Give It Another Shot [Epilogue]
Time” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:24|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%20Condensed%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C700%2C700italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”]
Sometimes, time flies by. Sometimes, it just stays still. But sooner or later, hours became days, days became weeks, weeks became months and months become years.
The alarm clock was ringing loudly enough to drown the swears of the lady, laying in bed, fighting to raise her hand and hit the off button.
“Five more minutes, damn it!” She growled as she missed the button again, getting more and more frustrated as seconds passed.
She finally landed a punch on the clock and a sleepy grin of satisfaction appeared on her face. She turned in bed, her arms searching for someone, but only finding cold sheets. The woman opened her eyes in panic. A flash of awful images went through her mind and her heart started to race… then, she remembered why that person wasn’t there with her.
A thick and sleepy memory of the absent woman waking up and kissing her goodbye a couple of hours ago arose in her mind. She sighed in frustration and got up, swearing internally.
“Damn, when am I going to stop freaking out every single time she gets up early?” She thought bitterly. Then, another sigh escaped her lips. “I’d love to doze off a couple of minutes but… I guess I’m responsible now.”
She went to the bathroom and washed her face brusquely, hoping to finally wake up. She raised her head and looked at her own reflection on the little mirror. Piercing blue eyes, blonde eyebrows a little frowned, partially hidden by her long messy bright blue hair, half of it shaved to the rots, dark spots below her eyelids, result of sleepless nights. But despite that, there was a soft blush on her cheeks, the corner of her lips always pointing up instead of down and a couple of soft wrinkles, almost invisible, results of a good amount of smiles and laughs over the past years.
“It’s been a hell of a ride so far.” She said to herself, smiling.
She returned to the bedroom to change, but got distracted by the phone over the night table, which’s screen brightened up. She picked it up and unlocked to find three messages in her inbox. One was from Joyce. She read it and replied with a short text. She scrolled down to see the rest.
-From: Max – 9:23 AM – Chlo, you up? Don’t oversleep!
Chloe couldn’t help but smile. Even if Max was busy as hell right now, she always made sure Chloe was up in time. Always taking care of her, even with little details.
To: Max – Sent 9:24 AM – Ahoy, capt’n. I’m up, don’t worry. Shouldn’t you be getting ready for your first day in the hall of fame, rockstar?
From: Max – 9:24 AM. – I am ready. But not for the mosh pit this time ^^ . Don’t be late.
-To: Max – Sent 9:25. – Never. NO EMOJI.
The other message wasn’t joyful or happy as the text from Max.
From: Jess – 9:20AM: Chloe, Mike’s here early. He got here even before I did. Are you coming?
To: Jess – 9:26: This guy should quit the cheap whiskey, It’s frying his little brain. Tell him his appointment was 9:45, I’ll not be there sooner.
From: Jess – 9:27: All right, but I’m not dealing with his bullshit. If he looks at me again like I’m a big fucking steak I’ll kick him in the balls, you’re warned. I may let Tim kick his ass too.
To: Jess – 9:27: No argument here. Be there in a bit.
Chloe sighed, letting her phone fall over the bed and got dressed. She tried not to think about her undesirable costumer. The guy was always on the edge, smelled like a fucking distillery and had a ridiculously bad temper. But, he was getting his eighth tattoo and paying a great deal for it, so… Work is work, there was no use complaining about it. Besides, Chloe loved her job and was really good at it. Max always told her she was really good at drawing stuff when they were kids and even if she quit practicing for a long time, she got back on it, being better than before. Who’d have thought she’d be making art onto people’s skin, not over sheets of paper or canvas?
“Let’s just hope he’s not as drunk as always.” She thought. “Or better, let’s hope he’s too drunk to speak.”
She had a fast cup of coffee and left the small apartment. San Francisco’s downtown was always busy, anytime of the day. Chloe loved the motion of the city around her, the noise of the cars, the constant rumble of the uncountable unknown people, walking to who knows where. So different from her native coastal town, aloof and quiet, where you see the same faces every single day.
She took the keys of her faithful companion from her pocket and smiled at the old bike parked on the side of the street, a damn fast machine painted with a striking bright red. She missed her loyal truck, which passed away a little after they left Arcadia, but that bike was indeed a nice replacement.
Checking the clock on her phone for one last time, she mounted the vehicle and departed to the Tattoo shop, leaving behind her reddish trail in the air.
Jess greeted her when she finally arrived at the Tattoo shop, five minutes late to the appointment. The girl had black long hair and an amazing amount of tattoos and piercings on her body. She smiled warmly at Chloe.
“How’re you doing?” She asked, after knocking Chloe’s fist with her own.
“Ready to get some shit done” Replied the blue-haired woman with a grin. “I can’t get out of here soon enough today.”
Jess nodded in agreement.
“Tonight it’s the night, right? How’s Max taking it?”
“I don’t know to be honest.” Replied Chloe, frowning her lips. She sounded a little worried. “She was already gone when I woke up and yesterday she came a while after I crashed, so…”
“I’m sure she’s fine.” Jess reassured her with a confident smile.
A manly, pissed off voice, came out of the other room, interrupting Chloe, who had already opened her mouth to reply.
“Can we get started already?” Shouted the man, dragging his words. “I’m not paying $350 bucks to sit here until this fucking chair erases the line of my ass!”
Chloe rolled her eyes in exasperation.
“Charming.” She muttered as she crossed the room and got to work, trying not to smile at the sound of Jess’ laughter behind her.
Chloe spent almost four hours working furiously on the back of her costumer, trying to ignore the awful scent and the man’s bitchy comments. She almost lost her temper when he started to rumble about Jess, who was at the other side of the shop, waiting for a girl to pick up a piercing from the catalog.
When “Asshole Mike”, as Chloe labelled him, finally payed and had left the shop, she let a growl of frustration slip through her lips and let herself fall on a chair near the counter. Jess laughed at her pissed off expression.
“You have a way with customers, I’ll give you that much.”
“He’s an ass and I’m actually worn out” Chloe replied, clutching her hands on fists over the counter, trying not to think about the guy. “I love to work here but I have to stand idiots like him…”
“Nothing in this life is for free, sistah” Said Jess with playful smile. She jumped over the counter and sat down onto it. “Hey Tim, you’re early.”
A guy with a wide and self confident grin had entered in the shop, closing the door behind him. He was tall and athletic, with soft brown eyes and a short, messy blonde hair. Both of his arms were covered by colorful designs. Chloe had made some of them several months ago.
“Yo, ladies. Yeah, weird. Right? I suspected our blue friend would appreciate the gesture” Waved Tim, as he dragged a chair to sit down close to the two girls. “How’s it going?”
“Asshole Mike just left” Said Jess with a grin. “You missed Chloe’s murderer face when he said some shit about my boobs.”
“Good ol’ Mike. He’ll never change.” He stretched a little and looked at Chloe directly. “So… are you ready for tonight?”
“I’m not the star tonight.” Replied Chloe. “I’m kinda the rockstar’s date or some shit.”
“C’mon, don’t give me that crap.” Said Tim, shaking his head. “Half of it is yours, technically. And I believe “wife” is the term you should use, not date.”
Chloe couldn’t help but to smile at those words, while playing with the silver ring on her finger.
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Well, you better take advantage of my generosity and get going.” Said Tim. “We don’t want you to be late.”
“So then I’ll take your generous offer, tiny Tim” Chloe teased him. “But I want you tomorrow as early as today for the rehearse at the Hard Rock.” Tim gave her an adorable pout that made him look like a child. “Don’t give me that look, the drums aren’t going to play themselves. I have a reputation to keep, I’m the lead singer, I can’t be seen with amateurs.”
The guy just showed his tongue to her as Jess rolled her eyes.
“I’ll make sure he shows up in time.” She said, blinking an eye to her. “Wish Max good luck!”
With that said, Chloe dedicated them an exaggerated military salute and left the shop with another self confident grin and the ring on her finger burning like it was on fire.
Hours later, Chloe entered the empty gallery, fighting a losing battle with her red tie. She felt a little odd with the white shirt, which was a little tight at some points and the skinny, unreaped black jeans. Her ever present cap or beanie was left abandoned at the apartment, since she knew it didn’t fit.
Apart from the security guards and the gallery personnel, there was a young woman, wearing a blue lovely dress, giving the final touches to the photographs displayed in the main hall.
Chloe smiled at the sight of Max, rubbing her short brown hair with anxiety as she walked away from the wall to examine the result. Chloe walked over, trying to be as sneaky as possible and then rounded Max’s waist with her arms as she posed her chin over her bare shoulder.
“Don’t you think you’re working a little too hard, dear?” She whispered in the other woman’s ear, grinning at the little jump she caused, taken her by surprise.
“Chloe!” She complained, but a smile was reflected on her voice. “You scared me.”
“I’ve missed you. How are you doing?” Asked the blue haired girl. “Are you nervous? ‘cause hella sure I am!”
Max laughed, making the ever present butterflies in Chloe’s gut fly wildly.
“Just a bit.” She said, pulling away from Chloe’s embrace just to turn around and look at her directly.
“Joyce, David, Jess and Tim wish you good luck.” She said, looking around the, yet empty place. “So, are you gonna give me the tour or do I have to wait until the press, the paparazzi and all those hipster artists arrive and monopolize you?”
Max rolled her eyes. She took Chloe’s hand, intertwining their fingers as she walked around the main room, showing her the pictures, displayed around. Chloe knew every single one of them in detail. She was in most of them, sometimes as a model, sometimes in a shot snapped all of the sudden and when she wasn’t aware of it.
They stopped at the main wall. The words displayed above it, gave her goosebumps as she read it out loud, her shaky voice full of pride.
“Maxine Caulfield: Pieces of time.” She said, smiling, passing an arm over Max’s shoulders. “I’m so proud of you.”
She squeezed Max and gave her a kiss on the head.
“I’m just… so glad you’re here.” Said Max, her warm breath against her shirt.
“Always.” Said Chloe, her voice a little broken. “I’m… sorry it took us so long to finally get here”
“Don’t be.” Max said, coming closer to her and stealing a little peck from her lips. “You don’t have to.”
“I’m sorry” She repeated. “I know it’s not the right time at all. I just… try not to think about it.”
Chloe took Max’s left hand and softly caressed the blue butterfly, tattooed on her wrist. She had done it herself and got another one, identical to it, in the very same spot.
“What’s bothering you, Chlo?”
Max caressed Chloe’s right cheek as she pushed her a little, forcing to make eye contact. Max blue eyes were full of concern.
“You could have fulfilled your dream a long time ago.” She said, trying to hold the tears. “It’s not the first time you’re in this gallery. You deserved to be here from the beginning and… you just came back to save me. You quit your dream for me.”
“That’s why you worked so hard all this time?” Max asked. “I told you, you don’t owe me anything, Chlo. Besides… That wasn’t my dream.”
“What are you talking about?” Chloe asked, frowning. “You always wanted to be a photographer. A famous and awarded photographer.”
“Yeah, well… That day, in that timeline, I realized something.” Replied Max, shrugging a little. “You weren’t there with me. And I hope I was clear enough throughout the last couple of years that I can’t live in a world where you don’t exist, so… My dream was to be here, yeah. But with you. As we are now.”
Chloe released her, just to grab her face with both hands and kiss her tenderly on the lips. A single tear left her eyes, even if she promised herself she’d not cry.
“I’ll always be with you.” She said, pulling away and looking at Max bright blue eyes.
“Forever.” Max replied, with an intense whisper full of meaning.
Time is a strange thing. People usually think that time goes on a straight single line, always pushing forward. That only one version of reality exists. You make your choices and go on, because time never stops. But… what if you could change those choices? What if you could have the time itself in the palm of your hand, twisting around your fingers, obeying your demands with a single thought?
Someone who could bend the fabric of time and reality once told me that time is way more complicated than that. Time can be your ally or your worst enemy. It depends entirely on your choices. And that person chose to not use that power ever again.
I can see her from here, living the dream, taking a photograph of it materialized in front of her in this gallery full of people. Her hands are shaking. They always shake a little when she’s taking a picture. I know she’s still hurt, even if she doesn’t show it. She’s different from the girl I met when I was only a kid. She’s also different from the girl I found after five years of separation, the girl that stepped up and saved my life. At the time I didn’t know that she saved me in every way possible and more than a couple of times. I didn’t know at the time that this girl had the power to bend reality and time.
Time… Time is a strange thing. Sometimes, it’s all we need. Sometimes it’s all we want. Yeah, we always want more time.
People usually say that time heals all wounds. I beg to differ. Time show us how to cope with the pain, how to make room for it and live with it. Better, but not painless. But for that to happen, we need more than just time passing by us. We need to make a choice, either stay there and live with the pain drowning us, making us suffer, destroying us… or we can look up and move on, grabbing our pieces and trying to hold them together.
Sometimes we also need someone, not just time or resolve. Sometimes this other person needs you too, because we’re all broken at some point. In some way or another, everyone carries their wounds with them. The death of loved ones, the death of thousands of unknown people of a town struck by a storm, the death of a best friend, the pain of others, the weight of your own choices when time is your enemy, and the clock is ticking against you.
We all are wounded, more or less. But if you find someone who’s willing to hold you when your nightmares strike at night, someone who’s willing to grab your hands when they shake, someone who loves you unconditionally, with all your flaws and dark tones, someone capable of drying your tears and look at your eyes to let you know you’re not alone and you’ll never be alone again… you know you have to stay there with that person. Because, that person is the only one in the world that hugs you and you feel the shattered pieces of your soul glued together again, even if it’s only for a brief second. Because you love that person with every fiber of your being and it’s fine.
I’m in love with the girl that was willing to sacrifice everything for me. The girl I owe my life, not because she saved me uncountable times. Because she was that person, my soulmate, the one who showed me that life is about choices. She’s the one who tought me that even in our darkest times, we can step up and do something about it.
She tought me that life is about choices and chances too. Life is not perfect, life is not painless. Life is strange, and if you’re willing to find happiness, maybe you just have to give it another shot.
Dear readers, we have reached the final chapter of “Give it Another Shot”
This was my very first experience publishing a fanfiction, and all I have to say is thank you. Thank you for your kind comments, for the great feedback, for your encouraging words and for pointing out the mistakes I may had, since writing in english was and still is a big challenge. “Give it another shot” had a lot more repercution than I expected, and reciving notificatons when someone had commented or talked with me about it, made me feel all the effort I put in this story was worth something.
This, is my canon ending. And I really hope all of you enjoyed reading it as much I enjoyed writing it.
Thank you again.
Here? I’m the punk queen of Arcadia Bay, of course.
In real life, I’m an artist, gamer, crappy musician, game dev and a wannabe writer. Oh, and I’m always running late. MaiQueti in a nutshell.