Chapter 1: the sun
sun | renown, potency, success, fortune, tyranny, pride, ambition
Max has never met the fabled Rachel Amber, but she’s starting to think the whole damn town revolves around her. She was a star, everyone said, had a bright smile for everyone she met, a sparkling personality that was impossible to hate. Max silently wonders if she had them all blinded to her true nature, or if she was really as warm and friendly as they all say.
The girl’s pretty face is plastered on every available surface, a thousand pairs of eyes watching Max, shadowing Max wherever she goes. She’s not sure how she feels about it; when she looks the posters in the eyes in rare moments of defiance for the missing girl’s legacy, she feels something unidentifiable, but it’s gone as soon as she’s looked away, shame eclipsing her daring.
People tell her she looks like Rachel often; Nathan even mistakes her for Rachel once, when the fading sunset is shining through the window of the Two Whales and Max is wearing clothes on loan from Chloe. He later scoffs when she asks him about it, attributing it to the mock halo the light had created around her. He’d confused their shapes was all, he’d muttered, spinning off before she could pry further.
Later though, when Max is alone in her dorm, she’s stripped down to her underwear and examines herself in the mirror. A poster of Rachel she’s lifted from one of the school halls is pinned next to the mirror. Rachel’s paper eyes aren’t critical, but kind.
Max imagines Rachel’s smiling at how similar they are.
She can’t help but compare herself now, looking first at the curve of her cheeks, then the curve of her breasts. She runs her hands over her body, wondering if Chloe is only seeing Rachel when she looks at Max. Wonders if that’s all anyone at Blackwell sees in her. Chloe still seems to revolved around Rachel despite her absence.
The way Rachel shines over Blackwell even in her absence keeps Max awake at night, and when the sun rises in the mornings, shining onto her face through the slats of her blinds, Max begins to wonder if it’s Rachel saying good morning.
Chapter 2: mercury
mercury | good fortune, gratitude, gain, memory, understanding, divination, dreams, selfishness, poverty, forgetfulness
Max has always cared for Kate Marsh, that she’s known. She enjoys Kate’s company, the healing sort of energy that feels tangible between the two girls when they meet for their weekly tea.
Kate never seems to judge Max when they take turns spilling their distresses to each other in the grey comfort of Kate’s dim room, and for that Max is grateful. She passes warm smiles to Kate as often as possible, even as Victoria and her twin moons spin around Kate, taunting her and reflecting Kate’s protests back.
Max steps up when she’s able, stepping between the heated flares of ire from David Madsen or the barbed meteoric insults hurled from Victoria. Kate presses her face in between Max’s shoulder blades, and later into the dip of her chest when alone in the privacy of her room.
It’s one such instance when Kate has buried her face farther than usual in the meager valley of Max’s chest, her eyes dry despite the promise of tears. Max rubs her back sympathetically, fingers toying absently with the hairs that have escaped her usual bun.
Kate and Max have always gravitated towards each other, but Kate confesses softly then that Max has always had some magnetic draw about her that pulls even Kate in despite her convictions.
Max is unsure of what to do when the confession falls out, and Kate has buried her face again.
Max sits silent in the grey for a long while before finally nudging Kate’s face back up. Kate’s soft pale face looks at her, and Max thinks then that Kate also has that type of magnetic, healing energy.
She finally leans forward to press a single, chaste kiss to Kate’s forehead. Kate’s own gravitational field does not allow her to dispute it.
Yes, the girl is healing indeed.
Chapter 3: venus
sorry guys, this is a super short one. I had a lot of trouble matching someone to venus, and then i had even more trouble writing max/dana so please bear with me!
venus | peace, agreements, cooperation, fertility, joy, love, good fortune, jealousy, strife, promiscuity
There’s something about Dana that has tugged at Max from the first day she met her. Perhaps it was the agreeable smile, the trusting eyes, or simply the sheer elegance and beauty as Max watched her glide down the hallways, a swan among ducklings.
Now, Max thinks as she holds Dana’s hands in her own, perhaps it is instead the realization that Dana is flawed. She is crying, the discarded pregnancy test on her desk soon to join the other two in the trash bin.
Max swears to her she’ll keep this secret, rubs soft comforting circles against her skin and lets Dana lay her head on her shoulder.
Resting her temple to the crown of the other girl’s head, Max puts an arm around her, and Dana relaxes ever so slightly.
Her shoulders still rack with a sob now and then, but the frequency is declining, and finally Dana lifts her head just enough to look up at Max. Her soft breaths fan Max’s cheek, and Max thinks that peace is finally creeping into Dana’s eyes again.
She really is beautiful.
Chapter 4: moon
henlo sorry for the delay i'm finishing up my last college course ever and i've been busy trying to do that and move out of my apartment.
here's warren's chapter! I'll try to have nathan's up this week!
moon | gratitude, friendliness, safe travel, physical health, wealth, protection from enemies, cursed location, interference in business/work/vocation
Whenever Max looked at Warren, the word "safe" popped into her head. Perhaps it was the soft curve of his baby face, his easy smile that lit up the whole hallway when he saw her coming. Perhaps it was, despite his lean frame, the underlying strength in the arms he always casually tried to slip around her when he thought it was a good time.
Warren was safe. Max kind of liked safe, she decided one day. His friendly aura was practically contagious, and he made her laugh. And, like the moon locked into the gravity of earth, he seemed to orbit her all the same, constantly appearing in her peripherals, leaning into her atmosphere.
She didn’t mind it so much as she thought she would, despite the way he seemed to cut into the shenanigans she and Chloe got into. Still, it didn’t annoy her.
Perhaps that’s why she lets him kiss her one night in his dorm room when they’re watching one of his fucked up horror films. She’s only vaguely paying attention, slouched on his bed against the wall.
She’s looking at him, his face lit by the reflection of the screen and she can see herself in his eyes when he turns to glance at her. She’s a head shorter than him, so when he leans down, she thinks he’s whispering in something in her ear.
Instead, he’s entering into her orbit, and she’s looking up at him, and then he’s going for it. He’s hesitant, but his lips are warm she decides, and he kisses the way he exists.
A soft brush of his lips to hers, his fingers twitching against hers, and she thinks that this is okay.
Chapter 5: mars
max finds herself crossing the asteroid belt to reach out
mars | war, male potency, victory, judgements, submission of enemies, bleeding, strip of rank, barrenness, discord, conflict
When Max sees Nathan from far away, he’s often chewing on his lip, slouched against a wall, his eyes darting from here to there in constant conflict. He looks at war with himself, and she finds herself sometimes taking a step, two steps, three steps towards him before she knows what she’s doing. She even catches his eye sometimes; he simply bares his teeth at her and stalks off. She wonders if they'll ever find each other across the asteroid belt of Blackwell Academy.
However, she does find him one day, tucked into himself and before she can stop herself she’s in front of him. Before she knows what she’s doing, she’s put a hand to his,held up to his face, the other reaching for his arm. Underneath his red, red sweater she’s surprised at the strength of him. She’d half expected him to be some frail thing that would shatter under a touch.
His head shoots up at her touch, nearly headbutting her and she sees he’s bleeding from his nose. A bruise blooms red on his cheek, and some part of her sighs. Another fight, another war. He does sneer at her, a flash of teeth and a scowl, but it twists into a grin suddenly.
“I won, Caulfield. I don’t need your help.” he laughs an unkind laugh, but he hasn’t shaken her hands off yet. He lets her pull his hand from his face, and she marvels quietly at the sheer masculinity in his fingers that have somehow twisted with hers. She pulls away before it can get comfortable, and before she’s thinking, she’s pulling off her jacket to offer to him.
He looks from it to her face, his scowl deepening, and she thinks he’s going to knock it out of her hand; instead he snatches it from her, pressing it to his nose begrudgingly.
“I bet you kicked their ass.” She finally offers and he actually laughs. She thinks he puffs up a little bit at that, revelling in his own little wars that she’s not sure anyone else knows they’re fighting.
“Sure did. I don’t lose.”
She’s hyperaware of her hand still resting on his bicep, of the pass of muscle under fabric. She wonders to herself what he looks like under his sweater, under his shirt, and fights the blush that threatens to creep up her cheeks.
He’s leaning into her atmosphere then, pulling her sweater from his nose to look closely at her. He reaches up, and before she can retreat, shoves her hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear. She’s certain she’s very red now, and he’s grinning.
“Oops. Got some blood on you.” He laughs, not unkindly this time.
She swipes at it with her palm, but returns his crazy smile.
If she’s not careful, she tells herself later, when she’s holding her bloodstained hoodie, he might conquer her as well.
hi i'm so sorry for the long absence, i just finished up my last college course and officially graduated. I'm going to be in Austin for 6 days next weekend but i'll try to queue up some chapters for the next few days to make up for it! i promise I haven't abandoned this or Stray, i'm trying to get back into the swing of writing. Thanks for being patient and sticking with me!
Chapter 6: jupiter
max aches to get closer to the storm that is victoria
jupiter | gains, riches, favor, peace, cooperation, appeasing enemies, recognition, councils
Max spends more time than she’d care to admit admiring Victoria from afar, eyeing her pristine cashmere sweaters and pearls that have to be more expensive than she can imagine. She looks away then she realizes she’s been staring for too long, but often it’s too late, and she and Victoria lock eyes.
Victoria never looks away first, a fact that Max ruefully acknowledges when her face heats and her gaze darts to the floor. Instead, she offers a quirked brow, or a soft smirk; sometimes Max can swear she even sees a challenge in her rival’s eyes.
The next time Max finds herself locked in Victoria’s gaze is when they both find themselves leaving their dorm at the same time. Each girl, a mirror image of the other, stands half in her doorway, eyes locking across the expanse of the hallway. Max refuses to look away this time, desperately rising to Victoria’s unspoken challenge, seeking favor, approval, something, anything.
Victoria, when she realizes this, looks almost presently surprised, as if she’s recognized something new in her that Max is just discovering herself. Max’s hand clenches on her doorknob as she fights to ignore every instinct telling her to look away.
Victoria, backlit by the soft ring glow of the lamps in her room, looks positively radiant, Max thinks. She considers her for a moment, not daring to back down now.
Victoria seems to consider her right back, her head tilting, and Max thinks that they hold eye contact for what feels like an eternity. Finally, suddenly, Victoria smiles as if she’s recognized her finally, acknowledged that she’s finally risen to her challenge.
“Maxine,” She nods, shutting her door, effervescent glow diffusing suddenly. Max starts to protest the name but Victoria continues, cutting her off.
“Walk with me to class. Taylor and Courtney are nowhere to be found, typical.”
Max, lost for words, thinks this might actually be a dream. Somehow she manages to nod, and crosses the small universe of their dorm to meet her in the middle of the hallway.
Victoria seems a giant up close, tall and imposing with a larger-than-life personality to match, and Max is struggling for air up close.
A storm is building up inside her, so she pretends not to notice when Victoria’s hand brushes hers more than once on the way to class.
i still haven't managed to write a victoria chapter that I'm satisfied with both the content and the proper characterization so this is as close as I've come so far. enjoy, saturn is up next!
Chapter 7: saturn
max thinks on what brought her to blackwell in the first place
Note: this is the Mr. Jefferson chapter. However, this is more exploratory of Max's (canon) crush on him, instead of anything creepy or uncomfortable. I tried to focus on the feelings any teenage girl has when she has a crush. this chapter is more one-sided. If you don't like it, feel free to skip this chapter.
saturn | safety, power, success, positive response to requests, intellect, discord, strips honors, melancholy
Max knew, from the moment it was announced that Mark Jefferson was going to be teaching at Blackwell, that that was where she was fated to be. She was determined to be in the orbit of this man, his success, his ability. And maybe even, a little bit, his good looks.
Feeling a little foolish for her school girl crush, Max slid lower in her seat on the first day of class, tucking her chin to her chest. He really was very handsome, she admitted inwardly, but that wasn’t why she’d come. She’d come to learn his trade, learn how to do what he did.
How to be successful like that.
And teach he was willing to do. He answered her questions dutifully with a smile, peering at her through the shine of his glasses. He was so smart, so good, that Max felt a little small under his gaze.
She found herself often blushing and looking away when he’d look at her, embarrassed by his attention yet still wanting him to look at her.
Sometimes she wished she had the confidence of Victoria, the innate confidence to lean over his desk after class just so, to smile, to talk to him the way Victoria did.
But instead, like she was on autopilot, every day she shoved her things back into her bag, head down, and shuffled from the classroom with only a glance back.
Just once, he looks up at her, over Victoria’s head and smiles. Max’s heart catches in her throat and she ducks her head before he can see her blush spreading up her neck to her cheeks.
“See you tomorrow, Mr. Jefferson,” She manages before hurrying out the door.
Chapter 8: uranus
max and chloe find the same orbit
uranus | individuality, freedom of expression, radical ideas, equality, mental disorders, breakdowns, hysteria
Max finds herself waking up next to Chloe more and more lately. At first, it was something too painfully platonic, sleeping on opposite edges of her mattress, a space between them like a held breath. Like two planets determined not to collide.
And then, that distance begins to close, slowly, orbits adjusting ever so slightly every time Max comes around.
At first, it’s a brush of hands as Chloe rolls over. Then, a brush of Max’s legs against Chloe’s as the shifts.
A hand is on her waist when Max awakes. She smooths Chloe’s hair as she sleeps.
Then, she wakes to soft shallow breaths over her shoulder, arms resting heavily around her waist. Chloe is still asleep; Max doesn’t dare move.
When she awakes again, Chloe has rolled over for a smoke. She does not mention it.
Then, Chloe dares Max to kiss her; she complies without hesitation, and it seems as if suddenly Chloe has spun into her orbit completely.
When she wakes now, Chloe is close, her legs twined with Max’s. She spoons her, and Max lets her, even daring to ghost a kiss across her cheek as she turns in her arms,
They never address it verbally, never acknowledge it, but Max is not complaining as she turns up in Chloe’s bed more and more.
i'm sorry i'm a piece of garbage and i haven't updated in a while. i got a job pretty quickly after graduation so i've really been throwing myself into that