HEY GANG! Haven't Jenn and Chris et al. done a great job???? Thanks, everybody, for bringing back our favorite site! It's good to be here! Now please read my odd explanation for a character name in this part before reading the story, okay?



Author: Carol (spacemom)

Rating: All over the place, including NC17

Setting: Their junior year.

Disclaimer: I own everything related to Roswell. I bought it this morning. That includes rights to the fictional characters (esp. Max) as well as to Jason Behr's wonderful body. I might be willing to rent out the others from time to time, but don't even ASK about JB. Meanwhile, I have fired ALL the writers and am now taking applications from this board for staff writers. Several of you already have a definite leg up!
(Okay, for legal reasons, I should admit that the above is a lie, and I don't own anything, but this is a FIC board, right?)

Trilogy note: This is the third story in a trilogy. By an odd coincidence, the others are called Epiphanies 1: The Ties that Bind and Epiphanies 2: The Anasazi Road. These are posted at both Crashdown (where the NC17 epilog is sitting sad and lonely by itself in the Afterhours section) and Jenn's repost board. I hope you take the time to read them before you start this one.


Author's note (with a special wink at my LA party buds): This installment of Epiphanies 3 ends with a completely unnecessary scene that I just couldn't talk myself out of. Having spent 3 glorious days collectively drooling over JB in LA, my partners in crime inspired me. Translated, that means that they put me in such a mindwarp about Jason/Max that I couldn't stop "appreciating" him even long enough to work on my story! When I conceived this scene (the last in this part), I named my character Darla Hampton and modeled her after the Tess we've come to know and loathe (well, I had a head start on that, but anyway . . .). However, since it was my LA buds' fault that I was even writing this, and since the character's sole purpose is to admire "the man," I couldn't resist the urge to make her name an anagram for theirs, so her name is now an unlikely SLADE PELPAMAS (bear with me here). This is in lustful gratitude to my LA friends: Sue, Linda, Anne, DEbbi, Patti, MEL, PAm, MAggie, and Sam. Believe me, that name was no small feat! (BTW, when I post at Crashdown, I will probably to back to Darla, but I knew the fic board crowd would appreciate the humor.)
So, please forgive the gratuitous drooling. Actual plot to resume (and conclude) in 3 more chapters.

From Part 40

Eventually, they eased their embrace enough to share giddy smiles. “Max, the rings. They’re my Grandma Claudia’s, aren’t they? How did you get them?”

“Your mother,” he answered simply.

Liz was struck dumb. She stared at him, trying to determine if he was being serious. But of course he was! Where else could they have come from? He couldn’t have known of their existence to even create a copy!

“My mother?” she choked. “My parents know about this? And approve?”

“Yes,” he replied, a pleased, newly confident expression relaxing his features. “I went to them a couple of weeks ago. I knew it wasn’t fair to ask you to be my wife until I was sure they weren’t going to fight it. I wanted this day to be our happiest yet, and if you were worried about their reaction, it might spoil it.”

“You went to them? To ask for my hand?” Liz asked incredulously. “Max! You must have been scared to death!”

“I was,” he readily admitted. “And they weren’t exactly easy sells, either. In fact, when your mother left the room crying, I thought she was upset and basically saying no. But then she came back . . . with these.”

He pulled the engagement ring from the pairing in the box and reached for Liz’s hand. She offered it willingly, and her heart leapt against her chest as she watched Max slide it onto her trembling finger.

Their eyes met.

“I am and always will be yours,” she whispered.

Their kiss shook them to their very core, every shred of barrier that had ever existed between them gone. Encompassed by the blinding glow, a loving Rana looked on, her heart full. At last, her son had fulfilled his destiny.


Part 41

What a night it was. All the way to the pod chamber, Max and Liz couldn’t stop touching. Liz quickly picked up the pattern on the stick shift so she wouldn’t have to let go of Max’s hand, and he grinned at her with a happiness that took her breath away. Their sense of each other was heightened, too, and for the first time, it wasn't just emotions Liz was sensitive to; Max's actual thoughts tugged at the edges of her mind as well. She could feel them reaching for her, searching for their second home, and the air between them crackled with pent-up energy and emotion. Even their signature glow, so bright and obvious when they made love, hovered around them like a shadow of light.

Liz watched Max’s profile as he drove, at least in between loving glances at her, and she thought she might burst with the wonder of it all. A year and a half had brought her from bored small-town girl to queen of a faraway planet whose king made all other men pale in comparison. Even on Earth, she was about to be acknowledged as belonging to Max just as he belonged to her, and the very thought shot such euphoria through her that she could barely think. Her ring winked at her, reflecting a ray toward the sky whenever the light caught it just right, and her heart soared with it every single time.

Max could feel her joy and excitement easily now, both through her radiant face and through the ecstatic thoughts that fairly ricocheted in her mind and, therefore, in his. At this moment, there were no enemies, no problems, no other people. Tonight, it was only about the two of them.

Settled comfortably in the pod chamber, Max created an atmosphere charged with romance, and as they loved each other, the reality of how far they’d come began to dawn on them. Had someone asked them if they had held anything back from each other over the last few months, their answer would have been a resounding “no.” They had given themselves to each other heart, body, and soul over and over, and they would have sworn nothing stood between them. But as they came together tonight, something was different. Every shadow of insecurity in Max’s mind, every unacknowledged doubt about the future with an alien king in the recesses of Liz’s thoughts, every ignored concern about what their differences might mean for them, for their children, for their planets—all of it dissolved in the presence of unprecedented honesty, acceptance, and love. The chamber shone brightly as the sun, and they closed their eyes against its intensity.

Later, lying limply on Max, Liz concentrated only on the fingertips that stroked her back in large circles and the rapid puffs of air that tickled her shoulder as Max’s racing heart slowly calmed. If there had been a way to get closer to him, she would have done it in a heartbeat. Or maybe, she thought, sighing happily, she was already there, for when they had found that ultimate release in each other's bodies, the final connection was forged. Now, not only were their bodies and hearts joined, but like floodgates opening, their minds were joined. She was conscious of his every thought and sensation, and she knew she would never tire of being completely tuned in to this wonderful man.

His awe at their newfound closeness pressed into her, and she raised herself up to look into his amazed eyes.

“I feel like I can never go to sleep again, for fear this will all disappear,” he confessed to Liz as he caressed her face hovering close above him. Even though the light within the cave had diminished, their skin still glowed as the candlelight reflected off the sheen of perspiration their lovemaking had produced. “Will this last?” he asked her simply.

Liz was still breathing hard, but she didn’t miss the wonder in his eyes that matched her own. She nodded slowly, then lowered her head to nuzzle his neck.

“When I said ‘always,’ I meant ‘always,’ Max. This is real. We have found our future, right here, in each other’s arms. Never doubt it. Never doubt us.”

Max closed his eyes and let the sensation of her voice’s vibrations in his ear filter down his neck and into his chest. “I know,” he assured her. “It’s just that anytime I’ve thought my life could include some happiness, something has always come along to take it away or threaten it. It’s a hard reflex to control.”

“What you need,” she advised, “is some serious convincing.” All thought shut down as Max felt her hands on him once again, leaving a trail of fire over his arms, his chest, his stomach. He hardened instantly. Oh, God! Had anyone else ever felt such love, such happiness? He grabbed his fiancée and rolled her underneath him. It was time to show her that he believed.

********
Succumbing to the ongoing irony of their lives, Max and Liz pulled themselves together to return home. It was, after all, a school night. And they knew their parents would be waiting to congratulate them, never doubting what Liz’s answer would be. Besides, Max wanted to run some things by Liz about plans for their future and the future of Voya. She was an integral part of this now; as his queen, his mate, and soon-to-be wife, Liz was a part of him, and every decision, every action affected them both. He wanted her approval first and foremost. But in spite of his most noble intentions, as long as they stayed in the pod chamber, he couldn’t seem to keep his hands off of her. The long ride home would provide just the setting he needed to test the waters about his startling ideas.

True to their expectations, they entered the Crashdown to find both sets of parents talking and drinking coffee. Unlike the last time, though, when they had returned from an unauthorized overnight in the desert, there were no accusatory glares or stern punishments. There were only shining eyes in expectant faces, taking in the happiness that overflowed from the young couple.

Liz threw her arms around her mother, tears already sliding down her face. “Mom! You knew about this! You let Max have Grandma’s rings! I love you so much!

Her mother’s tears mingled with her own, and they held each other tightly.

“Just be happy, my little one. And safe. I know Max loves you. ”

Jeff Parker waited impatiently for a turn with his daughter as he watched the Evanses hug their son, offering congratulations. He knew Diane well enough now to understand what it meant to her to see Max so happy. She had always worried about him, even in the best of times. But now, his uncharacteristically broad smile was only one indication that he had found peace. In spite of the emotional scene, there was a confidence in Max now that didn’t exist before, and when he saw Liz’s eyes meet Max’s over their parents’ shoulders, it was easy to tell where it came from.

After each set of parents’ hugged and congratulated their own child, they exchanged children, and welcomed another person into their family. Philip gathered Liz into a big bear hug, saying nothing for fear the emotion would betray him. Diane pressed her soon-to-be daughter-in-law against her.

“You’ve given him something we never could, Liz. I’ll always be grateful to you for that,” she choked against Liz’s ear. Liz pulled back and looked with open affection into Diane’s loving eyes.

“Diane, Max wouldn’t be the man . . . the leader . . . that he is becoming without you and the love you’ve shown him all these years. He loves you so much, and so do I.”

Diane bit her lip, helpless against the new flood of happy tears that coursed down her cheeks, leaving dark, wet spots on her blouse. She smoothed Liz’s hair and nodded her gratitude for Liz’s reassuring words. Looking up, she saw perhaps the most reassuring sight of all—Jeff Parker shaking Max’s hand and clapping him on the back with barely disguised emotion.

“You take care of my little girl, Max. She’s precious to us.”

“You can count on it, Mr. Par . . . Jeff,” he promised. Then Max turned to Nancy Parker.

“Mrs. Parker . . .”

“Nancy,” she corrected him.

He smiled. “Nancy, I can’t thank you enough for accepting this, for allowing me to use Grandma’s rings, and for giving us your blessing.”

Liz whimpered and her hands flew to her mouth as Nancy pushed up and kissed Max tenderly on the cheek. “Make me glad I did,” she whispered. A stunned Max stared into her eyes.

“That’s a promise,” he said sincerely.

The silence grew heavy with emotion until Jeff broke the spell. “Let’s break out the cherry cola!” he yelled, and the room erupted into conversation, plans, and laughter. Eventually, the happy families realized the time and began to say their goodbyes.

“One more thing,” Max interrupted over the noise of happy conversation. They quieted immediately, more aware than ever of the aura of command that Max carried with greater ease each day. “We’d like to keep this quiet for one more day. We want our close friends to hear this from us, not from anyone else, so I propose we meet tomorrow night at our house. We’ll tell everyone else about the engagement and also about my . . . our proposal to Rana and the alliance. It affects all of us, and I want everyone’s approval before I take any action.”

Max paused as the others looked at him with varying degrees of surprise and respect. He realized he’d come across as giving an order. “I mean . . . if that works for everyone,” he finished awkwardly.

The Evanses looked at the Parkers for confirmation.

“We’ll be there, Max,” Jeff offered, and Nancy nodded.

Max reached automatically for Liz, hating to say goodnight, but willing to at least pretend to go along with normal behavior for now. Her arms snaked up around his neck and pulled him down. Aware at first of their audience, Max had every intention of making this a quick, chaste kiss, but Liz had other ideas, and only seconds later, they were lost in each other. As the kiss deepened, his arms wrapped tightly around her and she whimpered deep in her throat. Tongue met tongue and thoughts merged, sending signals to the rest of their bodies.

The glow began to swirl around them, and it was the unexpected gasps that brought them back to reality. Liz backed away from Max, suddenly self-conscious.

“I’m sorry. That was my fault,” she admitted shyly, embarrassed she had let the kiss intensify. Looking up, though, she realized the gasp was not about the kiss; it was about the pulsing glow that had already begun to diminish.

“What the hell?” Philip mumbled. "I thought that only happened when you were in that 'alien zone' with Rana."

“Uh, yeah,” Max stammered, biting his lower lip. “I guess maybe we should talk about that tomorrow night, too. I'm hoping Rana can help us find a way to control that.” Suddenly self-conscious about the blatant way their consuming passion manifested itself, he gave Liz a light kiss on the forehead and herded his dazed parents out the door.

********

Poor Slade Pelpamas. How could she have known what her first day at West Roswell High would bring? She had every reason to be confident. After all, back at her old high school in Illinois, she’d been a cheerleader, a Homecoming attendant, and the darling of the drama club. Every guy in the school fantasized about her, and she knew she could have her pick. This school was smaller and less urban; she’d have them eating out of her hand within days.

As people entered and left the busy office, Slade waited impatiently for the vice principal to introduce her to her guide for the day. Mr. Vidoni had seemed downright delighted when she arrived, telling her he knew just the right student to show her around. From her perch on an uncomfortable wooden chair next to the secretary's desk, she took an informal inventory. So far, she’d say the guys were average and the girls were substandard. Not much competition. So much the better.

Her breath caught in her throat as the door to the office opened yet again, and she stared at the Adonis who had just walked through. He had raven hair that fell over his eyes with a sexy yet boyish charm. His muscular arms stretched the fabric of his black t-shirt, and his fitted jeans did little to disguise his firm thighs and perfect behind. Tearing her eyes from his great body, she looked up at his face—beautiful mouth, perfect nose, cute ears that seemed just a little too large for his head, and the eyes . . . Her mouth fell open as he looked casually at her. She could fall forever into those soulful amber eyes!

“Dean Shepherd said Mr. Vidoni wanted to see me.” Was that his voice? Sultry, magnetic, masculine. This was definitely her first target.

“He’s on the phone. He’ll be out in a minute.”

Adonis nodded and walked a few paces toward her, never making eye contact. He leaned against the wall and rested one foot on a chair rung, pulling the jeans even tighter across his front. Slade knew she was staring, but he didn’t seem to notice, so she indulged herself a while longer.

Slade watched as he rubbed his eyes absently. Then he seemed to breathe in deeply. What was he doing? Smelling his own hand? Okay, that was a little weird, but something about it pleased him, because a small smile tugged at his lips and his eyes closed dreamily. Dear god, was it getting hot in here?

“Mr. Evans. I’m so glad you could finally join us. I’ve been waiting.”

Max looked momentarily confused. “I just got to school. Ms. Shepherd said you wanted to see me. Did you . . . was I supposed to . . . did I have an appointment with you or something?”

Mr. Vidoni looked with satisfaction on Max Evans. He’d rattled the boy, and that suited the vice principal just fine. This guy thought he was so smart, smarter than the administration, smarter than him, and throwing a wrench in his day—and maybe his oversexed relationship—would be the high point of Mr. Vidoni’s week.

Vidoni’s smug look had a very different effect on Max, though. Taking in the superior attitude and the obvious pleasure he derived from keeping Max off balance broke the spell Vidoni had attempted to weave. Something in Max just snapped. He’d taken enough crap from this bozo, and for the life of him, Max couldn’t figure out why he was allowing it to continue. He straightened and his expression became calm and steady. Vidoni faltered ever so slightly.

“What did you need, Mr. Vidoni?”

“Uh, I . . . we have a new student,” Mr. Vidoni hurried to say, extending his arm to Slade. “I took the liberty of checking her schedule against other students’ and realized that you and she have several classes together, so you’ll be showing her around today.”

Slade couldn’t believe her luck. This was perfect. She’d spend the whole day with him and by the end of it, he’d want her. And for the first time, she could imagine herself wanting him, too. She flashed her most endearing smile and stepped forward.

“Well, Mr. Evans, do you have a first name?” She was taken aback momentarily as Max’s expression reflected more irritation than eagerness—not the usual reaction at all. Then she saw him glance toward Vidoni, and it looked as if he’d made a decision of some kind. Suddenly, he was all smiles.

“Hi, I’m Max. And you are . . .?”

“Slade. Slade Pelpamas. Nice to meet you.”

“Well, Slade Pelpamas, first period is about to begin, so let’s find out where you need to be.”

She offered her schedule to him, and they walked into the hall, talking easily. Vidoni frowned. Just where had he lost control of that exchange? He’d hoped to shake the Evans boy’s cage a little by throwing him together with this stunning new girl. Maybe Liz Parker would realize that Max Evans was just another hormone-crazed boy and they’d both stop acting like they were so special. He knew it was spiteful and petty. He didn’t care. No one played him for a fool and got away with it.

Liz sat in Anatomy and felt Max’s irritation from two floors away. And to her surprise, she could even hear some of his thoughts. This intensified connection of theirs would take some getting used to, but she loved that she was so aware of him. She closed her eyes and concentrated.

That bastard thinks he can mess with me . . . with us. I’ll play his game, and win. Wait til Liz hears this.

I heard.

Max froze. Was that Liz? Had they really reached this point? He grinned. Liz?

Yeah. Wow, this is bizarre.

I’ll say. But cool. I like knowing you’re really with me all the time. Vidoni tossed me some hot new girl to show around. I know he’s just trying to cause trouble, but I plan to beat him at his own game. I’ll kill him with kindness. It’ll be fun to watch him squirm.

Hot new girl?

Max faltered and replayed what he’d said. No, Liz, not hot to me. I just mean . . . she’s . . . Liz, I didn’t mean it that way.

Laughter registered in his mind, and he realized Liz was having some fun with him.

I’ll get you for that.

Promise? Max’s mind filled with the images Liz was projecting, and his body reacted immediately. He clamped down on his thoughts, struggling to block Liz, and shifted his books so that he was carrying them in front of him. This could be rough, he winced as he resumed the walk to class.

Slade watched Max curiously. His facial expressions kept changing, almost as if he were having a conversation. Occasionally, he would just stop dead in his tracks, then resume walking, only to stop again. She tried to keep pace with him, but she was never sure which way they were going or how fast.

She touched his arm and he focused back on her. “Max? Is something wrong?”

Max surprised her with a chuckle. “Nothing that a little practice won’t fix,” he commented amiably, and he looked back at her schedule. “We start with English together,” he stated, as if they hadn’t already established that. “Second floor. Take those stairs.”

Slade sighed. Well, he may be a few fries short of a Happy Meal, but he’s luscious to look at. That’ll do for now.

********

Max spent the morning playing the perfect host. He introduced Slade to people in every class and watched with amusement as the boys hovered like bees and the girls glared suspiciously. He couldn’t imagine falling for her. She was so obvious and, he’d deduced, shallow. But her looks were the stuff of teen dreams, and she had a practiced charm that made every guy think that just maybe he had a chance with her. He’d noticed her sidelong glances at him, though, as he waited for the crowd to thin after every class. And she’d taken to sliding her arm through his as they navigated the hallway. He had been about to explain about Liz when Vidoni approached them, oozing smiles and arrogance.

“Well, Ms. Hampton, I trust Mr. Evans has been a satisfactory guide?”

Slade oozed back, “Oh, yes. He’s been so wonderfully helpful and attentive.” She looked up at him, batting her eyes slightly and Max almost laughed out loud. He was anxious to get to Trig, where he knew Liz would be waiting for him.

“We’d better get to math, Mr. Vidoni,” he smiled. “Can’t keep Mr. Chambers waiting.”

Vidoni watched them walking arm in arm down the hall and smiled. It was only a matter of time.

Slade walked contentedly into math class on Max’s arm. She had taken every opportunity to brush up against this fabulous specimen and quickly realized that there were seriously toned muscles under that t-shirt. He was deceptively slender, but there were rewards to be had just beneath that piece of fabric. Snapping out of her reverie, she sensed his hesitation and looked up. His eyes . . . his gorgeous eyes . . . were doing a sweep of the room, as if he were looking for someone. Sighing with disappointment, he made his way to a seat. Slade began to sit next to him.

“That’s Liz’s seat,” he blurted.

“Liz?”

“Yeah, my girlfriend.”

The words hit Slade harder than she could have ever expected, but she pushed a smile out over the pang of disappointment.

“Well, she doesn’t seem to be here, so maybe it’ll be alright this once.”

Max looked around the room again and frowned. Opening up his thoughts, he searched for her. Liz?

Max, I’m sorry. I won’t be in Trig today. Vidoni has me scheduled in with a counselor for a college conference. I just saw Lucas. He thinks Vidoni is really bent about us for some reason. I guess this is just the beginning. But we can handle him, right?

Max smiled suddenly, much to the surprise of the girl watching him. You bet, my love. See you at lunch.

“Turn to Chapter 7,” Mr. Chambers ordered, and Max flipped open his Trig book.

********

Max and Slade walked into the quad at lunchtime. Max was tired of his new appendage, and was aching for some time alone with Liz, or at least with their close friends. He had no intention of including Slade in that crowd.

“Pam!” Max shouted, silencing an entire table of girls. They stared as he approached them, a beautiful blond on his arm. Their eyes were wide with surprise, and several of them forgot to chew the food in their mouths.

“Pam Troy, I’d like you to meet Slade Hampton. She’s new here, and I’ve been showing her around. I’m sure she’s sick of me, so I thought she might like to join you for lunch.”

Without waiting for an answer, he turned and left a gaping Slade standing next to a table full of strangers.

Once the shock had subsided, Pam scooted over to make room for her new charge.

“How did you get Max Evans to take you around school?” she asked, not even bothering with the usual introductions.

“Why?” Slade sniffed, insulted that they would show surprise at her having a desirable guide, in spite of the fact that she’d really had no say in it.

“I guess you wouldn’t know,” sympathized another girl. “He is so taken, it’s pathetic.”

“Well, forgive me,” preened Slade, “but I’m aware he has a girlfriend. I just wouldn’t count on that lasting too much longer. We sort of hit it off. A definite spark.”

Two of the girls laughed out loud while the others just looked at her with thinly veiled amusement. “You think so, huh?”

“It’s been known to happen,” Slade bragged. “In my old school . . .”

“Your old school had nothing like this,” Pam said, a note of disgust in her voice.

“Like what?” Slade demanded, sensing that she was losing the advantage here.

“Like that,” Pam pointed.

Slade looked across the quad and saw Max’s face turn from expressionless to passionate, and her mouth dropped open. What had done that? What had turned him from detached hunk to a sexy lover in seconds? She followed his gaze and saw a petite brunette with long hair homing in on him.

“Her?” she whispered incredulously. “That’s what has him all wired?”

“Wait for it,” another girl whispered back.

The general din of the quad had hushed somewhat as a sea of eyes waited breathlessly for their daily treat. Slade watched open-mouthed as the space closed between Max and the girl he was fixated on. Wordlessly, he reached for her with one hand, sliding it around to the back of her head and pulling her into a deep, gentle kiss. Her hand grazed his cheek before pressing flat against his chest and sliding up and down his solidly defined muscles. When they parted, there was a moment of suspended time before the din resumed.

Slade blinked. What was that? She could have sworn she detected a . . . a glow. Must be this hot Arizona sun playing tricks on her. Blinking again, her eyes followed the couple, apparently oblivious to their audience, to a back table where they joined friends, never losing touch with one another.

“You’ll catch flies in there if you’re not careful,” Pam drawled, pleased to see the new girl put in her place. She didn’t like that Max Evans seemed to be permanently off the market, but there was some satisfaction in gaining the upper hand against a stiff competitor right out of the gate.

Slade realized her mouth was open and shut it quickly. There would be no winning over that. She shook herself and forced her gaze away. That had been intense . . . and beautiful . . . and . . . intimidating. Moments later, she began to survey the rest of the quad. Surely there was another likely candidate.


Carol000/spacemom

Edited by - Carol000 on 09/08/2001 13:17:39