|posted on 12-Oct-2001 9:12:22 AM|
|Something to Believe in – BY KAZZA|
Disclaimer: In the alternate universe that all Roswell Fanfic writers visit, I own Roswell. Sadly, in the real world, I own nothing, so please don’t sue me! I promise to return the characters good as new. I do, however, own the idea to this story.
Summary: Alternate Universe. Not set in Roswell and there are no aliens in sight! Just your regular love story!
Category: A bit of everyone
Rating: PG-13 (For now!!)
Dedication: This story is dedicated to Jo, my amazing Roswell e-buddy, whom I’ve had the privileged pleasure to meet. A wonderful person who truly has a pure heart of gold.
Authors Notes: This is my own story, generated from my own imagination. I apologise if any of my ‘American’ terms are incorrect, please forgive me since I don’t live there!
FROM PART 12
As she laid in the bath that night, Liz was certain of one thing, she had to dig herself out of the terrible mess she was now in. Facing Max after her meltdown and then run would be too tough. She didn’t normally dart from confrontation, but this time she was prepared to concede.
Max Evans had gotten under her skin, and been the closest guy since Kyle to succeed in his quest towards her heart. But that had to stop, and now, before things got even more complicated. She was a loner in life, plain and simple, love and relationships just didn’t go with that.
The answer was clear to her, as the hazy mist from the scorching bath circled around the bathroom. She had to go and see James Valenti tomorrow and sort it out once and for all. She had to regain control of a situation that had threatened to spiral rapidly out of control.
The following morning, Liz awoke with purpose and determination. She’d tossed, turned and thought about it all night, and finally she felt at peace with her decision. It wasn’t necessary professional, but Liz was prepared to go to great lengths to get her secure life back again.
From the moment she walked into the office, Maria could tell Liz was on a mission. Her boss had strode in forcefully, and made plenty of noise banging down her briefcase and switching on her laptop.
“Everything ok Liz?” Maria queried gently.
“Yes, fine thank you. Can you please find out when I can see James today, preferably this morning. It won’t take long, thirty minutes should be fine.” Liz said, smiling curtly at her secretary.
“Sure, no problem.” Maria replied, desperately wanting to know what was going on, but realising now was not the best time to quiz Liz. If she questioned her boss’s motives Maria had the thought she just might get her head bitten off.
The time seemed to stand still while Maria arranged the appointment. Liz was anxious to squeeze the meeting in as soon as possible, to get it over quickly and implement the changes. She was due to have a meeting with Max the following day, and she wanted to avoid it at all costs.
“Ok, James can fit you in now, if you don’t take any longer than 30 minutes. He’s got a board meeting with a Japanese consortium at 10.30 am you see.” Maria informed her.
“That’s fine, thank you Maria.” Liz replied, jumping to her feet with zest.
Striding down to his office, Liz paused for a few seconds outside the grand chestnut door, before rapping her knuckles firmly.
“Come in.” James responded casually.
“Good morning James.” Liz said, walking into the office and taking a seat in the leather chair opposite her boss.
“Morning Liz, how are you today?”
“I’m very well thank you. And you?”
“Not too bad. Now, what’s the problem then?” He asked, knowing she hadn’t come to his office for light chitchat. Her strong, forceful body language screamed she had a mission and wasn’t going to stop until he knew about it.
“Ok.” She paused for a moment, fleetingly wondering if this was such a good idea. “I have thought long and hard over the weekend, and I would like to suggest we terminate the contract of Evans Consulting.” She said calmly but firmly.
“Really?” James replied, in mock shock, as if he hadn’t been expecting it.
It wasn’t that James had thought Liz would go to such lengths, but it had been clear to him from the moment Max Evans had come on board that Liz was not happy. He’d gotten under her skin and James had been sure it was just a matter of time before Liz ran scared. Perhaps Max Evans had stood on her toes, or pushed his weight around too much and had certainly got Liz’s back up. He wasn’t certain that was the problem, but he guessed it had at least something to do with Max.
“Yes.” She replied firmly, as if her forcefulness would sway the steely Jim Valenti.
“Ok …..… and do I get an explanation as to why?” He asked, knowing whatever it was, it was big. For Liz Parker to put her personal life before business, it had to be something major.
“Well, I believe we have a more than adequate team here inside the company who can cope with the take over. Alex and I have done it before, we know we can cope. I am prepared to put in whatever hours are necessary to make this work. We can do this on our own sir, without the vast expense of hiring Evans Consulting.” Liz stressed, as if using money would sway Jim round to her way of thinking.
Watching her try to justify her words, Jim couldn’t help but wonder what the rout of the problem was. He had known bringing in Max Evans could cause a few waves, but he still believed it was the right decision. Watching her bright eyes burning back at him as he digested her passionate speech, Jim suddenly realised what was fuelling his best employee.
“Ok, I can understand your protests Liz, and I thank you for bringing them to my attention.” He said calmly, waiting for her response.
“But?” She queried, sensing her pleas had fallen on deaf ears.
“But I am afraid removing Evans Consulting from the project is not a feasible option.” He replied, waiting for her protests.
“Why not?” She asked indignantly as if her views counted for nothing.
“Because I believe having Max on board for the project will help everything move forward smoothly. Don’t get me wrong Liz, I have complete faith in you and Alex, but I think this take over is just a little big even for you.”
“But I have to disagree sir.” She protested.
“It isn’t up for discussion Liz, I’ve made my decision and that’s final.” James informed her, putting his foot down, but not liking to have to be firm with Liz. This wasn’t like her, he was sure she could see the project worked better with Max also. There was clearly a deeper routed problem, and he was determined to get to the bottom of it. Whatever it was, it was affecting her work and judgement, and he didn’t like that.
“Yes sir.” Liz replied dutifully, through gritted teeth, trying to stay calm as she secretly seethed.
“May I ask you a question Liz?” James asked, watching her response to his words. It was plainly obvious that she was most upset Evans Consulting were still going to be on the project, but James was prepared to hazard a guess it wasn’t necessarily business. Something had got the normally calm Liz Parker flustered, and something told James Valenti it had more than a little to do with the suave Maxwell Evans.
“Erm, sure.” Liz replied, trying to hide how down she was feeling at that moment.
“Is your reluctance to have Evans Consulting on the project to do with business, or pleasure?” He asked gently but pointedly.
“I don’t know what you mean.” She lied, unconvincingly.
“Liz, you are more than a business colleague to me, you’re like my daughter. I know what happened to Kyle was tough on you, but you have changed. Isn’t it time you laid him to rest and moved on with your life? You are a wonderful girl, and you deserve happiness and love.” James said, his voice softening as he spoke.
“I am a career woman, sir.” Liz replied firmly.
“I am well aware of that, and your zest for business is one of the things I adore so much about you, but there is more to life than business deals. Tell me, when was the last time you went out on a date or had a boyfriend?” He queried.
“With all due respect James, my private life is none of your business.” She told him curtly.
“Point taken Liz, I know I am stepping over the mark here. I am an old Man Liz, much older than you, my life ended when my son died and now all I really have is my hotel empire. I just don’t want you to wake up thirty years from now and find you have made the same mistakes as I. There is so much more outside these four walls, so many great things to see and people to meet, don’t deprive yourself of that. Kyle would have hated to see you concentrating solely on business, you need a personal life too.”
“James ………...” Liz started, wanting to protest at his intrusion. He was definitely prying way too much into her personal life, and it unnerved her. He was getting way too close to the truth and she couldn’t let that happen.
“I know Liz, and I won’t say anything further on the matter. But I won’t remove Evans Consulting from the project without a firm and justified reason why. Whatever is going on between you and Max Evans is private, and you of all people know to keep business and pleasure separate. You are a professional, whatever is going on I am sure you and Max can remain civil and proficient at work.” He reminded her.
“Yes sir.” Liz replied, rising to her feet before gratefully escaping from the stuffy confinements of James Valenti’s office.
Watching her scamper away, Jim rubbed his face with the palms of his hands. He hadn’t meant to badger the girl, or scare her away, but he couldn’t just leave it when she’d come to his office like she had. Jim had wanted to talk to Liz for quite a while about moving on with her life, and the opportunity had simply presented itself so easily that morning. Whether his words had fallen on deaf ears remained to be seen though.
Realising perhaps Liz required a little more pushing in the right direction, Jim suddenly thought of a way he could help.
“Susan, I’d like to arrange a dinner party for Friday night. The usual guests, to my house, plus a couple extra ………..” He reeled off to his secretary, as his plan started taking shape.
From the moment she returned to her office, Liz gave Maria strict instructions she was not to be disturbed, before slamming her door forcefully.
Wide-eyed and just a little shocked, Maria stared back at the closed door. She’d already worked out something was wrong with the way Liz had arrived that morning, it didn’t take a genius to denote that. But Liz being moody and slamming doors just wasn’t normal.
It took all her strength and willpower not to race in and grill her boss. Something told Maria her boss would easily rip her head off if she even dared to pry.
The loud ringing of the telephone on her desk brought Maria back down to earth. Pushing her hair behind her ear, she picked up the receiver.
“Good morning Liz Parker’s office, how may I help you?” She said sounding very professional.
“Hi Maria, it’s Max Evans. May I speak to Liz please.” He asked politely.
“Erm …… I’m afraid Liz is unavailable at the moment.” Maria informed him.
“Oh, is she in a meeting?” He queried.
“Not …….. exactly.” She hesitated. Lying wasn’t Maria’s strong point, no matter whether it was face to face or on the telephone, she just couldn’t do it convincingly enough.
“Well could I speak to her then ……. It’s important.” Max stressed, eager to speak to Liz.
He’d left a message on her answer machine at home the previous evening, but Liz had clearly ignored it. He was determined to speak to her, one way or another.
“Erm ……. Well …… just give me a moment.” Maria said, switching on the hold music before resting the receiver on her desk.
Pushing back her chair, Maria crossed the open space towards Liz’s office. Pausing for a moment, she wondered whether interrupting her boss was a good idea. Then again, Max had said it was important and Liz might yell at her more if she didn’t interrupt her.
Knocking briskly on the door, Maria turned the handle and entered Liz’s office.
“Maria, I gave you strict instructions I wasn’t to be disturbed.” Liz said sharply.
“I know but ……..” Maria started, before she was cut off in mid sentence.
“No buts Maria, when I say I want private time I mean it.” Liz replied, not lifting her eyes from the laptop screen. It wasn’t that Liz meant to take her bad mood out on Maria, more that her secretary was the nearest person and thus in the firing line.
“I am aware of your instructions Liz, but Max Evans is on the phone for you and he says it’s important.” Maria continued firmly. No matter what Liz said, Maria was sure she’d made the right decision interrupting her, just in case it was urgent.
The mere mention of his name sent shivers down her spine. Her stomach flipped and butterflies quickly filled her insides. She hadn’t spoken to him since the night before she’d run. Hearing his message on her answer machine had been bad enough, but speaking to him in person, she just couldn’t do it ……. not yet at least.
“Tell him I’m busy.” She said curtly.
“But …..” Maria protested, sure Max would put up a fight.
“No buts Maria, just take a message.” Liz insisted.
Returning to her desk, Maria took a breath before picking up the telephone.
“Mr Evans? I’m really sorry; Liz is tied up at the moment. Can I take a message, get Liz to call you back perhaps?” Maria suggested, hoping he’d be understanding. Having Liz blow up at her was bad enough, but Max Evans too would really top her day.
“Ok, sure. Ask her to call me as soon as possible, it’s important.” Max replied, before ending the conversation. It wasn’t the outcome he was hoping for, talking to Liz had been his aim, but there was little he could do. She was a busy person, he knew that, but Max had a feeling she was avoiding him. That was going to be hard though, he thought. They were due to have a meeting the following day, and therefore she’d have to face him then whether they had spoken before or not.
“Please Alex.” Liz pleaded with her oldest friend.
“But why Liz? I don’t understand. Why don’t you want to meet with Max Evans tomorrow, this is your project after all.” Alex queried, as he stared up at his friend.
“I know, and you know I wouldn’t ask you unless it was really important.” She said, batting her long eyelashes in his direction as if to sway him.
“That’s what I’m afraid of!” Alex groaned.
It was the following morning; Liz was sitting in the seat opposite his desk, practically begging Alex to help her out.
He certainly didn’t understand it; Liz was normally so protective of her projects, wanting to handle every single detail. Handing important meetings over to Alex, however good at his job he was, just wasn’t her style.
Oh he’d help her out, he’d walk to the ends of earth and back for the girl he saw as his sister. But she was going to have to work for it. Something was going on and he was dammed if he was going to let her leave his office without spilling the details.
“Please Alex.” She beseeched once more. “You know I’d do it without hesitation if it were the other way round.” She added, throwing her deep brown puppy dog eyes look his way.
“Ok Liz, enough! You know I’ll do it, you know I’ll do anything for you.” He replied, seeing the obvious glee spread across her face. “But …….. I want some answers first.” He added, watching her happiness subside somewhat.
“Answers? To what?” She asked innocently.
“Don’t give me that innocent look, you know what I mean Liz Parker. I want to know exactly what is going on with you and Max Evans.”
“Going on? Nothing …… really.” She replied, knowing she couldn’t lie to one of her best friends.
“Spill it Parker!” He said firmly.
“Ok, ok, like I said nothing is going on ……. now.” She said, leaning back into the chair.
“I don’t follow.” He said, confused.
“Ok, I kinda like Max, or did like Max more like. We got stuck in an elevator the other day and I sort of flipped slightly, you know what I can get like in confined spaces.”
”Well he kissed me ….. just to calm me down you understand.” Liz stressed.
“Yeah, something like that. Then we went out for dinner on Friday night too, sort of a business meal.” Liz said, lying slightly to make it sound more platonic. “Things got a bit intense, and for a moment I guess I let myself imagine what it would be like to move forward.”
”Well as we headed back to his car, some bastard mugged us.”
”Oh my god Liz, are you ok?” Alex jumped, instantly protective of his dear friend.
“Yeah, I am now.” She replied softly, touched by Alex’s concern. “But I guess I flipped out again, more than when I was in the lift. I went into all out melt-down if I’m really being honest.” She added, somewhat solemnly.
“I’m not surprised, it sounds like you had a pretty rough time.” Alex said, knowing all about Liz’s tough time after Kyle had died.
“Yeah, Max was really great, he comforted me and everything, I guess I just felt secure.”
“You told him?” Alex queried, hoping the answer was yes. He was well aware of Liz’s fears and hated the way she carried the weight of the world around on her shoulders.
”Yeah I told him. I didn’t really have much choice; I had to explain what was going on. He was really sweet, but in the morning I got up and left before he was awake.” She admitted.
“You ran Liz? That’s not good.” Alex informed her, somewhat surprised at his friend’s actions.
“Yeah, yeah, I know he had been my knight in shining armour and I ran at the first opportunity. But Alex, don’t you see, I can’t get involved with him, its wrong, so wrong.”
“Why Liz? Why is it wrong for you to experience love again?” He asked, seeing her visibly flinch at the ‘love’ word.
“Because …….. because it will never last Alex, I can’t control it, I can’t control the future or how long love will last. I can’t get hurt again; I can’t go through what happened with Kyle, I’m not strong enough to do that.” She admitted, knowing the only reason she could be so honest was because it was Alex sitting opposite her. He’d been there for her, helped her through the trauma of loosing Kyle, there wasn’t any part of her soul he didn’t know, he was her dearest, oldest and best friend.
He had experienced the same pain she had when Kyle had been ripped away from her too, and experienced yet more pain when his sister had also died. Liz hadn’t known Dahlia long, but she was certain she’d been a good kid, and Alex had dotted over her. Loosing Dahlia so soon after Kyle had hit Alex hard, but he’d always been there for Liz, no matter what pain consumed his own body. She came first in his life, and it always made Liz feel good to know he was there in times of need.
“Liz, you’re the strongest person I know. You can overcome anything; you’ve proven that in business and in your personal life. But why can’t you see you deserve more than to grow old alone?”
“Because I can’t Alex, you of all people should know that. You’re a fine one to talk though, you’re not exactly hunting each night for a woman are you?” She said, trying to turn the tables on her friend.
”No, but I haven’t found someone I care about and then pushed him away.” He retaliated with ease.
“Don’t go there Alex.” Liz said, somewhat sternly.
“I know Liz, I understand your reservations. I guess we’re just a pair of losers huh?” He said jokingly, standing up and walking around his desk to hug his dear friend.
“Yeah, something like that.” She replied, eagerly falling into his embrace. Somehow Alex always seemed to know how to make her feel happy and at peace again.
“So you’ll do it? You’ll meet with Max Evans for me tomorrow?” Liz asked hopefully, praying she’d won her friend round.
“You know I will Liz, because I’m always here whenever you need me.” He replied, gently resting his head on the top of her head.
They stayed in the friendly clinch for a few long moments, both taking strength and comfort that whatever happened, the other would always be there to help along the way.
Liz too breathed a silent sigh of relief, another day to come where she had successfully dodged meeting with Max again.
Yet in her heart, even Liz knew it was something she couldn’t run from forever. She’d have to face Max Evans at some point, and she was sure it wouldn’t be pretty. But, for as long as she could put it off, Liz was determined to keep her distance from him, and thus not having to explain her actions.
Author: Kazza – 12th October 2001
Feed back is very welcome and appreciated
This story is archived on my website, www.angelfire.com/tv2/kazzaskorner
[ edited 2 time(s), last at 13-Oct-2001 9:19:11 AM ]