The flash of Max’s camera startles her.
“Jesus, Max, warn me next time,” Chloe says, half-joking. She turns her attention back to the dark interstate road ahead of them. Max’s camera clatters to the floor board of the truck.
“Good one, dude,” Chloe remarks. They had been driving for… How long? Chloe couldn’t remember. A few weeks. It was all the two of them could think of doing. Just drive. Not really driving to anywhere, Chloe thought. Driving away from somewhere, is more like it.
Max still hadn’t picked up her camera. “You okay, dude?” Chloe asks as she looks toward the passenger seat. Max sits in her spot, head down, lit only by the moonlight shining in from the windows around them.
Max’s hands are shaking. Her face is hidden behind her hair.
The moment after Chloe speaks her name, Max gasps, moving her hands up to her own face.
“Max, what’s wrong? You’re scaring me man.”
“I… Chloe…” Max speaks like she is fighting back tears.
“Max,” Chloe flips on the cab light with her right hand and then places it on Max’s leg “You cool, dude?” Max flinches at Chloe’s touch, before both of Max’s hands reach down and envelope Chloe’s. They’re wet, Chloe thinks. She is crying.
Max slowly turns her head toward Chloe. Max looks at Chloe with teary eyes and a look she has only seen a few times. A look of dread.
“Chloe. Get off of the road.”
Chloe’s heart sinks. “Max…”
Chloe pulls sharply into the exit that they nearly missed, braking as she does so. She drives toward the truck stop up ahead. Neither of them speak. Chloe pulls into a parking spot and kills the truck. They sit in silence for a moment that feels like an eternity.
“We were going to crash.” Chloe says, breaking the silence.
Max doesn’t answer. But Chloe knows she is right.
“You live,” Chloe sighs, “but I…”
Silence again. Max lets out little sobs. Tears run down her face. She looks at Chloe, unspeaking.
“How far, Max?” Chloe asks. She can feel tears running down her own face now. “How far did you go?”
“Th-,” Max says before she lets out a loud, abrupt sob. She lunges forward at Chloe, wrapping her arms around her.
Thursday, Chloe thinks. Four days.
“I…” Max breathes in deeply. “I didn’t mean… I was just looking at the photo…I was thinking about you. About seeing you again. I didn’t mean to rewind… I love you, Chloe.”
“I love you, too.” Chloe’s head spins. Another storm, she thinks.
“I couldn’t keep going. Not without… Without… You…” Max says, with a fading voice. Chloe can feel her going limp. “Auto-pilot” Max will be here soon, Chloe thinks.
“It’s okay,” Chloe whispers, holding Max. “I won’t be gone this time. When will you be back, Super Max?”
“Th…” Max breathes out, “Three years…”