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Open Doors

Chapter Text

Max groaned as she awoke from her slumber from the sound of her son's crying. She had spent the entire day working her butt off at her new job at "Click!" a successful photography business her husband had scored her a position at. The only downside was that the only position she could get was being an assistant. Even so it still was better than nothing. She enjoyed learning from a successful photography business, seeing the smiles of many people coming in to get their photos taken, and earning a decent amount of cash on the side despite hardly ever snapping a photo. Today was a particularly busy day since a lot of high school seniors were coming in for photos. Therefore Max spent the entire day running around helping customers with their clothes, changing backdrops, sweeping up the dirt of the result of the students not bothering to wipe their feet, and moving around the photography lights. On top of that, she had to stay late organizing pictures and close shop. Then when she got home and paid the babysitter, she had to cook dinner for herself and put the baby to bed. After taking a long, hot shower, she was finally able to curl up into bed. Now her child was crying, preventing her from getting much-needed sleep. Since she was the only one in her apartment, she had no choice but to tend to her baby. At moments like this, her husband should be the one tending to the newborn, not her. While she did enjoy caring for her child, she was much too tired to feel anything else but annoyance. It wasn't directly aimed at the baby but more so at her absent husband.

Mark was out of state teaching at a community college back in Oregon, much to her displeasure. At first he had been just teaching once a week, returning to their apartment in Seattle until needed but then it turned into to full time. The worst part was that he hadn't bothered to talk to her about it at all. He just took the extended job without hesitation, stating that it paid too much to ignore. Max had been furious that he had taken the opportunity without speaking with her first. Whenever her parents made decisions that could impact their family, they always spoke about it instead of going behind the other's back. Max couldn't help but to feel that with her being so much younger than him, he didn't trust her to make the right decisions or wouldn't be able to understand. It wasn't the first time he had done this. When they first got married, instead of spending their post-honey moon together, he ditched her the moment he got home to go on a business trip showing off his art to potential clients without telling her. Max had gotten worried and was tempted to call the police until he finally called back two days later to explain himself. She knew his career was important, but he didn't have to leave in the dark about what he wanted to do, especially when they were married.

Now he stayed much longer in Oregon, only being home for two days out of the week and stayed weekends. Sometimes, he'd stay for a whole week! She hated that he chose to take off for Oregon without her, leaving her home alone with their son. At the time he started taking the job, she had been heavily pregnant with their child and was advised to avoid traveling. She wouldn't mind so much if he'd call more. He often went long stretches at a time without calling her, causing her to worry. One day in particular, she had been worried about him more so than usual. When Mark hadn't come back the day he was supposed to, the brunette made an effort to contact him. When he didn't pick up, she was bothered he hadn't returned her messages yet didn't call the police. There was a bad thunderstorm that day, so it'd be a moment before he got home. As for his cellphone, he had the bad habit of not allowing it to charge. Still, he could always use the hotel phone line. There was also a chance he had fallen asleep after a hard day's work. The next day, Max tried calling and texting again, only to not get an answer. Panicking, she called the police later that night to file a missing persons report. Luckily he was found a week later though Max wished he had been found sooner. She was relieved her spouse had been, yet she felt frustrated as well. He was vague about his location over the past few days, only telling her that he had been working on side projects. When she asked, he just brushed her questions off, quickly changing the subject or the baby would cry causing a distraction. The young woman had developed a fear that her husband was cheating on her. She already had low self-esteem due to her body, weight, and appearance. Some days she felt ugly compared to the models her husband would take photos. They had the curves, the long wavy luscious curls, large breasts, and sleek figure that she lacked. Thoughts of her husband running off with one of those models made her stomach turn. At times like these she wondered why he chose her. She saw the way people adored and idealized him, most of them better looking than she, yet he chose to not only date her but he also proposed to her. She felt both lucky and cursed to have Mark Jefferson as a loving husband. He loved her, but she didn't feel respected enough. Maybe one of these days, she'd finally put her foot down and demand he find a job here instead of another state.

'No, I could never do that,' She sighed as she began feeding her child. No matter how pissed she was that he was not home that often, she didn't have the heart to pull him away from something he enjoyed. Still, she wanted to be selfish just this once and have her husband home.

Once the baby had been burped and placed back into his crib, Max heard the sound of the apartment's door. That was strange. She didn't expect him back until tomorrow. She couldn't really afford to look a gift horse in the mind since it wasn't often he returned home early. She made her way down the hall to find the man with a large bouquet of baby blue chrysanthemums. Max was surprised but pleased at the sight of the flowers. They were her favorite after all. However she couldn't' fully enjoy them as Mark only ever gave her flowers on two occasions; birthdays and when he had to tell her something she didn't like. She narrowed her eyes at him. "Let me guess, you've been offered an exhibit in New York and you're going to gone for a few weeks."

"Not exactly." He smiled at his wife. He didn't appear to be guilty of anything that would hurt her so what could it be? "You want to try again, Max?"

Max bit her bottom lip as she shifted one foot to the other. Normally when Mark was leaving town for a few days or even weeks, he'd always have this guilt ridden expression on his face. Today he was glowing with excitement, his mouth twisted into an eager smile. He looked about ready to burst into a million pieces as his wife tried guessing what he was so happy about. She guessed that he was taking up a different job nearby but he just shook his head. "Okay I give up. What is it?"

"I got a permanent job at one of the top Art colleges in Oregon, Blackwell," When Max frowned, he quickly added, "And I got you in."

"Huh?" From what Max heard, that school was incredibly difficult to get in. One must actually show some talent to get in. Talent Max didn't think she had. At first Max was enthusiastic about attending when she thought about it more. She only got in because of her husband, not on her own. Whenever the pair attended parties in her partner's honor, Jefferson would always make a show of bragging to his friends and colleagues about his wife's photos. They all seemed to admire her works, a few even speculating that it wouldn't be long before she even surpassed him, Max felt as though they were saying it to be nice or because Jefferson was there. Even before she got married, she had been told wonderful things about her pictures. Even those never felt genuine. At least to her they didn't. The only ones she felt were genuine were the ones who supplied constructive criticism. She wished she had gotten the chance to speak with the head of the school herself. That way Mark's influence wouldn't persuade anyone.

"I know what you're thinking and I'm proud to say I didn't. I always have more promising students pictures on hand and I just so happen to have a few of yours on hand. The head says that you have a lot of talent, Maxine."


"Haven't I always said that?"

"Yeah but that's because we're together," she pointed out.

"When I met you, we weren't," She remembered that day fondly. She had been on vacation with her parents to Hawaii when Vanessa, her mother, found out about a photography contest and persuaded her daughter to enter. Max had begun to enter when she found out who was judging. It was Mark Jefferson of all the people in the world. She had been a long time fan of his works and longed to get the chance to impress him. Now that it was really happening, she quickly changed her mind out of fear of rejection. Eventually she gave in, entered, and received second place which was better than nothing. Mark had told her that she had talent, much to her delight, and he had faith she could make it big if she never gave up. And she didn't. Her photography skills had vastly improved over the years though she had so much to learn. Luckily for her, she had a great teacher.

"So when do we move?"

"In about 5 months," he informed her. He still had a week left with his students before summer rolled in. Then there was his newest project he needed plant the final touches on. "I've already spoke to Diana about it and you're off to help house hunt for the three of us tomorrow."

Normally Max would complain about him making decisions for her, but she could use a few days off work. As she curled back under their silky, black sheets, her mind drifted off to Chloe, an old friend of her's from her childhood. She hadn't seen her in years nor had the pair kept contact. Considering Blackwell was located in Arcadia Bay, there was a strong chance she'd catch her old best friend there if she hadn't decided to attend elsewhere. Even if she hadn't decided to attend Blackwell, she'd pop in and visit her and Mrs. Price. Hopefully Chloe wouldn't be too mad about her falling out of touch.

Chapter Text

Max felt anxious yet excited about flying back to Arcadia Bay. On one hand, she'd get to catch up with old classmates, see her favorite childhood hangouts, and see her best friend again. Then again, knowing her luck, a pissed off Chloe would refuse to speak to her. Could she blame her? She had gone four long years without communicating with her best friend. It wasn't even like she had a proper excuse with her cell phone bill being paid by her parents and eventually herself and access to a computer wasn't rare. Chloe probably thought her so called best friend had abandoned her or found new friends to replace her with. She couldn't blame her. After her father died and Max moved soon after, the younger teen kept contact with her for a year or so before slowly slacking off on sending any messages, part of which was due to school. Regardless, she could have tried harder to keep up communication even with so much going on. It wouldn't have killed her to send a message every once in a while no matter how short it was. She had only one job and she failed miserably at it. Hopefully she could make it up once she arrived back in town. It would great to see her again after seven years of being away for so long.

She wondered how much she had changed over the years. Obviously the woman's appearance would change considering she was now 21 years old. Max had changed a fair amount over the years herself. She had grown another foot, she was no longer as flat-chested as she was before, her hair color had transformed into a lighter shade of brown, and her facial features had matured a considerable amount. She was no longer the short, baby faced Maxine Caulfield any longer. Chloe would be impressed considering she was always teasing her about her chubby cheeks and playfully calling her a midget.

"I wonder if she's still taller than me," she thought as she placed her earbuds into her ears and went through her playlist. She remembered always being jealous about the fact that Chloe was much taller than her. Thank god for that growth spurt, even if it took a year to finally happen. Hopefully that would be enough to finally surpass her.

Max peered out of the window, admiring the passing clouds below them. She mentally cursed, remembering that she had forgotten to charge her camera before take off. It was probably for the best. There were already millions of pictures of the scenery above the clouds on the internet and her's wouldn't stand a chance of standing out next to any of them. She liked her for photos to be unique in their own ways. Still, it was a breathtaking sight all things considered. She couldn't wait to get back on the ground again to explore her hometown. She doubted much had changed at all. Hopefully one thing that hadn't changed was the great food at Two Whales. She could practically smell the sizzling bacon, the appetizing scent of eggs frying, and the smell of Joyce's famous pancakes right now. If she wasn't planning on visiting Chloe, that would be the first place she'd drop in. She couldn't help but to lick her lips at the thought of food as her stomach growled loudly. If only her stupid alarm had gone off on time then she could have had breakfast.

"Maybe Chloe can go without seeing me for a while longer," Max murmured to herself as she rubbed her stomach. She wasn't sure which item on the menu she wanted first. By the time they arrived, the breakfast items would no longer be on the menu. Too bad. Even then, perhaps her positive relationship with Joyce could score her a omelet so late in the day. That is if she still worked there.

"Something wrong, Max?" Mark asked as he flipped through a Photo-magazine.

"Just a little hungry," she shrugged. "I can't wait to get in back in Arcadia."

"You know you don't have to wait five hours for food, right?"

"I know, but ever since I got sick off of airplane food when I was pregnant with Matt, I get nauseous from the thought of it. Besides, I'm saving my appetite for the food at Two Whales. You should try some. You'd love it."


"If we have time," he shrugged as he went back to reading his magazine. She yawned as she sat snuggled into her seat and placed her baby blue sleeping mask over her eyes. It was going to be a long flight, so she may as well get some sleep before they landed.

The rain was pouring down heavily in the small town of Arcadia Bay with the wind blowing harshly, daring to rip the mightiest of trees out of the ground. Max wasn't sure how she was still standing. As a matter of fact, how did she even get here in the first place? The last thing she remembered was that family of three had decided to have a picnic in the camping area that was located farther down the path from the town's lighthouse. A few minutes before the storm, she had parted from her family to use the bathroom. By the time she began washing her hands, the booming sound of the thunder caught her attention, causing her to hurry back to help get their child and items out of the incoming weather. By the time she walked outside, the storm was already overhead and pouring down heavily. The clouds overhead had darkened the sky, only lighting up the area when the lightening struck. Max had looked around for her family, however the lot was devoid of life. She needed to get out of this weather and head back to the car where no doubt her husband and son were. She wasn't sure how it crept up on her like that. The sky was barren of any clouds in the sky before she left the picnic area and she didn't remember any weather reports about heavy rain. She didn't have the time to think about it at the moment. It was pouring down harder by the second and she needed to leave. As she shielded her eyes from the rain, she jogged towards the parking lot making sure to avoid tripping over the various rocks and ever growing buildup of debris. To her confusion, their rental car was missing. The moment she pulled out her cellphone to text him about his whereabouts, a bot of lightening struck a large tree to the right of the path she was on. The 20 year old let out a terrified scream as she ran out of the way before it landed on her.

"D-damn t-t-that was c-close," she stammered aloud, shaking from almost being crushed by a tree. Her life had momentarily flashed before her eyes before her feet finally decided to move. "I'd better get out of this storm before it kills me."

The only sanctuary she could think of was the lighthouse on the cliff-side. It was a much better option than staying out in the open surrounded by trees that could fall on top of her at any moment. She just had to make it up there as quickly as possible while avoiding the numerous flying objects flying around her. Hopefully she'd be able to get Mark on the phone and figure out just where he had gone off to. By the time she reached the lighthouse, she noticed an enormous tornado heading towards the town. She had never seen a storm this large before. Tornadoes were normally tall and slender windstorms, not wide like this one was. From the looks of it, this tornado was big enough to swallow the whole town within seconds. Wait a second. If her husband had gone back into town with the baby...

"MY BABY!" she screamed before she knew it. If they were already there, there was a chance her son would crushed by a tree or car thrown by those powerful winds or swept away by the wind. Ever since he was born, she promised to protect him with all of her might. Yet here she was powerless to stop any harm from happening to her baby. "No! No!"

"Max! Max! Wake up!"

"Hu-huh?" The woman woke up to the concerned face of her husband, staring intensely into his wife's ocean blue eyes. She was still on the plane, she slowly realized as she glanced around the plane. To her embarrassment, everyone was staring at the couple, probably wondering what the hell was going on. For a moment she felt a combination of confusion and relief as she examined her surroundings. That nightmare felt so real; the rain slicking her skin, the deafening booms of the lightening, and the windy whipping through her hair. Then again it did make sense it was a nightmare than being reality. She didn't really remember landing or getting settled in. Still, how did something like that feel so real?

"Max, are you alright?" he asked concerned as he continuing to shake his unresponsive wife's arm. She appeared to be dazed and confused about where she was.

Eventually she nodded as she rubbed her forehead. "I just had a nightmare. There was this huge tornado coming towards the town and it destroyed the town with you both in it. It felt so...real."

"It was just a dream, Max," he reassured her as he squeezed her hand. Of course it was a dream no matter how real it felt. It still didn't help that as a result of having it, it left a bad taste in her mouth about returning back to Arcadia Bay. For all she knew, this could be an omen about returning. Maybe she was looking too deeply into it and it meant nothing. It could be from her being nervous about meeting up with Chloe again. Regardless, she shouldn't let a nightmare get the best of her.

Chapter Text

Max hummed to herself as she placed away the last plate into the cabinet of her newly acquired home. After days of mulling over the various homes in Arcadia Bay, the couple had finally found a lovely cottage by the seaside much to Max's delight. Her love of the placement of the home was only attributed because of the millions of photo opportunities that arose for her there. She was excited to get photos of the sea life, mainly the pods of whales, the many people who were enjoying themselves there, and pictures of her son, once he got older of course. Otherwise Max really had no intent of doing much else outside of photography. Besides that, the house was gorgeous. It was a white, wooden, and cozy four bedroom cottage located a few feet from the beach. It came with a private boardwalk, a deck overlooking the beach, a large living room, three bathrooms, and one guest bedroom. The best thing about the cottage was the fact that it already came furnished with lovely and expensive furniture. There were flat screens in every room, two massage chairs in the living room, a hot tub, a washer and dryer, an entertainment system, and much more. She was surprised that their new home was already furnished considering that they bought it instead of renting. From what she knew, newly purchased homes came empty not including kitchen counters, sinks, a furnace, and things of that manner. When asked, Mark simply replied that it was a gift from the Academy. Max found that hard to believe the school would supply them with furniture when he didn't even live on campus. As a matter of fact, it was a waste of the students' tuition and the school's donations to pay for all of this, but she wasn't going to complain especially since a lot of it was much nicer than their things. Hopefully Chloe would be attending so they'd be seeing each other everyday. She had been hoping to see Chloe during her visitation at Blackwell and looking for a new house, but with the busy schedule Mark had them on, she didn't have time to stop by. A simple visit was taking much longer than Max thought. She kept putting it off ever since she got back. With the start of college arriving so suddenly, she felt as if she'd have to put it off once more. It felt as if she was always purposely putting it off out of fear of how badly Chloe would react while another part of her felt like she had a genuine excuse not to speak to her friend at the moment. Between putting away their things, caring for her son, and getting ready to head back to school, Max hadn't had time to go to the Price household. Hopefully that would change once she saw Chloe at school. It'd be nice to have a friend at a new college to make her feel less awkward. She had briefly met Kate, another girl would be attending the college, who appeared to be nice. The most she knew about Kate was that she hosted a lot of charity events around the college and ran a Christian club. Once she moved in, she would attempt to get to know her a lot better once she moved into her dorm room.

Once Max had placed away the last of the dishes, now it was time to take the car for a drive to go shopping for more clothes for herself. Somehow her luggage had gone missing minus the two bags that she had on her. It didn't bother her having less clothes since she often confined herself to the house caring for their now 4 month old while getting the house just the way she wanted and putting away their things. She was extremely picky about the way the house was set up, much to her husband's annoyance. He thought everything was just fine the way it was, yet she was never satisfied. After a while, she finally got it the way she intended it to be. Now she could focus on much more important matters, like her own photography. That and gathering up what she wanted to take to Blackwell for her. It would be strange to leave behind Matthew considering she was so used to sleeping with him by her bedside. It would be weird not to hear him or even be near him once at Blackwell. Mark had hired a nanny, Mrs. Avery, a sweet elderly woman with two grand-kids of her own to care for little Matty. With their son taken care of, there wasn't much else to do but shop her dorm room. So far she only had a framed photo of her son and another of her parents and herself back when she was 14 years old at a water park. She had thought of taking her wedding photo but she was still thinking it over. She really didn't want to take any pictures of him out of worrying that someone might think he might be showing favoritism towards her since they were together. It'd be better to just hide it until she graduated.

"I better get going before the stores close," Max said to herself as she glanced down at her watch. She walked over to Matthew's baby swing where the now 4 month old was swinging his little chubby legs while beating his rattle against the table, an activity he was all too fond of. "Come on, Matty. You're going on a trip with mommy."

The child only stared at her with his big brown eyes as he cooed in response. Max gently ran her fingers through her son's short, soft, and curly black hair. It was starting to grow out a lot longer, which meant sooner or later she'd give it a trim if it got too long. Max went upstairs to the entrance of the basement and knocked before opening up the door slightly. "Yeah?" Mark yelled back from his workstation in the attic.

"Matthew and I are going shopping," she called up. "You need anything?"

"No, I'm fine. The keys are on the table."

Just as Max grabbed the car keys, she heard a knock on the door. She wasn't expecting any company and, to her knowledge, neither was Mark. It could be the delivery man as Mark expected a new photography light to be brought here. Peering out of the whole in the door, she found a young man around her age with slicked back brown hair standing there texting on his cellphone. He was wearing a red letter-men jacket with a blue button up shirt underneath, blue jeans, and blue sneakers. Max didn't recognize who he was but opened the door anyways just to see what he wanted.

"Hello?" she politely greeted him after opening the door.

"Is Mr. Jefferson home?" He asked, his eyes glancing over the younger woman in front of him; a hint of curiosity was in his eyes as he looked her over.

"I'll get him. Come in," Max stepped aside to allow the man entrance. She gestured to the living room as she headed to the stairs. "Make yourself comfortable. I'll be right back. What was your name?"

"It's Nathan."

Once to the attic door, she poked her head inside. Mark was flipping through a photo album, muttering to himself about how the camera angles were all wrong and "he's getting sloppy". Max could only guess that he was thumbing through one of his students' art portfolio, something she was used to. When he wasn't around, she'd find herself flipping through them herself. Once he heard his wife enter, he closed the album to turn his attention to her. "Someone called Nathan's at the door looking for you."

"Are you serious?" he sighed rubbing his forehead. "How'd he...I'll be down in a second."

"Who is he? Is he a student?"

"In a way," he shrugged. "I guess you can say that he's my privately taught student though that's due to change at any moment."

"I see. I'd better get going," she kissed his cheek before darting off to the car.

A few hours later, Max came back after picking up some clothes as well as a couple of boxes of nursing pads for herself. Much to her embarrassment, her breasts tended to leak every now and then and she couldn't have that happening around campus. Just as she was unbuckling Matthew in his car-seat, she heard yelling coming from inside of the house. To be honest, it scared her to hear it since she rarely ever heard him raise his voice. Part of her wanted to head inside and investigate the fuss but the other part of her wanted to get as far from it as possible. The argument was mostly incomprehensible, with her only being able to understand only a few words at a time. She quickly made up her mind to come in when she heard glass shattering.

"I won't have you fucking this up for me again," she heard Mark yell. "You wait for me, not the other way around! I swear to god, if you do this again..."

"You'll what? We're in this together. If I go down, so will you!"

"Is everything alright in here?" Max came into the house with a worried expression on her face. Both men froze at the presence of the woman, Mark appearing to be surprised to see her while Nathan's face was red with anger while wearing a menacing expression.

"Everything is fine," he said in a much too calm voice given what she just heard. "Why do you ask?"

Nathan glared at Mark before brushing past Max and going out the door, slamming it in the process. She raised a brow at the man. "Are you sure?"

"Yeah sure. It's nothing. Where's the baby?"

"In the car. I heard all the yelling and got worried. Are you...?" He ignored her as he headed outside much to Max's irritation. There was a lot more going on than what she knew; he just refused to tell her. She came up behind him. "Don't just ignore me."

"I wasn't. You know you shouldn't leave the baby by himself in a car."

"I know, but..." Again he ignored her and went back inside.

The brunette was bothered that the man refused to talk about the situation. That conversation back there ended in nothing being "fine." People just didn't throw vases or yell at each other for no reason or at least her husband didn't. Instead she found what had broken, which was vase from Spain that her uncle had sent her as a house warming gift. It was a pity since it was pretty plus it was from a family member she didn't see too often, especially not right now. She sighed as she went for the dust pan and broom to sweep up the mess. The thought of gluing it together had crossed her mind a few times while making sure she got every bit up but there were far too many small pieces to place together. Max was interested in knowing what argument they were having when she came back. Mark passed it off as nothing more than Nathan throwing a tantrum but he never clarified why, just that Nathan tended to have a nasty temper.

"Nasty temper or not, he's too old to be throwing shit," she muttered to herself, shaking her head. Besides, she could barely believe that. She remembered Nathan's word's clear as day. Were her husband and his student dealing in something illegal? Why else would he say that? She hoped she had just misheard or simply misunderstood what they said. Mark wasn't providing her with any answers other than "It's nothing you should worry about." The thing is that she had every right to worry and him hiding everything just made her worry all the more. It better be nothing.

Chapter Text

Max was ecstatic about finally attending her dream school, though she was nervous about interacting with other students. She was usually able to blend in with others, being quiet and avoid drawing as much attention as possible to herself as much as she could. Today was sort of her first day since she was just moving into her new dorm room and wouldn't start class until a few days into the future. For today her only plans were to get her things unpacked and get a good look at the campus. While she was eager to go, she still felt homesick despite not even leaving the house yet. The woman looking after Matthew seemed nice enough but a boy, even one that was 4 months old, still needed his mother. She was only planning on living on campus for a semester just to experience the feeling as she had never gone to college before. As she looked for photos to take, she found a picture she was for sure taking. In the frame was a picture of an exhausted, messy haired Max dressed in a hospital gown holding her pride and joy swaddled in a blue blanket. She was crying tears of joys as she held her infant in her weak arms as she pressed his little face against hers. She couldn't help but to smile at the memory. It was worth the morning sickness, moodiness, fatigue, and food aversions to finally meet her son. She hoped Mark and the nanny would be fine while she was away at Blackwell.

With the last box inside of her mustang, she drove off to Blackwell, heart beating fast with excitement. Once she reached the parking lot, she found the lot devoid of any students, with the only living creatures around were the wildlife consisting of birds and a few squirrels here and there. It didn't really surprise her as it was 6'O clock in the morning; a time when students who didn't have class or work weren't known to roam around if school wasn't in session. She was glad for it since it meant avoiding any kind of social interaction. Then again she did need help with all of her boxes, which she doubted anybody would have helped her out with anyways. As if her mind had been read, she heard someone call out to her. Max turned her head to see the similar face of Kate coming her way. Her dirty blonde hair was tied back in a neat bun, she was wearing a dark green sweater, a matching skirt, white stockings, and black shoes.

She smiled, waving back to the young woman. "I wasn't expecting you so early."

"Yeah well you know what they say," she shrugged as she took a box labeled "clothes" out of the trunk. "The early bird catches the worm though I get in this case 'The early bird goes unnoticed'."

"For the moment anyways," Kate chuckled softly. "But you are right. Here, let me help you with that."

"Thanks for the help," Max picked up another box full of her shoes. "So what are you doing up so early?"

"I was just taking a walk around campus. It's so beautiful and peaceful in the morning. It's a good time to think."

"Yeah. If I hadn't thrown my camera in one of these boxes, I'd take the opportunity for a photo," At least she hoped she placed it in one of the boxes. She looked all over that house for it and couldn't find it anywhere, thus coming to the conclusion she packed in one of the boxes without thinking. If it wasn't in one of those boxes, that meant it had to be elsewhere. Hopefully it wasn't in some strangers hands or else it was possible she'd wouldn't get it back. She remembered seeing online that a camera with pictures of family photos of you and your children would make it more likely to get it back. Luckily for her, she did have plenty of pictures of Matthew. The only downside was that more risque pictures of her and her husband in there. She made a mental note to never let anybody hold her camera for longer than a few moments once she found it.

Inside of the Prescott Dormitory, Max's dorm room was medium sized bedroom, giving her plenty of room for all of her things. The furniture in the room consisted of a bare wooden desk, a single bed with just a mattress on it, an empty closet, a small table with a chair, a wooden bookcase, and a small couch. The best part was the fact that she had the room all to herself, giving her the freedom to decorate the room however she pleased without any objections to it.

"Thanks for the help," thanked Max placing down the last box. "It would've taken me ages by myself."

"It's no problem. I'm always happy to help anyway I can. How do you feel?"

"Besides tired?" she took out a box cutter out of her back pocket. "I'm excited. It's my first day at one of the most famous academies in the countries so I should be. I'm worried I won't fit in but...maybe I won't have to worry about that."

"I'm sure you'll do fine Max," reassured Kate. "So do you have any family here?"

She nearly spoke about Mark but quickly caught herself before she spilled the beans. Until she knew that she could trust Kate with this information, she wasn't going to say a word. Instead she opted to speak about her son. "I have a little boy."

"How old is he?"

"He'll be 5 months in a week," she took out a picture of her son when he was around 3 months old. She had taken this one herself of her son fast asleep in his crib surround by his lion and elephant plushies. Kate smiled.

"He's adorable. He has your nose."

"That's as far as the similarities go," she placed the photo on the dresser. "He takes after his father."

Part of her regretted mentioning that since her husband would be teaching the school's photography class. Just one glance would give Kate enough room to connect the dots on her own. If she did find out, hopefully Kate wasn't a gossip, and would keep this to herself. The rest of the morning was spent with the two girls talking about their families, their expectations for the year, plans for college, and their artistic interests. Much like Max, Kate's folks lived outside of town though hers lived in the next town over while the brunette's family still lived back in Seattle. Unlike Max, she had a family consisting of her parents and two younger sisters, Lynn and Rebecca, who were ages 11 and 16. Max couldn't help but to feel a bit jealous that Kate had little sisters, something she had always wanted as a kid. For the most part Kate had a positive relationship with her two sisters and was already starting to miss them despite only being away for a week.

"Hopefully I'll be able to see them this weekend," she added as she helped Max unpack her books. "Do you have any plans for this weekend?"

"No clue," Max had seen a few flyers for a "Welcome Back" party held somewhere on campus, however she didn't think twice about whether or not she wanted to attend. She was a lot more comfortable staying at home reading a book, watching TV or a movie, or working on her photos than attempting to be social at a party and embarrassing herself in the process. "I might visit my friend, Chloe Price. I haven't seen her 7 years so it'd be cool to hang out with her again. I wonder what she's like now...and if she even wants to see me again."

"Why? Did something happen between you two?"

"Not really," Max's departure from Arcadia Bay had ended on a positive yet sad note from what she could remember. Max and Chloe had exchanged a few items such as favorite t-shirts, friendship bracelets, pictures, and other memorabilia before exchanging tearful goodbyes. It hurt her to have to move away from her childhood friend. However with her father having a new job in Seattle that he couldn't afford to turn away, the move was necessary for them. What made it even worse was that shortly before she moved to Seattle, William, Chloe's father, died in a car accident, which made it a lot harder for both girls, notably more so Chloe. "It's just that I haven't spoken to her in years. Now that I'm back, I'm afraid she won't want to speak to me because of it."

"Anything's possible, Max. She might be so happy to see you again, she'll forget about how mad she was at you in the first place."

"I hope so," Then a thought clicked into her mind to show a picture of Chloe to her just in case she'd seen her around campus. Kate was around Arcadia Bay much longer than she was so it was possible she had seen her around. After looking in her boxes, she finally found her photo album full of her pictures from when she was younger. She found a picture with the younger version of her and Chloe at an amusement park. "This was her when we were kids. Have you seen anybody that looks like her?"

Kate examined the picture for a moment before shaking her head. "She looks familiar but I haven't seen her around campus. Perhaps she hadn't moved back in. Maybe once you meet everyone else, you'll find someone who's seen her."

Maybe after getting some of her possessions arranged, she could glance around at the rooms before asking around. Each room door had a name plate on the front of it along with a white board on the right side of each room for anything someone wished to write. She hadn't really bothered looking at many of them in the process of moving her things, only catching a few names such as Alyssa, Brooke, and Juliet on her way to her new room. She wasn't one to initiate conversation, only speaking when she was spoken to more times than not. Seeing as how she wanted to find Chloe, she would just have to suck it up and ask around once she had the time. If Chloe wasn't around, she could always head over to the diner to search for Joyce. Just the thought of doing that made her anxious that Joyce would be upset at her as well for failing to keep contact with the two.

Max thanked Kate for helping her out with her things and that she would take it from there. After she left, Max started unfolding her quilt sheet when she received a text message from her mother asking about how the move was going.

Okay ATM. Super excited for the semester.

That's wonderful sweety. If you need anything, let me and your father know. We'll be happy to help with anything.

Will do mom.

Give Matthew a kiss from Grandma. XO Mom

Placing away her cell phone, Max made her way out of her room for a moment to get a better look at those name plates in the dorm room. Much to her disappointment, not a single name plate read "Chloe Price".

"You would have known where she was going if you'd bother to keep in contact," she reprimanded herself as she headed back to her bedroom. "I may as well get my things unpacked."

A while later, Max had finally finished up neatly putting away her clothing, shoes, and a couple of pictures in her room. Plenty of boxes were still left over, much to Max's dismay. At least she got most of her things out of the way so she wouldn't trip over the various boxes she had laying around. As she dragged her unused boxes outside out for recycling, she spotted Mark texting on his cell phone as he headed towards the entrance of the school. Her first instinct was to call out to him but didn't get the chance as a young woman dressed in a light pink sweater and blue jeans ran over towards him. As expected the girl, who introduced herself as Victoria to him, began talking to about how much she adored his work, how she wanted to be so much like him, and gave offers to show him her pictures. Max was use to the attention her husband got whenever they were out so Victoria approaching him didn't bother her too much. Just as long as she didn't throw herself all over him, she wouldn't mind. Even if she had, as long as Mark didn't respond to her advances, she would be content with that as she wouldn't mind sneering at her unsuccessful advances. Their conversation was cut short when another woman with long blonde hair showed up, eager to meet him as well. Victoria appeared to be annoyed by the additional participant in their conversation and wasn't afraid to let her know it.

"Taylor, Mr. Jefferson and I were speaking. Do you mind?" she scowled, giving the taller woman the stink eye. Taylor didn't appear fazed by the other's words as she introduced herself before asking him to give her his autograph.

"I'm kind of in a hurry…" he began as he gave her back the notebook. She then proceeded to take out her cellphone and ask for a selfie. Before that could occur, another three girls spotted the famous photographer and promptly came over for the chance to meet the man.

She shook her head as she continued making her way towards the recycling bin. She could tell he desperately wished to get away from the small crowd of adoring fans he had gathered around him. Normally he didn't mind the attention from his adoring fans, but seeing as he was in a rush, it was becoming irritating as a few more students found him. By the time she had dumped them into the large recycling bin and headed back, she found him attempting to slip away, edging towards his destination from the ever growing crowd. Yet none of them either noticed or cared he was done talking.

"I guess it's up to me to save the day," she thought as she headed towards the crowd. "Mr. Jefferson, I've been looking all over for you. Mr. Wells told me to come find you for an important meeting."

Upon hearing this, the crowd gave him room to move giving him the chance to slip away. Despite what Max said, Victoria was still persistent. "Wait! I haven't shown you my head-shots yet!"

"Let him go, Victoria," a girl with short, dark hair grabbed her arm as Victoria tried to go after him. Geez, didn't she get the message? It wasn't as like he was only going to be there for one day. With the crowd dispersing, Max slipped inside to catch up with him.

"I noticed you needed help back there," Max whispered as her eyes darted around just in case anybody else was around. Someone may have followed them inside or were roaming the halls. "Seems like you don't have a shortage of fans here."

"Hopefully no other incidents occur like that when I'm in a hurry." His phone buzzed again causing him to swear under his breath. "I'll catch you later. I gotta go before someone else decides to bother me."

Max just nodded with understanding, though, much like those girls from earlier, she wanted to stay with him. Unlike most of those girls, she had all rights to his time considering their relationship. Hopefully not too much of his time would be hindered by some random fan coming up to him later in the day. In the meantime, she supposed she'd have to get back to her room and get back to cleaning up.

By the time she had gotten a little more than half of her things unpacked, she finally got text from Mark asking her to come to his classroom, giving her the room number to come to. About time! Once inside of the school, she looked over her shoulder for a moment just in case before slipping inside. Mark was appearing to be deep in throat as he typed away on his computer, not yet acknowledging her presence as she closed the door and then the curtains on the windows next to the door to prevent anybody from seeing inside. Max was feeling a little naughty if she had to be honest with herself. This was the perfect moment for her to live out the ultimate fantasy of the coy school girl seducing her handsome teacher into having his way with her in exchange for extra credit. Now that she thought about, technically she had done so once before with the only difference being that the "classroom" was his house and there weren't others that could stumble upon the pair.

"Got everything done, professor?" she whispered in his ear as she locked her arms around his neck and gently kissed his cheek.

"Almost. I've got a few more files to fill out."

"I've got something you can fill out," As cheesy as that line was, her mind was too lust filled to care. While normally Max preferred a more private area to do her "business" with her spouse, there were times when the brunette tended to feel adventurous. She wasn't sure what brought on these wants to have sex in a public area with little to no concern of being caught until afterwards, but she liked it.

"Oh really?" He grinned back at his wife as she licked her lips. "There's a lot of people here you know."

"Let them hear," she purred as crawled into his lap and fiddled with his tie. " I want them to know they can't have you."

"Let's see how you feel about that when I bend you over this desk and…" He was beginning to he run his hand up her leg and work his under her shirt when the pair heard someone knocking on the door. They could make out the shadows of three people gathered outside of the door. The couple froze all moment as if they had been caught in the act.

"Is he even still here?" she heard a feminine voice say to the other three. "It's been hours."

"He should," another female voice spoke. "His car is still in the parking lot. He's got to be somewhere if he's not with Principal Wells."

"Is the door locked?" Max recognized the voice as belonging to the girl from earlier, Victoria.

"Do you think he'd mind if we…?"

Max immediately got up as soon as heard Well's deep voice interrupting the conversation. It wouldn't look good if the head of the college walked in on a student-teacher affair. As a matter of fact, it wouldn't have looked good if three women barged in like they were no doubt planning, but at least they would hesitate before coming in unlike the dean. "Can I help you girls?"

"Mr. Wells! We were just…" began the first woman.

"We wanted to see Mr. Jefferson before he left!" spoke up the second woman.

"I'm sure he'll be happy to see you all after the semester begins. He has plenty of things to prepare for and I'm sure he'd appreciate it if you all gave him a little space."

"You'd better go," Mark whispered.

Max hated that she had to leave, however she knew she had to listen what he said. Max couldn't say she was good at keeping quiet during sex and Mark along side, embarrassingly enough, her parents knew that well enough. Even if she had, she knew there was a high chance Wells, a fan of her spouse's work, another teacher, janitor, or a random student looking for a empty classroom to do whatever in would stumble upon the couple if not hear it first. It was for the better that she left even if she was doing so reluctantly. Some other day maybe? Yeah right if his fans had anything to do with it. Oh well. It was for the better. Even if they weren't planning on sex in the classroom, they were still going to put both of their butts at risks by being all over each other.

She left out of the classroom door, bumping into the principal on her way out. "Oh sorry, Mr. Wells. I didn't see you there."

"It's fine, Miss Caulfield. How are you liking Blackwell so far?"

"It's nice. I can't wait to attend classes."

"That's good to hear. Now if you'll excuse me," The brunette sidestepped to let him into the classroom, secretly glad that she had gotten up instead of being stubborn and staying in her lover's lap. Now that she thought about it, neither she or Mark locked the door.

"Imagine if we kept going," she shuddered as she continued down the hallway. The two had made that same fatal mistake the day her aunt had come over. Unlike today, Max hadn't closed their bedroom door resulting in the woman accidentally overhearing their "photography" session. Max couldn't even think about the incident without feeling her cheeks burning.

She never got to see anymore of her husband for the rest of the day though he did send a text about Mr. "Cockblock" asking him if he needed security. Max doubted he needed any as the women from earlier only wanted to meet him. It wasn't like he couldn't handle a bunch of girls. Max couldn't help to sympathize with him since Wells had interrupted their time together. She had been hoping to continue elsewhere but he had said he had to get back to work since Wells took up too much of his time.

"A little too much," she muttered aloud as she messaged him back a response. It was two hours since she saw him so neither of them were in the mood anymore. At least she wasn't.

Next time?

We'll see. Love you

Love you too papa bear ^^

Reviews are appreciated. ^^

Chapter Text

Max pulled up in the parking lot of Two Whales Diner, heart beating for what was in store for her inside. As far as her relationship with Joyce, the last bit of contact she had with her was talk of her wedding via letter. At the time, she had been hoping to hear back from both females but only Joyce wrote back, mentioning that she and Chloe had been happy to go. In the following letter from the woman, she ended up telling her that she had come down with the flu and couldn’t make it. Nothing was said about Chloe at the time. She took this as Chloe blowing her off out of anger. At least Joyce didn’t hate her for taking so long to write back. As for Chloe, she was both eager and nervous to find out whether or not they could rekindle their friendship.

Max plopped herself down into an empty booth in the back and began thumbing through the menu. Matthew, who Max was taking care of while his nanny went to a doctor’s appointment, was still sleeping soundly in her lap even with the chatter and occasional clanking of dishes and pots going on in the diner. Eventually Joyce came over to her table with a pot of coffee

“Why if it isn’t Maxine Caulfield back after all these years. How are you doing, Max?” she asked as she poured some coffee into her mug.

“Hi, Joyce,” Max greeted her with a smile. “It's nice to see you again. You look the same.”

“Like I'm still a waitress at Two Whales after all these years?”

“Oh no. You still look pretty. You haven’t aged a bit since I last saw you.”

“Nice save, kid.” she smirked at the young woman. She peered down into the black and red baby seat which held the sleeping infant. “Oooh he’s so precious. He looks just like his daddy. He’s 5 months now, isn’t he?”

“Thank you,” beamed Max. “He turns 5 months next week.”

“He reminds me of Chloe when she was a baby though she never did have much hair,” she shook her head as she let out a saddened sigh. “Appreciate it when he’s small. One day you’re cleaning cuts and the next day, they’re off to college. Though in Chloe’s case, she’s just off somewhere. Lord knows how badly I wish that girl would do something with herself.”

“Where is Chloe? I didn’t see her when I walked in.”

“Hmph. You’d have a much better chance of knowing where she is than me.” Joyce frowned, which Max read as a bad sign. “She’s never home anymore after William died. She was always running off, coming home at late hours, and getting in trouble with the law and the school. I didn’t even get to see her graduate since she got expelled.”

“Oh,” Max couldn’t help but to feel guilty. Chloe was going through so much after her father died and Max hadn’t been there to steer her in the right path. “I’m so sorry to hear that Joyce. I should’ve been there for her but I wasn’t. I feel awful I didn’t call.”

“It’s okay, Max. Friendships fall apart over time. Besides, Chloe made her own choices and so did you. You did the right thing. You moved forward with your life. I did, after William passed on. Chloe...Chloe chose to stay angry. Anyway, I hope we see more of you. Chloe needs an old friend again especially after Rachel left.”


“She was a friend of Chloe’s. You’d think they were joined at the head with how close they were. You rarely ever saw one without the other.”

“What happened to her?” questioned Max. She remembered a time the two of them were that close…that was until she moved to Seattle with her parents. As for Rachel, did the same situation happen with her or did she go to an out of town college once she graduated? “Did they have a fight?”

“Not that I know of,” answered Joyce. “All I know is that one day she was here and the next day she wasn’t. Chloe was in a frenzy when she didn’t hear from her for two days straight. Where ever she is, I hope she’s safe. She was such a sweet girl. I keep hoping Rachel will show up back in Arcadia or send Chloe a postcard or something from Hollywood or where ever she is. That day never seems to come. Chloe’s worried sick about her and quite frankly I am too.”

“Hollywood? Was she an actress?”

“Model or at least that’s what she wanted to be. Acting was her passion too, but she preferred modeling. I’d sometimes catch her occupationally giving out headshots, probably in hopes that someone famous might stumble upon her. She was a lovely young woman. I wouldn’t be surprised if some hotshot agent contacted her and flew her to Hollywood. Maybe they did have a fight about it or…” Joyce just shook her head. “Where ever she is, I hope she’s okay. Anyways, enough chit-chat. What can I get you today, Max?”

“I’ll take your famous Belgian Waffles. I’ve been dying to try them since I first came back.”

“Coming right up.”

As Max waited for her food, she thought about the information she received from Joyce. She was glad that at least someone had been a good friend to Chloe while she had been away. The only downside to the situation was that Rachel had disappeared without a trace. If she was living it up in Hollywood, it was a lot than what she had done. At least she had to move to Seattle because of her father’s job. If they were really that close, why did Rachel run off without saying anything? It was possible that Chloe and Rachel fought about something which caused Rachel cut Chloe from her life. Chloe could have thought she and Rachel would make up only to find that Rachel refused to speak to her again. All of this was just speculation based on what she had heard. Whatever happened between the pair, Max would have to tread on careful ground if she dared to bring it up.

After having paying her bill and thanking Joyce for the talk, she made sure to give the older woman her cell phone number, knowing that Joyce would pass it onto Chloe if she'd take it. In return, Joyce had given her and Chloe's number, much to Max's delight. Hopefully Chloe wouldn't hang up on her when she tried the number. What could she talk about, she wondered. She instantly marked Seattle off of her list of things to talk about. Given how that was the city that "took" her friend from her, Chloe probably wouldn't want to hear about it. She could ask about what Chloe had been up to in the past 7 years, though given what Joyce said maybe that was a bad idea. Still they had to talk about something. After shifting through a few subjects in her head, she couldn't really think of any that were fitting enough. She could always let Chloe decide if she felt like keeping up the conversation.