September 24th, 2014
Nothing is ever really simple. At least that’s what it seems like in Arcadia Bay. The storm caused even more damage after it had finished sweeping through the town. Blackwell Academy had shut down for an entire year, giving the town a chance to rebuild. So, that meant that the school year would be delayed. For the students who lived in Arcadia Bay, this meant time in between the dorms and their family homes, and for those who were transplants, all their time was spent at the dorms.
For Victoria Chase and Max Caulfield, it meant more time spent together. Which Victoria loved. After Max had come home from the hospital, Victoria had stopped trying to hide her feelings. She spent more time with Max, holding hands and hanging her arms over Max’s shoulders. There were remarks, but nothing like that matters when you’re in love.
It was wonderful, if a bit selfish, to have Max all to herself. But, no matter how many kisses she got, how many times Max leaned into her grip, how many times she heard her name in breathy gasps across Max’s lips, there was something. Something in her mind that was pulling Victoria back, keeping her from fully enjoying the moments with Max. She tried blocking it out, tried ignoring it, but it never truly went away…
The idle golden rays gently lit up Victoria’s pristinely made bed. Dust motes gently swayed and danced across the golden beams in a lazily intimate dance. Victoria’s couldn’t enjoy such a mundane masterpiece however, she was far too occupied with something else. Gripped in her hand tightly was several sheets of paper, all filled in a neat and orderly fashion with perfectly aligned text. College applications.
Graduation was approaching, and Victoria had no idea what she was going to do. She was only a handful of months away from starting the next big chapter of her life, and she was crippled with indecision. Blackwell’s reputation as a prestigious art school would get her further into the door, but she was shooting for the top; if she fell, it would be a long way down. Victoria idly flipped through each sheet, reading the same words over and over and over again.
Her head hurt. Her head hurt two hours ago, but for some reason she never bothered to stop reading these damned things.
‘Just finish these. Push headlong through everything and get it over with.’ She would tell herself, but every time she would try, she just couldn’t. Shackled by ‘if’s and ‘maybe’s, Victoria had barely made any progress in filling out the applications, let alone sending them along with her portfolio.
Don’t even get her started on her portfolio.
Victoria groaned, planting her face onto her desk, smothering the applications in the process. There was some catharsis in crushing these damned things, even for a moment. But, that moment wouldn’t last. A series of small knocks raised Victoria from her stupor. They may as well have been thunderclaps for how quiet Victoria’s room had been. The blonde rubbed her hand across her face and groaned loudly as she stood and turned to the door.
‘If this is Courtney or Taylor, I swear to fucking--!’
Swinging the door open, Victoria readied her masterful ‘Chase Glare’ but stopped. It wasn’t Courtney or Taylor, no, it was someone smaller. Standing there, messy brown mop-top, dingy t-shirt and hoodie, was the most beautiful thing Victoria had ever seen. And she smiled.
“Are you alright, Victoria?” Max asked, tilting her head slightly up at Victoria. The blonde became very aware of how she must have looked. Unkempt hair, messy sweatshirt and sagging sweatpants; not the Victoria Chase most are used to seeing.
“Oh, u-uh—“ Victoria smirked a little, rubbing her own messy head, “—y-yeah. I’m fine.”
“Did you take a nap?” Max raised her hand to gently rub her elbow, Victoria’s heart fluttered, “You, uh, didn’t forget--?” Victoria’s brow furrowed, and then her eyes widened.
Shit. SHIT. The date.
“Fuck-“ Victoria swore, slamming her eyes shut and internally kicking herself, “—no, Max, I-I didn’t. I just—“ she turned, her eyes briefly catching a glimpse of her tormentors splayed across her desk. She’s drawn back when she feels a hand gently grip her bicep. Max looks up at her with a small smile and those enchanting blue eyes.
“It’s okay, Victoria. We can stay in, if you want.” She looks up and down Victoria and offers a wider smile. “Let’s maybe watch a movie? Or, uhm, an anime you like.” Victoria smiled and took a few steps backward, Max followed quickly, closing the door behind her. “Oh, I-uh, finished the second season of that anime you told me about.”
“You’ll have to be a bit more specific,” Victoria said, walking over to her desk and laying some books across the shuffled applications. They wouldn’t hurt her for now, now it was time to focus on something good in her life. “If I remember right, I gave you a list.” Victoria turned and smiled at Max, slowly walking back to the hipster.
“Utena. Revolutionary Girl Utena.” Victoria corrected, Max just chuckled a little, sitting on Victoria’s couch.
“Y-Yeah. That one. It’s beautiful. And, head-y.” Max grinned up at Victoria, who was beginning to sit, leading with her body and pressing into Max. The alpha leaned back and allowed Victoria to just fall into her.
“Wait until the final season. We may have to watch it together. It’s—“ Victoria exhaled, “Heavy stuff.”
“W-We could stop it, if I get—“ Max began, her voice trailing off slightly. Victoria raised her head and locked eyes with Max.
“If it starts to trigger you, for any reason, say so. We’ll stop.”
“Thanks.” Max nearly whispered. Victoria smiled and returned to leaning against Max, the back of her head resting into Max’s shoulder. The blonde couldn’t stop herself from tilting her head and pressing her nose into her alpha’s hair. She took a breath and felt her tense nerves begin to relax.
Max always smelled like, well, the best way she could describe it was like the air after a fresh rain. It was relaxing. Incredibly relaxing. Victoria had to pace herself, or she might become addicted to Max’s scent…
“You seem tense,” Max began, her hand moving to gently lace her fingers through Victoria’s hair, her other arm curling around Victoria’s stomach. “Is everything okay? Be honest with me, Tori.” Victoria exhaled a breath, turning back around and removing her nose from Max’s hair; it was like leaving Disneyland as a child, the hardest thing ever.
“It’s just some college stuff.” Victoria said, trying to downplay the stress those stupid pieces of paper were causing her. “I just need to, you know, get some applications done and get my portfolio in order. No biggie.” Victoria hated how good she was at lying, and she knew Max wouldn’t push any deeper. But Max’s intent stare made Victoria begin to think otherwise. There was a long pause between the two, Max just looking down at Victoria with an unreadable stare.
“You would tell me if there was something wrong, right?” Max asked.
“Yeah. Of course.”
“I don’t think you are, Victoria.” Max said softly, a hint of worry in her voice as Max’s fingers tenderly brushed through Victoria’s hair.
“It’s nothing-“ Victoria said, not believing herself, “—really, Max. I—“ she paused, trying to swallow down the anxiety right on the surface, finding just enough courage to say “I can handle it.”
“You don’t have to handle it alone, Victoria. You don’t need to face everything alone and hide things from me.” Max’s gentle strokes halted, and the alpha undid her fingers from Victoria’s golden mop. “I’m not a therapist, but—“
“I’m just scared, Max.” Victoria felt herself speak, the floodgates beginning to open, “I’m just so,” her body tensed, eyes closing and shoulders clenching, “Paralyzed.” Victoria took a moment to take a few breaths and catch up to her own racing thoughts. Max was kind enough to stay silent and allow Victoria a chance to think.
“I’m-“ Victoria began, “I’m just worrying. Trapped in anxiety. I need to go to college, to get an education and, you know, advance.” Victoria raised her hands, flexing her fingers into fists as her voice began to pick up speed. “And, I’m a Chase, damnit. I need to go to the best school, and get the best grades and be the best student and the best photographer because if I’m not the best, then when I go home, I’ll have to stare down my parents’ expectations and realize that I failed them and everyone else because I’m not good enough—“
“WHAT?!” Victoria barked, her eyes wide and her voice laden with poison. Max bent into herself, recoiling from Victoria’s outburst. The blonde’s face sank as she saw Max’s reaction, Max’s retreat, Max’s fear. Victoria panicked moving her hands to rest upon Max’s shoulders, and readjusting herself to face Max fully.
“Max, I’m sorry-“
“It’s fine, Victoria.” Max soothed, gently moving to squeeze Victoria’s hands on her shoulders. “I get it, the future’s scary. But, it’s good you told me what you’re worried about.” Max chuckled a little, “Even if it was a little, aggressive.” Victoria dropped her gaze in shame, but she couldn’t simmer in her loathing for long. Her chin was slowly lifted up, Max’s hand raising her up to meet her gaze again. “I’m here, Victoria. I want to help you. Even if I can’t do much.” Max leaned in and pressed a small kiss to Victoria’s lips, and Victoria couldn’t help but smile.
“S-Sorry.” Victoria said as Max began to pull her lips away. “I’m just, I don’t know, not used to having someone else to help me.” Victoria had her friends, but, in hindsight, she really had used them more as servants than friends; she hated to admit that Chloe Price might be right about something. So, Victoria had reverted back to her old habits. Handle everything alone, because you’ll only ever have yourself.
But, then, here was Max Caulfield almost begging to help Victoria with some of her burden. What did she do to deserve her?
“Well, I’m here. And, you know, if I can help it, I’m not going anywhere.” Max smiled a beaming ray of light through Victoria’s anxious foggy haze. The blonde smiled, easily infected by Max’s optimism.
“I don’t want you to leave.” Victoria said with such sincerity it surprised her. Her hands moving to gently grip Max’s, lacing her long fingers through Max’s fingers, pairing them like perfect dance partners. Victoria found herself moving closer into Max’s grip, tilting her head and resting herself against Max’s tiny shoulders. Long, deep breaths took in Max’s relaxing scent, and Victoria found herself sinking further and further into Max, resting completely against her small alpha.
The two sat there, enjoying one another’s presence. Max gently wrapped her arms about Victoria and Victoria nuzzled into Max’s grip. The warmth between the two was comforting and Victoria felt calmer in these few seconds than she had in days. She didn’t want to leave this place, this place of warmth and comfort and love.
“I can help you with your potfolio.” Victoria fluttered her eyes open, how long had they been closed? She looked up at Max, whose gaze seemed off to the side somewhere. Victoria raised her head and followed Max’s gaze, looking at the large leather bound book resting tentatively on the edge of her dresser. “I can’t really fill out college applications and stuff for you, and you don’t want me writing your introductory essays-“ Max chuckled a little, “But, you know, someone told me once that I was a pretty good photographer.” She looked down at Victoria and smiled a small little smirk.
Victoria sat up and smiled at Max. “Yeah. Well, she must know what she’s talking about.” Max chuckled a little.
“Chloe’s gonna love the fact you complimented her.” Victoria furrowed her brow and playfully gave Max’s shoulder a small push. Max chuckled a little, and Victoria couldn’t help but follow.
“Don’t you dare tell her that. Her head’s big enough as it is.”
“O-Okay, okay.” Max said, raising her hands in defeat to Victoria’s ‘vicious’ onslaught. The two chuckled for a little bit as Victoria got off Max and walked towards the dresser. She grabbed the portfolio and looked down on it, gently rubbing her thumb along the edge. Max slowly snuck up on Victoria, folding her arms around Victoria’s waist. The blonde didn’t jump, but she turned to look down at Max, who greeted her with a smile.
“Well, I suppose I could use any help as I can get.” Victoria placed the portfolio down, making sure it landed a bit more securely on her dresser. She then turned around and placed her hands on the small alpha’s shoulders again. “And, I guess you’re good enough to help. Just try not to make it too ‘hipster-y’, okay?” Victoria teased. Max responded to this good-natured ribbing with a wide smile and a small series of laughs.
“I’ll keep the polaroids to my portfolio, okay?” Max pushed herself upward and pressed her lips to Victoria’s once more. The blonde began to move her hands down Max’s arms, gently gliding along that ratty hoodie’s sleeves. Max’s hands began to slide up Victoria’s back, gently raking her nails back down the omega’s spine. Victoria pushed further into the kiss, spreading her lips and gently sliding her tongue into Max’s mouth. The two muscles met and began a slow, tender dance as their owner’s hands turned from gentle gliders to harsh rakes. Before her hands could begin tearing off anything, she jumped from her skin at a loud, sudden ringing.
Max pulled back, blinking herself back to reality and looked down at her pocket. Reaching in and grabbing the screaming square, she looked at the screen and turned to show Victoria the flashing screen.
Victoria sighed through her nose and rolled her eyes. Even when she’s not here, Chloe Price is a pest. Max removed herself, pressing her phone and placing it to her ear.
“Hey. Yeah. Just with Victoria.” Max said, turning and mouthing an apology to Victoria, who just shrugged and smiled. Max returned to her call, her brows furrowing slightly. “Really? Already?” her voice seemed a bit more surprised, and Victoria raised an eyebrow at that tone shift. Max’s smile widened and she nodded, “Yeah! Yeah, I really want to, but—“ she paused, scratching the back of her head, “—yeah. We’re on it right now.” Max turned her gaze back to smile at Victoria, who couldn’t help but widen her smile. “Okay. It’s fine. I’ll see you tomorrow, okay? Promise. Y-Yeah, of course, I love you too.” She pressed her finger against the phone screen and placed it back in her pocket.
“She must be excited.” Victoria said, her smile remaining.
“Yeah, but, I’m with you right now. So,” she took a few more steps closer to Victoria, “I’m going to focus on you.” Victoria felt her cheeks flush slightly, moving her hands to grip her arms. Max placed her hands on Victoria’s shoulders and drew the blonde’s attention back to her. “So, uhm—“ Victoria blinked, following Max’s gaze when the brunette looked away, “Where were we?”
Victoria raised her eyebrows and grinned. “Oh,” she began, moving her hands to gently grip Max’s cheek and pull their gazes together. “I think I remember. Stop me if I get something wrong.” She teased in a breathy voice that sent Max’s cheeks ablaze. The blonde leaned in and pressed her lips against Max’s, her hands moving from Max’s cheeks down to the small alpha’s hips.
Now, their distractions out of the way, her hands were free to explore Max’s body and tease to their heart’s content…
“Why did I need to be dragged along?” Victoria groaned, hand resting on her forehead as she drove her car idly down the quiet suburban street. It was the weekend, and Victoria had really longed for an easy day; no schoolwork, no exercise, just some coffee, her bed and some anime. And yet, here she was, driving down a sleepy Arcadia Bay neighborhood with her girlfriend Max Caulfield in the passenger seat.
“Because this is really important to Chloe,” Max said, trying to reassure her girlfriend’s grumpy mood, “I wanted us all to be there for her.”
“And, you needed a ride.” Victoria smirked, turning her gaze back to Max. Max just rolled her eyes and playfully shook her head.
“I could’ve taken the bus, but I wanted you to come.” Victoria exhaled a small breath at that.
“You’re right, Max. As usual.” Victoria surrendered, placing her hand off her forehead and back onto the steering wheel. “And, this is important to Chloe.” Victoria began slowing her car as Max pointed to the Price household. “I just don’t understand why anyone would be so excited over—“ the two stopped on the street and saw a hideous sight. Some giant, rusted tube of steel, rubber and glass had been propped up on some makeshift ramps sitting in the Price’s driveway. The damn thing nearly took up the whole driveway.
“—good Christ, what the hell is that?” Victoria asked, her voice laden with nausea. The two exited the car and carefully walked up what was left of the driveway. As they got near to the, van? Bus? Vehicle, a loud banging was heard and the two nearly jumped as a wiry figure kicked open a side door and leapt out.
“Boo, bitches!” Chloe shouted, scaring Max and Victoria half-to-death. She laughed at her handy work as Max pressed a hand to chest to calm her heart, and Victoria scowled at her.
“Really fucking funny, Price.” Victoria snapped releasing her vice-like grip on Max’s shoulder. Chloe just chuckled and waved a dismissive hand towards the frightened princess.
“Lighten up, Tori.” Chloe said, moving to hug Max in a tight grp. “I’m just fucking pumped, okay? Sorry for scaring you.” Chloe said, a playful mockery in her tone as she apologized. She moved away from Max and waved her arms out wide in front of the van. “The beast lives! Again! Beast Two! The Beast-ening!” she said with a passionate roar to the heavens.
Max smiled, beaming at Chloe’s unbridled excitement. Victoria couldn’t stop staring at the aging, collapsing rust bucket in abject horror.
“This is amazing, Chloe.” Max said, moving to give Chloe a gentle hug. “I can’t wait to see it when it’s all fixed up! It’s gonna look hella sweet.”
“This is,” Victoria said, looking all along the tube, “Definitely something, Chloe.”
“Gonna fix this bad boy up, and we’re gonna sail out of Arcadia Bay on pure Pirate Power!” Chloe shouted, wrapping an arm around Max and jostling her around a little. Max just giggled, too caught up in Chloe’s infectious excitement to be bothered by the manhandling.
“You’re going to leave? In this thing?” Victoria says, smiling at these two wrestling idiots. She looked between the two of them with furrowed brows and concerned eyes, and Chloe looked down at Max.
“Didn’t you tell her?” Chloe asked Max, and Victoria raised her eyebrows. “Fuck. You didn’t tell her.” Max moved her gaze to Victoria and wilted, shrinking into collapsing shoulders and bent spines.
“Tell me, what?” Victoria barked. Chloe peeled her lips back, wincing at the oncoming fight. So, she released Max and made her way back into the van. Retreating in a shelter for the inevitable bomb drop with a loud ‘thunk’ of rusted metal.
Max rubbed her arm a little, her eyes keeping away from Victoria. Her voice was meek, and small. Max Caulfield will always be Max Caulfield.
“I was going to tell you when Chloe finally got the van. But, it happened much faster than I thought, so—“ she looked up at Victoria, who’d crossed her arms and was scowling at Max like a disappointed parent. “—Chloe and I, were going to take a road trip. After Chloe, you know, fixes this up.” Max raised and pointed a thumb back at the dinosaur.
“Where are you going?” Victoria asked, the frustration in her voice seeming to fade.
“We don’t know. We were just going to,” Max shrugs, “Wander. For a while.”
“And I wasn’t invited?” Victoria asked, sounding more hurt than angry. Max raised her gaze and widened her eyes.
“No! I—I mean,” she took a few steps closer to Victoria, her hands raising to instinctually hug the blonde, but she stopped and just held her hands awkwardly at her sides. “Chloe doesn’t think you’d want to go. But,” she dropped her gaze again for a moment, “I’d really like it if you came with us. I know it isn’t, like, your scene—“
“Derelict vans aren’t anyone’s scene, Max.” Victoria teased.
“—but, even if it is selfish of me, I really wanted you to come with us.” Max said, ignoring Victoria’s quip. Slowly, Max reached for Victoria’s hands and took them in hers, holding them like the precious treasures they were. She looked up and met Victoria’s eyes, and the blonde couldn’t help but melt a little into those flashing baby blues. “I would miss you. So much.”
Damned ‘Caulfield Puppy Dog Eyes’.
Victoria dropped her head, breaking Max’s hypnotic hold on her, and smiled. She could never imagine, in her wildest nightmares, of living in a beat-up van for who-knows-how-long, slumming it on the road like some new-age Woodstock reject. But, she also had never thought she’d be holding hands with Max Caulfield, hipster garbage and her loving girlfriend, either. Wilder things have happened.
Things were so complicated now. The looming fog of her future still haunted her, seeming like the storm that loomed over Arcadia Bay. In a way, she was terrified of what would happen after graduation, of what would happen when she needed to stop being a child and start being an adult. A responsible adult. A responsible adult who may not even be talented enough to achieve her dreams. A responsible adult who had to go to the best college in the country. A responsible adult who probably wouldn’t be good enough to graduate. A responsible adult who might even need to come crawling back to her parents and beg for her old room back as she struggled to find some middling job to keep her going.
It was the responsible thing to do. It was what she needed to do. It was what she was supposed to do.
No. Fuck that. Fuck all of that.
“O-Okay.” Victoria smiled, returning to Max’s gaze, her smile split into a beaming grin. “Okay. Yes. Alright. I’ll, uhm, I’ll slum it up in your hippy van.” She tried to add some amount of venom to her words to keep some reluctance and arrogance around, but a laugh cracked through Victoria’s snobbish façade. Max beamed, her eyes widening and her own smile growing. She squeezed Victoria’s hands tightly.
“R-Really? Because, I—I want you to go, only if you really want to. Not just because I want you to.”
“I-I do. I really want to.” Victoria smiled, squeezing Max’s hands gently, smiling down at the beaming brunette that had captured her heart. Something pushed Victoria and she released Max’s grip, placing her hands gently on the small Alpha’s cheeks and pulled her into a kiss. Max’s soft lips felt like heaven, matching perfectly with Victoria’s own. Her hand moved behind Max’s head, lacing her fingers through that thick mop of brown hair, and she felt Max’s hands resting on her hips, pulling her closer as their kiss lingered.
It surprised Victoria how eager she was for this. How excited she was. It made Max so happy, and the warmth swelling in Victoria was something she never wanted to end. Victoria was always a creature of habit, she wore the same types of clothes (even if the outfit was different), wore the greatest makeup, ordered her minions about, did her homework (sometimes), took photos, in bed by 9 o’clock. Maybe it was time for a change. No. It was time for a change. Something to remember before her life really began.
And, maybe, just maybe, some change of pace would do Victoria good. There was time for responsibility later, for now she wanted to do some living before she inevitably died on the corporate wrack. So, what if she took some time to spend with her girlfriend and—
“Is the fight over with--?” the words were interrupted by an audible gag, “Ah! Fucking gross.”
Chloe Price. Mood killer.
Victoria and Max broke their kiss and turned to look at Chloe, the former sneering with disgust and the other drooping under her exacerbation. Chloe was covering her eyes, leaning out of the open side door, but split her fingers and peeked towards the couple through her custom-made view finder.
“Jesus, Price. You kiss Max more than I do.” Victoria chided, folding her arms across her chest. Max rubbed the back of her neck, her cheeks flushing slightly. It was true, but maybe it shouldn’t be announced.
“Well, with you two sucking face all the time and spreading your gay agenda-“ Chloe says, leaving the van and waving a finger between the two of them, “-how could I not be corrupted?” slinging an arm around Max’s shoulders, the lanky punk pulled the Alpha close. Max’s blush seemed to flare. “Two lesbians kissing each other in a public neighborhood?! Don’t you know this is a place where children live?”
“Gay agen-?” Victoria began, before groaning loudly, “You’re fucking ridiculous. The self-proclaimed ‘Queen Butch of Arcadia Bay’ is lecturing me on being gay?” Chloe grinned, her objective of irritating Victoria having been a complete success. The tall Omega bent and placed a kiss on the top of Max’s head.
“Equal-Attention Kiss!” Chloe shouted, before bringing her lips down to press a quick kiss to Max’s shocked face. She pulled away and laughed as Max blinked in stunned surprise, her lips still puckered from Chloe’s assault. Chloe released Max and rolled her shoulders, before popping her neck a few times. “Well, that was fun, but if we’re gonna get the fuck outta the Bay, I need to get this up and running. You two go be gay somewhere else for a while, alright?”
Another low growl from Victoria was quickly eased as Max walked near the blonde and scooped up her arm in her own grip. “Okay, Chloe. I have my phone if you need anything, alright?” Max said, gently tugging Vitoria back to her car. Chloe turned and gave the two a big wave and an even bigger smile. Victoria and Max got into Victoria’s car and drove off.
“You’re sure you’re up for this?” Max would ask, softly, after a few long moments of silence. Victoria furrowed her brows as she stared out at the road, her lips tightening into a line. It was nerve wracking, a spur of the moment decision and one that would last for quite a while; who knew how long she’d be out there with Chloe and Max. But, that’s what was exciting, thrilling and something Victoria knew she needed to do. She turned to look at Max, and saw the worry across the small Alpha’s face. Victoria smiled.
“Yeah.” Victoria said in a soft, warm voice, “I think I need this. To get away from Arcadia Bay. From life for a while.” Max smiled. “And,” Victoria shrugged “I get to spend more time with you.”
“Thank you, Victoria. It means a lot to me to have both you and Chloe with me like that.” She said quietly, a small laugh lacing through her words as she mentioned how close her girlfriends would be.
‘Dirty thoughts, maybe? No, this is Max Caulfield we were talking about.’ Victoria thought, smirking to herself.
“Well,” Victoria said, smirking a sly smile at Max, “Someone needs to watch you two idiots and keep you from doing anything stupid.” Max laughed softly, and Victoria joined her with a quiet laugh of her own.
“I love you, Victoria.” Max said, so nonchalant and it still made Victoria flush.
“I love you too, Max.” was such an easy thing to say now, and Victoria was eager to say it for the rest of her life.