State of Love and Trust
A Life is Strange prequel by OuTsYdeR
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:
I haven’t deviated too much from my normal writing style, however, keeping in mind the comic book format, as well as the word limit, I’ve had to compress a few scenes. Also, I’ve added a few breaks that I would normally not use, like “Later that day…”, etc. I’ve read a lot of comic books in my day, and this is pretty much how they handle time transitions, so I figured it should work. With all that said, I hope you enjoy this odd little creation of mine…
Chloe awoke to the shrill sound of a cell phone alarm. Opening her eyes half way, she saw the morning sun filtering through the American flag hanging over her window. “Rachel,” she croaked in a gruff, just-woke-up voice. “Turn that shit off, and either go back to sleep, or get up and go to class!”
“Ugh,” Rachel groaned as she silenced her alarm. “Why didn’t I drop out of school when you did?”
“Oh, right. Miss perfect GPA. As much as you’d like to sleep in, you know you actually like school.”
As she stood up and stretched, Rachel thought to herself that Chloe was partially right. She didn’t really enjoy school any more than the next teen, but she had ambition. A high GPA from a prestigious prep school could certainly help her out in life. And, hopefully, dispel the myth that she was just another pretty, dumb model.
Chloe’s eyes opened a little wider as she watched a naked Rachel Amber stand and stretch, arching her back. A little grin crept across her face as she admired the other girl’s curves from behind. She thought herself lucky to be able to lure such a beauty into her bed. It was time to start making things happen, she decided. They had talked about leaving Arcadia Bay together, and running off to Hollywood. Chloe was determined, now more than ever, to make that dream a reality. As soon as Rachel graduated from Blackwell, they were taking off for L.A., and never looking back.
“You have to get up, too, you know,” Rachel said as she slipped into her ripped jeans. “You’re my ride to school.”
“I know.” Chloe replied with a yawn. “It just doesn’t take me a solid hour to get ready like it does you.”
“Oh, har har… Your skinny ass better be driving me to Blackwell in twenty minutes!”
Rachel threw on a shirt and made her way to the bathroom. After using the facilities, she expertly applied her makeup, leaving it next to the sink, as she always did. She had more in her dorm on campus, anyway.
Returning to Chloe’s room, she found that Chloe had fallen back asleep. After waking her friend up once more, she finished getting dressed. Chloe, seemingly not caring about how she looked, just threw on the first garments she found in her closet, along with her trademark beanie, and was fully dressed in seconds.
Later that afternoon…
All of her classes for the day complete, Rachel sat in the parking lot of Blackwell Academy, awaiting the arrival of a certain RV. In the midst of her wait, she received a text message from Chloe; “Hey, shithead. You wanna come over again tonight?”
“Nah. Sorry, but I have to study,” She replied.
“Whatever. Your loss, nerd.”
She felt bad for lying to Chloe, but she knew that her best friend (with benefits) would never approve of what she was actually doing.
Just then, Frank Bowers pulled his huge recreational vehicle into the parking lot. Rachel ran to the side of the RV, opening the door, then disappearing inside. Once inside, she sat in the passenger’s seat, and buckled herself in. Any other worries she had; school, Chloe, life in general, seemed to melt away. She turned to Frank, giving him a smile as the two drove off.
The next day…
Chloe got into her truck and started the engine. Putting on her seatbelt, she put the old rust bucket in drive, and took off toward the designated meeting place. It was around lunch time, so of course, he wanted to meet at the Two Whales.
Along the way, Chloe went over in her mind what she would say. She’d never asked anyone to borrow money before. Especially not a goon like Frank. But, she supposed, the worst thing that could happen is he says “no”.
Pulling into the parking lot, she parked her truck across from Frank’s RV. She took a deep breath and stepped out of her vehicle, walking toward the RV with all the fake courage and confidence that she could muster. Knocking on the door, she could hear Pompidou barking. She hated that dog. Always felt like it was about to bite her face off at any moment.
After another knock, Frank finally opened the door, looking high as hell. Hmm, maybe this will be easier than I thought. Chloe thought to herself as Frank let her into the RV.
“Wait here,” He said. “I’ll go get your herb.”
“Fine with me.” She replied, having little interest in witnessing the rest of Frank’s domain.
As Frank went to the bedroom to retrieve her baggie of weed, Chloe made a “come at me, bro” gesture toward Pompadou, who, recognizing her as one of Frank’s regular customers, ignored her, and lied down on the floor. Looking around, she thought to herself that Frank’s home-on-wheels was much cleaner than she’d expected. It seemed a bit odd that a single guy, especially one like Frank, would have such a tidy place, even if it were stationary.
A few moments later, Frank returned with a little zip-lock bag of the leafy greens that made Chloe’s dumpster fire of a life somewhat bearable.
“Thanks, Frank,” She said, as he handed her the baggie. “You know, I was wondering…” She started, nervously scratching the back of her neck. “I was wondering if I could borrow some money, just for a few weeks.” She just blurted it out, to avoid letting her nerves get to her. It was the most important question she’d ever asked, she knew, as her entire future hinged on the outcome of this conversation with her drug dealer.
“How much we talking, here?” Frank asked. “You already owe me a hundred bucks for weed.”
“I know!” Chloe responded. “I’m sorry about that. But, if you could loan me, say… Four grand, I would pay you back all of it, with interest!” The number was pulled straight from her proverbial ass. In reality, she had no idea how much money she needed for what she wanted to accomplish, but five thousand had seemed like too much to ask for, so she simply went one number lower.
Frank laughed. Not exactly the reaction Chloe was hoping for. “And, how are you gonna pay me back? You’re family’s poor, and you don’t even have a job.”
“That is a very legitimate concern.” She said, trying to sound smart. “But, I’ve got something coming up… A lawsuit! Yeah, my lawyer says I’m gonna get a fuck ton of money from when some asshat in a BMW clipped me down on Railroad and Phoenix!” She was making this up as she went, but it seemed to her like a solid lie. “That’s where that dent in my fender came from, remember?” The dent had been there before she even got the truck.
“Yeah, okay.” Frank said after a few moments, seeming to buy Chloe’s story. “Wait here again…” He said, sounding slightly annoyed.
After disappearing into the back for a couple minutes again, Frank returned with a roll of hundred dollar bills. He held it out toward Chloe, but snatched it back when she reached for it. “You better not be playin’ me, Price, or there’s gonna be hell to pay.”
“I’d never screw you over, man. Where else would I get my weed?”
Later that evening…
Rachel couldn’t even remember what had started the argument between herself and Frank, but it was now in full tilt. They were now screaming at each other about the most inane, inconsequential shit. Eventually, her rage boiling over, she decided to get to the bottom line. “You’re a fucking loser, Frank! You think I want to live like this? You think I’d want to be with a guy who sells drugs out of his RV? As much as I appreciate the free drugs, there’s no future here!” She regretted it as soon as she’d said it, even if it was true. She was determined to be a model, and also had aspirations of going to law school. What good would her law degree be if she had to use it to defend her boyfriend/husband in court? Unfortunately, just as soon as her regret had hit her, so did Frank’s backhand.
Now, it was Frank’s turn to feel instant regret. Even as high as he was, he couldn’t believe that he had just hit his own girlfriend. The two just stood there for a moment, staring at each other in disbelief. Frank was the first to break the silence. “Rachel, I’m so sor…”
“Save it!” Rachel interrupted, rubbing her cheek with her hand. “We’re done!” She quickly gathered up her things and walked to the door of the RV. “Do not come after me, Frank. And, park this damn rolling shithole somewhere else!”
Rachel stepped out of the RV and slammed the door behind her. It wasn’t quite dark outside, but the overcast sky made it seem later in the evening than it actually was. She felt fortunate that they had been parked in the Blackwell parking lot, as most of the faculty and commuter students had left for the day. She sniffled and wiped away tears as she crossed the parking lot, headed toward the girl’s dormitories.
Frank slumped down onto the bed. He vowed to himself, then and there, that he would never do drugs again. Okay, maybe he would still smoke a little weed. That always calmed him down, maybe gave him the munchies, but never made him violent. But, all other drugs were now off the table. He’d still sell them, to make ends meet. But no more getting high on his own wares.
As he finally sat upright, he was somewhat surprised to find that he was crying, and hadn’t even realized it. Rachel meant the world to him. He didn’t deserve her, and he knew it. But, he had hope that this whole thing would blow over. She just needed time.
Drying his eyes, he decided that he felt sober enough to drive, and headed to the front of the RV. Strapping himself into the driver’s seat, he turned the key, put the vehicle in drive, and left Blackwell Academy, bound for his usual spot on the beach.
Rachel sat on the steps in front of the dorms, tears flowing freely. Her makeup was completely ruined, and her right cheek was red, and a little tender, but she didn’t think it would bruise. As she sat there, contemplating her entire life up to this point, and tried to remember the start of her argument with Frank, she heard a familiar voice from behind her.
“Rachel? Are you okay?”
“Oh, hey, Nathan.” She said, frantically trying to dry her eyes. “I’m fine. It’s just…just a thing.”
“You sure?” Nathan asked with what seemed like genuine concern.
“Yeah. I’ll be fine. I promise. How are you doing?” She asked, expertly diverting attention away from herself.
“I’m good,” he replied. “I’m actually kinda lucky I ran into you tonight. I’ve been meaning to ask you if you could do some modeling for me. I really wanna try this new technique that Mr. Jefferson taught me…”
Dropping her emotional baggage for a moment, Rachel considered the offer. She had posed once or twice for Nathan before. He’d always paid her pretty well for her time, and the pics always came out great.
“Sure, Nathan. Just let me know when.”
“How about now?” He said, as he pulled something out of his pocket.
She barely had time to feel the needle go into her neck before she crumpled to the ground. She saw Nathan standing over her, smiling, as her vision began to blur. She felt absolutely nothing. Her eyes closed on their own as she lost consciousness. Little did she know that his smile would be the last thing she would ever see…
Several days later…
Frank sat on a folding chair outside his RV in the paved beach parking lot, staring out at the endless horizon of the Pacific Ocean. Pompidou rushed up to him with a tennis ball in his mouth. Frank took the ball and threw it out toward the water, watching the dog run after it.
After trying to reach Rachel for days via text and phone, having left several voicemails, Frank thought she had just been avoiding him. That was, until he saw her picture on the front page of the newspaper with the headline “BLACKWELL STUDENT GOES MISSING!” He had pretty much resigned himself to the fact that she was dead. There’s no way Rachel would’ve run away so close to graduating, and he couldn’t imagine anyone kidnapping her. Even though he had never been one to wear any kind of jewelry, he had finally started wearing the bracelet she had made for him, as both a tribute, and a reminder of why he was trying to stay sober.
“What the hell do you mean, ‘non-refundable’!?” Chloe yelled into her phone. “Don’t you people understand? I was supposed to be travelling with my girlfriend, and she’s gone missing! Like, there’s a legit missing persons investigation ongoing!” She paused a moment to listen to the response, which only enraged her further. “Honestly, I don’t give a shit if you’re sorry for my loss or not, I need that money back!”… “No, I don’t think you DO understand! I don’t know if she’s dead or alive, all I do know is that I’m not going to be using the tickets!” She could almost hear the customer service rep roll her eyes, as if she’d heard this same story at least a dozen times today… “Y’know what, fuck you and your stupid fucking airline…” She had several more choice words in queue, but heard the distinctive “click” of the other line hanging up. It was pretty much the same conversation she’d had with the owners of the apartment for which she’d put down a rather large deposit.
After slamming her phone down on the desk so hard that it nearly cracked the screen, she started to reach for the half of a joint in the ashtray next to her, only to find that her hands were shaking so bad that she couldn’t even pick it up. She let out a heavy sigh, which turned into a sob. Before she knew it, she was crying uncontrollably. Slowly, she got up from her desk chair and flopped onto the bed, sobbing into her pillow.
After several moments, she opened her eyes and looked over to the other side of the bed. On the floor still lay Rachel’s clothes from the last night she’d spent at Chloe’s house. Rolling across the bed, she picked up the red flannel shirt and held it to her face. Inhaling deeply, she caught the slightest remnant of Rachel’s scent. Hugging the shirt to her body, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep…