“She’s never leaving me!”
“That makes all of us…”
A year later and William’s voice was still so clear in his daughter’s mind. Had she of known that would be the last thing she was to ever say to her father perhaps she would have expressed her love for him. Chloe sighed reclining back against the bench. Closing her eyes, she allowed the sunset to envelop her. This was the one spot in Arcadia Bay that Chloe went to get some peace.
Max and her had spent a majority of their childhood running through the surrounding forest near the lighthouse. Whenever she missed her best friend the most Chloe would ride her bike to the trail and then followed the signs to massive structure. As she sat there, she felt a pang of pain in her heart, first Bongo, then William, and then Max. Why did everyone she loves leave her? Pulling the Polaroid from her back pocket she stared down at the frozen image of her and Max last summer. The last picture that William… the thought trailed off.
“Man, I miss you,” she mumbled, both talking to the memory of her dad and Max.
And if things weren’t bad enough now her mom had decided to marry that prick. Chloe had made it very clear that she was not a fan of this life choice. How could she do that to her own daughter? Didn’t she even care what Chloe thought about all of it! How could she replace William so quickly, how could even she replace him at all! After all it had only been a little over a year since William was killed
“This is total bull shit,” she growled at the thought of the upcoming wedding.
If there was ever a time when she needed her best friend it was now. But since Max left for Seattle Chloe had not heard from the 14-year-old girl. Looking to her left she saw the wooden sign that held the map of the entire town. Getting to her feet she walked over to it. Near the top she saw the orange skull and crossbones she had drawn. In case of an emergency her or Max would be able to find their secret pirate hideout. Chloe smiled as she traced over her drawing. That all seemed like a lifetime ago, her and Max running around Arcadia Bay dressed as the pirates they thought they were. Their adventures and plans for taking over the world together had filled Chloe’s days with light and hope. But now all she could feel was the darkness and despair that weighted heavily on the 15-year-old.
The depression that she had felt over the past 18 months was crushing. It hurt to move, to blink, to even exist. Joyce had worried about her daughter, who was now spending a majority of her time in her room when she was not at school. At Blackwell Academy Chloe was surrounded by other teens her age. The local kids had played side by side with Max and Chloe over the years, but they all knew that Max was her number one. Because of this all the other children had found their best friends in anyone besides the Arcadia Bay pirates. This left her pretty much alone except for the occasional acquaintance making small talk with her.
Placing her hand in her pocket Chloe pulled out her cellphone. She smiled remembering her and Max decorating the phone when she first had gotten it. Now the stickers were beginning to peel and fade from age…just like Chloe. No missed calls, no new text messages.
She knew this was a long shot but if she wasn’t meant to do this then this would stop her. Flipping the Razor open the 15-year-old girl scrolled through her contacts until she reached the one she wanted. Chloe heard the phone ring twice before she heard the voicemail picked up.
Bitch buttoned? Really dude, she thought angrily feeling tears burn in her eyes.
“Hey it’s Max, I’m out taking photos at the moment. Leave a message and I’ll call you back!”
Chloe felt the lump form in her throat hearing her oldest friend’s recorded voice. The beep signaled her to begin her message.
What’s the point? Not like she has returned any of my other calls, she thought with a sigh as she closed her phone.
Chloe dragged her feet as she walked back over to the bench where her book bag lay. Pulling it onto her lap she stuffed her phone in the front pocket, along with the photo. In its place she removed an orange prescription bottle. Removing the white cap, she dumped its contents into her hand. She had stolen her mom’s antianxiety medication Joyce had been prescribed after she lost William.
Staring down at the Valium, Chloe paused. She had, had thoughts about this for some time now. The constant pain of grief had reached a point of being simply unbearable. She was tired, and let’s be honest would anyone even miss her. Joyce had David, the other students had each other, and Max had her new hipster friends…who needed her anymore?
No one, that’s who…raising her hand she closed her eyes. Funny how her heart did not increase or breathing become rapid. It was if her body had accepted that this was going to happen and did not want to spend its last moments in a state of panic. In that moment her world seemed to finally feel at peace after so long.
“I’ll be seeing you soon Dad,” she whispered, inhaled deeply.
Just as the first pill was about to slip over her lips, Chloe picked up on a sound. The sound was that of footsteps scuffing the dirt, and they were getting closer.
“Shit!” Chloe immediately stopped, clamping her hand shut she whipped around to see who was walking up the trail. Coming over the crest of the hill she spotted a girl around her age.
“Oh!” the stranger exclaimed upon seeing the girl on the bench. “I’m sorry I didn’t realize that someone would be up here.”
Chloe just stared at the girl. The Price girl knew every local teen, but this girl was a stranger. It was easy to tell that she did not belong in Arcadia Bay with her long blonde hair and petite form. To Chloe, this girl should have been reclined on a beach in California or gracing the cover of a magazine not speed walking toward her and the lighthouse.
Silence fell between the two teens for a moment. “Don’t you go to Blackwell?” the blonde asked, “it’s just you look really familiar.”
Who is this chick? I’ve never seen her before, but she sure seems to know me, she thought, the tone of annoyance could even be felt in inner monologue. Chloe’s guard remained on high alert as the other teen walked closer to her.
“Yeah, I do,” Chloe responded, squinting to get a better look at her face.
“Oh yeah, I think you’re in my chemistry class!” she exclaimed so confidently Chloe swore she saw the lightbulb click on above her head. “Miss’s Grant, second block?”
“Maybe…” Chloe answered hesitantly, trying to go over the classroom in her mind’s eye.
From her seat in the back of the room Chloe scanned her surroundings. Let’s see…there was that creep Nathan that sat across from her. That stuck up bitch that never left his side was, surprise, right next to him. In front of them was Justin, nine times out of ten, asleep next to that really smart brown haired guy what was his name…. Waldo? No so far no blonde…wait! There she was sitting in the front row right in front of the teacher’s desk.
“Oh yeah…. you sit up front don’t you? Miss Grant calls on you a lot…”
“Yeah,” she responded, her cheeks adopting a pink hue. “I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to science.”
“Yeah so am I,” Chloe responded curtly. It wasn’t a lie. Before everything that happened Chloe was a straight A student who dreamed of working in a huge lab one day. Since William died though, she didn’t see a point in having those dreams anymore, and her G.P.A. was beginning to reflect this thought.
“Well…I’m sorry to bug you, I’ll just…”
“Wait,” Chloe said causing the girl to stop, “What are you doing up here anyway? This isn’t exactly a happenin’ place to be. Most people are headed to a Vortex Club party on a Friday night.”
“I was going to go but…” Chloe watched the girl walk closer to the edge of the cliff. The sunset caught in her hair causing it to glow like a halo around her head. She looked down at the water. A look of sadness could be seen in her brown eyes.
“You okay, dude?”
“Yeah, the water just reminds me of home. I was headed out when I got this overwhelming feeling to come here. I guess I’ve just been getting home sick lately, and when I do I head to the water.”
Her sentence struck Chloe…overwhelming feel to come here…could that be the work of…nah it couldn’t be…could it? Could this stranger have been sent to stop her from doing what she was going to do? Could William have sent a guardian angel in the form of a fifteen-year-old girl to save his only child? Chloe didn’t believe in that sort of stuff but she couldn’t deny the coincidence.
Without being promoted she continued. “Mom and Dad shipped me up here from Long Beach…thought being away from California would help keep me on track for college. They didn’t approve of my friends…thought they were too ‘rebellious’ or whatever the fuck that means.”
For the first time in a long time Chloe felt an honest to god laugh build inside her. She could not picture this chick hanging out with anyone considered a rebel. But who knows looks could be deceiving. “Well sending you to Arcadia Bay might not have been the best idea,” the teen joked, causing the other girl to look up from the water. “You know small towns normally have the worst kids…I mean come on what else is there to do in this shithole than get in trouble?”
“Well you do have a point…seems like that Vortex whatever would be a great place to score some stuff. You smoke?”
Chloe stiffened up. The pre-William’s death Chloe would never think about doing something like that…after all she had felt horrible enough when he caught her and Max sneaking wine. Who knows how he would react if he found out she was smoking? But now she didn’t have to worry about that…
“Of course, I was actually gonna grab some dinner first,” Chloe lied so smoothly she even convinced herself that she hadn’t of been in the process of ending her life less than five minutes ago.
“Dude, I’m starving…care if I tag along? I can’t take another meal in the cafeteria and you seem to know a better place. No one get that look in their eye thinking about that shit.”
“You caught me,” Chloe laughed, “I was headed to the Two Whales. You been there yet?”
The other girl shook her head.
“Well it’s my treat then!” Chloe said as she stood up, a real smile pulling on the corners of her mouth.
“Dude chill…my mom works there. I get free food all the time! I’ll hook you up.”
A small smile spread across the other girl’s face. “All right, next time though I’ll hook you up.”
“You got it! I’m Chloe by the way. Chloe Price.”
“Haha that sounds like a superhero or something…I’m Rachel,” she responded, watching Chloe’s cheeks blush, “You wanna go?”
“Sure thing,” Chloe responded, turning to grab her bag. Opening the front pocket, she quickly stuffed her hand inside, emptying its contented into the canvas bag. “Let’s roll.”
Chloe joined Rachel and the two continued in small talk as they headed away from the light house. At the bottom of the path Chloe saw the bus stop that would take them into the town. It wasn’t a far walk and a nice night that the girls decided to go the route of the side walk instead. In a matter of twenty minutes they had crossed over the border between forest to suburbs. Chloe told Rachel about the best places to hang out in the town, pointing out a coffee shop and the place where all the skateboarders liked to congregate. There was something about the California girl that gave Chloe the impression she would be into that sort of thing. Reaching the diner Chloe walked ahead to grab the door for Rachel. As her new friend walked past she grabbed a piece of Chloe’s blonde hair.
“Hey Chloe, anyone ever tell you, you could totally rock blue hair?”