The room was quiet except for the sound of the wind rushing in through the opened window. It was pitch-dark still, the moon wasn’t in view and the stars that were, weren’t nearly bright enough. Max slowly got up and stepped out of the bed as quietly as she could, in the hopes of not waking up Chloe. Her best friend was fast asleep, arms and legs spread out, nearly covering the entire bed.
Max tip-toed her way to the opened window, sat on the edge of the desk in front of it and gazed at the stars high up in the almost black sky. There weren’t any clouds, just a cold breeze. In a way it soothed her, the cold air brushing against her skin. A sigh left through her parted lips, carried by the wind into the silent night.
Max wasn’t sure what had woken her up, she hadn’t had any nightmares lately, which she was extremely grateful for. She vaguely remembered falling asleep in Chloe’s arms, after she nearly had another panic attack. Lately she was doing better, but there were still days where she, out of nowhere, would have panic- and anxiety attacks. Max felt lucky to have Chloe who was always there for her to make her feel safe and calm.
It had always been there, Max never denied it. But she just never knew how to tell Chloe, partly because she was afraid that it would change their friendship. But not in a good way, she feared that it’d drive them apart again. Although distance wouldn’t be the cause of it.
Another, this time deeper, sigh left Max’s mouth. She stared at the moon which she could see now, on the far right outside the window. Somewhere Max had the suspicion that Chloe knew, but she wasn’t sure if it was just wishful thinking. Countless times she had dreamed about it, that Chloe came to her and told her that she loved Max more than just a friend. The kisses they had shared were mostly dares or desperate tries of calming her down. Right?
Max hated that she was so bad at verbally expressing her thoughts, but Chloe being sarcastic and joking most of the time didn’t exactly help either. Sometimes Max had the urge to yell at Chloe for it, to stop joking around and just tell her what Max was to her exactly. But she could never get herself to do it, she’d always hold back whenever Chloe looked at her with that familiar grin of hers.
Max shook her head and pulled her legs up to her upper body, wrapping her arms around them and leaning her chin on top of her knees. Wondering how much longer she could take it, how much longer it would take her until she’d either collapse or explode.
“Shut up, just leave me alone,” Max hissed at herself. This was probably worse to her than the nightmares, at least those disappeared whenever she woke up. She couldn’t really shut off her mind, unfortunately.
Chloe searched the bed with her hand, looking for Max. When she only felt the cold sheets next to her, she opened her eyes and scanned through her room. Once her eyes started to adjust to the dark a little bit she found Max, all huddled up on the edge of her desk in front of the open window. Chloe could tell right away that Max was lost in her own mind, battling and not winning. Concern filled her body, making her heart feel heavy and achy. She hated seeing Max this way, who she loved so much, cared for so much.
Chloe sat up and put her feet on the cold wooden floor, walking towards Max as quietly as she could. She stood right next to Max, not sure what to do now. She wasn’t really good with things like these, comforting others. Whenever she felt shitty she mostly just tried to laugh it off, not showing anyone any vulnerability. She tried to think what she would want if she was in Max’s situation, even though she’d never admit it.
“Max?” Chloe whispered, gently placing her hand on Max’s shoulder, not wanting to startle her best friend. Max looked up at her, eyes dark. Which Chloe knew meant that she had been haunted by nightmares again, even if those nightmares happened when Max was still awake.
“Sorry for waking you,” Max mumbled, voice almost inaudible.
Chloe shook her head with a smile tugging at the corners of her lips. “You didn’t wake me up, don’t worry about it, hippie,” she responded, softly squeezing Max’s shoulder. “What’s wrong?” Max just looked at her with those dark, almost desperate looking eyes. Chloe’s heart felt heavy and ached at the sight.
“Okay, Max. I know I’m not really good at… These things, but I’m trying . Please don’t lie to me—what I mean to say is—“ Chloe let out a small sigh. Quit stumbling, Price. Max needs you . “Please know that you can be honest with me, there’s no need for you not to. Whatever it is that’s bugging you, whatever you feel or think, just tell me, please?” Chloe said finally, relieved that she was able to say what she was trying to in the end.
“I know, Chloe. Sorry, it’s not that I don’t trust you. I’m just—“
“Scared? I can tell, but honestly; you don’t have to be,” Chloe reassured. She could hear Max gulp, then sucking in a deep breath and slowly exhaling again. Bracing herself for whatever she was about to say.
“If I am honest, can you promise me that you will be too?” Max asked, her voice nearly breaking.
It pained Chloe and she wanted to hug Max and never let go. “Of course I will be honest, Max. I mean—yes, I promise,” Chloe answered and sat down on the edge of the desk, next to Max. She laid her hand on Max’s shoulder, her arm resting on Max’s back. There were goosebumps all over Max’s arms, Chloe wasn’t sure if it was from the cool night air or from her attempt to try and comfort Max.
“I’ve been walking around with this for quite a while now, it’s been… Almost haunting me and I feel like I’m slowly going insane…”
Chloe gently rubbed Max’s shoulder, encouraging her to continue.
“You’ve been there to comfort me, trying to calm me down when needed, to distract me whenever I’d be about to drown in that pit again…
“What—Chloe, I need to know; those times we kissed… Was it—Did it mean anything to you? Am I just imagining things? Am I still dreaming? I—“
Chloe didn’t let Max finish, this time. Her heart was pounding, it felt like her heart moved up to her throat. But she ignored it and brought her face closer to Max’s until their lips softly brushed against each other, evolving into a tender kiss.
“Max, this isn’t a dream.”
“You say that every time!” Max burst out, shocked by herself and covering her open mouth with her hand. “S—Sorry… I just…”
“Don’t apologize, Caulfield. It’s me who should apologize…” Chloe muttered softly. She felt guilty and wished she had known sooner that Max had feelings for her, but she’d never been certain. “Let me explain, please.” When Max didn’t speak, Chloe sighed and closed her eyes for a moment to clear her mind a little bit, trying to calm the chaos. “I’ve developed feelings for you quite a while ago, more than just friendship. But—like—“ Chloe hopped off of the desk and started pacing back and forth, not able to sit still when she was going to say this. “I was afraid it would seem as if I was taking advantage of your… your ‘state’. I didn’t want to give you the impression that—that if I told you, I was afraid you would take it the wrong way, or think that I only said it because—“ Chloe kicked against a ball of crumpled up paper that was lying on the floor, out of pure frustration. “I didn’t want to make it seem as if I only would have said it out of pity or whatever. Do you get what I’m saying? Sorry, I’m probably making zero fucking sense and I—“ Chloe rambled on.
She was surprised as she felt two hands grabbing her shirt and pulling her backwards, Max didn’t say a single word but pulled Chloe towards her and pressed her lips onto Chloe’s.
“I’d never think that, Chloe.”
Chloe looked down at Max, whose eyes were less dark now.
“I trust you.”
“Look at us, being all mushy…” Chloe muttered, feeling her cheeks growing warmer. She wasn’t great at verbalizing her feelings and emotions, it made her feel exposed and vulnerable. It was so much easier to just have a wall up around her and have everyone think she was tough.
“Who cares?” Max asked and Chloe shrugged.
“I don’t know.”
“Chloe, please hold me?” Max asked, sounding small. Chloe nodded and wrapped her arms around her best friend, tightly.
“Sorry for being such a coward,” Chloe muttered and she could feel Max shake her head.
“No, I’m a coward. I should’ve told, or asked you sooner. I’m just too much of a chickenshit.”
Chloe chuckled at that and ruffled through Max’s hair. “Yeah, you are sometimes, but you’re also Super Max.”
“Am not . Not without you as my awesome sidekick,” Max protested and closed her eyes as she listened to Chloe’s heartbeat. It was uneven, but soothing regardless.
“I’ll never leave your side, Maxaroni. That’s a promise,” Chloe whispered and pressed a gentle kiss on top of Max’s head.
“I don’t want you to, Chlo,” Max replied and moved her head a bit to steal another kiss from her best friend. “Can we get back into bed? I’m freezing…”
Chloe chuckled and nodded. “Yeah. Sounds like a hella good idea. I could sleep for an entire day!” she said and scooped Max up into her arms and carried her back towards the bed. She gently put her friend down, then laid down next to her and pulled the covers over them.
“Thanks, Chloe,” Max whispered, then let out a yawn. She snuggled up against Chloe and felt her best friend’s arms wrap around her.
“Anything for my Super Max.”