All in Time
A Life is Strange Story by OuTsYdeR
Never Walk Alone
Max walked to work feeling the best she’d had in months. Obviously, the anti-depressants hadn’t had time to take effect yet. But, that dream was amazing! Just having been able to spend time with Chloe was magical. Not to mention that kiss, and…what came after it. She lit up a cigarette and placed the pack and lighter back into her bag as she strolled down the street. The weather was beautiful. Only a few clouds in the sky, and no salty wind blowing in her face. It’s gonna be a good day. She thought, as she took another drag from her cigarette.
She couldn’t help but smile at the memories of the dream she’d had the night before, though they seemed to come and go rather quickly through her mind. This morning was the first time she’d (ahem) fulfilled her physical needs, while thinking of Chloe. Most of her memories of her lost love were so painful. It was so nice to finally have a pleasant, intimate moment with her, even if it wasn’t real. Max’s personality had always made her an optimist, even in the darkest of times. I mean, sure, her life was shit, but she never complained about it. She just trudged on, kept pushing forward. So, she was happy to take what she could get, in this area.
As usual, when she arrived at the Two Whales, she took one last drag from her cigarette and flicked the butt into the parking lot before stepping into the back entrance. The hustle and bustle of the breakfast rush was just starting, as the kitchen was abuzz with orders being taken and cooked. Joyce spotted her as she was rushing by, plate in hand. “Max! You’re on time!” She said, giving Max a warm smile. “And, you look like you’re doing much better this morning.” “Thanks, Joyce. I am feeling a lot better. I got a ton of sleep last night!” “Great! Tell me all about it, later, okay? Right now, clock in and suit up. There’s tables to wait and tips to be made.”
The day was going fairly uneventfully, with the exception of the occasional bitchy customer, until one of the waitresses who works the evening shift called in. Max was asked to work a double shift, with the promise of having the day off tomorrow. Since she actually wasn’t tired for the first time she could remember, and in a good mood, she agreed. To her surprise, dinner customers seemed to tip better than the breakfast and lunch crowd that she was used to. She’d made more money in one day than she usually did in three days of mornings only. The downside was, however, that she no longer felt fresh and energized. She felt run down and greasy as hell. More than ready to go home and shower, she hung up her apron, stuffed her tip money into her bag, and walked out the door.
It was dark by the time Max walked out of work. Pulling her trusty pack of Camel Blue 99’s and her lighter out of her messenger bag, she lit one up and dropped the items back into the bag. Then, slipping her phone out of her pocket, she fired up her trusty flashlight app and started the long walk back to Ocean View Apartments.
As she strolled along the well-beaten path that she had walked every afternoon for the last seven-plus months, she thought about what she would do with the money she’d just made. Maybe I can finally buy myself a damn coffee table for the living room. She thought, before coming up with ten other ideas within a few seconds. An alert on her phone told her that she had a new text message. It was, predictably, from Warren. “Hey Max. Hope evrthn is ok. Um, if you’re not doin anythn tmrw, can I come over?” Max had to wrinkle her nose just a bit at his shorthand. She was just going to have to accept the fact that most people didn’t text in the King’s English, she decided. She stopped walking to type her response, so as not to walk into anything. She was clumsy enough without the impairment of texting. “Sure! I worked a double today, so they actually gave me the day off tomorrow,” She sent.
Just then, she heard footsteps behind her. Normally, this would not be cause for alarm, but, it was dark, and she was in a notoriously rough part of town. She aimed the beam of light in front of her and started walking again, a bit faster than she had been before. When the footsteps behind her picked up the pace, she went into a full sprint. A few moments later, she felt a large, strong hand grab her right shoulder and twist her body around, slamming her back against a brick wall. Between the torque of the twist and the impact of the wall, she dropped her phone.
Her phone landed face down, the flashlight shining straight up. In the dim light, she could just make out her attacker’s face. He was mid-twenties with a shaved head and a goatee. Max’s eyes widened when the man brought a knife into view. “You look a little young to be out at night alone,” He said, as he looked her up and down. “A little skinny, but you are a cute little thing, aren’t ya?” She struggled against his grip as he licked his lips. At this point, she knew that he wasn’t after money…
In her desperation, Max kicked the man in the shin as hard as she could. “Ow! You fucking bitch!” He yelled, as he lunged forward with his knife. Max dodged to her right, but the blade managed to catch her skin, leaving a long cut across her upper left arm. Reflexively, her right hand raised, palm forward, as if reaching out to use The Force. She watched as the world around the man blurred and everything began to move in reverse. The assailant began to run backward, then slowed to a brisk walk. Soon, he was far out of Max’s vision, returned to the shadows from whence he came.
Max picked up her phone and ran the rest of the way home. Arriving at her apartment, she hastily unlocked the door, went in, and quickly locked it behind her. For the first time, she wished her door had more than two locks. Dropping her bag on the floor, she leaned back against the door, panting to catch her breath. She began to frantically ponder what consequences this use of her power might have, when she realized that her arm was still bleeding.
Luckily, the cut wasn’t very deep. She put the lid of the toilet down and sat on top of it as she cleaned the wound with some peroxide and then bandaged it up. She mentally thanked her parents for sending her a first aid kit. Speaking of which, I should call them soon. She thought. I don’t want them to think I’ve forgotten about them or anything. She sighed as she remembered that she’d dropped her phone. Pulling it back out of her pocket, she examined the damage for the first time. The screen was definitely cracked. There was an impact point on the bottom-right corner, and hairline cracks running all over the place. Well, I guess I know where all those tips I earned today are going. She thought to herself with a frown.
After retrieving her cigarettes and lighter from her bag and a glass of water from the kitchen, Max sat on the edge of her bed. After taking her Lexapro and Xanax, she lit a cigarette and began to check her phone’s weather app to see if there were any strange atmospheric happenings in the area. Although, she supposed, it was kind of pointless. No one had seen the snow, eclipse, or tornado coming during the week that never happened.
Finishing her cigarette, she stamped out the butt in the ash tray and stood up from the bed. Walking into the bathroom, she started the water running in the shower. After quickly disrobing, she stepped into the small shower stall. The hot water felt amazing on the tense muscles of her back and shoulders. As she started to wash her hair, she noticed that she was running low on shampoo and made a mental note to pick up some more. After she was done scrubbing the diner grease off of herself, she stepped out, dried off with one of her now clean towels, and carefully changed the bandage on her arm.
The Xanax was already doing its thing, in conjunction with the hot water, giving Max a feeling of being completely relaxed, despite the obvious stress she’d endured today. Without bothering to put on any night clothes, she walked back out of the bathroom and into the bedroom. Sitting back on the edge of the bed, she slid the nightstand drawer open and took out her bottle of Ambien. After taking one of the sleeping pills, she slipped between the sheets and lay her head on the pillows, closing her eyes.
As her eyes fluttered open, Max found herself in yet another familiar environment. She was in Chloe’s room, the early morning light filtering through the American flag covering the window. Her eyes scanned the room. The hazy fog that had surrounded them in the junkyard was present here, as well, but not as thick; she could still make out all the permanent marker graffiti, even on the far side of the room. The “Hole to another universe” was right where it should be. Turning her head to look to her left, she found Chloe, still sleeping. She couldn’t help herself from staring for a few moments. She remembered being in this same place during the week that never happened. When she’d been here before, she had been too absorbed in her own shit to really appreciate just how beautiful Chloe looked in the dim light of the morning, how peaceful she seemed in sleep.
The last time she was here, she had picked up her camera to take a selfie. Chloe had woken up to jump into the shot. This time, she wasn’t going to waste the moment. She carefully scooted her body close to Chloe’s and draped her right arm around her lost love’s waist. Chloe seemed to release a sleepy moan of contentment and her hand came to rest on Max’s. The thought occurred to her that this was also the morning of her and Chloe’s first kiss, such as it was. Suddenly, she felt Chloe’s hand guiding her own downward, sliding beneath the waistband of Chloe’s panties…
Max awoke with a start to a loud banging noise. Someone was knocking on her front door. She looked over to see bright sunshine filtering through the blinds of her window. It appeared to be nearly noon. “Shit! Warren!”