xxxiii. we fell in love in october


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   THREE MONTHS HAD past. Summer had blown away with the autumn wind and the smell of falling leaves and rainy days settled upon Hawkins once again. It was October, almost a year since Elizabeth Harrington and Max Mayfield had met. It was also a week before their three month anniversary. A week after the Starcourt Mall battle, the two girls had started dating. They had come out to their friends who were all very supportive, although Lucas was a little jealous that a girl had been the one to finally break up Max and Lucas. He had told them he wasn't surprised, though, as the two girls had always been closer than friends usually were.

   Despite their decade's views on girls who kissed other girls, Liz and Max had gone on a couple of dates since they officially started dating. They had to be careful to not show too much affection but it almost made the whole thing more thrilling. Liz would be lying if she said she didn't find any thrill in sneaking hand-holding and kisses in the back of coffee shops and on park swingsets.

   They had many sleepovers, Max spending more time at Liz's house than her own, but that also had something to do with the fact that she was still grieving over the death of Billy. She had yet to talk about it to Liz, only mentioning that she missed him or smiling when she heard his favorite song. Liz had done her best to comfort Max whenever she had breakdowns. During the first month without him, Max had cried more than she had smiled but it had gotten better eventually and Liz stopped seeing tearstains coating Max's cheeks.

   Liz could safely say she had never felt happier, despite the fact that the Byers family including Eleven were moving away. Joyce had taken Eleven in after the battle at Starcourt. Hopper had sacrificed himself to close the gate and save everyone, so Joyce took her in as her own. Joyce had decided quickly that the best decision for both Will and Eleven was to move. The party was upset but they knew Will and Eleven were only a couple hours drive away and they would still be able to see them.

   So, despite Liz feeling happier than ever, the move hung over her head that October morning. She wasn't very excited to send her friends off but she knew what Joyce was doing was the right thing. After everything that happened, the Byers family needed a break and a change. Liz had gotten up early that morning and headed over to Max's house for a bit before they went to the Byers household to help them with last-minute packing.

   Max was currently helping Liz learn how to skateboard. She had promised to teach her a year ago and they were finally getting to it. Liz stood on the skateboard as Max stood in front of her. Liz had a helmet on, along with elbow and knee pads. Liz gripped onto Max's shoulders as if her life depended on it as Max rested her hands on Liz's waist. Max thought it was adorable how freaked out Liz was about riding a skateboard. After all the monsters Liz had battled, it was a simple skateboard that got her worked up, "Babe, you're gonna be fine."

   Liz sighed, "You promise?"

   Max smiled at the girl, "I promise."

   Liz took a few deep breaths, trying to swallow her fear. She took one look into Max's blue eyes and felt safe. Liz smiled and nodded at Max. Max smiled wide and started to push Liz by her hips, making the skateboard move down the road slowly. Liz's heart rate rose from the nerves but the feeling of Max's hands on her waist calmed her. Max started to slowly speed up before she loosened her grip slightly, "I'm gonna let go, okay? You're gonna be fine."

   Liz nodded and almost closed her eyes as Max let go. Liz screamed as she was now riding down the street with nobody to hold onto. She calmed down, telling herself she would definitely crash if she was freaking out. She quickly calmed herself by taking deep breaths and focused on the wind blowing through her hair. Soon, she was smiling as Max cheered her on. Liz went a few more feet before she leaned back like Max taught her and stopped the skateboard in it's tracks. She hopped off and grabbed the skateboard before running back to Max who met her halfway and hugged her, "Yes! That was great! I told you it would be fine."

   Max glanced down at her watch, "We should get going in a minute."

   Liz took a look at the time on Max's watch and nodded, "Can I get some water first?"

   "Yeah," Max smiled. Max escorted Liz into her house. Liz headed to the kitchen, already knowing where it was from all the time she had spent in Max's house. "I'm gonna go to the bathroom really quick and then we can go."

   Liz nodded, "Okay."

   Liz grabbed a glass from the cupboard before filling it up with water from the sink. She downed the water, savoring the cool drink. Liz placed the cup in the sink before making her way to the living room. Liz observed the picture frames above the fireplace and smiled as she saw a baby picture of Max. Her bright red hair was just as bright as it was now. Liz continued observing the photos as she waited for Max. She had gone through all of them twice before she started wondering where Max was. It had been a few minutes and Max still hadn't come out of the bathroom.

   Liz made her way to the hallway that led to the bedrooms and the bathroom. The bathroom door was open and the light was off. Liz furrowed her brows and headed to Max's room, thinking she might've gone to her room to grab something. When she walked by, the room was empty but right across the hall was Billy's bedroom. Liz peeked in and saw Max sitting on the bed, tears in her eyes, and a couple following down her cheeks.

   Liz frowned and stepped into the room. Max sniffled as she fiddled with her fingers. Liz sat beside her on the edge of the bed and grabbed her hand to hold it. She ran her thumb over Max's knuckles, knowing Max felt a great amount of comfort when Liz did that small gesture. Liz didn't say a word and let Max cry for a moment. This was a scene that Liz had seen many times before over the past three months and she had learned to just be quiet and be there for Max until she was ready to talk.

   After a few moments, Max wiped her eyes with her free hand, "Sorry, I just... I just got really emotional. I couldn't really control it."

   Liz shook her head and moved her hand so it was resting on Max's back. She rubbed it lightly, "Hey, you don't have to apologize ever for crying over Billy. He was your brother. You may have technically gone through all five stages of grief but you are still allowed to cry over him."

   Max sniffled before turning to Liz with a smile. Her eyes were puffy and rimmed red with a few tears still floating around. Max leaned into Liz's touch and rested her head on Liz's shoulder. Liz wrapped her arm tighter around Max and held the girl. She rubbed her back and shoulders until Max was ready to leave.

   The girls got to the Byers household and right in front was a big moving truck. It didn't feel real to Liz until she walked into the house and saw no more furniture and only a few more boxes left. Everyone helped take the rest of the boxes out to the moving truck before the goodbyes started. Liz had started crying even before then. The idea of saying goodbye to Will and Eleven broke her heart. She had known Will since elementary school and she had gone through so much with him, more than the average person will ever go through with anyone. She walked up to him and wrapped her arms around him tightly as he started to cry. She felt sobs rack his body as he hugged her.

   When Liz spotted Eleven, she started crying even more. Eleven was the first girl Liz had ever gotten close to. From the moment they found her in those woods the day after Will went missing, she knew Eleven was going to end up being very important to all of them. She hugged Eleven as tight as she could and she could feel Eleven's tears soaking her shirt. Liz rubbed her back and whispered funny memories into the girl's ear, hoping to make her smile or laugh, which it did and it made Liz happier.

   After all the goodbyes were said, the group stood back as Will, Eleven, Jonathan, and Joyce piled into their vehicles. Liz wiped her tears as Max stood beside her and held her hand tightly. Liz watched with a heavy heart as the vehicles drove away, taking two of her best friends with them. Max held up their interlocked fingers to her lips and kissed the back of Liz's hand, letting her know that everything would be okay. And it was. For the first time in two years, Liz was truly happy and everything was finally okay.



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[ 1675 WORDS ]

thank you to anyone who has
ever voted or commented on
this story. you are the reason that
i had the inspiration & motivation
to continue writing !

i have had the best time telling
elizabeth harrington's story for the
past two and a half years. it's been a
good ride. thank you so much. & i hope all
of you continue to read my other books !

goodbye ! i love you !