Chloe’s never been the kind of person to make New Year’s resolutions. She finds it hard enough to stick to things, putting a time limit, an expectation, to achieve something, she knows she’d only disappoint herself at the end of the year when she’d failed. If she wants to change something about herself, why can’t she do it through the year?
The boys encourage her to make one - Aaron because he finds the whole thing amusing and likes to point out when a resolution is broken a week into the new year, and Mark because he likes anything goal-setting and planning focused, which is a given. She doesn’t feel the need to create a resolution because, simply put, there’s nothing currently in her life she wants to change.
For the first time in her life, Chloe feels content with the way everything is. Nothing she should be doing less of, or more of (not that she’s taken a real, objective look at herself to figure that out, but even if she did, wouldn’t be making a resolution on fixing), because she has someone who loves her for exactly who she is. She has Elly.
She’s never felt anything like this before, this intense wave of adoration for someone, the way her heart swoops when she thinks about Elly, or sees her, or talks to her, or gets to kiss her. She’s never been loved either, at least, where it counted, she knows a bunch of people who had feelings for her, but she couldn’t accept their love. On some level, maybe she felt like their love was wasted on her, that she didn’t deserve it, initially that’s how she felt with Elly. Elly’s smart, Chloe had thought, one of her many positive qualities, she understands what she’s getting herself into. Chloe couldn’t afford to let her insecurities ruin her chance. Though, she must’ve been doing something right for a woman as perfect as Elly to reciprocate her love.
The idea that Elly loves her back still makes her giddy with excitement, and while she’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness, she’s never in her life felt luckier.
So when they’re all standing at the kitchen table, making their resolutions, Chloe comes up with nothing.
“No really I don’t know,” she says, laughing uncomfortably at the attention on her.
“There has to be something,” Aaron says, desperate for her to pick something. She doesn’t know why he’s so surprised, she’s never done resolutions and he knows that. He puts up a finger, “One thing that you want for next year.”
She exhales, shaking her head,
“Really Az, I can’t think of anything,” she looks at Elly by her side, who smiles down at her. She leans into her side, “I’ve already got everything I want,” she lays her head on Elly’s shoulder.
“Suck,” he teases.
“It’s sweet,” David defends, although he knows Aaron is only joking.
He nods toward the brunette,
“Alright, your turn Elly.”
Elly winds her arm around Chloe’s shoulders, pushing her hand softly up into Chloe’s hair. Gently stroking as she says,
“I’d like my job back, but aside from that, there’s nothing,” her smile is sweet and she turns her head to give Chloe a chaste kiss.
Her heart curls with the kiss, brief and yet has so much love in it. Elly smiles warmly, the love in her eyes apparent - Chloe still struggles to associate that with herself, Elly’s amazing, and she’s chosen Chloe to love, to have and to hold. If she loves her, why would Chloe want to change anything about herself? It’s a miracle, and Chloe won’t mess with that.
“You’ll get it back,” Chloe tells her quietly, promising. Elly’s a born teacher, passionate about what she does, she’s one of if not the smartest person Chloe knows, there’s no way this unemployment is long term. “I know you will.”
They start out at the picnic, situated in the Lassiters complex between the Waterhole and the Coffee Hut. There’s a breeze where Chloe sits on a rug on the ground, but Elly blocks most of it out, curled in behind her. She spends the majority of the time relaxing back in Elly’s arms, only taking in half of what the boys are saying, it’s not her fault that she’s so warm, and comfortable. When they do have to leave, however, to film their resolutions for Piper, Chloe stands up, offering a hand out to Elly. She takes it, letting Chloe pull her up and into her side.
Instead of making up a random resolution for the sake of it, she says exactly what’s on her mind. She feels ecstatic, like she’s living in a bliss she’d never imagined, feels so lucky and so loved. It’s mushy and gross, she knows if anyone else were talking like this she would tease them, but as foreign as the feeling is, she understands it now. At the end of the year the videos will be emailed back to them, Piper had said, Chloe wants to watch them back with Elly, reflect on the year, and know she didn’t hold anything back.
“What are you thinking about?” Elly asks her when they’re at the Waterhole later on. Chloe’s staring off into space, she blinks back to reality and when her eyes focus, sees Elly looking fondly at her. She’s never seen so much love in someone’s eyes when directed at her, it’s almost overwhelming.
“What?” she asks.
“I asked what you’re thinking about,” Elly smiles, “I’ve never seen you smile so much. It’s beautiful.”
“You,” Chloe tells her, feeling herself blush at not only the compliment, but the vulnerability of the whole situation. She’s never been so open with her romantic feelings, she never had a reason to before Elly, they were never strong enough, or even non-existent at times. She can be completely honest and open with Elly, she doesn’t have to worry about showing too much emotion around her because she knows Elly would never judge her. She can tell her she loves her and knows it’s reciprocated, she’s wearing tiger ears that match Chloe’s right now without any complaints - that’s a declaration of love in itself. “And I’ve never been this happy in my life before, that’s why.”
Elly smiles, and so Chloe continues.
“Nobody has loved me as much, or probably even cared about me as much as you do. I just feel really, really lucky is all.”
“I’m the lucky one,” Elly tells her. “and I promise I will make you feel loved and cared for every day of 2019.”
She smiles, but before she can respond Shane is counting down the seconds to the New Year. Chloe takes a step forward, closer to Elly.
“So… New Year’s kiss, or should I go and find someone else?” she asks, head tilted to the side. There’s a flicker of a smile on Elly’s lips, she continues to tease, “because I saw someone before and-“
Chloe’s cut off with five seconds left of the countdown, Elly’s lips on hers, hands cradling her face. She feels it right through her body, tingling right down to her toes, her heart speeds up but her body relaxes, knowing exactly how to respond to Elly. She wraps her arms around Elly’s neck, kissing her back. She can faintly hear the cheers around her over the rush of blood to her ears, as if everything but Elly is muffled.
“Happy New Year babe,” Elly murmurs.
Chloe smiles against Elly’s lips,
“Happy New Year.”