I have been playing outside for the past few hours, trying to play pirates. I don’t find it fun without Max, but she couldn’t come over today because her parents had a surprise for her, so I’m alone for now. Anyways, I have to get inside now cause it’s starting to rain really hard, it’s unusual for it to be so cold this time of year. Once I’m in the house I notice the phone is ringing, “Mom! The phone is ringing,” I say as I start taking off my boots and putting them by the door. “Thank you, sweetie. I got it” My mom calls from somewhere within the house. Suddenly, I hear a lot of shuffling and moving around coming from upstairs. Mom comes running down the stairs with her coat on and an umbrella in her hand. “What’s up, mom?” I ask, but she doesn’t seem to have heard me. She just runs to the door and opens it, letting in a blanket of rain. “Oh my, look how bad it is out there. Oh, Max, you’re out there all alone you poor thing,” Mom mutters to herself. “Wait… Max is out there?! What happened, is she ok?” I ask frantically as I put my boots and coat back on and I follow her to my Dads old truck. “Mom, Please! Tell me why Max is out here,”. finally, she replies “Vanessa and Ryan will explain everything”.
We pull up to Max’s house and I see both Ryan and Vanessa standing out in the cold . “Oh thank god you’re here. Chloe, do you have any idea where Max might be?” He asks me. “Why are you asking her? How is she going to help find my daughter?!” Vanessa snaps at Ryan. My mom steps up, “Chloe knows Max the best… I thought she could help”. “Nobody knows my child better than me. Nobody”. “Vanessa let her help,” Ryan says, “It’s our fault that she ran away. I told you we needed to tell her sooner”. “How is this my fault?!”. As the three adults continue to fight amongst themselves, I start getting frustrated. “Can somebody please tell me what’s going on?! It’s not like Max to run away” I yell out. Ryan breaks off from the group and kneels in front of me. “What happened to Max… w-why did she run away?”. “Listen to me kiddo…. *sigh* Me, Max and Vanessa are going to be moving away in a few months,” he says. I tense up, “W-what. Where are you going?”. Ryan takes another long sigh, “Seattle” he replies. “N-no! You can take her away from me. s-she’s my only friend…. why…. why?” I cry, sitting on the rain-soaked steps leading up to the house. “No….no, no”. Ryan then turns to my mom and frowns, “How long has she been gone?” She asks. “Since about three. Just before the storm started. We’ve already checked all her hideouts but… nothing” He replies. “Does she have a cell phone?”. He shakes his head, “No… but we’re definitely getting her one”. “That is if we find her” Vanessa says under her breath. “We ARE going to find her V, Ok. Now let’s all go inside until the police arrive” Ryan says leading mom and Vanessa inside. “Come on Chloe,” My mom says, turning around… but I’m already gone… running, running, running. My light blue sneakers are soaked making a squishing sound every time I take a step. I know exactly where Max is, it’s the only place our parents don’t know about. The Lighthouse. Sure enough, when I reach the top of the cliff I see a small huddled figure sitting on the steps. “Max! oh my god are you ok?” I ask, running up to her. “C-Chloe?” She says, her voice shaking. “Wh- what are you d- doing here?”. “I didn’t come for the view,” I say. She’s shaking violently. I take off my own coat and handing it to her. “Th- thanks, Chloe” she mutters. “I… I’m sorry Chloe… I- I don’t want to move away… I w-want to stay with you”. “That doesn’t matter right now, let’s just get you home. Your parents are worried about you” I tell her. “I… I don’t want to see them…. ever again. I h-hate them!” Max says stubbornly. “Max, we need to get you home now, you could die from this cold….” I say, looking at her worriedly. She’s completely drenched, her clothes clinging to her body, revealing her slender form. ‘shit … think Chloe. you gotta get Max warm now‘. I look down at myself, I do have a sweater on but… that’s the only thing keeping me warm. “Max, here. take my sweater” I say taking off my navy blue sweater, leaving me with only a tank top. The chill wind and rain strike my skin like needles. A visible shiver passes through me. “No…. Chloe… y-you need it” She says, but I force her to wear it. “You need it way more than me… now let’s go home” I reply as I take out my phone and dial my mother. “I found her”.
Max moves three weeks later. I don’t want her to leave but…. somethings are out of our control. She stops at my house for one last time to say goodbye. “Here’s my new address, Chloe… so you can send me letters,” Max says as she hands me a slip of paper. “I will, every day… I promise” I reply, hugging her again. I wish I could stay in this moment forever and never let her go but…. then It wouldn’t really be a moment. “Come on, sweetie,” Ryan says. “It’s time to say goodbye”. Max hugs me tighter, “I’m going to miss you so much Chloe,” she says, trying hard not to cry… but it’s impossible. We’re both crying. “Me too…. Max, I… I…” I begin to say but the words just won’t come out. “I know, Chloe. I… I do too, and I promise I will come back” She says, pulling away. “But what if you don’t?” I ask, “Dad said the same thing and he’s gone forever”. “I promise, Chloe. You’ve got to believe me. I’m never going to abandon you. I’d do whatever it takes to see you again”. Max kisses me gently on the cheek before running off to her car. I stand there dumbfounded as the car pulls away. I snap back into reality and cup my hands over my mouth, “And Max Caulfield…. don’t you forget about me”