eyes got watery as tears welled up. She didn’t mean to worry Chloe like that, at all. Honestly, she had completely lost track of time and direction.
“Don’t look at me like that, Maximus…” Chloe walked over to her girlfriend and wrapped her arms around Max’s shoulders. “Just—please don’t do that again, you nearly gave me a heart attack.” She rested her cheek on top of Max’s head and held her for a few moments. “But what did you discover, first mate?”
Reminded of how Chloe and her had pretended to be pirates when they were kids, Max let out a chuckle. Chloe was the captain, she was the first mate. Then Max remembered that Chloe had asked her a question, she turned slightly and stretched out her arm, pointing.
“Look, it’s a little lake,” Max exclaimed. She smiled widely as Chloe’s jaw dropped slowly, taking in the sight. The water was incredibly clear and almost completely still. Max took another photograph as the sun shone onto the water and both illuminated and reflected the green meadow around it.
As an idea popped into her head Chloe smirked, causing Max to look at her with a curiosity. Max’s eyes grew wider as Chloe grabbed the bottom of her shirt and pulled it up and over her head. It was tossed aside and joined by her boots and jeans, lastly she took off the beanie and tossed it on top of the rest of her clothes.
“What’s wrong, Caulfield?” Chloe teased and stepped closer to her girlfriend.
Max’s cheeks had taken on a dark shade of pink, nearing red. “N-nothing…” she stammered. It was hard for her not to stare. She’d seen Chloe in underwear countless times, but it still amazed her every single time how beautiful her girlfriend was. “Isn’t the water super cold?” she muttered, awkwardly tucking some hair behind her ear.
Chloe looked over her shoulder at the still water of the small lake, then she just shrugged. “Only one way to find out.”
Before Max could say anything else, Chloe rushed off and dove into the clear water, causing a huge splash to rise up. Max gasped, covering her open mouth with her hand.
“Yep, it is pretty cold. But I’m already in, so might as well enjoy it!” Chloe called out and laughed.
Max chuckled and shook her head, admiring Chloe’s impulsivity. But her eyes also admired the view of Chloe’s pale complexion, wet blue hair sticking to her face and framing it.
She took her camera out of her bag again and took a picture as Chloe raked a hand through her electric blue hair, looking ridiculously attractive as she did so. Max thought to herself how lucky she was to have her best friend as her girlfriend and how gorgeous and photogenic Chloe was. Her muse.
“Hey hipster! Earth to Max!” When Max still didn’t respond, Chloe sighed, knowing Max wouldn’t like her for doing it, but Chloe realized she had no choice. “Maxine!”
And instantly, Max snapped out of her daze, narrowing her eyes at Chloe. “You know I don’t—”
“I know , Max. But I was calling for a minute already, so technically you only have yourself to blame,” Chloe interrupted and stuck out her tongue to her girlfriend.
Max scoffed and crossed her arms, turning away from Chloe.
“Aw, come on, Maxter. Don’t be like that, I love your back and your butt, but to be completely honest I enjoy your face more.”
“I guess I’ll forgive you, again .” Max sighed and stowed her camera away into her messenger bag again. She walked over to the edge of the water and sat down, placing her bag behind her to shield it from the water. As she sat cross-legged she rested her head on her hands, elbows resting on her knees.
“Thanks, cutie.” Chloe blew a kiss towards Max and winked. “Enjoying the view?” She chuckled as Max nodded while watching Chloe in the clear water of the lake. “Quite refreshing, you should join me,” Chloe prompted.
“And freeze? No thanks,” Max answered, eliciting a pout from Chloe in response.
“You say that as if I’d let that happen!”
Max rolled her eyes with an amused grin. As Chloe turned around and pretended to sulk, Max took off her zipped hoodie, followed by her shirt, shoes and jeans.
“Fine, I’ll just enjoy the water by myse—” Chloe swallowed the rest of the sentence as she turned around and saw Max in her underwear, ready to get into the water. “Oh…”
“What’s wrong, Price?” Max teased, sticking out her tongue. She carefully dipped her toes in the water and winced, it was pretty cold and she felt conflicted about going in.
“Nothing’s wrong, you’re just gorgeous, Max.”
Max blushed, lost her balance and fell forward.
“Whoa, careful Caulfield!” Chloe leaped towards the edge where Max was and held out her arms, catching Max before she fell into the water.
“Shit, Chloe! It’s ice cold! ” Max shrieked as her body hit the water, her skin instantly covered in goosebumps.
“It’s not that cold, Maxaroni.”
“Yes, it is!” Max shot back, regretting her decision to join Chloe. Especially when she thought of how far away Chloe’s truck was.
“Hey, look at me.” Chloe gently took Max’s chin between her index finger and thumb and made her girlfriend look at her. “I will make sure you won’t stay cold, promise,” she whispered, to which Max let out a sigh. Chloe smiled and leaned in, bringing her face closer to Max’s, admiring the freckles that decorated Max’s face. She then gently pressed her lips onto Max’s, kissing her girlfriend softly.
Their cheeks were rosy, their hearts beating faster as they kept kissing each other, over and over again. Chloe smiled through their kiss, wrapping her arms around Max’s cold body and pressing their bodies together. Her tongue brushed over Max’s bottom lip softly, causing Max’s lips to part, intensifying their kiss.
Max’s hands crept around Chloe’s shoulders and neck, pulling herself even closer to her girlfriend. Max’s lips left Chloe’s. but only long enough to catch her breath. Chloe had kept her promise, as Max was no longer bothered by the water or its cold temperature. All Max was aware of was Chloe’s lips on her own and Chloe’s tall and toned body pressed against hers.
“Wowser, Max… Have you been practicing?” Chloe asked playfully. She let out a chuckle and winked at Max.
“Yeah, my girlfriend is pretty good at it, so she’s been instructing me lately,” Max replied, pleasantly surprised as she noticed that Chloe’s cheeks colored a deeper shade of pink. “She’s pretty amazing, actually…” Chloe’s cheeks blushed even more, and Max thoroughly enjoyed it. Chloe looked absolutely adorable when flustered, which wasn’t a common occurrence, so Max made sure to enjoy it while she could.
“You’re lucky I love you so damn much, Caulfield.” Chloe huffed and let herself sink further into the water. “Okay, let’s get out and dry up, I’m starving. ”
Max chuckled, but didn’t protest and followed Chloe out of the water. They were lucky that the sun had risen more and was actually keeping them from getting too cold.
They laid in the grass, observing the sky while their underwear dried. They had found lots of different objects and animals in the clouds, but after a while Chloe simply watched Max’s face while telling Chloe what she saw.
“I see freckles,” Chloe whispered with a dreamy smile, watching Max’s confused expression until Max turned her head to face her. “And a pair of the prettiest blue eyes, now too.”
Max giggled softly and rolled her eyes.
“I’m serious, Max. I—I love you,” Chloe said, causing Max to look at her with widening eyes.
“I mean it, Max.”
Max felt her heart flutter in her chest, it felt as if it was about to spill over. She sighed, but her lips curled up and parted, forming a big smile.
“I love you too, Chloe. More than anything, ” Max responded and rolled herself onto her side, pressing her lips onto Chloe’s. “Especially when you’re being mushy…” She laughed as Chloe grumbled and rolled her eyes. “It’s cute.”
“You’re cute, now shush. Let’s go bother mom for some food,” Chloe said and got up. She started to get dressed and noticed Max smiling while following suit.
“Ready?” Chloe asked and Max nodded excitedly. Chloe smiled back and started the truck, turned it around and drove it onto the road towards Arcadia Bay. As her hand rested on the gear shift, she felt Max’s hand on top of hers, causing her to smile widely. That hipster was turning her soft and mushy, which she hated to admit, but she secretly didn’t really mind. Max made her happy and that was all that really mattered.