All in Time – Chapter 7
All in Time
A Life is Strange Story by OuTsYdeR
I Don’t Believe in Love
“Just a minute!” Max yelled in the general direction of the front door as she scrambled out of bed and began to throw clothes on as quickly as she could. Donning an old pair of sweat pants and a comfy tee shirt, she strode over to the door. Standing on her tiptoes to look through the peep hole, she confirmed that it was, indeed, her expected guest. After unlocking both the knob and deadbolt, she opened the door. “Hey, Warren,” She said, in a gruff just-woke-up voice. “Um, it’s not…snowing or anything like that outside, is it?”
“What? No… Why would you even ask that?” He asked, seeming very much confused.
“No reason.” She responded, waving off the question. “Come on in.” She gave him a little smile, even though part of her wanted to strangle him for breaking up her rather erotic dream.
“What took you so long? I’ve been knocking for a good while.” Warren said as he stepped through the door, a look of frustration upon his face.
“I’m sorry, Warren. I was actually still asleep. These sleeping pills the doc gave me are maybe a little too effective.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Warren said, his expression finally softening a bit. “I’m glad you’re sleeping better, though. I know you’ve been going through hell lately, with the nightmares and all.”
“Yeah, I’ve been sleeping a lot better, lately!” Max said, as she gave Warren a warm hug. “I’m sorry if my breath reeks. I haven’t had a chance to brush my teeth yet.”
Warren chuckled, returning the hug. “No way, you’re fine.”
“So, what brings you to my extremely humble abode, Mr. Graham?” She inquired, finally releasing him from the embrace.
“Well, I just hadn’t seen you since…you know… And, I knew you’d been to the doctor since then, so I just wanted to see how you were doing. Obviously, the answer is ‘better’.”
Max had to laugh at his wording. “Warren, we had sex. We’re both adults, there’s no reason to dance around it.”
“Yeah, that…” He said, seeming a bit nervous about the subject, still.
“And, if you think you’re mature enough to handle it without it getting all weird, maybe we could do it again?”
This certainly seemed to perk him up. “Wait, what? When?”
Her dream was still very fresh in her mind, and it’d had her amped up, sexually, from the moment she awoke. “How about…right now?” Max responded, leaning in to kiss his lips the same as she had the other night on the couch.
As they both lie naked in Max’s bed, she lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply before flicking the ashes into the ash tray. She felt a little guilty for using Warren to satisfy the longings created by Chloe in her dreams. But, she somehow managed to justify it in her mind with the fact that he was here and Chloe wasn’t. Of course that didn’t ease her guilt over what she was actually doing to the poor young man beside her. “Warren? You’re being awfully quiet over there. You sure you’re okay with this?”
“Absolutely!” He sounded to Max like he was trying hard not to sound like he was lying. “The only thing I’m slightly not okay with is your smoking.” He waved his hand back and forth dramatically, as if trying to dissipate the second-hand smoke.
“Hey; my house, my rules.” Max said, defiantly. “It’s my party, and I’ll smoke if I want to.”
Warren just chuckled before his eyes seemed to drift down slightly, to her exposed chest. Max had to fight off the urge to cover herself with the blanket. Not only was it a bit of a fire hazard with a lit cigarette in her hand, but she was also putting a lot of effort into not being ashamed of her body. Ever since Chloe died, her choice of fashion had gone more than just a bit toward the frumpy side. She didn’t want to be seen by anyone, especially anyone who might be interested in her. Somehow, the fact that Warren was already interested had earned him a free pass.
“So, you’re okay if this happens more often, and we still stay friends?” She asked, somewhat tentatively.
“Yeah,” Warren replied. “I mean, what guy in his right mind would turn down semi-regular sex with a beautiful girl?”
Max could feel her cheeks flush with embarrassment. She had never really thought of herself as beautiful, even less so, recently.
“So, you’re okay with being…friends with benefits? My god, that is the most cringe-worthy phrase I’ve ever said out loud.”
Warren laughed at the admission. “Yeah. I mean, you know how I feel from our discussion the other day.” Max nodded that she did. “But, I still understand. I mean, you’ve gone through so much! But, I also understand that everyone has, like, needs, I guess.”
She took another drag from her cigarette to avoid tears. “Warren, you really are the sweetest person I know. I really am sorry that it has to be this way. I just…I don’t know if I even believe in love, anymore…”
After having another go and another cigarette, Max and Warren both got dressed and headed out of her apartment. Thankfully Warren had a car, so they didn’t have to walk to the AT&T store. After looking at several new phones, Max decided to take the road less travelled and purchased a Windows Phone. Everyone has Android or iPhone, She thought. A true hipster finds the more obscure option.
After the phone shopping was done, they went in search of lunch/dinner. They decided to go to the Mexican place around the corner with the outdoor eating area. As they sat, munching on chips and salsa, Max couldn’t help watching the skies for any unusual disturbances caused by the use of her power the night before. Fortunately, the weather was beautiful. No signs of snow, an eclipse, or tornados. When she finally looked down from the sky, she saw that Warren was staring at her, though he quickly looked away. She smiled a little to herself as she dipped a chip in her salsa and bit into it.
As the waitress brought their entrees, Max thanked her and then turned back to Warren. “Penny for your thoughts?” She said, softly.
“Huh? Oh, I was just thinking about how awesome this salsa is! I wish I could buy a gallon of this stuff to keep at home.” Though his statement was accurate, the salsa was really good, she could tell that he wasn’t telling the truth of what he was actually thinking about. But, she decided not to press the issue and instead dug into her enchilada.
Just as they had finished their meal and were waiting for the waitress to bring the check, Max doubled over from the sudden onset of a splitting headache.
“Max, are you okay?” Warren asked as he got up from his chair and gently grasped her upper arm.
“I-I’m fine…” She lied, as she brought her right hand up to her forehead, gently massaging her temples.
“Are you sure? Your nose is bleeding…”
Ugh! Why now? She thought to herself, as she grabbed a fistful of napkins from the table and used them to give her nose a gentle squeeze.
After thoroughly freaking out the cute Latina waitress and successfully stopping the nosebleed, they paid the check and left the restaurant. Arriving at her apartment building, she thanked Warren for the ride and his understanding of their situation. He assured her that both were “no problem”, though she sensed the slightest bit of melancholy in his voice. She felt sick, and not just because of the headache that was still dogging her to this moment. She felt as if, no, she knew that she was using him, and she hated herself for it. She had never been the type of person to use people for her own ends. No matter how she rationalized it to herself, it would probably be best if she stopped it. Adult toys weren’t exactly hard to get ahold of in this day and age. But, on the other hand, it was so nice to be touched by another person… And, even though she knew he wanted more, she was relatively sure that Warren didn’t mind the sex… She had another appointment with Dr. V tomorrow, so she would bring it up in the session, she decided.
Once inside her apartment, she disposed of the AT&T bag, but kept the box her new phone came in, as the charger and earbuds were still inside. She then got herself a glass of water from the kitchen, then retrieved her cigarettes and lighter from her messenger bag, which she had dropped on the floor when she first walked in.
Sitting on the edge of her bed, she went through her now nightly ritual. The only difference is, this time, she added five ibuprofen to her normal medicinal regimen. After smoking a final cigarette, she set the alarm on her new phone and slipped between the sheets.
Max found herself in her underwear, floating in lukewarm water. She was in the pool at Blackwell Academy. The haze that hand hung over all her dreams lately was present once again, in addition to the slight bit of steam from the heated pool. “Why look, an otter in my water.” She heard Chloe say, playfully. She smiled as she looked over at the also half-naked Chloe Price. She remembered that line so well. It was the first time she had ever gotten the feeling that Chloe was flirting with her.
“Earth to Max… You alright over there? You’re being eerily fucking quiet with your goofy-ass grin on your face.” Chloe said.
“I am perfectly fine, Chloe.” Max responded. “You have no idea how happy I am at this moment.” Just then, the pain of her real life headache came to visit her in the dreamscape. Her eyes shut tightly as she once again brought up a hand to rub her temples.
“Whoa, Max. I am legit concerned now.” Chloe said as she swam over and snaked an arm around Max’s shoulders. “Am I gonna have to carry you out of here, all Baywatch style?”
“No, I’ll be okay.” Max said, as she opened her eyes, the pain finally beginning to subside. “But, uh…You can totally keep your arm around me, if you want.” She said, looking up at Chloe with the sweetest of puppy dog eyes. Her grin returned instantly as she saw that Chloe was actually blushing… This was the first time she’d seen her best friend blush since the days when she still had blonde hair.
Suddenly, she heard a noise coming from outside the doors to the pool area. Looking in that direction, she saw flashlights and could barely make out David’s voice. Shit! I forgot about this part! She thought to herself. Quickly, she raised her right hand to use her rewind power, but, before she could do so, the shrill sound of her alarm clock overrode all thought. Still in a half-sleep, she pawed at her phone repeatedly, until she hit the snooze button.
Next Chapter: The Day I Tried To Live
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