Actions

Work Header

Devastation

Chapter Text

Chloe Price was a thirteen-year-old girl when her parents decided to leave Arcadia Bay, her childhood home for the greener and more northern pastures of Seattle. Seattle was a decision that Joyce and Williams’s daughter resented with her whole being, she didn't care for the family's improved prospects that the city would grant, nor did she care for getting away from the childhood neighborhood she had loathed so much. All she cared about was the fact that she had been forced to abandon her childhood friend, Maxine Caulfield who was just under a year younger than she was.

Max and Chloe had been friends since kindergarten and were literally inseparable, the teachers throughout their school life allowed them to stay together, their schedules matching perfectly. The teachers had been forced to concede two weeks into their third grade that it was simply easier to schedule the girls into having their classes together for the sake of the teaching staff and their classmates. Upon the girls’ entry to third grade, the teachers decided that Max and Chloe would benefit from spending some time apart in preparation for life where they would not be able to spend their entire lives together and separated them, it had failed, dramatically. Max had clammed up so tightly that she didn't speak at all in class, not to the teachers nor to her fellow classmates, she spent the entirety of her time in the classroom sitting in the corner and no amount of punishment or encouragement had altered that fact. Max, naturally a nervous child had been ripped from the one person who provided stability and the bravery to face the world and had immediately shut down, her grades had plummeted as a result, she went from not getting anything below a high B to an F in every subject in the drop of a hat, likewise as had Chloe. Chloe did not internalize and clam up like Max, she exploded and became a ticking bomb that could explosively lash out at anything or anyone with little to no provocation and immediately set to work disrupting the school in any way she could from triggering fire alarms to kicking balls through windows, deliberately. Just like Max didn't know how to function without Chloe, Chloe did not know how to function without Max and spent most of the two weeks either sat outside the principal's office or suspended. The principal, unsure how else to deal with the situation resorted to suggesting that Chloe was sent to a special school but Joyce vehemently argued against it, citing Chloe's previously good grades and her outstanding record as evidence against the move, an argument which to his surprise the teachers supported, even Chloe's Phys Ed teacher who had her nose broken by Chloe kicking a ball at her face, again deliberately. Eventually, Max and Chloe had been moved back into the same classroom on the recommendation of a child psychologist and order was restored. Chloe settled down, no longer acting out and Max had come back out of her shell. Both girls had their records expunged as their unusual behavior, while unacceptable had been triggered by something the school had done. Max and Chloe resumed their very positive friendship which carried them through the years, playing pirates and having adventures at all hours of the day.

Until they were thirteen.

Chloe had been told a few days before they left that they were leaving for Seattle, she had kicked, punched and screamed for hours after the revelation until she eventually fell asleep in her father's arms, utterly exhausted. Unfortunately, fate decided to throw one last curveball at the teens in their last days of happiness, Ryan, Max's father was murdered on one of Chloe's last days in Arcadia Bay. Chloe fought even harder to stay with Max but Joyce and William had no choice but to stick to the original plan, they moved away from Arcadia Bay and Max as soon as the formal part of Ryan's funeral was over

The turn of events shattered the lives and the mental wellbeing of two innocent and caring teens. Chloe, stuck in Seattle felt endless guilt at having been torn away from her best friend when she needed her the most while Max suffered day after day.

A few years later, for Chloe’s sixteenth birthday William purchased Chloe a truck. Beyond exhilarated at the sudden turn of events, Chloe, who no longer had her natural strawberry blonde hair but deep purple along with several tattoos and piercings immediately set off for her hometown with a middle finger raised to her parents. Finally!! She had thought, bye bye shitty Seattle! Overjoyed, Chloe found the number she had wanted to call throughout the last two years but had remained unable to, lifted her phone to her ear and waited... The phone rung and rung and rung without an answer. “What the hell, Caulfield?” Chloe muttered, instead trying the Caulfield's home phone
“Hello? Caulfield household, Vanessa Caulfield speaking”
“Hi, Mrs. C, it’s Chloe, Chloe Price”
“Oh, Chloe! It's wonderful to hear from you again, although...”
“Although what?” Chloe subconsciously gripped the steering wheel tighter and her foot became heavier on the throttle, she was bracing for bad news
“Maxine...”
“Max, never Maxine...”
“Chloe.”
“Sorry, Mrs. C.”
“Anyway, Max is in the hospital...”

Chapter Text

“Holy fuck!!”
“Chloe!”
Whatever Vanessa said next was drowned out by Chloe's internal monologue, Max is in hospital! Max is in hospital! Max is in hospital! Max is in hospital! Max is in hospital! Max is in hospital! Subconsciously, Chloe found her foot hard down on the throttle. Max is in hospital! Ninety, Max is in hospital! One hundred, Max is in hospital! One ten, Max is in hospital! One twenty. She tore past anything that was in the way, swerving around cars, trucks, and semis without any sign of slowing down, her truck had an immensely powerful engine and it carried her smoothly towards Arcadia Bay and her former best friend.

Not even an hour later, Chloe sped past the sign she had wistfully watched get smaller and smaller when she left her hometown, Arcadia Bay. Never thought I'd be so fucking glad to see that damned sign!! “Fuck!!” she exclaimed, slamming on the brakes, she had seen flashing red and blue lights through the trees and pulled up just in time to avoid being caught. “Fuck it!” Chloe pulled off the road down a track where she parked her truck, making sure it was hidden in some undergrowth, jumped out of her truck sadly and began the slow trek back down the track and past the roadblock, glowering at the police as she walked past them. Bastards!! Bet I’d be at the fucking hospital by now...
“Good evening, miss” an officer, the very same officer who had given the Caulfields the bad news of Ryan's murder called
“Evening!” She called back with a short wave
“In a hurry?”
“Yeah well I received some bad news while out camping, my friend is in hospital so excuse me if I'm in a hurry and not very talkative”
“Yeah, sure” the officer nodded in understanding and Chloe hurried past him.
Dickheads

Chloe jogged into town, passing the Two Whales Diner where her mom had worked for as long as she could remember. Remembering why she was there she broke into a full sprint, Phys Ed was the only class where Max was better than her, when she had given a fuck about school anyway but she found she made good time despite devolving into a coughing fit upon her arrival at the hospital. Fuck you cigarettes!!. “Hi, I'm here to see Maxine Caulfield?”
“What's your name?” the slightly bored receptionist replied in a monotone
“Chloe, now where the hell is she?”
“Be patient” the receptionist scolded
“Be patient?! I was dragged from my best friend against my will and when I get a chance to meet her again, two years later I find out she's in the fucking hospital!!”
Chloe was about to continue her fury driven onslaught but was interrupted by a voice, “is there a problem Ma’am?”
Oh for the love of... Fucking cops, fucking security!!
“I asked if there was a problem?”
“No, David, no problem!” Chloe snapped at the stranger having read his name badge. “Just tell me where Maxine Caulfield is and I'll be on my way”
“She is in room 313”
“There, that wasn't so hard, was it?” Chloe moved away but not before raising her middle finger up to her mouth and kissing it then holding it up at both the receptionist and security guard

Chloe set off at a run towards the room and skidded to a halt outside it, slowly raising her hand to knock. Immediately she was petrified, what if Max doesn’t forgive me?! What if Max hates me?!? She remained frozen to the spot until the door opened and a girl who looked to be about Max’s age opened the door
“Oh, I'm sorry!” She exclaimed, almost dropping whatever it was she was carrying, “my name is Kate, Kate Marsh, I'm guessing you're a friend of Max's, though I don't recognize you”
“Yeah... Maxipad, not sure if I'm a friend though, my name is Chloe”
“Chloe? Chloe Price?”
“Yeah...”
“Max is always talking about you”
“She is? Bet she says hateful and hurtful things, things that I deserve...” The purple haired girl mused
“Whoa, hold on a second, Max always speaks of you, she speaks very highly of you in fact”
“That's a heap of bullshit, I'm the worst friend in the history of friends and I know that”
“Please watch your language”
“It's only a word!” Chloe raised an eyebrow at the younger teen
“Yeah, well I guess” Kate looked distinctly uncomfortable
“How is she?” Chloe whispered more gently than Kate had ever realized the punk girl could be
“Not great... Chloe, she tried to kill herself”

Chapter Text

What... The fuck?! Oh my god, it’s all my fucking fault! Chloe backed away from the sightly ajar plain wooden door to the room that Max was in and slid down the plain white wall opposite
“Chloe... Talk to me” to Chloe, Kate's voice sounded as if it was drifting across an abyss
“It’s my fault, Kate, it’s all my fucking fault!”
“Lan...” Kate began
“You don't get it, I abandoned her days after her father was murdered!!” Chloe interrupted, distraught. “I wasn’t here the entire time she needed me, I was off feeling sorry for myself in Seattle, that shitpit is a place I hope I'll never have to see again. If I do I'll fucking blow it the hell up!”
“Chloe, please”
“Turn the whole fucking place to glass”
“Chloe!” Kate was getting desperate, she barely knew how to handle the barrage of curses from the other girl and certainly didn't know how to handle Chloe's breakdown since she had begun to shut down, shutting the blonde out despite her increasingly frantic attempts to bring the other girl back from the panic attack

“Is everything okay, Kate?” a beautiful blonde haired hazel eyed woman who looked at least a few years older than Chloe stepped out of a room, “Kate?” she called and immediately her eyes fell on the downed purplenette. “Holy shit”
“Rach... I don't know what to do!!” Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god
“Alright, what's the problem?”
“Rach, this is Chloe” and she's having some kind of fucking panic attack
“Chloe?” Rachel replied blankly then, having realized where Chloe was sat, opposite Max's half-open door, “you mean... Max's Chloe?” Kate nodded slowly at the older girl and her eyes narrowed at Chloe. In Rachel's opinion, Chloe had done something unforgivable in abandoning her friend at the time she did.
“Rach, we gotta calm her down before she faints!” Kate looked at the older girl earnestly, maybe even desperately. Please Rach!! Please, I know you don't like her but...

Rachel knelt down in front of the purplenette and gently lifted her head by pushing her forehead back, “Chloe, come on Chloe” her voice was soothing, unlike Kate who had freaked at the panic attack. “I need you to breathe, come on you can do that for me, can't you?” Rachel had finally realized that it wasn't Chloe's fault, she had thought Chloe has been more her age as Kate hadn't ever said how old Chloe was and Rachel had to admit that Chloe was no more than a year older than Max. The animosity Rachel held towards Chloe dissipated in an instant as she had realized that Chloe had been a victim of circumstance as much as Max. “Chloe... Chloe...” she repeated a few more times, eventually, the younger girl opened her brilliantly blue eyes and stared at Rachel's hazel ones. Holy shit...
“Chloe, this is Rachel Amber. Rachel this is Chloe Price, or as we've come to call her, Max's Chloe.” The girls had been quick to seek comfort from each other as soon as they met, Kate was scared for Max who had attempted to take her own life with only a very short note for Kate while Rachel was in the hospital recovering from a stab wound to the arm. She had been exploring a junkyard and a man called Damon Merrick had attacked her for being the DA's daughter while she had been on a quest to find her real mother. Frank Bowers, a former friend of Damon's had fended him off and rushed Rachel to the hospital having sworn that he would attempt to find Rachel's real mother. About a week later, Kate had found Rachel wandering the hospital alone and scared so she had invited her to join her in Max's room for tea

“H... Hi” Chloe was just beginning to resurface from her panic attack, “R... Rachel?” Not one of the trio of girls knew how long Chloe had been down for but since she hadn't fainted, Rachel figured it hadn't been as long as it felt. Fuck, as beautiful as ever, Rachel
“You know me?”
“Of course!!”
Rachel looked incredibly confused and doubtful, “I would say you have mistaken me for someone else but you certainly do seem to recognize me...”
“Sure I do, Firewalk ‘08!!” Chloe exclaimed excitedly
“What?”
“The Old Mill! Firewalk! 2008!” Chloe was so excited she couldn't speak quietly
“You... You were there? You can't have been much older than... thirteen” Rachel was incredibly confused as to how Chloe had been at Firewalk
“I know!! You helped me get past the bouncer!!”
“I... I did? Oh my god!! You're that Chloe! Fuck... I thought you were a lot older than you were”
“Firewalk?” Kate’s voice reminded the other two that the blonde was still stood with them
“A rock band, Kate” Rachel was quick to elaborate
“Of course, though what were you doing out at an Old Mill all by yourself Chloe?” Kate asked, confused
“I went to see Firewalk!!” Chloe repeated herself
“It was a hella awesome night!” Rachel whisper yelled, barely
“Hella?” Chloe repeated with a raised eyebrow
“Don't knock it til you've tried it”

Chloe chuckled and Rachel had to admit that Max, whom both girls had come to the same conclusion about, was incredibly lucky. Rachel thought Chloe had a very pretty laugh and was incredibly beautiful, both in the conventional sense and not, the purple hair served to add to her natural beauty. “It's nice to see you again, Rachel, what... what happened to your arm?” Chloe had noticed the bandages
“It's nothing, a light stabbing is all”
“A light stabbing!?” Chloe looked mad, “point me in the direction of who did this and I'll kick their ass”
“No need, Chloe. They're dead”
“Dead?” Kate whispered, horrified
“Yeah, I think he was killed trying to kill Frank Bowers, he’s the local drug dealer and the guy who saved my life”
“Drug dealer?!” Kate was shocked
“I know him, he was my dealer” Chloe added sheepishly
“Your dealer?! You were what, thirteen?!” Rachel was mad and disappointed with the purplenette
“Yeah Rachel, but I knew my parents would drag me away from my friend...”
“So you spent the time high?”
“Exactly, especially the car ride to Seattle”
“That was really stupid, Chloe” Kate scolded, “but also kinda understandable. Are you ready to see her?”
“No” with that single word, a word Chloe had forced out with incredible difficulty she felt two hands wrapping themselves around her own, her breath hitched having realized that Kate and Rachel had grabbed her hands to support her. “But let's get it over and done with” she whispered. With no further hesitation, Kate pushed the door to Max's hospital room open

“Oh my god... Holy shit!! Max!! Max, no! This can't be happening, this can't be fucking happening!!!”

Chapter Text

“Max!!” Chloe exclaimed the one word and surged forward only to collapse to her knees by Max's bed
“Chloe” Kate whispered, looking pained to see Chloe so upset, “Chloe, she’s gonna be okay” Kate winced internally. I lied, that's not a very Christian thing to do. Ultimately she decided that if it gave Chloe some peace of mind then it was worth it
“No, she’s not” Chloe looked over the brunette, her petite form covered by a scratchy hospital blanket, tubes and wires disappeared under the blanket which looked to be heated. Must be so she doesn't get cold... “Kate, how long has she been in here?” the purplenette mumbled from down on her knees
“Three weeks” Kate replied to a wince from Rachel
“Three fucking weeks and nobody even told me!?” Chloe began to shake, she was so close to breaking down as she watched the brunette. Everything was so clinical, unnatural, the breathing tube in her mouth, the feeding tube up her nose and a whole load of IV bags. Chloe's first sob came as a strangled gasp then it was if the dam had broken and Chloe’s lungs soon started to burn from the crying that despite her best effort she was unable to stop

Chloe lost any and all sense of time while she sobbed uncontrollably by Max's bed, Rachel and Kate had lifted her up to plonk her down on a chair. Her head had come to rest on one of Max's hands and her sobbing only intensified. Eventually, as the golden hour was beginning, Chloe finally got a small amount of control of herself and she looked over at her hippie, she's cute even with that tube in her mouth
“Chloe” Kate began and handed over a book that looked like Max's journal, “I think Max wanted you to have this, she said as much in her n... Note. I... haven't read it, just she thinks it'll explain a lot”
Chloe took the book with trembling hands, she had cried herself out, something she actually felt a measure of gratitude for else she knew she would be sobbing again. As she opened the journal a piece of parchment fell out, Kate reached down and grabbed it to hand it back to Chloe, face down. “She wanted you to have her journal”
Chloe with increasing apprehension turned the piece of parchment over. Parchment, that's so Max

'Dear Captain Bluebeard,
If you are reading this then that means I was successful, I am dead.
I am so so sorry I had to leave you, I'm so sorry I didn't try harder to keep our friendship alive. I can't live with myself knowing what I know now and I'm leaving you my journal in case you ever return to Arcadia Bay. While I know it won't ever make up for the shitty friend I've been, it'll hopefully explain a few things. Hopefully, Kate Marsh will have found this and looked after it like I asked in my note to her and hopefully you won't hate me too much
I love you, Chlo
Forever yours,
Long Max Silver, first mate of the pirate ship Arcadia'

Chloe stifled another sob and with tears flowing she opened the journal for a second time, her eyes widening as she read

'Today, today my world fell apart. Mom and dad called me downstairs to talk to me about something, it turns out Chloe is moving away from Arcadia Bay... I don't know what I'm going to do, Chloe is my everything, I need her. I beg of you Joyce, William, god even, please don't take my best friend away from me'

Chloe grimaced and scowled, once again furious with her parents at their decision to tear her away from her best friend. She skipped through a whole load more journal entries and settled on reading another one with Kate and Rachel’s reassuring hands on her shoulders. Chloe knew they weren't reading the journal as that was for her alone but they still wanted to reassure her that she wasn't alone

‘I know Chloe... Ex best friend traitorous bitch... Chloe called again this morning before school, first on my cell then on the home phone. Both of my parents were working though so I just let it ring. She probably hates me for not replying to her texts or emails and was just calling to reaffirm that... Tomorrow I'm going to go look through our old photographs since they're all I've got left of her, the real her’

Again Chloe turned the page to a new day, a new entry though she couldn't help but be incredibly hurt at what Max had called her

'Oh my god, Chloe I'm so sorry!! I wish I had returned those calls now... I discovered something horrible today, something that truly changed my opinion on my family... Chloe, I wish I'd never rejected you, I need you now more than ever!...'
The page looked splattered with dried drops of something, Chloe’s heart almost stopped when she realized what it was, tears. She felt incredibly nauseous that she had thought smugly that Max was regretting her refusal to talk to her
'I'm shocked, I didn't know... Chloe, my...'
The rest of the journal entry was indecipherable due to the tears that had fallen thick and fast on the entry. Chloe turned over and saw that the second page was completely blank with only a small note scribbled on the first of the two, she flicked through the rest of the journal, it was completely blank so she returned to the final few sentences

'Goodbye Chloe. I hope you know how much you actually mean to me, I will always, always love you and even though I'm leaving you behind, I'll always be with you. We’ll always be together because we are Max and Chloe. Forever’

A pained gasp came out of Chloe and she fell forward onto the bed, “Maxi, who or what did something so terrible to you that you felt you had to end your own life?!” Chloe whispered to the other girl though the rage she felt quickly dissipated to be replaced with... Dread. “Please don't leave me...” the purplenette pleaded as her vision blurred, more tears flowing out and running down her face in unstoppable rivers

Chapter Text

“Maxipad!! Oh no, no, no, my Maxipad!!” Chloe had eventually, after almost twelve hours, calmed enough to be able to have some food. She sat there nibbling on the pack of chips Kate had fetched out of a vending machine with a cup of disgusting machine coffee nearby. She hated the taste of the coffee, it just tasted wrong to the girl who had grown up with Joyce’s coffees but she knew she desperately needed the caffeine. Caffeine isn't the only thing I need, I need to get high and hammered. The surprisingly calm purplenette grimaced after taking another gulp of the nasty cheap coffee and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. Kate was slumped in one of the seats in the hospital room snoring quietly, dreaming about rabbits and rainbows while Rachel had retreated to her own room to sleep. Chloe was the only one still awake and she had been studying the drawings Max had drawn in the journal which Chloe had been given, it was too dark for her to even attempt to read the words in the journal without turning a light on but she wasn't willing to do that and risk waking the Christian girl. The purplenette’s mind eventually turned to her truck and her parents, she regretted sticking her middle finger up at them on her hasty exit so she pulled out her phone and opened it, expecting them to have sent some texts

[SMS: Mom, 12:56] ‘Chloe, you cost me ten bucks!!'
[SMS: Mom, 12:58] ‘Me and your dad had a bet that you'd shoot off without even thanking us, you're forgiven and you're welcome'
[SMS: Mom, 22:18] ‘I hope you arrived in Arcadia Bay safely, Chloe. I wish you the best of luck finding your old friendship with Max. I don't think we ever apologized for dragging you away from your best friend’
[SMS, 00:56] ‘Mom... I'm fine, but...'

Chloe looked away from her phone for a moment after sending the quick text to her mom who was probably getting ready for bed and looked over at her former best friend as the ventilator whirred once again and her chest rose. Fuck!!!! Chloe felt burning in the corners of her eyes and she looked away from Max, back to her phone. She didn't even bother to stem the few tears that flowed down her cheeks

[SMS: Daddy, 13:00] ‘So I'm ten bucks richer now, Bluebeard!'
[SMS: Daddy, 13:01] ‘Mom probably already whinged about losing that bet!!'
[SMS: Daddy, 21:10] ‘I hope you found our other gift to you in your glove compartment, Bluebeard. We're so proud of you and you don't even know why yet!!'
[SMS, 01:00] ‘Sorry, dad. Had a lot on my mind... Dad, I need to call you, please still be awake!;-;’
[SMS: Daddy, 01:05] ‘Sure, Bluebeard, what's going on? You used an emoji that's very unlike you. Should I be worried?'

Under normal circumstances, Chloe wouldn't have been able to resist a laugh at her parents’ competitiveness and playful betting but it couldn't be any further from ordinary circumstances. Chloe hit the call button and lifted the old phone up to her ear. “Hello, Cap'n Bluebeard” William's voice was gentle, concerned
“Daddy...” the purplenette whispered the one word, tears running down her cheeks as she broke down again
“What on earth could have upset my tough pirate so much?” William waited patiently while Chloe cried down the phone to him
“Uh, hi, Mr. Price” another feminine voice soon spoke to him on the phone, one he didn't recognize though he could still hear Chloe crying in the background. “My name is Kate, Kate Marsh and I'm a friend of Chloe's...” Kate was wiping the sleep from her eyes, Chloe's renewed sobbing had woken her up and she had taken the phone from the distraught purplenette to explain the situation to William
“Nice to meet you, Kate, now what's going on, ol' Bloody Bill is getting mighty worried about his Bluebearrrrrd”
Kate couldn't help but chuckle at the man’s silly antics despite the circumstances though she quickly fell somber once again, “Mr. Price, one of Chloe's friends attempted to kill herself a few... A few weeks back”
“Christ” William was taken aback. “Wait... Please no, not her”
“Mr. Price?”
“Is Max okay?!”
“No, Mr. Price, I'm sorry but she was the one who attempted”
“What... what the fuck have we done?” William slumped into the couch
“What you did?” Kate asked in confusion having heard the man sigh out in shock and despair.

“JOYCE!! JOYCE!!” William had bellowed and Kate winced, she had been holding the phone close when he yelled. Kate heard a faint thump from the other end of the line then thundering footsteps down some stairs
“Yea?” The southern woman hobbled over to the phone, rubbing her foot, “what's wrong?”
“One of Chloe's friends just took over on the phone. Joyce, it's Max... She attempted suicide”
All the life and color faded from his wife's face at the news. “Holy shit” she mumbled, guilt filling her features

“Okay, Kate, tell Chloe we’re on our way” William spoke directly to Kate
“Okay, Mr. Price, I will do that”
“Call me William, Kate. And thank you” he hung up and Chloe sobbed more
“Your parents are coming down to see you and Max, Chloe. They want to be around for you both”
“I... I know” Chloe wiped her eyes in a vain attempt to stop her crying

Chapter Text

“Kate, what the hell happened?”
“Language, please, Chloe”
“Good evening, Kate, good evening, Chloe” Rachel walked in with a massive yawn and a stretch. “That girl’s a punk, Kate. You won't ever get her to stop swearing”
“The new girl is right, Kate, you're fighting a losing battle there”
“I guess. Max told me a lot about you, Chloe, for example, your wine tasting session and blowing up the dolls”
“Uh excuse me?” Rachel interjected herself into the conversation, “you blew shit up when you were kids?”
“Yup. In my bedroom of all places” Chloe’s eyes shone with glee at the memory, it had been one of her very last positive memories of being with Max. “It was awesome!!”
“Sounds hella awesome.”
“Okay, Rachel, Hella awesome” both girls laughed while Kate rolled her eyes, “oh lighten up, Kate”

“Let's play a game!!”
“Oh?” Chloe tried to sound interested but despite the knowledge that she needed a distraction, the punk couldn't quite bring herself to care
“Let's play two truths and a lie”
“Oh, that game was popular with the kids up in Seattle” Chloe admitted. “Kate, you have to tell two truths about yourself as well as one lie and someone else has to guess which is the lie”
“But I can't lie very well” Kate protested
“Makes it even easier for whoever has to guess yours” Rachel whispered teasingly
“I guess”
“How about me and Chloe go first”
“Sounds good to me” Chloe shrugged
“Sure”
“Okay, Chloe, so I was born in Arcadia Bay”
“You were?”
“Yup. Arcadia Bay general on July twenty-second, 1994 at two in the morning by cesarian section”
“Second?”
“I am ambidextrous”
“And third?”
“The guy who stabbed me was called Damon and it happened at the junkyard, American Rust”
“Okay...” Chloe's paused, deep in thought for a moment before talking, “you say you're ambidextrous?”
“Yeah... Okay, let's make this even more interesting, if you get it wrong you have to do a dare”
“That's pretty... Cool actually”
“So quit your thinking and answer me”
“Mhm okay”
“You're not ambidextrous”
“Wrong!!” Rachel exclaimed triumphantly
“Fuck it” Chloe grumbled
“That means you're up, Kate”
“I don't like this game”
“Just cos you lost, Chloe!” Rachel teased.
“Whatever you say, Rachel”
“It’s your turn now, Kate” Rachel turned to the other girl.
“Despite knowing you for nearly a week, Rach, I really don't know that much about you”
“Christ, Kate. Do you live out of the hospital or something?” Chloe asked, suspecting that Kate did just that
“Please don't take the lord's name in vain”
Chloe just about resisted the urge to roll her eyes and launch into a fury fuelled tirade against any and all god that could allow someone as gentle and as caring as Max go through something that made her try to kill herself and though it became harder and harder to ignore, Rachel saw the storm approaching and stepped in to negate it. “Chloe your dare will need to be completed once Kate has had her guess. Kate? Which shall it be? The guy who stabbed me being called Damon or being born in Arcadia Bay?”
“Uh... You weren't born in Arcadia Bay. Max has been here all her life and she never mentioned knowing you”
“You are correct”
“Yay!” Kate exclaimed
“I could've been homeschooled but lucky for you I wasn't” Rachel laughed. “I'm a Cali girl”

Kate smiled a genuine smile at Rachel and Chloe. “Cool, I guess Chloe is up next”
“No, Chloe I dare you to strut like a chicken all the way to the reception and back”
“But that's like three floors away!”
“I know”
“Shit!”
“Go on then, we know roughly how long it'll take so don't chicken out”
“Fuck. Fine, fine!” And off Chloe went, clucking and strutting like a chicken to giggles from both the other girls

“Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Kate?”
“Definitely”
“She's gay for our petite MadMax!” Rachel exclaimed, amused by what she had forced the poor purplenette to do
“It’s actually quite adorable” Kate admitted. She noticed Rachel's raised eyebrow. “No, you're thinking of my parents, they vehemently believe that stuff is wrong. Sin and all, but how can a loving god hate someone for loving someone?”
“Wish I knew” Rachel admitted, “Chloe's hot”
Kate let out a little snigger, both at the blonde’s last remark and the sound of the returning purplenette

“That was so fucking embarrassing” Chloe mumbled, sitting on the floor behind the door out of everyone's sight
“Ah Chloe, it’s good to see you” Rachel called jovially
Chloe sunk even lower onto the floor, trying to make herself as small and unnoticeable as possible. “I'm so gonna get fucking revenge for that”
“And you'll have a chance, it’s your turn”
“I guess, I gotta go get my truck...”
“Awwwww Chloe!! You can't!” the blonde whined out
“I had to abandon it outside Arcadia Bay since the pigs were there, it’s brand new and just a bit expensive”
“You should be here for Max, Chloe” Kate agreed quickly with Rachel
“But...”
“You came all the way here to see her”
“Yeah, I did but she's not even conscious”
“Well we'll have to tie you down then won't we Kate?”
“Each to their own, Rach”
“You should stay, Chloe, for Max”
Chloe nodded a few seconds later, “I'll stay, for Max” she moved to a chair a pink tinge still on her cheeks as she curled up
“Right. Chloe, two truths and a lie...?”
Chloe sighed, still not sure if she liked the game. “Rachel.” The aforementioned girl closed her eyes in nervous anticipation of the upcoming challenge. “One, I kissed a childhood friend as practice for when I met someone. Two, the only drug I've ever done is marijuana. Three, I'm a hella awesome lesbian babe”
Kate couldn't help but smirk, she already knew which was the lie. “Uhm...”
“No time to think, Rachel, come on!”
“Okay... You're definitely a hot lesbian babe...” Kate snickered, “so I'd have to go with kissing your friend”
“Nope!”
“Fuck”
“Revenge will be so sweet” Chloe would think of the most embarrassing thing she could then make Rachel do it. “Kate?”
“Well, we've already established you're a 'hot lesbian babe' and I happen to know you did kiss Max” “Ooooooooh!!!”
“When you were younger”
“Ooooh cheeky girl” Rachel chuckled
“You... You did drugs, didn't you?” Kate's triumphant grin quickly faded at the implication
“Yeah, Kate, I did”
“Dare I ask what?”
“Mhm, feel free”
“What did you use?”
“Basically anything I could get my hands on. Marijuana, acid and the occasional shot of meth”
“Oh, Chloe” Kate's kind face was incredibly saddened and both girls wrapped Chloe up in their arms
Chloe enjoyed the hug for a few moments then chose her moment to spring her dare. “Rachel I dare you to kiss me” Chloe then sat back and watched the other girl become a mess of nerves and embarrassment while Kate raised an eyebrow and barely concealed another snigger

[SMS, Rach, 13:13] 'I hate you, traitor, you told her what I said! xD'
[SMS, Kate, 1314] 'Not guilty, ever considered that Chloe might be observant despite her 'I don't care' attitude?'
[SMS, Rach, 13:13] 'Oh shit, no, actually I hadn't xD'

“Why are you two texting each other?” Chloe asked while both girls laughed at their text exchange
“Rach accused me of suggesting you should kiss me”
Chloe feigned ignorance, “Why would she suggest that? Other than me being a smokin' hot lesbian babe”
Rachel merely blushed and shook her head, too embarrassed to speak. She then leaned in for the kiss with Chloe

They were interrupted by a groan

Chapter Text

“Max!!” Kate hurried forward to greet her friend, she smiled widely down at the brunette in the bed. Max coughed quietly and groaned, attempting to lift her arm to grab Kate's hand despite not being able to see where she was, the light in the room hurt her eyes. What the hell? I can't move
Maxipad!!
“Mmph,” Max groaned, why can't I move? “Mmph” she grunted and tried to lift her hand
“Easy, Max” Kate's voice crossed the void, “don't try to move too much. Rach, could you turn the light off?”
“Sure” an unfamiliar and beautifully melodious voice replied, then there was a click and the room was plunged into almost complete darkness
Max slowly opened her eyes, everything was still a tad fuzzy but she could at least see the rough shapes of three people in her room. “Mmph” she grunted, realizing she wasn't breathing herself and that she had a tube in her mouth. Her eyes widened in fear, eyeing the other two people that she didn't know
“Easy, Max” Kate whispered. “You're in hospital and on a ventilator” she wiped her eyes. “We were all so worried about you”
Max grunted. “Hey, Max, my name is Rachel, Rachel Amber” Rachel put her hand on Max's shoulder, disturbing Max's hospital gown
“Oh my god!!” a voice that Max hadn't heard for years had exclaimed, “what the...”
“Fuck happened to your neck, Max?!” Kate finished the other girl’s statement. Max had looked surprised at Kate's choice of words but her eyes had fallen on the purplenette and remained locked there since she spoke. “Oh yeah, Max, Chloe's here” Kate smiled a small smile. Chloe's eyes were fixed upon the burn marks on Max's neck, not moving from the burns for anything. “You're okay now, Chloe's here”
CHLOE?!
“I'm here, Maxi, I'm here” Chloe soothed, rubbing the back of Max's hand with her thumb as she always used to. “Maxi, oh Maxi why did you do this to yourself?” Chloe had teared up

There were hushed voices outside the hospital room and two police officers stepped into the room. “Miss Chloe Price?”
“Officer Berry, Officer Anderson?”
“Is this your truck?” Berry held out a photograph of Chloe's truck. She nodded sheepishly and he frowned, “we’re going to have to place you under arrest”
“What?!” Rachel exclaimed
“Miss Amber, please calm down. Your friend here drove at least twice the speed limit from Seattle to here, swerving in between vehicles dangerously”
Rachel had been about to defend Chloe but was interrupted before she could even begin by another voice. “Excuse me, Officer.” Chloe's mouth dropped open, “can we talk for a moment?” William was stood with Joyce by his side
“Sure, sir” Berry retreated out of the room with William and Joyce but Anderson remained near Chloe in case she attempted to flee.

Ten minutes later the officer returned with William and Joyce. “I understand, sir. Miss Price?”
“Yes, Officer?”
“We are not going to arrest you, this time”
Chloe's mouth fell open, “you're... You're not?!”
“Not under the circumstances. Your parents vouched for you and explained that your friend was in the hospital after a suicide attempt and that you didn't know that they were going to live. Your parents told you to get there as quickly as possible. We have taken your truck, we will be sending you fines and paperwork to fill as well.” Chloe nodded, “you're likely to lose that truck for at least a hundred days and be suspended from driving any vehicle for at least as long. You might also have your license terminated but that's less likely under the circumstances”
“When will I get my truck back?”
“You will get it back not before paying the fines and not before the duration of the time the truck is impounded”
Chloe nodded. “Okay, thank you”
Officer Berry nodded and moved away with Officer Anderson. “See you, Officer” William nodded
“Dad... Thank you” Chloe breathed a huge sigh of relief
“You're welcome, Chloe”

Joyce moved over to Max, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Max, we are so so sorry”

Chapter Text

Chloe moved to sit next to Max and held her hand, “uh...” she began but Max was focused on Joyce
“Mrs. Price, why are you sorry?” she asked, a hint of confusion in her tone and her voice raspy from the irritation that the ventilator tubes had caused. What could she possibly have to apologize for?
“I'm sorry because we,” she indicated herself and William, “took Chloe from you when you needed her the most. We are so, so, so sorry, Max. We were so selfish to tear your best friend away from you.” Holy shit I gotta put a stop to this 'Mrs. Price' crap! “And it's still Joyce, Max”
Max teared up then turned to the purplenette, “Chloe, I owe you an apology, I got so mad at you for leaving. I forgot that it wasn't your fault, that you had no choice but to go with your parents and I'm sorry I resented you for getting a better chance at life.” No excuse, but I love you
Chloe nodded and squeezed Max's hand. Rachel stood with her back against the wall, unwilling to ruin the moment of reunion between two long lost friends. “Come on everyone” Joyce ushered everyone out of the door, “let's leave Max and Chloe to catch up in peace” William nodded and after gently hugging Max he left behind Rachel and Kate

“So... Who's the new girl?” Max asked, slurping some milk through a straw. The milk had been Joyce's suggestion though it was Rachel's idea. The idea, intended to hopefully ease some of the rawness in Max's throat had been passed from person to person before Joyce finally mentioned it to Max. Rachel, not wanting to interrupt the reunion between Joyce and her near enough second daughter had murmured her idea to Kate who had passed it on to William, he had muttered it into Joyce's ear and she had suggested it. Max had eagerly agreed to try it
“That's Rachel, she's Kate's friend. Kate told me how she had discovered Rachel wandering the hospital corridors looking lost and confused and Kate invited her to join her for tea here”
“That... Actually doesn't surprise me. Sounds just like something Kate would do” Max replied with a small smile. Kate is such a wonderful person, wonder why Rachel was so lost and hurt though...?
“Uh...” Chloe lost all her confidence in a split second and instead sat next to Max’s bed in silence
“You want to know what the damage is, right?” Chloe nodded nervously, “I don't even know. I cut my arm and tried to hang myself so there's that, and the pills I...” Max shut her mouth, just seeing Chloe shake uncontrollably was enough to make her immediately and wholly regret what she had done despite her resolute opinion it was the best thing for her at the time. “I'm so sorry Chloe...” she paused to thank Rachel for her timely suggestion of milk since it really was helping her with her throat. Does she love me?

“Max... Max, I'm so...” Chloe was struggling to breathe through her crying yet she somehow managed to get the words out
“Nonsense, I've already said it's not your fault” Max was interrupted by a knock at the door
“Hello, Ms. Caulfield, my name is doctor Jones” a doctor stepped in, “and I'm sorry but I'm going to have to ask your friend to leave”
“She stays,” Max replied coldly. But you can fuck right off
“Max... It's okay, I don't mind”
“I do,” Max stated firmly. “She. Stays.” Max glared at the doctor, almost overtly daring him to challenge her word
“Fine. You might want to get comfortable though, Miss...”
“Price. Chloe Price, aka Bluebearrrrrd, Long Max Silver’s faithful companion”
My Chloe is still such a dork
The doctor raised an eyebrow but decided to carry on, talking Chloe through Max's condition as he took her vitals and started his checkup. “Okay, from the top, Ms. Caulfield...”
“Max, never Maxine and certainly not Ms. Caulfield” Chloe interrupted, earning a bemused nod from the doctor and a grateful grin from Max
“Okay, Max. Max's injuries are not as severe as they could've been, she has severe bruising and some burns to her neck from the noose. Those are a minor concern compared to potential brain hypoxia.” The doctor paused as Chloe's nodding turned into a look of confusion. “Basically a shortage of oxygen to the brain” he explained quickly. Chloe nodded solemnly. “She also almost slit her wrist and overdosed heavily, while we've patched her arm and neck up, we’ve been forced to wait until she woke to learn about the consequences of her overdose and hanging attempt but from the looks of it, it seems she got off lightly” the doctor smiled at Max and nodded at Chloe then left.
Chloe waited until the doctor was long gone before she turned to her friend and, with tears in her eyes asked the most important question, the one that had been bugging her since she heard the news. “Why?” Why did you do this to yourself?

The others were sat around in the nearby waiting room when a doctor went into Max's room. It became apparent to them that Max was still codependent upon Chloe, possibly even more so than before as Chloe hadn't been kicked out. Ten minutes after they saw the doctor leave again they heard an almighty roar echo from the room, one word that was bellowed so loudly that there probably wasn’t a single person in the hospital who hadn't heard it. “WHAT?!?!” Once the initial shock of the shout had worn off, everyone looked at each other in horror, terrified of what had caused Chloe to explode like that. A few seconds later and before the others had a chance to do more than just glance fearfully at one another, Chloe slammed the door open and stormed off towards the exit, muttering curses to herself with a murderous expression on her face. Not one of the others were stupid enough to try to stop her though that didn't stop Rachel hurrying off after her to the best of her ability while Kate went into the hospital room to check on Max. A loud scream and several very loud bangs and crashes were heard through the open waiting room window, then there was silence

Chapter Text

“Chloe!! Chloe, wait!!” The purplenette didn't answer, didn't even seem to hear Rachel's voice as she slammed her fist into a dumpster with a scream. She slammed her hands into the dumpster again then simply walked away, her hand dripping blood. “Chloe!!” Rachel called. “Chloe, wait!”
Chloe turned to face Rachel, “what do you want?!”
“To help”
“Suuuuure, you want to help the runaway friend, the bad friend”
“You're not a bad friend Chloe, just... Please, if you want to smash shit up, please come with me”
“I don't have a fucking truck anymore, Rachel”
“Maybe not, but I do. Please, you can smash shit up without hurting your hand”
“Hurting my hand?” Chloe mumbled
“Oh hell. Chloe, you haven't even noticed your hand, it’s bleeding!”
“Eh. So it is” I didn't even feel that
“Come on!!” Rachel grabbed Chloe's good wrist and dragged her towards a nearby vehicle. “Frank drove my car here” she indicated her convertible. I owe that guy a lot even if we never worked out
“Uh Rachel, should you even be driving? Should you even be out of the hospital?” Chloe protested, being cajoled into the convertible
“I don't care. I'm not letting you put yourself into hospital too” Rachel replied, slightly snappily
“You shouldn't care, Rachel”
“Why not?”
“Because you're Max's friend, not mine, and I left her”
“But you came back when she needed you the most. Strictly speaking, I’m Kate's friend, not Max's”
“Oh yeah, right. So where we headed?”
“Wait and see”

Twenty minutes later, Rachel pulled up in the middle of a junkyard. “A junkyard?”
“Yep, cool, right?”
“Why are we here?” It’s pretty cool, yeah
“To smash shit up”
“Oh,” that might actually help me. Chloe raised an eyebrow when Rachel made a beeline for a bat. “You been here before?” Chloe asked.
“Yeah... When I first found out what was going on with my parents, I was near here anyway and stumbled across this place. I stayed out here for awhile and smashed shit up. Rather embarrassingly I fell asleep in a smashed up car, I uh sorta noticed weird details about that car” Rachel shrugged and turned back to Chloe, her contemplative look gone in a second.
“What... What's going on with your parents?”
“Long story short I thought my dad was having an affair, I went to a nearby park where I knew he'd be meeting the woman and... They kissed”
“That's horrible, I'm so sorry Rachel”
“Later I found out that wasn't my father's mistress but my biological mother”
“Holy shit”
“James and Rose kept me in the dark for years, I was fifteen before I found out about it”
“Shit, I'm sorry, Rachel”
“Then this man, Damon Merrick was hired to kill her and I found out about it. I saved her life but ended up getting myself stabbed, that's why I’m in the hospital. Frank saved my life and rushed me to hospital though once I was out of the way, my mom was drugged up by Damon after a year free from drugs, she later overdosed accidentally and killed herself” Rachel paused for a moment, wiping her eyes. “So that's when Kate found me, wandering around the hospital alone and in tears”
“I'm so sorry, Rachel” Chloe held out the bat for Rachel. “You first”
Rachel nodded her thanks and spent about twenty minutes smashing anything that got in her way.

“Holy shit” Chloe mumbled, she moved over to a car and ran her fingers over the smashed up hood. “Rachel!! Rachel!!”
“Mhm?”
“This is... This is Max's dad’s car”
“Really? Chloe, I'm so sorry, did you know him well?” Chloe nodded and Rachel took her hand and led her around the side, pointing to something on the side of the car
“What the fuck?! Oh my fucking god, Max was right!!” Chloe looked about ready to pass out, “Why?!

Chapter Text

“Kate, where's Chloe?!” Shit shit shit
“I don't know. She stormed off somewhere” Is Max gonna panic?
“It’s all my fault, I should've realized she wasn't ready for the truth!!!”
“The truth, Max?” Yup. Say something, Kate! "Rachel is with her, Max, she's gonna be okay"
“Yeah, I know and about why” she lifted her bandaged arm from under the blankets, “this happened”
“Max, you know I'm always here, right?”
“I know, Kate” But I can't face losing her again!! Not after three years!
“Anyway she's probably off kicking the behind of anyone who dares hurt her Max”
Max knew she should've been focusing on that panic worthy sentence as a whole but instead found herself focusing on those last two words as she looked around her slightly more colorful than average hospital room, on account of all the flowers Kate had provided. To her, it seemed bland, less colorful since Chloe had run off, her purple hair a welcome change from all the white. White walls, white ceilings, white blankets. “Her... Her Max?” Max stuttered
“Yup. Her Max” Kate looked over at Max, an unfamiliar glint in her eyes
“No way, Chloe doesn’t like me... Not like that anyway” I'm an ungrateful friend
“Sure she does, the moment she gets a method of transportation that doesn't involve lots of walking or using a train, her first thought is to return here, a small town in the middle of nowhere. Seattle would’ve been so much better for her, it's like this town is cursed. And yet she returned, the only thing here for her is you”
“Certainly would be a nice thought, if it was true”
“When she found out you're in hospital, she traveled hundreds of miles for you at dangerous speeds, of course it's you!!” Kate replied as if she was teaching a young child the most obvious thing in the world
“She wouldn't love me, Kate...” Wishful thinking!
“Maybe you should ask her”
“Kate? Aren’t you religious?” She's okay with lesbians!!
“Yeah, I'm also a lesbian...”
Max had to check whether Kate was joking and immediately felt bad when she saw she was serious. “Uh...”
“Sure, I'm religious but that and being a lesbian aren't mutually exclusive... However, being religious and out, on the other hand, are mutually exclusive” Kate mumbled sadly
“Shit, I'm sorry”
“Language, Max." Kate scolded, "I'm a teen lesbian... I therefore have to say my... Uh... Gaydar I believe they call it is completely accurate”
“Holy shirt”
“Yup.” Holy shirt? Kate almost broke down into a fit of giggles
“So, you think me and Chloe” Max continued
“You should both do the thing, yeah” Kate teased
Max blushed at the hidden innuendo from an innocent enough kids cartoon, “uh but what about Rachel?”
“She doesn’t have any hope of winning Chloe over if there's any chance you're into her the way she’s into you, though unusually for a lesbian her gaydar is... Well, broken”
Max couldn't help but chuckle. “That it is, and I thought I was the only one with a broken gaydar.” Hell, I only worked out I was gay when I saw Chloe again!!
“I'll take that as an admission of guilt”
“What??”
“Max Caulfield loves Chloe Price” Kate teased

*****

“Chloe, what's going on?”
“This is Max's father's car, this is Ryan's car and these... Bullet holes prove it. Ryan was murdered”
“But by whom?”
“Max said... It was her mom, Vanessa.”
“Holy shit...” Rachel mumbled, unsure of what else she could say
“We gotta get back there, if Vanessa works it out then Max won't make it!!” Chloe was beginning to panic
“Take my convertible, Chloe. I'm going to go back home and pick up a few things” Rachel demanded This week on CSI Arcadia Bay!!
“But... But...”
“Just GO!!” Rachel shoved her towards the car and Chloe drove off back towards Arcadia Bay

Rachel meanwhile walked deeper into the junkyard and eventually pulled a tarp off of something. “Hello, old friend. I missed you.” She patted the old and rusty truck on the hood, clambered in, started it up and headed off towards her house

*****

The middle-aged woman had received a phone call and knew where she had to be, her meeting with her boss had been interrupted by the call and he had allowed her to take it under the circumstances. She had excused herself from her meeting with him and other senior executives and walked out to her car, she is awake and up to having visitors. “Finally” she mumbled and drove her Audi towards the hospital

Chapter Text

“Chloe?” Kate watched Chloe while she stormed in and shut the door.
“Hey, Kate...” Chloe replied, otherwise ignoring the Christian girl. “Max, I've seen the car”
“Huh?” Max looked over at the purplenette, a faint look of confusion on her face
“Ryan's car. There are bullet holes in it” Chloe replied, still ignoring Kate
“Oh my god!!” Max clenched her fist angrily then winced, the IV catheter and her cuts twinging. I was right!! I was fucking right!!
“What are you two talking about?” Kate asked, bewildered
“Kate, Max's mom murdered her dad” Chloe whispered
“Are you serious?!” Kate exclaimed
“Couldn't be more cereal” Chloe replied firmly, finally noticing that she and Max weren't alone, the latter of whom had blushed bright red at Chloe's light teasing, despite the gravity of the situation
“Why would she do such a thing?” Kate was outraged, the idea of a mother hurting her child or partner wasn’t a particularly foreign idea to her but it still made her furious
“I don't know, we gotta find out though” Chloe smirked evilly at the blush her antics had caused
“Chloe, I can't do much. I'm in hospital” Max mumbled, quickly sobering up. “As much as I'd love to go out on another adventure, I’d probably be a hindrance”
“I know, which is why Kate is gonna be staying with you”
“Me? Chloe?” Kate's bewilderment increased
“Sorry, Kate. I have to find out why this happened, gotta find out what happened, why Vanessa murdered Ryan”
“I don't have any idea why” Max piped up, suddenly all eyes were on her, “but I think I might have an idea of how”
“How?”
“Think about it, Ryan is killed and nobody seems to bat an eyelid. Who's rumored to be the owner of ABPD?”
“Sean Prescott?”
“Bingo”

*****

Rachel snuck past the living room and her father, James. Though Rachel had stopped thinking of him as such once she found out he was the man trying to murder Rachel's biological mother, she still found herself longing for the time when she hurt herself while out walking and James had to carry her back to the car. Rachel crept upstairs towards her room where she eyed the star projector on her shelf with a sigh, she knew she was gonna get herself into trouble again sooner or later. After a few moments of procrastination she fished a bag out of her closet, one she hadn't used since she first set out to try to work out where her mother had gone. She pulled out the picture of her mother and switched it for one of Max. If I fail, Max, Chloe, and Kate will all be in danger. I have to find proof of Prescott’s involvement. She picked her bag up and moved back towards the door, creeping past her parents again. Rose was in the kitchen while James was still hidden behind his newspaper.
“Rachel?”
Shit!!
“Rachel, is that you?” Rose walked around the corner by the dinner table, a table that Rachel hadn't sat at since she learned that Rose wasn't her mother. The blonde, feeling cornered glanced towards the door, trying to decide whether to bolt for it or not
“Yeah, mom, it's me. Just picking up a few things”
“You're supposed to be in the hospital, young lady” Rose’s voice was stern
“Yeah well... fuck hospital” Rachel replied coldly
“Language, Rachel” a male voice snapped scornfully
The blonde just continued as if the man hadn't spoken, “am I not even allowed in my mother's house anymore?”
“Of course. Me and your father were just talking. Maybe you should drop out of Blackwell, Rach and we can move out of this hellhole”
“Fuck that, I've actually got friends here!” Rachel decided to ignore the inclusion of James in her mother's sentence
“How come we never see them?”
“Oh yeah, of course. How will I introduce you to them? ‘Hi guys, this is my step-mom and James, the two people who tried to keep me away from my real mom and also tried to murder her'...” Rachel replied as scathingly as possible then, seeing the protest building in Rose, decided to shut her down before she was able to speak a single syllable. “I'm pretty sure at least one of them would punch you in the face as soon as they heard!” Rachel thought of the impulsive purplenette and smirked as she imagined her punching James in the head as she left a stunned silence in her wake. She picked up her phone and noticed she had ten missed calls and thirty texts all from Chloe. She froze fearfully once she read the messages, the most recent one conveyed a chilling fact. 'Vanessa is here with us'

Chapter Text

“Hey, Maxine”
“Mom?”
“Yeah, how are you feeling?”
“I'm fine, mom” Max whispered, a bit of bite to her tone
“Sweetheart, what's wrong?”
“Nothing, mom. I'm fine!” Max snapped
“I can always tell when you're not okay”
“I'm sorry, Mrs. Caulfield but I got this” Chloe moved in and hugged Max tightly, enveloping the younger smaller girl in a massive hug
“Still got the magic touch then, Chloe”
Chloe smiled a small smile and nodded, “of course, Mrs. C” Fuck you

The door burst open and Rachel entered, her normally perfect hair a mess. “Shit!” she spoke in between gasps of breath. “I'm sorry I'm late. Chloe, I got your text and I hurried here as fast as I could!” She dropped the bag she was carrying as she entered as her slightly frazzled frantic expression gave way to one of concern. “Is... Everything okay?” she asked with a wary glance at Vanessa
“Everything's fine, Rach” Chloe replied calmly, perhaps too calmly
“Sure” Rachel moved into the group hug
“I'm feeling a little left out” Vanessa whispered half hurt half jokingly
Good. Chloe thought venomously, you did kill Max's father, you bitch
Chloe was about to say something when Rachel moved her eyes side to side and mouthed 'don't'
Max sighed and pulled her friends a little closer. “I missed you Chlo!”
“Well I gotta get back home, I’ll come visit again later” Vanessa vowed
Don't fucking bother! Chloe glared at the vacant chair next to Max’s hospital bed that Vanessa had been sat in and, from her expression it was clear that Rachel shared the sentiment. Rachel pulled something out of the back of her pants and held it out for the two girls to inspect. “Rachel...” Chloe's eyes went wide with shock at the sight of the gun that Rachel had kept on her
“I thought it might come in handy if Vanessa” she spat the name as if it were poison, “tried anything stupid”
“Rach, you've got a gun...” Max whispered, scared
“It's okay, Max. It's just a precaution, I hope I never have to use it”

The door opened again and Rachel quickly tried to hide the gun though ultimately she failed and managed to drop it on the floor. “Shit!”
“Rach...?” Kate stood in the doorway with William and Joyce behind her. Rachel, having no other option, quickly kicked the gun under the bed
“Yeah, Kate?”
“What's wrong?”
“Nothing”

There was a moment of silence then both William and Joyce moved into the room, both took it in turns to hug both Chloe and Max then Kate and finally Rachel. “We gotta head back to Seattle” Joyce began, “but... Before we go we have something to give to our daughter. It's only right that her friends should be here to see it”
William and Joyce shared a moment of nonverbal communication then William pulled an envelope out of his pocket and handed it to Chloe. “For you”
Chloe opened the envelope and stared at the paperwork. “Dad, what?”
“It's a full scholarship”
“Dad, I might be a dropout but I can read”
“Yeah, dad” Joyce chuckled
“Blackwell? How... How did you get this?”
“We had to pull some strings but it's for you, all of it’s for you”
“A full scholarship to attend one of the best art colleges in the country? Would be better if Max took my place”
“Uh, Chlo...”
“Max?”
“I kinda have a scholarship too”
“What?!” Chloe exclaimed
“WE’RE GOING TO SCHOOL TOGETHER!!” Max and Chloe yelled at exactly the same moment. William and Joyce watched on fondly as the girls celebrated together

Chapter Text

“WE’RE GOING TO SCHOOL TOGETHER!!”
“Yeah, you're both going to school together, kids!!” William was overjoyed by the happiness both his daughters were showing at being both reunited and getting the news that they'd both be able to attend Blackwell together.
“Thank you, daddy, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
“You're welcome, Chloe”

Soon after it was time for Joyce and William to head back to Seattle, they kissed both Chloe and Max goodbye and waved a teary farewell to both of them. “It was nice to see them after all this time” Max admitted. “What d'ya suppose is gonna happen next?” She whispered to Chloe, her nerves readily apparent
“I don't know, Max”
“Well considering the circumstances you can both crash at my place? If that's something you'd like?”
“Rach... We can't impose like that”
“And I can't let you go back home, not under the circumstances”
“I'll be fine” Max replied
“Max, this is not up for negotiation.” Rachel finally put her foot down, she was gentle but firm

There was a knock on the door, “ah Ms. Caulfield, how do you feel?”
“Fine, thank you, doctor”
“You're well enough to be moved”
“Moved? What do you mean?”
“We’re moving you to the psychiatric ward”
“No!” I just wanna spend time with Chloe!!
“I'm sorry, but it'll just be for a week or two”
“I can take care of her” Chloe bristled
“I'm sorry, how old are you?”
“Sixteen!!”
“And Ms. Caulfield, your mother works full time doesn’t she?”
“Yup” Thank god
“Then until term starts, at which time you're going to be moving into the Blackwell dorms, correct?”
“Yeah...”
“I'm sorry, but we need to ensure your safety”
“I can take care of her!!” Chloe snapped
“I'm sorry, but you are only sixteen”
“I've looked after her for years!”
“Be that as it may, you are not old enough nor qualified enough to look after Ms. Caulfield”
“Fuck you” Chloe stood up and marched out of the room
“Oh dear, sorry” Rachel called over her shoulder to the doctor on her way out. “Chloe!!”

“What, Rachel?!” Chloe snapped
“Think about it... At least she won't be near Vanessa...”
“That's true”
“We don't have much choice. At least on a psych ward, she’d be safe. And my parents work all the time so she wouldn't be able to come live with us”
“I thought you hated your parents?”
“I don't live with them, no”
“Then where will we be living? I can probably find somewhere. Any idea how we’re gonna get proof that Vanessa is a murdering psychopathic bitch?”
“Working on it” Rachel scratched her chin, “Chloe, I want you to come back with me to my place, I'll be getting discharged later. That means you don't have to go... There”
Chloe nodded but sighed. “You win, Rachel”
“And from there we can plan Operation: Caulfield”

Chapter Text

“Hey, mom”
“Chloe!! How are ya?” Joyce's voice sounded excited to hear Chloe’s voice
“I'm fine, mom”
“How's Max?”
“She’s... Okay, I guess. Mom, she's still in the hospital, a psychiatric one” Chloe's sadness was apparent in her voice. I should never have moved to Seattle, I should've been there for her!! Chloe knew logically that it was not an option but she still felt incredibly guilt ridden for being forced to leave Max when she needed her best friend the most. I should've fought harder to stay in Arcadia...!
“Poor Max”
“Mom, I'm staying with Rachel til term starts so if you wanna contact me and my phone's off you can reach me there. I'll text you the number”
“Okay sweetie”
“Talk to you later mom I gotta go help Rach move some of Max's stuff to Rach's house”
“Okay...?”
“Talk to you later” Chloe ended the call before Joyce could comment on how weird she had found that statement

“Hey, Maxipad” Chloe sauntered into Max's hospital room two days after she had been admitted to the psychiatric ward
“Hey, Chloe...” Max's doe eyes were visibly saddened, her dejected eyes vacant of any kind of emotion
“What's wrong?”
“It's horrible here! Please, help me get out”
“I'll see what I can do, Maxipad” Chloe promised. “It’s only a few weeks til term starts, maybe we'll be able to work it out...” Chloe had wrapped her arms around Max and was hugging her childhood friend tightly when the door swung open
“Hey, Max” a voice called out as the owner entered the room
“Hey, Rachel!!” Max smiled over at Rachel and her eyes lit up. Finally, the group was getting back together. Kate, unfortunately, was too busy with her family to visit Max frequently since she had spent several weeks ignoring family commitments to sit with Max while she was in her coma. “How's the arm?”
“Eh, it’s fine. Good enough to start planning for our little project anyway” Operation: Caulfield
“I'm glad to hear that, it’s good to finally get some good news” Max smiled gratefully over at Rachel

Chloe had looked over at Rachel expectantly who rolled her eyes then nodded. Chloe grinned and would’ve jumped up and down had she not been curled up on the bed with her arms around Max. “Max...” Rachel began
“Yes, Rachel?”
“Would you like to come back to my place tomorrow?”
“Yes!”
“I've made arrangements for you to come back to mine”
“Thank you!!”
“You're welcome” I'm glad you're happy, I had to forge my mom's signature to get this after all
“Thank you, Rachel, thank you! I've been going stir crazy in here!”
“Chloe helped a bit”
“Nah, I didn't really do anything”
“Except you knew how unhappy Max would be in here” Rachel reminded Chloe
“True” Chloe nodded her head in resignation
“Thank you, Chloe. You're the best friend anyone could ask for”

The next morning Chloe and Rachel arrived at the hospital to take Max back to Rachel's. Max was given a few sheets of paper regarding aftercare for her self-inflicted injuries. “Good morning!” Max exclaimed, eagerly awaiting the girls in a wheelchair. “The sooner I get outta this hospital the sooner I can get outta this wheelchair!”
“Come on then, you. Let's get you home”
“Thank you, Chloe” Max smiled and reached over her shoulder to hold Chloe's hand as she pushed Max out of the hospital to Rachel's waiting truck. “I thought you lost your truck?”
“Nah, they let me have it back in light of what happened” Chloe winked in a conspirational way
“You mean my suicide attempt?”
“Yeah” Chloe nodded, looking away from Max not wanting the brunette to see her tears

Once out of the oppressive depressingly bland hallways of the hospital, Chloe helped Max to her feet and helped her get into the truck while Rachel clambered in behind her. Once she had finished helping Max, the purplenette pulled herself up into the driver's side, started the truck and pulled away from the hospital, driving back to Rachel's house. Max looked back over her shoulder at the hospital. I'm free, at fucking last

Chapter Text

“So...” Max began. She had given herself twenty-four hours to become settled in her new environment, the Ambers’ house before getting down to business. “Operation: Caulfield. Where do we begin?”
Chloe, who had been playing a game on her laptop, rolled her eyes and paused the game. “Relax, Maxi, we have plenty of time now you're out of that house” and the hospital
“But we've gotta find out why It happened!” It was unthinkable, It was the murder of Ryan Caulfield
“I know... But you're supposed to be recovering, Max” Chloe whispered
“Fuck that shit”

Chloe raised an eyebrow at Max. Rachel, who had been lounging on her bed not doing much had resurfaced from whatever daydream she had been having to subsequently focus all her available attention on their impending discussion. “I agree with Max, she might eventually be forced to return to her house, where Vanessa is. If that's going to happen I’d quite like to know Vanessa’s motive”
“Thanks for the backup, Rach” Chloe grumbled sarcastically
“You’re welcome Chloe” Rachel smiled innocently at the girls
“Anyway, the obvious place to look would be my... Vanessa's place.” Max began, “however, I'm pretty sure Ryan's laptop was in the car with him at the time of the... accident and all the rest of his paperwork at the house was destroyed long ago”
“Fuck. Maybe someone at his work would be able to help us?” Rachel asked
“Maybe...” Max nodded
“He worked in one of the local law firms, right?”
“Uh huh...” How did you know that, Rachel? “That means he’d have access to somewhere secure to store his private information, right?”
“Right. I wonder if he left any of it at his office?”
“Hm, if Vanessa hasn’t cleared it all out”
“Only one way to find out, Chloe”
“I suppose. Fine, let's get this thing over and done with”

A half hour later, once the girls had finished preparing themselves and had showers they made their way towards Ryan Caulfield's workplace. “Holy shit, never expected to be back here again” Max breathed, she looked up at the modern building which was made of glass and metal before she focused her attention back on the main door, anxious as to what she'd find out. Rachel, who had lost the arm wrestle to decide who got to push Max, stood alongside Chloe and whistled. “That’s a nice looking place to work”
“Mmm,” Max hummed as they entered the building's lobby to be greeted by a friendly receptionist.
“Hey, how may I help you three lovely ladies today?” The receptionist who looked between Chloe and Rachel with a friendly smile on his lips had a double take the moment he spotted Max. “Max Caulfield??” He jumped up to have a better look at her. “I haven't seen you in years!”
“Hey, Aaron. I haven’t been here since my dad died, no”
“I'm sorry for your loss”
“Thank you, I'm sure you remember my best friend, Chloe”
“Chloe?! Is that you?” Purple hair!? I bet Joyce was thrilled...
“Yeah, it's me. Nice to see you again, Aaron” Chloe smiled at him
“We’d like to see my father's personal files please?”
“Sure, please follow me”

*****

“What the hell do you mean they're digging through Ryan's files?!”
“I mean exactly what I said. Back then I gave you the choice, one or both. You chose one but now I'm taking it out of your hands”
“No, please...!”
“My decision is final unless you want them all to suffer”
“Yes, sir. Mr. Prescott”

*****

“Holy shit!!”
“What, Max?”
“Rachel, get your car and take that memory card with the pictures of these files back to the hideout” Max ordered, the trio of girls had been escorted to an office where Ryan Caulfield's personal files were brought to them and it had only taken Max a few moments to realize what those files meant.
“I'll take Max back to your house after we drop these files off outside the police department. They won't be able to ignore this!!”
Rachel took the phone, removed the memory card and started to leave when Max grabbed her wrist. “Max?”
“Take the back stairs, use the fire exit”
“Sure”

Once Rachel had left with the memory card to hide it, Max showed Chloe the papers she had taken a picture of. “Fuck... Me” Chloe hissed, she had realized just how deep the rabbit hole went
“Fuck me is correct” Max whispered, “Rachel will be our backup plan in case anything happens to us, these are the originals though”

Chapter Text

“You gotta drive, Chlo” Max eyed the beaten up old truck warily
“Fuck’s sake, Max. We gotta get you that license” Chloe grouched with a pout set firmly on her face though she still clambered into the driver's side of Rachel's truck
“But... But...” Max stammered. That thing’s a fucking death trap, Chlo!!
“I know you get anxious but driving ain't that bad, Maxipad” Chloe attempted to reassure the younger hippie girl
“Hmph”
“What’s wrong, Max?”
“You know what's wrong, Chlobear”
“Was it something I did?” Max merely looked away and therefore missed Chloe's shit-eating grin. She knew exactly what she had done to piss the younger girl off. “Or something I said?” she asked, forcing her face to be more neutral
“Mhm. I'm just pretty relieved you never used that name in front of Rachel”
“Oh. Maxipad?”
“Yeah, that. You're never gonna let me live it down are you?” Max was blushing bright red
“Nope”
“Well, I guess that's fine, if you don't mind...” She shut her mouth but wore the same shit-eating grin Chloe had worn only moments before
Chloe, recognizing the mischievous and teasing grin dropped her eyes down to pay attention to the keys in order to start the engine. Rachel had done quite a good job of fixing up the old truck and Chloe had to admit she was mildly impressed. “So...” Chloe tried to bait a change in subject, she didn't know what embarrassing incident Max was thinking of using against her and the truth was she didn't really want to find out
“The police” Max reminded Chloe
“We'd better not take the truck all the way to the precinct” Chloe suggested, “I'm still suspended after all”
“Fuck. I don't even know how to drive else I’d offer” Max griped
“Is okay,” Chloe smiled, both to be reassuring and also showing her relief they had changed the subject. “Once I get my truck back I'm sure I'll be able to teach you the basics”
Max just nodded, a small smirk on her lips

“So here we go...” Chloe had just pulled up a short distance from the precinct when a uniformed officer turned the corner and immediately spotted them. “Shit” Chloe mumbled
“Chloe Price, what do you think you're doing?!” Officer Berry was not pleased by what he saw. “You know that you're not supposed to be on the road while things are being sorted!!”
“I'm behaving myself!!” Chloe replied in exasperation. Give me a fucking break!! She just about managed to suppress the urge to flip the man the bird
“Yeah yeah, I bet you were”
“She was!! She didn't break a single speed limit!” Max immediately bristled at the way Chloe was being accused by default
“Oh? And you are?”
“Max, Chloe's friend?” Shit. Too late now
“We uh... Were just coming by anyway to... To see how things stand with my truck” Max looked at Chloe in surprise but Chloe wasn't about to hand off evidence regarding Sean Prescott in person, especially to a police department that may or may not be on the payroll of the Prescotts. Chloe was way too smart for that as her straight A grades and perfect 4.0 GPA would show.
“Fine, Ms. Price. Follow me” Anderson Berry’s tone became one of formality and he led Chloe into the precinct, she really didn't want to leave Max but she knew if she turned up at the Ambers' she would get recognized immediately and that was a dangerous prospect so she reluctantly sent Max a text. A few moments later Max heard her phone ding with a text.

[SMS: Chloe, 13:01] 'Take those files to DA Amber’s house'

Max blinked twice then a third time as a second text came through to Max’s phone with an address and instructions for Max not to text Chloe back. Max took several deep breaths, brought up the maps app on her phone and got the directions to the Ambers’ house.

*****

“Ms. Price”
“Call me Chloe, Officer Berry. You know I hate formalities” Chloe grinned at him and he nodded, they were old ‘friends’ from before she left Arcadia Bay. He had been the one to find Chloe smoking pot and instead of landing her in all sorts of trouble with Joyce and the law, he covered for her. Just this one time, Chloe always remembered the man’s exact words as if it were yesterday
“Very well, Chloe.” Berry stopped for a few seconds and in that time Chloe's mind jumped to the worst possible conclusion, that she was going to be charged for her incredibly dangerous driving and that she'd spend a few years in jail or having to wear one of those horrible looking ankle bracelets. “You'll have to pay a fine of two hundred dollars but after that, you can have your truck back”
I'm fucked... I can't go to jail, not with Maxi in danger like this... Hell, if I go to jail I'll probably be dead myself!! No no no! I don’t wanna... Wait, what?! Chloe had worked herself up into a panic before Berry could even finish
“Chloe? Did you hear what I just said?”
“Sorry” she mumbled with the good grace to look abashed
“Under these unique circumstances, all you have to do is pay the two hundred dollars...”
There goes all my birthday money from mom and dad she moped to herself
“...And you can have your truck back” Berry concluded

Chloe's first instinct would’ve been to hug the officer but she knew that often resulted in an 'assaulting a police officer’ charge as her friend Stephanie Gingrich had found out much to the purplenette’s horror. Stephanie hadn't even been the one who was in trouble. She, a fifteen-year-old girl, had been so overjoyed that one of the officers in Seattle had recovered her stolen cell phone that she tried to hug the officer and promptly received a taser to her back from the other officer. Chloe had been horrified and ran to her friend to help her, the other officer had been pretty surprised herself at how she had been seconds away from being enveloped in a heartfelt hug of a teen only to have the breath knocked out of her as the very same teen collapsed on top of her with a surprised yelp resulting from the sudden shock. Stephanie had gotten off lightly with a warning but Chloe had been pretty sure the other officer wouldn't be as lucky and she had been right, she had spotted him a year or so later collecting trash in a nearby park and had sauntered over to him to laugh in his face for being fired. “Thank you” she pulled out the money she had been given for her birthday and handed it over, Berry then disappeared off for a few moments to sort out the paperwork and get Chloe a receipt.
“Follow me” he smiled and led her through to the fenced-off parking lot at the back of the building
Ooh nasty, razor wire. Chloe hurried up to keep up with Berry and he handed her the keys to her truck
“You were lucky the keys to that old piece of shit weren't in the ignition” Berry commented, casually insulting Rachel's rustbucket truck, not that he knew it was Rachel's truck. Had the engine been running he may have had to arrest her. “And here's your license” he added as an afterthought, chucking it to her before she clambered into her truck to drive off

*****

Max took a deep gulp, she was stood outside a rich looking house in the upper-class area of Arcadia Bay. James Amber, District attorney? Wait... Amber, Rachel Amber's family?!
The door opened with barely a creak and a brown-haired woman stood just inside. “Can I help you?”
Shit. “Yeah, is James Amber here?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“Shit... I have some stuff here that might help him with an old case, he is the DA, right?”
Rose pointedly ignored the foul language and instead stepped aside to invite the young woman in. “Yeah, come on in”
“I think it's better that we don't meet so he doesn't know who I am... I'm scared”
Rose put on her best calming smile and Max took the box she had carried from the truck all the way to her destination. Chloe had unfortunately not been able to teach her how to drive in order to get from the precinct to the Ambers' residence. Max had made it, more or less, albeit a bit out of breath and sweaty. “I can take this from you here and give it to my husband?”
“Yeah thanks” Max hurried away without a backward glance.

[SMS: Chloe, 14:01] 'All clear, Maxi'
[SMS: Chloe, 14:30] ‘Maxi?'
[SMS: 15:30] ‘Sorry Chlobear, I was walking then talking to Rachel's mom. I don't think she recognized me, thankfully’
[SMS: Chloe, 15:30] 'See you at our place by the seaside’

*****

Rachel grunted, leaning back against the inside wall of her and Chloe's hideout in the middle of a mess of abandoned and worthless junk. Their home away from hell. She had just finished clambering around on the boat where she hid one of the two memory cards in a small gap in the cabin and then retreated to the hideout where she hid the second one down the back of one of their car seats. “Fuck” she sighed, grabbing a beer and opening it. She hadn’t taken any drugs since before she had gotten stabbed and after a while of cruel withdrawals, she felt a fair amount better. One thing she wouldn't deny herself though was a nice cool beer, not after everything she and her new friends had been through

*****

“Mr. Prescott. Target is moving slowly towards the precinct. Should I intervene? Only one of them knows for certain what's in those files”
“No, just keep shadowing her, when I give the order... You can run her off the road”
“What about that bitch? You promised me revenge, Mr. Prescott”
“Oh trust me, watching her friend die for will be torture enough”
“Yes, Mr. Prescott”
“Wait for your orders.” With that, Sean Prescott ended the call

Chapter Text

“So, Maxi, how do you feel?” Chloe turned to look at Max, they had clambered into Chloe's truck, their destination being Blackwell Academy where they were destined to spend the rest of their high school years
“I'm... Nervous. Are we really ready for such an outstanding and exclusive high school, Chloe?” Max whispered back despite the only two people with her being the two she trusted the most
“Ah fuck the nerves, Blackwell should be nervous. We’re Max, Rachel and Chloe!!” Chloe clapped her hands together and rubbed them in anticipation
“Are they ready for us?” Rachel asked with a knowing smirk, she could bet her entire saving account on what Chloe would do in response to her question
“Hm. Let's find out” Chloe started her truck up and fiddled around with her iPod. A few seconds later Firewalk's Are You Ready For Me boomed out of the speakers

Hush, let's kick it in to touch
And wash away the sludge that's withering our minds
Words, a message to the world
To let the masses learn that someone holds a light

Rachel smirked, she knew Chloe so well and then started bobbing her head along to the music while Chloe tapped her steering wheel. Max's smile became a broad grin as she wound the window down and turned the music up as loud as it’d go. “Rawk out girls!!” A minute or two later they pulled into Blackwell's parking lot where the trio sat in the truck until the song finished. The overly loud music gained them a few curious or scathing glances from fellow students that would be attending Blackwell that year. While Max vaguely recognized a few of them from the high school year she had already completed or earlier and Chloe recognized one from her time in Seattle, Rachel, who had been homeschooled by tutors most of her life recognized none of them. Holy shit, Blackwell Academy. This. Is. Really. Happening!! In a few short months I'll... she paused quickly deciding to correct her mistake, we'll be starting our time here!!

Once the loud song had finished, Chloe opened the driver's door and slid out without hesitation, she had a look to maintain after all. Only Max and Rachel were privileged enough to see her softer side. “Come on you two, enough screwing around, let's get down to bidness”
“Yeah, yeah, Chlo” Max slid out of the driver's side in her jeans and hoodie while Rachel, as immaculate as ever jumped down from the other side. Rachel and Chloe had insisted on putting a few highlights in Max's hair for the new beginning at Blackwell and she had gone for a bright pink while Rachel had chosen orange. Chloe's dark purple hair remained the same and it immediately caught the attention of several of the students who continued to stare over in their direction.

Rachel, adoring being the center of attention struck some poses while Max clicked away with her new digital camera, something she had reluctantly accepted as a necessary evil for her course. Her trusty Polaroid was in her bag since she knew she only had a few months to get a feel for her new camera before classes begun. “Holy shit, Rach, you look just about as fantastic as ever!” Hot hot hot. Sorry though, Rach, my heart is set on another girl, a purplenette
Rachel, glowing under the compliments smiled over at Max and pointed at her bag which Max nodded to and pulled out her Polaroid, quickly taking a picture of Rachel and Chloe with herself in the foreground. “That's a damn good photo, Maxi” Chloe complimented
“A photographer is only as good as her subjects” Max countered. But thanks, Chloe
“Oh shit. Here comes trouble” Chloe mumbled while looking over at a pixie blonde that was making her way towards the trio

“What the fuck? Blackwell truly has been degraded if plebians like you lot have been allowed in”
“Fuck off, Chase!” Chloe snarled back at the pixie blonde. Not in the mood for your bullshit today
“Ah yes, Kari Price, the punk trash of Seattle” Victoria's tone was one of derision
“Leave her alone” Max moved in front of Chloe to shield her from Victoria
“Oh look, a wannabe punk hipster as well. Your hair screams punk while the rest of you whispers pathetic hipster.” Victoria had turned her gaze on to the girl with slightly gelled hair, eyeing her pink highlights almost in amusement. “And some overly pretty model too.” She shot a scathing look over at Rachel whose fists had clenched in fury. Nobody spoke to her girls like that.
“And who the fuck do you think you are?” Rachel challenged
“I'm Victoria, Victoria Maribeth Chase and I'm going to be the Queen Bee of Blackwell. My reign starts today”
Rachel just raised an eyebrow at that while Chloe scoffed, “sure, Queen Bee... Queen Bitch more like”

Max had a contemplative look on her face for a few moments before she spoke, “Victoria Chase?”
“Well, at least one of you had heard of me”
“Heir apparent to the Chase Space?”
“That’s me” Victoria replied in a snobbishly smug tone
“Wowsers... I love the Chase Space!! I went up to Seattle several times to browse the galleries, I always had time for the Chase Space!” Chloe looked over at Max in surprise and hurt but decided that it would probably be better to wait before confronting Max about her visiting Seattle without visiting Chloe. Max noticed but suppressed the wince, sorry, Chlo
“R... Really?” Victoria was taken aback
“Yeah!! I especially liked your photo from that New Beginnings competition a year or so ago, the way you caught Blackwell was incredible, it almost felt alive!”
“Well... I Uh...” Victoria was surprised that someone she had dismissed as hipster trash would take an interest in her photographs. Maybe I misjudged this girl?
“Name’s Max. Max Caulfield, I'm a photography major.” She held out a hand for Victoria to take. Victoria didn't take the offered hand though and Max recovered almost immediately, swinging her hand around to introduce her friends. “This is Rachel Amber, who's gonna be doing an acting major and this is...”
Chloe Price.” Chloe interrupted, putting emphasis on her first name. “I'm here on a science major. We’ve all gained full scholarships and at least two of us have a GPA of 4.0, Icky Vicky”
Victoria raised an eyebrow at Chloe's challenge, “whatever, Kari Price” she sneered
“Don't let us intimidate you” Chloe replied with a playful grin. “Max here is a fantastic photographer, you know she actually won that New Beginnings competition?” She flashed a grin at Victoria knowing they had her on the ropes
“That was you?” Victoria turned to Max in shock who blushed nervously and looked away from the small group over to the wood that was around Blackwell. “I’ll take that as an admission of guilt.” Victoria looked around then lowered her voice even though they were very much alone. “Despite everything I saw your photograph of the golden hour. That was such an interesting concept. First off, it was taken with one of those archaic Polaroid cameras, right?”
Max nodded and started her enthusiastic explanation of her thinking behind what she had done, “I mean traditionally, the golden hour represents the ending of a day, right? While that is correct it also can represent the beginning of something new since,” she took a deep breath, putting on a deep voice, “everything that has a beginning has an end.” She concluded to a smirk from Chloe, the punk had recognized and appreciated the reference.

Victoria’s eyes were wide with surprise at the depth Max had thought about the photograph. She had thought the photograph alone was stunning especially considering it was taken with a Polaroid but hearing Max's reasoning behind submitting that particular shot really was an eye opener to her. “Well, I...” she started, speechless. Victoria Chase hated being speechless, the few times it had happened she had felt exceedingly vulnerable
“Anyway, for something to have a new beginning, there must first be an end hence my photograph of a sunset. Consider it the ending of my old life and the beginning of a new era”
Victoria was more than stunned, she was blown away by what she had heard. She hadn’t even considered that approach. “I knew that using a sunrise would be like instant suicide in a competition like that but I never... Never even considered using a sunset in that way” she admitted. “You're not so bad, Max Caulfield” Victoria smiled a genuine smile at her and even deigned to nod at the others. “I guess I'll see you around, Max. Rachel, Chloe.” The fact that she used Chloe's proper name wasn't lost on the trio. She then began to move away but stopped, “if any of you decide to blab about this conversation, rest assured it would be social suicide” Victoria warned with a low voice then wandered off towards the entrance to the main building where there was going to be an assembly then tours and meet your teacher sessions
“Wow...” Chloe whispered. “For her, that's downright friendly, like best friends level friendly!”

“Max!! Chloe!! Rachel!!” An immediately recognizable voice exclaimed in excitement, interrupting them before they could further the discussion about Victoria
“Kate!!” The trio called back, welcoming the fourth girl into their arms happily. They hadn't seen the petite blonde in awhile, she had eventually had to go back to her home to resume her own life. Her mother hadn't been best pleased that Kate had moved into Max's hospital room but under the circumstances, Kate was very glad she did.
“Kate, what the hella are you doing here?”
“Oh Chloe” Kate rolled her eyes and embraced the purplenette tightly, “would it surprise you to know I missed your... Exuberant personality?”
“I'll take that as a compliment, Katie” Chloe chuckled
Max rolled her eyes. “The first person you greet is Chloe, figures” Max and Kate had been friends since just after Chloe had disappeared off to Seattle
“Sorry, Max. I just wanted to get the overwhelming hug out of the way first, you know?”
Chloe grumbled quietly to herself much to the amusement of the others. “Yeah, I can’t seem to get rid of the exuberant personality” Max turned to Chloe only to lose her smirk. Chloe’s eyes were filled with tears and they were overflowing down her cheeks. “Oh shit. I'm so sorry, Chloe!!” Max moved to hug her friend while Rachel pulled Kate a slight distance away despite the petite girl’s protests
“Rachel, what?” she asked quietly, casting a glance around to make sure they were alone. Fortunately, the parking lot was abandoned

Chapter Text

“Chloe...” Max reached out for her purple-haired friend. “I'm sorry”
“No, it's not your fault, it was mine. I left you alone when you needed me the most, Max. When your father was murdered” I will never ever be able to fix that mistake
“Chloe, it's okay” Max wiped Chloe's eyes and hugged her tightly. “You didn't have any choice but to leave”
“I'm so sorry” You shouldn't be so forgiving, Max. I deserve everything I got including... Chloe forcibly ended her line of thought
“Me too, Chloe. That was a stupid comment and I shouldn't have said it”
“Come on you, let's get back to our friends” Chloe kissed Max's lips and then dragged her back toward Rachel and Kate who reminded them that the principal’s assembly would be starting in a few moments.

The four friends made their way into the hall where they were forced to split up, Chloe and Max sat between a guy who smelled strongly of marijuana and a science nerd who looked several years too young to be there while Kate and Rachel sat between two girls, one Asian who had red highlights in her black hair and another black haired girl who turned her nose up at Rachel who had just sat next to her. The girl with black hair had seen her interacting with Chloe and she was disgusted by Chloe's presence almost as much as she was disgusted by the presence of the petite Christian girl. Rachel turned to attempt to introduce herself to the girl but was cut off by a sniff from the girl who turned away. Kate, on the other hand, had struck up an easy conversation with the girl with highlights and had quickly ascertained that her name was Brooke. Chloe raised an eyebrow at the stoned guy who let out an easygoing smile while Max was being pestered by the nerd boy and was feeling distinctly uncomfortable. “Sorry” Chloe mumbled to the stoned guy who hadn't even offered his name then promptly switched seats with Max, placing herself between her and the nerd.
“Name’s Warren” he turned back to find Chloe sitting next to him, he hid his surprise and disappointment well enough and attempted to strike up a conversation with the overprotective punk. He asked why she had swapped seats with his new friend, letting some of his disappointment show
Fuck, this guy just does not get a hint!! Chloe grumbled while considering whether he’d understand a good hard shove
“I'm sorry” a voice to the other side of Warren whispered, whoever was speaking had noticed that the dark-skinned man was standing and walking to the middle of the stage, clearly getting ready to begin the assembly. “She promised she'd save me a seat” the newcomer indicated Chloe who looked baffled for a second then realizing what the girl was trying to do nodded as Warren turned his head back round to her. He huffed and moved to stand, getting out of the way of the newcomer. “I'm Steph” she whispered
Chloe having caught on to the ploy almost as soon as it begun wrapped her arms around Steph and hugged her. “Steph, it's wonderful to see you again after all these years!!”

The auburn haired girl smirked at Chloe as she took in her appearance, the purple hair and punk clothes had her attention almost from the get-go. Chloe looked Steph up and down, the white beanie on her head, the dragon necklace, the DnD themed shirt and the jeans and smiled at her. “Wait... Steph? Stephanie Gingrich??”
“Yeah...?”
“It's me, it’s Chloe”
“Chloe?” Steph asked, bemused, “wait...” Steph had a spark of recognition in her eyes as she recognized the face of a friend she hadn’t seen in years. “Chloe Price?”
“Hey, Steph” both girls immediately hugged, amazed to see each other once again
“Chloe... What? When did you get back?”
“Uh... A few weeks ago now”
Steph shoved Chloe slightly, “and you never thought to contact me?”
“I'm sorry, I've had a lot of other things going on and letting you know I was back kinda got pushed out of my head, I'm sorry”
“Chloe... What happened?” Steph had recognized the lost look in Chloe's eyes, a look she had only seen once before, that was after Chloe had had her huge fight with Max a few days before Chloe had to leave to go to Seattle. She had also recognized the brunette beside Chloe
“Steph... Max tried to kill herself”
Steph felt her hearing fade, the voice of the dark-skinned man who had taken up the position in front of the assembled students to be and had introduced himself as Raymond Wells, the principal faded into nothing as Steph felt tears gather in the corner of her eyes. She knew it had been bad for both Chloe and Max but she hadn’t realized just how bad things had gotten. “We’ll talk after he shuts his drunken pie hole” Steph hissed, barely moving her mouth since Wells was looking in their direction. She had already heard the rumors that Wells was a drunkard and a Prescott pawn

Steph was led out of the hall by Chloe with Max in tow once Wells had dismissed them. “Chloe...” Max whispered. “Is that Steph?” Chloe nodded and Max drew back slightly. Steph had met Chloe toward the end of her time in Arcadia Bay just a few months before Chloe had to move away and they both quickly became friends. Steph had accepted that she would always be second place to Max but since Chloe liked doing things that involved more than two people, like long pirate adventures, that never was a problem.
“Steph, what do you remember of what happened three years ago?”
“I remember you and Max getting into that huge fight about you leaving so soon after Max's father died”
“Uh huh”
“I remember you coming to my house distraught because Max had screamed at you, blaming you for leaving...” Steph recalled Christ, that's like my least favorite memory in my entire life

*****

Chloe was stood nervously outside the Caulfield residence, wringing her hands, it was a few days after Ryan Caulfield had been killed in what appeared to be a collision between two vehicles and a few days before the funeral. Chloe had just been told by her parents, Joyce and William that William had been offered an amazing job up in Seattle several months before Ryan has died and he had accepted without hesitation. Chloe, ever the expressive hothead had yelled for awhile at both her parents, calling them every foul word she could think of and even went as far as begging them not to take her with them, to let her stay with Max. They had refused, not wanting Vanessa, a single mom to have to look after two girls. Chloe had stormed out with angry tears streaming down her face with Joyce calling out to get her to stop, to get her to come back but was stopped by William, he knew that Chloe wouldn't listen and her apparent fury was actually covering her fear which would otherwise be paralyzing for her. Finally, after a few moments of being stood outside Max's house, she plucked up the courage to knock on Max's door. Vanessa, having recognized Chloe's silhouette through the glass door had called Max over to go see who it was and Max opened the door, a rare smile upon her lips when she realized who was there. “Chloe” she whispered, that was all the older girl needed for her self-control to devolve into a sobbing shaking mess. “Chloe, what's wrong?” Max asked, unaware how much that simple question would fuck up her already fucked life.
“M-Max...” Chloe stuttered, unable to get the words out and so Max wrapped Chloe up in her arms and waited for her to calm down enough to speak. “Max... I gotta go somewhere tomorrow, my parents... They’re moving to Seattle”
“What, Chloe? No, that's not fucking funny” Max shook her head believing it to be another one of Chloe's tricks but when she didn't laugh and her sobs were only getting worse, Max froze. Chloe was leaving her. Gasping for breath from the shock, Max's hurt quickly transformed into anger. “Why! Why didn't you tell me before?! Why do you have to go to Seattle?!” she yelled. No, no, no, no!! I can't do this without my Chlo, I just can't. We’re supposed to be Max and Chloe! “T-together forever...” she reminded Chloe in barely a whisper
Chloe curled in on herself more, it was very unlike her not to know what to say or to appear vulnerable but Max was so furious she missed it. “M-Max” Chloe stuttered
“No!! I can't believe you’d throw away ten years of friendship! Chloe Elizabeth Price, you're a fucking traitor!!”
“I-I swear I didn't know, Maxi”
“Just FUCK OFF!!” Max shoved Chloe hard and Chloe, not expecting it, staggered back and fell. Max slammed the door. “FUCK OFF AND NEVER COME BACK!!” she screamed through the door at the distraught girl who was alternating between holding her wrist which was at a strange angle and touching the back of her head where her strawberry blonde hair was slightly stained by blood. Max's screaming had covered all of Chloe's whimpers
“Maxine!!” Vanessa’s voice yelled out from somewhere upstairs but by the time she had gotten downstairs and to the front door, Chloe had managed to stagger to her feet and sprint off.

Max and Chloe never spoke again despite both going to Ryan's funeral a few days after their argument, Chloe stayed around Steph’s house until it was time for her to leave for Seattle where she spent her time crying in Steph's guest room. On the day of the funeral, Chloe stood alone on the other side of the grave as far away from Max as she could get while Joyce and William offered their condolences to both Max and Vanessa. Chloe's wrist was in a cast and she had a bandage around the back of her head though she refused to tell her parents what had actually happened. Instead of the truth she told them that she had slipped on the way to Steph's after her argument with Max, breaking her wrist and hitting her head in the process. Chloe didn't go home the evening of the fight, she went straight to Steph’s instead. Steph's stepfather, George insisted that they take Chloe to the hospital to get her wrist fixed and her head looked at and she had stayed there overnight. Chloe had invented the story that she had fallen on the way to Steph's as she was terrified that if she told an adult they'd call the police and relayed it emotionlessly to Steph's stepfather who was actually around for once. George was a decent enough guy and the product of one of Steph's mother, Lita's failed marriages. George had to travel a lot as part of his job but returned to Arcadia Bay as often as he could. Chloe’s worst fear at the time was Max being arrested and sent to jail for assaulting her so she swore Steph to secrecy since she knew Steph would eventually get the truth out of her, it only took Steph five minutes to get Chloe to spill the beans on what actually happened but it took Chloe almost four times longer to persuade Steph to keep her mouth shut beforehand.

Almost as soon as Ryan's body was lowered into the freshly dug grave, Joyce, William and Chloe were bundling themselves into their car and off to their future in Seattle

*****

Steph, now that she had both of them together, wanted to make sure they talked through what happened three years beforehand. “Have you discussed this yet you two?” both Chloe and Max shook their heads, Max moved away from Steph, she had been ignored ever since she shoved Chloe except a few times when Steph had shot Max a withering glare for what she had done.
“Hey, Steph, we’re cool now, okay?” Chloe whispered

Chapter Text

“You’re cool? Burying the past without talking about it isn't cool, girls” Steph watched the couple with a stem and worried expression on her face
“Uh... Yeah” Chloe mumbled with a blush on her cheeks
“Chloe... What's going on? Why did you come back” Steph sighed, she had suspected that she would have to guide the two stubborn punks through the process of reconciliation. Why can't they just sort themselves out?
Chloe gave Steph the stink eye then sighed, “I came back for Max.” And I always will
“Y-you came back for me, Chloe?” Max asked in a tiny voice
“Hella yeah!!” Chloe blushed and looked away from Max. “I mean, of course I did. We are best friends, after all, we are more than best friends forever, we are Max and Chloe!
“But... But I hurt you” Max whispered
“You broke her wrist, Max” Steph growled, still pretty mad with Max
“Chloe!! Why didn't you say anything?” Max turned to Chloe in her horror, partially because she couldn't maintain eye contact with Steph and partially to see if Chloe would confirm or deny Steph's accusation. She had seen Chloe's cast but she thought she had fallen over
“I didn't tell anyone anything because I didn't want to get you into trouble. I didn't want you to get arrested or anything!!” Chloe’s voice was unstable as it wavered slightly. “I just stumbled” she added, maintaining the lie as much for herself as for Max
Deny then. “I hurt you...” Max teared up, “I was so aggressive and I actually hurt you.” Max knew Chloe was lying
“No, I lost my balance and fell” Chloe grumbled
“Because I pushed you!!”
“It wasn't your fault, Max!!”
“Yes, Chloe. It was Max's fault, you know it just as well as I do” Steph interjected
“Steph!!” Chloe snarled. Go fuck yourself
“It's true, Chloe. You need to lay it all out with Max, Chloe. You can both heal, but you both need to lay it all out, no lies”
“I... I hurt you, Chloe. I-I broke your wrist”
“Max! Stop it”
“No, Chloe! I need to know these things. If you won't tell me I'm sure Steph will”
Steph nodded once curtly. “Chloe, I don't want to bring up the past just for the hell of it, but you know Max needs to know”
“But... She's already crying, Steph” Chloe pleaded with Steph
“Max, when you shoved Chloe, she stumbled and fell, breaking her wrist and hitting her head...”

*****

Knock knock. “Hello?” Steph walked toward the front door while calling out
“Steph? It's Chloe”
Chloe, what's Chloe... Steph opened her door and cried out, “Chloe!!” she rushed forward and took Chloe into her arms as she staggered to one side. Chloe, what the fuck?
“Steph?” a voice called out, “Steph what's going on?”
“Dad! Dad! Get down here!”
“Steph?” Steph's stepfather thundered down the stairs and skidded to a halt in front of the girls
Chloe staggered, “I ffffeeeellll” she slurred deliriously
“Steph, take her to the car” George instructed. “We’re taking her to the hospital”
“Yes, dad” Steph nodded and began to half carry Chloe toward George's car. “Chloe, what happened to you?”
“I-I ffffeeeellll” Chloe repeated. George shut the door and moved toward the car as fast as he could.
“Steph! Keep Chloe awake, okay?” George barked, starting up his car to head toward the hospital.
Steph nodded and turned to Chloe, “Chloe, c'mon, stay awake. You gotta stay awake” Steph shook her slightly and Chloe groaned. Please, Chloe

Twenty minutes later they arrived at the hospital. Chloe was placed on a gurney, her neck in a brace and hurried into the ER. Steph paced back and forward while waiting to be called while George sat calmly in one of the waiting room chairs

Two hours and a barrage of tests and scans later Steph and George were called into Chloe's room where Chloe was sleeping peacefully. Chloe’s wrist was in a cast and she had a bandage around her head but the neck brace and all the monitoring equipment had been removed. “Ms. Price is asleep” the doctor advised them then let Steph in but blocked George. “May I have a word?”
“Sure, doc” he leaned up against the wall with a frown. “What’s up?”
“Ms. Price has a severe concussion and a broken wrist. She said she fell, can you corroborate this story?”
“Uh, we’re not sure what happened in the sense that we weren't there when it happened but that's what Chloe said happened to her”
“Yeah, that's what Ms. Price said to us. She had some kind of argument with a friend of hers and was so upset that she was unable to see. She said she fell over a tree root or something”
George nodded slowly. “That sounds about right”

“Oh, Chloe... What happened to you?” Steph whispered
“Mmph? Max?” Chloe was bleary-eyed
“I'm sorry, Chloe. It's Steph, not Max”
“Good. I don't wanna see her anyway” Chloe crossed her arms angrily then lifted her arm having realized her arm was in a cast. “Oh shit, so it was broken then?” Thanks for that, Max
“Mmmhmmm” Steph nodded, “Chloe, what happened?”
“Uh, I don't wanna talk about it” Chloe pouted
“Chloe...” Steph crossed her left arm over her chest while lifting her right hand to hold the bridge of her nose, preparing herself for a long argument

Almost half an hour had passed before Steph had gotten the story out of Chloe, how Max had lost her temper and pushed Chloe over. How Max's anger had caused her to break Chloe's arm and caused Chloe's concussion without even looking to see if she was okay. “Chloe!!” Steph’s mouth was hanging open. “That's not okay, you gotta call the police!”
“No fucking way!” Chloe snapped then groaned, her head still hurt a lot
“But Chloe, she assaulted you”
“I don't fucking care, I'm not gonna get her into trouble with the cops, okay?”
Steph sighed. “Sure. Fine, Chloe”
Chloe groaned. “Thank you, Steph”
“You're welcome. We are friends, after all. Do you need anything?”
“Some water, please”
“Sure” Steph hurried off

*****

“There we go” Steph whispered calmly, Max was in tears as was Chloe. Both girls were holding on to each other sobbing
“C-Chloe, I'm so sorry. I regretted pushing you the moment I calmed down enough to think. I-I knew you hated me so I just stayed away from you. I also couldn't trust myself to be anywhere near you, I hurt you” There's nothing I regret more than shoving you, Chloe
“So... That's why you stayed away from me. You were scared you'd hurt me again”
“Yes, Chloe” Max nodded, “that's also why I never reached out to you.” Max frowned, “I was so scared after I shoved you, scared you'd hate me for pushing you and what I said to you”
“I was mad, Max. I was uber pissed when it happened but it sorta faded away when I saw you stood next to your father's grave all by yourself.” Chloe sighed, “I just didn't know how to approach you. Didn't know how to apologize”
Max nodded, “you didn't ever work out how to talk to me did you?”
Chloe shook her head, more tears poured down her face. “I-I didn't know how to apologize to you until I was sat beside your bedside after your suicide attempt”
“Wait, what?” Steph interjected
“We can't explain right now, Steph” Chloe shook her head. “Too dangerous, not enough time”
“Okay, Chloe.” Steph accepted what Chloe said immediately. “What did you feel when you found out Max had attempted to kill herself?”
“When I called Vanessa and she told me that Max attempted to kill herself... I felt despair. Despair that was nothing like anything I’d ever felt before” Chloe looked Max in the eyes, stopping her from looking away from Chloe with an index finger and thumb on either side of Max's chin. “Max... I was terrified, I've never been more terrified of anything, ever. Period.”
“What were you terrified of, Chloe”
“That I’d never get to see or hear you again”
“I'm so so so sorry, Chlobear” Max wailed. My captain, “Bluebeard”
“I'm so so so sorry too, Maxi” Chloe sobbed. My first mate, “Long Max Silver”
Steph took a step back with a small nod. These two...
Max looked deep into Chloe's eyes as Chloe looked deep into Max's. “Chloe...”
“Max...”
“Uh, you go first”
“Nah, you”
“Max... I love you”
“Chloe, I love you too”

Max and Chloe continued looking into each others’ eyes as they leaned in to kiss. Their lips touched and they were soon kissing each other hungrily

*****

“Mr. Prescott, Ms. Caulfield. You are under arrest”
Bad move, girls

Chapter Text

Come on, girls!! Let's meet up with our future classmates!” Rachel was dragging Kate and Chloe, the latter of whom was dragging Max. After their heartfelt confessions, Max and Chloe had been very stubborn, requiring the combined effort of Steph, Rachel and Kate to get them out of the stairwell they had taken up residence in and moving once again. Kate for one thought that they'd never be able to get the girls to stop gazing into each others' eyes. Steph was bringing up the rear, eyeing Rachel. Rachel seemed to know what was going on without even turning around. “Fuck, new girl you work quick at checking out my ass!” Both Chloe and Max groaned and Kate went bright red as Rachel went all out on her tease fest, something that the other three girls knew Rachel did only when she felt self-conscious. Steph, outgunned and caught red-handed just blushed, mouthing something inaudible. “I see ya, new girl. You find my ass attractive?”
Steph merely fumbled over her words, desperately trying to find an excuse as to why she was staring at the blonde’s behind. “But... I wasn’t staring at your...” Chloe's knowing grin shut Steph up. Fuck, I just got busted
“Butt you were, you were staring, we all saw it. No staring at any other behinds, new girl”
“The name’s actually Steph, Steph Gingrich.” The auburn-haired girl glared at Chloe when she failed to introduce her to the pretty blonde and Chloe just wore a huge satisfied grin
“Now now, Rach, leave the butt oogler alone” Chloe's words made Max blush, she had found herself behind Chloe more than once and knew herself to be guilty of the exact same offense
“And Max,” Steph called as she moved closer to the group of friends, “don't pretend to be innocent here, you've checked Chloe’s butt out more than once.” It was suddenly Max and Chloe's turn to blush

The group's light teasing faded into nothing as they approached the quad, seeing all the other students stood around chatting in their already forming social groups. Steph sighed in relief, heading away from her group of friends. She didn't feel comfortable around Max as there was still a fair amount of bad blood between the two and Rachel had done everything she could to embarrass her. As a result she wanted to escape those embarrassing and uncomfortable situations. The auburn-haired girl moved across the room finding a dark-skinned boy and what looked to be his older brother who was chatting idly with a brown haired nerd who was wearing some kind of chemistry tee. “Hey” Steph smiled at them
“Hey, name’s Warren” The nerdy brown haired guy waved Steph over
“Drew and this is my brother, Mikey”
“Steph. Nice to meet you” Nerds!! At last...
“Friends teasing you?” Mikey asked, “you looked all flustered”
“Oh, you have no idea, Mikey. I love them but they're insufferable”
“Well anyway, we and Warren were just discussing starting up a D&D gaming group, you do know what that is, right?”
“D&D? She pulled a bracelet down her arm, a bracelet that had a twenty-sided dice hanging from it, “me, Chloe and Max played it all the time”
“Oh, good” Mikey sighed in relief
“Do you have A DM yet?” Steph enquired
“No” Drew provided
“Well you do now, I'll see if my other friends are interested in joining us too”
“Good! Now, what do you enjoy doing, Steph?” Mikey struck up a friendly conversation with his two new friends.
“I've always wanted to work in computer programming or systems management” Steph smiled, her face lighting up when she spoke about her passion, “I've built about five computers, two laptops and three desktops. My mom throws money at me to try to make up for being an absentee parent so I have a shitton to spend on computers and shit”
“That's quite cool,” Mikey smiled at her, taking the time to get to know his new friend, “what about you, Warren?”
“I wanna go work at NASA or somewhere like that. You, Mikey?”
He shrugged, “Making stories like D&D campaigns”
“That sounds awesome” Steph breathed. “What about you, Drew?”
“Football” he replied simply

Chloe watched the posse of skaters doing their thing with an air of detached observation. She bided her time until one of the skaters fell off his board and on to his ass, sending the board her way, she stopped it with her foot, contemplated simply kicking it back to him but decided to play some instead. She threw the skateboard out in front of her, rolling it back towards the boys, the owner of the board stepping forward to intercept not realizing Chloe's intention. Chloe started sprinting after it, jumping on it with a shout intended to get the attention of everyone in the quad. As all eyes turned to watch, Chloe placed her hands on the board to incredulous looks from the skaters which quickly turned to amazement as Chloe lifted both feet off the board and lifted them both high into the air. “A handstand??” one of the boys whispered with wide eyes, they spent a lot of time skating, grinding rails and whatnot but they were usually stoned and after a failed attempt they never attempted the more difficult tricks. Chloe smirked to herself, feeling all the eyes of everyone around her gazing at her. She lifted one hand off the board and flipped the skaters an upside-down bird then righted herself. Slowing the board to a stop, Chloe spun it around while looking for her favorite person. “Wow...” the skater whose board it is was muttered, impressed. The purplenette had certainly shown some talent, he watched closely as the new girl kicked the board back in the direction of him and his friends and as she strutted off into the assembled crowd, grabbing Max's arm to drag her out of the crowd so she could accompany Chloe
Oh yeah!! First fucking try, I rock!! “Name’s Chloe” Chloe spoke to the posse, “this is my girlfriend, Max.” Max immediately blushed, not used to being referred to as a girlfriend. It was an unspoken agreement between her and Chloe that they would call each other girlfriends
“Trevor” the black haired beanie wearing guy smiled at them
“Justin” the blonde haired guy stated, holding up a peace sign. Neither boy seemed at all worried that the girls were in a relationship. “That was awesome dude-tte”
“I try” Chloe smirked, winking at him
Stop it, Chloe... Max was pleading in her mind that her lovely girlfriend would stop spending her precious time with the skaters instead of with her
“Dayam, giiirrrrl” a familiar blonde walked to join them, “you never showed me those tricks, I guess you were saving them for your Max, right?”
Oh good, here comes Rachel to join in with Chloe's teasing
“Right.” Chloe replied, distracted by the blue eyes of the brunette sat next to her. “Hey, Rach, this is Justin and Trevor”
“Awesome!!” Almost as soon as the introductions were over, Rachel quickly left to go and talk to some of the other people while Max attempted to sneak away to go see Kate who was talking to a few girls. One had short black hair and red highlights, another had long blue hair and the third had long brown hair. Chloe attempted to keep Max by her side at first but quickly relented and was soon on her way over to Kate and her group

“Caulfield!” Max's attempts to join Kate were curtailed by a pixie blonde who stood in front of her to deliberately block her way, the Queen Bee to be was not flanked by her two usual drones, an unusual fact that didn't escape the observant photographer
“Yes, Victoria?” Is she... Nervous?
“Hey, I was wondering if... At some point, we could go out with our cameras?”
“Sure, Victoria. You know, you're not so bad”
“I-I'm sorry for what I said earlier”
“That's okay, Victoria”
“No, it's not, I was a bitch to you and your friends”
“Victoria, it's fine.” Max moved away to go and join Kate

“Rachel Amber, in the flesh”
“Hey, Drama Queen”
“It’s been some time, Rach”
“I know, Dana.” Rachel peeked around the auburn-haired Dana to wave at Juliet who stood against a wall, writing notes
“Ugh, don't mind Jules, she's still pursuing that journalism career” Dana rolled her eyes
“Who was your purple-haired friend? I don't recognize her” Dana asked
“Oh, that's Chloe.”
“Chloe Price?” Juliet asked, suddenly involved in the conversation
“Yeah... Why?”
“She used to go to Arcadia Middle School before she moved to Seattle with her parents”
“Oh. She did?” Rachel asked, intrigued
“Yup” Juliet put her notes away and immediately started regaling a few Chloe Price stories to the Californian blonde

Max smiled warmly at Kate. She was stood next to a large tree with a few girls. Max quickly learned their names, Brooke, Stella and Alyssa. “We’ll have to set up a tea date” Kate suggested
“Yeah, that sounds good” Stella nodded eagerly while Brooke and Alyssa nodded agreeably
“Just not a date date, I have a girlfriend, you should know”
“Oh, sorry, Max” Kate had a grin on her face, a grin that suggested the blonde was teasing
“Please, stahp it, Kate!” Max grumbled much to the amusement of the other two

“See ya, Kate”
“Goodbye, Rach, goodbye girls” With her goodbyes said, Kate hurried off to go meet her parents who were waiting in the parking lot
“That was... Actually a good day. I think we made friends with everyone” Max smiled happily thinking about it. “Except those dumb jocks and Victoria's friend Courtney”
“You're not missing anything not being friends with that bitch” Chloe interjected, she didn't really like Courtney
“Well, come on.” Rachel waved the girls over to her convertible, “Let's get home you two, I'll go to the take out and pick up pizza or something, you two get back home.” Rachel wanted to give them the chance to kiss and cuddle before she arrived back at home. Her stepmom and father would all be working so Chloe and Max would have the house to themselves
“Okay, Rach. Netflix tonight?” The blonde merely nodded at the purplenette and moved away. “You're driving tonight, Maxipad...” Max nodded eagerly while being led toward Chloe's truck, Chloe had been teaching her how to drive in her truck and Max relished every moment she has learning from the eager purplenette

*****

Deep in the bowels of the precinct that served as the base of operations for the Arcadia Bay Police Department a radio crackled and came to life, “Calling all units!! 10-52 outside Blackwell Academy!! Shots fired, shots fired!!” From her cell, Vanessa Caulfield had a front row seat to the organized chaos that had started that evening, a small but persistent dread slowly grew inside of her until she was on her feet, trying to get the attention of any officer she could

Chapter Text

“Rachel Amber?”
“Yeah, that's me!” Rachel took and gripped the pizzas in her hands as soon as they were placed on the counter, trying her best to hurry the man along.
“Two pepperonis and one pineapple pizza” the guy had called out to confirm once he placed the pizzas on the counter for Rachel to take.
Rachel’s upper lip curled into an amused yet cruel smile as she imagined how distraught Chloe would be that she had gotten a pineapple pizza for herself. Oh, Chloe, I hope you realize you're in a hella lot of trouble for that impromptu tickling attack earlier. The pizza argument was one that had gone on for a fair amount of time, ever since she had met the purplenette in fact and Rachel used pineapple pizza, something Chloe thought of as an abomination as a weapon. Chloe had invited herself into Rachel's makeshift bed that morning for an impromptu tickle attack and Rachel wanted Chloe to understand that there were consequences, Chloe wouldn't be able to pilfer half Rachel's pizza if it was covered in pineapple since she loathed pineapple pizza. “Thanks, dude” Rachel turned and left the take out having already handed over the money for the pizzas and headed back down the street to her car. Hearing sirens in the distance she rolled her eyes as she reached her car and desperately clung to the pizzas as they warmed her hands. Reluctantly, she put the pizzas down on the freezing hood and rummaged in her bag to find the keys to unlock the car, opened the door, bundled herself up into the car and threw the pizzas down carelessly on the passenger side. The first thing she did was to flick the heater on and wait for the temperature of the car and its seats to reach a more tolerable level. Pulling out her phone she sent off a quick message to a friend of hers

[SMS: 18:06] 'Hope you're not in town, Frank. Crazy shit going down’

Rachel sighed and started her car. The convertible’s engine roared to life healthily and she set off toward her home. Halfway home her phone pinged with a notification. She pulled up to check her phone, keeping the engine running so she didn't lose the seat heaters or the stream of hot air embracing her

[SMS: Frank, 18:10] 'Not guilty, Poodle'
[SMS: Frank, 18:10] 'Crazy shit. Some kind of incident up by Blackwell if the pigs are to be believed’
[SMS: 18:11] 'What happened?'
[SMS: Frank, 18:13] 'No idea. I left town the moment the police scanner went crazy. Reports of shots fired and some pig talk that I didn't understand’
[SMS: 18:18] 'Okay’

Rachel shook her head and rolled her eyes at Frank's codename for her, pulling away again and headed toward home once again. She was pretty relieved that Frank wasn't involved, where else am I going to get my drugs from after Damon died cos of what he did to me and my mother?

Ten minutes later Rachel parked her car outside her house, staying inside for a moment to absorb what warmth she could before she finally had to clamber out. She hurried to her house, relieved to see the lights on she unlocked the doors. “Fucking finally” she slumped against the wall and shivered once she had shut the door and put the pizzas down
“Rachel?” A voice called from where she knew the living room to be
“Mom?” Aren't you back a little early?
“Are you okay? How was school?” the woman inquired of her daughter, eyeing the three pizzas. God that Chloe can eat a lot
“It was awesome, mom!! You should've seen it, my best friends made friends with pretty much everyone and Chloe was stunning on a skateboard!” Rachel's enthusiasm was infectious and Rachel's mom found herself smiling uncontrollably. “Have to keep an eye on one of the boys though, he was eyeing Max” Rachel added on the end, her smile fading a little
“Max? The girl who tried to kill herself?”
Rachel sighed, “yes, mom. Speaking of Max, are her and Chloe back yet?”
“Haven’t seen them. Why would Max be here, I thought she was on the psych ward?”

Rachel nodded, running upstairs, ignoring Rose’s question. Rachel's stepmother, Rose, knew that Chloe was staying with them but Rachel hadn't told her that Max was staying with them semi-permanently as well since Rose had no idea what was going on in their lives. “Girls?” Rachel called out in a whisper. No answer, not funny, girls... She snuck a glance over her shoulder to see if her mom was following her, which she wasn't and she unlocked the door to her room, shutting and locking it before turning the light on. The room looked exactly as it did when she, Max and Chloe had left it that morning. Rachel's bed was still unmade from where Chloe and Max had slept in it the night before, Chloe's pajamas were still strewn across the floor and Max's were neatly folded where she left them but... There was no sign of the girls. No phones, no wallets, no nothing. What the fuck? Worrying her lip slightly, Rachel pulled her phone out of her pocket and noting that the hadn't been a single notification, she sent a text

[SMS: 18:28] 'Chlo, Max, where are you guys?'
[SMS: 18:29] 'Pizza waiting for you at home’
[SMS: 18:59] 'Girls?'

Chapter Text

“Victoria?” Taylor waved her hand in front of Victoria's face
“Mmmm?” The pixie blonde looked up from whatever she had been deep in thought about
“Are you okay?”
“Sure” Victoria looked over and smiled at Taylor and Courtney. “Come on you two we ought to get a move on, leave Blackwell behind and go to Lyla's after party!”
“Lyla’s your friend, right?”
“Uh huh” Victoria wanted nothing more than to go back to brooding about what happened between her and Chloe Price the last time they'd spoken to each other in Seattle. Seeing her brought back all the memories, the good and the bad

Victoria pulled up in a line of vehicles on the coast road leading out to the north of Arcadia Bay. “What the fuck?”
Courtney shrugged. “I can text Lyla and tell her we’re gonna be late?”
“Sure”

[SMS: 18:18] 'Lyla, it’s Courtney, Victoria's friend’
[SMS: Lyla, 18:19] 'Hey, Courtney. How was the meet your classmates day?'
[SMS: 18:20] 'It was pretty good’
[SMS: Lyla, 18:20] 'Good, I'm glad. When are you guys due to arrive?'
[SMS: 18:22] 'We have no idea. There's some kind of hold up. Traffic is queued up in front of us for as far as we can see’
[SMS: Lyla, 18:28] 'Shit! There's been some kind of incident!'
[SMS: Lyla, 18:28] 'You need to find another way through, the coast road up below Blackwell is a no go. A Ford pickup was totaled’

“Lyla just told me there's been an 'incident’ on this road, some kind of accident maybe?”
“Fuck!! I checked it before we fucking left, it must've just fucking happened!”
“Oh look there's a car coming through!!”

The car which was coming from the opposite direction to where Victoria and her lackeys wanted to go slowed to a halt beside the car in front of theirs, exchanged a few words with the driver in front of theirs then moved forward to Victoria's car. Victoria wound the window down and looked at him. “Sorry, ladies. There's been a serious accident up ahead. A vehicle was totaled and it’s mayhem up there, Ambulances, police, fire crews and a rumor about an air ambulance. It's probably best that you find another way through to wherever you’re going”
“Shit!!” Victoria hissed. “We’re definitely gonna be late to where we need to be.”
“Sorry, I hope everyone escapes with their lives.” He noticed the young ladies’ stare of confusion. “I mean the driver and passenger of the ruined vehicle. I hope they escaped with their lives”
“Ah, well we’ll turn round now if you don't mind”
“Sure” the driver of the older car backed up some to allow Victoria enough space to turn the car around
“Fuck!! We're gonna be really late! I hope Nate, Dana, Zach, Hayden and Juliet don't start without us”

[Vortex Club Rules Blackwell!!]
[Nate: 18:30] 'Where the fuck are ya, Vic. You're late’
[Dana: 18:31] 'Fuck’s sake, Nate. Lyla already told you, Victoria is gonna be late’
[Nate: 18:35] 'They just need to know that if they don't hurry, all the good shit will be gone’
[Hayden: 18:36] 'Fuck give the girl a break, Nate. I know you haven't seen her for awhile but jeez'
[Nate: 18:35] 'Fuck you too. Fight me, you pussy I'm on the other side of the room'
[Tay: 18:40] 'Hey guys, Victoria says to cut it out, we’ll be there soon!!'
[Nate: 18:41] 'Whatthefuckever'
[Nate: 18:42] 'We’re starting now, with or without you’

Victoria pulled up outside Lyla’s house and saw that everyone had already moved out into the yard where the music was loud and the booze was flowing freely. She moved to get out of the car when another group message came through, then another, a third and a whole string of replies.

[Freshmaaaan GC!]
[Rachel Amber: 19:04] 'Has anyone spoken to Chloe or Max lately?’
[Rachel Amber: 19:04] 'We were supposed to meet up but they never showed’
[Rachel Amber: 19:05] 'Also did someone let Chloe name the GC?'
[Daniel DaCosta: 19:20] 'Nope, sorry. I'll ask Evan'
[Brooke Scott: 19:21] 'Nah'
[Alyssa Anderson: 19:23] 'Fraid not. I'll ask Kate and Stella'
[Nathan Prescott: 19:24] 'Fuck that Price skank. And yeah that whore named the GC, it seemed to shut her up’
[Rachel Amber: 19:25] 'Classy as ever, Nate...'
[Dana Ward: 19:27] 'Nope but I'll ask around at the VC party.'
[Victoria Chase: 19:30] 'Wait what kinda truck does Chloe drive?'
[Rachel Amber: 19:30] 'Queen Icky Vicky joins the plebians... And it's a black Ford F-150’
[Victoria Chase: 19:31] 'Oh god...'
[Rachel Amber: 19:32] 'Icky Vicky?'
[Victoria Chase: 19:32] 'I'll call you, Rachel!'
[Kate Marsh: 19:34] 'Wait, what did I miss? I've been hanging out at the Two Whales with Alyssa and Stella' [Brooke Scott: 19:21] 'I have no idea...'

“Lyla!! Lyla!! I gotta get to the Hospital immediately!!” Victoria had yelled across the music knowing that she'd be one of the only ones not getting drunk or high.
“What’s going on, Vic?”
“I think something bad has happened to someone I used to be friends with... Oh god!”
“Come on, I'll drive you. You can phone Rachel, she's Chloe's friend, right?” Victoria nodded and Lyla continued, “you can call her on the way”
“I was such a bitch to C-Chloe...” Victoria felt the remorse slowly fill her and she wiped her eyes. “Back up in Seattle we used to be friends”
“Why did you start to hate her?” Lyla asked the vulnerable pixie blonde
“Her heart was set on another girl” she replied simply

Chapter Text

“Good evening, sweetheart” A tall man with strawberry blonde hair bent down to kiss a woman with blonde hair, his wife of twenty-eight years.
“Bill, ever the charmer” the woman replied in her Southern accent
“Heh, I try. Netflix?” he cracked open a beer before walking out of the room to check on their dinner.
“Yeah, but only one episode of Orange is the New Black before we have to call Chloe to check up on how her meet her classmates day went” Joyce warned William
“Sure, Joyce” William say back on the couch in their sizable Seattle home. The Prices' luck had changed for the better once they had moved away from their hometown, Arcadia Bay. They had become a successful husband and wife business team, setting up and managing a successful chain of restaurants and diners in the few years that had been in Seattle. “We are so lucky, Joyce”
“I know”
“We have an amazing house, a successful business and a wonderful daughter”
“I'm so proud of Chloe for everything she's achieved. She really turned her life around and now she's going to go to Blackwell with her childhood friend, Max!” Joyce gushed, unable to stop singing her daughter’s praises the proud mother she was
“Meanwhile we’re hauling in the profits, we made close on a mil this month!”
“Excluding salaries, all the ingredients were paid for with last month's profits. Still, have two hundred fifty thousand left from last month”
“Yeah well, salaries only add up to just under six hundred thousand a month” William stated. Joyce and William were very generous to their staff, they had five restaurants and four diners, each of which had a total of roughly sixteen staff, two chefs for each of the diners, three for the restaurants, a pool of nine waiting staff for each of the restaurants and a few cleaners. Each employee received at least fifteen dollars an hour, the chefs receiving more than that.
“Our employees are what has made our business so successful in the few years we’ve been here. Had you not gotten that opportunity to take over the ailing business that's now ours, Bill, I’d expect we'd be struggling to make ends meet”
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I hope Chloe's time at Blackwell with Max as well as the money we’re putting aside for her college will help make it up to her, I know she's had a hard time forgiving us for moving away from Max”
“I hope so too... I regret that part of our decision even now...”

“There's been a major incident in Arcadia Bay, Oregon” a voice stated, the TV was showing the Channel Eight news. “A truck has been involved in a serious collision with a semi. The driver of the semi was shot several times by the police after he opened fire on officers on his way to check on the occupants of the truck he rammed. The driver of the semi is still alive and in hospital, the two young women who were the occupants of the truck haven't yet been freed from the wreckage
“Oh my god, William those poor young women!!!”

The phone began to ring before William could reply to Joyce. “Sorry, Joyce. It's probably the office”
“Supposed to be our night off, Bill”
“Hello? Yes, this is William Price speaking. Sorry, who is this?” William paused to look at Joyce, a confused expression on his face
“What's going on?” Joyce whispered
William shrugged before speaking again “Yes, Joyce is here, I'm putting you on speaker” William did so. “You’re on speaker now”
“Hey, it’s Rachel. Rachel Amber, you probably won't remember me but you met me at the hospital when Max was recovering from her suicide attempt?”
“Sure, we remember you sweetheart” Joyce drawled
“Wait, where's Chloe?” William asked quickly
“I... I think you'd better get down here quick, to Arcadia Bay... Something awful has happened...”
“Rachel, what's happened!?”
“It’s Max and Chloe, they... They... They were rammed off the road, Chloe’s truck was hit by a semi”
“Oh my fucking god, are they okay?!”
“They are... Still alive” Rachel choked out amongst her sobs. “Get down here, quickly. Kate's already at the hospital, she hitched a ride with a girl called Steph and I'm just driving to the hospital now! Please, hurry. Nobody knows if Max and Chloe will make it”
“We are coming!!” William exclaimed, sprinting to turn off the stove and returning by the time Joyce had picked up the keys and moved to grab her coat

Chapter Text

“Max, I love you” Chloe was sat in the driver's side of her truck but she was turned to face her passenger, the girl she loved was sat in that seat, beaming happily back at Chloe as she held beamed at the other girl
“I love you too, Chlo” Max and Chloe watched Rachel leave the Blackwell parking lot on foot, heading for her convertible which was parked nearby in town before they returned their attention to each other. “It’s nice Rachel offered to give us some couple time” Max added quietly
“Mmmhm” Chloe hummed in agreement, “well it'll probably take her at least an hour to get the pizza, the take out is usually quite busy at this time of day so why don't we stay here for a little while and just... Make out?”
“We have a cozy couch at Rachel's place, Chlo” Max scolded
“Yeah well I don't fancy being caught by James or Rose”
“That's true” Max chuckled, Rachel's parents hadn't even realized that Rachel had two friends staying with her. “Rachel's bedroom then?”
“And it was nice to see Steph again, wasn't it?” Chloe ignored the brunette while she smirked over at Max, making it clear she was having a laugh at the poor girl’s expense.
“Chloe... I'm so sorry, I honestly didn't know I broke your arm” Max quickly sobered up from her amusement, her face going pale
“Max, it’s okay. I know you didn't mean to” Chloe whispered earnestly
“I'm still sorry, it shouldn't have happened, Chlo”
“I know how you can make it up to me Max” Chloe spoke, she had a shit-eating grin set on her face that warned the brunette that the purplenette was up to no good
“How, Chloe?” Max asked cautiously
“Kiss me” Chloe demanded

Max blushed and slowly moved closer to the smirking purplenette only to be interrupted by a wolf whistle. “Huh? Oh.” Max had looked around and blushed when she saw Victoria and her two lackeys, Taylor Christensen and Courtney Wagner watching them
“Fuck off, Chase!!” Chloe flipped the trio of girls a double bird while she bellowed over the loud music the two were playing in Chloe's truck, quite an achievement in its own right since the music wasn't exactly quiet.
“Nah, I might just stay here and watch the show” Chloe was about to scream angrily at her but before she has the chance, Victoria resumed speaking. “Or at least I would if it wasn't you two disgusting people”
Taylor giggled and whispered something to Victoria. “You what, bitch?!” Chloe snapped angrily, wanting to know what Taylor had said about them
“Oh Tay” she indicated the blonde girl, “was just saying how hot it would be for me and you to get some action, Price, but Tay doesn't realize I have something called taste.” Taylor rolled her eyes at the pixie blonde’s comment
“Whatever, Icky. Why not fuck off to your Whoretex Club meet?”
“Maybe I'll get a truly hot girl to date there, you're right. Come on you two let's get going. Ciao!!” Victoria led the duo to her car and they tore away laughing at the expense of Max and Chloe. Chloe swore a few times

“I love you, Max” Chloe eventually broke out of her brooding to speak to Max once again, Chloe would try her hardest to keep the conversation with Max flowing as it had been before they were rudely interrupted
“I love you, Chloe. We should probably head back to Rachel's place.” Max and Chloe had spent a good twenty minutes kissing in Chloe's truck before Max reminded her that they should at least make an effort to be back before Rachel's parents arrived back. Rachel had been intending to buy an apartment where the three of them could live unhindered by people from their past. For Chloe that would be Victoria Chase who she had once been friends with. For Max that was her mother, Vanessa. And for Rachel that was her father, James and his enabling wife, Rose.
“Fine, fine. You win, Maxipad” Chloe conceded reluctantly
“Stahp, Chloe. You know I find that name immensely embarrassing”
“Why do you think I still use it?” Chloe replied with a smirk
“Oh fuck you” Max snapped without thinking
“If you're offering...” Chloe’s smile had widened
“Chloe!!” Max exclaimed, “how about we just get home?”

Chloe started her truck and sighed, clicking her seatbelt them releasing it. “Nuh uh... You're driving!”
“But Chloe...” Max began
“You gotta practice Max” Chloe insisted using her puppy dog eyes
“Fine, Chloe. I bet you had gotten bored of carting my ass around everywhere like when we went to collect those files...”
“It certainly is a very cute ass but chicks dig a girl who can drive”
“You mean you do” Max corrected
“Uh... Yep actually” Chloe blushed and Max slid out of her seat with unexpected enthusiasm
“Anything to improve my chances with you” Max whispered huskily
“Hehe” Chloe just wiggled her eyebrows
Max took the driver's seat and cautiously began driving out of the parking lot onto the road. “This isn't so bad”
“Told ya” Chloe put her hands up behind her head and began to relax, absently watching the world go past.

Five minutes later, Chloe's panicked voice broke through the peaceful atmosphere the duo had in the truck. “Max...” Chloe began, “Max! Turn the car, now!!” Chloe had sat bolt upright and was staring in the mirror in horror
Max, surprised, started to turn the steering wheel before catching sight of what had made Chloe yell, a huge semi was barreling up behind them. “Fuck!!!” she then screamed

Thud! The whole world seemed to slow, both girls had gripped each others hands and both girls felt the jolt of the truck as the semi barreled into them, sending the truck surging forward. A few seconds later the semi drew back some only to slam into them again. Max's hand slipped out of Chloe's grip and fell into her lap

Crunch! The second impact was just as jarring but Chloe at least had been expecting it so she had been able to brace for impact. “Max!! Hold on!!” Chloe yelled at the other girl who had seemingly frozen up at the wheel, one hand still on the steering wheel. Shit, Max!! Chloe reached over to attempt to stabilize the wayward truck, Max's other hand flopping down into her lap as Chloe clung to the wheel. “Max!! Max!!”

Bang!. The third impact was the one that caused Chloe to lose control, her concern for Max who wasn't responding to her shouts was overwhelming. The truck began to veer off to one side as Chloe abandoned the wheel to check on Max's pulse. Still alive. Chloe reached out for the steering wheel again only to realize it was too late, they were sideways across the road and the semi was coming again

BANG!!! With a fourth, more massive impact that had a sense of finality to it, the semi slammed into Chloe's door and began pushing the truck along, Chloe could actually hear the driver of the semi shifting down through the gears to give him maximum power at lower speeds. This is an attack... This is deliberate! Upon that realization, Chloe went for the glove compartment, pulling out the gun she had armed herself with in case Vanessa tried anything stupid. She aimed it into the truck and pulled the trigger until the gun clicked uselessly. She was rewarded with steam and smoke but it was too late, she hadn't been paying attention to where they had been headed. She looked over her shoulder and realized where they were headed... Straight for the cliff by the road that led down to the coast road that led North of Arcadia Bay.

“SHIT!!” Chloe screamed, grabbing Max's hand which was strangely unresponsive yet warm as they went over the edge backward. For Chloe time seemed to slow to a crawl, she actually had time to slam her feet into the floor of the car, look over at Max, see her wide fearful eyes, hear her choked cry of terror, all in the instant before the car started rolling down the cliff, smashing into trees and branches as they went. “I don't wanna die...” Chloe mumbled then felt an excruciating agony just below her shoulders along with a tingling that spread throughout her back. Chloe shrieked in agony as her vision exploded into colorful shapes and spots. Chloe could also smell the cloying metallic tang of blood, lots of it

Chloe was vaguely aware of the truck tipping over sideways and the vague sensation of something digging through her back. The truck completed a few final rolls down the cliff through which time both Max and Chloe’s arms flipped around toward whatever direction gravity pulled them in that instant. The truck finally came to a rest on its roof, the last thing Chloe heard before she faded away was the sounds of yelling and sirens that pierced through the air and did nothing to alleviate the throbbing in her head from the abuse she had just suffered. “Max...” she croaked, fighting hard to stay conscious, “MAX?!?

Chapter Text

“Oh my god, Kate!! Steph!!” Rachel rushed into the hospital, followed closely by Victoria, the pair had arrived separately but at the same time, several moments after Kate and Steph had arrived. The latter two were already sat in the reception area to await Rachel's arrival
“What are you doing here?!” Victoria snarled at Rachel. Kate and Steph backed off slightly, deciding that Rachel and Victoria had to settle their differences
“I'm Max and Chloe’s friend, Vicky. What are you doing here?!” Rachel spat back, disgusted by the pixie blonde’s presence
Victoria glared at Rachel. “I used to be Chloe's friend” she replied
You?!” Rachel laughed coldly. “Chloe wouldn't want you here, not after the way you treated her, you bitch”
“You're probably right, but I had to make sure she's okay”
“If you cared you wouldn't have been an asshole to her” Rachel hissed
“Yeah, yeah I know. I’m an insecure possessive bitch”

“Steph, where are they?” Rachel decided to start ignoring Victoria's presence and instead turned to Steph to ask her about her best friends
“They’re in surgery, Rachel” the silence within the reception area was deafening. “It’s not good news, I'm afraid”
“Excuse me?” a male voice cut through the thick silence that had filled the reception area
“Yes?” Kate replied
“Are you ladies here to see Ms. Price and Ms. Caulfield?”
“Yeah, we’re their friends” the Christian girl confirmed, nodding at the man before her
“They are both being stabilized as we speak. Which one of you is Ms. Rachel Amber?” The man was dressed in a blue suit and a polka dot tie with a stethoscope hung around his neck
“That’d be me, sir” the blonde replied with a solemn smile
“The name’s Doctor Smith, Doctor John Smith. Can I have a moment of your time?”

“Sure.” Rachel stood and the doctor led her into a room just off the reception area of the emergency department, one of several private rooms around the reception where patients could be taken for a private discussion or for some tests. “Yes?”
“You're Rachel Dawn Amber, the emergency contact for both Maxine Caulfield and Chloe Elizabeth Price?”
What? I'm their sole emergency contact? “Yes, that's me” They're probably named as each others’ emergency contacts as well but...
“Well, I have to inform you of their condition” Smith started ominously
Rachel, still caught up on being their emergency contact simply nodded, “okay?” I'll have to ask them about it later
“Well, I don't know what you've been told so far but Ms. Price and Ms. Caulfield were involved in a collision with a semi earlier today”
Oh my fucking god!!
Noting Rachel's continued silence, the doctor continued. “Ms. Price was the luckier of the two, she had a puncture wound to her back where a tree branch impaled her”
That was lucky?! “What was the damage, doctor?”
“Well her spinal cord was damaged”
“What the fuck?! How can you say that so calmly?!” Rachel was taken aback by how calm the doctor was being, she herself felt as if she was going to panic at any given moment
“I have to remain calm, Ms. Amber. I understand you're freaking out right now but believe me we've dealt with worse. Some people who come in here and hear that sorta news have to be sedated to calm them down”
“Hm. So I'm doing well with this news?”
“Essentially, yes. Anyway, Ms. Price’s spine was damaged at what we call T6” he moved closer to Rachel. “I hope you don't mind” he whispered
“Mind what?”
The doctor poked Rachel in the back, “Me doing that.” He explained, “that's roughly where the T6 vertebrae is. It's the sixth thoracic vertebrae in the spine. As a result of her injuries, she won't be able to use her legs”
“Chloe... What?! Chloe can't use her legs?!” Rachel was reduced to spluttering for a few seconds
“Yes, she's likely to be paralyzed below the waist”
“Holy... Fuck!!” the thespian felt her eyes fill with tears though fortunately for her perceived dignity, she was an experienced actress who could act as if everything was just fine
“I know that's not what you wanted to hear, Ms. Amber”
“W-what... What about Max?” Rachel knew, somehow that it was bad news even before the doctor sighed
“Ms. Caulfield... isn't great. Ms. Price has gotten off lightly compared to Ms. Caulfield”
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Rachel snapped. Tell me it straight you bastard
“Ms. Caulfield is lucky to be alive” the doctor replied gravely, “Ms. Amber”
“Call me Rachel, for fuck’s sake.”
“Okay, Rachel. Max broke her neck...” the doctor continued speaking, no doubt listing other injuries that the brunette hipster had suffered in the attempt on their lives but for Rachel, it didn’t even register

Even the news that Rachel had comprehended took several moments to sink in and register in Rachel's brain. “What... That's hella bad, right?”
“I'm afraid so. Rachel, Max is likely to be paralyzed below the neck”
Rachel was stunned, she slumped back into the wall and sank to the floor. She hadn't even realized she had been crying loudly until warm hands touched each of her shoulders. She looked up to find Kate kneeling down in front of her. “Rachel... Tell me”
“Chloe is likely to have lost the use of her legs” Rachel began to a sharp intake of breath from the Christian girl. “And Max is likely to be paralyzed”
“Like what kind of paralysis?” Kate inquired fearfully
“Total” Rachel burst into loud sobs, saying it out loud had brought a sense of finality to the situation. Neither Max nor Chloe are likely to walk again. “I-I shouldn’t have pushed them to go to that thing at Blackwell... Hell, they might not even wake up” Rachel knew it was irrational to fear for Chloe's life in that way but it didn't stop her and if Max was to die from her injuries, which was a distinct possibility, then it was always a possibility even likely that Chloe would end her own life as well. Chloe wouldn't want to live without Max after all
“Rachel, you weren't to know that this would be the outcome” Kate attempted to soothe the blonde and calm her down while attempting to shift the blame that Rachel had decided would fall at her own feet to the people who were actually responsible
“Oh Kate, innocent sweet Kate. It was always a risk that... he would try something to deal with the situation”
“Who?” Kate tilted her head slightly to the right in curiosity
“Prescott”
“Holy shirt... That... ASSHOLE!!” Kate's fists balled up

There was a knock on the door, “is everything okay in there?” Steph’s voice called out to them. Why is Kate yelling that someone’s an asshole
“No!” Rachel yelled
“Yes!” Kate added
The door was shoved open and Victoria entered cautiously, almost timidly, followed by Steph and finally... Nathan Prescott
“YOU!! YOU BASTARD!! YOU FUCKING...” Rachel was up and on her feet in a fraction of a second after she caught sight of the youngest Prescott heir. It was only the combined effort of Kate, Steph and Victoria that stopped Rachel from reaching Nathan to pound his face in. I'm going to make you suffer for what your family did to my best friends!!
“Rachel!! Calm the fuck down!” Victoria yelled, struggling to keep ahold of the vengeful blonde
“YOU FUCKING PRESCOTT ASSHOLES!! YOU DID THIS TO THEM! YOU CRIPPLED CHLOE AND MAX YOU ABSOLUTE CUNTS!!”
“Vic, what the hell is she talking about?” Nathan asked in a tiny, fearful voice
“Yeah, what the fuck are you on about, Amber?!” Victoria snapped

Rachel who had struggled for a good few minutes had finally slumped in the arms of the three girls. “Get... Get him away from my girls...” Rachel barely mumbled the words, she had exhausted herself fighting against Kate, Steph and Victoria
“Rachel... Use your words” Kate whispered
“It was his father who put Max and Chloe into the hospital... Sean Prescott wanted to kill them... Kill my friends” Rachel whispered, resigned to the knowledge that Nathan was likely there to stay for the time being
“Rachel... I-I had no idea” Nathan whispered, his eyes widened from the shock. “I mean I kinda knew Sean was a grade A asshole but... I had no idea he'd do this. What happened? I heard that an accomplice of my father's, Eliot Hampden was arrested earlier today and taken to hospital with bullet holes in his stomach”
“Eliot, Sean Prescott and Vanessa... Caulfield are being charged with the attempted murder of Maxine Caulfield and Chloe Price” Steph provided, reading out a headline that she had found on her phone.
“What the hell?” Nathan mumbled
“Okay, I guess I ought to explain.” Kate still had her arms around Rachel as she spoke, trying to comfort her. “A few years ago Sean Prescott gave Vanessa Caulfield a choice... Murder Ryan Caulfield, her husband or watch as both her husband and daughter, Max, were murdered. She chose to murder Ryan to spare her daughter.” There was absolute silence as Kate spoke, disgust visible on all of the faces present. “Somehow, Max found out and long story short she attempted to kill herself which brought Chloe back into her life...”
“The two girls and I found evidence of what happened,” Rachel took over the narrative, “leading to the arrests of both Prescott and Caulfield. I guess Prescott was pretty pissed so he ordered the girls be killed as well, by Eliot Hampden I guess. That bastard’s attempt on their lives left them both in comas and fighting for their lives here.” Rachel, Steph and even Kate were seething. “Without the prime witnesses, I guess Prescott hoped the case would be dismissed. What he didn't know is that the girls had already handed the evidence over to my father, the District Attorney and that they had made backup copies which I hid” Rachel began to cry again, quickly losing her composure. “It should've been me. I should be the one paralyzed”
“That's... Just sick. How the hell did I end up being unlucky enough to be that monster's son” Nathan looked pale while Kate continued to struggle to keep the blonde thespian calm. “I'm going to call my sister, kay? She'll know what to do. She's in Brazil currently with the Peace Corps. She left home as soon as she could, to get away from Sean”
Victoria nodded, Nathan's idea was a good one. “Can we both stay?”
“I don't see why not but Chloe might not want to see you when she wakes up. She's lost the use of her legs so she’ll probably be deeply upset.” Kate spoke kindly, she had always tried to see the best in people, even people like Victoria and Nathan. “She might try to kill Nathan though”
“I know Kate, but... Rachel, what about Max?” The silence answered Victoria's question for her. Victoria recoiled in horror. Her best friend's father was a murdering psychopath who remorselessly and mercilessly crippled two teenage girls that weren't even adults, one of whom had already lost her father to his actions. If anything though, Nathan looked even more horrified by the revelations

Chapter Text

“Max... Chloe... Please, wake up” Kate was sat between both girls a mere few hours after their lifesaving surgeries, clinging on to her cross necklace tightly with both hands, her bloodshot eyes traveling from one comatose girl to the other. Nathan had gone back home to contact his sister, Victoria had gone with him, having been dropped off at Blackwell to try to see what was going to happen to Max and Chloe's scholarships and places at the college, Rachel had gone off to get herself, Kate and Steph coffee while Steph had gone to reception to meet with Chloe's parents. Chloe looked pretty bad, she had suffered a massive puncture injury to her back where a sizable tree branch had been forced through the back of the truck which had been weakened by its years of usage. Rust had reduced the strength of the area behind the passenger side of the truck enough for the force of the blow against the tree to go through the rusted area and impale Chloe from behind, severing her spine. The truck then fell sideways, dragging the branch through her lung on its way out of her body and only missing her heart by some miracle. As a result of that abuse, Chloe was on a ventilator after the surgery to repair the torn lung and several drainage tubes were sticking out from under her arm to drain blood and air that leaked from the damaged lung. Chloe was hooked up to many IVs, one of which was a blood transfusion and the doctors had to shave some of her hair for preventative surgery and most of her body was wrapped in bandages from various surgeries or the deep wound she had suffered. As such, she was in an induced coma to allow her body the chance to adapt to its new circumstances and perhaps avoid the worst of the pain she would otherwise be enduring. Furthermore, the doctors had told the three girls that while it was theoretically possible for Chloe to wake up in a few hours, she was likely to be out for days if not weeks. Max, however, was a whole different ballgame, her injuries were less numerous than those Chloe suffered but much more serious. Max had broken her neck and was in a neck brace despite being comatose, she had a surgically implanted breathing tube in her neck as, unlike Chloe, her breathing was likely to be permanently impaired and therefore require permanent machine ventilation. Finally, there was some bruising to her chest and a number of cracked ribs from the steering wheel but those were minor concerns really. “Please, wake up soon you two” God, please save these two beautiful women... Please

Rachel was the first to return to the room after a few moments. “No change?” she whispered
“Nah, square root of jack fucking shit” Kate replied uncouthly, Kate had started swearing since the attempted murder of her friends
“Shit... All we can do is wait... And pray” Rachel added the final two words while giving the Christian girl an appraising gaze.
“Have you heard from the others yet?”
“Nah, Katie. I don't expect to hear from Nathan or Victoria for a little while yet. I expect Steph will be preparing Mr. And Mrs. Price for the news, they should’ve arrived by now. She's the only person who knew Chloe and Max from before they were separated by the Prices' move hence why she suggested she should be the one to talk to them”
“Mhm. Rach, I'm scared. What if Chloe never wakes up? What if Max doesn't?”
Rachel pulled the worried blonde in for a hug. “Chloe is out of danger now, and Max... We don't need to worry about her, she's tough. She shook off that suicide attempt of hers without too much difficulty” Rachel knew that wasn't quite true but she knew it was mostly true

The girls were interrupted by the sound of anxious voices. Mr. And Mrs. Price Rachel thought, quickly smoothing her hair in anticipation of their arrival. Sure enough, the door opened a few seconds later and both Chloe's parents entered the room.
“Oh my god!! Chloe!! Max!!” Joyce surged forward to reach out for her girls, by Rachel's reckoning she was likely to become Max's legal guardian so Rachel had no difficulty with referring to both girls as Joyce's kids, she was much more of a parent than Vanessa Caulfield ever was anyway. Joyce held on to both their hands, being mindful of the myriad of IV lines attached to them both
“Shit!! Steph” William wiped his eyes of sudden tears, “I know you said it was bad but... It's different seeing them both for yourself...”
“Wait... Where's Vanessa?” Joyce asked to a shrug from William
The fuck, Steph? Did you leave me to tell them? Rachel glared at Steph who shrugged anxiously.
“Girls, has Vanessa not been to visit her daughter?” William asked in slight irritation
“Nope...!” Rachel snapped with all the unbridled fury she felt toward the murderer. “She's in fucking jail, where that bitch belongs” She looked over from her fury driven tirade to realize that neither Joyce nor William knew why she was reacting that way. “That bitch murdered Max's father and had a hand in the attempted murder of these two beautiful women. The guy suspected of carrying out the attack was a former Seattle native called Eliot Hampden and the guy behind it all?” Rachel paused for dramatic effect. “Sean Prescott”
“Of course...” Joyce whispered. “Anything rotten in this town is somehow connected to that bastard”
“Chloe knew Eliot...” William added, looking over at Chloe, still peacefully unconscious
“And the bastard still targeted her?” Kate asked, drawing a few raised eyebrows from both Joyce and William, they had only heard her be mild-mannered and polite after all
“Yeah, things didn't end well between them, we had to get a restraining order against him a few years back, he wouldn't stop harassing Chloe and stalking her”
“But... I'm not sure Chloe was the actual target of this...” Kate added anxiously. It was true, they suspected Eliot had been ordered to kill Max, getting his ex at the same time was probably just a bonus for him

Beep beep beep. An alarm started sounding from one of the beds, accompanied by heavy and rapid footfalls from outside. A few seconds later doctors and nurses streamed in, gathering around Chloe's bed. “What’s going on?!” Rachel had snapped fearfully. Silence. She began to tear up while looking at Chloe.
“Blood pressure and heart rate dropping!!” one woman called
“Get me a crash cart! Code blue!” someone else yelled
Oh no... Steph had turned to the others, tears staining her face. She liked watching hospital TV shows so was aware of what the jargon meant
“Here!” a third called, opening various drawers on the thing that a fourth person was pushing
“One mg adrenaline!!” the second person yelled, “prep for cardiopulmonary resuscitation!”
“Clear!!” the first doctor yelled, placing the defibrillator pads on Chloe’s chest. Chloe’s chest rose up off the bed and fell back down.
“Again!!”
“Clear!!”

Rachel and the others found themselves being ushered out of the room by nurses. Steph attempted to protest at their sudden removal but was stopped by Joyce wrapping her arms around her. All sound from the room had been muffled by the heavy doors.
“Thank you for making sure they were together, Rachel” William smiled at the taller blonde. “Our daughter will be grateful when she wakes up”
If she wakes up” Steph corrected nearby, still wrapped up in Joyce's arms as was Kate, neither girls had stopped crying since the code blue was called. Rachel was stood a short distance away, preferring space when bad shit started happening to people she cared about. William was stood near her to provide support if she needed it
He's such an awesome dad... He hardly knows me and yet he's treating me like family
“What's going on?” a voice interrupted Rachel's thoughts
Oh crap... She shouldn't find out that Chloe might be dead as soon as she gets here, not even she deserves that!
“Victoria Chase?!” William exclaimed, “my god, it has been a while”
“Hey, Mr. Price” Victoria smiled a strained smile at him then turned to look at Rachel, signaling with her head that they should move away to talk

Rachel joined Victoria at a nearby vending machine where Victoria was attempting to cajole out some chips she could munch on. “Chloe crashed” Rachel stated and Victoria went pale, stopping her attempts to get the machine to give her her chips that had gotten stuck in the machine. “We were forced out but they were using a defibrillator on Chloe before we left. We... We don't know if she survived” Rachel concluded
“Shit” the one word came out more like it had been mouthed then whispered

Chapter Text

Where am I? Her eyes opened slowly and after a few moments her eyes had adjusted to the completely white environment that slowly faded into the room she had while she lived in Arcadia Bay. I'm in... Arcadia Bay? My old bedroom? She looked around a bit more, smiling at the memory, sure enough she was in her old bedroom. Her bed was as comfortable as it had ever been and the room looked almost the same, the same smell of marijuana that had pervaded the entire room in the few short days she had been smoking it, the same blue walls and the same height chart. “Mom?” she started calling out for her family only to receive no reply, “dad?” A few moments of looking around later the ensure room flickered, revealing an alternate room where the floors were covered with clothes, the mattress felt thinner and less comfortable, the walls were covered in overlapping posters of punk rock bands instead of the signed Firewalk merch and photos that lined the walls of her Seattle home as well as when the room at 44 Cedar Avenue has been hers and the smell was more cigarettes than pot. Her eyebrow rose as she noticed that her and Max's height chart had been brutally scribbled out, though still terrified her heart broke at the sight and she let a few tears run from her eyes

Immobilized by fear up until the bedroom switched back to how Chloe remembered it, she then looked around it once more for good measure, gave up and opened her door, sticking her head out of the doorway. Chloe quickly took the ten steps to reach her parents’ room and knocked on the door. Hearing no answer, she opened it to find the room completely empty. “Mom? Dad?” No answer came so Chloe looked around. “Mom? Dad?” She called, sighing and going downstairs to search for her parents only to find the house deserted. “Fuck.” Unbeknownst to her, her room flickered one again, going from her room to barely a facsimile of the room she had known and loved, stripped bare with only a few pieces of furniture in it. Retreating back down the hall away from the entrance and photographs of a happy family, she entered the living room and from there she saw through a door into a white room with a hospital bed in it. Chloe quickly shut the door while she took a few deep breaths and opened it again to find the room had reverted back to normal. Freaked, Chloe left her childhood home behind as she sprinted outside, spotting a classic muscle car and sprinted to it. Jumping in she found the keys in the ignition and drove away as fast as she dared

Chloe pulled up outside Rachel's house in the muscle car she had found on the drive during one of the switches, only to find that Rachel's house was locked up and empty, lacking any sign that anyone had been there recently. A tattered 'sold’ sign was led near the house in the middle of the road. “Rachel?! Max?!” she yelled, smashing down the door and finding the house completely bare. What the fuck is going on? Chloe clambered back into the muscle car and drove like a bat out of hell to the junkyard. The junkyard was exactly the same but completely empty so she moved on to the lighthouse. Once at the lighthouse she found it destroyed, the top half shattered and spread out over the clearing atop the cliff. This isn't right...

Chloe slowly traipsed through Arcadia Bay, watching the empty world around her. No birds, no cars, no people. By the time she had returned to the spot where she had left the car, it had disappeared as had the destroyed carcass of Arcadia Bay, replacing the debris-filled and blackened vista of Arcadia Bay with a near perfect replica of the town, albeit still abandoned. “Helloo?!” she bellowed as loudly as she could. Getting no answer save the echoes of her own voice, Chloe moved toward the final place she could reasonably expect to find her friends, she didn't know where Kate's house was and she had passed Max's on the way back from Rachel's, it had been as abandoned as the blonde thespian’s place. Passing by the smoldering wreck of a semi and evidence of a gun battle, Chloe paused. She was smelly and coated in a light coating of sweat as a result of her forced jog across the abandoned town but she eventually reached her goal, or rather almost. Sneaking a peek over the sharp drop from the road to Blackwell, she froze, her heart jumping up into her throat and her legs started shaking uncontrollably. “No... No...” she whispered, Rachel’s rusty old truck was at the bottom of the cliff, on its roof and Chloe’s last memory before she has woken up wherever she was had been of driving said truck. “No, fuck... Fuck! FUCK!!” This can't be happening, oh fuck this can't be happening!!! Am I... Dead?!

Chapter Text

Chloe staggered away from the site of where she and Max had been rammed off the road, collapsing to her knees. Oh my fucking god, I'm dead! It's just like that movie... Can't remember the fuckin' name but... “I'm fucking dead!!” Chloe let out a heart-wrenching scream as the truth settled in around her. “I have to find myself I guess... Try to see the true world one last time before I pass on... Well, at least Max survived.” she finally admitted, doing a very un-Chloe like thing and seeing the positive in a situation, for once she found herself focusing on the fact that Max had survived rather than the fact she had not, that she had left Max. As she thought about it more she realized she had more people she had to see than she had originally thought “I gotta see my Maxi, see Rach, Steph and Katie, see my parents too.” Even if they'll never see me again. Despite the fact that Chloe was heartbroken and terrified of what would happen next, would she go on to the big white castle of the afterlife or would she be doomed to stay where she was, in the facsimile of her childhood home? She still had at least one thing to look forward to and deciding not to hang around, she left the road, staggering toward the Blackwell parking lot as if drunk.

The parking lot was as empty as everything else but there were a few vehicles dotted around, abandoned. She reached one, shattered the glass in the driver side window and jumped in. She briefly contemplated taking her new wheels over the edge of the road as she drove away from Blackwell but something stopped her, something that was calling her subconscious.

Chloe took her time drifting along the abandoned roads of Arcadia but eventually she found her way to Arcadia General Hospital, something she couldn't see nor hear had been guiding her to the hospital. “Hey, kiddo” a very familiar male voice whispered to her from behind once she had clambered out of the car she had stolen, a car that she had vaguely recalled the pixie blonde Queen Bitch, Victoria Chase driving it around town on occasion
“Daddy, what are you doing here?!” Chloe frowned as the warm kind man approached her
“I had to come see you, one last time” William replied, sadness in his voice
“But how are you here, you're still alive”
“No, Chloe. I am not. I died three years ago, leaving you alone. I just wanted to see you one last time” William wiped his eyes, erasing any possibility that he was just messing with her
What the fuck? “Daddy, please, explain”
“I died when you were thirteen, in the family car. A semi ran me off the road” William had explained
“No, you didn't!! You're still alive!” Chloe paused to take several deep breaths in an effort to calm herself from her burgeoning panic attack, a panic attack that was twofold. She couldn't help but panic when she thought of a semi smashing into another vehicle despite not feeling any of the pain she would have felt had she been alive, and panicking at the thought of her father leaving her as Ryan had
“Hm, I am?” William raised an eyebrow, still moving forward to embrace his daughter in an effort to calm her
“Yes, dad, you're abso-fucking-lutely still a-fucking-live!! Please tell me what the fuck you mean and why the fuck you're telling me all these things!!”
“That's four dollars for the swear jar!!” William exclaimed, rekindling an old tradition that had run right up to Chloe departing for Arcadia Bay on the date of her sixteenth. Soon his mirth faded though and he closed his eyes, “I don't understand this... You look exactly how I imagine my Chloe to look, though thinking about it she always talked about dying her hair blue.” He sighed fondly, “Chloe, my little girl, all grown up”
She couldn't help herself, she smiled widely at her father, “I love you, dad” she whispered quietly
“I love you too, sweetheart” William turned to Chloe and hugged her.

A second pair of arms wrapped themselves around her and William. There was only one person who Chloe knew that had arms that strong, managing to wriggle around she faced the man who was holding on to her as tight as possible without breaking her spine. “RYAN!!!” she bellowed, wrapping her arms around the lumberjack of a man.
“Chloe!!” he had bellowed right back, something which didn't make Chloe flinch one little bit, in fact, she found it rather soothing that the man hadn't changed
“I missed you so much!!” Chloe exclaimed, then dropped into his arms limply while sobbing uncontrollably. Ryan, being as strong as he was was able to hold the girl up without any difficulty whatsoever. He chuckled despite the hot tears that ran down his face. “I missed you too, Morpho” When Chloe had been a lot younger, Ryan and William had decided together that they would call Chloe 'Morpho' instead of the more common affectionate name of ‘Butterfly’. Chloe's favorite color had always been blue so it was 'Blue Morpho’. That nickname had died with Ryan and consequently, Chloe hadn't heard it for three years
“I-I almost forgot what your voice sounded like, Mr. CAnd how that nickname sounded whenever you or dad used it, it was always so full of love. Chloe sighed in bliss, it had been an ongoing battle of theirs, Ryan insisted that Chloe use his name while Chloe called him 'Mr. C' or 'Mr. Caulfield’ just to annoy him.
“I'm here for you, Morpho” Ryan had whispered, not replying to Chloe's taunt. If Chloe wanted to call him Mr. C, then so fucking be it
“I know, I love you Papa” Chloe squeezed him
Papa... Haven't heard her call me that in years. While Joyce and William were always mommy and daddy, later shortened to mom and dad as Chloe grew up, Ryan and Vanessa had always been mama and papa.
“Papa... Am I dead?” Chloe looked up at Ryan, so innocent, so scared that his heart broke for the girl. “If I am, please help me watch over my Maxi” Ryan's heart soared at the reminder of how devoted Chloe was to his daughter and slightly amused that Chloe was still using the shortened version of 'Maxipad’, an affectionate nickname Chloe had given Max after a particularly embarrassing incident involving blood, a bed and a whole load of blankets
“I'm so sorry, Morpho...”

Chapter Text

“I'm so sorry, Morpho... But... You are alive” Ryan whispered to Chloe, his tone gentle and soothing
“I-I am?!?” Chloe had exclaimed, the fear that she had been feeling about leaving Max behind in a cruel world leaving her in a single fell swoop
“Yes,” Ryan confirmed, nodding his head as well. “You are alive and... Well, you're in hospital”
Chloe sighed a huge sigh of relief. “How-how come I'm seeing both of you? Dad, you're still alive, and Papa, you're dead”
“I don't understand it either, Morpho” Ryan furrowed his brows in a display of his confusion
“Eh. Who cares, I get to be with my Maxi” Chloe shrugged, her serious expression had vanished and she was joyous once more
“Yeah, you do.” Ryan looked around, “your time here is coming to an end”
Chloe imitated Ryan and looked around at the outside of the hospital, it was slowly fading. “Oh that's a relief”
“Come on Morpho, let's get you back to your room”

Chloe wanted to ask what Ryan has meant but instead, she found herself keeping her mouth shut as Ryan and William took her hands to lead her in. They took her up the stairs to the top floor where they pushed open a door. What Chloe saw through the window shocked her, it wasn't the hauntingly beautiful abandoned Arcadia Bay, it was another hospital room that looked almost identical to the one they were stood in. The only real difference was that both the beds in the room were occupied, two girls led in the beds, one had shoulder length purple hair and the other had slightly shorter brown hair. “Holy shit” Chloe mumbled. Her eyes then moved to the other figures sitting and standing around in the hospital room. Rachel was sat between the girls holding their hands as silent tears poured down her face while Kate stood behind her, rubbing her shoulders. Every so often the two would switch positions, taking it in turns to be the comforter and the comforted. Joyce and William sat by one girl each, William was sat with Chloe and Joyce with Max, yet it was obvious that they also switched positions between the two girls as well. Further away were Steph and Victoria, both of whom were stood leaning against the wall while two boys sat side by side leaning against the wall, only one of whom Chloe recognized. The door to the room opened a few moments later and a tall, older young woman joined the group, introducing herself to the group and being careful to take the time to speak to each of Chloe's friends and family in turn despite Chloe not recognizing her. Eventually, she sat beside the blonde boy who Chloe had recognized, pulling him in for a quick hug. To her surprise the boy didn't push her away but embraced the hug, trapping the older woman in a long and loving hug

“Morpho, you're lucky” Ryan had interrupted her silent observation of the group, not a moment too soon as Chloe found herself getting a tad uncomfortable
“Call that lucky?” Chloe parroted back as if she hadn't heard correctly, indicating her clearly battered body in the hospital bed. Of the two girls, the purple haired girl seemed to be surrounded by less hardcore medical equipment, sure she had a tube in her mouth, a tube up her nose, about five different IV bags hanging off a stand and, rather embarrassingly for Chloe, a catheter bag. “Oh for Fuck’s sake” she had mumbled, noticing that for the first time
“Morpho, I'm so sorry for what my wife did to the two of you” Ryan whispered, pain crossing his face at seeing his Morpho dependent on so much machinery
“She’s a cunt, Mr. C” Chloe replied, intense hatred for the woman coursing through her at the mere mention of her name
“No arguments from me” Ryan had agreed viciously while William nodded his head forcefully in agreement. Ryan had been able to find it in his heart to forgive Vanessa for murdering him, but he didn't have the same tolerance of what his wife had done to Max and Chloe. The former had been to save their Max, but the latter was unforgivable

Chloe turned to look at the other girl in the other bed, the petite form of her girlfriend, looking even more frail and vulnerable as she was led peacefully on the gigantic hospital bed that was a good half meter longer than she was tall. Chloe, as tall as she was, filled the hospital bed she was in nicely even if she was skinny. Chloe's girlfriend looked so much frailer surrounded by the equipment that was literally keeping her alive, equipment she'd likely need for the rest of her life. Chloe was also on a ventilator, she had noticed that but she assumed it was because she was in a coma or whatthefuckever the doctors had done to land her wherever she was since Max's ventilator was attached to her neck suggesting permanence while Chloe’s was in her mouth. If she concentrated extremely hard, she could just about make out the voices of the people in the hospital room as well as the slightly annoying tube protruding from her mouth and the one that entered her nose even though they did not exist wherever Chloe’s consciousness was while her body led on a hospital bed. Not really one to watch the medical dramas her mother enjoyed, Chloe didn't really know what all the other tubes were for. Looking back over at Max she saw that Max was missing the tube into her nose though the bag with brown goop was still present amongst her IV bags. “The fuck?” she mumbled her confusion out loud
“Time to go” William had interrupted Chloe's observations then hugged his daughter one last time
“Goodbye Morpho” Ryan whispered, a tear running down his cheek
“Will I ever see you again?” Chloe asked
“No” Ryan replied for both men
“What about...?” Chloe attempted to ask
“No, you won't. I'm sorry Morpho but this is it” William interrupted Chloe
“Will you look after Max if she comes through here?” Chloe asked since that was one of her biggest concerns, that Max would wake up there and not have anyone to help her. If Chloe had been scared waking up alone, she knew Max would be terrified
“I can't” William replied sadly
“But I will be here for Max” Ryan promised. “If she comes through this place on her journey. She's in an induced coma at the moment so it won't happen for awhile yet”
Chloe had wanted to ask why William wouldn't be there for Max but William held up his hand and shook his head. “You will find out, just not today”

*****

Steph had been stood beside Chloe's bed, talking to Victoria who, despite being a big pain in the ass for the kids at Blackwell as well as just generally being a little bitch, Steph had decided that the real Victoria, the one that wasn't a complete bitch wasn’t too bad. Steph was quite happy to talk anime with the pixie blonde, something which had surprised the auburn beanie wearer when she mentioned it a few hours beforehand. Steph had heard a soft moan from behind her. Steph held her hand up to ask Victoria to be quiet for a second. “Sorry Victoria I thought I...” she had hastened to explain to the pixie blonde whose eyebrow was raised slightly

“I just heard a groan” Victoria replied three minutes after the first noise, peeking around the other girl to look at Max. They were there alone, most of the others had gone off for a bathroom break
Steph immediately pulled out her phone, ready to dial Rachel's number when a third quiet groan was heard by Steph. “You heard that right?” Steph asked, both spinning around to look at both girls
“Yup” Victoria replied

It was another half hour before they heard anymore noise, but then there was another groan, louder that time and the flickering of a pair of blue eyes
“Oh my fucking god!!” Steph exclaimed
“Holy shit!!” Victoria rushed around the bed to the other side so she could stand by the girl who was slowly regaining consciousness.
Both girls shut up when the girl who had only just woken up protested the loud exclamations with another grumble. “You're okay...” Steph whispered quietly, relieved that at least one of the girls had woken up.

Chapter Text

Chloe had awoken with a pained groan. Her head pounded, her body tingled and her chest burned, her eyes felt as if they were on fire from the intensity of the light in the room. It was two in the morning so the only light came from the harsh fluorescent lights on the ceiling, it had been over two days since she had been brought into the hospital. The room was a blur to the purplenette even as she attempted to look around for the people she had expected to see. Rachel, Kate, Joyce, William, Steph. Victoria, Nathan, some guy Max's age and an older young woman. She heard nor saw none of them until a loud exclamation of 'oh my fucking god!!’ interrupted her thoughts though it sounded pretty garbled to the pain-ridden and concussed girl. She knew that voice but she couldn't remember who it belonged to. A second cry of 'holy shit!!’ sent further spikes of agony into her head so she protested it the only way she was capable of at that time, with a grunt and a groan. Finding she was unable to move her arms to cover her face she had no choice but to scrunch her eyes up to shield her throbbing head from the intense light but a few moments later the lights clicked off, plunging the room into darkness, relieving the pain Chloe had felt in her eyes. The purplenette attempted to open her mouth to speak but all that came out was another pained grunt around the incredibly uncomfortable and annoying plastic tube she had in her mouth that was directing air to her undamaged lung, furthermore a tube was protruding from her chest in the corner of her vision. Whimpering some she moved her hand slightly to one side, finding a warm thing in her way, she slowly turned her head so as to hopefully not exacerbate the agony she felt emanating from every part of her upper body. She was in so much pain she hadn't even noticed the lack of sensation from the lower half of her body. Her eyes slowly moved so that a face appeared in her peripheral vision, a face she recognized immediately. Steph!!

The auburn-haired girl gently moved Chloe's hair out of her eyes and smiled at the older girl. “Chloe” she whispered, though to the purplenette it was just as much an unidentifiable noise as before, a garble of sounds that made absolutely no sense to the girl. Chloe was relieved to know that the voice no longer caused her pain, mostly because the girl who was speaking was using the quietest whisper she knew how to make. “I'm glad you're back with us” she continued, looking over at something outside of Chloe's range of vision with a regretful frown. Steph continued to speak to Chloe quietly, just talking about anything and everything she could think of, from her and Mikey's game campaigns since Chloe had left to the girls that Steph had an interest in from the induction day they had been to only a few days beforehand. Chloe just led there and listened to Steph's voice, despite not being able to understand a word of what was said, she came to the realization that the auburn-haired girl could be so soothing when she wanted to be and felt herself slipping into a deep calmness that surrounded her like a blanket

As Chloe slowly became more with it over a period of several hours, she found herself being assaulted by the steady beeping of machinery and by the strong smell of chemical cleaner, and actually able to make sense of what they were. Hospital smells she thought as slowly people drifted back to her hospital room from wherever they had been, Rachel had been home to grab a shower, Nathan had gone off with the slightly older woman, Drew and Mikey had gone to see their father and Kate had retired back to her house where she had promised to watch over her sisters. Joyce and William had been sat in the park close to the hospital, the former chain-smoking while the latter sat with his head in his hands. Rachel had been the first to return, the blonde walked in and immediately dropped her coffee upon seeing that Chloe's beautiful blue eyes were open.
“Holy fuck!!” Rachel ignored the hot coffee she had dropped all over her feet and sprinted the last few meters to Chloe's bedside despite the fact that the hot coffee had sodden her socks and was scalding her feet and ankles. “Chloe!!! You're awake!! Fuck, you're awake!” The blonde smiled down at the purplenette who only winced slightly at Rachel’s raised voice. “How do you feel, Chloe?” When all Chloe could let out was another soft groan, Rachel shook her head, “Sorry, guess that's a stupid fucking question.” Sighing, she took Chloe's hand in hers and squeezed it gently. “I'm just glad you're awake now”
“Me too, Chloe” Steph smiled gently down at her old friend

Chloe winced and lifted her hand slightly. “Easy, Chloe” Rachel grabbed her hand and gently pushed it back down to the bed. “You want to know what happened?” Rachel continued and Chloe moved slightly, attempting to nod. “Well, Prescott apparently hired Eliot Hampden to kill Max as retaliation for getting him arrested, that's what's landed you in the hospital” Rachel allowed Steph to wipe her eyes subtly, since she refused to take her hands off of Chloe's
I know how I landed in the hospital Chloe thought, grimacing at her inability to voice her thoughts. I wish I didn't remember but I do
“Eliot has been arrested after he rammed a semi into the truck you and Max were. He confessed pretty sharpish when he realized there wasn't anyone to bail him out.”
“M-M-M” Chloe croaked, interrupting Rachel's explanation, of course, she would want to know about her best friend!!
“Max?” Victoria asked. Any of the jealousy she had harbored against Max for capturing Chloe's heart had long since dissipated in the aftermath of the attempt on the girls’ lives. “She's over here, Chloe...” To Victoria's surprise, Chloe didn't react with horror, merely with a grudging acceptance. “Chloe, it's bad. I uh I also wanted to apologize for how I acted toward you back in Seattle!” All Chloe could do to acknowledge what the pixie blonde was saying was to whimper pathetically, Victoria, therefore, took her hand gently and squeezed. “I know it's no excuse but I was so jealous and hurt by you loving Max. I know it won't make up for what I did but I promise I'll do everything I can to help you and Max” Chloe groaned again and weakly squeezed Victoria's hand, barely noticing that Victoria had recognized and voiced one of her deepest secrets and desires, a desire that most everyone in her life had already recognized unbeknownst to her, save the innocent and oblivious recipient of her affections. “One squeeze for yes?” Victoria asked and the purplenette squeezed her hand once, it was very very slight but still a squeeze nonetheless
“Want me to tell you what's been happening?” One squeeze to Victoria's hand and a nod later, Rachel continued. “Well, your truck took the quick way from the road to Blackwell to the coast road and somehow a tree branch i-impaled your back.” Rachel paused, her eyes shining with tears. “Chloe... It hit your spine, you're never gonna walk again”
Chloe looked like she had been gut-punched but Rachel figured getting the bad news out of the way first would be the best approach. If... If I'm paralyzed, how bad is it for Max?! Chloe thought to herself, biting her lip in an effort to stop herself from crying or panicking. To the purplenette, both seemed just as likely to the other. The bland hospital room gave her nothing interesting to look at so she just gazed aimlessly at the ceiling, attempting to come to terms with having lost the use of her legs. For the most part, Victoria, Steph and Rachel just sat around and allowed Chloe to come to terms with her new circumstances

The nurses had just finished checking on her and Max, as well as turning both girls so they wouldn't develop sores or anything when Kate returned. “Chloe!! You're awake!! Thank the fucking lord” she whispered, reaching out and grasping Chloe's hand. The purplenette was finally dosed up on enough painkillers to not really be in any pain anymore. “How is she?” Kate turned her wide doe-like eyes to Rachel who didn't hesitate before pulling her into a heartwarming hug. Ever since the girls had met in hospital they had become incredibly close friends
“She's okay, Katie” Rachel reassured quietly, “a little dinged up but still a fully functional punk badass” well, mostly
Kate tapped the blonde’s shoulder with a reproachful glare as if she heard the unspoken words Rachel had failed to voice. Kate knew Chloe was still Chloe regardless of her injuries. Rachel moved forward and hugged her friend tightly, them leaped up to run off to find the other members of their little friendship group while Kate rolled her eyes and took a seat in one of the chairs set around the punk’s bed. “Chloe, I hope you know how much all of us love you and Max”
The punk's eyes widened at the mention of Max, Rachel hadn’t divulged any details about the brunette's condition. Fuck!! You gotta tell me how bad it is!!

Victoria moved over with her phone held out for Chloe to look at, it was a few seconds of video that she hadn't yet started. Max looked so small in that bed, smaller than last time even, covered in yet more medical equipment than she had been previously. Chloe’s eyes focused in on the tube sticking out of Max's neck and let out a strangled cry, somewhat impaired by the tube in her mouth. Whatever had happened to Max, it was clear that it would be permanent. Rachel had wanted to protect the punk for as long as she could and therefore refused to divulge any details about Max's condition. From the looks of it, Rachel had been wise to avoid the subject with Chloe. The purplenette had a look on her face that expressed just how much it hurt her to see her hippie like that. “Chloe” Victoria whispered, then she gasped in shock as Chloe attempted to push herself upright despite the pain in her body. It was a testament to how determined the punk girl was in addition to all the adrenaline surging through her system, as she actually managed to lift herself up off the bed and ignore all the pain that passed through her body with apparent ease. Victoria stepped forward and, sensing that Chloe would put up a fight if she attempted to restrain the punk girl, merely moved her hands onto Chloe's arms to help hold her down with some gentle force while the bed whirred into a sitting position. Chloe attempted to move her legs but they simply led there immobilized. “W-w...?” Chloe attempted to speak. She wanted to know what the fuck was happening

“Ms. Price!!” a voice exclaimed from behind Chloe and a firm pressure forced the purplenette to lie back. The nurse who had entered had been shocked to see Chloe attempting to sit so soon after her injury. “Lie back down this instant!”
Much to the surprise of all Chloe's friends, the purplenette didn't fight back and instead allowed herself to drop back down on to the bed. “You've... You're paralyzed Chloe” Victoria whispered, repeating the words Rachel had said before.
“M-M-M” Chloe attempted to speak yet again
“Max is paralyzed too, but look, she is still alive” Victoria triggered the video and spun the phone around, allowing Chloe to see the video she had taken. Max was clearly unconscious, comatose in the recording yet the video was reassuring, she could see Max's chest rising and falling, she could hear the whooshing of the ventilator, she could see the heart monitor pulsing out a heartbeat and she could taste... Tears? Chloe frowned, working it out seconds later, she was crying. She hated seeing her Maxi so broken. “She broke her neck... Uh, Eliot broke her neck when he hit the truck with the semi.” Victoria looked pissed as she spoke. The Chase family's lawyers were some of the best in the business and Victoria knew she and her family's lawyers would be making Eliot’s life hell for the foreseeable future, her father might even get involved under the circumstances, he never really liked the Prescotts after all
“God, she looks so vulnerable in that bed” Steph whispered regretfully, only a few days beforehand she had been raging on the brunette, telling her what a piece of shit she was for hurting Chloe, now, all the friends and even some former enemies were slowly banding together to help the two girls. “I'm so so sorry, Max. If only I’d have known that you'd get hurt, I wouldn't have gotten quite as harsh with you as I did...”

A few moments later, Rachel returned with Joyce and William. “Chloe!!” Joyce exclaimed, her cheeks soaked by her tears. There weren't tear tracks down her face as there often is when crying, the poor woman had been crying far too much and her cheeks were completely covered with moisture. William wasn’t faring much better and both moved in to cuddle Chloe gently. Both parents looked immensely relieved to see at least one of their girls awake. “Chloe, I'm sorry” Joyce held her
“Chloe damn near sat up just now” Steph offered. All three of the newcomers, Rachel, Joyce and William gasped as one, stunned. “It was for Max” Everyone shared meaningful glances while Chloe merely blushed. Did everyone know her secret?
“Chloe... You have our support if she makes you happy”
“Mine too... And my parents most likely. I've always known this day will be coming, pretty much since we met in Seattle”
“I've always known that you like Max, ever since you returned for her”
“My God is a loving God, he won't hate anyone just for loving who they love”

Chapter Text

Chloe slowly improved, day by day. She had the ventilator removed a mere week after the attempt on her life, was sitting up by the end of the month and, since she had only been in a coma for a few days and hadn't remained as immobile as perhaps she should have been, hadn't lost much strength in her body and was strong enough to win arm wrestles against anyone save William, her father. Chloe, being bedridden had been gifted with a laptop that all her friends chipped in to get, a cool gaming laptop that she loved watching DVDs, Netflix and other streaming services on, as well as playing early concept versions of her friend Steph's new computer game that she was working on and the occasional other game like Telltale's The Walking Dead. Her back went from agony that meant she had to be doped up on painkillers at all times and therefore barely able to lift her head, down to a dull ache that could be managed with Tylenol and aspirin and as her pain lessened she found herself feeling the absence of her lower body, the void of nothing that had quickly gotten old for the purplenette. She could still see her legs but feeling or moving them would always be beyond her capability. Swearing even more since the attempt on her and Max's lives and since the purplenette had to have people taking care of her, giving her bed baths and changing her catheter bag for her she had earned the name the Blue Mouthed Pirate. Her language, since the attempt has gotten to be worse than that of a sailor’s. Chloe was partially thankful for the complete absence of feeling in her lower body as she had read that catheters could be incredibly uncomfortable but at the same time, she wished more than anything she had gotten through the attempt unharmed. Though she had had a steady stream of visitors, Chloe had been cut off from the outside world for the better part of two months while she rested, healed and slowly improved. Visitors included the wowed skater boys Justin and Trevor who had been shocked and horrified to hear about what had happened to Chloe, Rachel who visited every day and her friends Dana and Juliet who visited every couple days, Steph who also visited every day, Steph's friends Drew and Mikey who visited whenever they could, whenever they had time that wasn't being spent working to help their homeless father, Kate, who spent a lot of time keeping Chloe company while her friends Alyssa and Stella visited only occasionally but Chloe was grateful they came. Victoria spent a fair amount of time at the hospital, letting Courtney do her homework for her as she didn't like Chloe and refused to pay her any visits, Taylor also visited on occasion. Nathan and Kristine checked up on Chloe once a week and Kristen and Fernando, Chloe's friends from Seattle came down once, they weren't as close as Victoria was to Chloe but they still considered Chloe a friend. Joyce and William had to return to Seattle but drove down on alternating days to spend a few hours with their daughters. Joyce and William had, without Chloe's knowledge, started searching for a house back in Arcadia Bay since they had realized they had made a huge mistake in moving and also started the paperwork to legally adopt Max since the brunette was fifteen and would require constant care for the rest of her life, constant care they would have to provide, at least for a while. Joyce and William were well aware of how Max and Chloe felt toward one another so they were hoping that Max and Chloe would still end up together

Max, on the other hand, was still in a coma. While Chloe was slowly coming to terms with her new circumstances, Max was still led in the other bed in the room, the ventilator whirring rhythmically and the heart monitor spiking in a rhythm but otherwise quiet as the nurses had disabled the noises save the alarm. The petite brunette hadn't woken up from her coma, not even for a moment or two and Chloe desperately missed her best friend, she missed her cute giggle, her beautiful blue doe eyes, the way her adorably freckled cheeks would dimple whenever she laughed at a particularly bad pun from Chloe or worse still, an appallingly bad dad joke from William and she missed her voice. The doctors explained to Chloe that Max would wake when Max was ready to wake but Chloe, ever the worrier had begun catastrophizing about Max’s condition. On top of all the worry that Chloe experienced during the day, she had frequent nightmares about the crash and about Max dying in her sleep and as a result Chloe frequently woke up screaming at night. Despite her legs not working, Chloe often reflexively sat up upon waking up, it had been such a problem at first that the nurses strapped her to a spinal board at night to protect her already damaged spine.

Chloe had woken up screaming, again, that night and a warm soothing hand appeared on top of hers. “Hey, Chloe” Kate soothed, she had arrived sometime while Chloe had been asleep despite it not being visiting hours
“Kate?” Chloe croaked
“I'm here, Chloe” Kate confirmed, gently rubbing the back of Chloe's hand
“What are you doing here?”
“Chloe, the nurses told Rach and I that you were having a lot of nightmares” Kate explained, “we agreed to stay at night just in case you need us, and you clearly do. Rachel used her dad and the fact that she was the named emergency contact to win the doctor over”
Chloe looked away, attempting to hide the tears running down her cheeks, tears that were a combination of how touched she felt that Kate and Rachel were doing so much to help her but also tears of fear, she had just woken up from another nightmare of Max dying. Kate moved in and wiped the tears from her cheeks without hesitation. “T-thank you, Kate”
“You're welcome, Chloe” Kate smiled and hugged her friend, feeling the gauze covering the girl’s back. “I hate seeing you like this, Chloe”
“I hate being like this, Kate”
“I know you do, Chloe” With Kate's reassuring presence, the purplenette had finally managed to fall asleep again. It frequently took Chloe hours to fall back asleep alone but with Kate there, and the nightlight that Kate had carried into the hospital in her bag, Chloe found herself falling asleep instantaneously, she was still exhausted and her body was still healing

*****

The next morning Chloe was scheduled to be fitted out with a wheelchair, she was awake nice and early, eager to get her wheelchair. “Good morning, Chloe” her regular nurse walked in to join her, to take her blood pressure and do the routine neurological examination. Since the attempt on her and Max's lives, Chloe had some issues with pressure as a result of the damage to her spine and had to have regular neurological examinations as a result.
“Good morning, Jen” Chloe smiled at her, a twinkling in her eyes
“Someone’s excited!!” Jen replied with a gentle yet proud grin on her face, Chloe sure was motivated to get herself back to health. She had a cute petite brunette to look after
“Of course I'm excited! I'm getting a wheelchair... finally!” Chloe crowed in excitement. Maybe I can leave this shithole for awhile!!
“Yes, now Chloe, settle down while I take your blood pressure and do your neuro exam” she moved over and started the exam. Chloe settled down for long enough for the exam but soon after she was attempting to pull herself forward, expecting to see a wheelchair waiting for her. “No, Chloe, stay in your bed. We’re going to push you to the physical therapy department” nodding, Chloe relaxed into the bed to await transport to the other department.

“Is this it?!” Chloe eagerly pointed at the wheelchair and Jen nodded.
“You need to take it easy” The first thing Chloe saw when she arrived in the physical therapy department was a cool looking wheelchair which had been custom built for her
Chloe scoffed “pfft, I've been taking it easy for two months”
“Chloe...” Jen was stern while Chloe dragged herself forward onto the edge of her bed after she had lowered it so she could slide into the wheelchair. This girl is gonna be a nightmare the nurse barely had time to think before Chloe had gotten herself situated in the wheelchair, grabbing her catheter bag and IV stand to attach them to the wheelchair.
“Let's go!!” Chloe cried. She was so excited and started wheeling herself out of the room to head outside.

It took her a good half hour to get out of the hospital. Despite her determination, Chloe was far too weak to push herself at any great speed and she snapped at Jen every time the nurse went to help her, the purplenette wanted to do it for herself.

The purplenette gasped as the sunlight hit her pale skin for the first time in several months, a wide smile appearing on her face. “I'm so happ...”
“SURPRISE!!!” came a cry from a sizable group of assembled people, Chloe's friends and family had set up in the hospital courtyard and were waiting to surprise her. Rachel, Steph, Dana, Juliet, Drew, Mikey, Victoria, Taylor, Kate, Brooke, Trevor, Justin, Kristin, Fernando, Nathan, Kristine, Joyce and William were all stood in the courtyard and were awaiting Chloe's arrival.

Chapter Text

“SURPRISE!!!” came a cry from a sizable group of assembled people, Chloe's friends and family had set up in the hospital courtyard and were waiting to surprise her. Rachel, Steph, Dana, Juliet, Drew, Mikey, Victoria, Taylor, Kate, Brooke, Trevor, Justin, Warren, Kristin, Fernando, Nathan, Kristine, Joyce and William were all stood in the courtyard and were awaiting Chloe's arrival.
“What in the name of all that's fuckin’ holy!!” Chloe jumped so badly she almost leaped out of her wheelchair despite her useless legs. Catching herself just in time she looked up again and saw all her friends stood in the courtyard in front of a very pretty looking bed of flowers. A cake sat on a small table with 'congratulations' written in the icing
“Well, we couldn't all let our girl achieve such a big milestone without some proper celebration!!” William replied happily, beaming proudly at his daughter
“We’re all so proud of ya, Chloe, and I know Ryan would be too” Joyce grinned
That was too much for the purplenette, she remembered the experience she has been through while she was unconscious and tears sprung to her eyes. Soon she was bawling like a baby, Rachel and Kate having moved closer to give the traumatized girl the support she needed and soon they were joined by Steph, Victoria, Joyce and William in a six-way hug. Such was the outpouring of love for the purplenette that she stopped crying and smothered herself in that love. Finally, the girl felt as if she was truly loved.

While Chloe was being hugged by those closest to her, the rest of Chloe's friends had settled in small groups, giving the disabled girl some time to calm down with her closest friends. Kristen and Fernando were off in one corner talking animatedly about something, Chloe wouldn't have been surprised if it was DnD, that pair of geeks enjoyed their tabletop game. They were promptly joined by Drew and Mikey which would've supported Chloe's hypothesis about the subject of the conversation, had she been paying attention. Taylor was stood next to a tree, leaning on it and wearing a party hat while talking to Kristine and Nathan, the latter of whom looked far more healthy than any of them had ever seen him, his father being in jail seemed to help his mental wellbeing immensely. Brooke was being lightly teased by Justin and Trevor about her cautious anxiety at approaching the nerd group and talking to Warren who despite being mostly engaged with the talk of DnD he was still worried about Max. The brunette was no doubt still in her hospital bed but he knew Rachel was likely to freak if he had gotten too close to her while the others weren’t there and as she was the daughter of the DA, he didn't like his odds. As it was, Warren was pretty sure that Rachel knew he was likely looking for a way to spend time with Max who he had been infatuated with since he had met her at the Blackwell induction day and she was watching him extra closely, making sure shit stayed in his pants where it belonged.

“Thank you” Chloe whispered, lifting her head from where it rested on Steph’s shoulder, the girl hadn't cried a single tear since she had stopped crying, she had just been immersing herself in the love that she was surrounded by
“You're welcome, Chloe” Steph whispered back
“Do you feel up to startin'?” Joyce inquired gently to which Chloe shook her head slightly, she was calmer, yes but not yet calm enough to face her other friends. “We have all the time you need, darlin'.” Joyce drawled in her soothing Southern accent
“M-mom...” Chloe whispered, her breath catching in her throat as the caring blonde lifted her head from where she kneeled by her side. “I-I just wish Max was here to celebrate this success with us”
“I know, darlin', I know. That little brunette means a lot to you, and I know she always has”
“Uh... We're uh” Chloe stuttered, she wasn’t that good with the mushy stuff
“Together? We know” Joyce replied calmly
“How?!”
Joyce merely chuckled and grinned a knowing grin over at her daughter before she was engulfed in a huge cuddle by her closest friends once again

Chapter Text

“To our little survivor, Chloe Price!!” Joyce lifted a glass of champagne in Chloe's direction. The young woman who was sat in her wheelchair and surrounded by her closest friends smiled over at her mother, she had been a bit of a rebel and slightly more distant from her parents since they forced her away from Max but since the attempt she was slowly returning to the close relationship she had when she was younger
“Hear hear!!” William hollered much to the amusement of those nearby since he had yelled rather close to Chloe's ear, making the girl wince and cover her ears. “Payback for all the screaming you used to put me and your mom through while playing pirates”
“You're amazing, Chloe!” Warren called from where he was stood with Drew and Mikey
“My dad's a real bastard but you showed him!!” Kristine called
“Kristine...” Nathan, who had remained a quiet observer spoke up quietly
“Yes, Nate?”
“I agree with you. Dad is such an asshole” he replied vehemently and scornfully. Nathan hadn't ever gotten along with his father but he hadn’t realized quite how far he was willing to go, neither of the Prescott kids had
“Do you want to cut the cake, Chloe?” Joyce offered the blade to the purplenette who took it immediately with a huge grin
“Sure do”

The rest of the party went by in a whirlwind of music, chat, drink and, for those who could use their legs, dancing though Chloe tried her best to amuse everyone with her attempt at dancing in her wheelchair. The party, like all of Max and Chloe’s treatment, was being paid for by Vanessa Caulfield and Sean Prescott. The court had already frozen all their assets and had ordered a preliminary court order to cover the two girls’ immediate medical needs though that turned out to be totally unnecessary, Vanessa willingly opened her somewhat loaded bank account from the police station, telling the doctors to take whatever they need and Kristine Prescott, who had returned from her self-imposed exile in South America once word of her father's imprisonment had reached her, had willingly opened her father's bank account without so much as being prompted regardless of her father's complaints. Max and Chloe were both assured of the best treatment and Victoria had successfully petitioned her parents to run a charity auction of some of the art they had in storage at one of their several houses with all proceeds going to Max and Chloe’s treatment. The Chase family had, without letting their daughter know, contributed substantially to Blackwell's handicap fund which was going to be used to renovate the Prescott dorms and the other buildings so they were compliant with all the latest legislation and while planning was ongoing, they had successfully hammered out all the preliminary details that would be required by the end of the academic year since the work would have to be done over the summer break. Unfortunately due to her injuries, not to mention not even wanting to consider attending Blackwell without her best friend and first mate, Chloe had to defer her attendance by at least a year.

*****

For the two months after the celebratory party, Chloe had endured a grueling regime of physical and other therapies in the rehabilitation wing of Bay Medical Center, the non-critical wing of Arcadia General Hospital and went to bed beyond exhausted every night. She truly was tackling her therapy head-on. Max meanwhile showed no sign of change, she remained as immobile and as unconscious as she had on the day that the truck had been smashed by the semi. People came and went, since school had started up again Max didn't have as many people around as she did in the beginning. Victoria, Kate, Rachel, Steph, Nathan, Drew, Mikey and Warren had to return to school. Joyce had to return to work, she and William had moved back to Arcadia Bay in light of the attempt on their daughters’ lives but William still had a few loose ends to tie up back in Seattle. Kristine had become the CEO of the Prescott legacy. It was on one of those many dull days where Chloe woke up, said good morning to Max with a gentle touch, greeted one of the small band of people who took turns to stay with Max and headed out the bathroom to get dressed after which she would head straight to rehabilitation. Whoever was staying with Max for the first few hours of the day always brought Chloe some Two Whales bacon omelets. “Good morning, Kari”
“Oh look it's Icky Vicky. What do you have planned for Max today?” Chloe replied, her voice more teasing than vengeful
“Shut your face, Smurfette. And I was gonna read her some anime comics” Victoria snapped back playfully
“You're a nerd, Vicky. Officially a nerd”
“Shut it, Blue” Chloe had been experimenting with her hair, trying blue out for a change only to find she preferred her purple. “I think the smurf look suits you”
“Shut it, Vicky. Wouldn't want to be heard giving out that fashion advice to people”
Victoria blinked twice, blushed slightly and closed her mouth with a click of teeth, that had been a low blow. Ouch, Price. Why would you want to pull your punches now we’re friends? Victoria shook her head, already plotting her revenge on the blunette
Chloe had a smug smile on her face as she turned to wheel herself out of her room. “Remember...”
“Text you if anything changes, got it.” Victoria spoke curtly but not unkindly
“And Vicky, say hi to Kate for me”
“Hi to Kate for me”
“... Smartass”
Victoria smiled a predatory smirk at Chloe who shook her head. “See ya later, smurf”
Chloe grumbled as she left. “Gotta do something about this hair, today” leaving Victoria with a triumphant grin set firmly on her face.

“Hey, Maxine” Victoria always opened with that in the hope it would elicit a response, she had learned rather quickly that it was 'Max, never Maxine’ and hoped that by provoking the girl, she would get a response. “So what do you fancy today? Some music or some anime comics?” Poor Maxine must be so fed up of my choices of comic books. “I tell you what we can listen to some anime soundtracks today. Kate will be in at ten, I expect she'll be working on her book, reading out ideas to you or something.” The girls had an ongoing arrangement with Principal Wells, they would take it in turns to sit with Max for two hours while school was in session. Wells had been dubious about the arrangement but the girls had come together to argue that nobody else could sit and watch over Max since her father was dead and her mother a murderer who was facing a hefty if not lifelong jail sentence and that none of them wanted Max to wake up alone, not after potentially months of unconsciousness. Wells had eventually agreed so long as the girls kept up to date with their work and only those closest to Max would be able to take part which meant that Rachel, Steph, Victoria and Kate would each take two-hour shifts with Max throughout the day. Taylor, Brooke and Warren took up note-keeping duties, writing up the notes for the classes that the girls missed with Taylor taking the artsy classes, Brooke taking English and humanities and Warren taking math and the sciences. “Well, shit, Maxine. You're really starting to worry us. You need to wake up, right. Now.”

Victoria waited until Max's vitals had been checked by the nurse who visited at five after eight then settled back to quietly listen to some anime score on the Bluetooth speaker she had pulled from her bag. Victoria couldn't lie to herself anymore, she was terrified that Max wouldn't wake up, and she knew the others were scared too despite trying to maintain a positive attitude

Chapter Text

“You have a visitor” a voice spoke from over by the doorway
The dark brown-haired woman sat up straighter in surprise, she hadn't had any visitors in the few months she had been there. “Who?” she asked, her surprise readily apparent as she was led from where she had been sat down to another room, her mouth dropping open seconds later when the purple-haired Chloe Price entered in a wheelchair. “Holy shit, Chloe!!!” Vanessa was shocked to see Chloe as she was, in a wheelchair
“Caulfield.” Chloe narrowed her eyes at the older woman, she was pissed. She had bleached and redyed her hair back to its purple color three weeks beforehand after Victoria had poked fun at her for looking like a smurf for the third time and therefore felt much more comfortable but aside from that, the punk was anything but comfortable in the situation she found herself in
“Chloe... I had no idea!” Vanessa exclaimed, indicating the girl’s broken body as she spoke
“Well no, you wouldn't have, being a murderer and all...” Chloe spat, gesturing around the visitor room of the penitentiary where Vanessa Caulfield had been since she and Prescott had been arrested. Vanessa had been led there from her cell by the guard and shackled to the table as a precaution since the court had been made aware of the threats that had been leveled at both Max and Chloe

“I'm so so sorry, Chloe” Vanessa had a few stray tears running down her face
“Can it, Caulfield!” Chloe spoke over the older woman’s repeated apologies with an agitated tone. “Just shut the fuck up. Your apologies are worth less than nothing to me after that shit you pulled on Max.” The purplenette wouldn't have been as bothered had Vanessa’s actions only endangered her but it had been a deliberate attempt on Max's life which, in Chloe's opinion, sealed Vanessa Caulfield’s fate
“I'm sorry Chloe, I know it won't make it better but I'm truly sorry”
“Yea well, too late” Chloe wheeled away from the table some in her agitation, it was either that or punch the older woman in the face
“Maxine doesn’t even want to see me” Vanessa mumbled regretfully
“Don’t you EVER say her name again!!” Chloe roared, not even bothering to state the customary ‘Max never Maxine’ in her fury at the woman she had considered a second mother which prompted the guards to rush in to make sure everything was okay, Chloe quickly dismissed them with a wave. “Don't ever say her name again, you lost that right when you murdered her father”

After a few seconds, Vanessa nodded numbly. Oh Chloe what have I done to you?
“I have questions” Chloe finally moved onto the main reason for her visit. Naturally, she wanted answers from Vanessa
“Fine. I'll try to answer them”
“One. Why did you do it?”
“I assume you meant kill Ryan” a terse nod from Chloe was all the confirmation that Vanessa was going to get from the enraged purplenette and Vanessa recognized that fact miserably and with resignation, there had been a time when Vanessa had been as close to Chloe as she had been to Max. “I did it to save you and Maxine.” Vanessa ignored the growl that emanated from the pissed off purplenette at her once again using Max's name. “Had I not done it, Prescott would've gone after you and her, murdered the both of you”
“That worked out so well didn’t it” Chloe replied sardonically and with barely repressed hatred of the older woman
“Touche”
“Prescott wanted him dead, why?”
“He never told me. He just stated what he wanted and vaguely hinted at the consequences if I didn't.”
“You’re a cunt, Caulfield” Vanessa didn't reply to Chloe's spat words, she had been thinking it a lot herself since Chloe and Max had been involved in that incident where Chloe's truck had been smashed off the road by a semi driven by one of Prescott’s goons but, being in jail, Vanessa didn't realize just how bad it was
“I know, Chloe” Vanessa confirmed
“Well, for your information... Your husband was onto Prescott’s assholery. He knew some of the shady business deals that Prescott had gotten up to”
“That would... Explain it” Vanessa acknowledged with a very cautious nod, the purplenette before her had always had a rather short fuse for anyone who wasn’t her Max and since she was chained down, she feared the purplenette’s temper not only because she could hurt her but also because she could land herself in a whole heap of trouble if she lost her temper
“So he had to die?!” Chloe snapped, her righteous fury had taken a dramatic upturn once again and she was barely holding herself in check. “Why didn't you tell anyone? I'm sure mom and dad would’ve risen to the challenge, sped up the move and taken Max with us to Seattle had we known that Max's life was in danger!!” Chloe almost begged, seconds from an emotional breakdown
“I... I was scared, Chloe.” The older woman knew she had to speak the truth, Chloe deserved that at the very minimum after everything that had happened. “I'm sorry. I know I can never ever make it up to you or Max, you shouldn't have been involved”
“But I was, Caulfield. Since Max was involved, I was too. Rachel and Kate too. I'm sure if Prescott had known he wouldn't have hesitated to attempt to murder them as well”

Vanessa spoke again, several minutes of uncomfortable silence had passed since Chloe had declared that she, Max, Rachel and Kate were a team. “Did you know that Max's grades were falling?”
“Hm... Wonder why?” Chloe snapped, sarcasm oozing from every single syllable
“Because she has a shithead bitch for a mother who murdered her father?”
“You said it” Chloe shot back, as blunt as ever. After a few moments of internal debate, Chloe continued speaking. “She knew, Caulfield”
“W-what do you mean?” Vanessa was taken aback by the purplenette’s words, the undisguised venom of her tone no longer really affecting the older woman
“She knew you murdered her father, bitch!!” Chloe moved closer, as close as she could since her wheelchair footrest hit the leg of the table preventing her from getting any closer than about six inches and then screamed in the older woman's face. Naturally, Chloe still had a lot of anger to work through, anger at herself, at her parents, at Sean Prescott and at Vanessa Caulfield, at the latter pair most of all. They had both contributed to her losing her legs and Max losing so much more. “That's why she tried to kill herself, bitch!! Max lost everyone! First, she lost her father, then she lost me and my mom and dad, and finally she lost you when she realized that it was ALL YOUR FAULT!!”

Vanessa was speechless, she hadn't realized that Max had known that far back that her own mother was the reason behind her life suddenly falling apart. It was bad enough that Chloe had been forced to move away but the fact that Vanessa had been forced to kill Ryan right before the two best friends were torn apart. “No... No...” Vanessa turned away from Chloe, as far as the chains attached to her handcuffs would allow at least, hiding her shame and sorrow
“So the first thing I heard when I tried to talk to my best friend after two years was that she was in hospital, the second was that she had tried to kill herself and the third was that you caused her to do it!!” Vanessa had slipped off the chair she had been sat on and onto the floor, her arms held in an awkward position above her head by the handcuffs but otherwise, the mother was in a fetal position.

Chloe didn't feel satisfaction at Vanessa’s emotional breakdown, in fact, she felt slightly guilty at first though she quickly remembered Ryan's smiling face and pushed down the feeling of guilt, hardening her heart against the bitch who had almost cost her girlfriend her life
“No... No wonder Maxine doesn't want to visit me, she must hate me”
“Caulfield, the reason Max isn't visiting you is because she can't”
Vanessa looked up, terror crossing her face as she feared what the girl she still considered to be a daughter was going to say. Oh no... What have I done?
“She doesn't have a restraining order against you” Vanessa breathed a sigh of relief until... “She's still in a coma after what your boss’ lapdog tried to do to her, to the both of us.” With that cold statement out in the open, Chloe wheeled herself purposefully from the meeting room without looking back at the woman who had, once upon a time been her second mother

Chapter Text

Well, that was a complete soppy mess. Never seen that bitch lose it like that before. Almost felt sorry for her, I guess she was attempting to protect Max from Prescott but still... She killed Mr. Caulfield! Chloe slumped back in her chair once out of the common area she had to wheel through to get out and put her hands over her face, had she been in any other situation she would've at least chuckled at how strong she was becoming
“You okay, miss?” a friendly prison guard asked, holding out a coffee to the disabled purplenette who took it with a ghost of a smile
“Yea, I just... Wanted to know why the fuck she did what she did. She killed my girlfriend’s father five years ago, though she wasn't my girlfriend at that time rather my breast friend” it was only once she caught sight of the older woman’s raised eyebrow did the purplenette realize what she had said. “I guess I got boobs on my mind”
“Damn you Freud” the guard replied, shaking her head and laughing. “You're Chloe aren't you?”
“What of it?”
“Ryan Caulfield was a friend of my family, and he always tended to talk about his daughters” she explained, “there was Max, this skittish little thing, then there was this blonde tornado of excitement and energy that whipped the seven seas into a frenzy”
“I'm not blonde” the girl deadpanned
“Anyway I just wanted to say thanks for finding out what actually happened to him” the guard chose to ignore the young woman's snarky comment
Chloe just nodded slightly. Thank you, I'm glad some people care enough...
“And I'm so sorry for your loss, and Max's loss too. I heard what happened to her” the purplenette looked away. “I'll be sure to come visit you both at some point”
“Sure. I... I couldn't even keep her safe”
“You can't always keep everyone safe, Chloe” the guard reminded her gently
“I have to, I love her, she's my girlfriend and I love her. She's in that fuckin’ hospital, hooked up to fuck knows how many machines and nobody can even tell me if she'll wake up!”
The prison guard looked at Chloe and seemingly swallowed a lump in her throat. “Look, Chloe. You'd better get back to Max. Vanessa Caulfield will pay for her crimes, I assure you.” The woman smiled despite her watery eyes and at that moment, Chloe realized she could trust the earnestness behind the guard's statements.

Five minutes later, when Chloe was just finishing up in the restroom she received a text. Grumbling quietly at the surprise and at how she had dropped her phone onto the cold hard floor, Chloe bent down and retrieved her phone from where it had fallen, a notification for a text from William lighting up the screen. Scoffing lightly at the cheesiness of her father's dad jokes Chloe left the restroom and made her way out into the main area of the penitentiary to a cry from behind her, turning to look her eyes widened. “You ruined everything!!” the woman screamed, “my husband is a good man you little good for nothing delinquent! Why did you blame your accident on him!? You jealous of our family?”
“Fuck no” Chloe's reply cut through the stranger’s ranting as if Chloe had slapped her across the face, “Everyone here hates the Prescotts. You purchased up every little bit of our town that you could, every business opportunity. You forced almost all businesses into bankruptcy, you made people jobless and even homeless!” She scowled at that, remembering why Mikey and Drew North had left the town and why they had spent years homeless, “you threatened and coerced everyone into following your vision for Arcadia and then... AND THEN YOUR FUCKING HUSBAND TRIED TO MURDER ME AND MY GIRLFRIEND!!” Chloe roared at the woman. The friendly-faced guard finally showed up seconds too late, too late to stop the woman reaching out and slapping Chloe across the face, the shock enough to knock her out of her wheelchair
“You bitch!!” the woman screamed, advancing on the purplenette, intent on beating her while she was down
“Mrs. Prescott!! Stop!!” The friendly guard grabbed her to prevent her from furthering her assault on the wheelchair-bound purplenette
“Fuck you.” Prescott screeched, “My husband should've had you killed”
“He tried, believe me,” Chloe spat back
“Caroline Prescott, you are under arrest for assault and threats”
“You know as well as I do that your trumped-up charges won't ever stick!! You’ve caught my husband but you had to release me, even after the accusations of child neglect!!” The woman was howling even louder and trying desperately to break free from the guard who had her pinned as police swarmed the area, arresting Prescott and allowing the friendly guard to check up on Chloe
“Hey, you okay Chloe?” she asked as the purplenette watched Caroline get pulled away from where she had landed on the floor. Chloe barely grunted so the guard continued, “She was gonna end up arrested sooner or later. My name's Jennifer by the way”
“Chloe, but I guess you already knew that?” Chloe let out an awkward laugh as she pulled herself up into her wheelchair
“Mhm... Here's your phone. Had a text from someone called Victoria by the way”
“Icky Vicky texting...” Chloe's voice faded away as her face paled having read the text from Victoria. “Oh god... No... No...”
“Chloe?”
“I gotta go... My girlfriend... They...”
“I'll drive you” Jennifer stated firmly and pushed the distraught purplenette toward the staff parking lot