Give It Another Shot [Chapter 3]
Chapter 3: All the time in the world” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:20|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%20Condensed%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C700%2C700italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”]
Chloe entered the room slowly and closed the door behind her.
Max’s room was warm and small, lit by a single lamp over her bed. She was there, lying motionless, awfully pale, breathing with the help of an oxygen mask. The oscilloscope was beeping weakly but steadily. Music to Chloe’s ears.
She sat down next to the bed and looked deeply at her friend, while holding the journal with both hands.
“You’re alive.” whispered Chloe, ignoring the tears rolling down her cheeks. “You’re here again, you came back and saved my life…”
She stayed there in silence for what seemed like hours, with her eyes locked on Max’s peaceful expression, her barely parted lips behind the mask, her freckles, her long eyelids… She was that clumsy and shy girl she knew five years ago, but all grown up.
Chloe reached out and grabbed Max’s hand… it was pale and cold like ice.
“I need you to answer me, Max. Why did you do that? What’s this journal? I…”
“Oh, man… what…?”
Max held her hand. Even though she was weak and shaky, she closed her fingers around Chloe’s palm and remained fast asleep. Chloe shook her head and couldn’t help but smile a little. She’ll wake up, and she’ll explain every single thing to her. She just knew it.
Chloe opened the Journal with her free hand and continued reading, fighting with the weird feeling in her gut. Rachel’s name written on the paper made her chest feel hollow.
Hours became days…
“This is bullshit. This can’t be real.”
“But it makes sense… that’s something I’d do…”
“This shit predicted Rach… goddamnit.”
“So… fucking twisted. What the fuck is this?”
“Oh, man this is insane… I’m sitting here, talking to myself about some crazy shit written in a teenage diary!”
“I need to buy a fucking quantium physics book If I want to make some sense out of this shit.”
“Oh, Max…You saw my dad again? And you… oh my god. Oh my god, Max. What did you do?”
“Oh, man, this can’t be real! Alternate realities and timelines… this is so fucked up!”
“I can’t believe she was buried in… our lair… Damn it, why her? Why kill her? What kind of world does this?!”
“How many times did I die? Seriously? It’s like a… hella weird parody of Final Destination or some shit like that.”
“Prescott… You… you son of a bitch! ”
“Jefferson the art teacher? What? No, this is fucking insane.”
“Again? I’m fucking dead again? Unbelievable!”
Chloe’s mind was in total chaos. With every word she read, a new question, which couldn’t be solved, appeared in her mind. She spent hours like this, dancing between belief and disbelief. Between truths and lies. Between facts and deliriums.
The proof was irrefutable, though. The pictures. Every single one of the pictures of herself that she didn’t remember. The things that Max knew about her life, about her, about Rachel… things that she couldn’t have known if all that was written was just a big lie.
It was too much. Too much to bear, too much to assimilate, too much to believe.
Days passed. Max was still unconscious. The doctors said she was stable, but she would not wake up for a while. Maybe even for another couple of days. It scared the shit out of Chloe that they doctors kept Max sedated to bear the pain.
Chloe stayed by her side, even when Joyce told her to go back home and she’d watchover Max insetead or when the latter’s parents arrived, in the middle of the night with a panic attack and a storm of tears, asking for their little baby.
Max kept sleeping, her face relaxed and peaceful. She was scarily pale. The mask that helped her breathe and the awful amount of bandages over her bare chest didn’t do her any favours; instead they made her look very fragile and helpless. But she was alive and out of danger, something that Chloe reminded herself every five or six seconds.
She tried, without success, to ignore the awkward mix of feelings. Between Max’s sudden and heroic reappearance, Rachel’s fate and the journal… her mind was about to collapse and her heart… her heart wasn’t sure if it should feel relief or pain.
She felt like crap for thinking about it, but the fact that Rachel was found, for better or worse, helped her to give closure to six agonising months of wonder. She hated herself for feeling relieved, now that she had a body to mourn and bury. And she mourned her loved Rachel every single day, and even if it was kind of masochistic, she followed the investigation on the news. She just hoped the police would finally do justice for her friend, that all the pain she felt was not in vain.
When the Dark Room was discovered and made public, due to Nathan’s confession, Jefferson was arrested for kidnapping and murder. That confirmed another waterfall of notes, which Chloe considered as deliriums, written down in Max’s journal. Every time Chloe saw Jefferson’s cold face in the news, she just wanted to smash his stupid lenses and make him pay for all the crimes with her own hands. For Rachel, for Kate… and for Max. Even if she wasn’t his victim in this reality, she had been in another and that thought was enough for Chloe to want him dead.
After that, Chloe decided that she believed it. All of it. Even the weird stuff. Even the impossible things written in the journal. And part of her wanted to believe all of this was for a reason. She wanted to believe what the journal said, because besides all the shit going on, Chloe and Max seemed… happy. Like when they were kids. Captain Chloe and SuperMax, taking over Arcadia Bay again.
She wanted to be there when Max woke up; she wanted to talk to her, to hug her, to ask her why, to slap her for leaving, to thank her for coming back, to tell her she was sorry and so damn grateful. Even though her parents would not like her to be in the room twenty-four-seven, they would have to kick her out, in order to separate the duo.
Days became weeks…
Chloe, only returned home to shower and to change her clothes. She slept and ate at the hospital, only leaving Max’s room when she needed a smoke to ease her wild thoughts and mixed feelings. Either way there was one occasion, she left for several hours. Rachel’s funeral.
Almost every inhabitant of Arcadia Bay knew or at least heard about Rachel Dawn Amber. She had been the most popular girl at Blackwell. And the fact that something like this happened to such a lovely girl made the world seem quite a dark place. Especially for those close to her, like Chloe.
Chloe had never been a big fan of crowds. She attended to the funeral of course, but she spent most of the time away, with Frank and Pompidou. She knew she would drag undesired attention and that Rachel deserved better.
She thought about what to say to her. But, what was there left to say her Angel didn’t know already? Thinking about that made Chloe feel as empty as she felt when she read Max journal’s entry about her death.
Once the funereal was over and everyone left, she approached the grave. She tried to verbalize the thoughts in the storm that was her mind and eventually she fell down to her knees, letting out nothing but a dull groan and started crying tears of bitter sadness and loss.
One afternoon, Chloe was back at Max’s hospital room, looking at one of the polaroids she took from the journal, now safe under her bed in a box with Max’s bag, back at home. The polaroid featured the two of them, smiling at the camera, with sleepy faces. Chloe loved that picture, even if she didn’t remember anything of what happened that day. It was truly a portrait of happiness, even with all the weird shit going on around them. And Max… she looked so happy, so beautiful…
“Any news?” Vanessa Caulfield asked, entering the room.
“Still sleeping” Chloe answered , with a sigh, hiding the picture in her jacket’s pocket.
Two weeks and a half had passed since the incident, and Max was still sleeping. The doctor said she should have woken up by now, since they stopped administering the sedatives and assured her worried parents and pissed off/worried best friend that she was stable and her condition was improving, even if she was still unconscious.
“Jesus, why is she taking so long?” Vanessa asked, like she was just talking to herself.
Like most of the time, Chloe ignored her, with her full attention on Max’s sleepy face. She was a little ashamed, but even if she had forgiven Max for moving to Seattle, she didn’t forgive her parents for dragging her with them. Stupid and childish, she knew, but she couldn’t help it.
“I’ll grab some food for Ryan and myself… do you want something, dear?”
“Nah, I’m okay.” Chloe said with her eyes never leaving Max.
She noticed something off on her face. Like when they were kids, she frowned a little, and a small wrinkle appeared within her eyebrows. She always could tell when Max was lying because of that little detail.
Vanessa left the room and closed the door behind her. Just a couple of seconds later, Max opened her eyes softly, almost sleepy and looked at Chloe’s surprised expression. Then Chloe realized she was… faking beeing asleep.
“Chloe…” Max said , with a lazy smile and throaty voice. “You look like shit.”
Chloe hugged her carefully but tightly, drowning her face in Max’s hair.
“You’re fine, I can’t believe it!” Chloe thought, feeling the tears rolling down her face.
She never felt so relieved in her entire life and she didn’t notice how tense her body was until she saw the deep dark blue eyes of her friend looking at her. It felt like all her muscles relaxed together, out of the blue, and she felt dizzy for a moment.
“You’re alive” Max said , weakly. She was crying too. “You’re alive, Chloe. I did it.”
Chloe pulled out of the hug, but she never left Max’s hand, holding it tight, intertwining their fingers.
“Dude, you scared the shit out of me” Chloe said with her trembling voice, managing to dry her tears with the back of her free hand. “I thought… Damn it, I thought you died. You can’t just appear out of nowhere and do that to me”
“Of course I can, Chloe. And I did.” Max mocked her. Even if she looked so dry and wasted, so beaten up just for being awake a couple of minutes, she was the same smartass Chloe remembered. “I’m so, so sorry about everything. I mean it. I didn’t forget about you, even if I was an asshole and didn’t call. I’ll never forgive myself for leaving you…”
“Hey, hey, stop” said Chloe, raising her hands. “Don’t worry about it. It’s all in the past, you’re here now… and you hella saved my life. Whatever happened back then… it’s over now. You’re here, that’s what matters. How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine” Max answered, while Chloe rose up an eyebrow in disbelief. “All right… I feel like crap. My chest is killing me and I can’t stand this thing nailed in my hand… I… hate needles.”
Max looked at her hand, where the needle of the serum was under her skin and a chill ran down her spine. Chloe nodded with a sad expression on her face.
“Well, that made more sense. I’ll go find your parents. They’d be really happy to see you’re awake.”
“Don’t” Said Max, grabbing her hand.
Chloe could feel her gut twist… and that feeling was not exactly unpleasant.
“Butterflies again? How old are you, Chloe? Twelve?”
“I know they’d want to see me, yeah. But I need to ask you something first.” continued Max.
Chloe looked at her, raising an eyebrow, absolutely confused.
“How much time was I unconscious?”
“Two weeks and a half… You got us all worried to death.”
“What about the weather? Did… something unusual happen?” Max asked, intensely. She was visibly anxious about it.
“Honestly… A lot of weird shit was going on.” Chloe answered, with a shady expression. Then, she grinned at Max’s worried expression and mocked her. “But the weather forecast didn’t announce tornados for Arcadia Bay this year.”
They looked at each other for a second and then Max relaxed a little, smiling. Chloe couldn’t help herself but to smile as well when she saw her friend let herself fall back onto the bed, sighing with relief.
“I can’t believe I actually did it…” She whispered, almost for herself. “So… if you know…”
Chloe sat back on her chair and looked at Max’s eyes with intensity. She needed to know, she needed to be sure… she needed to hear from her lips. Every single thing.
“I read the journal” She said. “And… a lot of things happened while you were… not here.”
“I can… guess.” Max said, frowning a little. “Start from the beginning. Tell me everything. Then, we can talk about the journal. I bet you have like a thousand questions about it.”
“Well, that’s an understatement… Do you have two or three weeks to answer my questions, SuperMax? It’ll take a while.”
Max squeezed her hand and looked at her right in the eye, with an intensity and affection that made Chloe blush slightly and look away, remembering about the kiss Max had described in her journal. For a moment, she felt so odd and yet so… warm.
“I have all the time in the word for you now.”
First Chapter – https://lifeisstrangefans.com/give-it-another-shot-chapter-1/
Previous Chapter – https://lifeisstrangefans.com/give-it-another-shot-chapter-2/
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.