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The Road Not Taken

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Here she was again, outside of the lighthouse. The day was late and tired, still breathing heavily from an excess heat. The sun was about to come down now, reaching the old tall building with its last orange strength. Summer afternoons could last forever, especially when you are a small kid playing around and exploring or an adult, waiting for or avoiding someone.

Rachel sat on the stairs to the lighthouse, first stretching her arms, then bending her knees to make herself more comfortable. Taking off her jacket she didn’t forget to go through all the pockets just in case she would get lucky and magically find a surprise candy. Tooth fairies don’t bring drugs though, so she just gasped with disappointment, frustration and relief at the same time. It would complicate everything.

Her clothes were searched. She was searched. No room for magic, especially the worst kind.

Having only a plain and simple menthol smoke, she lit it up, patiently waiting. She wasn’t in a mood for forbearance no more than anticipating the moment of peace. Her hands were shaking a little bit, unstable and unpredictable shivers went through the girl’s body up and down, back and forth. Her knuckles went pale, while clenching fists and fighting another wave of this sick need. Rachel put all her strength into this battle, hoping it would be the last one, but knew better. It won’t. She was used to mix hope with a lie for so long, so the sore acceptance didn’t come easily.

Damn, she just came here to relax.

Frankly she had gone through her worst of times already, leaving most of the shadows behind. She had drowned in the darkness, screamed in the light, begged and yelled for this one thing that would make her feel normal, feel alive, feel in general - one enchanted fix. It was like traveling between worlds, crawling on the bottom, scratching and humiliating herself inside and out in front of people she had previously wanted to impress so badly. Scream, curse, vomit, repeat. She had been given water, something to eat and a blanket, and then the diagram had repeated itself again and again, over and over for more than a week. It seemed more like years, but she couldn’t complain. She finally felt better, although it was a bittersweet victory.

Right now it was just an itch below her skin, a demand not needed to be fulfilled. Right now it felt pretty good.

The future looked ugly though.

It had been more than a month but the memories of humiliation and uneven fighting were still radiant in her memory. She despised all the recalls, hating every minute and every sound she had made, but it was history—a hurting story of a girl who was trying to get better.

Her own power of remembering every single detail of her homemade rehab was flabbergasted to say the least. David stopping her firmly when she tried to break out and run away, Joyce patiently waiting till she finished eating, Chloe holding her day and night, forgetting about her own sleep and rest. Sometimes you really try to remember somebody’s face, smile or gesture and can’t get it out of your mind cache. Sometimes you really do want to forget, especially all those worst days or months of your life and it seems unachievable.

She had too much stuff on her list to forget about anyway.

She looked at her phone, mostly checking the hour, but also curious if any message had appeared in the meantime. A few months ago, she would be flooded with icons, texts and pictures. The only thing that looked at her from the screen now was the set of sad, dumb numbers – hour, minute, second. She looked at the time, feeling numb and senseless, to the point that she stopped paying attention to the outside world.

She didn’t hear the truck parking by the lighthouse, or the fast steps on the sand.

“There you are.” Rising her head, Rachel choked on her own smile, seeing the storm of blue hair. The girl wanted to get up, but Chloe stopped her with one small gesture and took a space by her side instead.

They didn’t have to talk much looking at the tacky sunset, and Rachel couldn’t complain feeling her girl’s arm around her shoulders. It felt nice and ordinary. She never wanted anything ordinary, but this time had passed and faded away like a photo left on a sunny windowsill. Ordinary felt good at the moment. She missed it.

“Hey.” Chloe smiled lightly and kissed her lips. It was a short way of saying welcome, nothing unusual, but still magical. “You had to walk for hours to get here, girl. Are you feeling ok?”

Rachel snuggled into her girlfriend’s arms, asking for protection and warmth.

“You are still shaking.” Chloe noticed with a protective tone. She changed a lot recently. The past few months were indeed very hard for both of them.

“It’s the cold.” They both knew Rachel was lying, but was it really a lie, even that obvious? She promised herself not to stretch the truth though. She didn’t know why but her first thought was always to brush off the facts and come up with something meaningless and easy. Old habits die hard.

“I still can feel it. It’s still inside and screaming.” Rachel confessed, feeling weak and small again. It was hard to rebuild her typical confidence even if previously it had been just an act. She didn’t like feeling vulnerable, hating not being able to stand up for herself and rely on others. Trusting somebody, anybody, with this spiral of emotions was destructive enough. Trusting somebody she had hurt deeply was even worse.

“I know. It will pass. We will kick this fucking thing out.”

Rachel suspected that Chloe was talking from her own personal experience. Her girl knew more about getting rid of an addiction than she should, although she never slipped a single hint leading to any kind of reveal. The fact that Rachel didn’t know about another slip up Chloe had had to go through and couldn’t be there to help, was another sin she put on her unholy list. Another secret to uncover, another coded message she had missed along the way. One day she would ask. Not today though.

“You are doing great.” Chloe moved her closer, closing her in her arms, kissing her forehead. “Even David said you rule, Amber.”

“The step-douche is proud of me? Who would’ve guessed?” Rachel shook her head, smiling sadly. They dropped the nicknames for David a while ago, but it was still playable as an inside joke.

“Everybody is.” Rachel heard the response and sighed deeply. Not everybody, for sure. This was still an untouchable subject, yet again, the topic she had ran away from as soon as the conversation had started. She preferred to take the risk of shaking, and howling at the moon for a fix without any other protection than to face this particular drawback.

“And that brings me to…” Chloe, sensing Rachel’s mood, started the sentence slowly, knowing they had to go through it. Her personal bias against the topic was not important though.

“They called again, huh?” Rachel didn’t even have strength to fight back and put the conversation through a different route. She was too tired to run away again or go any further. Knowing she would have to face the consequences and go through another hell of questioning and arguments was a distress, but she didn’t have a choice. She had felt choice-less for a while lately.

“Yeah, they did.” Chloe sighed again. “They probably… want you back.”

“They won’t get me back.”

“Rach…” Chloe kissed her temple. “Let’s just talk to them. You haven’t been in touch with your parents for months. I’m not a huge fan of them, but fuck, you have hella stuff to discuss.”

It was strange to sit here, just like two people in love, like an ordinary couple, enjoying the bay’s sweet scent. Rachel’s breath touched Chloe’s cheek with an ardent recurrence. Yet she didn’t seem angry.

Sha came here to relax after all.

“My parents gave up on me a long time ago.” Her voice was trembling and tranquil. “They saw me slipping, they saw me drugged and addicted, involved with the wrong people and being in the wrong places and I wasn’t the perfect daughter anymore. They don’t discuss disappointments, and I was and still am the bigger one.”

Chloe said nothing. Arguing about the facts was the phase they had passed a long time ago. Both girls knew the uncomfortable and unfair reality too well and started to learn how to accept it. Dealing with it was brining another big pile of issues though; a can of never-ending worms.

“And now they want me back, to talk to me even, only because you fixed me up. You and your mom and David. I’m back and running, well maybe not exactly, but fuck… They will try to force their unrealistic plans on me. I can fucking feel it.”

Forcing Rachel to do anything seemed impossible a few months ago. Right now, she was so weakened, fragile and infirm that Chloe couldn’t stop wondering if her girlfriend might be alright. If the pressure would be applied in the right dose and in the right place, Rachel might give up. There was no place for compromise with her parents, as they learned a long time ago. Overwhelmed by her own wrongdoings, Rachel was still very lost and off track. She slowly was showing signs of getting back on her feet, mentally of course, but still not everything was sorted out yet. Maybe they really should wait with this phone call.

On the other hand, Mr. Amber was pushy and didn’t leave them much choice. It was better to deal with him on the phone, with a conversation you could always stop with one click, than in person. He vowed to show up in Arcadia Bay if they wouldn’t call him back. Chloe didn’t want to scare Rachel with this possibility, but had to take it under consideration.

“They can’t force you to do anything. You are with me now, so...” She tried politely. It sounded like a desperate manipulation and felt almost like switching roles with the Rachel Amber she had known before.

“Chloe... you don’t fucking understand…” Rachel bit her lip, strengthening and freeing herself from the embrace. “They don’t know about... us.”

She got up and walked a few steps toward the rusted truck. She was shy, cute and nervous. Her movements were a little stiff and awkward. Chloe couldn’t stop herself from a short laugh.

“Are they blind?” Choking on her own smile, she adjusted the crooked beanie on her head. Holding Rachel was always messy, one way or another. “C’mon Rach... No one is that visually impaired.”

“Some people like to stay blind if it’s comfortable enough.” Rachel hissed angrily. She didn’t want to load this on Chloe, but was slowly losing her patience. “I was taught well.”

Here the supposedly perfect house card was played again. It was always in the play, but Chloe was more than annoyed by this serve.

“All right, Amber, stop blaming yourself again. You really think that’s the problem?”

Rachel was strangely more nervous and anxious than she should. It didn’t feel like her. Was she really worrying about her parents’ reaction to a relationship in general, or a relationship with Chloe in particular? The good old fear of Rachel Amber not being keen of reveling her involvement with a social delinquent returned in full force. Her self-esteem was never something Chloe would take advantage of, so she became unsure and awkward immediately.

“Partly, yes. They think you took care of me, along with your parents, as a friendly effort.” Rachel confirmed, opening her arms in a helpless gesture. The shivers and spasms inside her stomach intensified a little. She wasn’t sure if it was from the cleanup or the tension and anxiety.

“It was hella friendly!”

“Yeah, well you have to revisit your friendship definition, Price. I don’t think what you did to me in the bathroom stall a couple of weeks ago was something you do to all your gal pals.” She wrapped her arms around herself, a simple self-protection gesture.

Chloe really tried not to blush. She wasn’t embarrassed by any means, but the memories were still strong enough to boil her blood again.

“And if you do, we really have to talk seriously.” Rachel mumbled and winked playfully. The habit of flirting as a mental shielding was always the best protection from her own thoughts.

“I don’t and you know it.” Chloe grinned, and then grew thoughtful again “Rach… I’m as tired of these serious talks as much as you are, really. It seems that we don’t do anything else lately.”

“So, you’re not surprised that I preferred to delight myself with the view of a beautiful sunset than to jump to another one of those issues? Don’t we have enough on our plate right now?”

“I can’t blame you, and frankly I don’t give a damn about your parents.” Chloe also got up and rose her hands in a calming gesture.

“Damn, Price, you’re starting to quote the classics.” Rachel crossed her arms around her chest and looked at Chloe mischievously. The change of subjects was unintentional, but very needed. It would work perfectly a few months ago, but now Rachel had literally zero chance to win this game with the new edition of Chloe Price.

“I’m under a bad influence” Chloe gave a crooked smile, but she apparently didn’t want to give up. “But we have to sort it out. Together, ok? I will be by your side as we will fucking call them. Just that.” She was determined to solve one problem after another, one by one, and not to lose her focus. It was damn easy to get distracted with Rachel Amber, that’s why she didn’t even try to look into those hazel eyes.

“Fuck.” Rachel turned back, leaning on the cold, rough metal of truck’s bed, as she needed some support while getting her thoughts together. She was shaking again, although the reason was completely different. Chloe had to admit, she was surprised. Why was Rachel randomly afraid to talk to her father? She had never been afraid before. Why was this thing escalating and becoming the main dark cloud randomly? On the other hand – a lot of things had changed.

“What’s the problem Rachel? Talk to me.” Chloe walked to her, putting her hands on her shoulders.

“The problem with my parents, my father especially is... I don’t know how to force them to take me seriously. I gave them a hella ride, through drugs, arguments, arson and even Frank. I ran away from home more than once. I gave them way more than one reason not to trust my words, and me... in general. And now... I just don’t want to fuck up again, telling them about you and how important it is for me. They won’t believe me, thinking it’s another stupid thing in my life and ‘dear daughter, you will wait and learn, it’s yet another dumb fucked phase,’ as they’ve always been saying. I don’t want to introduce them to my life, my real life, like this and I don’t fucking know how to do it properly.” She was almost screaming at the end. Anger came easily to her, as natural as breathing.

“Rachel, I think you’re fucking exaggerating. It’s not a coming out talk. Really. They just want to know how you feel and shit.”

“But it might be. It will be anyway. You really think they will be fine with, oh I’m all right daddy, now fucking blow me? No, they will start digging, and question me over and over. I know how they roll, experienced it pretty often, and I don’t have strength right now to give them another theatrical performance. I know exactly what they will say, what they will ask about. You, me, and about everything else. They will come to the question of why I’m living under the same roof with your parents and with YOU and will ask when will I stop living there. I fucked up, you guys put me back together, equipped and patched up, thank you very much, Rachel can go. They’re gonna ask about the next step, Chloe, because that’s who they are. And my next step is your next step for fuck’s sake.”

“I love when you say it.” Chloe murmured, looking into her eyes.

“Yeah well, fucking adorable. Do you understand why I don’t want to take this call?”

“Partly. They don’t wanna trust you, fine. They don’t have to. What do you want, Rachel? You want to force them to love your choices? I’m probably the worst choice...”

“Don’t even start.” It was clearly a warning, but Chloe ignored it anyway.

“In your father’s eyes, yes, it’s true. A fucking high school dropout, a rebel and a broken girl from a broken home, as he said to me more than once. I’m the worst of your choices. Fine, what’s the big fucking deal. So, what? I took care of you when he forgot your phone number and bailed on you for months. If it’s not enough for him, nothing will. If I’m not enough for his precious daughter, great. And if I’m not, that’s not your problem.”

“Oh for fuck’s sake, Chloe! That’s not what this is about!” Rachel rolled her eyes. She loved the tone of her girlfriend’s voice, always protective and a little bit cocky, but this time Chloe was miles away from the real issue - the issue that Rachel would prefer not to elaborate about.

“Then what? That you’re gay?” Chloe opened her arms completely dumbfounded.

“I’m not gay.” Rachel sniffed, tucking her hair behind her left ear.

“Oh yeah? You were pretty gay in that bathroom stall.”

“Shut up, Chloe.” It was Rachel’s turn to blush. She wasn’t even sure why she kept denying and abnegating. She hated any kind of labels and formal description though. It didn’t matter if it was about sexual orientation or class assignments. “It’s not about being gay.” She whispered finally.

“Women! Why the hell do I have to love women!” Chloe raised her hands. “Can you just please tell me what’s the big deal? You are dancing around the problem like it was a fucking pole. And no!” She looked at her girlfriend threateningly. “No sexy jokes, please!”

“It’s about…” Rachel was digging a small hole in the ground with the top of her shoe. Being anxious made her even more beautiful. This whole honesty and no secrecy thing was pretty new and she still wasn’t great at explaining her deepest fears. Who was anyway?

“They will ask me about my plans for the future, ok?” She spilled out finally. The words came uneasily, more like a murmur than spoken sentences. “Not only for the next week or month, but in general. They will ask what are we planning to do, where to go and fucking shit like that, and I seriously don’t know. We didn’t graduate, we’re both hella jobless and I don’t wanna be a fucking model anymore… I was just living day by day with you and it’s seriously enough. I… was afraid of making any plans or dreams, since the second chance you gave me. Just in case…” She was stumbling on her words for a while, and finally fell silent.

Planning life with Rachel Amber wasn’t an uncommon thought for Chloe, but it had never had any solid form or strategy. They dreamed about running away to California or becoming rich and famous, but this was something entirely different. She was right. They couldn’t feed Rachel’s parents with this bullshit, cute or not, but disrespectful in the first place. If they would try, the whole conversation would become a huge fight with an even worse outcome. Lying and cheating wasn’t a way out, especially with the Ambers, who were way better with this sport. Chloe sighed, understanding the problem. Finally.

“So what’s the next step? What’s the next uniquely twisted location Chloe Price plus Rachel Amber equal?” She tried to joke, just to earn herself more time to think. She was actually overthinking the possibilities, trying to remember any remotely important thing they wanted to do together in the future, but except mornings in bed, freshly brewed coffee and kisses, she couldn’t find anything to hold on to.

Breakfasts and kisses would be nice anyway.

“Well… I don’t know.” Rachel didn’t want to look at her. “I can’t really… We can’t just pack and go. We can eventually, but… Graduating maybe… would be a… good idea I guess.”

“For both of us?” Chloe looked obviously concerned. Going back to school wasn’t at the top of her list. Hell, it wasn’t on the list at all to be honest. This idea wasn’t bad though. Just a little something to rely on and make a use of the time they had until a better plan or idea would form. Books, classes, more Arcadia Bay, bell rings, rules, more rules and people. New people who would like to know Rachel more, and would be in love with her, leaving love letters in her locker and… damn she’s selfish.

“If you want to…” Rachel added sheepishly.

“We can think about it. My mother would be fucking happy and you would be a goldstar girlfriend if you forced me to get back onto the path of education and knowledge….” Chloe couldn’t believe her words, but it was for the best.

“I’m not gonna force you, Chloe. I just, you know… think…” Rachel still didn’t dare to look at her girlfriend. “I just want something ordinary for us… Not extremely wild. I would like to just calm down a little… We went through so much, that... I just need something we can build on.” She felt very uncomfortable with her own thoughts. “I mean... It sounds stupid…”

“It doesn’t.”

“I just really want to be with you.”

“I know.” Famous Price’s helpful sentences during desperate conversations.

When Chloe had jumped on her truck and driven here, she expected a small fight, maybe an argument, maybe even a hot make out session, but this time she was bewildered, to say the least.

“So, school it is. We can at least graduate and then... we will see, right?” She finally agreed, without a single sign of enthusiasm or mere excitement.

Rachel nodded with resignation. It wasn’t exactly what they had planned or dreamed, but living in limbo didn’t help before and wasn’t an outstanding alternative. Getting back to school sounded tacky and coarse, like treason or betrayal. A free spirit leading another one to the most hated institution ever. Rachel felt a huge wave of disappointment, imaginary or not, emitted from the blue-eyed girl.

“Hey…” Chloe lifted her chin, looking into her eyes. “Hey, it’s ok, really.” She wrapped her in the smell of her leather jacket and cheap soap, embraced with the weakening smoke of a cigarette. “We will be fine.”

They were standing there for a long moment, until the stars sparkled the sky and the clouds shimmered from the moon behind them. The lighthouse’s outline dominated the space, throwing a long, dark shadow around. They hid in the darkness exchanging short kisses from time to time, like this moment was supposed to last forever.

“I love you, Chloe…” Rachel’s whisper brushed her ear.

“I love you too, Rachel.” Her girl hugged her closer.

The future didn’t look that ugly anymore.

“I’m gonna call my dad now.” Rachel sneaked out from her arms and dragged out her phone. She scrolled through her contact book slowly, but knew the phone number by heart anyway. Even after all those years. “Do you have a smoke?”

Chloe had one, of course. And a lighter; fucking full blue-haired service. Rachel lit the smoke up and inhaled, still looking at her phone. It was already dark, so the screen was the only source of light, except for the orange sparks of the cigarette.

“I need a moment” She finally tapped on the contact list and walked away, with the phone by her ear. Chloe was watching her carefully, surrounded by darkness and the monotonous song of the crickets. She learned years ago that when Rachel needed space you have to step back. Otherwise things get smashy. It wasn’t hard to guess why she was smoking too.

She tried not to listen and not get any snippets of the conversation, but Rachel didn’t go that far, and after a few minutes the talk first warmed up from a whisper to a firm tone, and then escalated to an angry hiss and a few yells. Chloe sighed, tilting her head. It was better to focus on crickets and the sounds of the crashing waves below anyway.

Rachel came back vexed, annoyed and with a blush on her cheeks, throwing her phone into the cabin of the truck. Her anger was barely visible regarding the time of the day, but Chloe knew her too well. Rachel’s mood switched radically. She was quiet and anxious the whole afternoon. Now, she looked outraged.

“How did it go?” Chloe asked casually, leaning on the car nonchalantly. “Did Rachel Amber finally tell her father she’s not interested in any of his customers’ handsome sons?”

“Very fucking funny. Do you really have to keep up with the gay thing? Fine.” Rachel jumped on the truck’s bed, and sat by her girl while combing her hair with her fingers. “Rachel Amber finally decided to tell her father she is not interested in anybody else except you… If you really must know. “

“Jokes aside,” Chloe squeezed her girlfriend’s hand. “How did it go? Really.”

“I’m not fucking joking, Price. He was talking mostly about money, so…” She dropped her head as the tears danced on her eyelashes. “How much do I need, how much do I spend, how much do I owe. Veni, vidi, cash, cash, cash.” She took one more smoke from Chloe’s pack. She was smoking too much, but right now the whole carton wouldn’t be enough. She wouldn’t mind a simple fix, just for tonight, just to forget.

She brushed off the thought, hard.

“They asked how I feel, how everything is going. I mentioned school, they seemed pleasant and they asked me to get back to them to California.”

“What?”

“You heard me. They are in Long Beach now anyway. They bought a house and a boat, starting a new amazing chapter in their lives and graciously asked me to join them. I was like… all right, but do you have two one way tickets or just one? Because, you know I WILL have company. And – bear with me – there came the moment I mentioned you. I told you it would happen, I fucking told you. And you were like nah, they just wanted to check on you.” Angry Rachel was amazingly intense. Angry Rachel mocking Chloe was beyond the normal capacity of intensity. “They… Well, he ignored whatever I wanted to say, of course. With all his diplomacy, he just started talking about how beautiful the beach is, how amazing the new house looks and how they even prepared a room for me, the merciful master of the fucking universe. I was like, alright dad, I got it. Did you get me a double bed then, or a fucking queen? Because if I’m ever gonna visit this house, I will be with my girlfriend.”

“You didn’t say it.” Chloe couldn’t imagine saying it to Joyce, not even David. They were still walking on thin ice with Rachel not sleeping on the couch, but there was no real argument or constructive discussion about it. Sometimes they mentioned something here and there asking uncomfortable questions, making her eras painfully itchy, but nothing direct. Overall, they just decided to look concerned every time they saw the girls together or holding hands, but pretended to be entirely unfamiliar with the truth, even if the facts were thrown in their faces every single day.

“Oh fuck, yes I did. He fucking provoked me. It wasn’t my intention to actually argue about furniture arrangements. I don’t give a shit about that house, boat or a fucking swimming pool. He ignored me again, of course, he didn’t want to listen and jumped to his dearest subject of all. Money. How much, when, how, check, cash, credit card, dollars or foreign currency. Money. Like they could buy me back…” She was too infuriated to start crying, but it hurt. Really hurt.

Chloe was waiting with a lit up smoke between her lips and arms around Rachel’s shoulders. It was like a desperate, yet loving attempt to tame down a flame. It was barely working but was too tempting not to try.

“I told him, politely, fucking politely, that thank you, it would be nice just to cut your mom a check, since I live under your roof and eat from your table…”

“You really didn’t have to.”

“Fuck yes I did. Shut up. And I confirmed, politely again, mind you, then I won’t be moving to California, thank you very much. And then it started.” Rachel rolled her eyes. “That I’m irresponsible, too young, too fragile, had changed too much, made too many mistakes, I hurt them on purpose, I’m a terrible mess and I just need some stability in my life. They were willing to provide this stability of course, if I just leave Arcadia Bay and start bending to their rules. Again.”

“And?” Chloe’s chest was aching a little bit. Maybe it was the cold wind from the bay, or she smoked too fast. Being afraid of another possibility of Rachel leaving her was unbearable. Her Santa Monica dream was so close, so… reachable.

“And fuck no, I’m not going anywhere without you, you dumbass!” Rachel frowned. “What the fuck did you think? Rachel fixed, Rachel can go? What the fuck, Price?”

Chloe didn’t know what to say, so just decided to kiss her instead. Surprisingly her girlfriend pushed her back lightly, sneaking out of her arms.

“Not now. When I finish.” Rachel choked. “Anyway... No California for me anytime soon. He got fucking mad and started yelling that he would come here and force me to go, kidnap me or something. Oh, I’m so sorry, he can’t since I’m not a minor anymore. And then we’re getting to your favorite subject, Price. Being gay. Happy? He was so progressive he generously would be able to accept my lifestyle, like I care, but...”

“But without me.”

“Congratulations, miss Price. You just won the fucking asshole diamond trophy. A fucking piñata filled with shit. But it got better, really. You won’t believe this. His clients breed not only handsome sons but also beautiful daughters, so If I want he can introduce me to a proper group of people, adequate to my social status, whatever the fuck it meant. And stop panicking Price, I told him to fuck off.”

Chloe started to realize that Rachel had just given up going back to her favorite place on earth just because she couldn’t go there without her. She easily rejected all the luxurious temptations, long evenings on the beach, cocktail parties, or whatever they call them there, with the hottest citizens on planet earth, not to mention pockets filled with cash. She wanted to get back there for a good four years now, and she just turned down this chance so easily… Chloe’s throat got scratchy, her chest felt heavy and her eyes were itching as hell.

“Well, all those beautiful hot Californian girls tanning by the swimming pool…” She muttered feeling embarrassed and puzzled. It was one of the most bizarre moments in her entire life. Someone was willing to sacrifice their dreams for her. It felt astonishingly good.

“Can you be serious just for one fucking minute?” Rachel hissed. “And stop daydreaming.”

Chloe allowed herself to show one single smirk before getting serious again. She was indeed daydreaming, but only about one Cali girl though.

“…And that was it.” Rachel tried to calm down her breath, but was simply too angry.

“You skipped some parts.” Chloe looked at her carefully, sending a shy smile. “Those lines when he was telling you what a terrible person I am.”

“I skipped on purpose. There is nothing worth repeating. Now fucking kiss me.”

Her girlfriend respectfully obeyed the command, and it was a kiss she missed the whole day. If she was really selfish and reckless she would ask Rachel to call her dad daily, just to get this one passionate caress every single evening.

Rachel bit her neck, moaned, crashed her lips with hers again. Dragging her closer, she was kissing her passionately like there was no tomorrow. Chloe responded joyfully and willingly, providing all her desire and longing. They hadn’t kissed like that in days and even an hour without feeling her girl close seemed like a painful torture for Chloe Price. She was addicted to this fire, to those scratches on her back, to the sparkles in those hazel eyes and half open ravishing lips. She tried a rehab once. It didn’t work out.

Chloe wasn’t the only one longing. Rachel was always direct and straightforward, so she didn’t hide her intentions trying to drag her girl onto the truck’s bed. She wrapped her legs around Chloe’s waist at the same time, pressing her hips closer. It made the whole operation way more complicated, but you don’t expect a fire to burn constructively. She ripped off her girlfriend’s beanie and threw it somewhere, just to tangle her blue hair freely, make a mess - this sweet passionate mess Chloe missed so much.

Kissing Rachel was always messy.

Chloe crawled on the truck, half stumbling and half blind with passion, wishing she could have a blanket or anything else to protect Rachel from the rusty metal, but it was too late anyway. She heard her jacket getting unzipped, one fast whisper, and the kisses and bites on her neck got even more intense.

“Rach…” she moaned, noticing she was indeed lying on her girlfriend, wrapped in her arms and legs, feeling how ready and hungry she was. Chloe kept promising herself that the very next time would be in a proper bed, with a proper romantic atmosphere, candles, roses and all that shit, but somehow there was never enough time or the right place. She would be strong though, it’s just kissing. Her hand was now under Rachel’s shirt and she found herself pushing against her lips to kiss her even harder. How did it happen? She couldn’t control herself. This time for good.

When Rachel felt her touch on her bare skin, her whole body tightened, and her mind curled to one single thought. “What are you doing to me…” She choked on her own whisper, wanting more and more of this touch, of those hands and fingers.

“Do you want me to stop?” Chloe asked, not expecting any answer and not willing to terminate what was coming anyway unless Rachel would really want to stop her of course, but it would never fucking happen. She had been waiting too long and all hell had already broken lose.

“Please don’t stop…” A quiet begging whisper, directly into her ear, and Rachel’s hands were on her back, nails scratching, teeth marking her neck, shoulders, lips. It was too much and yet it would be never enough. Chloe broke the kiss, took of her jacket—shit—almost ripped her own clothes off. She got tangled herself in her own bra, helplessly trying to get rid of it as well, looking like a very desperate imprisoned butterfly, but the moment passed quickly and she was kissing her Rachel again, responding to every whisper, every moan and every wish.

Even if Chloe had a hidden agenda of being slow and careful, it all burned down the same moment Rachel took off her shirt, fast and hurrying, then dragging her closer again. Her girl liked to burn things down, she was a hella experienced arsonist; a dangerous one, especially when she really needed something. Chloe was lucky though, they both were in need.

Rachel was rushing so much that she didn’t even notice getting a broken nail while unbuckling Chloe’s belt and then freeing herself from the same obstacle. She took over, no questions asked, as she had done many times before. But when there were no barriers, no drawbacks between them, only their touch and rough rusted metal below, she withdrew slowly letting Chloe to take control. It was a huge sacrifice on her part and it didn’t go unnoticed.

It was way too late to be tender and slow. Especially for Chloe. She took her hard, and fast, faster, and the way Rachel responded, how she answered, blew her mind away. Her moans, barely audible at first, grew, strengthened, got louder, while melting under every single touch and stroke. Holding Chloe closer, dragging her on herself, moving her hips around her hand, she let herself go completely.

Chloe always thought that ‘fucking your brains out’ was a meaningless expression. Damn, she was wrong. Rachel’s impatience wasn’t restricted only to her own being. She was drunk and high on Chloe, the best high in the world, and wanted to make her hers again, imprint her again with everything she had. Feeling how eager and sensitive Chloe was to her touch, made her more desperate. She was yours, only yours, now and fucking forever, she couldn’t think anymore, she didn’t have to. What’s thinking anyway? Who needs it? Chloe didn’t even notice scratching her elbow so hard on some rusty metal piece that left a bloody mark.

They say passion should be dosed carefully, but there was anything but carefulness right now.

Just before the world exploded, Rachel forced herself to open her eyes and look at Chloe. Her sight was wild and frantic, she barely could see anything, but she wanted to see her face, and the storm of blue hair when coming.

It was hard, beyond hard.

It took them a moment to be able to speak again. Longer than ever before.

“Holy shit.”

“Right?” Rachel was gazing at the starry sky, trying to catch her breath. Her eyes were wide open, her hair was tangled and her heart couldn’t stop racing. She looked at her girlfriend who was clearly trying to put herself back together. Rachel reached for Chloe’s chapped lips, her fingers danced on them, still feeling the desire in every gasp of air.

Their eyes met and no words were necessary. Any kind of spoken language was only an obstacle from living this moment. Living to the fullest.

The moment had passed exactly when they started to get cold. Oregon summer can be very cold, especially on top of a cliff while you are lying on a metal piece of trash and there is literally nothing between your body and the cool ocean breeze - except for your significant other, of course.

“That was really something.” Rachel whispered finally. She turned to Chloe, covering herself with all the clothes she could grab around. Modesty wasn’t her first and leading motivation, but in Chloe’s eyes she looked as innocent as ever. The sudden movement rocked the truck a little bit, producing a series of squeaks and hollow sounds. This truck had seen a lot, but nothing that wild before. Chloe had to smile, still overwhelmed and damn fucking happy.

She had missed her. It had been too long.

They had shared a few moments of intimacy in the famous bathroom stall of a restaurant a couple weeks ago, but it was not even half that passionate. Chloe stopped her girlfriend in the last moment, excusing herself with a promise she had made. It was an excuse indeed. They were avoiding any kind of temptation since then, treating the situation as an accidental encounter and nothing that mattered. Not only because of the addiction or the rehab, not only because the next time was supposed to be fully romantic in the worst tacky soap-opera style, but Chloe was still trying to process Rachel’s affair with Frank. She didn’t joke about her heart breaking into a thousand pieces and it obliviously also affected the tension between them. It was frustrating, hurtful, painful sometimes, but Rachel somehow managed to wait. She knew it was her fault anyway, so she didn’t push. Not hard anyway.

These weeks of forced celibacy changed Rachel Amber, made her think things over. She used sex as a tool to control, and it was frustrating not to be able to, not to bribe Chloe with another seductive kiss or with a sweet promise of another passionate night. She was stripped from her power, not being able to act on the temptation, even her own so to speak. She didn’t give up completely though, sensing an almost visible tension unconsciously, but the wait made her sore inside and out. Mentally and physically.

The intimacy was a taboo for a long time and even if they were sleeping in the same bed and tried to make out, Chloe was always stopping at some point. Rachel had to give up so many times, couldn’t force herself to pressure her girlfriend, too scared and afraid that she would lose her forever. They were joking about sex, provoking, testing the waters, inviting, tempting and playing with the idea, but Rachel found herself too frightened to ask directly or even demand, like she had liked to do in their good old days.

“Are we back on track?” Now she finally asked, watching Chloe silently to this moment. It sounded nonchalant, but she was damn nervous. If Chloe decided to avoid her again, she would seriously consider howling to the fucking moon.

“Stop reading my mind, Amber. It’s fucking creepy.” Came the response, spiced with a stupid, dumb happy smile.

“I can’t help it.” Rachel tenderly kissed the top of her nose. “I’m sorry if the question was… Too far?”

“No.” Chloe’s voice was pleasantly raspy. Rachel couldn’t help but smirk. She kissed Chloe again, slowly this time. It was nice not to rush after all. She might have learned a thing or two through those two months.

“Why did I ever think it was a good idea in the first place?” Chloe covered her eyes with her arms, gasping with frustration. Her elbow was still bleeding a little.

“You were hurt, baby.” Her girlfriend tried to cover her as much as she could with two pairs of pants, shirts and a jacket. It looked more like a homeless guy’s dream than a love nest, but it was the thought that counted. “You are still hurting. My fucking fault. I’m sorry if I was too direct.”

“You fucking were. But fuck it. Damn. Well... yeah... Fuck. The hell...” Chloe mumbled still covering her face.

“We are very literate tonight, aren’t we?” Rachel rested her head on her hand, while still drawing on her girlfriend’s chest with other palm, slowly moving her fingers around her neck, breasts, belly button. Chloe didn’t even try to cover herself, so no one could blame Rachel Amber for taking advantage of the situation.

“I can’t think. It’s your fault.” Another blue-haired mumble.

“This blame I can always take.” Rachel was laughing. Finally, and freely. If there was anything to make her feel complete, it was her embarrassed and shy girlfriend lying on front of her, covered only by a few scraps of clothes and the star light.

Dressing up is always harder, more difficult and requires way more movements than taking all the clothes off. Rachel started the uncomfortable procedure, and Chloe followed after a short moment of hesitation. They finally collected all the pieces, laughing and joking, and Rachel finally was able to look into Chloe’s eyes.

“You’re beautiful.” She said simply, watching in awe as Chloe Price was reaching her limit of blushing. Her girlfriend never knew how to respond to complements, fake or real, and this time wasn’t different.

“I mean it.” Rachel stopped Chloe’s hand reaching for a smoke, and then turned her face to meet her eyes. “You are. I’m fucking lucky that I’m yours.”

The usual response would be “fuck you, Rachel”, but Chloe was really seriously and dangerously speechless. She just brushed a tangled lock of hair from Rachel’s face, not sure what to do with herself.

“How did you survive?” She asked suddenly, trying an old tactic of changing the topic slightly. The question sounded as random as thunder on a sunny day.

“Survive what exactly?” Rachel got suspicious, but tilted her head playfully. She was still in a flirtatious mood.

“Sleeping with me in the same bed, under the same blanket and not being able to fuck me.” Chloe blurted out, finally being able to light up a cigarette. Her hands were still shaking and all her clothes felt unusually heavy.

“It’s called making love, you dumbass.” Rachel smirked lightly, also grabbing a smoke.

“Is it really? Did you buy a new dictionary or something?” The old cocky and rebellious Chloe was back.

“Chloe, even when I’m fucking you, it’s really making love. And close your mouth, you look silly.” She smiled and exhaled the smoke. Chloe tilted her head and murmured something, focusing on her lighter. “Did you mumble something important and wise, or was that just one those after-sounds?” Rachel was obviously pleased with the whole situation. Pleased, satisfied and happy.

“I said you didn’t answer my question!”

“What question? Ah… Well, it was hard and fucking torturous but I deserved it. Some actions have consequences unfortunately. Fucking Chloe Price was tempting me every night, especially with those Star Wars PJ pants.” Chloe was more than adorable while embarrassed. “But I’ve never promised you to be a good girl though. I could always touch myself, you dork. Of course, after you fell asleep.”

“You were what?”

“I’m gonna buy you this dictionary for your birthday.” Rachel sighed, to hide a playful laugh. “You tempted a girl, so the girl had to work her way out, right? You were kissing me goodnight, even making out with me and then passing out. What the fuck did you think? That I will take a cold shower every single time? Joyce would have killed me after seeing the water bill. I’ve never woken you up though. You know how loud I can get, so…” She waved the smoke off her face, with an alluring smile. “Yes, you have the right to be impressed.”

Chloe wasn’t that sure about it, she wasn’t sure about anything at the moment. She vaguely remembered some quiet moans between one dream and another, but since her nights were filled with dreams containing very mature content she didn’t pay very much attention to it.

“Should I wake you up the next time?” Asking Rachel to stop teasing was like asking the weather to change.

Chloe looked at her with such fire, and Rachel’s heart started racing again. “I think you won’t have any strength for it.” She responded slowly. “But if you do… damn right you have to wake me up. To watch at least.”

There was another moment of temptation. The night got pretty warm again—more like sweating hot.

Chloe’s phone vibrated on the metal board with a terrible, horrid sound. Once, twice, and then the damn thing couldn’t stop buzzing. She really tried to ignore it, but the noise was too profound.

“Pick up, for fuck’s sake.” Rachel rolled her eyes.

“It’s a text. Texts. Plural.” Chloe was checking impatiently, ready to throw the phone away and get back to the more important thing. Then her hand slowed down, scrolling though the messages again and again, back and forth, not trusting her own ability to read. She shook her head, narrowing her eyes, and her whole being was silently asking “What the fuck?”

“What’s wrong?” Rachel ditched the smoke, concerned a little bit. Chloe was the last person on earth to lose herself over her phone. It had to be important, and in their case, important usually equaled worrying.

“You’re not gonna believe it.”

Rachel frowned, and asked for more explanation with a wide gesture.

“Max is here. She’s waiting for us at home.” Chloe was reading the messages wide eyed.

“What?”