We meet again. How long has it been that we had a conversation? So, where should I start…
For me, it felt like a long, long nightmare was over. One that I have been stuck in for more than two years. The shadow, the uncertainty, the fear, hatred, lots and lots of feelings which had been gnawing at me, all of them. I left them when dawn came after that long night.
A lot of things happened after that, one thing after another…
Seattle, October 11, 2013
Max and Chloe place the flowers in front of Ryan and Vanessa's graves. Max kneels down and slowly runs her hand through the smooth surface of the stone and stops her fingers just at the rims. Her chest tightens, and clot gets stuck in her throat. Eyes watering, and lips trembling, but she refuses to cry. Wiping the few stray tears with her knuckles, she swallows hard to disperse whatever that is holding her breathes hostage. She does try to speak, but she doesn't know where to start. If she should complain if she should wail, cry, scream. But she refuses to, not anymore. Chloe puts her hand softly on Max's shoulder and squeezing it, assuring her, giving her whatever strength and resolve she needs. So, she shakes her head, and closes her eyes, taking a deep breath through her nose and exhaling, she opens her eyes again. Her expression changes, despite the trembling feelings raging inside her, her lips form into a smile, and her face brightens.
"Hey, Mom…Dad…" she speaks slowly, the tightening of her chest returns, but yet again, she refuses to give in to that emotion, she is here to bid them farewell, properly, and with a smile, "I am here again. Yeah, these," she points on her red hair, "Blame Chloe, Mom… she made me do it." Chloe bumps her with a knee and scowls mockingly towards her, and Max replies with a tongue flick and giggles. Turning her head again towards the graves. Her mirth slowly dies.
"Things were really hard when you two left me, I had to endure a lot. At times… At times, I felt I had lost everything, I was alone and weak. But…" She places her hand on Chloe's and squeezes it softly, "I was wrong about it, I was never alone at all, I didn't realize, I had Chloe with me, and I had Joyce and David. I got a very, very sweet friend Kate. I am telling you, she is a real darling. Mom, you would have loved her as much as you loved me. My very first best friend in my new life. But it's not just Kate, I made so many friends, I got, Rachel, she can be a hard ass… oops, sorry for my language, I mean, she really can be stubborn at times and get angry too, but inside, she is the most selfless person I have met in my life. Today, I am here, all because of her. Then I have Dana, Alvin, Ava, Nick, Lena, so many people. I feel blessed, Mom, Dad. So…" she pauses for a couple of seconds, "So, please… don't worry about me anymore. I will be fine, I am stronger than before. I am a Caulfield, after all. Isn't that right, Poppy, Mommy?"
She pauses again and tries to breathe, but this time, her resolve that she held and tried not cry, wavers, and her lips tremble and the lump in her throat makes her exhales a raggedy breath. A few drops of tears betray her and rushes out of the confinements of her tear ducts, and she sobs dryly, "I miss you so much, Mommy, Poppy! I miss yo…" unable to finish her words, she just weeps, with dry sobs and a shivering body.
Chloe sits down next to her and embraces her. Kissing on Max's head, she looks towards the gravestones, "Hello Mr. C, Mrs. C, it's been a long time. I… uh, don't know how to say this but…please, leave Max to me," she pauses and squeezes the shivering redhead close to her, "I will take care of her, I will protect her and I will love her and never make her feel sad. So, Mr. C, let's talk man to man. Will you entrust your daughter to me?" pausing for a little, and grins, "What? You approve? Awesomesauce! Thank you, Mr. C. I promise to keep my promises, errm... yeah, I meant that."
Max giggles through her sobbing and shoves the prattling blunette, "Don't confuse Dad with your stupid talks, Chlo."
Chloe grins and winks at her, "Now to commemorate their approval. If you want me to show your parents how awesome I am with tongue twisters, right here, right now, I am game."
Max groans while making a disgusting face, "Eww! Che, I am not that desperate. Show respect to Mom and Dad. You muffing maniac."
Chloe laughs heartily at this, "I am joking, kiddo. But, this is alright. You should see them off with a beautiful smile on your face, Max."
Realizing, Chloe was just consoling her, albeit, in her own stupid way, she feels like gushing at her. 'Chloe, you are wonderful'. She turns her head towards the graves again, "Dad, Mom… I'll be fine. I will stay happy, and I will live on happy, for both of your shares too. So please, look on to me from up there. I will become someone you will be proud of, I love you both. Goodbye for now." She slides her hands on the names carved on the gravestone again and bids them farewell with a bright smile on her face.
At the graveyard parking area, a man in glasses is leaning to a car, reading a small pocket book. Wearing a smart fit shirt and sleeves rolled up, a tattoo poking out of his arm. He sees the punk and the redhead approaching, closes the book and places it on the car's dashboard.
"You both good?" He asks the girls, who nodded in reply.
"Yeah, Thanks for waiting for Steve," Chloe grins at him.
"Anything to get me away from Nick." He says while opening the door for the girls.
Max giggles, "You always d-do this, Steven. I am telling you, Nick will really b-bust you s-someday"
Steven grins, "Don't worry, my little angel. He will never catch me lazing off. I am a master of my arts," he winks towards the freckled face. "So, you guys ready?" He asks the girls, both Chloe and Max's mirth dies, and their eyes turn to steel in resolution, Max nods determinedly, "Good, let's see what's this fuss is about the documents they spoke of."
'Whatever it is, I want this to end, once and for all.' Max only has this thought in her head.
With Chloe's vivid joke aside, visiting Mom and Dad really helped that day. It relieved me. I always felt they are watching over me, protecting me and that gave me the courage to continue, and for what I am today. I can proudly call myself their daughter. There were some ups and downs, but with Chloe and everyone's help. I managed to take back what was left of my life, and I plan to enjoy it to the fullest.
If you are confused about Steven, he's a lawyer and Nick's friend. He helped out David from the custody. It was easy in his case, Nick and Chloe had a recorded proof of who killed Frank Bowers. David was free of all charges and released next day and a search for Thomas Sheffield was issued. The cops looked for him everywhere, but Thomas Sheffield vanished from the face of the earth, never to be seen again.
I am glad it did not become another all-out war between David and Chloe, in fact, everything happened after that was opposite of what I thought. They patched up. Strange as it sounds, I mean it's Chloe we are talking about. She can be stubborn and is not someone who would patch up with David, who has taken her Dad's place. But it did, gradually but slowly, they both started to accept each other.
But, Rach…. despite the circumstances and even if it was a person like him, she did murder someone. So, back to the hospital, she was questioned by the police. Steven was present during the initial interrogation. With my testimony, of the past months and what happened that night, also Chloe and Nick's, Steven pursued the DA with a defense plea as the circumstances surrounding the case were clear as light. Rachel Amber defending herself and saved her friends from being killed by a psychopath who was already on the run from the law and was wanted.
The DA after listening to everything, and saw the aftermath with his own eyes, as a kidnapping happened which lead to two people dead and three injured. The DA realized that he cannot win the case even if he pressed charges, so begrudgingly, he announced that the People will not press charges against Rachel Dawn Amber, and the case was dropped. Rachel was free to go.
Nick's injury at Bill's hands put him out of action for almost over a month. Chloe calls it Devil's Luck for him as the bullet lodged on his ribs without damaging much of his organs, or at least that's what the doctors said. But I am glad, he was alright. His team was ready to come down to Arcadia Bay, especially Lena, who was most worried about Nick. But it's good that both Nick and Steven were managed to calm them down.
(They got a thing for each other, I am telling you… CP~)
(Yeah, Che, I know, they are a thing. And would you please give me some privacy here. Don't read my diary without my permission!)
The documents, the reason for all of the wrongs that happened in my life, turned out to be account ledgers and balance books, and a document containing some names, directly linked to those accounts. Once we obtained the documents. I handed them to Nick which turns out to be fruitful. I still don't know why the organization gave up on those document, or if they really did. But Nick used that information and combined with his own investigation. After a few weeks, they busted the organization. It became one of the biggest scandals on the news. Lots of big people were connected to the organization. One thing led to another, and rings after rings, start falling and exposing. And chains of warehouses, shady places were busted and came to light. So many girls were being confined there.
I shudder to this day when the news was aired and I saw the lifeless eyes of those poor girls who were not lucky enough to get away. To this day, I wonder, if Rachel never saved me… would I have ended up like them…? But I did not, even if a small contribution, I avenged myself and all those girls by helping Nick destroying this menace once and for all.
Rachel, after avenging Shelly and delivering the just retribution to Bill, was confined to the hospital with Kate watching over her like a nurse, (she's so adorable), until she recuperated back to full health. She decided to move into Arcadia Bay. She continued her job at Ronnie's and rented an apartment.
Rachel's Apartment, Arcadia Bay,
Rachel had her head tied in a loose pony had one of her legs propped on the chair, and taps on the keyboard. 'I see, so those coordinates lead to this place? No wonder, their name had to show up.'
She picks up her phone and dials a number. The static sound informs the phone is connected,
"Nick," Rachel speaks.
'Amber, I thought you were off today? Don't tell me, I have to take the blunt again,' Nick speaks a little annoyingly.
A soft groan escapes Rachel's mouth, "Relax, it's just an information, no way I would miss an invitation from her, Kate will kill me." She could almost feel a pair of eyes watching her from behind.
Nick laughs heartfully, 'You bet, who would have that the docile one would have tamed Rachel Amber.' His tone turns serious, 'So? What have you got?'
"Yeah, okay," Rachel nods, "I followed some coordinates, and there's a pattern showing. Most of the dates align with the movements and I think this is the place."
There is a brief pause from the other end, only to be broken by Nick's uncertain voice, "Are you sure?"
"90%" Rachel replies affirmingly.
'More than enough, send me the coordinates. And, please, Rachel! Wait for my orders. Do not rush into anything. You understand?'
Rachel's brow creases, "Fine, fine, old man. You don't have to repeat yourself. Anyways. I'll be in touch with you soon."
'Very well. Give my regards to everyone,' Nick speaks again with enthusiasm.
"Roger that, Boss. Laters" Rachel disconnects the phone and turns off the laptop. Contemplating for a few moments, she recaps the conversation and her latest find, 'Dark Room… Prescotts Barn, I don't like the sound of this. Well, sorry Nick, I might not wait for your confirmation to look into this. I have a personal beef with that Prescott runt, for what he tried to do to Kate.'
As if the gracious one listened to the taller blonde's thoughts, entered the room. Rachel's eyes fall on her and her mouth falls agape. A crimson hue grows on Kate's face and she smiles confusingly, "W-what?"
Rachel says nothing, she is mesmerized by the beauty that is standing in front of her. She observes the timid blonde, from head to toe. With a beige turtleneck sweater, hugging her supple form with her cross necklace resting just above her bosom, and a knee length pleated red skirt, paired with opaque leggings and boots. She indeed looks beautiful. Her more outgoing outfit could be the influence of her friends and Rachel herself.
Rachel closes her mouth and her mouth forms a mischievous smirk and she takes slow and deliberate steps towards the timid one. Kate does nothing and gulps, her feet are planted on the ground. She looks down and takes furtive glances towards the approaching blonde. Rachel grabs Kate's and pulls her close, wrapping her arms around her waist, "Who gave you the right to look so beautiful, Katie. You have to be penalized for this," Rachel's says in a husky tone as her eyes flashed mischievously.
Kate rests her tiny fist to create a little space between them, "Stop it, we are going to be late," and tries to frown but fails tremendously as heat rises on her face, insinuating her already pink cheeks even more.
"They can wait, I am not moving until I get my fill of Katie right now," Rachel leans in with her one hand resting on Kate's waist and the other run over her arm going up and cupping her warm cheek, and slowly plants her lips on Kate's, who also loses all resistance and replies the kiss with equal passion. Her head is filled with thousands of thoughts, they are going to be late, she should pull back, why does everytime Rachel makes her feel like this, above all one thought that rings the loudest in her head, She does not want to separate. This last thought makes the graceful one moan in fulfillment.
Lost in their own world, the blondes lose the track of time, only to be startled by someone clearing their throat. Kate yelps and abruptly leaves the taller blonde's embrace, almost pushing her away, and turns around. Rachel peeks at the door too. Alvin with a big grin on his face, albeit also red faced. There is a girl with hair similar to Kate and giggles while holding her hand over her mouth.
"I am sorry, we didn't mean to disturb you, but we called and you both didn't answer. Maybe, we should go wait outside," Alvin teased the girls.
"Hi, Rachel," The younger girl waves towards Rachel albeit still holding the same mirth.
"H-Hey there, little angel," Rachel waves back though pensively, as much as a flirt and assertive person she is, she herself doesn't feel easy to act all out in front of Kate's younger sister, Lynn.
Kate, every so shy, quickly marched out of the room, grabbing the younger girl's hand and pulling her with herself, " C-Come on, Lynn, we are g-going to be late,"
"I'm coming, geez. Don't pull me so hard," Lynn complains and frowns though her lips still twitch as she relishes looking at her elder sister's red face, "Sorry, Rachel. It was Alvin," she hollers from outside, to which Kate replies sharply calling for her name again.
Rachel turns towards Alvin, who already has his hands up in defense, "You Runt! You sure have grown balls to get a one up on me. Come here!"
"No! I'll tell mom on you!" Alvin tries to back away.
Rachel quickly grabs him by the head and puts him in a lose headlock, "Still a momma's boy, even after scoring a girlfriend like Lynn,"
Alvin's face grows red, "S-She's not my girlfriend. I told you, we are just in the same class and she's my friend." he pulls himself out of Rachel's loose hold and huffs while fixing his hair.
"Just a matter of time, but remember Al, my boy. If you ever mistreat my babe's sister. You gonna get it," Rachel warns the young boy, who groans trying to mask his own flushed face.
"Ugh! Whatever you are thinking, you blonde gorilla! Anyways, let's go already, they are waiting," Alvin frowns though his crimson face.
"Okay, let's bail kiddo, we can't make our girlfriends wait,"
"For the last time, she's not my girlfriend,"
"Yeah yeah," She picks up her jacket, wearing it. She turns off the lights and leave's the room while bickering with the brunette haired boy.
Rachel and Kate, I cannot help but gush about them. They look so cute together that it almost outshines everything when they are in the same room. Cheesy? Well, that's how it is for them. But it wasn't easy for them to be together. We as friends could only support them. Rest was up to Rachel and Kate themselves. Kate's mom, still the alpha bitch of the family, she was intended to separate them and things went really bad for both of them.
But Mr. Marsh, Kate's father, he supported Kate, and also Lynn, her sister. This somehow gave the push Kate really needed, despite her mother threatening to disown Kate, outcasting her from the church and everything. Once she turned eighteen, Kate moved out of her house, although with Mr. Marsh's consent. Her dorm and school expenses were already covered by Mr. Marsh so at least Big Momma Marsh didn't have much say on it. With her mother out of the equation, Kate was finally free to live her life as she wanted. And she is openly dating Rachel without any sort of fear and judging eyes and she still holds fast to her beliefs. To her, religious is sharing love, and loving someone from their heart unconditionally is not something that could be considered a sin. I love how she thinks and I just hope their future is always bright and full of joy.
"Victoria, for the last time, if you, one more time, say that you don't wanna come, I swear I will drag your queen bitch ass all the way there," Dana has her hands on her waist and a fierce scowl on her face.
"Ugh! Whatever, it's not like Price will shut her mouth. I don't want to be the butt of the joke if she throws me out," the pixie blonde glares back equally, as she crosses her arms.
Dana huffs loudly, "You know what, I have had enough. I am calling, Max and you will tell her yourself you are not coming," Dana takes out her phone.
Victoria looks up abruptly, and points her finger towards the tall brunette, "Don't you dare, Dana!"
"Then, you have no say. Do you think Max will let Chloe do that to you? It's like you don't even trust her," Dana tries to play with words. She knows Victoria has both respect and utmost care for Max, much to the astonishment of the whole Vortex Club. With time, Max has become an Achilles heel for Victoria Chase, the Queen Bee of Black Well Academy. And it can be considered a truth as anyone who saw how hard Victoria cried when she learned Max had been kidnapped and almost lost herself and next day until Max returned to Blackwell, she would visit Max. And it was enough of an ammunition for the bubbly brunette. Whenever Dana has to tone down Victoria, she would mention Max to blackmail her and now was one of those moments again.
Victoria rolls her eyes, "Fine! I swear if it turns bad, it's your head. Give me an hour, I will get ready."
"God, It's not a posh party, Victoria, it's just a get-together. Fifteen minutes, and I am dragging your ass out of whatever hole you are going to hide, Tori," Dana warns her, "I'll be waiting, and by the way, I already messaged Max that you are coming, and she sounded really happy. So you have no way out unless you want to hurt Max's feelings."
Hearing that Max was happy inviting Victoria, a crimson hue grows on her face and she masks it with a loud groan, "UGH! I will kill you, you bimbo slut," but internally she was flipping all over. Sure her feeling for Max might have been unrequited, but it was not something she could stop feeling, just because she resolved to be friends. But that connection she so longed to make with Max, was still intact, even after all these months. Max had really forgiven her and they become really close friends, bickering, and saltish at times, but still, they were an inspiration for each other, and that made the pixie really happy. With these happy thoughts, She stands and walks out of Dana's dorm room to get ready.
I have so much to say about my time in Blackwell when I returned, I never knew so many people cared about me, even the Vortex Club members showed their concern and welcomed me. I found out that Warren and Brooke were still dating and Brooke finally got over her own anxiety and uncalled jealousy for me. I am glad it turned out that way.
Tori really became a nice person after all. If I didn't visit her in her room that day, I don't know how things would have turned out. But I believed that if I was getting a second chance in life, she deserved it also and it turned out to be a good call. Point for Max.
Though I still hate Mr. Jeffershit for harassing me and getting involved in Kate's personal life. But these days, he has been acting quite strange. He still holds that air of aloofness, almost calm, yet I always felt he's been observing a lot lately. What or who, I just can't make my mind. Although, despite everything. He welcomed me back in the class and somehow been supportive of my studies, which I believe is something or at least the only good thing I saw in him.
It's been three months since that night. So much happened in those months. But hey, we both cannot be greedy and spill all the beans. Right, Mr. Diary?'
Chloe opens the door and peeks in, "Maxaroni, you ready, everyone is here," She enters the room closing the door behind her, "Writing your diary again? Seriously, I think this notebook has become more of your partner than me."
Max smiles towards the blunette and closes the diary, getting up, she glances towards Chloe, who, for once, looks all prim and proper in a navy blue buttoned up shirt, fit black jeans, and her ever so present beanie, placed lankily on her head. Max's smile grows broader, 'No matter how many times I look at her, she gets even prettier and handsome.' "I am done for today, and by the way…" she extends her arm towards Chloe, who steps in and holds her hand, getting close, "No one will ever take your place in my life, Price. You promised, we will grow old together, and still love each other. There will be ups and downs in our life, there will be times, I will act spoilt,"
Chloe smirks and raises her eye brow, "Ain't you do that all the time, Maxi…" Max pounds on Chloe's chest, "Oofh! No violence, I am against violence," which deserves her another pinch.
"Shut up, let me finish, you, dork!" Max scowls at her but still holding her smile, which Chloe mirrors again. Her radiant smile makes Max gush on her and she wraps her around Chloe's neck, while the blunette rest her hand the red head's waist and pulls her closer, "Che…"
"Hmm?" Chloe hums softly through her smile.
Max warns Chloe, although mockingly, "I will say this only one time, so if you disturb me with any of your snarky and dorkish quips, you will face serious consequences, do you understand, Chloe Price?" The blunette replies with a gulp and frantic nod. Seeing the punk has decided to zip up, the red head continues, "Che… thank you, for everything. For staying with me, for being with me when I needed you the most. For… for not abandoning me in… in that dark room," her eyes gets misty.
"Max…" Chloe speaks softly, only for Max to put her finger on Chloe's lips to silence her and shakes her head slowly.
"Thank you, for always showing your love to me, for accepting me as who I am and what I have become, me, my good points, my bad ones, my… the another me," She mentioned Maxine, only for her counterpart to speak.
'Glad, you still remember me,'
'Stupid, you are part of me, I will never abandon you.'
Maxine doesn't say anything, but Max feels a calm inside her head, "Che, you accepted me, even though, I became a burden. You accepted my pain, my torments, and my flaws. You accepted everything about me. Thank you, for everything. This time, I want to ask you something."
"W-What is it, Max?" Chloe swallows the huge lump in her throat. Max has always been expressive, but tonight, her voice is not wavering, her emotions are intact, Chloe had heard these words before, but tonight, each and every word has a weight in it.
Max continues, "I know, it's too soon to make such promises, and I m not at a place to ask you this yet. But… I want to… right now, when I can…" this time she swallows hard, "Chloe, will you… take care of me… forever?" the instant the words escape her mouth, blood rushes on her face, making it crimson.
Chloe stands there, in a trance, mouth agape, as she tries to understand, and gradually she does, her eyebrows rises and her own face turns red, and all she does is nod frantically, and tears form in her eyes, yet she keeps nodding, and she leans in as their foreheads joined together, noses almost touching. Chloe's ragged and thick voice almost comes out as a whisper "Y-yes, yes… I will. I p-promise I will, Max. Forever!"
And without another, word, without saying anything further, Max rises on her toes and places her lips softly on Chloe's which the blunette returns, readily. But it is different, this one kiss holds the promise they just made to each other. They become one.
EN: Ola, my friends. Uhhh… okay, so I will admit. I suck at epilogs, I never wrote one, and I don't know how to write one. So I did what I always do best in such conditions, wing it and let it flow.
But I do hope this has answered all those lingering questions. About our dynamic sugary duos. I did not wanted a time skipe like far in decades and wanted the timeline to be as near as it could warrant accompanying certain events that unfolded during those months. Yeah, I know there some more questions than answers. What can I say, I am a greedy bear after all. Sitting in a dark corner of my cave, brewing another story. I have idea's ways to expand Abyss's Universe a bit, like a spin-off series with AmberMarsh and The Prescotts. Usually Prescotts are always layered with Chloe and Max's story, but hey. I would say if I were to write a spin-off series, I want our freckled face and the blunette to take a breather. I am not a complete sadist. But there are no promises for a sequel or a a spin-off series. Just voicing my thoughts ( for now…)
So, this is it. The final update of Out of the Abyss, six months of grueling journey, of ups and downs in the story. With the subject I chose, and the theme of the over all fics. It covered some very heavy stuff, so first, I'd like to apologize to all those people whom I've offended in any ways or form with my story and my writing. All of those are unintentional, and meant to tell a story, never to scratch on someone else's wounds. I am saying cuz I know that feel the most than anyone. Like I mentioned before, I added a lot of my own personal feelings in this story, mostly on Max and Rachel. It was not easy, writing their characters. Writing about anxities, about abuse and bullying. Unfortunately, not even Max has a Chloe or Rachel in their life. So I'd only say to those people to hold fast, and claw their way out of whatever Abyss they are in, because a weak willed person like me can do. I believe, you are a far stronger than me. So don't give up, don't be pulled back into the dark, push your way out, and become strong. You might think you have been pushed to the corner and there is no one out there to reach for you. Then, my dear friend, you are wrong. You are alone, only when you yourself want to be alone. There are people there, reach out to them, don't isolate yourself, speak out, lash out, scream, do whatever you can and get noticed. Uhh… okay, I think this is getting way out of the hand. So, I'll shut up.
Anyways, about the story, I hope you have liked my personal take on LiS story, and I did try my best to keep the theme of the game intact, even with themes that were really not something people usually write or fictionalize. With this, Out of the Abyss comes to an end, unless I have other things to add like I mentioned above, a spin-off or a sequel.
What I have in future? Well, Metamorphosis is one, Then I have another fic which I have been drafting, compiling data, and ideas, it's a post-bay fic, a WIP title 'Sins of the Past' I might write a prolog chapter or something soon.
Well, that's enough for my ranting. Thank you very much for staying until the end and endure my broken and mundane grammar-mistakes-prone, story. I do hope to hear your thoughts on this story. Please share your comments and reviews. Until next time.