Give It Another Shot [Chapter 7]
Chapter 7: Memories of things that never happened” 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”]
Silence. Not that Chloe did expect anything else for at least a minute, not after she dropped a bomb like that. Max looked away, spaced out. Her face became a mask of sadness and regret. It was like the young brunette had aged twenty years in just a couple of seconds.
“It was… so fucking insane.” She replied distressingly. “I’ve never imagined I’d screw up like that in my life. I’m so, so sorry, Chloe.”
“So… It’s real?” Asked Chloe, her hands shaking a little. “I mean, I believe you but… I’ve been thinking about him today and… you know. I kinda need to know how it was and… why? Why did you do that?”
“Why?” She replied, angry for a second. “Because I loved your dad too, Chloe. Like he was my own.” Said Max, still avoiding her gaze. “ Because I saw you suffer so much… finding out about Rachel and Frank you just… snapped. And blamed him for leaving and for everything bad that happened to you.”
“He died. And I blamed him for my shitty life all those years, didn’t I? And Joyce… mom too…”
Tears filled Max’s eyes and threatened to roll down her cheeks any second. She couldn’t lift her head, she just talked, with her eyes fixed in Chloe’s hand, grabbing the metallic rail of the bed.
“And when I went back in time I wanted to fix everything. To avoid your suffering and… I made the most reckless choice in history, believing I could change his fate. I screwed up so bad… I can’t even think about the… ‘other you’ I left behind in that reality… I wanted you to be happy… and I hurt you terribly instead. I’m never going to be okay with that.”
“How… how was he?” Asked Chloe, her eyes never leaving Max’s face. “Was he… okay?”
Max looked at her for the first time after she asked about William. Her eyes full of tears, starting to run over her face. The bright that Chloe had seen in her eyes after she woke up had been extinct, replaced by an almost tangible pain. That sight broke Chloe’s heart in two.
“Your dad loved you, Chloe” She said. “He still does. He made the impossible to be there with you, that you had all you needed to be fine. And even with the debt he and Joyce had due to your condition, even working almost twenty four seven… he was still William, with his bad jokes and his bright smile… Even if he felt desperate, he was still fighting.”
The tickling on her cheek indicated Chloe that she was crying too. She dried her tears with the back of her hand. She remembered her dad with painful detail, his voice, his scent, his bright blue eyes. She remembered perfectly the last time she saw him leaving the house, joking and laughing… when he said he’ll never leave her…
He didn’t know he couldn’t keep his promise.
“How could I? How could I blame him for leaving? How could I be so unfair? He deserved better. He still does.”
“Did you make the right decision?” Asked Chloe, all of the sudden, looking at anywhere but Max. She could see through the corner of her eye the brunette staring at her in disbelief, livid and pale.
“I mean… He was alive and well… maybe you shouldn’t came back here…Maybe I should’ve… I should’ve…”
Max grabbed her face with both hands and forced Chloe to look at her. Chloe didn’t remember seeing Max so awfully angry in her entire life. Also, she tried to ignore the butterflies rampaging in her stomach and the burning sensation on her skin there where Max’s hands were posed.
“I did the right thing.” Max voice was so low it was almost a whisper. “I screwed up and I fixed it. I had to go back and you had to be alive and okay, like it was meant to be. I wish there was a way to save both of you. To save everyone. But I couldn’t. I screwed up like I never thought I would.”
“It… It was that bad, I mean… was I…?”
“Chloe, you asked me to put you to sleep, remember?. Forever.” Snapped Max, utterly furious. “You were in pain. You were dying, suffering… and when you asked me to do it I just couldn’t say no. I let you go because I couldn’t see you suffering like that. And I… I had to go back and change everything because… I…If you…I couldn’t let you go… I…”
She started to cry and Chloe hugged her so tight she could even feel the beating of her heart against her chest. Seconds became minutes and none of them wanted to let go of the other. Being so close was the only thing that kept Chloe together. She felt like if Max let her go, she would literally fall into pieces, smashed like glass.
“I’m… I’m so sorry you had to make that choice, Max.”
“When I tried to… when I wanted to jump off that Cliff… I was done for. I had nothing left, or that was what I thought. I never thought about what dad would have said to me… what he’d think. I just wanted to be with him but… was that what he’d wanted? And in that other reality? What happened to the Max that… the Max that helped me to die? What would dad think about that?”
“I’m done watching you suffer.” Max muttered against Chloe’s shirt and pulled away, holding the her friend’s face with both hands.
She wiped away Chloe’s tears with her thumb, ignoring her own tears rolling down her face. There was something in her eyes, hidden behind the pain. Something Chloe didn’t recognize, even looking at them so close…
“Those blue eyes, that face and… and… damn you’re beautiful. You are… so… I should… I need…”
Chloe leaned forward, her heart about to explode of pain and fear in her chest, beating brutally against her ribs. Butterflies flying wildly, the blood in her veins beating in her ears and her face turned red as her eyes lingered for a brief second to Max’s pink lips, slightly parted, letting out her breath softly. She seemed to be closing too, a question hidden in her eyes. That bright on her gaze appeared again as Chloe came closer…
The sound of the door opening broke the spell, shattering it to pieces. Chloe jumped back, getting away from Max as fast as possible, her face burning like she was on fire. Suddenly, the room was so hot she almost couldn’t stand it.
“What… what was that? Damn, I… I wasn’t even thinking!” Thought Chloe, looking away to hide the bright red blush on her cheeks. She didn’t dare to look at Max right now, or anyone really. She just wanted to be swallowed by the ground and never come back up. “Holy shit, what I’ve done?!”
“Do you need something, dear?” Asked a female voice. The nurse was talking to Max, who didn’t seem so troubled to find the right words.
“No, I’m okay.” She replied. “I know it’s late for visitors but…”
“Oh, don’t worry about that.” Said the nurse. Chloe could hear a smile on her voice while she just looked at the floor, trying not to seem too shocked.
“Breathe, Chloe. Breathe.”
“I’m sure your friend will sneak in anyway if I told her to leave.” Joked the nurse. “I shouldn’t be doing this but you’re fine and I’m sure she can keep a secret. Don’t you?”
“She’s talking to you, dumbass. Answer her.”
“Of course.” Muttered Chloe, forcing herself to look at the nurse.
The black haired woman smiled at her and then left the room, leaving them alone again. Max left escape a frustrated sigh and laid again on the bed, looking at the ceiling.
“I know what you’re thinking, Chlo.” Said Max, without looking at her.
“Holy shit, I’m busted!” Thought Chloe, the horror spreading over her face. She wanted to disappear, to run away and hide where nobody found her again. “I’m done. I screwed up.. Oh.Hell.No.”
“And I don’t regret it.” Continued Max.
Chloe raised her head and looked at her friend in confusion.
“I don’t regret anything I did. I tried, I screwed up and I came back to fix it the best I could. If there was a chance… a small possibility that everything could get better, I’d take it. And I did. That’s exactly why you’re here now. Even if I wasn’t meant to change things I… I just happened.”
“So… you’re going to just…. ignore whatever happened just two seconds ago?” thought Chloe, not sure if she felt relieved or hurt. “Maybe I was just… seeing things. Maybe she didn’t get closer to me, maybe she didn’t notice anything… Shit, I’m absolutely confused now.
“I guess… “ Said Chloe. “You were lucky to have the chance… What’d have happened if you just couldn’t fix it? That’s serious shit.”
“I know. I was fucking terrified.” Max swallowed audibly. “When I used the photograph to go back… I don’t know, suddenly I was there, in my thirteen year old body but… I remembered everything that had happened, like some kind of twisted deija vu. And being there again I just… I couldn’t let the opportunity go away. I learned the hard way that my power can screw up realities so bad… it’s not a gift, it’s a… weapon.”
Chloe sighed. She moved her chair slightly away from the bed, just to avoid whatever happened between the two of them earlier. Not that she didn’t want it, of course. She could feel the urge to be close to Max boiling in her chest, so strong that she had to use all her strength to fight it.
“There is no second chance here, Chloe” She thought. “You almost screw everything up. Stay put. Damn this is fucking hard.”
“Do you have any idea of how it works? Travel through photographs I mean.”
“I have no clue to be honest.” Admitted Max, shrugging. “I didn’t even know what I was doing the first time. But it works with every photograph I’m in. Traveling back through photographs saved my life. And yours too. Three times in fact. When I was… When I was in the Dark Room… I used my own photographs to escape. And to save you because… you were dead…”
Tears again. Max just kept looking at the ceiling, crying and grabbing her head with both hands. Chloe wanted to go closer, to hug her tight and scare away all the fear on her voice.
“You’re safe.” She managed to say. “He’s in jail. And you never were there.”
A chill ran down Max’s back, shaking her visibly. She seemed off for a second, like she was remembering something awful.
“What is it?” Asked Chloe, worried.
“Nothing.” Said Max, shaking her head. “It’s just…memories of things that never happened. It’s weird. I remember everything I went through with you, but you don’t… I remember being in places that I never was in this reality. Things happened to me, to us… and you… you just don’t know, you don’t remember. Because it never happened to you.”
“What do you want me so bad to remember, Max? Tell me… Tell me because I’m hella scared to ask…”
Max didn’t say anything. They just sat there in silence for a while, both looking at anywhere except each other. It wasn’t awkward or odd as Chloe thought it would be. Just the very presence of the other was kind of… relaxing.
“Do you… want to talk about the… Dark Room?” Asked Chloe, not sure if that’d help or ruin everything.
“Not right now.” Said Max, with a strangled voice. “I’ll tell you what happened though, you need to know, but… I’m not sure if I can handle it now. And It’s a little late.”
Chloe looked at the clock hanging on the wall. Almost midnight.
“You have to go.” Said Max with a sad expression.
“How do you know?” Asked Chloe, narrowing her eyes.
“Joyce was here while you were sleeping.” Replied Max, shrugging. “She told me. You don’t want to get late to your first day at job, do you?”
Chloe smiled a little.
“If it means I can stay here with you I could do it…”
“Yeah, that’ll be starting off on the wrong foot, right?” Then Chloe’s little smile vanished. “Are you going to be okay? I… don’t want you to have any nightmares or whatever for my stupid questions…”
“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.” She didn’t seemed convinced, but her voice sounded resolved at least.
“Call me if you feel the need, okay?”
Max nodded again.
“See you tomorrow?” She asked. Chloe could swear a soft blush was spreading over Max cheeks.
“Hella yes.” Replied Chloe, her characteristic grin on her face again.
Chloe got up from the chair and offered Max a fist. Max giggled and hit it softly with her own hand, like they used to.
“Hope you can get out of here soon.” Said Chloe.”Now you have two reasons go to the Two Whales. Joyce’s pancakes and your amazing, and only, sidekick doing the dishes.”
“Maybe the doctors let me go in a day or two.”Said Max, smiling openly. “ And I’ll be there as soon as I can. I promise.”
First chapter: https://lifeisstrangefans.com/give-it-another-shot-chapter-1/
Next Chapter: https://lifeisstrangefans.com/give-it-another-shot-chapter-8/
Previous Chapter: https://lifeisstrangefans.com/give-it-another-shot-chapter-6/
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.