The World I Used To Know

Love Song, song by The Cure

November 16, 2012

Sitting on the lone concrete step outside her bedroom's sliding glass door, Max Caulfield relaxed in her backyard and took another drag from her joint. Inhaling slowly, Max took in the mellow taste of the marijuana smoke and let it flood her system before expelling it through her nose like the smoke from a mythical dragon. Opening her mouth, Max caught some of the smoke and let it out through her nose a second time. What the fuck is keeping Chloe? Actually postponing a pot break? Wowsers, Che. You've changed more than a little in one month. Then again, Max thought as she nodded to herself and took another puff, I guess I have to.

When Max had come outside, she thought she'd heard Chloe raising her voice but had decided to drop the subject. Max figured that Chloe was just sore about having to leave a month ago, and Max was honestly hopeful that was the case. Max was still a fair amount of sore over Chloe leaving; it was only fair, in Max's opinion, that Chloe be sore as well. Max wasn't mad at Chloe for the moment so much as disappointed that the weekend had been more shitty than fun. Chloe was insanely sweet today, though, with the cooking, the snuggling and the looking after me. Didn't know she actually had that side in her, but I guess I should have when I think about it. The candlelit bath back in Seattle, after all. Smiling at the thought of Chloe washing her hair in a bathroom illuminated with small tea candles all over, the memory left a pleasant warmth in Max's chest. Then it was gone, and so was she.

The thought of Chloe's next visit in Seattle caused Max to shudder; she was in her catatonia at the time, and the lack of remembering a month of her life left her visibly shaken. Taking a hasty drag of her dope, Max coughed when it went down a little too hard and tossed the half-smoked doobie into the backyard from a combination of frustration and anger. Wincing from her jerking toss, Max held up her cast-covered forearm and sighed.

"Why the fuck did I punch a tree?" Max asked herself aloud. "Seriously. A tree? I'm out of my mind, I swear."

"…Max?" Chloe called out from the bedroom, Max looking over her shoulder to see an emotionally-drained Chloe peering out from behind the blackout curtains. "Permission to disembark?"

"Shore leave granted, matey," Max said, gesturing for Chloe to join her outside, "Take a seat on my shit deck."

"I'm pretty sure it's 'poop deck', Maxaroni," Chloe said with a half-hearted smirk.

"Not lately it isn't. It's shit deck because I perpetually feel like shit," Max pulled a fresh joint out of the hoodie she was wearing and handed it to Chloe.

"Much obliged, Captain Max. Where's yours?" Chloe asked, Max pointing her finger at a small wisp of smoke a couple yards away.

"Resting in Davy Jones's Locker."

"Fuck. What'd it ever do to you?" Chloe teased, lighting up and toking on the joint given to her by Max.

"It existed."

"Harsh."

"These are the times that try men's souls. Or, in this case, joints." Max took an offered hit from Chloe's joint before handing it back. "You okay, Chloe? You look kinda beat."

"…I'll be a'ight, Maxaroni. Um, my mom is coming up tomorrow. For lunch," the hesitation in Chloe's voice gave Max pause.

"…This isn't some intervention-y shit, is it? Chloe Price, you better not-"

"What? No! No, no intervention," Chloe choked on her pot smoke as she let out a strained laugh. "Fuck, Max. Your head goes in the fucking weirdest directions. Nah, she's coming up to, well, talk."

"'Bout what?" Max asked, eyeing a suspiciously nervous Chloe. "What are you up to, Che?"

"I, well, I kinda dropped some feel bombs on your dad, babe. Is it cool if we don't get into it just yet? I'm hella wiped and just want to chill right now."

"I guess it's okay, for now. You will tell me what is going on, though. Right?" Max nudged Chloe with her shoulder. Getting a nod from Chloe in reply, Max sighed and leaned her head onto the bluenette's shoulder. "I'm gonna miss you when you leave tomorrow, Chloe. It's so fucking lonely here, and I can't get out of my head in all this damn quiet."

"You ever thought about going to an in-person school?" Chloe asked, Max turning to look at her girlfriend with an curious smile.

"Yeah, but I'm already kinda invested in what I've got going on. The program I'm in is pretty advanced for what I usually do, and if I my GPA is high enough I'll qualify for a scholarship."

"Look at you," Chloe purred, bringing her mouth to Max's ear, "My nerdy lil sex monkey."

"Ugh. I don't think 'nerdy' and 'sex monkey' should ever be in the same sentence, Chloe," Max said, one corner of her mouth curled up in the faintest trace of disgust.

"But you make being nerdy hella sexy, Max," Chloe replied, poking Max's cheek teasingly until the brunette snickered.

"Well, if you're gonna put it that way," Max cooed as she tilted her chin up and kissed Chloe, smiling when the bluenette shotgunned her pot smoke. Max felt Chloe's tongue slide across her own as the pot smoke swirled inside both of their mouths. Sucking down part of the smoke, Max parted her lips and let it seep out in small tendril-like waves.

"So hardcore," Chloe said with a low, sultry voice as she snuffed the joint out and leaned into Max, bringing her blue-nailed hands to the brunette's face.

Max felt her face warm up as Chloe peppered her with kisses; the brunette responded by pulling Chloe in tightly with her good hand, wisely moving her bandaged forearm so that it wouldn't get caught between them. Max kissed Chloe gently at first, like she was testing to see if the bluenette would still be there after the first kiss. Putting more intensity into the next kiss, Max bit at Chloe's lower lip and tugged a bit before catching Chloe's mouth with her own. Max clamped her mouth shut around the tip of Chloe's tongue and smiled when she sucked on it to the shuddering delight of her girlfriend. Winking at Chloe, the other girl's face started to redden as Max let go of Chloe's jacket and wove her hand underneath the leather and flimsy tank-top. Sliding her fingers under the punk's bra, Max pinched one of Chloe's nipples and felt a gasp escape between her and Chloe's lips.

"…Max…," Chloe let out in a heady moan, the lowness of her voice enticing Max further.

Sliding her hand out of Chloe's top, Max heard Chloe whimper and pushed her tongue against Chloe's as they continued kissing. Max's hand explored the waistline of Chloe's jeans and felt the bluenette tense up under her touch. Ticklish? Ticklish.

"S-Sorry," Max gasped between kisses, "I forgot how ticklish you can-"

"…uhhh, forget it Max and get back to my lips," Chloe moaned in a low voice, pulling Max back with her mouth as she compelled the eager brunette to resume their heated kissing.

Pressing her hand along Chloe's abdomen a little harder to ensure the fingertips didn't make Chloe tense up again or giggle from the ticklishness, Max deftly slid her hand straight down into Chloe's boy shorts. Hearing a guttural moan of delight when she brushed a finger against Chloe's pubic mound, Max felt the wetness of her girlfriend's sex and nibbled on Chloe's earlobe. Pushing herself into Chloe a little further, Max felt their weight shift and realized a moment too late that Chloe wasn't leaning against the glass door like she had been. Oh, fuck, Max thought as they fell to the ground.

Chloe laughed after a final moan, Max's still in her pants as it grasped for something solid to help brace her up into a sitting position. It's not funny, Chloe. Goddamnit, it isn't that funny. Max growled as she quickly yanked her hand from the other girl's jeans and let out a sharp cry of pain at her injured arm having landed hard on the ground when they had fallen. Max looked up at Chloe from where her head had landed on the bluenette's chest and felt a surge of anger well up when she saw the mirthful look.

"Stop fucking laughing," Max uttered, sucking in air through clenched teeth as she sat up. Favoring her bandaged forearm with her free hand, Max leaned against the glass door and hefted herself up.

"Whoa. Hey, Max. Max, I'm sorry. I didn't know that you-" Chloe said, her demeanor changing as quickly as Max's to one of concern as she sat up for only a second or two before leaping to her feet. Max pulled away from Chloe's reaching hand only to whimper when the bluenette gave her a reproachful look. "Don't fucking act like this, Max. Let me see."

"Fine. Asshole." Max gingerly extended her cast toward Chloe and winced, her injured hand feeling tight against the cast's material. "It feels swollen."

"The painkillers must be wearing off. They gave you some scripts, right, some hardcore drugs?" Chloe asked, all business to Max's relief.

"Uh, yeah. I've got a bottle of something in my camera bag. It's on the bed." Max gestured at the house with a jerk of her head.

Chloe opened the sliding door and pushed back the heavy curtains so Max could get in with ease before closing the door and locking it. Max was going to speak up when she saw Chloe rifle through her bag but decided not to. Your girlfriend is in ultra-protective mode and you're being a shit. Nice going, Max. Seeing Chloe turn around with a smile on her face and a bottle in her hand, Max gladly took the single pill and let Chloe put it on her tongue.

"What is it?" Max asked, the pill resting on the back of her tongue. Too late now, but I'd still like to know.

"Um, Tramadol. Don't you have that already?"

"Lemme see," Max said, looking at the bottle as Chloe lifted it up for her to see, "Oh, not at this strength. I'm going to be high as fuck in a few minutes. Damn."

"Who'd have imagined little Max Caulfield as a stoner?" Chloe teased, lying back on Max's bed with her legs dangling off the end. Max carefully sat beside Chloe and felt the other girl help her recline until she was lying next to Chloe. My hand is broken, Chloe. Not my brain. At least, not anymore. Sighing, Max forcibly calmed herself down and gave Chloe an appreciative smile when the bluenette wrapped a tattooed arm around her waist. "I love you, Max."

"Uh… I l-love you, too." Max looked down where Chloe had nestled into the crook of her neck. What the shit? I'm not complaining. This is just some Twilight Zone material. "Chloe, you've been hella mushy all day. What's going on?"

"I can't just be loving toward my significant other?" Chloe said, her eyes closed as she tilted her head a bit to kiss Max on the neck. "I… I'm not really that great at being the supportive one, Max. I have to fight off the urge to bail, but I didn't even feel it today. You broke your hand, was all crying and angry, but the only thing in my mind was a need to take care of you."

"You getting all maternal on me, Chloe Price?" Max teased, leaning her head on top of Chloe's. Biting at the other girl's beanie, Max pulled it off with her teeth and took in a deep breath of Chloe's hair. "I love that shampoo you use. That and the smokiness you usually have, like you're a walking aphrodisiac meant only for me."

"You're amazeballs, Max. You're in the middle of some epic shit and you can still say hella cutesy things like that," Chloe said, moving her hand from Max's waist to over her heart. "Also, a hella no to being maternal. I am not cut out to be a momma, unless you want me to be your sugar momma."

"You're a complete dork, I swear to Dog," Max said, rolling her eyes.


Max sat up in bed and the first thing she noticed is that Chloe is not lying beside her. Having gotten to her feet, Max opened her bedroom door and looked out into a darkened hallway with Chloe crying as she sat against the wall. This isn't the house. This… This is the brownstone in Seattle, when I snapped at Chloe after the call from Joyce. Chloe was so sad, she thought I was going to leave…

"Chloe?" Max asked, reaching a hand out only to pull back in horror after it passed through the tearful bluenette.

"S-She doesn't love me anymore. I… I should never have come here. This was all just a huge-ass mistake," Chloe appeared to say to herself as she got up. "I don't f-fit in Max's world, anymore."

"Chloe! Chloe, that's not true!" Max cried out, following in desperation to try and get the other girl to notice her. Max could touch everything, tear down everything, but she was somehow unable to touch Chloe. "Chloe, please! Please don't leave! Chloe, I need you! I can't do this without you…"

"…Then just tell me that."

Max's head snaps up and she sees Chloe looking straight at her, duffel bag in hand and boots on as she stands at the open front door. Max looks into Chloe's ocean-like eyes, blue shimmering with tears and heart-wrenching love, and watches them move to match where she steps. Walking hesitantly, Max crosses the divide between them until she's only a foot or so away from the punk. Why is it so hard for me to say what needs to be said, do what needs to be done? All I have to do is take your hand and tell you how much I need you, that I'm lost without you.

"I d-don't understand, C-Che," Max stuttered, her sorrow getting the better of her as she looked down at her hands in shame, "W-Why is this, us b-being together, so hard? I… I love you, and all I want is for you to know how much…"

Max looked up and gasped. Chloe was gone, her duffel bag sitting on the floor where the bluenette had been standing. Crying, Max fell to her knees before she saw the corner of a Polaroid sticking out of the Chloe's sole luggage. Reaching out, Max hesitantly took the photo and looked at it. A picture of the two of them as teenagers, making breakfast with William only minutes before his fatal car accident. Dropping the photo in horror as she heard echoing giggles emanate from within its framed image, Max spotted more photos inside the bag. Getting to her feet, Max grabbed the bottom end of Chloe's duffel bag and hoisted it up; a seemingly endless flood of Polaroid photos containing memories of Max and Chloe poured onto the floor. Left behind. Discarded. Chloe left them, left me. Knee-deep in a pile of photos that were rattling her with overlapping memories, Max did the only thing she could think of in that instant – she cried out.


"CHLOE!" Max shouted, her eyes streaming tears as she sat up in bed with a start. Whining as she cried, Max almost immediately felt someone stir next to her before a pair of slender arms wrapped around her waist. Feeling a chin lean on her shoulder from behind her, Max felt a chill run down her body that was only thawed when the one voice she was in desperation to hear spoke.

"Max, I'm here," Chloe cooed, her voice immediately soothing the terrified brunette. Max let herself melt into Chloe's embrace and the tension subsided. I'm so lonely, Chloe. I'm tired of being lonely. I need you. "Fuck, babe. Maxaroni, are you okay? I can totally feel your heart through your back. You need one of your pills or something? Are you going to pass out, hyperventilate? Baby, tell me what you need."

"You," Max's frail voice was plaintive and heartbreaking, "I need you."

"I'm right here-"

"No, I don't mean just now. I need you, Chloe. It feels like I'm dying inside, peeling away, and the only thing keeping me as sane as I am in the middle of all this is you. I can't… I can't do this on my own, getting better. I've been trying but keeping to myself is just tearing me the fuck apart."

Max felt Chloe pull the arm pinned down out from under her as the bluenette sat up. Vaguely seeing Chloe scoot back in the darkness until she was leaning against the headboard, Max felt a hand tug at her hoodie. Max unzipped the light jacket and felt a slight chill as her pink tank-top bared enough skin to give her gooseflesh. Am I getting bumps because of the cool air or because I spilled my guts? Wowsers, I am a perpetual mess.

"Come here," Max heard Chloe say, her voice lovely and reassuring to the brunette, "Lay your head in my lap and go back to sleep, Max. Let me watch over you, okay?"

"But you need to sleep, Chloe. I don't want yesterday to happen again, with you awake and me asleep only to switch. You're l-leaving tomorrow," Max said with her voice lowered to a whisper, her pleading expression all but invisible in the darkened bedroom. Max felt a pair of slightly wet lips kiss her forehead and nearly drove her head back into them.

"I'll fall asleep. I'm just going to keep watch until you fall asleep. Get your head over here and lay down, Max."

"Always bossy. I remember when we first met, you wouldn't let up about me calling you a 'butt'," Max snickered as she slowly lowered her head into Chloe's waiting lap.

"Nobody wins against me, Max. I'm hella stubborn, but you know that."

"I do. You haven't given up on me yet, so I consider your stubbornness a good thing," Max mumbled, smirking in the dark as she playfully slapped at Chloe's arm.

"I told you, Max," Chloe's tone became pensive, the brunette looking up to see a reassuring smile on her girlfriend's face, "I'm never leaving you. Just hush and go back to sleep, you."

Max tried to sleep, but the anxiousness that had followed along with her nightmare only made the lack of fatigue worse. Max was waking up rather than falling asleep, and it was driving her fucking nuts. It's still gotta be hella late, or Chloe wouldn't be so damn adamant about getting me to sleep. Fuck! I'm not tired, and… I'm kinda antsy… Tossing and turning a bit in Chloe's lap, Max felt Chloe's fingers gently rake through her chestnut hair. Max bit her lip, eyes closing in as a rush of pleasure washed over her. Feeling the gooseflesh return, hair on the back of her neck bristling as they extended out like searching antennae, Max let out a gasp of breath and felt Chloe shudder faintly

Max walked quietly into the bathroom, heart pounding a little as she felt Chloe's eyes on her back. If you do this, Max, you're going the entire fucking way. I'm… I'm sick of being so damn awkward all the time. Maybe it's the painkillers, maybe it's just time, but if I'm changing then there's no room for chickening out. Not with this, and not with Chloe. Grabbing a pair of scissors from the medicine cabinet behind the mirror situated above her sink, Max slid one of the blades under her cast and began to furiously cut away at the semi-soft cast, the material and fabric inner sleeve giving way inch by inch. Wincing from her sprained wrist being freed, Max ripped at the last few inches with her other hand until a bruised hand with stitches along three of her knuckles was exposed. Raising the hand to her face, Max gingerly closed it as much as the stitches would allow.

The smell of her lavender soap filled Max's nostrils as she flipped the light switch and stepped out of the bathroom. Every other breath hitching in her chest, Max's instinct was to go smoke a joint or even a bowl; instead, the brunette carefully walked over to her dresser and opened the bottom shelf. Max could hear Chloe starting to move in the bed and took in a sharp breath through her gritted teeth.

"Get back in bed," Max's words were chosen to impose, not request, and the mousey tone that Chloe had been used to was replaced with one of resoluteness.

"Max? You okay-"

"I swear, to Dog, that if you ask me that anymore tonight I will… I'll do something really bad. So stop," Max rolled her eyes at the hesitation in her own voice. Get your shit together, Max! "Strip."

"Uh, what? You've got one arm bandaged up-"

"Not anymore. Strip, Che."

"Max…"

"Goddamnit, Chloe," Max hissed, her voice low and a touch threatening, "Would you just fucking strip?"

When Max didn't hear Chloe respond, she paused. Did I go too far? I haven't even started anything yet, but I know I can be hella pushier than I used to. Max strained her ears to try and catch the bluenette possibly mumbling; the silence becoming worrisome, Max felt herself start to panic until a hushed sigh came from the bed. Feeling air brush at her face along with a faint touch of clothing, Max smiled to herself in the dark and walked to the bed, her pace slow and methodical.

"What are you up to?" Chloe asked when Max carefully lifted her injured hand up to cup her girlfriend's cheek, "Max, where's your cast?"

"Not now, Chloe," Max was starting to get angry, but suppressed her darkening mood and instead leaned over until she could feel Chloe's breath on her own face, "Just… Just let me have my fun, okay?"

"…Alright. If your hand gets to be in too much pain, though, you fucking tell me," Chloe replied. Max could feel the bluenette reach out to try and touch her face but pulled back, leaving Chloe grasping at open air.

"Turn around and lie on your stomach," Max said, taking in a breath to try and calm her nerves before speaking.

"Are you going to punish me, Mad Max?" Max could practically hear the smirk on Chloe's face and felt a mischievous grin take shape on her own.

"It's not 'Mad Max'. Not right now," Max cooed into Chloe's ear as she climbed onto the bed to sit on Chloe's thighs. Lowering herself carefully, Max laid down onto the other girl's back and licked at an earlobe to the delightful result of her girlfriend's entire body tensing. "It's 'Mistress'."

"Ooh, 'Mistress Max' is it?" Max pouted as she felt Chloe stifle a giggle and replied by smacking the flat of her hand on the bluenette's ass. Hearing Chloe suck in a breath of air, Max's smirk returned instantly, swatting Chloe again to the sound of her girlfriend taking another sudden breath.

"Still talking shit, plebe?" Max asked, poking Chloe in the back of her head with a finger.

"Damn, Max," Chloe said, her voice slightly cracking. "My bad. Mistress Max, you're hardcore."

Smiling appreciatively, Max climbed off of her girlfriend to switch on the bedside lamp. Lowering the brightness down to a faint ember glow, Max could see Chloe's shoulders rise and fall as she laid on her stomach. Keep watching Chloe, Max thought as she leaned over to give Chloe a rough kiss. Grabbing a handful of blue hair, Max pulled hard enough that Chloe was facing her and she pressed her lips hard onto the other girl's. I hope I didn't pull too hard, Max thought, her anxiety beginning to return. She'd tell me if I did, right? Yeah, she totally would tell me. I'm so… this is just… This is so damn awkward, the last thing I wanted it to be!

"Sorry for being such a dork," Max grumbled, her courage wavering, "T-This was a stupid idea. Just, um, just-"

"Your dad is a hard sleeper, right?" Chloe asked, smiling apologetically at the mention of Max's dad in the midst of her girlfriend's playfulness. Uh, what? Max thought as her brow furrowed in confusion at Chloe's query. "I just don't feel like being naked and letting you get your freak on only to have Papa C walk in on us."

"Well, he's got one of those white noise machines," Max said, dropping her head next to Chloe's on the bed. Face first in the covers, Max let out a muffled sigh. This is going terribly to shit. "Please, Chloe, just stop trying to encourage me. I-I can't believe I tore my cast off for this…"

"Sorry for killing your buzz-" Chloe started to say, the apologetic look still on her face to Max's irritation, when the brunette let out a disgusted groan and sprang back onto her previous sitting position on her girlfriend's thighs.

"Whoa, Max!" Chloe whispered, her tone sharp as she turned her head at the sound of a metal chain jangling out of her sight. "Max…?"

"Hands behind your back, Plebe."

"Now."

When Chloe started to slowly bring her hands around, Max rolled her eyes and pulled at one hand. Wincing as her injured hand popped at the wrist and knuckles, Max nearly bit through her lip to stifle the pained sound trying to get free. Seeing Chloe try to keep an eye on her, the bluenette's head turned to its limit, Max hung the pair of handcuffs off of a finger where her girlfriend could see. That a twinkle in your eye, Chloe Price? Is… Is this not your first time doing something like this? Max thought she might break down and cry when she noticed the anticipatory look on Chloe's face, her lip bitten down with a smile.

"…Wowsers, you've done stuff like this before, haven't you?" Max asked, a faint smirk on her lips.

"I might have done something like this," Chloe said as she looked away, an exaggerated rolling of her eyes and an impish grin on her face, "I was usually where you are, though."

"T-This is my first time," Max's sullen tone drew out a compassionate smile on her girlfriend's face. "Che, will you… will you tell me if I fuck up?"

"Max, you need to get over yourself," Chloe said, her voice soft and calm as she motioned for Max to handcuff her, "If you need me to, I'll be here to guide you. You're in control though, so I'm hoping I won't have to. Do you have a safe word?"

Max nodded, the sudden grin on her face mirrored by Chloe until the brunette leaned down and whispered into her girlfriend's ear.

"I am not saying that, Maxine Caulfield," Chloe hissed, eyes narrowed until Max smacked her on the ass.

"You're handcuffed, Chloe. You no longer have a choice." The commanding look in Max's eye, the way she sat up straight, made Chloe visibly deflate. I've never seen you so, well, meek. Chloe, you're so cute when you're submissive. Even if it is a cranky submissiveness…

"I will get you back for this, Mistress."

"Y-You talking back to me?"

"Less stutter, Max. If you're nervous, this might not be such a good idea…" No! I can do this, Chloe! Just… Give me a chance!

"Do you trust me?" Max asked, her face a mask of seriousness.

"Of course. You're my SuperMax."

"The let me guide you, Chloe."

This was beyond romance or love for Max. The idea of experimenting in BDSM with Chloe had been on her mind all the way back to early August. She loved being intimate with Chloe, but it always seemed to Max like no matter how strong she was there was always a space between them she could not cross. I trust you with my heart completely, Chloe, but I need you to know that I can be strong, too. I know I'm fucked up, but the truth is we are both messes and I'm not happy in being the weaker one all the damn time. Wrapping her hands around the sides of Chloe's waist, Max gently pulled back and up until Chloe's back was arched. The bluenette's bare ass lifted in the air, Max could see Chloe watching from between her legs. She's got half her weight on her shoulders. I hope she's not too uncomfortable… Closing her eyes, Max took a few deep breaths to calm her nerves before she opened them back up. The percussive beating of her heart reverberated in Max's ears, mixed with the sound of her breathing and the faint panting coming from Chloe.

Max leaned over and placed her weight on the uninjured hand and both knees; leaning into Chloe, Max began to kiss the back of Chloe's thighs. Her lips barely grazing the pale skin, Max pulled back after only a few kisses and looked at the dull glow of her lamp. Sliding off the bed in one fluid motion, her confidence beginning to increase, Max switched the light off and walked around to the sliding doors. Pulling back the curtains, Max's room was bathed in moonlight as the brunette turned to get a better look at her partner. She's like some art sculpture, Max thought as she took the sight of Chloe in. The moonlight seemed to make Chloe's skin glow, the blue hair luminescent from the starry night sky. Climbing back into the bed, Max ran her tongue against Chloe's slit and felt the other girl shudder from the touch. Repeating the motion, Max smiled to herself when a moan escaped from Chloe as she shuddered.

"Are you-?" Max began to ask before getting cut off.

"I'm fine, Mistress," Chloe purred, wiggling her butt a bit, "Don't stop." Max chewed on her lip a bit, her whole body suddenly feeling like it might explode from how excited she was getting. Calm down, Max. Well, don't totally calm down. Take it easy – you have to make sure you don't really hurt Chloe.

Leaning her body to the left so she and Chloe's eyes met, Max admonished the bluenette with a wagging finger and flashed a mischievous smile.

"Don't tell me what to do, Plebe."

"Yes, Mistress."

"Will you be a… a good girl?" This is simultaneously cool and embarrassing. A "good girl"? Max, what the fuck, Max thought to herself. Chloe seems into it, though.

"Only when you want me to be, Mistress," the meekness in Chloe's voice continuing from earlier, Max swallowed down her nerves before returning to Chloe's sex.

Max's lips glistened from the wetness of Chloe's slit as she dragged her tongue slowly across in methodical succession, pausing long enough each time to let out an exhale that brushed against the other girl's pubic mound. Chloe gasped, moaned, and whispered Max's name; every twitch and breathy noise the bluenette made aroused Max even further. Popping her jaw, her mouth starting to get sore from the exercise of teasing and playfully licking at Chloe, Max pulled back and sat on her shins.

"Mistress…?" Chloe asked, a slight whine to her voice. Wowsers, Chloe. I was terrified you might freak out, but you're totally into this.

"Hush, baby," Max purred.

"Please, Mistress. Please… Keep going…," Chloe moaned before pausing at the sudden quiet, "Um... Max...?"

Max told Chloe to sit up and the brunette helped her girlfriend out when the handcuffs made such an order difficult. Once Chloe was properly seated, however, Max pushed the other girl against the headboard before straddling her. Leaning in, Max cupped the bluenette's cheeks and kissed Chloe with a lustful wantonness. A trace of her awkwardness revealed itself when Max forced her tongue into Chloe's mouth and the other girl coughed a bit at the suddenness. Oh no, ohhhhh what the fuck am I doing? Max thought in mute horror, her injured hand twitching as if to reply. This isn't… I'm not where I should be for something like this. Chloe was worried about how I am and wanting to do something this extreme. She was right. Pulling back as suddenly as she had pressed her mouth onto Chloe's, Max leaned over and unlocked the handcuffs. Tossing the cuffs onto the floor, Max whispered "I'm sorry" through a choked sob and ran into the bathroom before locking the door behind her. The bathroom was pitch black as Max faced the door, sitting in the tub with her knees folded up to her chest as tears ran silently down her cheeks. Naked, cold, and dejected, Max felt she could only loathe herself for putting Chloe in such a worrisome predicament. What if I had snapped while she was still restrained? What if I broke down, like I am now, while I was in the middle of something more intense? I could have hurt Chloe, I could have hurt her and I'd never forgive myself for it and she'd never feel entirely safe around me-

"Max?" Chloe asked in a fearful voice, knocking quietly on the bathroom door. "Babe, let me in. Please?"

"N-No. Go away, Chloe. I j-just want to be alone!" Max hissed before pulling the shower curtains shut so that the door and the flimsy plastic separated her and Chloe. Leaning her head against the bathroom tiling, Max shut her eyes tightly and let out a rough sob. "P-Please, Chloe. Please just go."

Max didn't hear a response, but the sudden absence of her girlfriend failed to bring the relief she thought it might. A knot of worry began to dig into Max's chest as she peered out from behind the shower curtain with her injured hand shaking as she pulled at the material. Hearing her bedroom door open, Max's eyes narrowed as she tried to imagine what Chloe was up to. Getting a drink, leaving to get her stuff, who cares? I fucked up, I fucked up so bad. Why did I think this would be okay? Wiping at her eyes with the back of an injured hand, Max heard the sound of approaching footsteps. Again, Chloe knocked on the door.

"I got some water and your Tramadol, Max," Chloe tapped on the door with that sounded to Max like her nails." Little Max, Little Max, let me in…"

"Are you cereal?" Max asked, stifling the urge to laugh at Chloe's joke. "You're not going to stop asking, are you?"

"Nope."

"…Hang on."

Getting to her feet, Max pulled the shower curtain back and stiffly made her way in the dark to where her bathroom door was. Fumbling at the knob, Max unlocked it and opened the door a crack. The bedside lamp on at full brightness, Max looked up and saw Chloe watching her patiently. How can you be so fucking kind, Chloe, when nearly all I do is just be an asshole? Opting for the comfort of her bed, Max slid out from her side of the door and started to walk past Chloe when the bluenette put a hand on her shoulder.

"…I-I'm s-sorry," Max stammered, her eyes dry and bloodshot from all the crying as she choked out the words. Letting Chloe pull her into a hug, Max felt two inviting arms tighten around her and the warmth of Chloe's body. Burying her face into the other girl's t-shirt, brought her arms around Chloe but didn't say anything further.

Max was walked over to the bed and tucked under the blankets, her blue eyes unblinking as she looked up at the blue-haired girl hovering overhead. Seeing a single pill in one of Chloe's hands and a small glass of water in the other, Max sat up enough to swallow down both. Chloe gave Max a tired smile and made for the door when Max tugged at the hem of her t-shirt. The bluenette looked over her shoulder at Max, a hesitant look in Chloe's eyes that was met with a pleading expression on the part of Max. The silence between them would be unnerving to others, but neither girl felt like speaking anymore. Both girls were exhausted in body and spirit, their voices lost in their own fatigue. Chloe tried to pull herself free of Max's hold but the brunette only grabbed onto the material even tighter and Chloe looked at her one more time, an expression on her face that Max took as Do you even want me? to which Max simply nodded and pulled her covers back to let Chloe in.

The space between the bed and the covers became even warmer to Max when Chloe's body heat was added to her own. A little tense only at first, Chloe quickly relaxed with a smile on her face as Max laid her head on the other girl's chest. Wrapping her arm across Chloe's waist, Max pulled herself closer to the blue-haired girl and smiled in return when she felt an arm wrap across her shoulders. A single kiss on her forehead and Max felt as though she could finally sleep. Lifting her head up, Max watched the blue eyes that were observing her. Resting her chin on Chloe's sternum, Max gave her girlfriend an apologetic smile and leaned in halfway for the possibility of a kiss. Max's eyes softened when Chloe quirked an eyebrow, a crooked grin playing across her lips, and the brunette crossed the remaining distance to place her soft lips on the other girls waiting ones. Chloe's lips felt warmer than usual to Max as their mouths seemed to merge and split apart in perfect sync. The bluenette's tongue was like a single flame licking at the inside of Max's mouth, warming the brunette up in what felt like a rhythmic dance to both girls. Pulling back to catch her breath, Max thought she saw her breath for a moment before she slowly laid her head in the crook of her girlfriend's neck. Chloe's other arm reached over towards Max's injured hand, the stitched, bruised extremity lying across the bluenette's abdomen being met with blue-nailed fingers. Chloe's hand cupping Max's injured one, Max looked down and then coughed a little before speaking.

"I'm so lucky to have you," Max whispered to Chloe, her tone regretful. "I-I get scared that I will wake up and find you gone again. I know it is wrong, but I can't help it. I-I'm sorry."

"You get on my case for me asking if you're okay, so it is only fair that I ask you to please stop apologizing, my little Max," Chloe replied, her tone soft as she whispered in Max's ear. "Baby, you are not losing me. Not ever, swear to 'Dog' and everything. We spent four years apart Max, and when we got back together it was like no time had gone by at all, dude. It's hella cheesy, but we totally complete each other."

"We totally do, but what if I don't fit right somewhere down the line? What if I only get worse?"

"Then I will help you, be your trusty partner-in-crime," Chloe said, the pause that followed faintly alarming Max until the bluenette began to speak once more, "Max, I asked your dad for permission to see if you might... Ugh, fuck it. Do you want to move in with me and my mom?"

"You w-what?" Max coughed her answer out, breath catching in her chest. Feeling Chloe's hand tenderly squeeze her shoulder, Max closed her eyes and smiled. "Holy shit, Chloe! I m-mean, fuck yes I'd like that. Finally having my girlfriend more available than once every couple of weeks or a month would be pretty nice. Just… Wowsers…"

"Yeah, I know. Surprise? Anyway, Joyce is coming up for lunch and we're all going to have a fucking pow-wow to hash our respective shit out," Chloe continued, the cheerful glint in her eyes suddenly turning into a far-off stare as Chloe's disposition took a very serious turn, "I'm not dropping it until I get you out of here, Max. You need somewhere less isolated and I need you closer to me. You're… You're going through some intense shit and you don't need to be going it alone up here. I think you'd be better off in Arcadia Bay…with me, where I can help."

"Um, is it bad that I feel only kinda sad about leaving my dad here by himself?" Max asked with a questioning tone as she looked up at Chloe for an answer. "I need to be with you, Chloe. I know that we're both still in school, and that it is likely years down the road, but-"

"I'm gonna hella marry the fuck out of you someday, Max Caulfield," Chloe said straightforwardly. It was all Max needed to hear at the moment, and she laid her head back down with a drowsy smile on her face.

"…You better. Dork."


As inseparable as Max and Chloe normally were when together, they were near-impossibly more so that morning before Joyce arrived. Ryan had gone to town for groceries, leaving Max and Chloe snuggling on the couch as they lazily shared a bowl of cereal, Max sitting on Chloe's lap as they alternated between feeding each other spoonful after spoonful of sugary cereal. I would definitely not mind this every morning, Max thought as she wiped some milk dribbling on Chloe's chin with her sleep shirt. Such a messy eater. I know you get "hungry like the wolf", Chloe, but that doesn't mean you need to eat like you actually are one. A smirk creeping onto her face, Max looked at Chloe's lips and found herself kissing the other girl. Feeling the bluenette try not to laugh, Max leaned in further and narrowly missed the cushion next to them on the couch as she sat the cereal bowl down to bring her uninjured hand up and into Chloe's blue bedhead.

"Good morning to you too, hippie," Chloe teased before nibbling on Max's lip, "Have I told you I love you this morning?"

"Only when I first got up, and then when we took a shower together," Max said dreamily, running her fingers through Chloe's dyed locks, "…and then in front of my dad which made him adorably awkward, and just now. You say it any more I might actually believe it!"

"What the-," Chloe stammered, eyes widening until she stuck her tongue out at Max's joke, "Well, aren't you a fucking smartass in the morning. Do I have this to look forward to every day if your dad and my mom let you move?"

"That," Max said, repositioning herself to where she was straddling Chloe on the living room couch, "…and other things…"

"Oooh, Chloe like," Chloe waggled her eyebrows and Max leaned her head into Chloe's shoulder, both girls shaking with laughter. "I… I'm happy to see a smile on your face, Maxaroni. How are you feeling this morning? Serious question."

"'Serious', huh? Well, I guess I'm okay," Max sat back up and traced a finger along the anarchy logo on Chloe's shirt as she bit at her lip in thought, "I mean, I took my meds, had breakfast, been dorking around with you. I feel…odd. Is this what it's like to feel like you're coming out of a super-bad funk?"

"Did I cure you with my hella sexiness?"

"…I don't think I'll ever be cured, Che," Max said, tenderly kissing her girlfriend on the cheek, "But you're definitely my 'bad medicine'."

"Ugh, Bon Jovi? You couldn't have done Nirvana or The Cure? 'You make me feel like I'm home again?' You are a hipster. I can't work with this." Chloe threw her hands up to Max's surprised chagrin and the brunette retaliated with a one-handed barrage of tickles, Chloe having helped her tape the cast back onto her forearm when they'd woken up. "Agh, this is bullshit! Stop, Max! I can't fucking get you back when you're currently handicapped, I'd feel hella bad! Fucking quit it, you little brat!"

Max brought her hand up as though to surrender only to bring it back down a moment later to resume her tickle attack, Chloe trying to curl into a ball with the brunette still straddling her. Both girls laughing, Max felt like she was falling in love with Chloe all over again. This sweet, insanely adorable side of you is just what I need, Chloe. I love you, you giant, dorky punk. Letting up from tickling, Max leaned in and kissed a red-faced Chloe and purred when the bluenette responded by wrapping her arms around Max's neck.

"You taste like pot, coffee, and cereal milk," Max said between kisses, her lips brushing against Chloe's.

"What the fuck do you think you taste like, Maximus?"

"Oh, I'm not complaining. Just saying."

After a few more minutes of kissing and cuddling, Max reluctantly pulled herself off of Chloe and went to change, gasping as she headed for the bedroom when Chloe smacked her on the ass.

"Kinky," Max said as she looked over her shoulder to wink at Chloe, laughing when the bluenette's face turned red again as a response.

Halfway dressed, Max heard her father come back from town and pulled on what she had decided to be her special occasion armor. Chloe's old beanie, a black tank-top emblazoned with a screaming riot grrrl, and a pair of red jeans, Max slipped on her sneakers and stepped back out into the hallway. Glancing at Chloe as the other girl was animatedly talking with Ryan, Something about pizza?, Max shook her head and went into the bathroom for morning hygiene. Having brushed her teeth, Max spit out a mouthful of water and looked in the mirror. Something didn't seem right to her, like the reflection was one of her older Polaroids, faded along the edges with the colors starting to wash out. Scowling at her reflection, Max ran her fingers through her hair and started to style it in various ways before finding one she liked. Reaching into the cabinet under the bathroom sink, Max pulled out the tools necessary and flipped on the bathroom fan to hide what she intended to do.

"Max? Yo, Max Caulfield! You fall asleep on the can or something, nerd? What are-" Max watched Chloe's jaw drop as she walked past the awestruck bluenette. "Holy fuck, Max. Holy fuck! Uh, Papa C, check out your little girl!"

"Chloe, noooo-"

"…Max? Um," Ryan Caulfield said, blinking his eyes repeatedly in mild shock, "That's, well, that is certainly a new look."

Attempting a sidecut with one hand and a pair of clippers, Max had been moderately successful. The right side of her head shaved down to light fuzz, there were odd little patches that hadn't been buzzed as close as the rest. Frowning at the look of horror on Chloe's face and disbelief on her father's, Max made to run back into the bathroom before her girlfriend spoke up.
"Hey, no. No no no, Max. I think it's pretty amazeballs. Just, well, you kinda botched it," Chloe said, smiling in earnest as she ran her fingers through the buzzed portion of Max's hair, "Let me help, get everything nice and even. Also, razor off this fuzz so you got a proper 'do."

"Okay…," Max said, her tone sheepish as she looked down at her feet, "I look stupid, right? What a goddamn disaster. I-I just wanted to try something… something…"

"It is hella different, no doubt, but you need to slow your self-doubt roll down, Maxaroni. It'll look sick when it's done, okay? C'mon, let's get you styled like the grrrl I know you to be," Chloe said, taking Max's uninjured hand as she led the brunette down the hall and into her bathroom.

Max sat on the edge of her tub, eyes focused on her shoes, and let Chloe get to work with the clippers and a disposable razor. The smell of aloe shaving cream was strong as Max felt Chloe deftly shave the side of her head bare one strip at a time. I get the feeling she's done this before.

"…Have you ever done something like, um, like this?" Max asked, peeking up to see Chloe concentrating on finishing the sidecut.

"Well," Chloe said, her tone wistful as she didn't look away from where she was shaving, "Not a full-blown cut, no. I've buzzed my sides before, though. Thought it looked pretty hardcore when I was done. It was… It was Rachel who showed me how to do it properly."

"Oh."

"…I know why she isn't calling or texting you, Max. It's hella stupid, but I do know why," Max surprise at hearing this news was only surpassed by her concern at the sorrowful tone in her girlfriend's voice.

"What's wrong? Che, what is it?"

"Her and Frank called it quits about a week after you… When you fell 'asleep'," Chloe started, her tone neutral as she pulled her hand back. Turning to the sink, Chloe dampened a washcloth in hot water and rung it out before looking at Max with a sad expression. "She's jealous."

"Jealous? Of us?"

"…Of you. She sees how you make me feel and it's got her panties in a fucking wad, Max. You took off for years-"

"You're bringing that up now-"

"It's for the explanation, okay?" Chloe raised her voice in exasperation, "I'm not mad about that anymore, Max. We both fucked up with that. She kept me together for a while and you come back and… as good as I was with her, I'm amazing with you. It made her butthurt."

"That's shitty," the bluntness of her statement surprised Chloe, but Max couldn't help but feel hurt and angry, "I thought she was my friend, too."

"I think she just needs to get used to us," Chloe said as she used the damp washcloth to clean up leftover shaving cream, "I haven't talked to Rach lately, so who knows where her head is fucking at…"

"Chloe," Max looked up at her girlfriend, noticing that the bluenette couldn't meet her gaze, "…Did Rachel make a move on you?"

"She tried in the dorm. Kate and Victoria chewed her out, though. I just kinda stood there, in shock. I didn't think she was into girls," Chloe's hand dropped from where she'd been wiping Max's sidecut clean as she frowned. "I just can't believe it. Was she lying to me this whole time? I'm with someone, someone I am totally crazy about, and she pulls that bullshit?"

"D'you want me to kick her ass?" Max asked, the question getting a smirk out of her girlfriend. "I kinda want to. If Rachel could pull something like that while I was unconscious or whatever, I don't like the idea of her hanging around you, Che."

"Getting possessive, Maxaroni?" Max stood up and rubbed at her finished sidecut before answering Chloe's question with a forceful kiss, her tongue sliding into the other girl's mouth with a hunger. You are mine, Chloe Elizabeth Price. I fucking claim you. I even put a ring on it, though not that kind of ring. Yet.

"You bet your pale ass I am."

Noon came, and Joyce Price arrived. The Price family's old station wagon pulling into the gravel drive, Chloe's mother parked behind the beater truck belonging to her daughter and she walked to the house with a unreadable look on her face. Max watched her approach from a window next to the front door and opened it before the older woman could knock.

"Hi," Max said with a smile before getting pulled into a hug, "I missed you too, Joyce."

"Look at you," Joyce said, her tone more motherly than usual, "You trying to one-up Chloe, Max? You've got more tattoos than she does by now, and this hair. What kind of influence has my daughter been on you?"

"A good bad one, Mom," Chloe chimed in as she came to the door, wrapping her arms around Max's waist from behind, "Though I can't take much credit. She already had the sleeve, and she even buzzed her head before I finished it up. C'mon, Mom. You're letting the cold in."

Max went back into her bedroom with Chloe tagging along as Ryan and Joyce exchanged pleasantries in the kitchen. I need to be a little baked for what's coming up, Max thought as she grabbed her black pencil bag from the bedside table's sole drawer. Pulling out two joints, Max offered one to Chloe only to raise an eyebrow in surprise when the bluenette shook her head.

"Chloe Price, are you going cold turkey on me?" Max asked incredulously.

"I want my head clear for this, babe," Chloe replied, sitting across from Max on the bed as the brunette lit up and began to toke, "I don't exactly have a good win-loss record when I'm baked."

"Oooh, I like it when you're all responsible," Max teased, laughing when the other girl gently shoved her, "All you need is a ruler and a pair of glasses."

"You kinky little shit. When you're all healed up, you sure as fuck better finish what you started last night," Chloe interjected, crossing her arms as she glared at Max in jest.

Max laid her head on Chloe's lap and smoked her doobie, the pot alleviating the anxiety that had been building in the minutes leading up to Joyce's arrival. She had considered taking a Tramadol, but Max knew they would just knock her out. Or worse, the brunette mused as Chloe played with her hair, I'd be a total mess and behave like an idiot. That wouldn't help Chloe's case, and it sure as hell won't help me any. Opening her eyes, Max turned her head so the smoke didn't go into Chloe's face.

"You make me feel safe, Che," Max said, putting the joint between her lips to rub her thumb along the other girl's jawline. "For cereal. I could just live in your arms, you're so warm."

"Sorry, Maxaroni. You can't afford my rent," the bluenette joked, smiling when Max scoffed, "Fine. I guess you'll just have to stay for free. Freeloading hippie."

"I'm still a hippie, huh? What about my sick tats, bruh?" Max snickered when Chloe rolled her eyes.

"Max, there are some things that you should never say. Like 'bruh'. That is why you're still a hippie and a hipster. Tattoos and a bad-ass cut do not a hippie unmake," Chloe said before motioning for Max to sit up. "Come on, Max. Let's get this party started."

Lunch was plagued with awkward silence, the meal more a distraction than pleasant. Max and Chloe situated on the couch, Ryan and Joyce were each seated in a chair that had been brought in from the dinner table. Picking at Joyce's salmon surprise, Max would look up at her dad intermittently only to look down just as fast when she would see him watching her. Instinctively scooting closer and closer to Chloe with each glance, Max and her girlfriend were almost shoulder-to-shoulder by the time everyone had eaten to their individual satisfaction.

"You not hungry, Max?" Joyce asked, Max looking up at her apologetically.

"Stomach's kinda upset," Max hastily replied, her free hand interlacing its fingers into Chloe's. "Nervous, I guess."

"Sweetie, there's nothing to be nervous about," Ryan said, a warm smile on his face that only made the brunette feel worse, "Just relax."

"Easier said than done, Dad," Max mumbled, leaning her head against Chloe's shoulder.

"So…" Chloe started, setting her own plate down on the coffee table before clearing her throat, "So yeah. You both know how I feel, I guess. I think Max should move in with us, Mom."

"Chloe," Joyce started, her voice sounding a little fatigued, "I know you want what is best for Max. Really, sweetie, I do. Don't you think that Ryan has his daughter's best interests in mind, too? You want to upend Max when she hasn't even been here for little more than a month, Chloe, and-"

"She's not happy, Mom!" Chloe cut her mother off, her voice raised only a few seconds before she exhaled. "Sorry. Mom, Max is not happy here. I know she is your daughter, Ryan, and you know I'm not trying to step on your toes. Both of you… You just don't understand. I love her, and she needs me."

"I know you love her, Chloe," Joyce said as she looked over at Ryan, Max's father staying silent, "But have you thought about this? I mean, really taken it into consideration? I love you, Max, like you're my own. I'm just not sure that you moving in with me and Chloe is what's best for you right now…"

"Mom, I-"

"I can speak for myself," Max's voice was quiet, but the living room fell silent when everyone heard it.

"Go on, babe," Chloe said, kissing Max on the forehead for encouragement. I love you, Chloe.

"I know that everyone has what they feel are my best interests in mind, and… and I really appreciate it," Max said before shaking her head in irritation, "I love you all for it, I really do. But none of you know what being here is like for me. Dad, this is Mom's house, where she grew up…and you're rarely here. We moved stuff out and brought all our crap from Seattle with us, but I'm sleeping in the bedroom that you two used when we came here for the weekend. I'm tired of feeling lonely, tired of having nothing but my thoughts to keep me company."

"Max…," Ryan said, his eyes sad at the hurt tone in his daughter's voice.

"I love you so much, Dad, but I'm not happy here. I feel so dead inside sometimes," Max put a hand to her chest and sniffled, "I-I'm scared of what I might do, Dad. I'm only 17, but I feel so much older and I'm tired all the time. I spend almost every night in that little shack out back because at least it's a single room to myself and not an entire house."

"I know it has been rough, kiddo. I'm not going to say it hasn't," Ryan said, leaning forward in his seat to put a reassuring hand on Max's knee, "When work calms down and I get situated, I will be home more. I promise."

"That's not good enough," Max choked out, leaning into Chloe's side, "I'm sorry but it's not. I don't want to break your heart, but it is the only way. I want to live with Chloe, Dad. I need to. This weekend has been kinda crazy, but I feel genuinely good for a change and I can't wait for the next time I'm able to see her. She's my rock, Dad, what helps keep me standing."

Max looked over at Chloe and nearly cries at the sight of her girlfriend gazing at her with tears running down her face. The brilliance of Chloe's eyes captured Max and she leaned her forehead against the bluenette's.

"Chloe, I love you so much," Max said, her voice nearly a whisper, "You've done so much for me. You walked away from everything while I… while I was c-catatonic…"

"Max…" Chloe's voice sounded incredibly fragile to Max and she put a finger to her girlfriend's lips.

"You want what you feel is best for me and you know me so well. But I've changed, and we both know that. No no, Che, don't cry. Nothing's wrong," Max cooed as she wiped at Chloe's tears with her thumb. "I'm not saying anything bad, Baby Blue. I'm just saying that if I move in with you and Joyce that it will be on my own terms. I want this, okay? I want to live with you. I-I want to spend the rest of my life with you, just like I know you want to do the same with me."

"I really do, Max," Chloe said, leaning down so that she could bump her forehead against Max's. "I don't think I could stand losing you again, babe." The girls pulled one another into a tight hug, Max's face nestled in Chloe's left arm as the bluenette rested her chin on the top of Max's head.

"You really want this?" Ryan asked, Max peering out from Chloe's arm. Max nodded. "Girls… Let me talk with Joyce in private, okay?"

Max and Chloe got up, hand in hand, and headed out the front door.

December 1, 2012

"She here yet?" Chloe asked from the spare bedroom and smirked when she heard Joyce sigh from the hallway as a reply.

"Chloe, you asked that five minutes ago," Joyce drawled with a chuckle. "It's not like she isn't coming, hun."

"I know, I know. It's just… It's been weeks, Mom."

"As opposed to four years?"

"Mom, this is so fucking different."

"I know, kiddo. I know. Just… Will you promise that you and Max will try to keep it down?"

"Mom, ugh!" Chloe winced and stuck her tongue out in mild disgust. "No, no talking about that with parental figures!"

The sound of someone knocking on the door could be heard from upstairs and Chloe nearly ran Joyce over as she sprinted out of the room she was getting ready for Max's arrival. A little smaller than her own bedroom, the spare room had been a storage space until she had returned with her mom to Arcadia Bay triumphant. Chloe had danced on her bed for what felt like hours, smoking a celebratory joint with Sparklehorse playing on her old stereo. Now, weeks later, the time had finally come for Max to actually move in and Chloe hadn't slept in two days from the anxiousness. Opening the door with a jubilant grin, Chloe's enthusiasm deflated a bit when she saw a smiling Kate and smirking Victoria standing in front of her.

"She here yet?" Kate asked excitedly as she tried to peer over Chloe's shoulder, Victoria putting a palm to her face in exasperation before letting a chuckle escape. Hearing the faint mirth from behind her, Kate pouted and poked Victoria in the shoulder, "You said you'd be nice."

"I am being nice, Katie," Victoria said, smiling as she leaned in and gave Kate a kiss. "I'm always nice."

"Always nice, huh?" Chloe interjected, crossing her arms as Kate blushed and began to fidget under the bluenette's scrutiny. "Where's the niceness for me, 'Icky Vicky'?"

"Eat a dick, you blue turd," Victoria said with a groan before both she and Chloe snickered. Chloe reached over and gave both girls a hug. "So… Is she here yet?"

"Fuck, dude, I wish she were!" Chloe exclaimed as she led the girls inside. "This waiting shit has fucking depleted my stash."

The three girls headed upstairs, Victoria and Kate hugging Joyce before they joined Chloe in what would be Max's bedroom. The air was a little dusty, Chloe having only just finished preparing the space for her girlfriend. While unseasonably warmer than usual, the air outside was still cool enough that Chloe kept the window shut. Max likes the cold, but that doesn't mean she needs to live in a fucking refrigerator. Grabbing the broom and dustpan she'd been using only a few minutes ago, Chloe finished sweeping as Kate held the trash bag open. The two girls put the cleaning supplies back in the closet next to Max's room and Chloe left the bag out in the hallway before closing the bedroom door behind her.

"Man, I am hella wiped. I haven't slept for days," Chloe said, pulling her beanie off so that she would wipe at her forehead with it. "You two want anything to drink? I've got a killer thirst."

"Some water would be fine," Kate said, looking over at Victoria as the other girl was preoccupied with typing on her phone. When Kate elbowed Victoria, the short-haired blonde looked up in alarm as she pressed her phone to her chest.

"You got any Coke?" Victoria asked hurriedly, looking back down at her phone as she continued typing once more.

Chloe rolled her eyes, gave both girls a sarcastic bow, and headed out the small bedroom and down the stairs. Shit. Do we have any Coke? Max likes cherry-flavored soda, so that's all I bought. Maybe Mom has diet Coke or something like that. It's not like Victoria would notice, so long as I put it in a glass or whatever. Opening the fridge, Chloe began to look around for the soda. Weaving her hands between containers of leftovers and ingredients for various Price family meals, Chloe couldn't get the grin to leave her face at the fact that Max was going to be living with her from now on.

Max and Chloe had stood on the porch of the Caulfields' home for half an hour or so when Ryan had called them back inside. Neither girl had spoken while outside; Max had just let herself be held, eyes closed, against Chloe's chest. Chloe had taken her beanie off to put it on Max's partly-shaved head, having felt the diminutive brunette shiver against her. Maybe not the best time to try something like a sidecut, Mad Max, Chloe had thought.

"Girls?" Ryan had called out from inside, "You can come on back in, if you're ready."

Chloe had led Max by the hand as they went back inside, taking their seats on the couch. Chloe had looked at her mom, then at Ryan, and felt a jolt of worry nag at her when she couldn't read their faces. Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes was the only thing Chloe could think of as she felt Max's grip tighten on her hand.

"We talked it over," Ryan had said, nodding toward Joyce, Chloe's mother nodding in return, "…and, while I'm a little-"

"You said yes?!" Chloe had blurted out, Ryan's shoulders slumping as he nodded with a small grin on his face. "Holy fuck, Max! You're moving in with me, babe!"

"Chloe!" Joyce admonished, though the smile on her face couldn't hide how she felt at seeing her daughter so happy. "You could at least let Ryan finish…"

Ryan Caulfield had chuckled and Joyce had shook her head with a grin on her face as both girls had stopped paying them any attention. Max and Chloe sat on the couch, clutching onto each other fiercely as they both laughed and cried from the sheer happiness they felt.

"Mom?" Chloe called out, unable to find Joyce's diet soda, "Mom, where's the Coke at? Mom-"

"Hey, Baby Blue," a voice cut the bluenette off and Chloe froze where she stood. "I'm home."

Feeling a pair of small arms wrap around her waist, Chloe had to stop herself from crying as Max leaned up against her from behind, the smaller girl standing on her tip-toes to kiss the nape of Chloe's neck. Control of her body coming back to her, the bluenette sluggishly turned in her girlfriend's arms and looked down at a smiling Max Caulfield.

"You've been crying," Chloe whispered, struggling to bring her thoughts out of the shock she currently felt. "How'd…? You… You okay?"

"Dad was pretty sad, but he knows I'm only an hour away. Not like I won't visit a bunch, but yeah. Pretty sad," Max nodded before pulling Chloe closer to her, "I missed you so much, Che. Honest to Dog, I thought this day would never fucking get here."

"Dude, i-it was only two weeks," Chloe stammered, but realized her relief was obvious when Max looked up at her with a quirked eyebrow. "Ugh. Okay, so maybe I felt the same way…"

"Vic told me you haven't slept in days, Che."

"How the fuck did you… That bitch! It was you she was upstairs texting, wasn't it?" When Max looked away with an expression of feigned innocence, Chloe smirked and shook her head. "S'fine, I guess. Fucking text Victoria but not the girl you're moving in with-"

"Hey!" Max replied, looking Chloe in the eye as she playfully grabbed Chloe's ass, "I wanted to surprise you, you ass."

"Fucking jerk."

"Fucking asshole."

"Nerd."

"Dork."

"Hippie."

"Bitch."

"Oh, how dare you?" Chloe said teasingly, putting a hand to her chest in mock surprise. When Max responded by kissing the back of said hand, Chloe leaned down kissed Max passionately. Chloe let Max push her up against the fridge and let out a faint moan when the brunette squeezed her ass.

"Fuck, Max. I missed you," Chloe let out in a breathy voice, "Welcome home."

"It's good to be home," Max said, a smile on her face as she stood on her tip-toes, Chloe's arms wrapping around her as the sound of Kate and Victoria giggling could be heard from the stairway.

Author's Note -

I had thought about the NSFW scene and it was originally far longer than the one you are reading. Asking my friend Lyta Halifax (the writer formerly known here as HugoCogs) for advice, however, brought up something that had been nagging at me as I wrote it – Max is in an uncertain place in her life right now, the only person seeming to keep her stable being Chloe. Is she ready to be intimate with Chloe again, let alone something as intense as experimenting with BDSM?

The answer is no. I felt that it would be better for the story overall to have Max try rather than succeed; narrative progression outweighed fan service. Sorry for those looking forward to super-smut. You'll just have to wait, I guess…

So, Max is in Arcadia Bay now. Livin' with Chloe. Oh – Victoria and Kate are also an item now, eheheh. :)

I'm fucking beat – haven't really done two chapters with over 10,000 in one week for some time. Hope you enjoyed The World I Used To Know.

I plan on finishing Fighters before I pursue any other lengthy stories. A chapter a week with one or two smaller stories also uploaded. Punk Max in the game's primary universe with Punk Chloe = BOOM, never mind that Rachel is Chloe's friend in the canon timeline and Max's foster sister in the Fighter's timeline.

NOT DONE WITH THIS STORYLINE YET. JUST GOING BACK TO FIGHTERS SO I CAN TYPE THE REMAINING CHAPTERS.

Heh ;)

Read, review, and I'll see you later!

Stay hella, Cinnamon Rolls!