Disclaimer: The Life is Strange franchise and its affiliated characters belong to Square Enix. All original characters and their identities are used with the express permission of their real-life counterparts.
Today is a bittersweet day. It's always nice to have a story come to its completion, but its also sad that the story has come to its end. I really enjoyed writing this story and watching the story unfold. It is nice when the story guides the author; it just leaves the author with a good feeling. I do have another story in mind, but it will take me a while to write it. Since Kate Marsh is my favorite character, it will undoubetdly involve her. Anyway, thank you to everyone who has given me feedback, favorited this story, or followed me on this journey. You are what keep my spirit encouraged! :)
I hope to see you all on other pages in the future and I wish you all the best. Keep reading, keep writing, and keep imagining! :)
~Angel'sLove447, at home, March 11th, 2017
Chapter 9: A Final Choice
The knowledge that Chloe and Max were going out as a couple was at first a well-kept secret. The first two people to know about it were Kate and Alyssa. Max trusted both of them and knew they wouldn't be judged for it. When the couple had told them, Kate had a knowing smile on the whole time, and Alyssa commented that Max had good taste. That was the night of the confession at the lighthouse.
Max told her parents next when they came to visit that weekend. Since Chloe was practically family, no one thought it strange that Chloe was with them the whole day as Max showed them around and introduced her parents to her friends. At the end of the day, Max brought her Mom and Dad back to her dorm and told them how she and Chloe were both going out. Max's father was ecstatic, and her Mom, although usually much calmer and more down-to-earth, couldn't keep the smile from her face either. Each of them hugged Max and Chloe and told them how they would always support them. They both knew how close Max and Chloe were, and the idea of them dating wasn't too farfetched for them. Kate and Alyssa had been on standby in case Max's parents hadn't been accepting, but when Max called them and they came over to Max's room, they only saw smiles on everyone's face.
Joyce and David had been next, about a week after Max met her parents, and it had been a bit of a closer call with them. Joyce was thrilled to see that the two of them were closer than ever, and had a twinkle in her eye as if she thought this could have happened. David was not as forthcoming at first however, and for a few minutes, it looked like everything that Chloe had worked to build up with her stepfather was going to come crashing down. However, with Max's gentle hand in her own and with a few deep breaths, Chloe calmed herself down and asked David to explain why he seemed to be opposed to it.
David explained that he had no problem with two women dating each other. He respected people's right to choose their partner in life. However, he was concerned about the amount of problems the two of them might go through because of other people's beliefs. Although two women could be legally married now, some people would deny them jobs, property, or even service because of it. However, he did promise to help them both however he could. David received two big hugs that day, and he always remembered that day as the first day that his stepdaughter ever hugged him.
The word spread slowly through Blackwell Academy, as Max and Chloe gave Kate and Alyssa permission to tell people, as long as they were trustworthy. That rule was passed on, and slowly but surely, the idea that Max and Chloe were dating went from a far-fetched rumor, to a piece of scandalous gossip, to a well-established fact. The duo never attempted to hide their relationship, but they weren't kissing in full view of the commons either.
The relationship was accepted by most of the people at Blackwell Academy and throughout the town, but the pair did encounter their fair share of critics. Victoria threw insults at the two whenever she saw them together, but her plan to provoke Chloe never worked, as Max was always there to take her hand, although there had been a few close calls. Eventually, Victoria had mouthed off one too many times, and Principal Wells happened to be walking around the corner in that same moment. Victoria was suspended from Blackwell for a week, but she ended up being gone for about a month. The photography teacher had gone to Principal Wells regarding the abuse of her student Kate Marsh by Victoria as well, and she ended up being in a truckload of trouble. When she returned to Blackwell, she kept her remarks to herself. She still threw nasty glares at the pair, but they always greeted her with a smile. Kate also found that photography was a far lovelier class when lead pellets weren't being fired at her, and it encouraged her to take pictures to practice illustrating.
Another major critic of theirs was Nathan's father, Sean Prescott. Max and Chloe were on a date and were going to the Two Whales Diner for dinner. When they entered, they were immediately being screamed at and cursed out by this man. Now, Max's actions had only indirectly caused Nathan's arrest, but they had played a role. Max did not want anything to do with this man, but they just happened to be in the same place at the same time. Joyce led Max and Chloe out of the diner, but led them around the back and into the back of the diner where there was a table set up with candles. With a wink, she promised she would be back to take their order soon. Max was visibly shaken up by the incident, but Chloe was there for her as she cried, and Max took comfort in knowing that Chloe would never leave her.
Max felt so much better by the time they left the diner that Chloe had convinced her to foot the bill again.
By graduation, Max had decided that she was going to be studying photography professionally at the local university just outside of Arcadia Bay while Chloe worked diligently on getting her G.E.D. before studying Psychology. Four years later, on the night in which the two of them graduated, Max and Chloe returned to the lighthouse to realize just how far they had come together.
"It's been years since we reconnected, but I never would have hoped that we would be as close as we are now, Chloe," Max mused.
"Dude, I start tripping every time I try and put my head around it. I can hardly believe it myself. We've been through a lot in the past four years, but we've always had each other to rely on. It's a stark contrast to the dark years before that, huh?"
"Yeah, but we've made enough new memories to fill up our newest photo album," Max smiled as she brought the photo album out of her bag.
"Wait, it's finally full?! Oh my goodness, that is awesome!" Chloe cried out happily. The photo album they had started the night where they confessed to each other was finally full. It was larger than the previous ones they had filled. The album contained at least 700 pictures as opposed to the standard 100-300 that some albums held. The photo on the front cover was the picture of the two of them kissing during the sunset on that fortuitous evening.
"I still had my blue hair back then too," Chloe reminisced.
"Yeah, and right after graduation, your natural color started showing more prominently again," Max recalled.
By the time Chloe had gotten her G.E.D., her hair was back to its original blonde-brown color, although she kept in the same style (albeit it a little longer). Chloe found it weird at first, but Max had reassured her that it reminded her of the Chloe she knew as a kid, just more grown up, and Chloe grew to love her natural color because of Max's love of it.
"Our years in college passed by quicker than I thought they would," Chloe mused.
Max smirked, "Yeah, and we had a lot more free time together because I made you study!"
The two were lucky to have a lot more friends than enemies in college. Some of these friends were particularly intimidating, so they weren't bothered too much. With Max and Chloe, their greatest strength was each other. They worked off each other, covering for each other in areas they weren't as strong in. Their families were also great sources of support, and they were always grateful for that.
"Yeah. I easily got used to sleeping by your side Max," said Chloe gently, taking Max's hand and giving it a gentle squeeze which Max returned.
"You got used to a lot more than that," Max smirked, and Chloe grinned back.
The two girls stayed at Chloe's house most of the time because the university was easily within commuting distance. It started as sleeping in the same room, but it wasn't long before they slept in the same bed, and then that same bed with less clothing on. The two girls did explore the more physical side of their relationship as well, but they each respected the boundaries of the other. However, it would be enough to say they knew how to make the other person happy.
"Do you really like sleeping next to me Chloe?" Max asked innocuously.
Chloe raised an eyebrow, "Um, duh. You're my girlfriend Max, and being by you always makes me happy. We relied on each other all through college Max, and I slept better knowing that you would be next to me when I woke up."
Max looked at Chloe with an expression of utmost compassion and love. Her blue eyes were swimming with emotion, desire, and…nervousness?
"Chloe, I want you to know that I really enjoyed waking up with you every morning as well. You were always there to support me, and I had so much fun, even on the harder days with you around. However, I was wondering if you would be okay with a more…permanent arrangement?"
Chloe was confused for a moment before she began putting the pieces together. Her mind started to race and her hands began to sweat. "Max? Are you…?"
Max took both of Chloe's hands in hers and breathed heavily, "Chloe, I can safely say that my life is not the same without you in it. You are not only my lover but also my best friend, my partner in crime, my source of comfort on bad days, the person who shares in my joy on the good days, and my constant ray of sunshine. You make me smile, you make me laugh, you understand my emotional side, you know how to break the tension and talk things out, and I've come to love everything about you unconditionally. I always want you in my life not just today, or tomorrow, or a week from now. I want you in my life forever." Max got down on one knee in front of Chloe, keeping one hand in her own, and reached into her pocket to grab a jewelry box.
"Chloe Price, will you marry me?"
Chloe opened the box and gasped as a beautiful white gold ring with a small light-blue colored diamond came into view.
Chloe smiled as tears came streaming down her face, "Yes Max! A thousand times yes!"
Max's own tears washed down her face, but she took the ring and slid it onto Chloe's finger before Chloe lifted her into the air and twirled them around and then brought their lips together into a passionate, love-filled kiss. The two lovers embraced, silhouetted by the sunlight on the bay. Chloe grabbed the camera from Max's bag, and the two smiled as Chloe took the picture, the ring clearly visible to everyone. They didn't care about the visible tears; all they cared about was the moment they were enraptured in. There was much more hugging and kissing before they left the lighthouse that evening, and much more happened that night than the two of them ever cared to explain! (Use your imagination!)
A year later, Max stood in a beautiful dress in front of an altar. The dress was long and flowing, and tinted a light pink. There was a gentle veil covering her head, and she was elated that the day had finally come.
The same night that Max had proposed to Chloe, they told Joyce and David about it. The two were elated, and Joyce was very enthusiastic about planning the wedding with Chloe. David also had a few connections, and he did the best to plan an amazing wedding for his stepdaughter however he could. Max told her parents in person a few days later, and much of the same sentiments were expressed. The Caulfields had always been enamored with Chloe, so it seemed like a mere formality that she was becoming part of the family. However, Max's parents were just as eager to help plan, and this led Joyce and David to become good friends with Robyn and Clyde.
The guest list mainly consisted of their friends from Blackwell and the local university, as well as their extended family members. Obviously, Kate and Alyssa were coming, and Chloe had Alyssa be her bridesmaid while Kate was Max's. Clyde and David were ushers, and that meant that David was able to make sure that his stepdaughter's wedding was safe, as well as enjoyable. Robyn and Joyce made sure that everything was organized, from the reception to the clothing to the music, everything was as close to perfect as possible. Of course, they also cried and gushed over how beautiful their daughters were. Clyde and David had similar sentiments as well.
Max had requested that the front pew on both sides of the church be left empty in respect for those who had gone before, such as Rachel Amber and William Price. Chloe had given her an extra big hug for that idea. Max would swear to Chloe later on that she actually saw William and Rachel at least twice during the ceremony, and Chloe believed her 100%. Joyce believed her too, saying that of course William would show up to his daughter and unofficial daughter's wedding day.
When the entrance music started and Chloe walked down the aisle, Max felt her heart catch in her throat. Chloe's dress was very similar to her own, except tinted a light blue. Chloe had a radiant smile on her face, and all of her attention was directed toward her partner, clad in her pink-tinted white dress. They were so absorbed in each other that they went through the service without really thinking, until they came to the vows. Both Chloe and Max had elected to say their own vows to each other.
Max went first, "Chloe, from the day we met, your strawberry blonde hair was a staple in my life. We saw each other almost every day, and we did the same things that all girls do: braid each other's hair, have playdates and sleepovers, steal your Mom's delicious cookies, take pictures…and play video games." Chloe grinned. "We were separated for a few years, but when I came back, we reconnected in a very big way. You may think that I saved your life, but it turns out that we saved each other. I will forever remember the day we became lovers by the lighthouse, and engaged four years later at the same place. You are the other half of my soul, and when I feel that I can't go on, you are always there for me. I feel stronger when you are with me, and I know that I can always count on you to know me better than I know myself sometimes. If I do nothing else with my life, I can at least say that I found the one person who will always love me unconditionally."
Chloe took a few seconds to compose herself before saying her vow, "Max, you're the most lovable hipster I've ever met. Our friendship was forged on the fact that we liked all the same things, even though our personalities were different. You made me enjoy video games, and I introduced you to actual music. My darkest years were when you weren't by my side, but then you came charging back in like a flash of light. From that point on, you have always been my light. You guided me from a very destructive rebel to a constructive rebel, and I will always be your partner in crime. I'm looking forward to filling up many more photo albums together for us to treasure in the many years we will have together. You saved my life twice over Max, and I will gladly spend each day loving you because of who you are. Even if you're a hipster, you'll always be my hipster!"
If everyone in the audience was crying because of Max's vow, everyone was laughing because of Chloe's. She was just as loving and compassionate, but the language she used was downright hilarious. Chloe had actually asked the pastor if her vow was okay, and Pastor Megan said that it was fine, as long as it contained her true feelings and would convey her love for Max. Truth be told, Pastor Megan was a bit of a rebel herself, and she liked how Chloe casually shattered the conventional norm.
Pastor Megan first turned to Max and asked, "Maxine Caulfield, do you take Chloe Price to be your lawfully wedded wife, from this day forward, to always support, care, and love, to be faithful to in the good times and the bad, to reassure her when doubt clouds her mind, and to be a ray of hope for her when she feels lost for as long as you both shall live?"
Max smiled, "I do."
"Chloe Price, do you take Maxine Caulfield to be your lawfully wedded wife, to always support, care, and love, to be faithful to in the good times and the bad, to reassure her when doubt clouds her mind, and to be her beacon of hope when she feels lost for as long as you both shall live?"
Chloe beamed, "I do."
Pastor Megan smiled. It was a true joy to see two people as extremely in-tune with each other as Max and Chloe were. They would be a wonderful couple indeed.
"By the power invested in me, it gives me great pleasure to announce the two of you as wives. The brides may kiss!"
Max and Chloe lifted each other's veils and gave each other a kiss that was filled with all of their love for the other.
"I present Mrs. Maxine and Mrs. Chloe Caulfield!"
The audience erupted into applause and Max and Chloe were surrounded as well-wishers came to greet them and congratulate them on their marriage. Unbeknownst to the rest of the crowd, there were two people who were just as enthusiastic as the rest, but only one person had seen them. William Price was overcome with emotion as his only daughter was married to the most friend she had ever had, and Rachel Amber applauded with a huge smile on her face.
As they exited, Rachel caught Max's eye and waved. Max smiled and waved back.
At the reception, there was a card lying at Max's seat. Max placed in the pile with the rest of the cards, but took note that it almost seemed to glow, as if brighter than even the brightest white envelope.
That evening, after the reception and the dozens of photos, several of which Max had taken with her ever-trusty Polaroid, Chloe and Max were in their room together and reading through all of the cards they had received. They reached the luminous envelope, and inside was a single note that read,
"Max, always remember that everyone has the power to change the world. You don't need to be able to time travel to make a difference in the lives of others. As long as you reach out with good intentions, you can make a positive impact in someone's life. You've been doing that very well. Keep up the great work."
The note was unsigned, but a look between Max and Chloe confirmed who it was.
Chloe smiled as she read the note, "I think you have made quite a difference in the lives of some people, Max. I can think of one in particular."
Max returned her lover's smile, "Oh, really? Who might that be?"
Chloe moved so that their foreheads were touching, "She's right here, and she's very grateful for you loving her."
Max kissed her forehead and cooed, "I am very happy to love her," before losing herself in Chloe.
Outside, a luminous white butterfly sat on the window and shimmered in happiness. All it took was one act of courage to change a person's life, and the lives of others as well.
The future was very bright indeed.