“Why did we have to stop?” Max asked as she followed Chloe into the dusty motel room, crossing her arms as the blue haired girl tossed the key card onto the bedside table. “We’ll never get to LA if we stop just because it’s dark.”
“I’ve been driving for five hours, I’m hella tired.” She shrugged out of her jacket, removing her beanie before running one hand through her hair as she looked at Max, who was glancing around the room without letting her eyes stay on any spot for more than three seconds.
“Why don’t we watch some TV?” Chloe suggested, picking up the remote. “Turn our brains off for a while.” Max didn’t answer her, so she pushed the red power button on the remote, turning on the old TV that sat on a table against the wall near the foot of the bed.
“The quaint, seaside town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon was leveled by a freak tornado…”
“Chloe, turn it off,” Max said, closing her eyes when she heard the newscaster’s somber voice. She didn’t need to look at the screen to know what the accompanying video was, an aerial shot of their destroyed hometown. She’d already seen it up close, she didn’t need to see it from above.
“The search for survivors…”
The newscast continued as Chloe pressed down on the power button.
“Rescuers remain hopeful…”
“I’m trying!” Chloe pushed all the buttons on the remote, trying to change the channel, turn the volume down, anything. “Stupid fucking piece of shit!”
“Chloe, please!” Max begged, sounding on the verge of tears.
Chloe didn’t look at the other girl as she threw the remote at the TV, shattering the dust covered glass. She blinked as smoke rose from the old box set. “It’s off,” she said with a shrug.
Max let out a cross between a laugh and a choking sob as she raised her right hand, rewinding the room and repairing the TV. It was like second nature, rewinding when something went wrong even though Max swore to herself she’d never use her powers again, after the destruction it caused. No amount of rewinding could fix what she'd done.
“Why don’t we watch some TV? Turn our brains off for a while.”
This time, Max put her hand on top of Chloe’s, stopping her before she pushed the power button. “I don’t want to watch TV,” she told her as she took her bag off her shoulder. “But I do have an idea for how to turn our brains off.”
Before Chloe had a chance to ask Max what she meant, the shorter girl was leaning up to kiss her, pushing her down onto the bed and straddling her legs. Without separating their lips, Max unzipped her hoodie and pulled it off, dropping it onto the floor.
Chloe placed her hands against Max’s hips, pushing her back gently, leaning back enough to break the kiss. “What are you doing?”
Max didn’t answer immediately, threading her fingers through the strands of blue hair at the back of Chloe’s head. “I just… need to be close to you. I need you. I’m just…” She blinked at Chloe, as if she was just realizing that she was sitting on top of her and wasn’t sure how she got there. She shook her head and slid out of Chloe’s lap, falling onto the bed on her back.
“I wasn’t complaining,” Chloe clarified. “I was just wondering. Are you okay?”
Max looked up at the ceiling, blinking once before answering. “Everyone is dead,” she muttered. “You died. I saw you die. I watched you… you died, I don’t know how many times. I don’t want to count. So, no, I’m not okay. I feel like… like I’m gonna wake up and you’ll be gone and all this’ll be over. I’ll be back in Arcadia and everything’ll be fine but you… you’ll be gone.”
“Hey.” Chloe turned to look at Max, shaking her head. “I’m here, okay? I’m right here.” She took Max’s hand, placing it on her chest over her heart, making sure she could feel it pounding in her ribcage. “I’m alive. I’m real. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.”
“I’m not going anywhere either. Never again,” Max told her. “Sorry that I kissed you like that. That wasn’t cool.”
Chloe laughed. “Just so we’re clear, you have permission to kiss me whenever you want. A little warning next time you climb on top of me and start taking your clothes off would be nice but again, not really complaining.”
Max laughed quickly, shaking her head. “You’re such a dork.” She inhaled deeply then slowly exhaled. “I’m exhausted.”
Chloe moved to lay against the pillows, holding one arm out to Max. “Come here,” she said softly. Max laid down next to Chloe, her arm came around her and soft lips pressed against her forehead. “I’ll be here when you wake up, I promise.”