Contains spoilers for Ep3. 500~ words, Chloe-centric introspective Pricefield.
Chloe had always been a big fan of dares.
Perhaps it was the thrill of the unknown, the challenge
behind the smirk that accompanied it, or the knowledge that whatever she
herself ended up doing, it would royally piss off all that tried to discipline her.
Perhaps it was the element of control, as she took the reins into her own hands,
directing others into certain shame or, occasionally, danger.
Perhaps it was the way she, for once, felt like the
puppeteer of her own life.
The result, of course, was always some kind of punishment, a
good laugh before authority set in once again to render her life dull and
boring. She could hear the words running through her mind. Chloe, did you really dare Rachel to climb onto the school roof? Do you
have any idea how dangerous that is? (Of course, she did. But Chloe would
have done anything for Rachel, and she had only wanted her to prove the same.)
This time, however, it was different.
The dare had slipped from her mouth with the same familiar
smile, the same surge of power that had always flicked through her like a bolt,
the same jovial stance, the same “come on, I know you’re about to chicken out
on me, Max” face that she had adopted so many times before. Max wasn’t like
Rachel. Max wasn’t like Chloe. Max wasn’t like any of them, really. She was
good, and sweet, and kind, and if Chloe thought about it too much it hurt a
little bit and she wasn’t sure if that was jealousy or something else entirely.
Chloe didn’t want to think about that something else.
So, when she had dropped the dare as she had, suddenly, in
her domain, in her bedroom, in her control, she had hardly expected Max to fall
in line and take the bait. She had expected her to recoil, to back off, and to
wriggle out of it as she had been so good at doing before. Chloe had wanted, of
course, for her to take the opportunity – but the want was buried beneath a
thousand layers of guilt and hate and anger and most of all, the incurable
awareness that she could lose this all in a second, her trust little more than
tiny shards of broken glass, waiting to cut the palms any that came too close.
She had wanted. But everything Chloe had ever wanted was now
Except for Max.
So Chloe had been ready. She had been ready to brush off her
feelings and joke about Max’s inability to take a good dare, her defences high
and her humour sharp. The tensions would build and she would eventually snap,
when Max least expected it, like a wounded animal slowly bleeding out, but to
let her know the pain she had caused? Never.
So when Max leaned forward and brushed their lips together,
Chloe didn’t quite know what to do.
Happiness wasn’t exactly a familiar sensation within her
But as she backed off, making a casual joke about Warren’s
chances, her heart fluttered with the wings of a newborn hope.