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Vortex

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It’s been five months, one week, six days, and an hour since Rachel was rendered missing by the city. Chloe counts every minute like clockwork, mostly because she has nothing better to do anymore and she surely couldn’t be assed to find something to do. But she does have something to do and it involves that little fucker in the girls bathroom.

She slips inside the Blackwell building without much effort on her half and goes straight to the bathroom, not stopping to say hi to anyone. She barely knew a lot of people and kept a lot of people at arms length especially after Max left and Rachel’s six month disappearance.

Chloe didn’t understand why Nathan even wanted them in the girls bathroom since another place could’ve worked out, but she didn’t have time to lament on it. She wanted cash. She needed a head start in getting the fuck out of Arcadia Bay, and fast.

When she enters the room, she glares at Nathan shortly before heading towards the stalls. “So what do you want?” He snarls out.

“I hoped you checked the perimeters as my step-ass would say,” she chides, opening each door for any signs of humans listening in on their deal. “Now let’s talk bidness—”

“I have nothing for you.”

Chloe turns around and sneers. “Wrong. You’ve got hella cash.”

“That's my family, not me."

"Oh boo boo, poor little rich kid. I know you've been pumpin' drugs n' shit to kids 'round here." She walks to Nathan's right side and gets close to him, dangerously close to see him twitching. "I bet your respectable family would help me out if I went to them. Man, I can see the headlines now—"

"Leave, them out of this, bitch," Nathan commands.

Chloe isn't having that. She needs something stronger to convince Nathan to fork up the hush money, and fast. "I can tell everybody that Nathan Prescott is a punk ass who begs like a little girl and talks to himself—"

Chloe pushes him one last time, which prompts Nathan to pull out a loaded gun and aim it at Chloe. "You don't know who the fuck I am, or who you're messing around with!"

Chloe puts her hands up in defense, darting her head around the place in fear. "Where'd you get that? What are you doing? Come on, put that thing down."

Chloe backs up into a wall, prompting Nathan to aim the gun on her abdomen, holding the wall with his free hand. Chloe feels nothing but adrenaline and nerves. "Don't ever tell me what to do, i'm so sick of people trying to control me!"

"You are going to get in hella more trouble for this than drugs—"

"Nobody would ever even miss your punk ass, would they?"

Suddenly, the sound of a fire drill is heard. With that distraction, Chloe thrusts her knee between Nathan’s legs, then punches him in the face. The gun starts flying almost across the room. “You fucking psycho! Guess I’ll have to report this to your shitty family.” Without another word, Chloe storms out and tries to leave unseen by other students trying to exit the building during one of Wells’ surprise fire drills.

Growling to herself, Chloe slams on her dashboard then rubs her hands on it, soothing it from her weekly abuse. Not only has she not get any money from Nathan, her angel is still missing and everyone has basically called off the search and moved on with their lives. Even James Amber stopped looking for his daughter, knowing that he lost her a while before that and it makes Chloe sick to her stomach to think about. Granted, she never liked James but she knew he loved her daughter enough to protect her from a drug dealer. His actions are still unorthodox and Chloe would rather think about other things.

She pulls out a cigarette from her pocket and looks for her lighter, hoping that the smell of tobacco will stop an impending panic attack from almost being held at gunpoint by a mentally ill fuck who probably stole that gun from his father and didn’t think to unload it and it was Chloe’s dumb luck that she got away without so much of a scratch. She relaxes when she finds her lighter, and leans against her truck, smoking her cigarette.

She needed to get away from here. Ever since Rachel’s disappearance, Chloe hasn’t stopped looking for the girl. She searches high and low, tearing up Rachel’s old dorm and bedroom, interrogating people to the point where she made several students cry and even stopped talking to Steph and the North brothers for a while to focus on finding her beautiful angel who saved her from probably taking her own life before she turned eighteen. But, she wants to stop thinking about Rachel.

Stop thinking about Arcadia Bay.

Stop thinking about William, David, and Joyce.

Stop thinking about Max.

She narrows her eyes as she scans the parking lot. There’s Warren with some girl she didn’t know or care about. There’s also an uppity bitch she used to know, texting away on her phone as usual. Sighing, she decides to get inside her car and drive away from the campus instead of entertaining anything else concerning Blackwell and its students. She narrowly misses hitting Nathan on the way but she didn't give a shit. She should've hit him after what he tried to do.


 

Victoria's texting is suddenly interrupted by shouting nearby. She wouldn't think too much of it if she doesn't see Nathan shouting at what seems to be Lamefield. She shouldn't give a shit. She hates Max Caulfield more than she hated anyone (and that included that dumb bitch Juliet Watson). But, her instincts kick in once she sees him twitching and she walks over there. “Nate!”

Nathan turns around and glares at Victoria. “What do you want, pixie?”

“Come with me, we have Vortex Club handlings,” Victoria lies. “I have weed.” Nathan glares at Lamefield and Gayram one last time, then follows Victoria. She misses Maxine’s thankful look. “What the fuck are you doing meddling with Gayram and Lamefield? And did you take your meds?”

“I don't take my meds anymore—”

“Which is why you're practically twitching around like you're tweaked,” Victoria scolds. She pulls him inside her dorm room, almost forgetting what she did earlier (which was prank Juliet Watson for that article she wrote last week) and glares at him again. “Do you want to get suspended for endangering someone else's life...again?”

“No,” Nathan sighs. “And I knew Caulfield was in that bathroom when I was trying to discuss something with that blue haired Price bitch.”

Chloe Price? What the fuck would you want from that gangly bitch other than cheap ass weed?” Victoria never liked Chloe Price, even when they attended school together. She was thankful when she got expelled and fucked off, meaning she wouldn't have to deal with her and Rachel, but Rachel was still a thorn on her shoulder until she fucked off too.

“We had important shit to discuss. And speaking of weed—“

Victoria scoffs and thrusts one of her joints towards her best friend. “You’re lucky you’re my friend, otherwise I would’ve smacked you for taking my weed.”

“Maybe next time don’t tempt me with the good ol’ ganja,” Nathan states, blowing marijuana smoke in Victoria’s face. When Nathan takes another drag, Victoria grabs his face and inhales the second hand smoke from his exhale as swiftly as possible. “Goddamn, Victoria. Give me a warning next time.”

“Shut the hell your mouth,” She mumbles, and exhales the watered down smoke.

It was enough for Nathan to lean in again and kiss Victoria instead. She doesn’t even push him away suddenly like usual. But after a few seconds of harsh lip biting, Victoria then pushes him off and glares at him shortly. “You know I don’t do that shit anymore.”

“Kiss me or kiss boys?” Nathan inquires, wagging his eyebrows with a fascinated smirk.

Victoria doesn’t answer. Instead she just blows smoke in Nathan’s face and gives him the rest of the joint. “I’m gonna go find Price and give her a piece of my mind.”

“Good luck with that,” is the last thing she hears before the door closes. She smirks as she watches Juliet glaring at her as she passes by. She felt for the trick, hook line and sinker.

There are only a few places where the Price girl hangs out at other than this campus. The diner, and that ratty old junkyard. With her hunch, she heads for the junkyard by getting inside her car and driving off. She’s never been here and would like for it to stay that way, but she’s on a mission. Nobody fucks with her best friends, and that includes Kari Price.

She easily finds the bitch napping inside her shitty car. She smacks on the hood to wake the girl up. “Fuck!” Chloe shouts, then glares at Victoria while exiting the car. “You don’t belong here.”

Victoria merely cackles. “Oh please, Price. As if you own this place. Then again, trash is usually attracted to other trash.”

Chloe narrows her eyes and inches closer to Victoria. “I mean it, bitch.”

“I was looking for you,” Victoria states firmly. “Nate seemed pretty tweaked and he said he had business with you, so spill it out Price.”

Chloe snorts. “Your little boyfriend pulled a gun on me. Had I not think on my toes, my brain matter would be all over the bathroom floor.”

Victoria hated it when people accused her of dating Nathan. She also hated when people accused him of doing shit but that’s another story. “You’re bluffing.”

“I don’t bluff, I speak facts...and Nathan isn’t right in the head.”

“So are you, so I’m not sure—“

Chloe grabs Victoria’s shirt and pushes her towards the exit. “Why the fuck would you come all the way over here just to tell me I’m a liar? Ask your pervy ass boyfriend why he was taking pictures of me unconscious and why he decided to pull a gun on me when I threatened to tell his parents that he’s into some shady shit!” Nothing else is said. “Go on, ask him. And don’t come back to me defending your piece of shit of a boyfriend ever again.”

“He’s not my boyfriend,” Victoria argues firmly.

Chloe merely scoffs. “And I’m not convinced. Trust me, everyone can hear your screeches from across the town.”

Victoria clenches her fists. “Shut the fuck up, Price.”

“That white dick must be good huh?” Chloe taunts, smirking wider as Victoria grows even angrier. “Do you swallow his psychotic man juice or do you spit it out like a whore?”

“I’m warning you—“

“Or does he pull out and give you a nice little pearl necklace?”

Victoria’s anger suddenly bubbles over as she delivers a right hook on Chloe’s face. She smirks victoriously as Chloe stumbles against her car and touches her cheek to check for blood. Chloe quickly recovers and glares at Victoria. Chloe punches her back but Victoria stands her ground, merely checking if she was bleeding, then charging at the blue headed demon with a loud screech.

Chloe’s back collides with the hood of her car but she deflects Victoria’s fists and pushes her on the dirty ground. “Get out of my sight.” Victoria gets up and dusts herself off before giving Chloe a deadly stare. “I said go away!” Chloe yells and stomps her foot.

“Don’t fuck with me or my friends ever again,” Victoria growls. With that, she stomps away, getting some dirt out of her hair as she keeps walking.

That wasn’t as successful as she would like to think. Victoria never really cared for fighting other girls in school but when she did have to, she did it. However Chloe was just taller and not willing to fight like Victoria. Then again, Victoria would’ve embarrassed Price even more so maybe that was a good decision after all.

Going back to school after that was as calm as she expected. However, when she reached the dorms, all hell broke loose.

“You evil bitch!” Juliet yells at her and storms over to her, only to be held back by Dana.

“Oh no Dana, let her go. I would love to knock this bitch down on her flat ass,” Victoria smirks. She’s still fired up from her fight with Chloe, so if someone wants to fight, she’s gonna fight them. “And it seems like you got my message.”

“If I didn’t have help from Max I would’ve locked my own best friend in her room for hours!” Juliet exclaims. “This is exactly why I wrote those articles in the newspapers. You’re a fucking bully and you’ll stop at nothing to hurt others.”

“Are you hurt?”

That simple comment almost sends Juliet off but Dana once again proves that she’s stronger. “Stay away from me!” Juliet shouts.

Victoria shrugs. “As long as you stay away from me, we won’t have any more problems. And that means keeping my name ten feet from your future articles.”

Juliet shrugs Dana off and walks to her dorm, slamming the door behind her. Suddenly Dana glares at Victoria and she would be scared if she wasn’t high on adrenaline right now. “Not cool, Vic.”

“Ok? Serves her right for putting my name on the article even after I told her not to.”

“No, you tried to stop her from posting the entire article—“

“Because that would stop future people from joining the club—“

“The club isn’t even that great, Victoria,” Dana admits. “I think you even know that. All we do is throw parties and bully kids. We should be more inclusive and friendly, not excluding people because they don’t look a certain way.”

“I haven’t seen either you or Watson complaining about the parties. In fact, she’s just a valued member as you are!” Victoria claims. “You know what? I don’t care about this shit anymore. I need a shower and your ugly ass best friend almost killed my entire vibe.”

“When will you stop being so mean to everyone?” Dana asks as Victoria takes a couple steps towards her room. “I’ve seen you be nice to people, like Taylor. Why can’t you show that to some of us? Maybe we wouldn’t be so compelled to dislike and namedrop you.”

“I don’t have to be nice to any of you,” Victoria growls. “Especially not to you or Watson. Now fuck off.” She clenches her fists and keeps on walking to her room, closing her door with a hard slam. Narrowing her eyes, she sees her pictures rearranged. Knowing exactly who it is, she lets out a loud screech and storms to her neighbor’s door. She doesn’t bother with knocking and enters, finding the dumb bitch sitting on her bed and doing what appears to be homework.

“What are you doing here?” Max inquires, giving a very stink look towards Victoria.

“If you ever step foot inside my room again and mess up my shit, I will destroy your entire being,” Victoria threatens. “Is that understood, Bitchfield?”

“Bitchfield! Another good one by the Queen Bitch herself!” Max deadpans. “And sure, whatfuckingever. Now can you leave my room before I call security?”

Victoria didn’t believe she could clench her fists even further but she does. After her skirmish with Price and almost getting into it with Watson, she’s not in the mood for Caulfield’s attitude. “I mean what I said, and it's not an empty threat. I don’t play games, and I don’t kid. Mess up my shit and I will destroy you.” She turns around and goes to her room without another word. Fuck. Next time, she’s kicking people out before she leaves so she can lock the door.

Chapter Text

After Victoria storms away from the junkyard, Chloe checks her face out in the reflection, seeing a busted cheek and what seems to be a forming black eye. It almost reminds her of that time she was punched in the face by those drunk bikers the first time she met Rachel, only a lot worse because Victoria was indeed sober, and seemingly stronger than a bunch of drunk men. Her eye is seriously hurting. “Shit,” she mutters. Now she needs to ice it, which means going back home to her questioning mother and her shitty ass stepfather. They’ll definitely ask questions.

Risking it, she drives home. It isn’t very quiet because David is watching television but she slips in unnoticed. After getting a couple ice cubes with a cloth, she goes straight upstairs and places the cloth over her eye.

She barely expected to be held at gunpoint by Nathan and then punched in the face by Victoria in one day. To her knowledge, both of them are fucking assholes. She may have to use her alternative plan to extort money from the Prescotts by using Nathan and his little photography fetish. However, she doesn’t know where the little nub lives. Rachel did, but she’s missing. The only other person that might know would be the one person she hated just as much as she hated Nathan, and Chloe doubts she would get any information from the Chase heiress after their fight earlier, but it’s worth a try.

When Chloe wakes up the next morning, she plans out the agenda for the next few months in her head: get Chase to confess about Nathan’s estate, convince his parents to give her hush money, and find Rachel’s possible whereabouts. If it goes well, she’ll be gone before Christmas. She will go straight to LA to find Rachel and they can live their lives away from the cesspool that is named Arcadia Bay. If not, anything beats spending the rest of her life in Arcadia Bay. She’ll be homeless in Hollywood and it’s tons better than staying another hour at her shitty hometown.

She waits until both her mom and David walk out before getting her usual smoke on. She opens the window and plays some Fleetwood Mac on her radio, ignoring the thought that her neighbors may get pissed off. Who cares? Not Chloe.

After a few minutes to collect herself, Chloe grabs her keys and climbs out the window and then drives straight to the school. As much as she hated Blackwell, she’s always here either to interrogate some of the students about Rachel’s whereabouts or to reapply Rachel’s missing posters. She never had much friends other than Rachel (and maybe Justin) but she recognizes faces from when she used to go here. Everyone was either fake or a straight up geek that she didn’t exactly care about. Or a fucking wallflower who was probably worse than Maxine Caulfield, and succumbed to some freak injury.

Right when she’s about to go to the dorms, Victoria appears talking with Taylor Christensen and some other girl that Chloe didn’t care to know about. Rubbing her hands together, she approaches the girl. “So how’s that bruise healing up?”

Victoria stiffens, then orders her friends to go without her. When her friends walk away, Victoria glares at Chloe. “You have some nerve even approaching me after what happened yesterday.”

“Are you still mad that I called you out on your bullshit and smacked the shit outta you?”

Victoria snarls. “Oh, you did all of that?”

“Yeah, I did. Serves you right for trespassing.”

“Do you even realize that you were trespassing yourself?” Victoria argues. “You know what? Don’t fucking answer that. What the fuck are you doing here? Haven’t you caused enough trouble at a school you don’t even attend anymore?”

Chloe wanted to die instead of asking Victoria for something like this. “I...need a favor.”

“Right, you need a favor from the girl you punched yesterday.”

Chloe grinds her teeth together, as if it isn’t already damaged from grinding them at times throughout the years. “I just need to know where the Prescotts live...and since you probably know where he lives…”

Victoria stares at Chloe incredulously, then laughs. “Oh my god. You’re seriously asking me for Nathan’s address?”

“I'm not laughing along with you, so yes I am.”

Victoria raises a curious eyebrow. “What are you up to, Price? I thought the plan was to find your angel.”

“This is a part of the plan, idiot,” Chloe retorts.

You are the fucking idiot, Chloe Price,” Victoria says angrily. “If you really think I'm just gonna share my best friend’s address with the likes of you, then you are sorely mistaken. I don’t know what the hell you have up your sleeve, but I'm not gonna fall down with you to a path of inexplicable despair.”

Chloe should’ve known that she needed to build Victoria’s trust first in order to do that. Then again, she despises Victoria and there must be someone else who knows Nathan’s address. “You know what? Go fuck yourself.”

“Oh, the original ‘go fuck yourself’ line from Chloe Elizabeth Price,” Victoria says sardonically. “You know what, dumbass? If you have any brain cells left from smoking all that stale reefer, you would’ve googled the address instead of asking me.”

“Shit, why didn’t I think of that!” Chloe groans.

“Wow, you’re even stupider than I expected. Then again, you didn’t complete high school so—“

“Shh,” Chloe shushes Victoria with a hand movement, as she types in a couple words in the search bar. “Bingo. Now I can finally expose Mr. Prescott.”

“Are you still convinced that Nate took pictures of you?”

Chloe grinds her teeth and pulls put a picture from her back pocket. She unfolds it and thrusts it in Victoria’s line of vision. “There. Now you believe me? You think this was taken to my knowledge?”

Victoria snatches the photo from Chloe’s grip and glares at it. “What the fuck?” She turns to Chloe with an expression that Chloe couldn’t read. “When did this happen? How did this happen?”

“I don’t know...last month? The 22nd?” Chloe explains. “I was at a bar when Nathan was there. He took me to his room and we were just talking mad shit. I wanted some of his money so I can get out of there but before I knew it, I was unconscious for a while. I woke up and he was just snapping away with his camera. I kicked him and left without much to say. Then when I was conscious I snuck in his dorm and swiped this photo for evidence, just in case I have to present it to cops or whomever will listen to me.”

“Shit...fuck...so this is what he does when he disappears.”

“You know that he’s missing at random times in the day?”

“Yeah but I don’t know where he goes or what he does. Most of the time I'm occupied with my own social life but I do notice that he’s gone at certain times. It happened again at this recent party...the first minute I remember some classmate named Kate Marsh kissing students at a party, boy and girl...the next minute he’s taking her somewhere…”

“Oh my god. For once, you’re not completely useless,” Chloe says, smirking at an offended looking Victoria. “Listen, I know you have some friendship going on with Nathan but he’s not to be trusted. You know something’s going on with him.”

“Sure, whatever...what even are you going to do with that picture? Get hush money and bail?”

“Actually, yes, but this might switch gears…” She grabs Victoria’s wrist and drags her towards her car. Victoria protests but Chloe doesn’t let go. She places her on the passenger’s side while getting to the driver’s side.

Victoria struggles to open the door, only to find a small module on the door activated. “You put the child lock on?”

“Sure did,” Chloe says, and pulls out of the parking spot and drives off. “You are a child after all.”

“You’re a year older than me, you immature troll!” Victoria screeches. “And I told you I didn’t want to be involved with whatever the fuck is going on with you!”

“Too bad,” Chloe replies. She drives over to the junkyard, and despite not wanting to share her preferred place of solitude with anyone other than Rachel, it’s the one place that no one really goes to so she can speak to anyone without other people listening in.

“This place again? What is your fascination with this dingy ass junkyard?”

“You said it best — trash is attracted to other trash,” Chloe recalls. “Plus, it's the one place where no one can listen to us.”

Victoria narrows her eyes. “I don’t want to—“

“No more ‘I don’t want to’. We’re doing this.”

Victoria growls and exits the car, further walking towards the junkyard. “I know of a hipster bitch who would love this place. Especially with that Polaroid she carries around 24/7. Now, since your dumbass brought me here for no other reason, what else are we talking about that we can’t discuss in public...or rather at school?

“This student, Kate Marsh—“

“Oh hell no,” Victoria groans. “I refuse to talk to, or about Jesus freak.”

Chloe rolls her eyes. “That’s the only other person we know that may have been involved with Nathan’s photography game. Set aside your beef with half of the Blackwell student body for one day and just...be an adult about this...like we’re doing right now.”

“I don’t have beef with half of the student body. I just have beef with Jesus Freak, Lamefield, and John Watson.”

Chloe laughs. “Who the fuck are those people?”

“The first one is obviously Kate Marsh. The second one is that hipster bitch I mentioned earlier...Uh, a Max Caulfield—“

“Max Caulfield? As in Maxine Caulfield?

“I only know one Maxine Caulfield,” Victoria says. “What...you know the bitch or something?”

Chloe clears her throat, hiding her initial shock. She can’t believe Max Caulfield is back in town and didn’t even bother to tell Chloe about it. Then again, she may have forgotten about Chloe entirely. Still, it kind of hurts. “Used to. Whatever, it doesn’t matter now. Now, that third person?”

“Take a wild guess, Sherlock,” Victoria growls.

Chloe laughs again. “Juliet? That chick is cool as fuck. You have beef with some interesting people.”

“Uh, no the fuck she isn’t,” Victoria argues. “And you don’t even know Kate.”

“And neither do you,” Chloe says back. “But seriously...we have to find out what happened at that last party.”

“I told you, she kissed a bunch of people and then got whisked away by Nathan,” Victoria shortly explains. “I even got it on video. Wanna see?”

Chloe narrows her eyes. “Why would you tape someone kissing guys at one of your parties?”

“Posterity, evidence...humiliation,” Victoria lists.

“My god, do you ever...like...chill with the cyber bullying?” Chloe asks.

“For your information, Kari Price, I never posted it. Never got the chance to. I got sidetracked with Nathan threatening Caulfield about some skirmish in the bathrooms, allegedly involving you and a gun. Then we threw a couple punches at this same exact spot and I was too exhausted to worry about some other chick. And this is the first time I’ve ever thought of posting something like this!”

“You sent Rachel numerous threatening comments on her page for years!” Chloe exclaims.

“I'm sorry, did you or did you not realize that I was angry at Amber for sabotaging my tea?” Victoria exclaims back. “My parents thought I was trying to get high with the drugs in my system. Only by chance was I able to recover from that shit that quickly.”

“It was one stupid prank!”

“And yet, only you and Amber were laughing!

Chloe groans. She was actually being guilt tripped by Blackwell’s Queen Bee. Then again, she did feel a little bad after it. Victoria wasn’t even entirely mean that night. “Whatever. It was three years ago. Let’s get over it and focus on finding out what happened to Kate Marsh at the party.”

“Ok,” Victoria relents. “I told you my piece. If you need Jesus Freak’s statement, you can go straight to the source...without me.”

“No—“

“You don’t really need me. She fucking hates me and would probably run away from whom she believes is the Satan incarnate,” Victoria argues. “Aside from almost posting this video, I’ve been shitty to her because I don’t agree with her religion. And in before you think I'm an antisemite or an islamophobe, she’s a christian or one of those sanctions. I don’t care. I hate those righteous assholes.”

“You mean with the holy water and the Bible and the controversial opinions about abortion and homosexuality and shit?”

Victoria nods. “She claims she isn’t like that. Yeah, bullshit. I’ve met people like her. They only appear to be nice and then they say something offensive in that sweet, high pitched Disney voice. I bet she never even met a lesbian in her life. She doesn’t even curse to my knowledge. Fucking pussy.

Chloe rolls her eyes in amusement. “You’re either jealous that people actually pay attention to Kate or she said something to you that you didn’t like.”

“Bitch wanted to have an abstinence club. No one was gonna join that shit...except for maybe Gayram or that fat ass virgin Alyssa. I saved her the embarrassment.”

“If you weren't such a bully you might actually be funny,” Chloe deadpans. “Come on, let’s go interrogate this mysterious Kate.”


 

When they get back to campus, droplets of rain hit the ground. “Fuck!” Victoria cusses. She expected the rain but she thought she would be inside the main building by now, but she was sidetracked and temporarily kidnapped by Chloe Price. She didn’t want to be part of whatever hi-jinks the delinquent was planning, but she has a way with words. She just wanted to get to photography class and she’s already late due to wasting her morning with Price.

Then again, while she was over there, she noticed two things.

One, she noticed something weird when she mentioned Max Caulfield. Victoria had no idea that Chloe even knew of the hipster, since clearly Max says she’s from Seattle, but maybe she did live in Arcadia Bay in a past life. Victoria wouldn’t know because she doesn’t like Max. She should probably do some investigating like she used to do.

And two, there’s a very weird vibe at the junkyard. When she went yesterday, she noticed it but didn’t comment. Now that she was there to take a small tour, she noticed that weird vibe. There's also a ripped shirt nearby that reminded her of Rachel’s plaid phase that never seemed to end. Victoria wondered if Rachel ever owned it.

That weird vibe entices her, on the other hand.

“Can you release the fucking child lock?” Victoria inquires. Chloe releases the child lock and unlocks the door entirely. When Victoria exits the car, she notices a bunch of students making their way towards the dorm building. “What the fuck?”

“Some fight?”

“No, because only a few students would leave class for that,” Victoria answers. “Follow me.” She follows the rest of the students and meets up with Taylor Christensen. “What the hell is going on?”

“It’s Kate, she’s snapped,” Taylor replies. Victoria turns around and looks at the culprit up on the dorm roof. She gasps loudly, covering her mouth in shaken shock. “Did you do the thing?”

“I never had the chance to,” Victoria replies. “Why, did somebody—“

Suddenly, Kate steps down and starts falling, and a chorus of gasps elicits right before the sound of a body hitting the ground hits. Victoria releases a couple tears as Taylor starts to sob on her shirt. Several students start to crowd around until Madsen shouts at them to get back.

“Shit,” Chloe whispers. “Was that Kate?”

“Yup,” Victoria whispers.

The next few hours were a blur. Kate was dead at the scene so everyone decided to gather around and hold a memorial in front of her dorm. Victoria didn’t participate because she hated to show fake pity towards someone she didn’t care about. No disrespect, of course. She gets a knock at the door at around seven, mere hours after the suicide.

Victoria rolls her eyes a little as she exits out of her Funimation tab and opens the door and groans upon who’s in front of it. “How did you know my dorm number?”

“Your room slate,” Chloe replies.

“I should probably warn you that Max’s dorm is behind you,” Victoria says, earning a glare from Chloe. “Hey, just warning you now if she steps out of her room and welcomes you with her presence...what are you doing here anyway? And how did you get past security?”

“You know David’s my stepdad, right?”

Victoria swings the door open so Chloe can come in and turns on the desk light as Chloe closes the door. “Seriously, why are you here? No one’s really in the mood after Kate’s suicide. Including me, believe it or not. And Taylor’s coming by later ‘cause we’re going drinking and I don’t want her thinking we have something going on.”

“God forbid someone in this damn school thinks we have something going on,” Chloe says, rolling her eyes. “I’m not into bitchy girls anyway.”

“Then why did you date Rachel for almost three years?”

Chloe snarls. “Whatever. And I'm pretty sure Nathan was all up in your pussy before.”

“I never dated Nathan,” Victoria replies. “The only guy who even bothered to get below the belt was Riggins...and he didn’t get very far.”

“Ew,” Chloe snarls. “I rather not know the sordid details of you being involved with men.”

Victoria snorts. “Lesbian.”

“I was going to ask you if you wanted to hit up the estate for some clues but it seems like you already have plans—“ Victoria pulls her phone out of her pocket and sends a quick text to Taylor, cancelling their previous plans. “Victoria. You’re just gonna pull your phone out when I'm talking to you? I can see why people don’t like you.”

“Shut the fuck up. I was just cancelling plans with Taylor before she comes knocking on my door.” Victoria grabs her jacket, stuffs her feet in a pair of black sneakers, and drags Chloe out of her room. “And for the record, there are different reasons why people don’t like me.”

“So you're aware of people not liking you? I respect your self awareness.”

Victoria glares at Chloe. “Eat shit, Price.”

After locking her door, she takes Chloe to the other exit to slip out of the dorms unnoticed. It isn’t a minute after eight but Wells issued an early curfew after the suicide and so far, very few students actually listened to that. No one needs to be holed up in their rooms to bereave, Victoria says inwardly.

“So, which car are we taking?” Chloe inquires.

“Yours. I can make the illusion that I'm still in campus while not being on campus if it stays here...and Wells can have your car towed if he finds your car on his lot at this hour. He knows of all of our cars so a suspicious rustic truck will make him panic.” With that, Chloe pulls her keys out her pocket. Victoria opens the door and takes the passenger seat. “You know what? Let’s switch seats. I feel like driving.”

“Nuh uh!” Chloe denies. “I don’t let just anyone drive my car! And do you even know how to drive a stick shift?”

“The first car my dad taught me how to drive was a stick shift. I'm very sure my dad wanted a boy, but that’s another discussion. Move over, Price, or I will tell Wells that you’re here.” Chloe sighs and exits the car to go to the passenger side while Victoria moves to the other side to take the driver seat. Victoria puts her seatbelt on and gets a hold of the stick shift. Once Chloe enters the car, she stares at Chloe.

“What are you looking at?” Victoria sneers and points at the seatbelt. “Ugh.”

“Put the seatbelt on, dumbass,” Victoria demands. “Or I go back to my dorm and I tell Wells that your car was in the parking lot.”

“This is my car—”

“—that I'm driving. Get on with the seatbelt, Kari.”

It's Chloe,” she spits out, reluctantly putting on her seatbelt. “Happy now?”

Victoria just smirks. “Yes. You're suffering.” She pulls out of the parking lot and drives towards the Prescott estate. It was miles away from Arcadia Bay and most civilization, but it was far enough to make it in less than 90 minutes. When she used to visit the estate, she snuck in as opposed to going through the front door because the Prescott’s didn’t like her. Nathan has a dorm on campus but goes home from time to time. Victoria doesn’t see his car, so he isn’t home. Perfect.

“Why does this area look familiar to me?”

“The Amber residence is a couple miles north,” Victoria states. She guides Chloe to the back of the mansion and easily finds the ladder up to Nathan’s room. “Come on.” She goes up first and opens the window to Nathan’s room. Chloe is following as well so as soon as Victoria crawls in, she tries to help Chloe in.

“This isn’t the first window I’ve climbed into,” Chloe claims.

“Whatever,” Victoria shrugs. “Just make sure the ladder doesn’t fall or we’re shit out of luck until tomorrow morning.”

Chloe keeps the window open while Victoria turns the light on. The room is messy as per usual, but messier than what she expected. There are a lot more scattered photos and some crumpled sketching paper balls. There’s also a picture of Nathan and his older sister Kristine from when they’re younger but the glass covering is broken and there appears to be some blood. “Fucking…”

“Damn Nathan, you live like this?”

Victoria snorts. “Your room is probably just as messy.”

“No it’s not,” Chloe lies.

“Uh huh. Just look for clues.” Within the next hour, Victoria looks inside the closets, under the bed, inside drawers, and other places and she can’t seem to find anything incriminating. She found bottles upon bottles of medications, a medical bracelet, an old picture of former student Samantha Myers (who supposedly died but Victoria wasn’t entirely sure), some sketchbooks, old pencils, his old portfolio that Andrew North threw in the fountain, and week old snacks. “Shit. Did you find anything?”

“Nothing other than this huge, inconspicuous box,” Chloe replies,

Victoria furrows her eyebrows and inspects the box. It has a combination lock. She turns the lock around and twists the knob to a series of numbers. It opens just like that. “Oh my god...you're not useless at all,” Chloe says, grinning.

“Gee, thanks,” Victoria deadpans. She turns around and looks inside the box. Inside contains a bunch of money that Victoria believes is his emergency trust fund. “This is a safe.”

“Hot damn! I knew this little shit had his own money,” Chloe says, aiming to grab some of the money when Victoria slaps her hand. “What the fuck?”

“Don’t take his money or he’s gonna know someone was in here!”

“That piece of shit owes me money anyway!” Chloe whisper shouts.

“Put the money down you dumb bitch!” Victoria demands, slapping Chloe’s hand making her drop the money inside the safe. She gets up and sighs. “This was fucking useless. He was smart enough not to keep shit here.”

“Except 10% of his trust fund,” Chloe mumbles.

Once she hears the safe close shut a minute after the comment, Victoria glares at Chloe, noticing some subtle changes. “Are you kidding me? I said drop the money.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“So you went up a bra size in less than two minutes?” Victoria deadpans.

“Why the hell are you even staring at my chest?”  Victoria’s glare turns deadly. Chloe frowns and removes a stack of money from her right breast, and another one in her left breast. “Happy?”

Victoria narrows her eyes. “You think I was born yesterday? Knowing people like you, you keep money on different parts of your body. Let’s go Price, we don’t have all night.” Chloe groans again and removes stacks from her sock, her back pocket, inside her jacket pocket, and under her beanie. “Good.” She reopens the safe and safely drops the warm stack of money back inside the safe. She closes it and wipes her hands. “Let’s go.”

Chapter Text

“So like...when you said Zach didn’t get far, what did you exactly mean? Did you stop pre-coital or was his big dick energy so weak that you didn’t have an orgasm?”

Victoria furrows her eyebrows. “I thought you didn’t want to know the details. And why are you suddenly reinterested in my sex life?”

“Or lack thereof,” Chloe adds.

“You think I'm lying about having sex with Zach, because I'm not. And it was the second one. The dumbass came in seconds and I had to kick him out to finish the job myself. Worst two minutes of my life. Maybe Watson likes those type of dudes, or she’s fucking celibate.”

“Is she really dating that sorry son of a bitch? Yikes,” Chloe grimaces. “While you’re with Nathan.”

“I am not with Nathan. We’re best friends and not all best friends fuck each other,” Victoria defends. “He was into Amber anyway. I always told him she wasn’t worth it but he never listened.”

“It isn’t worth it because she was with me,” Chloe responds, smirking a little. “I just wished she would tell me where she is.” She didn’t want to think about Rachel, especially when there’s so much going on, like finding out more about Nathan’s photography game, but somehow this may be linked to Rachel. Something always told Chloe that maybe Rachel isn’t exactly...alive, considering that Rachel always tells her where she’s going, like when she went to Big Sur for a week. However, thinking like that would only result in even more emotional despair. “I know you don’t give a shit so don’t say anything.”

“I'm not gonna.”

Nothing else is said for the rest of the ride. Chloe decides to drop Victoria off at the front of campus as opposed to the parking lot just in case someone was working and spots her truck. It’s only a little after ten, but Victoria did mention that there’s an earlier curfew after what happened to Kate.

After Victoria exits the car without saying anything, Chloe drives back home and walks in, being bombarded with questions from both her mother and David. “Chloe, where were you this whole time?” Her mother asks in a worried tone.

“And what kind of trouble did you get into?” David accuses.

Chloe sneers at her stepfather. “None. Stop accusing me of shit.”

“Yeah right. You have a huge black eye and a cut on your cheek,” David points out.

Chloe flinches when Joyce tries to check out the damage. She almost forgot about her fight with Victoria the day before, causing her to have those marks in the first place. “It’s nothing. I tripped over something and hit my eye. Just leave me alone.”

“Chloe, I haven’t seen you since yesterday—“

“Like you care,” Chloe spits out. “If you’re not at work, you’re here playing wife with step-ass. Life was better when Rachel was here and I actually had a purpose to leave the house aside from hanging missing posters and making sure her case stays relevant. Everyone gave up on her and decided it was best to move on, but not me. She’s out there somewhere.”

David scoffs. “You get in all sorts of trouble with Amber and you want to find her again to get in even more trouble?”

“No, I want to find her so we can get the fuck out of here!

“You want to leave Arcadia Bay with no job, no money, and no functional car? Do you even know—“

I don’t care! I rather be homeless than to live here! It hasn’t even been a home since my dad died!” Chloe roars. “Ever since you waltzed in uninvited, I haven’t even felt safe. And then you try to get me to get along with you and it goes to shit because I got myself kicked out of school?”

“That’s enough, from the both of you!” Joyce exclaims, getting both of their attention. “It is too late to be arguing. Now that Chloe’s home, let’s go to bed.”

“Gladly,” Chloe growls through gritted teeth, and heads upstairs to her room. She slams the door behind her and exhales loudly. It’s messy in here, just like Nathan’s. She hasn’t even noticed until she went to the fucker’s room earlier. It hasn’t been clean since her dad’s car accident, and even when she tries to keep it clean, it gets messy once again. But she doesn’t need to keep dwelling on her room.

She should’ve entered through the window, but after witnessing a suicide and getting into some weird hi-jinks with someone she disliked, it drained her of doing another break-in through the window. With a sigh, she gets ready for bed.

The next morning, Chloe wakes up and stretches the kinks out her body before heading to the shower. It should be quiet around here since her mom had an early shift and step-shit is obviously at work. After her shower, she wraps her pirate towel around her armpits and goes to her room. She dries her hair with one of her t-shirts and checks her phone, ignoring notifications about Kate’s death and the weather.

Not having much friends around here makes the experience of life a lot more boring. When Rachel disappeared, Chloe only had herself and that was it. She couldn’t say she found a friend in Victoria (if at all) but somehow, their investigating and taking cracks at each other isn’t as bad as she thought it would be. Plus, the girl is kind of funny in shades. And she’ll be useful due to her connections with the Prescotts.

Chloe’s hands move on their own and she presses send before realizing what she just did. “For fucks sake.”


 

The next morning, Victoria wakes up to several messages from Nathan and Chloe.

Nathan: are you up pixie

Price: are you up loser

Victoria groans a little. She wanted to go to breakfast with Nathan — she needed a Belgian waffle fix before dealing with her social life, but at the same time...she finds herself wanting to do whatever Price has up her sleeve. Oh well, someone’s going to end up disappointed. She sends a quick text back to one person and leaves her room to take a shower.

Ever since Monday, she hasn’t even cared much about school other than her photography class and maybe a few extra classes. She almost forgot about the video, but she hasn’t forgot about what Dana said to her. There was truth to that. Victoria is only really kind to Taylor and Nathan (and sometimes Courtney but she's working on it), and stops at nothing to defend them, but since Chloe showed her that photo her loyalty with Nathan has fledged a little. She could spare to be nicer, but not to everyone. She isn’t getting all soft on the entire student body because Dana guilt tripped her once.

And what does Dana give a shit anyway? Victoria doesn’t like her and Dana has made it very clear that she doesn’t like Victoria either.

When she finishes getting dressed she walks out the same time Max steps out of her room. Victoria didn’t want to encounter anyone so she ignores Max and leaves through the other exit, right after checking her message notification and goes to the parking lot to see what’s going on. “What the fuck do you have me doing on this fine morning?”

“I need a breakfast buddy,” Nathan replies. “Plus you’ve been MIA since Monday. What happened between you and Price?”

“She got all defensive and said you pulled a gun on her. Then I said she was lying and we got into this argument that turned into a fist fight. Nothing big.” There were other things she was missing, like the previous day, but she keeps her mouth shut. “I'm making sure that bitch keeps her mouth shut.”

“Someone needs to put a muzzle on that bitch.”

“Indeed.” There’s some silence on the way to the diner. When they enter the diner, Nathan gets a seat nearby the resident drug dealer, either knowingly or unknowingly to Nathan. Victoria didn’t want to be bothered with that low life. She already had her fix for the week and she barely even touched it since Monday.

“Well if it isn’t the rich kids,” Joyce quips, with a customer service smile that reminded Victoria of Chloe. She always knew Joyce was Chloe’s mother but she didn’t see the striking resemblance until now. “The usual?”

Definitely,” Victoria replies as she watches Joyce pour two cups of coffee. “Nate? How about you?”

“Yeah, the us’.”

As soon as the waitress keeps it moving, Victoria grabs a wet napkin and wipes the table around her. “It’s a little sticky today.”

“It’s sticky everyday.”

“More than usual is what I mean,” she says. “So what’s been going on with the club? I’ve been too preoccupied with other shit to care. And after Marsh threw herself off the roof, I'm not even sure if we should have a party.”

“Jefferson’s been negotiating with Wells to let us have it. By then he’ll announce the winner of the Everyday Heroes contest and that might be some good news for us all.”

“Yeah,” Victoria scoffs. “Not even sure if I care about winning anymore. I haven’t even talked to Jefferson since Monday, and he pushed me aside to talk to Caulfield.”

Nathan snarls. “She’s a nosy bitch. I don’t know what her deal was but I know she was in that bathroom with me.”

“Which brings my next point...why were you even in the girls bathroom? The boys bathroom wasn’t even that far.” Victoria already knew why but she wanted to see if Nathan would lie or tell the truth.

“I was discussing shit with the Price girl. She wanted money from me and I wasn’t letting her have it. Plus, the boys bathroom smells like piss. I was at least considerate.”

Victoria chuckles. “It smells like piss because you nasty motherfuckers don’t know how to use the bathroom.”

Nathan rolls his eyes. “Shut up, pixie.”

Victoria hears a throat being cleared from behind her. Sighing, she turns around, expecting the blue haired demon to be behind her. “For fuck’s sake, Vic. If you wanted time with your boyfriend you could’ve just said so.”

Victoria’s fists clench in retaliation. “I told you he’s not my boyfriend you—“

Nathan stops her from finishing that sentence. “What the fuck is she even talking about? Have you two been hanging out?”

“Can you children keep it down? I'm trying to eat my beans!” The drug dealer shouts without even looking up.

“Go eat your beans somewhere else Frank,” Chloe retorts.

“Aw great, just the person I was looking for,” Frank stands up and faces Chloe. “You have my money?”

“I told you I’ll have it—“

“You said that last week, the week before that, and the week before that! I'm starting to think you don’t have my money—“

“Wait a minute, is that Rachel’s bracelet?” Chloe asks, pointing towards Frank’s wrist. “What the fuck are you doing with Rachel’s bracelet?

“You better back the fuck up,” Frank growls, with a small switchblade in his hand.

Just before Frank gets any closer, two plates appear between them. Victoria sighs in temporary relief as she sees her Belgian waffles and three slices of thick cut bacon in front of her being handed to her by another waitress. “Thank you,” she smiles.

Just before she digs in though, Nathan takes the plate. Before she protests, Nathan gives her a nasty stink eye. “Explain yourself.”

“You’re not the only person who cared about Rachel. Now where’s my fucking money?” Frank asks again.

“Listen Frank, I'll have your money soon,” Chloe explains. “I'm just in a bit of a pickle. You have to be patient with me.”

Victoria groans. “There’s nothing to explain, now give me back my waffles before—“

“I’ve waited long enough. Now you either have it or you’ll have an early grave—“

Fucking—” Victoria slams her fists onto the table, interrupting everyone around her. She glares at Frank. “How much does she owe you?” She snarls out.

“Victoria, what are you—“

Victoria raises a hand up. “Shut up Price. How much does she owe you?”

Frank gives Victoria a look and then laughs. “This is none of your business—“

Victoria gets up from her seat and folds her arms across her chest. “You’re threatening my friend so obviously it is my business. Let me not ask again, Bowers.”

“We’re friends?” Chloe whispers in Victoria’s ear.

“Just go with it Price. You know what the deal is.”

“It’s three grand,” Frank spits out as a reply. “You think you can pay for that?”

Victoria almost gasps but stands her ground and scoffs. “Please. I get three grand a week.” She rummages through her bag and signs a check for three thousand and two hundred dollars. “There. Three thousand plus interest to get off her back.”

“Great doing business with you,” Frank smirks, flicking the piece of paper. “Consider your debt paid, Price.”

Frank throws a couple bills on the table and leaves the diner. Victoria looks to Nathan, who has a shell shocked look on his face. “You made friends with this stupid bitch?

“Sure,” Victoria lies. “Now can I have my fucking waffle before it gets cold?”

Nathan doesn’t have much of a choice so he places the plate in front of Victoria. “I thought you were keeping her quiet.”

“She is you dumb idiot. For my quietness, she offered her hand in friendship,” Chloe smirks. “Scoot over, friend, let’s have breakfast together.”

Victoria’s teeth clench, but she doesn’t have much of a choice but to keep this lie going. She was going to punch Chloe later. “Don’t test me, Price. That money was from my savings account.”

“No one asked you to pay my debt off, Chase,” Chloe whispers.

Victoria stops cutting her waffle to glare at Chloe. “Would you rather die in front of your mother instead?”

“That asshole had Rachel’s bracelet. I don’t give a shit,” Chloe growls.

“Well I don’t know Chloe. Rachel was full of mystery and hot air,” Victoria retorts, not giving a shit about that answer. “Maybe she had something romantic with that shit head.”

“He’s in his late twenties. That’s fucking gross—"

“Ahem,” Nathan clears his throat. “I'm trying to eat here.”

Victoria takes one bite of her chilled waffle. “Great, it’s cold. Thanks, Nathan.” She barely gives a shit though. A cold waffle is better than no waffle at the moment. Plus Nathan was paying and Victoria was already pissed that she paid off a debt for someone she didn’t exactly care about.


 

There was something fishy about Frank having that bracelet, so while sitting with two rich idiots, Chloe hasn’t thought about anything else. There must be something inside that RV to tell her exactly what it is, but he already drove off. Thankfully, Chloe knows Frank is predictable and probably went to the beach or the old saw mill that burned down three years ago and hasn’t recovered since then.

When Nathan pays for everyone’s breakfasts (besides Chloe but she already had money in her pocket) she grabs Victoria’s wrist. “Mind if I steal your girlfriend for like...the day?” Before Nathan could even answer, she pulls Victoria over to her car.

“What the fuck is your deal, Chloe Price?” Victoria shouts, removing her wrist from Chloe’s grip.

“Were you even going to hang out with him for the day?”

“No, but can I get a fucking warning first? And I keep telling you that Nathan isn’t my boyfriend!” Victoria argues. “Shit! What else can I say to convince you?”

“Jesus Christ, take a joke Victoria.” Chloe chuckles on her way to the driver’s seat. When she enters and realizes that Victoria hasn’t entered the car, she rolls down her window and stares at the fuming girl. “Well? Are you coming? We got nosy shit to do.”

Victoria huffs as she enters the passenger's seat. “Don’t even think about doing the child lock again.”

“Just for that.” Chloe enables the child lock with a smirk.

“I hope you jump off a cliff,” Victoria grumbles.

“Yikes, a girl already killed herself and you’re wishing death on me?”

“I would gladly replace you with Kate Marsh. At least she kept to herself and minded her own business.”

“Is that what you say to your friends?” Chloe inquires, mockingly putting a hand on her heart for dramatics. “I can see why even your friends don’t like you.”

“Oh my god Price. We’re not friends. Never was and never will be.”

“Glad we’re on the same page,” Chloe says, with a bitch grin, then drives to the way of the beach. She isn’t even hurt by that. There’s so much more concerning Frank and Rachel that she needs to know so being bothered by Victoria is the last thing on her mind.

Victoria breaks the ten minute long silence. “Where the fuck are we even going?”

“We’re looking for Frank,” Chloe replies. “He has Rachel’s bracelet. She never gave that bracelet to anyone, not even me.”

“Then you must not be that special for her to give it to you,” Victoria says back, with a shrug.

Chloe grips the steering wheel. She was already angry about seeing Rachel’s bracelet (which was Rachel’s only connection to Sera, her biological mom) and Victoria being her bitchy self is not helping matters. “Can you shut the fuck up for the next hour?”

“I don’t know how you expect me to shut up when you’re the one speaking to me. And like I said before, maybe she had something special with that drug dealer. It wouldn’t surprise me for Rachel to play you. She played everyone like a fucking game of chess. You’re not a special case.”

“This is my fucking car, so if I say shut up, then I want you to shut up,” Chloe retorts. “And she was my girlfriend. Does that mean anything to you?”

I'm trying to figure out why you keep saying she’s your girlfriend if she did not disclose of her location when she supposedly disappeared, and she gave her bracelet to a drug dealer instead of you!” Victoria argues back. “But since you want me to shut up that’s fine too. Just don’t talk to me.”

Fine,” Chloe finishes. She drives to the beach in complete silence, never taking her eyes off the road. She would’ve went with the saw mill, but Chloe heavily doubts that. That’s where old illegal concerts used to be, and ever since it burned down, it holds a lot of unsavory memories of dealing with Damon Merrick. The beach however, she knew was Frank’s favorite hangout spot because it’s the only place in Arcadia Bay that not a lot of people inhabit until the summer. The RV is nearby, which means Frank’s either out of his truck or taking a break inside. Whichever it is, his dog is probably in there. “Shit, I forgot about his stupid dog. You got a plan?” Victoria stays quiet. “This is the part where you talk,” Chloe says, rolling her eyes.

“I can just let Pompidou bite the crap outta you for the shit you said in the truck,” Victoria says nonchalantly.

Oh fuck you,” Chloe retorts.

“No fucking thanks.”

Suddenly, they hear ruckus from inside the RV. Victoria suddenly grabs Chloe’s wrist and they hide behind a large garbage can. Frank steps outside and stretches his body. His dog steps out with him, and after some words and petting involved, they go a different direction. After they’re far from eyeshot, Victoria pulls Chloe towards the RV. She finds the door unlocked and opens it.

“What the hell—“

Get in there!” Victoria hisses, pushing Chloe inside the recreational vehicle.

When they enter the RV, the smell of piss hits their noses. “For fuck’s sake, it still smells like piss,” Chloe gags.

Victoria snarls from the smell. “I can’t believe I'm saying this, but the boys' bathroom is so much better.”

“Look inside his room and I’ll look around here,” Chloe orders. “And also for lookout just in case they come back.”

Victoria nods once and heads towards the back of the RV. Chloe starts looking around the place, ignoring the signed check on the table. There’s so much junk (including his little contact book) and she can’t find anything pertaining to his connection with Rachel. However, after a passing thought she takes pictures of the contacts in his book and his name log. The asshole used dog breeds as code names. Of course.

Right when Chloe is about to call this a close, Victoria steps out with a book in her hand. “You gotta see this.”

Chapter Text

“Jesus fucking Christ!” Victoria backs up a little upon entering the aft of the RV. The smell of piss and other bodily fluids hits her nose, and she almost throws up in retaliation. She pulls her shirt over her nose and starts investigating the room for any evidence concerning Rachel’s involvement with the drug dealer.

She’s still very mad that she lost her allowance to paying off Chloe’s debt. She may have emergency money, sure, but she never uses that...which is why she was pissed at Chloe inside the car. If it were different, Victoria would’ve never got under Chloe’s skin like that...mostly because it wasn’t her place to.

Aside from that bracelet, there’s nothing about Rachel inside this room. She sighs, until she sees a rugged ventilation area. She retrieves a knife she saw during her search and breaks it open, finding a folder. She places it on the bed and opens it, finding several photos of Rachel and Frank together. Forgetting about the smells, her shirt drops down and her mouth hangs wide open. The first thought was Rachel being a serial cheater and never telling Chloe about it. The second thought was that her gut feeling was right. She shouldn’t even be that surprised — it’s not the first time Rachel has used people for her own expenses. Victoria bets that Chloe’s been used for over three years and her disappearance may be a huge red herring to hide some other truth. Rachel running away didn’t add up because Rachel isn’t low key and she would leave Arcadia Bay with a huge bang.

There were also two letters that Victoria skimmed through. One implied their previous relationship and another letter was practically a breakup letter. Sighing, Victoria shuffles it together and opens the door just as Chloe was about to enter. “You gotta see this.”

Chloe narrows her eyes. Victoria groans and pulls Chloe out of the RV. She locks it behind her and runs towards the truck. Chloe grabs the folder once they get inside and looks at the pictures and letters. “That fucking—fuck!” Chloe shouts. “Rachel was banging Frank, and straight up lied to my face! Why didn’t she say anything?”

“...maybe she knew how you’d react?” Victoria suggests. “Seriously, Chloe, you’re freaking out…”

“Fuck that!” Chloe cries. “Huh, just another person who shits all over me, as always. Why does everybody in my life let me down? Max comes back to town after five years and I have yet to get a heads up, my mother is all over an entitled war veteran and Rachel betrays me...and it all started with my fucking dad and his willingness to pick my mom up, just to get killed!”

Victoria furrows her eyebrows. “I...You can’t put unrealistic expectations on people like that, Chloe. Especially if they’re your loved ones. That’s how you lose people.”

“What do you know?” Chloe yells back. “You know what? Fuck this! Fuck you, fuck my mom, fuck Maxine Caulfield, and fuck Rachel! Fuck everybody in this shitty town!”

“What the fuck do I have to do with this? I just came with you in this stupid goose chase to find your stupid ass girlfriend!” Victoria exclaims. “I don’t give a fuck about what Rachel does or who she fucks in her spare time! Ever since that tea incident, Rachel’s been dead to me!”

“Then why the fuck are you doing this? Huh? If you didn’t care about Rachel, then why did you show me this in the first place?”

“Because you needed to. You’re nineteen years old, Chloe Price,” Victoria retorts. “You can’t sit here and blame everyone, including myself who wasn’t even a part of your life until recently, for everything wrong in your shitty life.”

“Then who is to blame huh? The car that killed my dad?”

“How about realizing that sometimes it isn’t anyone’s fault?” Victoria suggests. “Shit happens. People are monsters. Things happen for a reason and no reason…” she sighs a little and runs a hand through her hair. She continues to talk but in a softer tone. “Chloe. I know this is hard to look at, but Rachel isn’t who you seem. She isn’t an angel. She’s a shitty human being like the rest of us, and regardless of what she did with Frank or not, that was probably her business only. I agree, she should’ve told you, but...it happened. Accept it and move on.”

“I can’t,” Chloe cries, her lip quivering as she lets her tears fall. “She was everything to me and she did this! She fucking blew up when her father told one little fib about her origins and then she just lied to me like this?”

“I—wait what?”

“Of course you didn’t know that. You faked being her friend until she slipped tranquilizers in your tea.”

“I actually did like Rachel,” Victoria defends. “I fucking had a crush on her for Pete’s sake. Don’t ever say that I was a fake friend to anyone. If you’re my friend, you’re my friend...and I mean that shit. But what Rachel did was unforgivable. She sabotaged my chances of being on stage because she wasn’t willing to ride out her suspension. I didn’t even give a shit about the play that much and if you actually convinced me long enough I would’ve gave that shit to Rachel but no. You failed and Rachel drugged me. I don’t know if that was your intention but I never forgave Rachel and I never forgave you either.”

There’s a long silence, unnerving Victoria to say something but she doesn’t. She couldn’t disturb anyone after a really intense breakdown like that. She couldn’t blame Chloe for feeling like that, especially since it’s the same way she felt when she saw that picture a few days ago and finding out that Rachel slipped drugs in her tea three years ago. But what she couldn’t let Chloe say was almost everything else. Despite knowing next to nothing about Chloe Price, Victoria knew some of it. What she can basically see is that Chloe has had a very heartbreaking upbringing and it would explain why she is the way she is. She understood.

Chloe pulls up in front of the school moments later. There’s even more silence. “I know you’re sad but this only proves that there’s something more to this whole investigation. I think...whether Rachel’s alive or not, there’s another truth. Kate kills herself after one party and she wasn’t even completely depressed before, Rachel hasn’t been seen for six months…we might have something here. We both found out some terrible things about the ones closest to us, but we can’t stop now, not when we’re so close to finding out the truth.”

“You’re right,” Chloe sniffles. “Thanks, Victoria.”

“Hey, what are fake friends for?” Victoria smirks.

Chloe smirks back. “You may be a bitch but we make a good team.”

“You’re a bitch too in your own right,” Victoria replies. “Don’t even try to deny it.”

“Hey, i’m not denying shit.”

Victoria exits the car seconds later. “And pull your head out of your fucking ass Price. We got work to do.”

“Aye aye, Captain Bitch-O,” Chloe replies.

Victoria gives Chloe the finger as she laughs and drives away. Turning around, she walks up the stairs. “What was Victoria doing near Chloe’s truck?” She hears Justin whisper to his stoner friend she forgot the name of.

Victoria turns to glare at Justin. “You fail at whispering, Williams.”

“I thought people like us were not worthy hanging out with you,” Justin says sarcastically.

“Yeah, people like you. Price doesn’t count because she’s no longer a student. Now mind your business before I make sure you never graduate from this stupid school.”

“Resorting to empty threats now, Chase?”

“You think i’m laughing, Williams?”

Justin raises his hands in defeat. Victoria rolls her eyes and continues her trek to the dorms. She figures she could pretend that she gives a shit about the Vortex Club for a few hours. When she checks the group chat that she muted back on Monday, there were so many missed messages from everyone involved but after a quick skim through, the party is still on and some of the club members are planning on going to Kate’s funeral next week. Nathan must have took over while Victoria was off playing detective.

After entering the dorms, she notices two adults emerging from Kate’s dormitory with boxes of her stuff. They look like her parents so she makes a hasty retreat to her room to pick up a few things and then she’ll go to Taylor’s. Maybe she should text Taylor first.

Victoria: hey are you busy? I’m kind of bored now that class is cancelled

She picks up her last stash of weed and waits for a response. Instead she gets a notification from the group chat.

Courtney: has anyone heard from victoria lately?

Dana: no she’s been mia

Juliet: can we keep it that way?

Victoria growls as she kicks Watson out of the group chat. Dana probably let her back in without her knowing. She kicked Juliet out of spite on Monday and didn’t care if people let her back in, but now she will make sure it’s a perma-ban as long as she’s part of the club.

Victoria: i’m right here you shits I just muted the gc for a few days. nathan should be taking care of the party until i say so, which is unlikely.

She wants to mute the chat once again but then a message stops her.

Nathan: having fun with your new bff?

Courtney: victoria has a new bff?

Hayden: omfg nate let it go

Zach: wait what I thought taylor was her bff

Courtney: who’s victorias new bff

Victoria decides that was enough and mutes the group chat once again. She relaxes until she gets a text back from Taylor.

Taylor: yeah i’m in my room.

Victoria springs up from her chair and goes straight to Taylor’s dorm. She ignores everything else, considering that no one else is even giving her the time of day, and doesn’t even knock on Taylor’s door before entering. “Fuck. I am so stressed and class isn’t even in session.”

“Where have you been lately anyways?” Taylor asks.

Victoria takes a deep breath. “If I tell you, it stays in this room. Got it?”

Taylor nods. “Scout’s honor.”

Victoria smirks a little. “You’re a fucking dork.” She retrieves her joint and starts smoking immediately, knowing Taylor would ask for some eventually. “So this whole mess started on Monday…”


 

Chloe doesn’t go home after dropping Victoria off. Instead, she goes back around to the junkyard, hoping to clear her head after finding out what she just found out.

Rachel was in a relationship with Frank for a while before she disappeared. Chloe thought she meant something to Rachel, but apparently not since Frank had her bracelet. What else has Rachel been hiding from her? There’s no doubt that Rachel has always been a mystery, but there are some things that are making Chloe see Rachel a lot more differently.

Rachel hated it when she found her father kissing Sera even before they revealed Sera’s importance and burned an entire forest down in anger. As far as she knows, Rachel has never responded well to liars, so why would she lie to Chloe?

Suddenly, Chloe remembers several months ago when Rachel had found out Sera was serving time in prison for a drug charge but had been released when they found out she was framed. James told Rachel he was behind it and was also involved in trying to making Sera disappear back in 2010. After Sera was almost overdosed, she swore Chloe to never tell and she never did tell, but after Sera’s framing, all bets were off.

Rachel figured out that Chloe lied and she blew up. Chloe never wanted Rachel to know the truth about what James did because it would further sever her relationship with her dad, and with someone who lost a dad way before they started having fights, she thought it would be best for Rachel to stay away from the truth.

Needless to say, Rachel didn’t talk to Chloe for weeks. It felt like a breakup and Chloe found herself depressed during those few weeks of radio silence. She already experienced that with Max so Rachel doing it is even worse. Rachel eventually forgave Chloe, or at least pretended to because despite starting to talk again, their relationship took a heavy strain. Rachel rarely wanted to do anything with Chloe, and even a simple hug and kiss was too much. She claimed to have more focus on school, but really it was to hang out with Frank and Chloe never knew until just now.

Chloe goes inside the hideout and looks around, her eyes welling with tears as memories flash before her eyes. So many smoke sessions, sleepovers, and hi-jinks, along with a lot of planning concerning their big move-out once Rachel graduated from Blackwell. Even the graffiti seemed fresh in Chloe’s mind. She growls to herself and knocks a couple things down, only to find a crumpled up piece of paper. She unravels it and reads it silently.

C.

You can tell how much I want you to read this letter since I've been dragging my ass to give it to you. Maybe I just want you to find it when i'm not around so we never have to talk about it. And I don't want you to hate me. Where to start?

I met somebody recently who's so different from the lame Vortex Club snobs. I know you'll have a meltdown when I tell you and think he's gross, but I swear he's wise and unconventional. Kind of scary, not in a “bad boy” way. He's just experienced some serious shit. Yes, i'm kinda obsessed with him. I won't blame you for freaking.

Maybe I know you're right and this just has to be my secret.

I hate not sharing this with you except I know you'd give me the stink eye and grill me for every stupid detail. If I even told you that last night we hooked up near campus—

It stops there, but Chloe can basically understand what’s going on. This must be a different person because she couldn’t be talking about Frank. After the shit she read earlier, it had to be someone else. Rachel was seeing multiple people behind Chloe’s back, and even before she disappeared, she just mentioned going to Vortex Club parties and seeing this photographer for headshots. However, Chloe never saw those pictures and Rachel kept most details to herself.

Chloe folds the paper up and puts it in her pocket. She hated Rachel for lying, but she knew Rachel is the one person that makes her want to live anymore. After her disappearance, Chloe had recurring suicidal thoughts and that hasn’t happened since her father’s untimely death and Max’s moving. They haven’t even occurred because she rather solve Nathan’s little crime than to bother with her soiled thoughts but it’s still there.

But she knew her feelings are irrelevant now that there’s more information about Rachel than ever before. She has to live with it for now and solve the case.

Chloe goes back home and finds an old cork board. With the little bit of information she got from Frank’s logbook and the pictures linking Rachel’s relationship with Frank, she might have something, but she needs more. She knew her stepfather kept tabs on other people, including Rachel (that usually included Rachel getting in trouble with Wells often) so maybe she can look down there. He should still be at work so she goes to the garage and cracks his computer to find all of his investigative files on Rachel, Kate, Nathan, and much to her chagrin, Max.

She barely even knew it was Max until she did a double take. She still looks like a dork to this day and Chloe finds herself missing her even more.

Somehow, step-shit had coordinates of everything and everyone’s whereabouts, and also had extensive pictures and locations of Kate after the Vortex Club party. He’s been investigating the school for a long time. If Chloe didn’t hate him so much, she would’ve joined him for this investigation instead of only relying on Victoria for everything. Victoria was extremely savvy and passionate but she’s still a bitch that Chloe didn’t like very well, and she still considers Nathan a friend. But who knows, she might just be double timing him for now.

She still needed a lot more substantial info, like if Nathan really drugged Kate where did he get the drugs from. She has a gut feeling that it’s Frank, but just in case. Also there might be something in the asshole’s files. Those were all the way at Blackwell, and Chloe grinds her teeth realizing that she has to break in both Wells’ office and Nathan’s room to find such evidence. Nathan’s room is pretty easy since Victoria has all access to his room, being his friend and all, but the principal’s office may be a challenge. When he’s not in his office, he’s in his room and the school has a security system so if anyone were to break in, Wells and security would be notified...so the only other chance is to do it during school hours but obviously, she couldn’t do that. There’s the idea of stealing David’s keys but she highly doubts that Wells would trust David with a key to his office. He’d trust Samuel the custodian a lot more.

Getting the keys from him though is kind of a challenge because he always keeps his pair of keys physically on him. Chloe could sneak inside the custodial office after hours but that would be hard so maybe she needed someone else to retrieve the keys by tonight.


 

“So...you’re playing detective with Chloe Price not only to find out what happened to Rachel but to also find out why Nathan’s been acting weird?” Taylor recalls.

“And probably wonder what happened during that wild party on the fourth, which is the recent event in which Nathan disappeared with someone,” Victoria adds in. “It’s been a stressful week trying to be a double agent...and I had to lie to Nathan about Chloe being my friend. We still don’t like each other so…we’re not exactly friends...but I feel like I know things that not even her friends knew…”

Victoria takes another hit and passes it to Taylor. “I don’t know Vic,” Taylor grimaces after taking her hit. “I understand wanting to do this to find out about Nate but you hate Rachel...and Kate.”

“I know. It’s not for any of those bitches. I just...ever since the year started he’s been acting weird and distant. In one month he managed to curse out a teacher, throw a desk across the room, and put firecrackers in the boys bathroom. Can I be a little concerned for my best friend?”

“Yeah but...maybe there’s a reason why he’s not telling us what he’s up to?”

Victoria sighs deeply. Taylor didn’t understand even when she explained everything in excruciating detail. She didn’t even leave out Rachel’s infidelity, or whatever it was. “Ever since Rachel disappeared, there’s been a kind of sinister aura around this place. I just...can’t put my finger on it but when Chloe took me to that junkyard up north, that’s when I noticed it even more. Maybe it’s just me. Plus, Kate died and while we don’t know why, that party might have something to do with it.”

“Actually, someone else filmed Kate at that party and posted it on YouTube. It’s unlisted but the entire school knew about it…”

“Are you kidding me? Who else would film that?”

“Wells was trying to figure it out during some investigation. Also her parents got a hold of it and sent her some really bad messages about it. She left a note in her room before she jumped off the roof, detailing on what was going on through her mind. It was kind of sad to read.”

“Yeah I bet.”

“Are you gonna go to her funeral next week? Some of the Vortex Club members mentioned wanting to go, especially Dana. Juliet might go for some story, I bet. She never cared about Kate.”

“And neither did you,” Victoria replies. “Neither did I either. I’m not gonna stop people from going to a funeral but...I don’t think a lot of people gave a shit about her. I was seconds away from posting that video and I have Chloe to thank for making me not responsible for that...but i’m still responsible for her death. I was cruel to her for so long because of her religious schtick when I could’ve just left her alone. I don’t think I should go. No one from this school should go. I know it sounds harsh but…”

“No, I understand,” Taylor replies. “Now that i'm really thinking about it, Max should be the only person to go. Maybe even Alyssa or Stella. But everyone else doesn’t. And whatever you’re doing with Price, be careful.”

“I am careful,” Victoria assures. “Don’t worry.”

“Are you at least going to the party tomorrow night? Jefferson’s going to announce the winner of the Everyday Heroes contest and I bet it’s just gonna be some pretentious student of his, like Max and her dumb camera.”

“Caulfield didn’t submit a photo, last time I checked,” Victoria says matter of factly. She knew after eavesdropping on Jefferson’s conversation with Max. “Honestly, I’ll be surprised if any of us win. I haven’t really swindled my way into Jefferson’s good hands since Monday and I don’t know. It would be great to get out of Arcadia Bay for a weekend.” Victoria dips the finished joint in an old cup of water and starts to get up. “I’m gonna go take a walk. Maybe I should wash up to get the stank of weed off me first.”

Taylor only waves as a reply as Victoria leaves the room. A trail of smoke leaves the room as she steps out but she shuts the door as quick as she opens it. She inhaled the good scent of air before heading to her room and getting ready for a shower. Instead of wearing her usual fancy clothes she opts for a workout shirt and a pair of leggings with some sneakers. It’s been a while since she’s worn her activewear but she’s been active enough when she’s running off with Price playing detective.

When she exits the room, she sees Max walking towards her room. “Lamefield! Let’s talk in your room.”

Max suddenly jumps a couple feet. “Oh, it’s you.”

Victoria snorts. “Yeah, it’s me. Come on, open the door, daylight is wading.” Max opens the door without another word. When she enters the room, Victoria follows right behind her and closes it. “What is your damage, Maxine Caulfield?”

Max furrows her eyebrows in confusion. “I don’t follow.”

“When’s the last time you talked to your childhood friend, Caulfield?” She asks, tilting her head to the side.

“...are you talking about Chloe?”

“Who else would I be talking about, Shitfield?” Victoria says sardonically. “Yes i’m talking about Chioe. For fucks sake, if I knew you would play games with me I should’ve went with the punchline instead of ringing around the bush.”

“I don’t know, theoretically it’s been three years,” Max replies. “Why would you even ask? I wasn’t aware you even knew of Chloe.”

“It’s not that hard to miss the blue hair, dumbass,” Victoria says. “But you didn’t know that because you’re too much of a chickenshit to check up on her. Shit, I didn’t think I had a valid reason to hate you but now I do. You’re not a good friend.”

“You have no room to assume that i’m a bad friend when you treat everyone here like they’re a piece of gum stick to the bottom of your shoe!” Max exclaims. “What have I ever done to you that made you so angry with me from the jump?”

“You irritate me,” Victoria replies. “You don’t even recognize your own fucking talent to submit a photo to a contest, and you spend all your times taking useless selfies. Why the fuck would you waste your time attending this fucking school if you’re not gonna at least apply yourself?”

“Such valid reasons,” Max says sarcastically. “Just admit you’re jealous and get out of my room.”

“How about I knock some sense into you instead of humoring ‘cause you have nothing for me to be jealous about,” Victoria suggests. “Talk to your friends. Keep them close, Lamefield. They exist until they don’t. That was the case for Kate Marsh so don’t do that to Chloe. She had a breakdown just now because she found out her disappeared ex cheated on her and she’s still hurt that you haven’t even contacted her for five years and still won’t do it now that you’re back in town.”

“What? Rachel was her girlfriend?” Max inquires.

“You literally didn’t hear what I said before any of that? Why do I even bother…”

“I didn’t even know Rachel was her girlfriend—“

“Yeah, because you were too busy doing god knows what in Seattle to even bother to make a status update.” Victoria steps in closer and narrows her eyes. “If you don’t call her by the end of the week, you’re gonna wish you went back to Seattle. Do I make myself clear?”

“Fine, but i'm not doing this for you.”

“I don’t care who you do it for,” Victoria snorts. “I’m just kicking you in the ass to actually do it. The girl is crying over a dumb whore and she doesn’t have anyone by her side. And if you do decide to talk to her, don’t tell her I sent you. I rather not deal with the fallout of interfering with Price’s personal life anyway.”

“I didn’t even know you and Chloe hung out together. I wouldn’t imagine her as your type of people to hang out with.”

Victoria shrugs. She’ll give Max that because it’s true. Victoria rarely talked to anyone who wasn’t Taylor or Nathan. “Let’s just say, we found a common ground.”

“Ok...uh, I heard Mr. Jefferson is going to announce the Everyday Heroes winner at the Vortex Club party tomorrow night. I didn’t enter but whoever wins not only gets to go to San Francisco but also party hard at one of your parties so it should be a good weekend for them.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

Victoria turns around to leave the room when Max stops her. “Thanks for giving me that push to talk to Chloe. I needed it, especially now that i’m kind of alone. After Kate died, I only had Warren to talk to but he’s been distant and i’m going to Kate’s funeral next week so her parents want me to deliver the eulogy. But I can’t write for shit and despite being one of Kate’s few friends, I never really understood her like that. I would bullshit the eulogy but—“

“—she doesn’t deserve that.” Victoria even agreed with that. “Just...write from the heart, Max. Highlight her achievements and whatever. I think you knew her better than anyone else at this school. In fact, you’re the only one who deserves to be at her funeral. Everyone else is going for posterity.”

“That’s the nicest thing I’ve ever heard you say,” Max says.

Victoria can feel Max smiling behind her. “For fuck’s sake Maxine. I’m not a sociopath. I can be nice. I just don’t give a shit about others to be nice to them. Don’t mention that to anyone either though.”

“My lips are sealed.” Victoria groans as she hears Max giggling. She leaves the room before she has to hear more of Max’s giggling for the day.

When Victoria reaches outside, she narrowly misses a can of paint falling from the top of some scaffolding to the floor. Her white sneakers got a bit of paint but luckily the paint blends in with her white sneakers. Still, she was pissed. “What the hell, Samuel?”

“My apologies, Victoria,” Samuel says with a guilty look.

She sighs a little. “Just...be a little more careful next time...si’l vous plait.”

“I’m sensing a different aura from you...it seems like a lot is on your mind…”

Shit. Why was her school custodian so perceptive? “Uh, you can say that.” A lot is on her mind. From Rachel’s secrets to Chloe’s breakdown and Nathan’s shady side job, Victoria has thought about nothing else but. She hasn’t even cared about the Vortex Club or even about Kate lately. “Um...since you’re kind of a...psychic or something, have you noticed something different about Nathan?”

“Ever since Rachel’s disappearance he’s a lot more hostile towards the students...and me as well,” Samuel comments. “It seems like he’s compensating for something deeper by projecting it out on other people.”

“Hmph.”

“And perhaps you might have done the same?”

Victoria bites her lip cautiously. “I just...I want to be a photographer but clearly Max and everyone else in the art program are better than me. I don’t think I can ever compare to them. If there was some other contest, I probably would’ve won last place.”

“I don’t think so.”

“You and one small ass army,” Victoria snorts. She didn’t want to talk about this anymore. Talking about her insecurities always puts her in a mood and she rather not deal with that. “Have you ever noticed Rachel sneaking off before she disappeared?”

“I always see her getting into some recreational vehicle.”

Bingo, Victoria thinks. Samuel knew that Rachel was sneaking off somewhere. “Uh, thanks I guess. I didn’t mean for this to turn into an interrogation.”

“That’s fine. Most of the students don’t even talk to me except for Max and Kate. God bless her soul. Anyway, have a nice day Victoria.”

Victoria purses her lips. She merely waves to Samuel as he walks off. The keys are jingling on his right hip and Victoria has half a mind to take it when he’s not looking, but she has other matters to take care of, like this walk.

She walks five blocks when she gets a text.

Chloe: check your bff’s room for clues I got an idea

Victoria: did it hurt? :)

Chloe: just do it!

Chloe: and no emoji bitch

Chapter Text

Chloe waits patiently by Nathan’s dorm room for lookout. She would’ve swiped Samuel’s keys earlier but he keeps his keys close to him and plus, she didn’t want Nathan to walk by and find Victoria rummaging inside her room. She checks her phone, only to see a pending message from a contact she hasn’t saved into her phone.

Unknown: Hey Chloe. It’s Max. Can we talk sometime this week?

Chloe widens her eyes as Victoria exits the room, waving a small bag with a flip phone inside, along with a piece of paper. “Hey, Price, we got the goods.”

“Max just texted me,” Chloe whispers.

Victoria pockets Nathan’s secret phone and raises both eyebrows. “She did?”

“Uh yeah, she wants to talk,” Chloe replies.

“Then respond you dummy,” Victoria replies. “Tell her you want to talk to her too. Maybe tonight or something. I don’t care. We can continue our investigation another day. Plus you need Samuel’s keys to get in Wells’ office and that isn’t very easy.”

“Doesn’t Wells have a spare key somewhere in the office?” Chloe asks to herself.

“Doubt it. That asswhipe doesn’t trust a lot of people in his office. He fears we might stumble upon his whiskey collection but we all know about it. Nathan talks about it like it’s Wells’ prized possession. Plus Nathan took a bottle and we got wasted this one night. We still need Samuel’s keys and I think I may have gained a little bit of his trust just by talking to him.”

“Then go get his keys. It should be easy for you.”

“What am I supposed to do, ask him for it? Are you stupid?”

“No, you’re the stupid one,” Chloe remarks. “Swipe it when he’s not looking. Swiper yes swiping.”

“For fucks sake Chloe,” Victoria laughs. “Did you have to make that reference?”

“Yes...yes I did. But not now. He’s still in his office so we should do this tonight. I’ll text you when the coast is clear.”

“Mhmm, now are you gonna talk to Max? I think she’s upstairs.”

“What? No. I can’t talk to her now.”

“Now or never, Chlo,” Victoria shrugs. “Unless you got plans.”

“Yes I do. I’m trying to connect the fucking dots on this case like Dana Scully...or Sherlock Holmes,” Chloe replies sardonically. “You on the other hand are as useless as John Watson.”

“Watson wasn’t useless. And we’re not solving anything paranormal so saying you’re Scully is kind of unorthodox,” Victoria says. “Plus, it was Mulder who ran the show, not Scully.”

Chloe furrows her eyebrows. “Nerd much?”

“Watching the X-Files and Sherlock don’t make me a nerd. Rather...I was a bored child.”

“Are there any other secret things about you I should know about?” Chloe asks, smirking and generally curious.

“Yeah, I don’t like you,” Victoria replies, smirking back.

“Why do you have to be so cruel? After the secrets we shared? The memories we created? Have you no heart?” Chloe mockingly puts a hand over her heart and gives a fake hurt look to Victoria, who couldn’t stop giggling. “Like, jeez, if I knew you would still hate me after this I could’ve stopped this a while ago.”

“Such wonderful acting from the girl who could barely convince the rest of the school she was Ariel’s understudy,” Victoria says. “And before you say anything, my girl Taylor filmed the entire play and was the one who screamed out ‘say yes’.”

Chloe shrugs. “Would have never guessed it was Taylor Christensen who shipped Rachel and me.”

“What’s there to ship if you two were already in a ‘ship?”

“Good point but everyone likes a good relationship.” Both of them start leaving the boys dormitory and reach outside, where the quads are surprisingly busy and full of life considering someone killed themselves right in front of them the previous day. “Oh and the phone?”

Victoria gives Chloe the phone. “If i’m lucky, Samuel might leave his keys out in the open. Sometimes he’s forgetful.”

“Yeah but—“

“Oh, Victoria, I finally—“ Chloe turns around and is suddenly stunned by a familiar face staring right back at her. “Oh, uh—Chloe?”

“‘Sup Maxine?” Chloe replies nervously.

Victoria puts a hand over her face and shakes her head. “For fuck’s sake. I'm gonna make myself look busy to not endure secondhand embarrassment,” she mutters while walking away.

Chloe ignores Victoria, only because she’s completely stunned by Max standing in front of her, not because she said that. The last time Chloe’s seen Max she was burying her dad and Max was already driving away to Seattle never to be seen again. Max only left a tape detailing what happened after the funeral and they tried to keep in contact but that stopped at around 2009. Max looked like she was too busy for Chloe and Chloe was already building her emotional walls and taking it out on others instead of getting the help she needed. Well, she tried but after one session, she stormed out and never went back. She definitely wasn’t ready for Max to come back and even though Victoria already said she was here, Chloe thought she would never bump into Max. Chloe doesn’t go to Blackwell and the students don’t often leave campus unless they go to the diner or an away game. “So how’s it been?” Max asks.

How’s it been? Five years of no contact and that’s what you ask me?” Chloe inquires, staring at Max with disbelief.

“What do you want me to ask you?” Max replies, already starting to get a little frustrated and Chloe could see it. “It’s not like you kept in contact either.”

“I texted you many times and I was left on read,” Chloe explains.

“I’m sorry, I was going through it and sometimes you didn’t help,” Max defends. “I made friends and enjoyed Seattle but I left Arcadia Bay at a terrible time and that was not my fault—“

“No, what was your fault is that you stalled the entire time to tell me you were moving, and the most appropriate time you decide to say something was after my dad’s funeral...on a cassette tape!” Chloe snaps. “Then our conversations never ever last because you were living it up in Seattle while I was severely beat up days after the funeral by Marisa Rogers.”

“That wasn’t my fault!” Max snaps back. “And it doesn’t matter how I left. That was five years ago and I didn’t know how to say it.”

“I needed my friend while I tried to get over my dad’s death and you did nothing!” Chloe cries. “You didn’t call me, not even once—“

“I’m so sorry, Chloe. I didn’t mean to not answer the phone. I’m serious. I just—“

“You already told me, you made friends and I was coping by having literally no one on my side other than weed. My mom didn’t even wait a whole year to get acquainted and then remarried to a dick, and I was already flunking classes. Rachel was the only person by my side until she disappeared. You had a better life than I did.”

“Fair, but I never forgot about you,” Max defends. “I never forgot about my best friend, even when I did have my own friends.”

“What-the-fuck-ever.”

“Chloe—“

“I’m not exactly forgiving anymore, Maxine,” Chloe says honestly. “I might give you the benefit of the doubt but I can’t forgive right now.”

“I understand. I just want my friend back...can I at least have that?”

“I guess,” Chloe sighs, scratching her nape and looking off to the side, where she watches Victoria waving a set of keys at her with a smirk. Damn she’s good, she thinks. “What are you gonna do differently this time, Max? Are you actually going to keep in touch now that you’re here at some artsy school?”

“Yes,” Max answers flatly. “I am going to keep in contact. I promise you.”

“Ok, good, because despite resenting you for so long, I missed you.”

Max gives Chloe the goofiest grin Chloe’s ever seen. She missed that. “Thank you Chloe.”


 

It wasn’t until night time when Victoria makes a move. She had Samuel’s keys in her pocket and hoped for the best in terms of finding whatever needs to be found in Wells’ file cabinets. There must be something, anything they’re missing to add into their notes, and she’s going to find out.

She still can’t believe she¡s investigating her best friend. Nathan was always honest and upfront even when he tried so hard to hide the truth. Victoria knew him from the back of his hand...or at least she thought she did. He’s becoming more and more of a stranger nowadays. He’s still pissed off that Victoria befriended Chloe even before they actually did, but telling the truth was not an option. Victoria wasn’t going to say ‘Well Chloe basically dragged me into an impromptu investigation after showing me an incriminating picture of herself on your dorm floor’ and get away with it. She had to lie.

But now, is it really a lie?

Victoria can admit that she and Chloe did find a common ground recently. Victoria also would’ve been pissed if she found out her girlfriend cheated on her, but maybe finding things out about Nathan is just as bad. She’s just keeping it together because she refuses to let others see her when she’s weak and down. She never lets anyone other than Taylor and Nathan to see her shed a tear. She doesn’t share secrets with just anyone. And she doesn’t show kindness to everyone either, even if she knows it would work out in her favor.

But having similar struggles don’t constitute as friends...do they? Chloe doesn’t know about Victoria’s birthday or interests or any of that shit, and Victoria only knows that Chloe’s an emotional lesbian with a shitty stepfather and her mom works at that place she loves so much, no matter how sticky it is. They still barely know each other.

Should that change? Only time will tell.

After getting past a drunken Wells, Victoria goes straight to the main building. She’s about to open the door when a hand touches her shoulder and she jumps five feet in the air.

A loud chuckle makes her anger grow stronger. “You should’ve seen the look on your face!” Chloe laughs.

“You are so lucky I didn’t carry my pepper spray or you would’ve been blinded for hours,” Victoria growls.

“You would pepper spray your friend?”

“No, I’d pepper spray you,” Victoria clarifies. “And plus we don’t know shit about each other to be friends. You have Maxine, I have Taylor.”

“That’s cold, Victoria Chase,” Chloe shudders.

“Not as cold as this building,” Victoria complains. She opens the secretary’s door then goes straight to the office door. She tries every key except the one she just used. The last one manages to open the door. “Sweet justice,” she says. She scans around, finding Chloe looking inside the lost and found box. “Chloe!”

“You guys lose some interesting stuff,” Chloe smirks. “Oh, here’s that old bandanna I lost in the eighth grade!” Chloe pulls out a bandanna covered in skull and crossbones. “I thought I lost this forever.”

Victoria couldn’t help smiling. “You’re a dork, Chloe. Come on. I got the door open and i’m not trusting it for long.”

“Coming!” Chloe runs inside before Victoria. “Man, I can see why the principal locks this room up. Fancy faux art crap. He must want everybody to know he has money...but no taste. I mean, how can you trust somebody who has a fucking bronze bird in his office? I'm glad I was expelled.”

“Blackwell isn’t that bad in terms of academia. Maybe everything else.”

“I still don’t give a shit.” Chloe then sits on Wells’ chair. “This chair is ugly but is so comfortable I might consider stealing it. The Great Desk Chair Heist. You in, Chase?”

Victoria raises an eyebrow. “You think we can get away with it? It’s a pretty large chair.”

“You think too much.” Chloe turns on the computer. “Now be a Sherlock and find us some clues about Rachel, or Kate, or Nathan...anyone involved in this shit.”

“I’m on it, Watson.” Victoria has been in this office before so she easily finds the permanent records. Abiding by time, she grabs Rachel’s, Kate’s and Nathan’s files. She checks out her own permanent record, because why the hell not? “My record’s so spotless and it’s gonna stay that way.” She puts her file back and then checks out Chloe’s for shits and giggles. “Chloe Elizabeth Price, born March 11th, 1994 in Arcadia Bay.”

“Are you reading my files?”

“Yup. I knew your ass was a Pisces,” Victoria sniggers.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Emotional, petty, huge victim complex, never takes responsibility…” Victoria lists from her knowledge.

Chloe glares at Victoria then shrugs. “Yeah, sounds about right.”

“Self-aware. I like that, Price,” Victoria says. She looks at the files again, and almost laughs. “You were expelled for spray painting Wells’ car?”

“He was getting on my fucking nerves,” Chloe growls.

Victoria rolls her eyes. “You got some serious issues, Price. Sheesh, I can spend all day reading through your permanent record. You failed classes, got caught smoking cigarettes, parking in a handicap spot…”

“You ain’t shit either, Victoria,” Chloe says.

“At least I know how to hide my crimes. Now, did you find anything?”

Chloe shakes her head. Victoria goes back to looking through the permanent records. She finds Max’s record and reads through it. “Of course teachers would say she doesn't talk enough, but who would say she talks too much?” Victoria mutters to herself.

“Vic, you gotta come see this…”

Victoria turns around and goes to the desk to check the computer. There are a couple letters from Wells to the Prescott parents and back, and also incident reports where Madsen and Nathan reported Rachel for having drugs. “What the fuck…?

“Nathan accused Rachel of bringing drugs on campus? And my step-troll went along because he thinks Rachel was a bad influence on me,” Chloe growls.

“Was he wrong?”

Chloe glares at Victoria. “Not now.” She goes back to the files and reads them. They had incriminating evidence of Nathan’s track record since the beginning. “‘Nathan Prescott the Third.’ Oooh, he's so money. And you know the Prescotts dropped major bank to bury Nathan's real file... Look, it reads like a rap sheet---bad grades, teacher complaints, secret probation... But I was expelled?”

“Did you forget that you spray painted Wells’ car?”

“Oh come on! His old ass car needed a touch up,” Chloe smirks. “At least he got it painted in that color.”

“Like your beat up ass truck doesn’t need a serious paint job?”

“You love my truck,” Chloe says. “The Chloemobile hasn’t done anything to you.”

Chloemobile?” Victoria giggles.

“You don’t name your car?”

“I do but not like that. My car’s name is Cordelia ‘cause I used to watch Buffy as a kid and she was the character with the same last name as me. Plus, Charisma Carpenter was a total babe.”

“She sure the fuck was.”

“Wait a minute…” Victoria points towards the screen, seeing a bit of a disturbing photo. “Check out that note. Open it.”

“That's just some crazy drawing—“

“That’s not a drawing. I know what a drawing looks like. Just look at it…” Victoria gets even more sick looking at it but she swallows her spit. “‘Rachel in the dark room... Rachel in the dark room…’”

“That’s...fucking disturbing. That just means he has something to do with Rachel missing.”

“Oh Nate,” Victoria sighs. If she wasn’t gonna vomit, she was going to cry but she refuses to let people see her cry. At least, not Chloe or the rest of the student body. “Why was I so blind to not see how truly psychotic he is?”

“He’s your friend,” Chloe reasons. “You were blind to see his true side, just like how I was blind to Rachel’s lying.”

“I don’t think he’s my friend after this. We gotta stomach through this bullshit and find out what is going on, and then get Nathan some fucking help. I’ll help him but i’m definitely not condoning what he’s doing.” Victoria gathers all of the files and fixes the room up so that no one will know they were there. “I’m getting paranoid in here. We should go before someone catches us.”

“I agree—hello, what’s this?” Chloe pulls out a Manila envelope.

“Chloe, no time for—“

Five grand for a handicap fund?” Chloe gasps. “That joke was never going to build that shit anyway so—“

“Chloe, remember the last time you tried to sneak money up your bra and I automatically knew? Yeah, this is another instance where i’m telling you to drop the money and let’s bail.”

“Dude seriously? You know what I can do with five grand? I already paid off Frank thanks to you. What do you say to a sweet road trip?”

Victoria seriously thinks about it before she replies, “Can I finish school first?”

Pussy,” Chloe groans as she drops the money inside the drawer and follows her.

“I’m the pussy while you’re endorsing stealing. Ok,” Victoria rolls her eyes. “And I never told you that a road trip was a bad idea.”

“In that case—“

No,” Victoria says flatly.

Chloe wraps an arm around Victoria’s shoulders and rubs her knuckles over it. Victoria protests halfheartedly as Chloe’s rubbing gets a little more intense. Victoria manages to push her off and glare at Chloe, before laughing and walking away. She feels several weights being lifted off her shoulders and her laughter becoming less stiff but she hasn’t even  noticed until now. They were just doing stupid shit inside Wells’ office and now they’re play fighting and laughing outside. They would get caught if people actually did their job—

“Make sure you cover the whole perimeter,” Victoria hears Madsen command to a couple guards.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Victoria whispers. Chloe pulls her to a nearby shrub, watching as several guards enter the school. When the last guard goes inside, Chloe gets up and pulls Victoria towards her car. Victoria catches up despite Chloe holding her wrist.

Hey!” A guard shouts.

Chloe enters the driver’s seat. Victoria doesn’t even hesitate entering the passenger’s seat. Neither of them waste time putting on seatbelts and suddenly pull from the parking lot and drive far away from the school. “Hah! Sayonara mothersuckers! That was hella awesome.”

“That was hella scary,” Victoria retorts. While she is a runner, the adrenaline from being chased makes her even more tired than being on a runner’s high. “I swear to god if I get in trouble—”

“They’ll probably identify me before they identify you.”

Victoria sighs. “Shit, I can’t go back there. They’ll think I broke in there.”

“Luckily you have a brand spankin’ new bee-eff-eff with a home,” Chloe replies, smirking evilly. “And we get to sort out this bullshit the next day. We’re so close to finding out what the hell is going on here, I can almost taste it.”

“Ew,” Victoria recoils.

Chloe flicks Victoria’s ear. Victoria makes a sound of protest but doesn’t do anything else as she watches the road towards someone else’s home. It takes them a short time to get to Chloe’s home, and even then Chloe suggests they sneak up the window. Sighing, Victoria climbs up the home after Chloe gets a head start. The window’s already open and Chloe easily climbs in. Victoria climbs in right after while Chloe turns on the light to her room. “Your room is worse than Nathan’s.”

“Shut up,” Chloe says. She opens the drawer and tosses an old band tee towards Victoria’s face. “That should be big enough for you.”

Victoria inspects it for a little while. “Firewalk?”

“Best night of my life,” Chloe smiles.

Victoria puts the files on Chloe’s desk. “I don’t even know who those people are.”

“That’s because your a basic bitch.”

“Me, a basic bitch because I don’t know who Firewalk is? Now I know why you and Caulfield were besties. You two think you’re so unique because you don’t like what everyone else likes.”

“I don’t always have that hippie mindset,” Chloe defends. “That’s probably the only indie band I care about. But my music taste varies and sometimes I have style.”

“You’ve been wearing the same shirt and combat boots since Monday.”

“And you don’t wear anything other than Peter Pan shirts,” Chloe retorts. “Anyways, we have a long night so change into that shirt and get comfortable.”


 

Almost the entire night, both Chloe and Victoria try to find clues but by three in the morning, Chloe hears a sharp inhale, sounding like a snore. She turns around to see Victoria already deep in much needed sleep. Sighing contently, Chloe leaves the computer unattended. She notices that Victoria takes the entire bed to sleep, leaving absolutely nothing for Chloe to sleep on.

“Jesus Christ, Victoria,” she mutters before pushing Victoria to the end of the bed. She climbs in and after a few minutes she falls asleep.

When Chloe wakes up, she finds herself alone on her bed.

“Good morning sunshine,” Victoria greets, a friendly grin on her lips. “While you were sleeping I found a definite location we can check out.”

“Mmm, what time is it exactly?”

“10:11,” Victoria replies. “As I was saying, Nathan left the party and was found at a different place at around 10pm the night he took Kate, thanks to Madsen’s files. I googled what the place looks like and it’s a barn…”

“Did you figure out Nathan’s phone?”

“No, I kind of hacked it in a way. Too many attempts would’ve erased his phone,” Victoria answers. “He made a bunch of texts to Frank. That’s probably where he got all the good shit.”

Chloe hums. She rubs her eyes and widens them to wake herself up. She really looks at the board and then back at Victoria, who’s writing down the address and directions to the location she mentioned earlier. Her hair is standing up and her face is devoid of makeup, and her legs are crossed but still showing a lot of leg. Chloe notices how slender her legs are and how they have a bit of definition after being a runner for a little while. She almost imagines those legs being wrapped around her—

Shit. Is she really fantasizing about Victoria Chase?

“Price, come on, we should get a move on to this location while the day’s wading,” Victoria commands. “And this fucking Vortex party...I don’t even give a shit. I don’t think i’m going.”

“They won’t even miss you,” Chloe quips.

“You’re probably right. I haven’t given a shit about those assholes in days.” She gets up and stretches a little. “I need to go back to get properly dressed.”

“Or you can wear some of Rachel’s—“

“Not a chance, Kari Price,” Victoria sneers.

“At least I tried.” Chloe gets up and grabs a towel. She leaves the room to take her shower while Victoria probably puts her clothes back on. Chloe doesn’t take no more than fifteen minutes in the shower and then brushes her teeth for an additional five before leaving the room. When she enters the room again, Victoria is nowhere to be found but she left the Firewalk shirt folded on Chloe’s bed. Then she hears some talking so after getting dressed she listens from the staircase.

“I’m kind of surprised you even knew of Chloe,” she hears her mom say.

“Actually I vaguely knew her when she went to Blackwell,” she hears Victoria say. “We weren’t friends then. We just kind of knew each other.”

“Well, I think that was the case for all of Chloe’s acquaintances until she met Rachel. They were attached at the hip, the both of them. Thick as thieves. David never liked them together but I did. It was almost as if Rachel brought my daughter back...somewhat, in her own way. It’s a shame that she disappeared without a word...and it’s so unlike her.”

“I agree.” Chloe smirks a little at that.

“Wherever she is, I hope she lets Chloe know sometime soon.”

Chloe decides it was time to go downstairs. She would’ve smoked a little to clear her head but she decided not to. Now that they might have a lead on this barn miles away from Arcadia Bay, she needs a clear head. She almost stops when she watches her mother finish cooking with Victoria looking at some of the family photos on the refrigerator. “This was her dad?”

“Yep,” Joyce confirms. “She was definitely a daddy’s girl. When he died it was almost the end of the world for her.”

“I can see that...I could never imagine losing my dad...or my mom either.” There’s some shuffling in the background. “I never seen Chloe grin like that...not even with Amb—Rachel.”

“She has her moments. It was just rare. Most of the time when she’s grinning she just smoked a bowl in her room.” Victoria lets out an audible snort. “We try to get her to stop but...she’s practically an adult now. How can I stop her from making decisions if she’s old enough to understand consequences?”

“Well, my mom used to say ‘I control you until you officially move out the house’ so until I find my own place, her house her rules.”

“I like the way your mom thinks.”

Chloe clears her throat and grimaces. “Hello mom, I have to steal this rich kid for the whole day.”

Joyce raises an eyebrow. “I was wondering why she was here in the first place.”

“We had a long night,” Chloe half lies. “Come on, Victoria. Like you said earlier, the day is wading.”

Victoria waves to Joyce and follows Chloe outside. Chloe starts the car as soon as Victoria climbs inside. “I knew Joyce was your mom, but I still can’t imagine the kind woman making a late breakfast is your mom.”

“Well, she is, and she married a bastard,” Chloe growls.

“If you’re wondering if she told me any embarrassing stories about you, the answer is no,” Victoria comments as they drive further south. “We were talking about Rachel for the most part. Somewhat about you, but mostly Rachel.”

“I heard parts of it.”

It stays silent until they reach the school. Victoria says a short “be right back” and leaves the car to get ready. Chloe takes the time to relax and think about what happened earlier.

She hasn’t had a daydream like that since Rachel. It surprised the hell out of her to even think about someone she was supposed to hate like that. Yeah, they might have found some things to agree on and this investigation may have brought them closer than ever, but does Chloe really consider Victoria anything other than a frenemy? Or maybe an acquaintance? Should she?

There’s just so much wrong with what she was thinking but for some reason it felt right...natural even, like it was supposed to happen. But she doesn’t feel like it’s supposed to.

Chapter Text

Victoria needed a shower.

She didn’t feel dirty after spending the night with Chloe. She felt dirty about finding herself under Chloe’s warm body and having soiled thoughts about it. She had to wake herself up very early and keep investigating to keep her mind occupied, but sometimes Chloe lets out a loud snore and it gets her attention...and then Victoria catches herself staring at legs and Chloe’s shirt riding up as she tosses and turns.

She had already spent too long in yesterday’s clothes to have a cold shower but when she gathers her things and goes to the shower room, she does exactly just that. It’s short, and it wakes her up but it doesn’t feel good. The water is shit, probably because it’s mostly hard water, and she had to be quick anyway.

She makes a hasty retreat to her room and puts on some comfortable athletic clothes, rather getting those dirty than her casual wear. After fixing her hair, she grabs her phone and other essentials and leaves her room, ignoring some of the students in the way.

“Victoria!”

“Fuck,” Victoria mutters. She turns towards Dana, inside her room. “What?

“Where have you been all week? You haven’t responded to the group messages and some of us are worried...the party’s tonight—“

Stop,” Victoria interrupts, holding a hand up to silence Dana. She doesn’t care about that at all. In fact. “I don’t care.”

“What?” Dana’s voice sounds surprised and not relieved. Frantic, almost.

“Are you deaf, Ward? I don’t care,” Victoria repeats. “Right now I got way more important shit than the Vortex Club.”

Dana’s facial expression is a mix between confusion, curiosity, and concern. “You’ve been hanging out with Chloe a lot. Is she more important now?”

“At the moment, yes she is. Just...have fun without me,” Victoria sighs. “After Tuesday, I don’t really care for anything right now other than getting the fuck out of here. If i’m the winner for that dumb contest, so be it, but I...I gotta go.”

“Victoria, what about the club?”

“I’m out. Nathan can deal with that shit on his own...or better yet, you can shut it down and revamp it.” With that, Victoria exits the dormitory and meets up with Chloe by the car. She never even noticed that she was holding so much weight but after saying she’s out of the club, she feels a sense of relief. She might not get away with colleges but that doesn’t matter. Her friendship with Nathan isn’t even there anymore, and the truth is revealing itself a lot more as the week goes by.

She checks her phone and finds a bunch of texts from the group chat. She doesn’t read through them, but she does notice that no one let Juliet back in. Good. She leaves the chat and silences her phone, just in case Dana tells everyone what happened and they start calling her about it.

She finds Chloe inside the car, with her head thrown back. Throwing a façade, she bangs on the window. “Chlo, let me in you lesbian.”

Chloe glares at Victoria. “And you’re not a lesbian?”

“Debatable. Come on.”

“What took you so long?” Chloe asks as she pulls away from the school. 

“Dana stopped me on the way out. I told her to fuck off,” Victoria replies. “I’m tired and I would love to solve this shit...wait, what are we going to do once we solve this shit?”

“Run out of here?”

Victoria laughs. “As much as I would love to get the fuck out of Arcadia Bay forever, I still go to school here.”

“You hate Arcadia Bay too?” Chloe asks, a little more expectant than she wanted.

“Not as much as you or Rachel, but I never liked being here. My home is Seattle,” Victoria answers.

“You sure you didn't meet Max when you were over there?” Chloe asks.

Victoria shakes her head. “Nope. I doubt she went to the same school district as me. I went to a private middle school.”

“That explains why you're uppity,” Chloe chides.

“Fuck off, Chloe. If you attended the same school as me, you would've thought I was a saint compared to those fuckwits.”

Chloe rolls her eyes. “Honestly? The only person I’ve ever met that’s worse than you is Nathan. That asshole is doing something sinister in this town and i’m not going to rest until I find out what it is.”

“Same.”

There’s a bit of silence until Chloe speaks. “What kind of barn is it?”

“From what I gathered, it’s an old barn that was owned by Harry Allan Prescott, Nathan’s ancestor. I know it”s way before his asshole father but Sean probably owns it since he’s obviously a descendant. Then I also read a lot about how the family would much rather marry cousins and siblings to keep the family name. Kind of explains Sean...and Nathan.”

“Seriously? That’s...fucking sick.”

“Happened in my family too, but my dad was the sensible one in the Chase family and married outside of his caliber. Meaning he didn’t marry a fucking cousin, and he also married outside his own religion. Thank god. I don’t know how I would’ve lived knowing I was conceived by incest.”

“Was Nathan conceived by incest?” Chloe asks.

“No. Kristine was,” Victoria replies. “They have different moms. Kristine’s mom, or rather her second cousin, died in childbirth so Sean married someone else and they had Nathan. He told me that but I didn’t know it was a generational thing until this morning. I just thought Sean Prescott was a sick asshole.”

Nothing else is said until they reach the derelict barn. It gives off a very weird energy upon reaching it and Victoria wonders if Chloe could feel it too. Chloe parks it far away from the barn and they walk towards it. There are fresh tire marks and a very modern power supply for a barn that was probably built centuries ago. “Shit, how are we going to get in there?”

“There’s an opening on the side here,” Chloe says. Victoria follows her and finds a barn which is just as terrible in condition as it is outside. “I’m gonna find some clues. You should do the same.”

“On it.” Victoria doesn’t waste time trying to find whatever they could find about this barn. There is something about it that’s setting off a lot of red flags, starting with the fresh tire marks. However, Nathan came here during the night he took Kate somewhere. He didn’t leave until late, which explains he might have done something. Chloe is looking at a chest full of old documents and on the way there, Victoria notices a padlock. Raising an eyebrow, she dusts the hay off and inspects it. This is also very modern and so off put. “What the hell is this,” she notes. It’s not going to be an easy peasy lock to pick. “Chloe, I think I found something.”

Chloe rushes to Victoria and sighs. “Fuck. What do we do now?”

“We gotta get it open,” Victoria says. “But how…?”

“MacGuyver it?”

“Can we really MacGuyver this shit?”

“Anything is possible with a bobby pin,” Chloe suggests. She pulls it out and tries to use it on the padlock. Victoria feels like it’s not going to work because it looks a lot more advanced, however when Chloe releases the padlock from the door, she smirks at Victoria. “You were saying?”

“No time for your gloating. Let’s get this thing open.” Victoria lifts it up with Chloe’s help and it leads to an empty stairway. It’s so fucking weird that Victoria doesn’t have words. She just goes straight downstairs only to find a locked door with a passcode. She pulls out a piece of paper from the investigation files and puts in a three digit code, and it unlocks. She twists the door and it opens automatically, revealing a creepy bunker. The deep feeling in Victoria’s gut worsens as she enters the dark bunker.

She sees a piece of paper nearby the sink. She picks it up and reads it.

“What are you reading?”

“Nathan has...or had a psychiatrist,” Victoria says. “It’s a letter detailing that this psychiatrist isn’t treating Nathan anymore because his father refuses to help him. His father is encouraging his erratic behavior, rather.”

“He needs some serious help before it gets even worse.”

“I think it probably has,” Victoria comments. “We wouldn’t be investigating him if his mental instability hasn’t gotten worse.”

“Shit. Why does everyone in this shit town with a mental illness gotta be fucked up? My step-fuhrer has some type of post traumatic stress and he not only dictates everything in my life but he treats his students like shit, and Nathan might have done something to Kate...or Rachel. Or both.”

Victoria couldn’t reply to that. She goes further into the bunker, revealing a dark photography studio with expensive printers and other gear. This couldn’t be just Nathan involved, she thinks. It seems too creepy even for Nathan, and while Nathan takes very dark and macabre images, this was way too much. She looks around and checks a cabinet, finding binders upon binders of names, the names Kate and Rachel goading her to grab them. “Chloe, come check this shit out.”

Chloe opens the first one for Kate and both girls gasp audibly. “Oh my god…”

“Fuck...Kate,” Victoria whispers.

“What’s this other one?” Chloe opens the Rachel binder and Victoria can see Chloe’s facial expression turn from shock to sheer horror. Rachel has many images but three photos stick out to her. It appears that Rachel was in the junkyard when it happened as well. “No…”

“She must’ve been awake and furious in this one,” Victoria comments, pointing at the one where Rachel looks the most conscious.

Chloe shakes her head. “She has to be posing for these…”

“I don’t think Rachel would pose like that. Kate wouldn’t even pose like that...willingly.”

“Wait, I know where this is! This has to be...she can’t be…”

“I don’t know, Chloe. Everyone said it best. Rachel wouldn’t have left without a word and she looks completely out of it in these other photos…”

“We have to go there...I know she posed for those photos. She can’t be dead. She can’t be…” Chloe stops looking at them and rushes to the entrance. Victoria looks at the file cabinet again and finds a folder with her name as well as a folder with Max’s name on it. She has to definitely warn Max about this. Would she be at the Vortex party? Probably not, so she can always check Max’s room. She still couldn’t shake the feeling that this isn’t just Nathan involved in this. Her dread grows even stronger as she leaves the bunker and meets Chloe at the car.

They race all the way to the junkyard as if time wasn’t of the essence. Victoria finds herself vibrating with dread the closer she gets to that junkyard. She knew something was off the minute she went there the first time, and she hopes it’s wrong. As much as she disliked Rachel, wanting her dead is another story. She couldn’t imagine wanting anyone dead, not even Kate before she actually died.

“Fuck fuck fuck...if she’s dead i’m going to kill Nathan,” Chloe growls.

“This can’t just be Nathan,” she whispers to herself. “This can’t be…”

The junkyard appears within sight. They drive for a couple more yards until Chloe stops the car. She kills the engine swiftly before running off. “Shit! Price, wait for me!” Victoria shouts after her.

“I know where i’m going!” Chloe yells back. At this moment, Victoria is thankful she wore comfortable clothes and shoes before heading out because all this running would’ve ruined her expensive shit. She catches up with Chloe pretty quickly and they run over to a spot. “This is it.” Chloe kneels down and starts digging. “Don’t just stand there, help me!”

Victoria sighs a little, saying a silent second long prayer for her nails, and digs along with her. The dirt doesn’t feel good against Victoria’s skin and nails but she doesn’t stop. Something about this particular spot makes her want to dig more. She wishes she put gloves on first though...or maybe used a shovel.

“Chloe—“ Victoria stops when she sees a bit of a band shirt. “Look…”

Chloe’s breath hitches as she dusts off the rest and the smell of rotting flesh hits them before they could continue. “Shit!” Chloe cusses and moves her head to the side.

Victoria feels bile rising in her throat from the smell, however they still couldn’t see anything - just a band shirt. They have to keep digging. She fights the urge to vomit and keeps digging until she sees blond hair peeking out. Her eyes fill up with sorrow tears as she drops her dirty hands and stares sullenly at the confirmed dead body.

Rachel?” Chloe sobs. “No, no, please not her!” Her words fail her as she moves away and dry heaves over a patch of grass. Victoria gets up and puts a hand on Chloe, while she coughs out before absolving to heart wrenching sobs. “Rachel…”

“I’m sorry…” Victoria’s words also fail her. She cries along with Chloe instead and wraps her arms around her.


 

Chloe’s sad tears turn into angry ones as she sits in the car contemplating her next move.

It took everything out of her not to believe that Rachel was dead for six months. She wanted to believe that Rachel took the high road without her. Now, she wishes Rachel did. Finding Rachel dead is not what she expected but now this has been the penultimate event that broke her. Arcadia Bay and the Prescotts got away with way too much since the day she was born. They dried up the shipyard and continued to ruin jobs for other people, almost bulldozed years of nature to build an apartment complex and killed one too many people. Chloe would probably be crazy if she believed it was one of the Prescotts who killed her father.

They didn’t bother covering Rachel’s insulting grave. They couldn’t. Chloe wanted people to know what the Prescotts did and Victoria threw up. Neither girl even bothered anymore.

It was silent inside the car all the way back to Blackwell. Chloe wanted to find Nathan and outright kill him. Even Victoria isn’t stopping her, and she expected Victoria to reason with Chloe. Nope. She hasn’t even said anything throughout the entire trip. Now that they’re in the parking lot, Victoria is still silent. It’s eight, meaning the party is starting. Nathan should be in there doing whatever it takes to drug up another student and take them to his dark bunker.

“There was a folder for Max,” Victoria finally says, her voice completely wasted from crying. “I think he’s going to get Max next, or me because I was there too. I—we have to warn her. Make sure she stays the fuck away from Nathan Prescott. Don’t drink anything from anyone either. I don’t trust anyone in there to make a single drink.”

“Do you think she would be at the Vortex Party?”

“Dunno. She hates the Vortex Club and the club doesn’t just accept everyone. I would know, I was co-owner. I wonder if they’ll let me in if Max isn’t at her room.”

“Come on then.” Chloe exits the car and goes straight to the dorms. Victoria follows suit. When the door opens, Taylor and Courtney step out.

“Victoria, where have you been?” Courtney inquires. “Dana told me you quit the club and we’ve been trying to call you for hours!”

Chloe catches Victoria rolling her eyes in annoyance. “Can’t talk...is Max in there?”

“Why the fuck are you asking for Max?” Courtney spits out.

Do you know where she is or not?” Chloe snaps.

“We don’t know where she is,” Taylor answers. “The last time I saw her, she was holed up in her room. I’m not sure if she’s going tonight despite Dana insisting that admission is for everyone who wants to turn out.”

Chloe sighs a little. That information isn’t settling but at least one of Victoria’s cronies was nice enough to say something. “Thanks, Taylor.”

Taylor only nods and drags Courtney away before the girl tries to say something. Chloe drags Victoria inside the dorms and they head upstairs to Max’s room. They knock on the door a couple times, only to come up with nothing. “Shit. She must be at the party.”

“I hope Nathan didn’t get to her,” Chloe says. She really hopes Max is safe somewhere. The last thing she wants is for Max to go down the same way Rachel went down.

They leave the dorms and go straight to the gymnasium. As usual, the party is in full swing. Chloe hasn’t been to much Vortex Club parties, but this seems to be one of their biggest. Almost everyone is in attendance, probably because they’re announcing the winner of that contest and also forgetting that Kate died two days ago.

It also hasn’t occurred to Chloe how long it’s been. These past few days were jam packed and neither Chloe nor Victoria seem to catch a break concerning this case. In normal circumstances this would’ve took more than a week but it hasn’t.

Chloe enters the gym and is ambushed by a bright purple light...or is that black? “This lighting is shitty.”

Victoria rolls her eyes and grabs Chloe’s hand to pull her inside, even further into the swimming pool. Chloe definitely ignores that surge from holding Victoria’s hand, instead being easily distracted by the grand turnout. These parties usually have a lot of people but it seems like everyone showed up, even the ones who don’t usually go. Chloe notices everyone trying to have fun, even the ones who don’t always show up. There was some purple haired chick who fell in the swimming pool, and another kid who looked lost being thrown around like a sack of potatoes. Chloe is about to ask where they were going when she sees Max with a cup in her hand. Victoria lets go of Chloe’s hand and immediately smacks the red solo cup from Max’s reach.

“What the fuck, Victoria?” Max exclaims.

“Who made you that drink?”

Max doesn’t answer automatically. Her mouth just hangs wide open in shock. Chloe sighs and takes initiative. “Max, whoever made you that drink might’ve laced it with a drug. Nathan is looking for you and he’s going to do bad things to you.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Max inquires.

“Chloe’s telling the truth,” Victoria says, backing Chloe up. “Long story short, we were investigating Nathan all week and we found some really terrible things about him. He’s planning to do something to you next.”

“Nathan, doing something to me,” Max laughs. “Yeah, fucking right. I don’t want that sorry son of a bitch. You can have him though.”

Victoria grabs Max’s face and stares at her closely. Max slaps Victoria, prompting Victoria to let go and cover the side of her face. Chloe knows Victoria is fuming inside so she glares at Max. “What was that for?”

No one grabs my face like that...and plus Victoria deserved it,” Max smirks.

“She’s high,” Victoria comments.

Chloe sighs deeply. Nathan already got to her. “How much did you have to drink?”

“I don’t know, a sip? It was good until Bitchtoria knocked the cup right out of my hands,” Max replies, her words becoming more slurred by the second. “I should go get me another one—“

Chloe grabs Max’s shoulders. “That’s enough for SuperMax.”

Max snorts. “Who the hell are you to boss me around, Chloe Price?”

“Your best friend who’s warning your dumb ass,” Chloe growls back. “Rachel Amber is dead. Kate Marsh is also dead. Nathan is a predator who’s taking pictures of girls, without their fucking consent. He’s here and he’s probably going to strike if we don’t act fast, now do you believe us?”

Max stares at Chloe and Victoria for a few seconds, and then laughs again. “That would make for a great video game. What’s next? I have rewind powers?

“This is fucking hopeless,” Victoria mutters.

“What’s hopeless is your entire being!” Max shoots back.

Maxine!” Chloe shouts.

“Now you of all people know that I do not like being called Maxine—“

Boo fucking hoo, Shitfield,” Victoria chimes in. “Now let's get the fuck out of here.”

However when they try to drag Max out of the building, the music stops and Jefferson climbs up on stage. “Good evening everyone. I hope all of you are having a great time tonight at the End of the world Party.” Several wolf whistles and declarations of love are shouted. Chloe finds herself rolling her eyes. “Now it’s time to announce the winner for the Everyday Heroes contest.” Jefferson slowly opens the envelope and reads the paper before reading it out loud. His facial expression doesn’t look impressed...at all. “Well, what do you know. The winner is Victoria Chase.”

Chloe raises both eyebrows and looks to Victoria. Only sympathy claps can be heard, along with a couple boos. However Victoria stands in place, staring at Mr. Jefferson with a weird, far away look. “Vic?” Chloe asks, concerned. She momentarily forgets about Max and waves a hand in Victoria’s face.

“She’s not here?” Jefferson inquires.

“Victoria sucks!” Chloe hears someone say.

Victoria snaps out of it and walks out. Chloe growls to herself and follows Victoria, dragging a protesting Max with her. She realizes how fast Victoria is, even when she’s just walking, but she doesn’t give up. “Victoria! Where are you going?”

“Can I go get another drink—“

Not now, Max!” Chloe shouts.

“You clearly have something to solve with your girlfriend so who am I to impose?” Max shrugs. “I’ll just look like a third wheel.”

“Wha...Victoria isn’t my girlfriend,” Chloe defends.

“Then why are your cheeks getting red?” Max smirks.

“Maybe because it’s cold out here…”

Bullshit, Price,” Max shoots. “I’ve known you for a long time and you don’t blush when it’s cold. Plus it’s like sixty degrees outside! It’s barely cold for your face to get red.”

“What do you know?” Chloe asks.

“You like Victoria,” Max sniggers. “That’s why you’re chasing after her and that’s why you two were walking inside holding hands.”

Chloe thought no one saw that...well, no one relevant. Shit. Now she has Max confirming what she didn’t want to confirm, and while she’s high and probably won’t remember until the next morning, it still doesn’t feel right to have Max call her out. “I don’t like her,” Chloe lies. “She’s...my friend.”

Friend? Damn, Price, you make some shitty friends,” Max cackles.

“Yeah well, you’re one of them,” Chloe mumbles.

“I heard that,” Max deadpans.

“I don’t have time for this,” Chloe growls. She grabs Max’s wrist and goes to the dorms. She might as well lock Max in there so Nathan won’t catch her in there. However, she feels Max go limp. Before she can turn around, a sharp needle pricks her neck. “Shit!” She hisses. Her line of vision gets even more blurry as she crashes to the ground. Max is already passed out but it takes her a little while to do so.

“Chloe!” A far away voice yells after her.

“Vic…” she says slowly, and darkness takes over her vision.

Chapter Text

Victoria’s eyes open slowly. The room is extremely bright but she tries to get used to the lighting. She opens her eyes wide, and turns her head around to look around. She’s back inside the bunker. A dark jacket is draped over the sofa. A cup of whatever is inside is now on the coffee table instead of the whiskey. A cart containing a bunch of drugs and needles is nearby. Victoria tries to get up but she's strapped onto a chair with duct tape bound to her wrists and ankles. “Fuck,” she whispers.

She starts to think about what happened that night before being captured. It was weird. She knows she hasn’t submitted a photo for the Everyday Heroes contest. This week has only been about crime solving with Chloe, and if that wasn’t it, it surely wasn’t  focusing on that dumb contest. Victoria’s body went into autopilot that night, and within minutes, she realizes that she is outside and Warren Graham is barfing inside a trash can a few feet away. Growling, she turns around to go back to the party when she sees a hooded figure following what looks to be Max. She saw both Max and Chloe get attacked and Chloe crashes to the floor.

“Chloe!” She yells frantically.

“Vic…” she croaks and passes out right after. 

The hooded figure stares at her and runs after her. Victoria acts quickly and runs towards the school, hoping the doors were open so she could hide, but suddenly a prick on her neck stops her. When she crashed onto the floor, she can only see a goatee under the hood before passing out.

“Chloe!” She yells again. “Chloe, Max, are you here?”

“I’m here,” Chloe moans. Victoria looks to her left on the floor. Chloe is bound by tape and it looks like she was also awake for a while. “It was that teacher...the one who announced the winner...he was the one…”

Victoria closes her eyes and casts her head. She kinda knew it when she saw the goatee. It couldn’t have been Nathan to chase her like that. “I knew it. I was running and he caught up to me. I saw facial hair before I passed out. I knew all of this couldn’t have been Nathan’s dirty work all by his lonesome. He could barely run the Vortex Club on his own. But I didn’t expect this.”

“She was here,” Chloe softly sobs. “She was probably here, taking pictures against her will...and I didn’t even know of it…”

“And he used Kate the same fucking way…” Victoria sheds a tear. “I swear, Chloe Price. When we get the hell out of here, we’re going to get justice for Rachel...and Kate. They didn’t deserve to die like this.”

“How are we going to get out of here?” Chloe inquires. “Max is also captured and Nathan isn’t going to save us...he was planning to do this to us…”

Victoria shakes the restraints and manages to remove an arm restraint. “I got one restraint off.” 

Victoria freezes momentarily when she hears footsteps approaching them. She pretends she didn’t remove the restraint from her arm and stares deadly at the exit. Nathan enters the room, frantic, knocking over some stuff as he does. It looks like it’s raining due to his drenched Letterman jacket. His face is completely red and his fists are even redder. “Shit! What am I going to do?”

“Letting us go would be a good choice,” Victoria speaks.

Nathan turns around and almost cries. “Victoria.”

“Don’t Victoria me,” Victoria spits out. “You were the one who killed Rachel and kidnapped Kate, weren’t you?”

Nathan opens his mouth and then closes it. “You don’t understand, Victoria—“

“Yeah because I’m not a psychopath!” Victoria shrieks. “Kate, Rachel, Max, and myself? Countless number of girls inside that cabinet? Which girl made you realize that this isn’t exactly what sane people do? Huh?

“I...I just wanted someone to appreciate me!” Nathan argues. “My dad...he doesn’t give a shit about me. He bullies me and makes me feel like shit all the time. My mom just watches it happen…and my sister? She ran away because of my dad. Jefferson made me see the light.”

The light?” Victoria scoffs. “This is your image? To bound up Arcadia Bay’s female population and use them for your own benefit?”

“I just take them here, I don’t take pictures...well, I tried to…”

“And now she’s dead huh,” Victoria concludes. She couldn’t argue with him anymore. All the fight she had earlier is now gone when she sees a broken little boy in front of her. She couldn’t reason with Nathan, but she could try to convince him to let them go and turn himself in. “Do you see how wrong this is?”

“I...I don’t know Victoria!” Nathan exclaims. “Nothing seems wrong...or right...I’m just here!”

“Nate,” Victoria says softly. “You know this is wrong. Nothing about this seems right. You have to let us go and turn yourself in. That’s what’s right.”

“No, they’ll just throw me in jail…”

Because you belong there, Victoria thinks. “No, they won’t. If you play your cards right, they’ll get you the help you need. Maybe take the insanity plea.”

“The insanity plea? But I’m not insane!” Nathan shouts. He balls his fists and knocks the glass off the coffee table. It shatters against the file cabinet. “I’m fine, I'm perfectly fine. All is right in my head. I remember everything. When Rachel told me about taking headshots, I referred her to Jefferson. He was happy to take her photos, but he was also interested in her...in another way. They fucked inside his car nearby campus and I was there…”

As if Victoria needed to hear that last bit. She already knew. “What else happened?”

“Jefferson got to take her photos one time. I tricked her into taking pictures shortly thereafter,” Nathan continues. “I watched how he would drug his victims and take their photos at the right time. I drugged her and carried her to the junkyard after a Vortex Club party. She wasn’t breaking so I kept giving her doses. I gave her a lethal dose but didn’t realize it until she was foaming at the mouth at the junkyard. I couldn’t save her that night, Vic...I couldn’t…”

“What about Kate?”

“Jefferson practically begged me to get Kate,” Nathan answers. “I didn’t want to but he insisted. Said her innocence is at the perfect rate. He wanted to break her and capture it at the right moment. He ruined her.”  Nathan starts to sob, kneeling in front of Victoria. His head rests on Victoria’s lap. “I’m sorry Victoria. I didn’t want him to do this to you. I always said everyone except you because I cared about you the most. You’re like a sister to me.”

Victoria bites her lip to prevent herself from insulting him. “I’m sorry too, Nate. But in order to get justice...you know what you have to do.”

“Victoria, please,” Nathan pleads.

Victoria stares at him. “Nathan.

Nathan weeps some more as he removes a small knife from his pocket. Victoria squeezes her eyes shut until she feels her legs unbound. She opens her eyes, watching him remove the other restraints. Victoria sighs in relief as she gets up and, by the power of her adrenaline, grabs Nathan’s knife holding hand, twisting it until he drops it. “I’m not really sorry, Nathan.” 

Nathan lets out a huge yelp but she doesn’t stop there. She twists his arm behind his back, with a lot of struggle, and pushes him down onto the floor. She darts her head around and finds the duct tape within reach. She grabs the tape with her free hand and bounds both of his wrists behind his back and his ankles together with a thick layer of tape. She grabs the knife and releases Chloe from the restraints.

Chloe gets up and suddenly hugs Victoria. Nothing else is said as both of them relax under each other’s embrace. She almost wishes they can stay like this, but then a throat clearing makes them snap out of it. Victoria separates from Chloe as she looks over to the side. Max was here the entire time but it looks like she just woke up. “Oh, how are you Max? Oh, just fine except for a little situation. I was wondering if my best friend and my annoying ass classmate will let me go on this fine Thursday evening? Or is it Friday morning?”

Victoria sneers and gives Chloe the knife. “That’s your friend.”

“Can’t take the heat of someone hating you?” Chloe quips.

Just do it!” Victoria commands.

Chloe rolls her eyes and walks over to Max to let her go. She kicks Nathan on the way, who grunts in pain. Victoria smirks; it’s what he deserves. Chloe releases Max from her restraints and Max gets up to kick Nathan at the same spot that Chloe kicked him earlier. “You piece of shit!

Nathan sobs instead. “I’m sorry.”

“You’re gonna rot in prison, motherfucker,” Max growls.

“Victoria, please don’t let them send me to prison,” Nathan pleads. “I’ll do anything.”

“No deal,” Victoria replies. “You’re going to prison.”

Chloe finds everyone’s phones and gives it to them. Victoria turns hers on and notices that it’s way past Thursday...and Friday. There were missed calls from Taylor, Courtney, and Dana, and some updates about the Bigfoots game. As she pockets her phone, Chloe removes a loaded gun from one of the cabinets. “Score! If that Jeffershit motherfucker shows up, we have something against him now!”

Victoria looks to Chloe and scoffs playfully. “Be careful with that thing.”

“I am careful,” Chloe says back. 

“Can we get the hell out of here?” Max groans. “I would rather go to the authorities than to sit here and wait shit out.”

“But why not?” 

Chloe almost drops the gun on the floor when she sees Jefferson standing right in front of them. She cocks the gun and aims it at Jefferson, not wasting a second to blow this asshole’s brains out if given the chance. “Put the gun down,” Jefferson says softly.

“Not a chance, bitch,” Chloe replies. “Down, on the ground, now.”

“You don’t know what you’re doing,” Jefferson tries to reason.

Chloe aims the gun towards the blank photography background, and presses the trigger, scaring everyone including Jefferson. “Now!” Chloe shouts. Jefferson has no choice but to comply. He raises his hands up in defeat and kneels down on the floor. Chloe watches Victoria grab the tape and bound his arms and legs together while Max pulls out her phone to do something, presumably to record the whole thing. She turns to Jefferson and glares at him. “You get a kick out of using girls, huh?”

“I’m not using them,” Jefferson defends. “Using them would imply I'm doing something bad to them. No, no. I’m just capturing an image.”

“To shatter their innocence? What kind of fucked up motive is that?” Victoria argues. “I can’t believe the entire school thought you were even remotely interesting.”

“I don’t think you should be talking, Miss Chase,” Jefferson smirks. “You were the one who kissed my ass at every chance you get. ‘Now you’re stuck in the retrozone, sad face’. How funny. I laughed at that for a while.”

Victoria growls under her breath. “You think you can get away with this? You’re an amateur. Look at the trail of screw-ups you've left behind. No one's gonna think Nathan Prescott did this all on his own.”

“Oh, but they are,” Jefferson says. “This bunker is built under the Prescott’s name, of course.”

“But if you think Arcadia Bay is going to believe Nathan did this all on his own, you’re an even bigger dumbass than I thought,” Victoria spits.

“Why would you do all of this?” Chloe inquires. 

“I'm so glad you asked that question,” Jefferson answers, smiling sickly. “Simply put, I'm obsessed with the idea of capturing that moment innocence evolves into corruption. That shift from black, to white, to grey, and beyond. Most models are cynical. They...lose that naiveté. However, some Blackwell students carry their hope and optimism with them like...an aura. And those lucky few become my models...my subjects.”

“You're a sicko,” Max replies. “And this is your last session.”

“Au contraire, Maxine,” Jefferson responds. “I'm so sane, that nobody knows what's happening to any of you right now. It’s too bad that the rich bitch and her blue headed girlfriend are so nosy. This room is under 24/7 surveillance. All I had to do was pretend that Victoria won the contest and all three of you left the party rather hastily.”

“For fuck’s sake, she’s not my girlfriend,” Victoria whispers. 

“So who really won the contest?” Max inquires.

“No one,” Jefferson laughs. “The contest was a fluke. They never considered Blackwell to be qualified for it, especially after Kate's tragic demise. I was going to announce Max as the winner but then Victoria was playing detective with her girlfriend and found out too much.”

“I found out enough to make sure you never walk this earth again,” Victoria growls. 

“Oh Victoria, such an insecure little bitch hiding underneath that shell of whatever you are,” Jefferson mocks. “It’s a shame that anyone thinks you’re talented. Now Max over here...I knew she was special the second I saw her first…’selfie’. Yes, I still hate that word. But I love the purity of her image. Not like Nathan. He tried so hard, but you can't just throw a few subjects around and expect a cohesive style or theme. But he had an eye for shadows. And an eye for a whole lot more, as his elite family will find out...along with Arcadia Bay.”

Chloe watches as Victoria almost jumps at him but Max catches her in time. “Fuck you.”

“Hm, is that all you can come up with? Where’s that sharp tongue that usually puts Max in her place? Huh? Is it because i’m right?” Jefferson suggests.

“No, you’re wrong. Victoria will always be more talented than you,” Max defends. “And Nathan is just as sick as you. You didn’t give a shit about him.”

“Actually, I think he was genuinely talented. But, his father is a serious asshole, as you might know, so I became a sort of...father figure for him. It happens often in teacher/student relationships. It was kind of — touching, for a while.”

“Did you tell him everything about your plans at Blackwell?” Max inquires. 

“Don't be stupid, Max,” Jefferson scoffs. “I told him what he needed to hear. In return, I had access...to the Prescott fortune; who do you think paid for this glorious dark room and equipment? How else could I get all these hip, new drugs for my subjects? Miss Mouthy was right when she said Nathan didn’t pay for this. I did. But it's under his name.”

“Rachel Amber was your victim, not your subject,” Victoria speaks.

“As if you care. If I seem to remember, you hated Rachel Amber,” Jefferson points out. “Rachel Amber... Hm. That's the real tragedy. Nathan thought he could be an artist like me...instead, the dumbass gave her an overdose.”

“Yeah, the dumbass told,” Chloe spits out. “Why did you let him kill Rachel?”

“Only Nathan knows. You should ask him,” Jefferson chuckles.

“I asked you.”

“I don’t know. But she was special. A human chameleon, so many visual possibilities...we had a real connection. You see, Rachel was in love with me. Just look at our sessions. Not that I'll let you. Nobody loved having their picture taken more. But, Rachel is dead. No tears, Los Angeles would've killed her anyway, so, look at this as a favor.”

“You're evil.”

“Thank you, Miss Chase. You aren’t as clueless as I thought you were,” Jefferson says.

“It wasn’t a compliment you degenerate piece of crap!” Victoria spits out. “If you were listening to any of us for the past few minutes, we’re not impressed with your motive. I’ve met better villains from the DC universe.” She narrows her eyes and steps a little closer to Jefferson. “And I cared about Nathan way more than you did.”

Bullshit!” Jefferson spits back. Chloe clicks the gun and aims it at Jefferson if he tries to even harm Victoria. “You didn’t care about him. You only cared about your precious image.”

“Nathan was one of the very few people I cared about!” Victoria cries. “You don’t know a damn thing about friendship because you never had friends, Mark. That’s why you’re like this. That’s why you feel satisfaction using girls under nineteen years of age to feel some type of thrill in your pathetic shell of a life. Nathan was my best friend and you corrupted him. You tried to blame this all on him but what you fail to realize is that Nathan isn’t as bright as you may think, nor does he have that much work ethic. You’re going to die. For Kate, for Rachel, for your other dark room victims, and for the residents of Arcadia Bay and Seattle.”

“For fuck's sake, I'm right here,” Nathan croaks.

Shut the fuck up, Nathan Prescott!” Victoria snaps. “I’m not even going to address you completely right now. And this fucker...this asshole…”

Chloe widens her eyes. Even Max and Jefferson are surprised at Victoria’s outburst. “Vic, calm down.”

“This needs to end, now,” Victoria states firmly. “We know everything we need to know and this fucker won’t get away with this. Someone better call the police in the next minute or so help me...”

“Afraid not. There isn’t signal down here. Took it down when someone was trying to call Rachel one too many times during my sessions.” Jefferson turns a glare towards Chloe, who narrows her eyes and almost blows his head off.

Both Victoria and Max check their phones, only to be stumped. “Shit, he’s right.” Chloe keeps her gun aimed at Jefferson with one hand and pulls out her phone with the other hand. Victoria grabs it and checks her phone. “You don't have signal either.”

“Shit!”

“Wait, do you need signal to make an emergency call?” Max inquires.

Chloe raises an eyebrow, looking between Max and Victoria. “I don’t know...I’ve had the same shitty burner phone for years.”

“One of us needs to go outside and make a call—“

A loud knock interrupts their thoughts. Chloe cocks her gun straight at Jefferson once again. “Who else knows about this place?”

“Only Nathan and myself,” Jefferson answers. Even he looks frantic. 

Victoria takes initiative to open the door. Chloe lowers the gun momentarily and listens closely. There’s some ruckus going on and then a bunch of men in suits come rushing in to take both Nathan and Jefferson away. Nothing else is said as everyone was escorted from the barn all the way back to Arcadia Bay, probably to get questioned. Chloe wonders who called the police or if Max actually did, but she said she didn’t have service. But then...what happened?


The rain from earlier has stopped, and the sun shines upon the windows of the precinct. Victoria’s been here since Friday night, really — Jefferson had them locked up the entire Thursday night and Friday, doing what he can to keep them quiet and presumably kill them because they know too much. However, he was outsmarted by two teenage girls...and a snooping war veteran.

The police call came from David, who inspected Chloe’s room after she was gone all night and practically the entire Friday. Her mother was asking for her and was getting worried, so he took the initiative to check her room. He found out that Chloe was investigating the same case as he was and practically solved it so he called them and joined them in finding his stepdaughter. Needless to say, everyone was kind of surprised.

Chloe was the most surprised but didn’t let it show. 

Chloe was being questioned and Nathan was also being questioned in another room, and it’s been hours since Victoria has heard from any of them. She’s not necessarily by herself; Max is a few feet away from them but they still didn’t really like each other. This whole experience hasn’t really improved their animosity.

“Victoria!” A relieved voice snaps Victoria out of her thoughts.

“Mom, Dad,” she says. Victoria reaches over to hug them both as she cries onto their shirts. “You’re here.”

“Of course we’re here honey,” her mother speaks. “We were worried when you didn’t call us on Friday morning like you always do and then the police said you were in a bunker for an entire day…?”

“It’s a really long story,” Victoria chuckles a little. “But I'm fine.”

“You had us so worried...we were gonna go to school and do a manhunt…” Victoria couldn’t help but smile. Her father is just as dramatic as she is. “We’re so glad you’re safe.”

“Did you eat?”

“Did you get to shower?”

“Yes and no,” Victoria answers. She had a plain bagel with butter and some coffee (since that was the only food at the precinct available) and she couldn’t leave the precinct so she still smells like Thursday. “They just questioned us.”

“What is this all about? Is it about that girl disappearing?” Her father asks.

“It’s a part of it,” Victoria says. She decides to go into detail about what she found out, including Rachel’s insulting grave and the bunker underneath the barn. Both her mother and father look shocked and disgusted, mostly at the school and with Wells and it wouldn’t surprise her if they pull her out of school in the middle of senior year. 

“Wells allowed this man to walk inside the halls and use girls?” Her mother asks, outraged. “We knew we should have sent you to a better school.”

“I don’t know if I want to leave my friends though,” Victoria says. As much as she ignored Taylor all week, that’s still her friend. And Chloe...could she really stay away from Chloe for that long? They know so much about each other in the past week that leaving would probably break her heart and Victoria would hate to cause another reason for Chloe to feel useless.

“I don’t know, Victoria—“

“I know you’re disenchanted with Blackwell. I am too, but...Jefferson’s going to be in prison for the rest of his life and Nathan is never going to see sunlight again...and you always said that there will be a time where I have to make my own decisions. I think it starts now, even if my eighteenth birthday is a month away.”

“Well, if you insist,” her mother sighs. “We just want the best for you, Victoria. This school may not be the best for you but like you said, you have to make your own decisions.”

“And it’s just one more year,” her father reasons. “But, if anything else happens at that school, you are coming straight home, you hear?”

Definitely.”

Chloe comes back when her parents decide to step out. Victoria is about to approach her when Max beats her to the punch. “Are you ok? You were in there for a very long time.”

“They uh, they asked me a lot of questions about the investigation,” Chloe replies. “I told them everything. I had to confirm that the vehicle from the other night driving away from Blackwell as mine, and they’re giving me community service for it.”

“But...you weren’t alone in that car…”

“That’s the only thing I lied about when they asked me if I was alone.”

“What? Why would you do that?” Victoria asks.

“It’s fine, I just have community service.”

“Why would they even give you community service when you were trying to find Rachel?” Victoria growls. “That’s bullshit.”

“I still broke the law and trespassed, Victoria,” Chloe replies. “They thought it would be great if I rehabilitated myself through some actual work that I’m not getting paid for. Also they recommended I see a therapist. One of the detectives tried to psychoanalyze me.”

Victoria smirks. “Of course they did. You’re something, Chloe Price.”

“Yeah, I'm something all right,” Chloe mutters, smiling back.

After an hour, Chloe takes both Victoria and Max back to campus after her truck was towed to the precinct the day before. Max leaves the truck hastily after a simple goodbye but Victoria lingers in for a little while. “I still can’t believe you took the blame for that.”

“Someone had to. Plus I’ve been kind of a nuisance dragging you along to this so I owed you.”

“You don’t owe me for shit,” Victoria denies. “If I didn’t truly give a shit about this whole thing, I would’ve walked off the minute Kate killed herself. Yes, you are gravely annoying, but it felt kind of right to not care about social statuses or parties for one week and just...I don’t know, investigate shit with you? I guess it was actually kind of fun being with you.”

“Aw, that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me,” Chloe grins, and Victoria can tell it’s genuine. “And I guess it wasn’t too bad doing this with you.”

It falls into a shared silence. Victoria didn’t want to leave but she knows she fucking stinks. Whether it’s from alcohol or just not being able to shower since Thursday and now it’s Saturday afternoon, she can’t tell but she hated it. “Listen...maybe we can do something that doesn’t involve investigating the mystery of Rachel Amber. Maybe a cheesy Netflix movie or something.”

“Are you asking me out, Chase?” Chloe inquires, a flirty smirk tugging at her lips. Victoria tries to answer but her words fail her. Instead she turns completely red. “Well, I guess this was kind of inevitable. It doesn’t sound bad at all.”

“Good,” Victoria states flatly. “Friday night?”

“Yeah,” Chloe replies. Victoria only smiles for a second before exiting the car. She bites her lip as she watches Chloe pull away from the street and go back home.

She turns around and goes straight to the dorms, probably expecting everyone to ask questions. She’s not ready for that. She needs a full mental health day, or rather week, to think about anything other than being captured by Jefferson and manipulated by her former best friend. No doubt she might get an interview request by Watson when this surfaces to the news. If not, she’ll pester Max for it and if Victoria is lucky she’ll shut that down. They all needed a break from being interrogated by detectives and going through Jefferson’s mental abuse.

She takes a very long shower, surpassing Max (who was in the shower room with her) and a couple other students who appeared to have just woken up from yesterday’s game. When she leaves the shower cubicle, she ignores her pruney fingers and checks her reflection, noticing the dark circles around her eyes and a small bruise on her neck where Jefferson pricked her with drugs. She can hide all of that with makeup, but today is a Saturday. Victoria doesn’t wear makeup on weekends, preferring to let her skin breathe.

The door opens and Dana walks in. “Victoria?”

“‘Sup, Dana?” Victoria says lazily. 

“Where have you been?” Dana asks, putting a concerned hand on Victoria’s shoulder.

“Very long story,” Victoria answers. “All I know is that I'm too tired to explain.”

“I can tell,” Dana frowns. “Your friends and I were worried about you. After the party, they didn’t see you and then yesterday, you didn’t even show up to the game and your room was vacant...then there was this rumor about Madsen going to the police about something—“

Dana.

“Shit, right, too much,” Dana sighs. “I’m just...i’m actually relieved to see you. I know we were at odds, but after Rachel disappearing and Kate dying, losing another student would’ve been way too much.”

“Thanks for your concern, but I'm gonna need some peace and quiet so if you see either Taylor or Courtney, tell them I'm fine but I need a nap.”

“You got it,” Dana smiles. She gives Victoria a short hug, which weirdly comforts Victoria, and goes to take a shower. Victoria chuckles a little as she leaves the shower room and makes a hasty retreat to her room. When she walks inside, everything is the same way that she left it. The bed looks so comfortable after two days of not sleeping in it. She strips off her towel and opts to wear a nightdress instead. As soon as her head hits the pillow, she immediately falls asleep.

Chapter Text

When Chloe got home, she already knows that her mom was going to ask so much questions about her whereabouts. Even though David figured out where she was all day yesterday, she would probably still get in trouble for worrying her.  Besides, she didn’t really thought of that until she parks her car in front of her home. On the way she couldn’t stop thinking about having an actual date with Victoria Chase.

That’s kind of funny. Rachel is currently rolling in her grave, ready to be released and smack Chloe in the face for going on a date with her mortal enemy. Then again, Rachel wouldn’t have say. She cheated on Chloe anyway so they were no longer in a relationship and Chloe has free will. Plus, she likes Victoria. She actually likes Victoria. She should’ve seen it sooner but the huge distraction of finding Rachel prevented her. Now that the shit is over, she can focus on completing her time, riding out her possible punishment, rekindling her friendship with Max...and getting to know Victoria.

And not the façade she puts up in school. No. Chloe has actually seen the real Victoria, and she’s not only caring, she’s hilarious and passionate. And genre savvy. And fucking hot. Would it be weird for her to date Victoria though? Maybe, because they used to dislike each other and Chloe did date her worst enemy. Plus, the plan was to leave Arcadia Bay once she found Rachel. Well, she did find Rachel, albeit dead and seconds away from being exhumed. But, leaving Arcadia Bay when she just got her friend back and also is working on a relationship with Victoria would suck. Long distance relationships don’t work, since Chloe has already had experience with that, so she might as well stay for a while.

She enters her home and is ambushed with a hug from her mom. “Chloe, I was so worried about you!”

“Ok mom,” Chloe nervously laughs, but hugging her mother after days of not doing so feels so warm and welcoming. “I’m alive.”

“Don’t scare me like that ever again...ever. I mean it.”

It hasn’t even occurred to Chloe that if something did happen to her, Joyce would lose the only connection she has to her ex-husband. Seeing the fresh tears on Joyce’s face brings tears to her eyes. “I’m so sorry mom. I didn’t even realize…”

“No, it’s ok...David kind of gave me a short explanation to everything that was going on,” Joyce replies. “Well, did you find Rachel?”

Chloe breaks down on her mom’s shoulder. “She’s dead!

“Oh Chloe,” Joyce sighs as she holds her sobbing daughter. “I’m so sorry. I knew you cared for her.”

“She was everything to me...and those assholes killed her…”

She feels herself being carried towards the couch, but she probably can’t remember. She was way too drained after finding Rachel dead and being captured for over 24 hours under a bunker. She needed sleep, desperately, and her mother’s warmth soothes her enough for her to finally sleep her frustrations away.

She wakes up hours after to various smells of dinner being made. She stretches her body from being on the couch for a long time and meets her mother in the kitchen. “Hey, mom.”

“Chloe, you’re up,” Joyce smiles sadly. “Dinner will be ready in a few minutes. Go wash up.”

Chloe obliges, but before she goes towards the stairs, her mom stops her again. “Oh, and when you come downstairs, can you...lay off the insults with David? I know you two don’t like each other but he did save your life and...after everything that has happened, I kind of want a calm dinner tonight. It isn’t everyday when we’re all together.”

Chloe nods. She could probably do that, but first, she needs a shower. After finding Rachel dead on Thursday and being captured that night, and not seeing sunlight until this morning has got her smelling terrible. She goes right upstairs and goes to the bathroom to take the longest shower she’s ever taken in her life. As she showers, she thinks more about Rachel. If she had found Rachel alive, after finding every little secret she hid from Chloe, she would've broken up with her. Chloe felt like she deserves better than to be lied to by the one person that mattered since her dad and Max. She knows she lied about James and Sera, but she didn’t deserve to be cheated on, by both Frank and Jefferson. She’s even more perplexed that the psychopath kept his job after having sex with Rachel. Maybe Wells was just that blind to see how truly deranged Jefferson was. Then again, he had everyone fooled.

She definitely deserves better. Dwelling on the past with Rachel breaking her heart would only cause even more heartache and she didn’t need that. A future is what she needs to think about.

Chloe laughs as she turns off the water. If David heard her thoughts right now, he would agree and probably give Chloe a tight, awkward hug like he once did years back. Chloe would never forget it either.

She throws on a tee and a pair of sweatpants, and heads downstairs to the dinner table. David’s already sitting there while her mother is turning off the stove. “Chloe.”

“David,” Chloe says.

David raises both of his eyebrows. “Well...I see you rested well.”

“Yeah, I did,” Chloe shrugs.

It stays silent all throughout dinner. Chloe eats everything and even asks for seconds. When Joyce asked about the ravenous appetite, she mentions she didn’t eat anything since Thursday. Joyce couldn’t help but break into a smile when Chloe devours her second plate for the day. “Jesus Christ, Chloe,” David groans.

“Stuff it, David. I haven't had food for a while,” Chloe replies.

“Yeah but slow down a bit,” he suggests.

Chloe rolls her eyes and decides to eat a little slower, mostly for her mother’s wish before she took a shower earlier. Plus, if it wasn’t for David, they wouldn’t see daylight for a while, or at least blow Jefferson’s brains out with that loaded gun, which might have gotten Chloe into more trouble. 

“But seriously, how did you even figure out where Rachel was? And about the dark room?”

Chloe smirks. She outsmarted David at his own game, when he was trying to investigate it too. “I had a connection to the Prescotts by my side.”

“You mean that Chase girl?” David asks, furrowing her eyebrows. “I always thought she was...too entitled.”

“Well, she is, but she knows about Nathan way more than anyone else at Blackwell, even if what she found out was surprising to her,” Chloe explains. “Plus, she knows her stuff. She isn’t stupid.”

“I know that, but...you know what I mean.”

“I do,” Chloe replies. She turns back to her food, avoiding anyone looking at her. Just thinking about Victoria makes her smile and blush and she doesn’t need her mother (or worse, David) asking questions. “Anyway, we figured it out when we realized that Nathan’s sketchy actions connected with Rachel’s disappearance and Kate’s suicide. Those parties that the Vortex Club threw almost every week is when Nathan goes to pick up random girls and take them to the underground bunker. We didn’t realize that it wasn’t only Nathan’s work until we were captured.”

“The police figured that out when they listened to Max’s tape,” David says.

“Max Caulfield? She’s back in town?” Joyce asks.

Chloe nods. “I didn’t know until Tuesday when Victoria told me.”

“Wow, so she goes to Blackwell. It doesn’t surprise me. Blackwell is an artsy school and she loved taking pictures,” Joyce comments lowly, but Chloe heard her. Chloe finishes the rest on her plate and offers to take their plates away. “Well, thank you Chloe,” Joyce grins.

“Don’t mention it,” Chloe says back. She takes David’s plate as well, not expecting a thank you but he says it anyway. “Again, don’t mention it.” She heads to the kitchen to wash the dishes and put away the leftovers when her mom walks in the kitchen after David goes to the garage. “Yeah mom?”

“Thank you so much.”

“Oh come on, mom, it’s just dishes—”

Not for the dishes, although it is a sight to see you do dishes,” Joyce smirks. “I meant...not arguing with David during dinner.”

“I was too tired to fight him...too tired to fight him anymore,” Chloe sighs. “I spent so long fighting someone that, while is an asshole, but was actually looking out for us? Don’t expect me to like him anytime soon but...I guess I gotta coexist with him for the time being.”

“That’s all I wanted.” It stays silent while Chloe dries the dishes and puts them away. “Are you going out or are you staying in?”

“Staying in. I’m still really drained from being kidnapped and questioned,” Chloe says. “Plus, the mystery’s been solved and aside from Victoria and Max, I don’t have friends. And they’re tired so I’m not going to bother them either.”

“Ok, well that’s good,” Joyce replies. “Are you going to be ok though? After finding about Rachel…”

“I’m fine,” Chloe says, with an assuring smile. “I just have to register it in my mind for a bit. Maybe I should’ve saw this coming. She wouldn’t have left without taking me with her...or at least saying goodbye...even after our big fight.”

“It’s still ok to be sad about it. When your father died, I was sad for a while and I told myself it’s ok to be sad over it. I think realizing that made me move on a bit faster.”

Chloe chuckles for a moment. “I remember someone telling me one time it’s ok not to be ok, and...I think he was right. I’m not fully ok, but that’s fine. I’ll get there.”

“Good...if you need anyone to talk to, I'm always here...and you know David would like it if you talk to him more—“

“Not gonna happen.”

Joyce shakes her head. “Well, it was worth a try.” She reaches over and kisses Chloe on her forehead. “Goodnight, sweetie.”

“Goodnight mom.”


 

Victoria wakes up in a cold sweat, her clothes and bedsheets drenched in sweat and her stomach growling. The sun is completely gone, only moonlight shining through her bedroom window. It hasn’t even occurred that she hasn’t really slept aside from being knocked out from drugs since Thursday, so sleeping the entire day away doesn’t surprise her.

The nightmare she had did surprise her.

The last nightmare she had was when she was in middle school. Since then, Victoria hasn’t had a single one. She figures since she found out some dangerous and sinister secrets in the past week that it messed her up. After finding Rachel dead and watching another student commit suicide, she might need some time to get back to her normal self and talk to someone about it.

However, it’s almost midnight and she doubts Taylor is awake. She doubts Chloe is awake either.

Her momentary crisis is interrupted by her stomach growling again. The cafeteria is definitely closed and she can’t leave campus at this time of night so she opts to get some snacks from the vending machines again. After changing her nightdress, Victoria fishes in her purse for a couple loose dollars and makes a walk towards the lounge. When she opens the door, she realizes that she is not alone, but she doesn’t know who is in the room with her until she turns on the light. 

Jesus Christ!” Max exclaims, her eyes squinting from the harsh light. “Did you have to turn on the light?”

“I gotta see where I'm going,” Victoria says back. She goes straight to the vending machines and gets a pack of Cheetos and shortbread cookies. “I know why I'm up, but why are you?”

“If you’re like me, I went to sleep right after taking a shower,” Max answers.

“I did.” After getting a can of soda, she sits at the same table as Max. “I would’ve slept longer but I had a nightmare. Watching Kate kill herself and digging up Rachel’s corpse two days later does things to your brain.”

“I bet,” Max frowns. “I could never imagine going through that.”

Victoria sighs. “Yeah. I’m still kind of really sad about Rachel. Yeah I hated her...but at one point, we were friends. She betrayed a lot of people’s trust, including mine, but there are things that we don’t know about her. Maybe she had a reason…”

“I know what she did to Chloe, but what did she do to you?”

“After she was suspended for cutting class with Chloe, she also was kicked out of a school play and I was her understudy so I basically took her role. However she slipped some drugs in my tea and next thing you know, my parents were wondering why I had so many drugs in my system. I’ve hated her since.”

“Yikes, now I understand why you hate her so much,” Max winces. 

“I swore up and down that I’ll have the last laugh one day, but it doesn’t feel right. I’m not even laughing. I’m sad that she’s dead...angry that people were that careless to kill her…”

“I still can’t believe Nathan would even do that,” Max whispers. “I always thought something wasn’t right, but I never thought he was…”

“Psychotic?” Victoria suggests. “Never once crossed my mind, not even when he threw that desk. I defended him for so long, Max. So fucking long. When people told me he was bad news, I told them they can fuck off and never let anyone fuck with him. I still feel terrible that I did nothing when Andrew North threw his folder in the fountain. But...I should’ve listened. I should’ve done something, anything…”

“I don’t think you could’ve prevented this, Victoria,” Max frowns. 

“I don’t know...maybe I could’ve done something? Kept an eye on him? Or help Kate instead of facilitate her troubling behavior…?”

“I agree with that last part, but you know that,” Max says, smirking a little. “But, I don’t even think Nathan can help himself. You know him better than anyone in this school, but you didn’t know everything. Don’t beat yourself up over that.”

Victoria nods. “You’re right, Caulfield. I shouldn’t be blaming myself for Nathan’s actions.”

“And if anyone says otherwise when all of this gets out, just know you have Chloe and I by your side. Taylor too. I don’t see her not believing you.”

Victoria grins. “Yeah, me neither.”

“You should eat,” Max suggests, pushing the cookies and bag of chips in front of Victoria. “While it isn’t much, it’s something to keep you at bay until tomorrow.”

Victoria opens the bag of Cheetos first. “I could go for a fucking joint right now.”

“Weirdly enough, me too,” Max replies. “But that wont help me except make me more hungry.”

“Don’t you have cookies in your room?”

“How did you know of the cookies in my room?”

Victoria shifts her eyes to the side. “A hunch?”

“No wonder I was missing cookies last week!” Max smirks. “Granted I wouldn’t give you any because we didn’t like each other but...it could be a different story from now on.”

Victoria rolls her eyes. “Whatfuckingever, Caulfield.”

By Sunday, news of Nathan and Jefferson’s crimes have surfaced. Most of Arcadia Bay was shocked by what they had to read in the newspaper, but Victoria was focused on other things to really care about what people think about it. Of course they’re going to call Nathan a psychopath and flame Blackwell for hiring someone like Jefferson, but then there are the people who are mourning Rachel’s death, like Rachel’s parents. There will be a small funeral the day after Kate’s, and most of the Blackwell population talk about going to it.

Not Victoria though. She should probably go, but she would probably be imposing on a place she might not be wanted. 

When she checks her email that morning, she sees a couple from some students claiming she’s on the news and getting some respect. She barely reads through them without feeling annoyed and shuts off her computer for the day.

After getting dressed, she steps out of her room, not surprised to see several eyes on her. Growling, she picks up the pace until she suddenly bumps into another student.

“Fuck—watch where you’re going!” She exclaims without looking at who she bumped into.

“Oh, Victoria, just the person I wanted to see.” 

“What the fuck do you want?” Victoria asks angrily.

“I wanted to see if you were willing to speak about what happened in the bunker for the newspaper?”

Victoria feels her blood boiling. “No, Watson. I swear to god. This story has already been exploited by enough people in the press and you’re just doing more damage?”

“I just—“

I don’t give a fuck,” Victoria growls. “First off, you could’ve waited a day before asking me...or hell, asking Max because she was there with me. And, everything that was mentioned in the press is everything that happened. What more do you want? Huh?”

Juliet grimaces. “A simple no could’ve worked.”

“Yeah, but also i’m gonna explain why i’m saying no to this unnecessary interview. Now go somewhere and stay the fuck away from me. I better not see my name being mentioned in your article, talking about how I refused to comment. And if I see you knocking on Max’s door or even staring at her today, I will destroy you and your career.”

Feeling satisfied, Victoria circles around Watson and knocks on Taylor’s door just so she doesn’t cause Taylor to freak out anymore. When the door opens, Victoria is tackled with a huge bear hug by her best friend. “Victoria!” 

“Hey Taylor,” Victoria chuckles, hugging Taylor back.

“I read everything, it was all over the news,” Taylor starts babbling. “I’m so sorry that happened to you and that you had to find out your best friend was doing all of that shit...and Jefferson. That worthless piece of shit!”

Victoria separates from her best friend. “Yeah…”

“I’m so glad you’re back,” Taylor says. “I missed you while you were kidnapped. It was weird not seeing you on campus on Friday, and then Madsen went to the police because Chloe was missing too...and Max was missing as well...fuck, and no one seemed to even care that two students were missing, just that the Bigfoots lost.”

“I wouldn’t expect them to care, but that’s fine,” Victoria shrugs. “Now, can we go to breakfast? And invite Courtney? I missed her too and I know she’s freaking out.”

“You got it.”


 

Chloe gives up on sleep for the umpteenth time to her stomach growling. Fuck, her appetite could never be satisfied for a while, but then again she did eat over ten hours ago. She gets dressed and picks up her phone, seeing a text from Max.

Max: wake up loser let’s get some breakfast

Chloe: pushy are we? I’ll be there in a few minutes.

Chloe smirks as she shoves her feet into some boots and drives over to the school, where Max is already waiting on her by the stairs. Max gets up and enters the car, sighing contently. “Did you get to see the headlines yet? They’re talking about Nathan and Jefferson.”

“I don’t care,” Chloe replies. “As long as people don’t ask us to do stupid interviews, i’m fine.”

“I’m still pooped out from the interrogations,” Max says. “I can’t bear to do an interview. And, thanks to Victoria, Juliet is staying away from me, which is all I needed.”

“Same. They asked me the most questions, about breaking and entering, and the investigation in general. Since everything was in my room, they figured I was doing it by myself.”

“And you weren’t.”

“No. I had a lot of help from Victoria,” Chloe replies. “She didn’t even have to help me. She hated me and I wasn’t a big fan of her either.”

Max raises an eyebrow. “And now?”

“I...we have a date this week,” Chloe admits.

Max almost laughs. “Oh my god. You, and Victoria? I never thought you’d be into rich girls.”

“Rachel was well off,” Chloe shrugs. “But...we did get to understand a lot more these past few days...and we kind of like each other.”

“Yeah, I can tell,” Max smirks. Chloe gives Max a glare. “Don’t think I didn’t notice Victoria staying back when I left the car yesterday. And you two were flirting inside the precinct.”

“Honestly? I didn’t think you’d be this supportive,” Chloe admits. She knows Max doesn’t like Victoria. Not a lot of people do, actually, and sadly Victoria is very aware. 

“Well, I’d support you even if I still didn’t like her,” Max replies. “I didn’t like Rachel much, especially after I heard about her cheating on you. I think, in some way, she’s a good fit for you.”

“Well thanks, that means a lot coming from you.” 

It stays silent until they get to the diner. Chloe enters the diner and almost missed the smell of pancakes in the last week. She was here last when Victoria paid off her debt to let Frank off the hook. She wonders how he’s dealing now that Rachel is dead. While she hated their relationship, she appreciated him for caring about Rachel...at least. It was still fucking creepy. Rachel was barely legal and Frank is past his twenties, so it’s still weird as fuck.

The waitress pours them two cups of coffee and they get the usual. “So what about you, Caulfield? Any guy or gal caught your eye since you’ve been at Blackwell?”

“No, not really,” Max replies. “I once thought Warren was into me but that was a bust. I don’t even have that much friends. After Kate died, I only had Warren but he was distant. Then you came along.”

“Glad I did,” Chloe smirks, tipping her hat. “What about when you were at Seattle?”

“All the boys were icky and I didn’t really have an eye on the girls like that,” Max replies. “I only had two friends and I wasn’t interested in them. Plus Fernando was gay and Kristen had a boyfriend. I was the only single one in the group.”

“Yikes. I had my fair share of boy toys but then Rachel came and changed that. Thank god she did because after that I realized boys were trash.”

“What happened to that guy we used to occasionally hang out with until I moved? I think his name was Edward?”

“Eliot,” Chloe growls out. After he stalked and kept Chloe hostage, he was expelled and Chloe hasn’t heard from him since. Hell, even Warren severed ties with him. “He fucked off. Don’t know where he is, and I surely don’t care either.”

“Hm,” Max shrugs. 

When they get their food, Chloe barely talks much but when she does, she asks Max questions. Max is currently in Blackwell for, of course, photography. However she did say her camera broke a couple days ago from some accident. 

“Well I have an extra camera back at home,” Chloe mentions. “...it was dad's old camera and I knew I would never use it when I found it...I don’t know why I even kept it but it’s a good thing I still have it so you don’t flunk out for not having a camera for your class.”

“I don’t think—“

“But I insist,” Chloe pushes. “Besides, why throw away a perfectly operable camera? It might be a little dusty but I know my dad wouldn’t want anyone else to have the camera but you. Like I said, photography wasn’t my thing. Science was.”

Max smiles. “Well...I guess I can pick it up anytime huh?”

“That’s the spirit,” Chloe says back.

After eating their breakfast, Chloe takes Max back to school and goes home. After the investigation, the cops took the cork board which left a mess that Chloe never got around to cleaning. Even the Firewalk shirt that Victoria wore one night is still on the desk. She picks it up and looks at it. The shirt has a slight bleach stain on the back and the words were fading but  Chloe can still see the lettering on the shirt. She wonders if Victoria’s scent is still on the shirt but she drops the shirt when the thought comes across her mind. Fuck. No more of those thoughts.

She used to smell Rachel’s old clothes when she first disappeared. That was when she was rendered missing and Chloe didn’t have any more resolve left. Now, she figures she could give those clothes back now that Rachel is dead, or make sure that she’s buried in her favorite flannel that she left here. James may not like that but Chloe hasn’t given a shit about that man in so long and it doesn’t change now. She will probably be barred from attending the funeral but that will never happen. Neither Rose nor Sera would allow that, even if Sera couldn’t make any legal decisions on the funeral. They should probably bar Frank though. That asshole preyed on a little girl.

Chloe barely even understood what compelled Nathan to overdose someone, or even drug them in the first place. She may never understand because she isn’t that far off. If she knew that scrawny little Nathan who crushed on Samantha and was almost bullied off the team by Drew North and the rest of the footballers would turn out to be a murderer, she would have never stood up to Drew in the first place. Then again, Drew’s a jerk. A sweet jerk, but a jerk nonetheless. She probably regrets doing that. Either way, he ends up to be a shitty person so it probably wouldn’t have done anything.

She does feel sorry for Nathan, deep down. He may not be directly a product of inbreeding but he’s still affected. He became his father and it sucks so much. Nathan could’ve been a better person than his father, like Kristine was. Instead, he gets bullied by his dad. Then again, Nathan is his own person and he makes his own decisions at the end of the day. He wanted to be mentored by Jefferson. He wanted to drug girls and take them to an underground bunker. He wanted to essentially do it for himself. He may not have wanted to kill Rachel but he did. He could’ve probably killed Chloe if she didn’t wake up.

She shakes her head from those thoughts. Now that everything happened last week, all of her adrenaline is gone and she can sleep at night, but she can’t. Images of Rachel’s rotting, decomposing corpse sometimes flash before her eyes and the horrors of the dark room appear before her. Sometimes, she has to watch her friends die in these dreams. She might have slept soundly in her mother’s arms last night but now that she’s alone, she can’t do such a thing. Sleep doesn’t come easy anymore.

She wonders if Max has these dreams, or even Victoria. Max may not have been along for most of it but Victoria was. She’s seen Rachel, and the dark room, and everything along with Chloe. Also, she had to watch a classmate kill herself even before all of that and while Chloe knows Victoria hated Kate, it still doesn’t change anything. It still messes people up. 

She leans back on her bed and before she knows it, her eyes flutter shut.

Chapter Text

Victoria dearly missed eating with her friends. She hasn’t been able to do so because of the investigation with Chloe but now that it’s over and people are just now finding out about it, she can lean back and have a normal life again. Victoria expects nothing but some changes at Blackwell, starting with the club, but she couldn’t care about it anymore. The club is the reason why two students are dead and many other victims of Jefferson’s little photography bunker thing are suffering, despite being vindicated.

Most of those students were from different schools in Seattle but recognizable ones — like Marisa and Carol-Ann and Megan — are still here. Some of them were members of the Vortex Club. Some signed up for the photography program before either dropping out or switching out entirely. Jefferson got to them thanks to that program and the Vortex Club, back when Rachel recruited them to become members.

“When the Bigfoots lost, the entire school was like, super bummed out...but our team sucks,” Courtney says, scoffing. Victoria almost snorts at that. Most of the football team sucked, especially after Andrew North graduated three years back. “People were pissed that Nathan was missing, but...they still suck even if he was there.”

“Preach,” Taylor agrees, drowning her stack of pancakes with syrup. 

“No one even noticed that you were missing...which is weird because people were like, talking about you being with that blue haired chick all week.”

“What?” Victoria raises an eyebrow and stares at Courtney, hoping she’d continue.

“People started noticing on Wednesday that you were with that girl because of Nathan,” Courtney continues. “I think someone said that they saw you two giggling. Taylor and I were kind of weirded out because you always said you hated her—“

“And then Nathan was going off about you finding a friend in Chloe,” Taylor chimes in. “He seemed pissed off about it. I don’t know why, considering that you can be friends with whomever you want, but…”

Victoria sighs shakily. “Don’t even worry about that. He was jealous.”

“Well, yeah...we were kind of jealous too,” Courtney admits.

“Why?” Victoria asks.

Courtney shrugs, while Taylor stuffs her mouth with pancakes. “Like Taylor said before. Every time she showed up on campus last year, you would always talk about what did her and Rachel see in each other...and suddenly you were like, hanging out with her.”

“We were investigating Nathan. I even told Taylor what I was doing.”

“I didn’t understand until you told me,” Taylor answers. 

“Oh.” Victoria stares at her half eaten plate of eggs sunnyside up, toast, and strips of bacon. She suddenly didn’t feel hungry anymore. She missed her friends of course, but talking about that week still makes her feel sick to her stomach. “Are you guys done? I don’t really feel hungry anymore.”

Courtney nods, pushing her empty plate to the side. Taylor pops the last piece of pancake and flags down their waitress. “Check please.”

After Taylor pays for the meal, they go straight back to school. Victoria vaguely sees a rusty truck speeding off before she enters the dorms. 

She goes upstairs and stops right in front of Kate’s old dorm. She hasn’t been inside since her parents came over to get her stuff and she presumes it’s locked but she puts her hand on the knob and the door opens. The room is barren, leaving absolutely nothing Kate related in its wake. Victoria sits down on the bed and looks around, sighing to herself. Some lucky bitch might get this room by this week. Victoria would’ve wasted no time making sure the new roommate knows their place, kind of what she did to Kate on their first week, but now, she might just ignore the person. 

Victoria gets up and looks around including the desk. She vaguely remembers the bunny Kate left in here, and the pictures of her family, and some ‘inspiring’ bible quotes that makes Victoria sneer just thinking about it. If only she was a nicer person, maybe someone else wouldn’t have to die. Victoria doesn’t necessarily have blood on her hands but she feels like she should. She thought of posting that video and humiliating her...and she probably would’ve done so if Chloe didn’t keep her busy.

She hears the door open and she turns around. “What—“

“What are you doing here?” Max inquires, an eyebrow raised.

“What are you doing here?” Victoria repeats.

“Sometimes I come in here to think. What about you?”

Victoria shrugs. “I...didn’t feel like going inside my room. I never really been inside her room like that. It’s the same as mine so nothing special.” She leans against the wall. “I didn’t like Kate Marsh. Anyone can tell you that...even Kate herself. But...it’s fucking weird not seeing her being her...boring self or playing that wretched violin. I guess I’ve grown accustomed to seeing you losers every waking moment of my senior year.”

“Wow, even you can sound kind when you want to,” Max snorts. “And she didn’t like you either...one time she called you a bitch and then made me do a pinky promise, hoping I wouldn’t tell anyone. Especially you. It feels weird breaking that promise but...I figured you needed to know now that she’s dead. At least that way, you won’t skin her alive.”

Victoria almost laughs at the thought of Kate trying to curse, or at least not trying to. “She wasn’t wrong anyway. I should probably get the hell outta here…”

“Wait,” Max stops her. Victoria turns around and looks at Max expectantly. “I know it might sound a little hypocritical coming from me but...don’t break her heart.”

Victoria knew exactly who Max is referring to. “Wouldn’t dream of it.”


A week passes and before Chloe knows it, it’s Thursday. She’s been cleaning up the beach for the past week, something she didn’t mind, but now that the autumn season is here it’s a lot colder than she expected. She had to wear a coat because the cold mixed with the oceanic coastline makes the temperature drop even worse than if she was at Blackwell.

She’s also looking at getting a job. If she wants to leave Arcadia Bay, she has to at least make some money to save up for a trip out of here. Even if Rachel is dead, Chloe still wants to leave. 

Speaking of Rachel, her funeral was short but a huge turnout. They decided on a closed casket because her body was severely decomposed after six months of being dead. Both of Rachel’s parents showed up, and even Sera visited to attend her daughter’s funeral. There was a small child right next to Sera and she finds out that she was pregnant months after detoxing from the drugs that was involuntarily injected into her. Chloe wished her well and hoped Sera is doing a better job with her than with Rachel. James is still a piece of shit. Chloe couldn’t get Rachel’s flannel inside the casket so she wears it around her waist, not caring one bit about the unspoken ‘no red during a funeral’ rule. 

Many Blackwell students and faculty turned out, which was to be expected. Chloe was a little surprised to see Victoria and her cronies, who were the only few people who hated Rachel. She spent most of the time with Max, her mom, and David (who were all displeased with Chloe wearing red, even if Chloe explained that it was Rachel’s). 

After the funeral and burial, Chloe enters her truck and retrieves a cigarette. Before she can light it up, she drops it and sighs. Her want to smoke just instantly died out.

“You’re not even gonna light it up?”

Chloe turns around, seeing Victoria leaning on her windowsill. “Doesn’t have the same appeal anymore.”

“Weirdly same. I don’t even touch my weed stash anymore.” Chloe unlocks the door to let Victoria in. “I’m too busy trying to stay up during classes. Even after Wells cancelled class last week, I get no fucking sleep. Psychologist says it might be posttraumatic stress.”

Chloe doesn’t reply. They sit there for a while, staring at the cemetery in front of them. It’s starting to dissipate – some people are going to the Amber residence for the reception, and some are going to the diner to refuel. Chloe’s stomach is in knots from being at a superficial funeral. Kate’s funeral wasn’t even like this. While most of the school (sans Victoria and a few others) showed up, it was more intimate and Chloe only showed up for moral support for Max. She didn’t care about Kate’s family or any of that shit. She didn’t know how to feel that much for today’s funeral, other than contempt. Maybe some relief, but contempt. “I just...hated today. Dreaded it. I thought my dad’s funeral would’ve been the last funeral I would have to attend for a damn long time but I have to bury my ex-girlfriend and pretend to give a shit about her parents. And then, some of these people didn’t even care about, or knew Rachel.”

“Well, I don’t think I cared either…well, after the tea incident—“

“No, you were the only person who saw Rachel for who she can truly be. Impulsive, immature, spiteful...fuck. Everyone else, including myself, thought she was an angel sent from above, but she isn’t.” Chloe throws her unused cigarette out the window. “I need to get the fuck out of here. You going to school?”

“Actually I drove here, so I can just go. I was merely checking on you.”

“Oh, uh, thanks.” Victoria opens the door and before exiting the car, she hesitates and Chloe can see it in her face. “What?”

Victoria leans in and just simply kisses Chloe on her forehead. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”

It’s the first time Chloe smiles genuinely, at least since last week. “Yeah.”


Chloe removes her beanie and goes to her truck. Most of the beach is clean so most likely she’ll go to some park to finish her community service for the week. She should get home and get ready for this date. Victoria messaged her earlier and told her to come by six (and to bring snacks) and now it’s almost four, so she should get a move on about now.

She drives home and takes a shower, then gets dressed in something other than her usual. She goes straight downstairs and goes to the truck, driving to the Sav-Mart down the street. She picks up several bags of chips, cookies and some candies she likes (and hoped Victoria would like them because she isn’t coming back here). She contemplated getting drinks but Victoria says she has that covered so she pays for the snacks and drives all the way to Blackwell. The campus is kind of quiet save for a couple students hanging around.

The sound of a skateboard gliding on the pavement catches her attention. She knows it has to be Trevor and Justin hanging about, because they were the very few people who knew how to skateboard. “Yo, Chloe, what up?” Justin greets.

Chloe smirks. “Nothing much, Williams. What about you?”

“Wishing for this year to end,” Justin answers. “Too much happened in this damn school and I'm over it.”

“You got a year left,” Chloe shrugs. “Or you can drop out like I did.”

Trevor snorts. “You were kicked out for that time we spray painted Wells’ car. And as tempting as that sounds, we got plans.”

“Oh yeah? Is that to become the next Tony Hawk? Or lack thereof?” Chloe quips.

“Fuck you,” Trevor replies while Justin bursts out laughing. “I always wanted to be in the medical field, and Justin wants to use his knowledge on drugs to go into pharmacy. We got plans, Price.”

“Yeah yeah yeah.” Chloe rolls her eyes and starts going towards the dorms. “See you losers later.”

“What you doing with a bag full of munchies, huh?” Justin inquires.

“None of your beeswax Williams,” Chloe winks.

Justin raises his middle finger at her. Chloe chuckles and makes her way towards the dormitories. She idly waves at Max (who gives her a thumbs up) and heads upstairs to Victoria’s dorm. The hallways aren’t so busy so she gets away with walking down the hallway in one piece and knocking on Victoria’s door.

The door opens, revealing Victoria who looks like she was pushing furniture. “Just in time. Come in.”

Chloe’s been inside Victoria’s room but that’s when they didn’t like each other and she didn’t really explore it as much. Now, she’s exploring it for all it’s worth. “Selfies?” She quips and points towards three pictures of herself over the bed.

“What? I looked good,” Victoria shrugs. 

“Didn’t you rip on Max for taking selfies?”

“I ripped on Max because all she took was selfies,” Victoria defends. “Vast difference.” 

“Whatever you say,” Chloe replies. She looks some more and stops on a picture: young Victoria standing in front of a very abstract piece of art. “Interesting. When was this?” Chloe inquires, pointing at it.

Victoria puts a hand on her chin. “Six years old. I completed a shitty piece of ‘abstract’ art for the first grade art show and my mother forced me to take a picture in front of it. I hated that piece of art and I hated my teacher for letting me get away with it but I looked cute.”

“You had long hair too,” Chloe replies. “Kinda weird.” She looks at another photo with a slightly older Victoria with the same shoulder length hair sitting on a bench, playing with a red handheld gaming device. “Explain this.”

“Snuck my DS during my parents’ grand opening of the Chase Space. There was a boring presentation by some pretentious Banksy asshole. My daddy took the picture when I was trying to beat a particularly hard Super Mario level because he thought it was cute. I didn’t think so but it’s one of the few pictures I have of my childhood where I look focused...and happy.”

Chloe couldn’t even believe that this was the same Victoria. “Wow…talk about a face.” She looks down and sees a photo that makes her double take. “What...what is this? And is that Mikey North?

“Yes,” Victoria smiles, looking at the same photo of herself in cosplay. “I was at Portland Comic Con. Taylor wanted to go so badly and I was getting tired of her mouth so we went. It wasn’t entirely terrible. I got to go as one of my favorite characters from an anime I used to watch. Then Taylor made me take a picture with Mikey since we recognized him from school and he was fangirling over my outfit. I mean, it made us friends but...I swore up and down that I will be the only person to own it.”

“And none of your friends cared to look at it?” Chloe asks.

Victoria shakes her head. “I recently put that one up.”

“Who even are you, Chase?” Chloe inquires.

“There’s a lot you don’t know about me, Chloe,” Victoria says, staring at Chloe intensely. “There are some things that even Taylor doesn’t even know, and she’s my ride or die. I’m not much of an open book. I don’t intend on being one anytime soon, but...this? This is one of the ways that will tell you how much I trust you.”

“Wow.” Chloe kinda figured that out, but she’s still kind of surprised at it. “I trust you too. At least, I think I do. You stayed the night at my house and we went on a goose chase investigating your weird ass boyfriend.”

“Here we go with the boyfriend bullshit,” Victoria rolls her eyes, but Chloe knows she isn’t serious. 

Chloe chuckles and sits on the sofa. She places the bag of snacks on the coffee table. “So how comfortable can I get in here?”

“Enough to take off your shoes if you plan on putting your feet up...or joining me on the bed,” Victoria answers.

Chloe smirks flirtatiously. “Already trying to get me in bed, Chase?” Victoria doesn’t reply but she does blush. Chloe smiles even wider. “You’re so cute.”

“Gee, thanks.” Victoria rolls her eyes and turns her television on. “What movie are we watching? And please don’t say Blade Runner.”

“Uncultured,” Chloe grumbles. She removes her shoes and plops her feet on the coffee table. “But I’ll comply. Might I suggest Pirates of the Caribbean?”

“You may not because Johnny Depp is fucking ugly,” Victoria recoils.

“You run a tight ship ‘round here,” Chloe sighs. She looks around and smirks upon seeing a movie title on Victoria’s shelf. “Final Fantasy: Spirits Within.”

Victoria raises an eyebrow. “Are you sure you’re up for watching a movie masterpiece?”

“Wow, I knew you were a secret nerd,” Chloe laughs. “And yes I am. I’ve watched it before.”

“Color me impressed, Price.”

Chloe laughs as Victoria puts the movie on. “I thought we were past the last name stage, Chase.”

“Old habits die hard,” Victoria shrugs. “Besides, Price isn’t a bad last name. Why not call you Price once in a while?”

Chloe accepts that answer. She digs through the snacks she brought and pulls them out. “So I got...Munchies, potato chips, Choco-Crisp—“

“Mine,” Victoria declares and grabs the large bag of fun-sized Choco-Crisps.

Chloe raises an eyebrow. “Ok...I also got chocolate chip cookies ‘cause those are my favorite...and more fun sized candy medleys because Halloween is nigh and I figured that would be cheaper than getting candy bars.”

“Good work,” Victoria smirks, already chewing on a Choco-Crisp. “I didn’t think shitty ol’ Arcadia Bay would have this. This is a Seattle staple.”

Chloe rolls her eyes and pats the seat next to her as the beginning credits of the movie start rolling. “Come on Princess. I’m not climbing on that bed unless you want me to sleep.”

Victoria sits down right next to Chloe and silence overtakes them while the movie plays. Chloe rips through an entire sleeve of cookies throughout the movie until it finishes. Victoria gets up and removes the DVD from her player. “Since you picked the first movie, I’ll pick the second one.” Chloe silently agrees and watches Victoria standing idly for a movie case, then she stretches her arm to get it. Chloe doesn’t get the chance to see what she picked up because the sight of Victoria wearing pajama shorts and her tank top riding up a little bit as she stretches distracts her. She never noticed just how athletically thin Victoria was. She has some bit of muscle under the preppy clothes she wears everyday, but she did mention that she used to run. Whether she was on a track and field team in middle school or here is a question she has to ask but it wouldn’t hurt.

There’s also a diamond tattoo on Victoria’s ankle. Of course. 

“Earth to Chloe Price,” Victoria says, making Chloe snap out of her thoughts. “Were you just...checking me out just now?”

“No,” Chloe lies. “I noticed the tattoo on your ankle though.”

“Has anyone told you you’re not that great of a liar?”

Chloe blushes. “No, because I'm not a terrible liar.”

“Oh, no, you’re not a terrible liar, but just now your ability to lie swiftly was thrown out the window,” Victoria smirks. “Oh, and nice save with my tattoo. I would have believed you if you didn’t lie.”

Chloe almost deflates upon being caught. “I guess I’m sorry for lying…maybe I'm still kind of finding out about you.”

“Uh huh,” she smirks. “By the way, Blackwell never had a track team.”

“I said that out loud, huh,” Chloe grimaces. 

Victoria starts laughing. “Sure did. I only run for fun, and teams were never my thing. I also used to be as pretentious as Max. Some stupid coffee drinking vegan yuppie. I can’t believe you don’t remember that.”

Chloe tries to think about sophomore year. She didn’t really pay much attention to Victoria but for the few weeks of school she missed because of that stupid suspension Wells put on her, Rachel would always mention how Victoria would drink coffee in the mornings and cause havoc in the cafeteria because they didn’t have vegan options. “It honestly slipped my mind. You see, I'm not a huge fan of bullies…”

“And yet you befriended both Rachel and Drew North,” Victoria says back. “Movie’s starting, genius.”

Chloe turns back around to the movie screen, and isn’t even surprised to see what Victoria put in. “I know you didn’t put friggin’ Brave in your DVD player.”

“It was either this or Up. I rather not put in a sad movie for the both of us to watch so this is it.”

Chloe grumbles a little and reaches for the bag of chips while they watch the entire movie. Chloe was never a huge fan of Disney. She disliked most of the movies that her mom took her to watch until the Pirates movies were released and it was her and Max loading up in her dad’s car, going to see the movie. That’s probably the only Disney-produced movie Chloe can stomach.

She gives up a half hour into the film and closes her eyes for what feels like a few minutes until Victoria shakes her awake while the end credits roll in. “Lesson learned. Disney is not your thing.”

“Wow you took the hint that fast?” Chloe asks.

Victoria nods. “Guess I'm not that surprised.” She checks her watch, noticing it’s now really late and curfew started already. “It’s late anyway.”

Chloe checks her phone and sighs disappointedly. “I suppose it is.” 

“Want me to walk you to your truck?”

It’s an offer Chloe didn’t want to refuse but she didn’t want Victoria getting caught after hours. “No, I got it. If I get caught they can add more community service time on my sheet.”

Victoria snorts. “I’m guessing community payback is fun for you.”

“Sure. I was cleaning the beach before I got here. Too bad I'm not a photography hoe. The sights were pretty decent. If you go to the lighthouse it’s a lot better.” She gets up and shoves her feet inside her boots then walks towards the door with Victoria following behind. “Mind if I steal a few Choco-Crisp?”

“Fine, but only because you’re cute.” Victoria turns around and grabs a couple from the bag, stashing it in Chloe’s open palm. Chloe feels her cheeks getting warm at Victoria calling her cute. She’s still not used to girls calling her that. “Get home safe.”

Chloe rolls her eyes and pulls Victoria  in for a goodbye kiss. To her delight, Victoria doesn’t push her away, or stop her. When she does, Victoria’s a little flushed and Chloe’s smirking. “Thanks for the date, Chase.”

“No problem, Price,” Victoria smirks back, and kisses Chloe again. “Bye.”

Chloe turns around and leaves the room, the smug smile never leaving her damn face.

Chapter Text

As much as Victoria didn’t want photography class being cancelled, it was happening and she could only sigh deeply in disappointment. Mark Jefferson may have been a sociopathic pedophile but he was a teacher. A famous teacher. She only entertained the thought of the senior program because of him. Otherwise she would’ve graduated with Steph Gingrich and go to school with a major in business so she can successfully own the Chase Space after her parents retire. 

Granted, she will still own the exhibit, but she knew knowing a bit of marketing and management will work in her favor.

Tomorrow is Halloween and the blood drive is still a go. Most of the students manage to heal quickly after the fiasco from that week. Even Victoria is getting some sleep and is actively seeing her school psychologist. After Halloween is Jefferson’s sentence hearing since he’s been found guilty and they’re gonna find out how long he has to ride out his sentence. Victoria hopes for life without parole. She doesn’t want Jefferson to see daylight ever again.

She gets back to her social life...or rather, just talking to Taylor and Courtney. She hasn’t seen Watson after she tried to approach her (which she is immensely thankful for) and no one is asking questions about her stint inside Jefferson’s ‘Dark Room’. She also finds a friend in Max and Dana and this time she isn’t going to allow her social status ruin those new friendships in her life.

Kate’s room is still empty and Victoria wants to keep it that way until she graduates. It doesn’t feel right that Kate isn’t here anymore but it wouldn’t feel right if some basic bitch took the room either while she was still attending.

As for her relationship with Chloe? After Chloe kissed her after their first date, it was very clear that they both liked each other and Victoria isn’t against having something more with the dropout bitch she used to hate. Rachel is probably rolling in her grave at the thought of her dating Chloe, her Chloe, but if she were in front of Victoria right now, Victoria would’ve reminded Rachel that Chloe is now hers.

After finding out about where Jefferson got the drugs, Frank disappeared somewhere and Victoria notices he didn’t even cash the check. Shrugging, she hopes that asshole won’t come back for another ‘loan forgiveness program’. He was involved with so much shit that Victoria bets he didn’t even know he indirectly killed his girlfriend. It disgusts her, not just because Rachel was a teenager at the time they started dating, but because Nathan was clearly getting drugs from him to drug up a bunch of girls to use them.

“Do I have your commitment to donate blood tomorrow?” Dana inquires once again.

Victoria rolls her eyes. “Yes, Ward. You have my word. I’m O-positive and ready to roll. I’ll even do plasma if they ask.”

“You’d probably faint from all that blood loss,” Dana chuckles.

“Whatever. As long as I don’t have to hear you asking me once again about this scaaaary blood drive for the entire day.”

“Are you inviting your girlfriend?” Dana inquires, wagging her eyebrows.

Victoria shakes her head. “Chloe works that day and i’m very sure Wells wouldn’t want outside guests to donate, especially if it’s former students.”

“What about the Halloween ball?”

Victoria smiles a little. Dana is doing a great job with the Vortex Club, much more than what she could’ve done. “That we will show up for. I’m trying to convince her not to do another pirate getup but she has a head full of hot air.”

Dana couldn’t help but laugh. “Why not be a pirate? She’ll be Captain Hook and you’ll be Peter Pan with that haircut.”

“Damn, that’s a good idea. I might convince her to do that.”

A knock almost makes Victoria jump. Seeing who’s at the door makes her snarl but she knows it was going to happen. Dana is best friends with everyone, including people Victoria would replace Kate Marsh with. “I got some more signups for the blood drive tomorrow,” Juliet announces without missing a beat. She easily ignores Victoria as she hands Dana the signup sheet.

“Perfect. This might be a better turnout than last year.”

Juliet tries to leave but Dana stops her, much to Victoria’s annoyance. “Come on, stay with us.”

“I’d rather not,” Juliet replies quickly.

“Are you still mad about the whole situation?”

“She made you look like a backstabber and now you’re besties with her?” Juliet asks. “Why do you even entertain this—“

“Ahem, wasn’t it you coming to me to request an interview for what happened in the Dark Room, Watson?” Victoria interjects. The look on Juliet’s face almost makes her smirk. “So in a way, you were entertaining me. I told you point blank to not write me in your articles, whether good or bad. I don’t give a shit. I don’t trust you and I for sure don’t like you. And just because Dana and I found common ground it doesn’t mean you have to avoid her.”

Juliet scoffs. “What do you know about friendship?”

“A whole fucking lot,” Victoria growls. “I may have been best friends with someone who killed a student, but I don’t treat any of my friends like shit. Don’t ever assume I'm a terrible friend because I don’t like you or the rest of the student body.”

Juliet rolls her eyes. “Whatever.”

Victoria snarls, but doesn’t continue on. She decides it was the best time to just leave. “So I’ll see you tomorrow, Ward?”

“Uh, yeah,” Dana replies, looking conflicted between her two friends. 

Victoria only grimaces and makes an exit. She goes straight to her room and growls to herself, until she sees a text message from Chloe. Thinking about that idea Dana have her, she pulls up her phone and reads Chloe’s message quickly.

Chloe: are you still against me going as a pirate?

Victoria: tell you what. you can go as a pirate if I can go as peter pan

Chloe: sold

“Of course,” Victoria mumbles and tosses her phone aside. Luckily she already has the outfit for that.


By the next day, Victoria has her costume on and is growing bored with the long wait to get blood extracted from her body. The blood drive is a huge turnout with almost everyone in attendance, even those who cannot donate and decide to go just because Dana makes it fun.

After getting a green bandage applied on her forearm, she heads to the snack area where Taylor and Courtney are already refueling from their donation. “Hey Victoria!” Courtney greets. Victoria almost laughs at Courtney’s slutty cat outfit, or a school mandated slutty cat outfit because she knows Wells sucks. 

“Hey Court And Cher,” Victoria jokes, noticing Taylor’s Clueless getup.

“Cute,” Taylor deadpans. “I’m just glad Wells didn’t reprimand me for wearing a skirt that’s a few inches above my knees.”

“That’s because you’re wearing stockings,” Courtney points out. “I had to wear jeans with this. Jeans. How can I be a cat if I can’t be slutty?”

“Because Principal Wells sucks,” Victoria replies. She sits next to Taylor and starts eating before she gets a dizzy spell. “But whatever. It’s one day. At least tonight’s party at the revamped Vortex Club doesn’t have a dress code.”

“I can’t believe we still have one especially after what happened this month.”

“Me neither, but Dana raised a good argument to Wells. As long as I'm not a huge part of it, I can just enjoy whatever this is. It’s her headache now.”

“At least she’s doing a good job,” Taylor compliments.

Victoria and Courtney give her a look. “Yeah, because you like her,” Victoria smirks.

“Shut up,” Taylor pouts.


The party is in full swing and Victoria compliments the person who planned it. Of course that was Dana. She didn’t need to be reminded of that. She finds her friends quickly and is about to head towards the bar when a pair of arms wrap around her midsection and it almost catches Victoria off guard until she smells old cigarette musk. “If it isn’t the boy who never grows up.”

Victoria rolls her eyes and leans into her girlfriend, finding Taylor and Courtney’s teasing looks. “Oh look, you caught me. Do I have to walk the plank now?”

“Yup.” Chloe turns Victoria around and kisses her. 

“What kind of fucked up Peter Pan fanfic is this?” Courtney jokes.

Victoria turns around and narrows her eyes at her best friends laughing at Courtney’s joke. “Laugh it up bitches. At least I have a girlfriend unlike Taylor who still has wet dreams about Dana and Courtney who thinks I can’t see the way she stares at the male version of Maxine Caulfield.”

“Low blow, Chase,” Courtney says lowly.

“Wait, were you talking about Evan?” Chloe almost laughs. “You like that pretentious sack of potatoes?”

“Shut up, he can be cute from certain angles,” Courtney defends.

Victoria snorts. “Yeah, ok. Certain angles.”

“I could’ve sworn he called me dumb a few years ago while he took a picture of a bird,” Chloe muses. She throws an arm around Victoria. “And no offense but this party is lame. Maybe having you and Nathan Shitscott running the show made it somewhat interesting.”

Victoria furrows her eyebrows. “Nathan was drugging girls with GHB and kidnapping them while I was drunkenly keeping shit together. This is an upgrade.”

“Would it kill Dana to play anything but hip hop though?” Courtney complains.

“Shhh, this is a good song,” Taylor says, and twirls around. Victoria laughs and pulls Chloe with her to join Taylor’s idle dancing. “Come on Court. Join us.”

“Hard pass,” Courtney sneers.

“You’re such a lame-o, Wagner,” Victoria says. “Why do we always have to accommodate for your love of shitty indie music?”

“Remind me again why she isn’t friends with Max?” Chloe mumbles.

Victoria snorts just as soon as Courtney glares at the three of them and someone covered with a white bed sheet approaches them. “Boo!”

“Seriously Caulfield? A ghost?” Victoria asks.

Max groans and pulls the sheet from atop her body, revealing her actual pirate getup. “Now why did you have to blow my cover?”

“Because your other costume was way better,” Victoria replies as Chloe gives Max a high five. 

“So you got a thing for pirates huh,” Max jokes.

Victoria rolls her eyes. “No dumbass.”

“I think it’s high time for Victoria to walk the plank,” Chloe declares.

“Whatever losers.”


The party ends at almost midnight and Chloe is still here. She helps out in cleaning and Dana is the last person to go back to the building leaving her with Victoria. She takes off her shoes and rolls her leggings up to her knees, and sits by the water. Chloe shrugs and does the same. She also notices the soft playing of Dreams by Fleetwood Mac playing in the background. “This song always makes me wanna cry,” Chloe says.

“Same,” Victoria replies. “I gotta admit...the party wasn’t as great as I thought it would be...but it’s better than what Nathan and I would’ve planned if we still had hold over this school.”

“See? I told you it was boring,” Chloe smirks. “I totally want to go for a swim.”

“In what, your underwear?”

“Sure, unless you want me to strip naked,” Chloe snickers. “That would probably violate the terms of my ASBO, but…”

“Stupid,” Victoria laughs. “We should get you outta here before you get us into more trouble.”

Us? You do realize you were a part of the master plan.”

“True, but you took full responsibility. Remember?” 

Chloe couldn’t argue with that. She felt that she had to anyway. It was her idea. “Would you have done the same? Take full responsibility, I mean.”

“Maybe?” Victoria shrugs. The song crossfades to something Chloe has never heard of but she isn’t going to change it. “I’m not sure. I didn’t even expect you to do that. But can we stop talking about that? It’s over right?”

“Well we do find out that Jefferson dude’s sentence pretty soon,” Chloe says.

“Aside from that.” 

“Hmm…” Chloe leans in and kisses Victoria for a few seconds. “Wanna talk about that?”

Victoria raises an eyebrow, then smirks suggestively. “Interesting. Let’s talk about that instead.”

Chloe smirks back. “I’m not sure if you’re ready for that—“

“Fucking try me, Price,” Victoria replies.

Chloe raises both eyebrows. “In this uncomfortably moist natatorium? I wouldn’t expect that from a high maintenance broad like you.”

Victoria laughs. “No, dummy. Let’s go to my room.”

“Are you sure the school is ready to hear your screams—“

“So, you don’t wanna talk,” Victoria mock-suggests.

Chloe gets up rather quickly, then basically carries Victoria up from the pool, bridal style. Victoria only laughs some more as Chloe carries her out of the pool area.