"The Power is On" by The Go! Team
The old Arcadia Bay Cannery building smelled vaguely of fish almost every day, the exception being "Derby Night", when teams both local and away would clash in the track. The lights focused entirely on the girls speeding by in their jams, the audience was effectively blacked out so that no one's attention was anywhere else but the middle of what had amounted to a gladiatorial arena for the teams of girls willing to kick, sweep, and elbow their ways to victory when being fast wasn't good enough. Max Caulfield leaned against the safety railing separating the track and its own safety wall from the audience, tucking back some of her chestnut hair as she squinted in the darkness to catch a glimpse of her ex-girlfriend/friend Rachel Amber. Watching the dirty blonde whiz by just as she'd been thinking of her, Max smirked when Rachel blew a kiss her way and shook her head while snickering.
Max was new to Blackwell Academy, the school she was attending with Rachel and a number of the other girls in Arcadia Bay's local Blackwell Bombshells, but she was not new to Arcadia Bay itself. Having spent the past five years in Seattle, the otherwise shy social wallflower and geek always came alive at the sight of a derby match-up. The Bombshells, licensed members of the Junior Roller Derby Association, were one of the top five teams in the Northwest division and only one spot lower than Max's former team in Seattle. The Blade Runners had been one of the more kitsch teams, the uniform requirement simply that you looked like you came out of the movie Blade Runner. I don't mind the dressing up, Max thought as she looked at how casual the bombshells' different styles were, but some of them took it to the point where their dress-up was more important than the matches themselves. Someone needs to sort out their priorities, amirite?
"C'mon, Rachel! Don't let that bitch keep you down!" Max called out, hands cupped to her mouth as she watched a girl from the away team sweep Rachel's legs out from under her. Bearing the helmet cover of a pin-up girl straddling a bomb, Rachel was the jammer as Max had been on her team, "You're the jammer, Rach! You've gotta get that speed going!"
"I know, Max! Jesus fucking Christ, I know!" Rachel shouted back, Max laughing at how Rachel could pin down her yelling through the audience's noise.
Seeing Rachel quickly get back onto her feet, Max watched as her friend seemed to go off like a rocket, catching speed seemingly from nowhere as she shot forward and just managed to catch up to the other team's jammer. Forcing the jam to continue on by catching up, Max looked up at the timer display hanging against the one of the cannery's walls and saw it begin to tick down from 30 seconds. C'mon, Rachel! You've got this! Max thought as she slammed her hands down onto the metal safety railing and quickly brought them back up, wincing at the impact and how her palms were both numb and sore at the same time. Hearing the buzzer, Max looked up in dismay at having missed Rachel scraping by with three points for the Bombshells. Seeing Rachel take off the helmet cover and hand it to her teammate Taylor Christensen, another one of Max's classmates, Max smiled when Rachel skated over and took a knee so that she could climb the safety wall to reach over and give Max a hug.
"I'm so glad you came, Max!" Rachel shouted over the den of cheering and hooting attendees, "You should be in there with us!"
"You're scrimmaging the day after tomorrow, right? That's when I'll give it a shot!" Max shouted back, giggling a little when Rachel affectionately ruffled her hair and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Don't you think you should get back in there?"
"Nah," Rachel said, skating alongside Max as they headed off to a quieter part of the cannery, the raised bleachers parting into an empty area of the building that was reserved for after-match concessions and each team's merchandise booth, "The match is almost over, and besides, I have to set up the merch booth and ready the popcorn and all that shit. Care to help? Oh! Hey, Katie!"
Max looked in the direction Rachel was waving and ran across the open space to nearly tackle a grinning Kate Marsh, the Bombshell dressed conservatively in a preacher's jacket with her youth ministry's t-shirt underneath and denim shorts. A pair of angel wings printed on the back of the jacket, the words "Angel of No Mercy" was stenciled in white between the wings. Helmet off and tucked under her arm, hair back in its usual bun, Kate looked more like herself outside of the derby than she did at the matches. Hard to believe this quiet little angel is a monster on the track, Max thought as she gave Kate one more squeeze before pulling back to look her friend up and down. Seeing Kate blush, Max blushed in return at Kate likely having taken the cursory inspection the wrong way.
"No no no, Kate!" Max said, hands up, " I was just looking to see if you were okay? Y'know, bumps and bruises? All that shit?"
"Ohhhh," Kate said, the relief on her face wounding what little pride Max had towards her own appeal, "Yeah, some bruises on my butt, probably. The girls on the other team, ugh, they're vicious when they don't need to be!"
"Katie, sweetie," Rachel said, zipping by on her skates to hand Kate a box filled with bags of popcorn ready for popping, "Roller derby isn't exactly Nerf dodgeball like in P.E. Besides, you're a little hellion on wheels yourself, Marsh. Max, help me set up the merch?"
"Sure," Max said, squeezing a pouting Kate's shoulder before she walked over to where Rachel was opening up and unboxing shirts, prints, and hats, "Rachel, where do you all get the money for this stuff?"
"Winnings, mostly, but Victoria's mom is also a big help," Rachel said with a shrug as she lit a cigarette and took a drag before handing it off to Max who did so as well, "She dislikes Victoria playing but likes the photos Victoria takes of us playing enough that she did a mini-exhibit on 'Youth Angst in the Modern Gladiators' or whatever. Something along those lines. Hand me those shirts?"
"I don't understand Victoria, sometimes," Max said, her frustration causing her voice to go up half an octave or so, "She's so mean at school sometimes, even cruel, but here she's like the friendliest-"
"Hey!" Rachel said, the offense she had taken evident by the look on her face.
"-the friendliest person I know, next to you. She'll talk shit about my photography in class, then praise my getting a clean shot during a jam of her elbowing a girl's nose so hard that it spurted up blood like a small fountain. Just… She's confusing, you're all confusing, everything's confusing! Ugh!"
"Coming from 'Mad Max Caulfield', I opt to take that as a compliment" Rachel said with a smirk, her chiding tone getting an obligatory scowl from Max, "Max, I can't prove it because I personally haven't seen you in a match, but Victoria says you're like a totally different person on the track, too. Like, the shy geek cliché is thrown off and you're a little trash-talking psychopath-"
"How does she know?" Max asked warily, cutting off Rachel before she hung her head with slumped shoulders, "I forgot. She lives in Seattle. Duh, Max. Real smart."
"Yeah, pretty much," Rachel said with a snort before she got quiet enough that Max was curious, "Um, Max? There's a reason I asked you to help me back here tonight. Another one, I mean."
"Uh, okay," Max said, the wariness increasing as she folded shirt after shirt for the booth display, "W-What is it?"
"Nothing…Nothing bad, I hope, so there's no need to stutter. I know your worrying gets pretty hardcore when you stutter. It's just, well, you grew up here…"
"There's someone who would probably like to-"
"…You invited Chloe to meet you back here, didn't you?" Max asked, the flat tone of her voice causing Rachel to wince a little at the dull glare she got from her friend.
Max sighed as she put down the last shirt in what had been her small pile of tops. She hadn't spoken to Chloe in nearly five years, not since the reception after her father's funeral. William had been like a second dad to Max, so she'd taken it pretty hard, but Chloe's devastation plus the fact that Max was leaving the next day brought things to a head. They'd fought, or more precisely Chloe had shouted and yelled while Max had simply stood in Chloe's room and cried as she let her teary-eyed best friend verbally destroy her. It had not been until Chloe was panting to catch her breath that the full weight of what she had said to Max balanced out in her head.
"M-Max…Max, I'm sorry-" was the last thing Max ever heard from Chloe for five years as she'd ran from her friend, from her friend's room, and all the way out of the Price house until she was back in her own home and her own bedroom in tears.
Five years was a long time, made longer by the stubbornness of both girls. Max did not know about Chloe, but she had a shoebox full of unsent letters and a folder in her Gmail account that was listed as "Chloe" in her drafts. She'd meant to send them, every email and letter completed save for the actual sending of the correspondence. Except you didn't, Max. What would you even really say? "Hey, Chloe. I'd say it is nice to see you but you kinda treated me like trash the last time we hung out. How are you, fuckface?" You… She doesn't get to say the things she did and just have everything be peachy with a side of keen. I'm not a punching bag.
Chloe Price tried to psyche herself up as she sat in her truck, parked right outside the cannery. Desperate for any type of courage that would provide more than the feeble sensation in her stomach, she whipped out the small hip flask she carried in the back of her jeans' waistband and took a long pull of the hooch she'd swiped from her stepfather. David's kind of a jerk, but at least his taste in liquor is hella good, Chloe thought as she paused for a moment before taking another drink. The sourness of the mash ran parallel to the sour feeling in her chest. For the first time since she'd exploded all over the poor brunette girl she remembered, Chloe was going to see Max. Leaning her forehead against the steering wheel of her decrepit old truck, Chloe groaned at the idea of even speaking to the pint-sized hippie. At least, that had been how Rachel had described her; a little too good of a description for Chloe's taste, she'd shrugged off the look on Rachel's face and tried not to think about what might have transpired between her childhood best friend and her current BFF.
"Da fuck do you even say to someone in this situation? 'Hi, Max! Sorry for being a bitch and never writing you or apologizing for half a decade! Drink?' Yeah, that'll go over hella smooth. Yeah…"
Yeah, right. She'd likely deck me in the face. I deserve it, I was such a bag of shit. It was… My dad had just died, for fuck's sake. What was I supposed to do, be cheerful that she was leaving me, too? So I overreacted – so what? Shit happens, Max, and you were in the line of fire. Hella not entirely my fault, dude. Chloe slapped her cheeks, trying to get some color into her face aside from the rosiness that was already there from the alcohol she'd already drank before even getting behind the wheel and the embarrassment that had made its presence known in advance.
"Game face, Price. Just be chill, let her come to you, and don't be a fuckin' dick," Chloe told herself, the words coming out almost like a mantra as she climbed out of the driver's side of her truck and headed toward the cannery.
Having found a nice little spot next to the far entrance, Chloe would at least have a few more minutes to her thoughts as she entered the unused part of the cannery, the area that was still littered and cluttered with various garbage and dilapidated equipment. Pulling out her Zippo, Chloe lit up and took a long drag from the cigarette. Watching the cancer stick burn until it was halfway gone, she blew out a long trail of smoke between gritted teeth and snuffed it out against the double doors that led into the part of the industrial space that was used by the Bombshells. Running a hand along the wall where posters of the local team were on display, Chloe stopped at her own poster from last year and noticed that someone had marked it with cigarette burns where her eyes had been.
"Oh, that was me," Chloe said with a flat, bitter chuckle at the memory, "Getting kicked off the team will do that to you."
Getting expelled from Blackwell Academy had hurt Chloe's mother and stepfather more than her, but getting kicked off the derby team as a result of said expulsion had driven Chloe into a frenzy. Drunk and angry, she'd bitterly stumbled through town with insult after insult sliding off the tip of her liquor-loosened tongue until she found herself at the cannery. I stacked up a couple of trash cans, fell on my ass, cussed out the cans, and then got back up so I could climb them and fuck with my own poster. The Bombshells had been Chloe's anger management and stress relief, her means of escaping a half-broken home and an overall shitty life. Indebted to the local weed dealer, her only saving grace being that her best friend was said dealer's boyfriend, Chloe was $3,000 in debt and a school dropout. Life is so hella not on my side.
"Chloe…?" A familiar voice asked, Chloe looking over her shoulder to see Taylor Christensen eyeing her from around the emptying bleacher stand she was leaned up against, "Bitch, where the fuck've you been? I know we weren't the closest of friends, but what the total fuck?"
"Sorry," Chloe said as she scratched at her beanie, a few more loose strands of blue hair coming out from under the head gear as her nervous tic got the better of her, "Didn't really feel like showing my face after I got expelled. Y'know, kinda hard to be here and not get in on the action. Hella hard."
"Doesn't mean you can't at least let more than just Rachel know you're still breathing, Chlo," Taylor said as she skated over and hugged her former schoolmate, "You doing okay?"
"I'm still breathing, so there is that," Chloe said, awkwardly patting Taylor's back before pulling away, "I, uh, I got my GED. I'm working a few shifts at the Two Whales and doing some tattooing out of my bedroom. Totally illegal, so my work is of course even more hella cool. How's Crapwell?"
"School's school. Be glad to graduate next spring, finally. Being away from home, going to a great school, and partying is fun but it loses some of the fun as time goes on. Anyway, what actually brought you here? You just said you didn't exactly feel up to being around here, so of course I'm dying to know."
"Max. Max Caulfield," the words came out slowly as Chloe said them, like her brain was fighting the automatic response so that an audible delay was clearly present, "We were… She was my best friend when we were kids, and someone told me she would be here tonight."
"Oh, Max? She's kinda weird, with that dumb camera, but she's also kinda cool. She asks after my mom, even went with me and Victoria to the hospital to see her. She…She didn't have to do that. It was nice, though."
Something in the way Taylor spoke had Chloe thinking that her old schoolmate was not likely among whatever people Max considered friends. They had both been loners growing up, though for different reasons; Max's shyness and social anxiety were balanced out by Chloe's extroverted nature and inability to put up with anyone's bullshit. For whatever reason, they had clicked together when they were little and hand only grown stronger in friendship until…
Until I fucked it up by being a shithead, Chloe thought to herself bitterly, I took all my rage out on my best friend and now she's been back for over a month without so much as a word or call. 'Nuff said, Max. I know I fucked up, but you could've totally written me, too. Why the fuck didn't you write? Chloe waved Taylor goodbye with an awkward obliviousness as she had retreated deeper into her thoughts. Scenarios of reunions between herself and Max played out before Chloe's eyes, but only a couple ended well and the doomed ones always started off with Chloe putting her foot into her mouth by saying something cocky or stupid. Or both, Chloe thought as she rounded a corner and saw down the long space through which the crowds would shuffle in and out of the building. Empty save for a merch booth that was being taken down by a couple of girls, Chloe slowed her pace from her normal saunter to a hesitant crawl as she took in the small brunette helping Rachel dismantle and box everything up. Fuck, Max, why'd you have to go and get all hella cute an' shit? This…This'll only make things worse…
Chloe bit her lip as she drew closer, seeing Max in a pair of denim shorts and a grey hoodie, the t-shirt for the Bombshells peeking out from underneath the grey cotton as her backwards snapback had the Bombshells' logo on it. Chloe had designed the logo, a tattooed pin-up girl straddling an A-Bomb with a fiendish grin on her face. Now, it was like the same grin she'd drawn was egging her on, daring her to move another step before the brunette underneath exploded if she were to be discovered without having said anything.
"Uh, yo Rachel," Chloe said, deciding to try and play it cool by acting as though she didn't know it was Max, waving to her friend before acknowledging Max with feigned shock, "Whoa! Max? Um, hey… What's up? I'd heard you were back in town, dude, figured you'd eventually come an' see me. What gives?"
The quick way in which Max had spun around, eyes wide and glaring as she just stared at Chloe told her all she needed to know. Max was not exactly thrilled to see her.
"Are you for cereal with that 'What gives?' bullshit?" Max asked, her jaw hanging a little with her eyes still wide open as she just stared at Chloe in relatively mute shock.
"Dude, you don't have to act like you're happy to see-," Chloe began to say, only to cringe when Max let out a bitter chuckle.
"Oh, I'm not," Max retorted, rolling her eyes when Rachel made a pleading face, "For crying… Chloe, what do you want?"
"Forget it. You hella don't give a shit, so why should I?" Chloe practically spat back, hands forcefully shoved into her pockets with her shoulders stiffened.
"Oh my fucking God, you're like bratty little kids!" Rachel shouted from the partially-dismantled merchandise booth, Max spinning around to look at her friend in shock with Chloe slowly approaching from where she'd been standing next to the popcorn machine, "Chloe, fucking apologize to Max! Max, actually listen to whatever Chloe has to say! Please, can you two just get along enough so that if we're all in the same place it doesn't turn into a potential shitstorm? I'm done, so I'll leave the keys with Max and you two can either hash things out or not. I just thought with as much as Chloe has talked about you over the years, Max, that you might be willing to listen considering you've talked about her almost as much since I met you."
Max watched Rachel collect her things, sliding on her flannel jacket and giving both herself and Chloe quick hugs before she grabbed her skates, her gym bag, and headed out the door with a middle finger directed at both of them. The clang of the old metal door slamming shut echoed through the building, devoid of people save for the two of them. Tapping her fingers against the steel beams that supported the bleachers, Max looked over at Chloe and sighed before she took off her snapback and ran a hand through her hair. I was going to talk to Chloe, Rachel, just in my own time. I didn't need…whatever this is supposed to be. Still, here she is. Chloe Price, all punk-rock and blue hair. Wowser.
"I like the hair," Max said, gesturing to Chloe's azure locks, "The blue looks good on you."
"Really?" Chloe asked, almost too cheerfully. Max caught it, but kept the observation to herself, "Yeah, 'course it looks cool. Hella cool. You… You wanna see my ink, Max? Got some tattoos. A sleeve tat, actually."
"You got a sleeve tattoo?" Max asked, a disbelieving smirk on her face as she walked over to where Chloe was standing, "Let's go sit on the bleachers or something. I've been standing most of the night, taking shots of the team, the match, and helping Rachel with the merchandise. My feet need a break."
Chloe following alongside, Max stopped by one of the team's coolers that she figured Rachel forgot. Grabbing a couple bottles of water, Max deliberately shoved one into Chloe's chest and climbed up the bleacher's before the blue-haired girl who had once been her friend could say a word. At least, Max figured she had until they sat down. I wish Rachel wouldn't have done this. Chloe… She brings back too many good memories that get squashed by the final bad one and then five years of nothing. I don't know what the hell you were expecting by coming here to see me, Chloe, but I'm not your little buddy anymore.
"So what the fuck was that about?" Chloe asked, pointing at the wet spot on her chest where the water bottle had been pressed against her, "You got something to say, Max? Just fucking say it."
"Five years, Chloe," Max said, eyes narrowed as she inclined her head to cast a sidelong glance at the other girl, "You tear me up, have me running home in tears, and then nothing for five fucking years. I would say 'Go fuck yourself', but I don't think that comes close to how I feel right now…"
"Y'know, you hella could've written me. Or, I dunno, email," Chloe snapped back, though her glare diminished somewhat under the same sidelong glare Max had been giving her since they'd sat down, "Don't…Don't look at me like that, Max."
"Like that. Like you're being fucking mean."
"I'm mean?" Max scoffed, pointing a finger at herself with a wide-eyed look of incredulity on her face, "I'm mean for giving you 'a look', but you're expecting things to be cool between us after you broke my heart? Chloe, we were best friends and you stomped on all of it. Now you want to talk, when I've spent a month debating if I was even willing to see you? Wowser."
Max chugged down the remains of her bottle, having taken sips whenever Chloe had spoken or the silence between them had become too awkward. She did not want their first talk in five years to go like this, but Chloe just strolling up like it was nothing had set Max off, and she wasn't willing to let the other girl's aloofness negate her feelings. I'm pissed, Chloe, and I'm hurt. We were inseparable for nearly a decade and you fucking blew it apart with one terrible shouting spree and five years of radio silence. You didn't even try. I did send you one email, for cereal, but you never replied.
"'Will you still be my friend?'" Max said, remembering the first line of the email she had actually sent to Chloe. When she looked over and saw Chloe's body stiffen at the words, Max knew then that the bluenette remembered the message, "You couldn't even reply to that…"
"Fuck, Max!" Chloe shouted as she stood up, irritated by Max's simultaneous calm and anger, "I-I hella didn't think I deserved another shot, okay? And you-"
"I didn't get to know that because you never fucking replied, you dumbass!" Max said, her calm snapping in an instant as she got to her feet, "You did what you always did back then. You decided for the both of us, and I bet you also did it so that you wouldn't feel so bad at breaking your best friend's heart."
"You didn't talk to me because if you did I would be a reminder of what you said to me."
"Max, fucking quit. I know I fucked up, okay? I-It's why I'm here, dude. I hella want to make things right-"
"Eat shit, Chloe."
Max watched Chloe's pleading smile, the faint glimmer in her eyes vanish with how cold her own words had been. Her phone going off, Max walked away from the punk girl she'd once known and began to furiously text as she hopped from bleacher to bleacher until she was on the floor and headed out of the building. She didn't spare Chloe another look, didn't care what the taller girl thought. Max Caulfield was done with Chloe Price, had been for years. A broken heart and therapy will do that to you.
RACHEL: How'd it go?
MAX: How do you think, Rach?
RACHEL: I'm sorry :(
MAX: …You thought you were doing the right thing.
MAX: I can't blame you for trying, but don't try again. Okay?
RACHEL: You want me to come over tonight?
MAX: Yeah. Yeah, I think I could use the company. Get some sodas from the vending machine and I'll knock on your door once I get into the dorm.
RACHEL: Kay. Max?
RACHEL: For what it's worth, the photos of you and Chloe… It just seemed like it was worth a shot.
MAX: I know, and I wish I felt the same. Life is strange like that. It's my life, but I can't go back to some things, have things as they were. I… I do miss her, though. I miss our kiddie adventures, playing pirates all around town.
RACHEL: I've seen those pics, I think. Joyce has them in an album somewhere.
RACHEL: Hey. How about I sleep over tonight and tomorrow we'll grab some food at Two Whales. I'm sure Joyce would love to see you.
MAX: I dunno… Are you for cereal? No surprise Chloe?
RACHEL: Just us…and whoever else is eating there.
MAX: Okay. Be there soon.
Max switched off her phone just as a hand grabbed her by the shoulder and spun her around. Gritting her teeth with a clenched jaw, Chloe Price stared at Max with bloodshot eyes as tears ran down her face. Frozen in place by the raw emotion coming off of Chloe, Max felt her lower lip quiver from the uncertainty that Chloe's seeming instability brought. She couldn't be sure if Chloe was going to punch her or hug her, though Max figured it would likely be one of the two. To her surprise, and Chloe's from what Max read of the other girl's face, she was just shoved aside so Chloe could storm out of the building. Not knowing what else to do, Max chased Chloe through the metal double doors.
"What were you expecting, Chloe? A warm hug and giggles? Are you cereal?"
Chloe heard Max ask that question, though in truth she didn't want to hear it at all. She didn't want to see, hear, or touch Max Caulfield at that moment. All Chloe wanted was to go home and blaze. After the shell shock of Max reacting to her the way she had, Chloe had very little faith that the girl she'd befriended when they were both in the single digits was willing to give her an honest chance. I…I want to just turn around and smack the shit out of that little hippie's mouth, just knock the attitude clean out of her. Who the fuck… Max, you never gave me… I just wanted to come here to say that I'm sorry. What do I do, instead? I front, because of-fucking-course I do. That's all I do, really, in situations like this. God, Chloe, you're such a dumbass.
"Just… Just forget it, forget we even ran into each other tonight," Chloe said, not looking back as she wiped the tears from her eyes while making a beeline for her truck, "I guess I can say sorry a bajillion times and it'll never be enough, right? So forget-"
Chloe felt Max push her, getting shoved into the driver's side door of her own truck as the sound of crying could be heard from somewhere close behind her. Bracing herself so her head didn't collide with the door's window, Chloe bared her teeth and spun around to see Max angrily standing only a few paces away. Her fists clenched and her feet spaced apart like she was gearing up for a fight, the only thing that had Chloe relieved that an actual fight was not going to happen could be found in the tears the other girl was shedding. God, Max. How much did I fuck you up? You're the most passive-aggressive person I've ever met!
"You don't get to play the wounded one between the two of us, Chloe," Chloe heard Max stammer out, eyes shut as her voice was raised to the point of nearly shouting, "You… God, I know William was your dad but I loved him too and did you think I wanted to just up and leave you?! Did you ever even consider my feelings at all? Did you?"
Chloe's jaw dropped as Max just stood there for a moment and locked eyes with her before she shook her mane of chestnut hair and stormed over to an old Vespa. Watching Max climb onto the moped, Chloe couldn't help but feel a little impressed that Max had such a cool ride. Total hipster bike, but still hella cool. Maybe… If I hadn't been such a bitch that day, maybe I'd get a ride on that little beast of hers, Chloe thought as she watched Max peel out of the parking lot and down the street a couple of blocks before hanging a right off in the direction of Blackwell Academy. Leaning her back against her truck, Chloe shook her next-to-last cigarette from her crumpled pack of Pall Malls and lit up. The single drag of nicotine did little to calm her nerves, the feel of the cigarette itself actually being the source of what was presently calming her. Sighing, Chloe scratched at her beanie and pulled out her phone.
CHLOE: Rach, I fucked up.
CHLOE: I…I didn't expect THAT to come from Max
CHLOE: I knew she'd be hurt, but-
RACHEL: What the hell were you thinking, playing it cool in a situation like that? "What gives"? Are you fucking kidding me?
CHLOE: What the hell was I supposed to say?!
RACHEL: Maybe "Hey, Max. Look, I was an ass and I just wanted to say I'm sorry."
RACHEL: For a start. And you wonder why she got so pissed, I'm guessing.
CHLOE: How… How do I make this right?
RACHEL: I… She's gonna hate me for this…
RACHEL: Look, Max and I are gonna chill at Two Whales tomorrow for breakfast before class. If your dumb ass wants to conveniently be there, then be there. Don't expect her to be fucking happy about it.
CHLOE: …Wanna come over and get lit? I need to hardcore bake.
RACHEL: Dude, who do you think will be playing damage control after what went down between you two? She's already called me and she's on her Vespa. She never uses her phone while driving, she's that upset.
RACHEL: Look. I'll hang with her for a bit, and give an excuse like homework or whatever. You seriously need to not be an ass to her if you want to try and get back into her good graces. We're scrimmaging tomorrow and Max is trying out. Come watch. I'm gonna sign off – Max'll be here soon and the last thing she needs is to see me texting your fucking ass. TTYL! :)
CHLOE: NO EMOJI
RACHEL: ;) :3 :/ :P
Snickering, Chloe ended the chat and slipped her phone into her pocket before she climbed onto the side of her truck bed. Her legs and feet resting against the metal, Chloe leaned up against the cab and smoked away. A little irritated at her own stupidity in leaving her stash back home, Chloe finished off her cigarette and flicked the butt out into the parking lot. Step-prick will be playing the part of Paul Blart over at Crackwell, so at least I won't have to worry about him catching a whiff of my "whacky tobbacy". Maybe I'll pay Joyce a visit at the diner, score me some free baked goods to go with my getting lit so that I'll have somethin' to munch on. Realizing in a rare moment that she was also in need of advice from her mother, Chloe grumbled as she slid off the truck and climbed into it. Blaring some random rock station on the radio, Chloe sped out of the parking lot with tires squealing as she took a left where Max had taken a right.
"Chloe, you are my daughter an' I love you," Joyce said as she poured Chloe a cup of coffee, "But you put your foot in your damn mouth so much it might as well stay there, sometimes."
"Thanks, Mom. The level of your support is completely lacking in encouragement," Chloe grumbled, propping her feet on the bench across from where she was sitting in her usual booth, "Uh… Sorry, Mom. That was one of-"
"Those moments? Yes, Chloe. It was," Joyce said before she walked over to the dessert display and returned with a slice of berry crumble, "Eat up, drink your coffee, and just go home. Sleep'll do you good, hun, and Max will come around. You'll see. You just have to give her time to process you wanting back in her life."
"…I thought it'd be the other way around, y'know?" Chloe said between mouthfuls of dessert, savoring the sweet buttery crumble and the tartness of the raspberries in what she knew to be her mother's handiwork, "I figured I'd run into her and I would be the one pissed off with her being all anxious and shit. When did she get so hardcore?"
"Well, considerin' how you two went your separate ways, I can't say as I blame her for being a little harder to reach than when you were both kids," Joyce said, sliding into the seat across from Chloe after she removed her feet, "God, I still remember when you two were little. A pair of giggling girls, running around town with missing teeth and construction paper pirate hats…"
"You make it sound like it was such a long-ass time ago, geez," Chloe said, finishing her crumble before she took a swig of her now-lukewarm coffee, "Goddamnit."
"Mom, I…I hella fucked up, didn't I?" Chloe asked, elbows propped on the table as she leaned her head into her waiting hands with eyes tightly shut, "I…I should've chased her down that day. I should've-"
"Chloe," Joyce said, reaching over to cup her daughter's cheek in a rare moment of Chloe bonding with her mother, "You can't change the past, sweetie. All you can do is try and make your life a little brighter now. I remember the look of surprise on your face, how you lit up, when Rachel told you about 'this freckled girl from Seattle' who had moved into the Blackwell dormitory. You didn't even know it was-"
"I knew, Mom. I just did."
"…I was going to say you didn't know it was Max for sure, but I saw that look on your face. You did know, without even seein' her face, that it was Max. Give her time, child. Give yourself time."
"Y'know, she's coming here tomorrow morning," Chloe said, tracing the rim of her coffee cup with a fingertip as she looked up at her mom through her eyelashes, "Rachel tipped me off. I could, I dunno, maybe take a shift or whatever."
"The last time you tried to work here you damn near threw a customer's food at 'em, Chloe," Joyce said with a grimace at the memory.
"Yeah. Stupid idea, huh? I'll just 'happen to be here', I guess."
Smiling when Joyce rolled her eyes at Chloe's lack of cash, Chloe sauntered out of the diner and to her truck when her phone went off. Lighting up the last cigarette in her pack, Chloe took a puff and nearly dropped it when she saw the text.
UNKNOWN: This is Max. I guess, if you want, you can have my number or whatever. This isn't my idea, so do NOT think that we're okay. We're not. I'm just… I'm keeping the line of communication open, or something. Okay. Yeah. Um, bye.
Author's Notes -
So, here you have it. The first chapter of Life is Derby. Not the most creative title, I know, but it fits and there's not wacky time powers or whatever so it works even more so. I wanted to highlight Max's passive-aggressive ways in this story because you can kinda play her as that in the game and I've always wondered what it would be like if Max were to come back with the chip on her shoulder. Think about it - Max and Chloe have this huge blow-up the day of William's funeral, and both girls use roller derby as a means of venting anger and frustration. Thing is, while Chloe calms down somewhat Max just kinda get these two different mindsets - one when she's just herself, and the other when she's on the track. If you think they're OOC, that's fine. They're meant to be. This is an AU, after all ;)
Review and let me know what you think!
Stay hella, Cinnamon Rolls!
PS - Wait till you read what Max's derby outfit is in the next installment, muahahaha ;p