AAAHHH! I'm sorry for leaving you guys for MONTHS! bad Sarah. LOL. but here are two parts. and if anyone needs the beginning parts, email me at ColorMeSarah⊕prodigy.net.

Keeping the Moon – Chapter 12
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Today seemed off. When Max came in, he didn’t wave or say hello. Not even a smile. He avoided my gaze for all of the morning.

Ring

“Last chance, can I help you?”

“Liz?”

“Oh hi Sean”

Maria and Isabel turned around to listen. Max scooted closer to the counter window.

“Do you wanna go out sometime? I mean I’m moving back but maybe when you get back, we can meet up?”

“Meet up?” I repeated, turning to Isabel and Maria.

“Never give him a definite answer” Maria suggested. “Make him beg” Isabel added.

“I’ll think about it”

“Please?”

“That’s the best I can do for now.”

“Can I at lest get your phone number?”

“Sean, I’ll see you when I get back. Wait for me, ok?” I said in a sugary voice.

“Of course, of course. Thanks Liz. I’ll see you then”

“Sure. Bye Sean” and I hung up.

“So?” Isabel asked.

“I got a date”

“Alright!” Maria said, giving me a hug.

Max walked to the parking lot, slamming to door loudly. We watched as he got in his car and opened the glove compartment, take out a pair of sunglasses then repeatedly smacking it closed.

“⊕#%$!!” he yelled out.

“What’s his deal?” I asked.

“He likes you” Isabel said, plain and simple.

“What?” I could feel the world tilting. “It’s obvious. You should’ve seen the way he was looking at you yesterday in the desert. Next thing you know, he’ll be asking you for a portrait.”

“Oh my God!!” I shrieked, covering my mouth with my hand.

“What?”

“He did ask me. But I totally forgot…” I said, agony in my voice.

“Oh, bad move” Maria said.

“I know.”

“And he makes the best hot chocolate, too. He uses milk” Maria says, licking her lips.

“Why don’t you two go out?” Isabel suggested.

“Max? I don’t know….”

“Why not?” Isabel asks, a tone of defense in her voice.

“He’s not really my type”

“Not your type?” Isabel asks, coldly.

“Look,-“

“No, you look. Max is like a brother to me. He’s sweet and intelligent, and I think you are being just as judgmental as Tess. You won’t even give him a chance”

“There’s no doubt about Max being sweet and intelligent, but I really don’t think that me and him together is a good idea”

“Whatever, Liz. Just because you get one date, you become Tess Harding, Jr.”

“Hey, that’s not fair”

“You aren’t being fair to Max.”

“Maria?” tell me she’s with me. She looks away. Damnit.

After a few moments of watching Max carefully avoid my probing stare, I turn to Maria.

“So…what’s his favorite color?”

Maria looks up and smiles.

******

“Hey Max?”

His back is too me and I’ve never felt so nervous. His acceptance of my apology means everything to me right now. Maybe I was wrong about my feelings for him…

“Hey Liz” He says but in an un-Max way.

“I’m really sorry about last night. It completely slipped my mind”

“You mean I completely slipped your mind.” He says, his voice mixed with hurt and anger. “Max, you know you mean more to me than that. It’s just that Serena was feeling a little down and I just forgot.”

Max doesn’t say anything, so I continue. “Look, I wanna get another shot at that portrait thing, that is if you’re up for it…”

“Will you show up?”

“promise”

Max thinks about this as I fidget uncontrollably. “Fine, but you miss out on the hot chocolate.”

“Deal” I say as a smile slides over my face. “Thanks Max”

“Yeah.” Max says, as a small bittersweet smile slides over his.

*****

“Max?”

“Come on in!” He yelled from inside.

I pushed the door open and stepped in. he had cleared off a corner where he had his easel and two chairs.

“Come sit down” He said.

I sat and he positioned me. Titanic flashback, except I am fully clothed, thank you.

I could feel his breath on my face and I felt my heart speed up and my breath catch. His brown hair covered his Amber eyes as he concentrated. And I know at this minute that years from now, whenever I think about my summer at Roswell, this memory will surface, clear as day. Max, will surface. Tonight will never fade. I watch him as I think this to myself, promising to keep this memory with me.

“There” He mumbled to himself after tilting my head upwards. “Now don’t move”

After about half an hour of sitting there, he stopped, putting down his sketch pad. “That’s enough for today. I have the raw sketch.”

“Thank God” I said, slouching.

He chuckled and went over to the Bunsen burners. Two minutes later, he handed me a cup of steamy hot chocolate. “I thought you said I lost this privilage” I said jokingly.

“Well, I changed my mind.”

I took a sip under his intense eyes. “Oh wow, this really is good.”

“No lie. I make the world’s best hot chocolate.”

We both laughed.

“Max?”

“Yeah?”

“This is really great. Us just hanging out”

Max smiled warmly at me. “Yeah….it is”


Part 13

****

Max positioned me again. He sat behind his easel and started on his art. I concentrated on staying awake. Usually I'd be wide awake near Max especially when we were alone but today was exhausting. I'd done Isabel's and Maria's shift today. So, the whole day was just me and Max. Max and me.

I knew I always thought of Max as an attractive guy but I never realized when I had actually fallen for him. Maybe it was all those nights of closing up with him. Maybe it was when he gave me a pair of sunglasses...where he'd thought of me. Or maybe it was the storm. But while I thought of it, it really didn't matter. I was falling in love with someone that I've known for a month and a half. It could happen I thought to myself.

But the question was, Could it happen to me?

"Liz, can you straighten up?" Max asked, snapping me out of my mental conversation.

I sat up groggily, rubbing my eyes and yawning before resuming my postition. I watched him as he stared at me. I could feel my heart rate immediately accelerate. Oh yeah, I'm definitely awake.

"You look a little tired Liz" Max commented looking at my half-opened eyes.

"I'm fine" I said, my brain was foggy but my heart was pounding.

"You wanna just finish this tomorrow? It wouldn't be a big deal." He suggested, giving me that half smile of his. I inwardly swooned. Wait...since when did Liz Parker swoon?

"No, it's ok, really" I assured him and he shrugged and went back to work, his head occassionally popping out from behind the easel.

I opened her eyes and groaned as sunlight greeted me. I sat up disoriented. I looked around and realized that I was still at Max's. Max was across the room, propped up against the wall, facing me. I realized that he must've been watching me or at least looked over my way while I was completely out last night. I suddenly became self-conscience. Hopefully I wasn't drooling or anything I said to myself. I consciencly wiped my mouth. Dry. Thank the heavens.

Oh no...what if I had my mouth wide opened while I snored my brain away. Humiliation was attracted to me. Unfortunately that was the only thing attracted to me.

Max stirred and his eyes slowly opened. He looked over at me and slightly smiled. "You fell asleep last night"

I could feel my cheeks grow red and I ducked my head. "Sorry. Why didn't you wake me up?"

"You looked like you needed the rest, plus you were smiling in your sleep. Looked like a good dream" He said shrugging his shoulders.

I thought about it. I could remember having a dream but it wasn't coming to me. I bit my lip in concentration.

I snapped myself out of it and stood up. "I should go. Serena must be going crazy" I said, slightly smiling at the image of the red head running around, waving her arms.

"It's Roswell, New Mexico" Max said sarcastically. He smirked. "But you might as well, Serena does tend to overreact."

"Ok, so I'll see you tonight"

"Alright"

And with that, I walked out of his place and onto our yard. I looked over at Maria and Isabel's place. I saw Isabel knocked out on the front porch as Maria tried to wake her up. I waved at Maria and she waved back, stretching. "She sleeps like a freakin bear" She explained to me. I laughed and waved her off and went inside. I put my jogging pants on and grabbed my walkman and I did my daily jogging as Maria watched, an amazed expression covering her face.

I laughed out loud as I spotted Maria shriek with frustration and finally tipping the chair forward so that Isabel fell out of it. Isabel cursed at Maria and went inside.

I did two more laps and went in and took a shower. I got into my waitress uniform and started my trek to the Last Chance. When I got there, Max, and Maria were already there. Leave it to Isabel to be the late one.

Maria rushed up to Liz. "I've got the best idea!" Liz couldn't help but smile at the other girls bubbliness. "What's that?"

Maria smiled broadly. "I'm going to surprise Michael and drive over to his hotel today. I'm going to pack food and a bit of clothes and I'm going to prove to Isabel that Michael does care. It'll give us time to talk about the wedding and everything." Maria said all in one breath, her excitement apparent.

"Does Isabel know about this?" I asked cautiously. "Yeah I told her today morning. She was all bitchy and everything but it's not like she can stop me" Maria said, matter of factly.

"Oh well, how long are you going to be gone?" I asked, already knowing that I'd have to cover for her.

Maria's eyes clouded with the mixture of guilt and hope. "Please Liz? I know that you're practically doing my job but this is really important to me. No longer than a week. I swear. and of course you can get my tips"

I smiled at her. "Yeah, no problem"

"THANK YOU LIZ!!" Maria screamed, grabbing me and bringing me into a tight hug. "You're the best"

"No problem"

"Ok, well, I'm going to leave after my shift and get ready. So bye in advance ok?"

"Yeah, bye. Good luck"

"Who needs luck? I'm in love" She said, flashing her pearly whites as she bounded into the back room.

Why did I have a bad feeling about this?

***

That night I knocked on Max's door. I heard a faint "Come in" and I pushed open the door. Max had set everything up already and waved her over.

He positioned me and tooke his place behind the easel. After about five minutes of talking about random things, the phone rang.

Max let his answering machine pick up.

Max, this is your father

My head shot up and I stared at Max with wide eyes. He surprisingly didn't look surprised, he kept on working.

Son, I need to talk to you. I know you're there. I know you're going to that ridiculous art school in the fall and your mother and I would like to discuss that with you. Come home when you can. and the machine shut off.

I saw Max flinch and he stared at the machine. He shook his head in hurt and anger and turned his gaze on me. He eyes were hard and his jaw was tight. "Max, are you ok?" I gently asked.

"I'm fine"

"Are you sure?"

"Liz!" He started in a harsh tone and a flinched, just like he had a few moments ago. I heard him take in a deep breath. He started again but in a much softer voice. "Liz, I'm fine."

I nodded, not wanting to push and we sat quietly for about half an hour which felt like an eternity.

"So..." I said warily.

He didn't answer back so I tredded ahead in the conversation.
"Did you hear about the lunar eclipse coming up?"

Max smiled slightly. "Yeah. I hear Serena talking about it all the time." He finished, chuckling. I shivered at the sound.

"Yeah, I've never seen one before."

"I saw one when I was six" Max started. "I camped out on my front porch by myself. My parents said it was rubbish" He said rolling his eyes.

"I stayed up late and watched the sky. Finally I saw it. I remember being terrified." He said laughing.

"I started panicking and I ran inside to tell my parents that someone at stolen the moon"

I smiled slightly, picturing a little Max running around the house screaming about the moon.

"My parents said that I was being crazy and to go back to sleep. But I wouldn't leave them alone. So my dad got up and brought me outside. He told me that the moon would come back"

"You were watching something that you didn't know about?" I asked, smiling slightly.

Me smiled back at me. "Well, I was six." He said jokingly.

I don't know...for me, it was all about keeping the moon in sight. That was all that mattered."

I smiled at him.

"I remember being so relieved when I saw the moon again" Me added lightly, smiling.

"That's nice memory." I said softly.

"Yeah...it is" He said, his eyes distant.

***

Aunt Serena plopped down into her chair the next morning, carrying her pot of lucky charms while I ate my wheat. "So, the eclipse is two days away." She said, opening her newspaper.

"Yeah, it is" I said just realizing it myself.

"Ok...horoscope time" Serena said cheerfully.

Serena scrolled down the page and found mine. She cleared her throat before she began. "Love is right beyond the horizon"

Serena wiggled her eyebrows at me. I smiled and blushed a little, Max on my mind. I'm such a dork.

"Ok, this is mine. Your lucky day is coming. Be prepared for some changes" Her smile became a thin line. "Lucky day..." She mumbled to herself. "I think I like your's better" She told me, her smile back on her face.

***

As I was running the dream I had the other night hit me.

I was on a beach. Which is strange since I'm in the middle of the desert. And I was kissing someone. I pulled back and it was Max! I almost fell down from the revelation. Holy sh*t. This guy has now invaded my dreams too. She remembered Max's words : you were smiling in your sleep. Looked like a good dream. Awwww, man. I don't need this right now.

I quickly did another lap and went inside.

***

I went over to Isabel and Maria's place that night. It felt good to have friends who you could turn to. It was new, I had to admit but I liked the feeling.

Me and Isabel were watching a movie when we heard Maria's car pull up. We looked at eachother and expected the worst. She had left the other day. It was supposed to be a week. We simultaneously stood up and ran outside. Maria bolted out of the car, tears streaming down her face. She took of her engagement ring and threw it to the ground.

Her white dress was stained with mud. I could tell it was Isabel's and I looked over at her. She was staring at her dress too, biting her comment back. Then she looked over at Maria. "Why are you home so early?"

"You were right ok? He was cheating on me. I get over there to surprise him and he's f*cking another woman. A PROSTITUTE! He's married too, he got her pregnant!!!" Maria half screamed, half cried. "Oh, Maria, I'm sorry" Isabel said, softly. "LIAR!" Maria cried, pointed her slender index finger at Isabel. "You always wanted this to happen! You never liked him! I wouldn't be surprised if you convinced him into cheating on me!"

"HEY!" Isabel screamed back. "I'm sorry, I really am, True, I never liked him but I would never do that. It's not my fault that he couldn't keep his f*cking pants on!"

"OH, yeah, good one Izzy" Maria said, scowling. Her voice was cold and full of malice and resentment. I stepped back, never seeing Maria talk or act like this.

Maria rushed past both of us and ran into her room, locking her door. Isabel followed, angrily. "Don't go dumping your sh*t on me. I'm sorry this happened to you but it's not fair to blame it on me!" Isabel yelled, slamming her fists on Maria's door. "Iz, just go away" Maria's voice floated out from the room. Her voice was muffled, most likely from having her face in one of her plush pillows.

Isabel came back to me. "Do you mind if we continued this later?"

"No, no of course not. I gotta head over to Max's anyway." I said. Isabel raised a perfectly shaped eyebrow at me. She slightly smiled and nodded, closing the door. "Have fun"

***

I knocked on Max's door. I let myself in and found Max all ready. I was tense. Ever since that dream, I felt extremely awkward around Max.

"Sit down"

After about an hour of sitting in the same position, we took a break. "So, yesterday, I went down memory lane. Do you have any memorable...memories?" Max asked, taking a sip of his hot chocolate.

I looked him in the eye. "Nope"

"Oh c'mon..."

Tears welled up in my eyes and I thought about Tess and the boy at the dance, his cheeks puffed out. Max concentrated on me, studying me almost.

"I don't exactly have the happiest memories" I said, my voice barely above a whisper.

"Oh..." Max said, trailing off. I could tell he was a little uncomfortable but he wanted to be there for me. "Do you want to talk about it?" he suggested.

"When I was young, the kids made fun of my weight." I began. I don't even know why I'm telling him this. It just came naturally. Max moved closer, offering me support. "They called my fat ass, thunder thighs, the works." I said, tears evident in my voice.

"But then my mom became the amazing Kiki Sparks." I said, a bitter sweet smile crossing my lips. "I lost the weight and I was actually proud of myself."

"Then Tess Harding comes along and made up this rumor that I slept with this guy" I paused, gathering my gut. "I tried everything. I turned down the few dates that I was offered. I barely showed any skin. but I was..." I took a deep breath. "I was still a slut" I said, my tears overflowing and my voice cracking. "They never let it go. All I ever wanted was to be accepted. They tortured me." I said, sobbing. "They tortured me." Max pulled me into a hug. After we pulled away, I continued. "That's when I got this" I said, pointing to my lip ring.

"Liz, you need to let it go"

"What? How can I just let it go?"

"It doesn't matter what they think. You know you never did anything. I know you never did anything. If they have some need to say that b.s. about you, f*ck them. They don't know you. As long as you know, nothing else matters."

I stared at him for a long moment. Suddenly I let all my emotions go wild. Voices, laughing, images swirled around me getting louder and louder and louder until...I just let it go. It was weird. How I harbored the pain for years and years and one peice of advice from Max and there it was...the storm was gone.

I looked up at Max's caring eyes and smiled slightly. I brought him into a tight embrace and smiled at him. "Thank you" I whispered. Max just smiled at me.

"I'm finished with the painting." Max said softly, one of his arms still around my shoulders.

"Really?" My voice perky. "Can I see?" I asked eagerly, getting up. Max grabbed my arm. "Not yet!"

"Why?" I asked, confusing clouding my eyes.

"It's a surprise. I want to make it a big deal"

"It'll be a big deal this way too." I whined.

He chuckled. "Please, Liz?"

I could've sworn I was melting. I looked down at my feet, just to make sure.

"I'll cook dinner and everything. Then I'll present it. Please?"

Now how could I say no? He's practically begging me.

"Ok..." I said, staring at the covered easel.

"Okay then!" Max said, excited. "It's a date." He said, smiling at me.

My eyes grew big before I started to blush.
"I guess it is"

___________________________________________________________
TBC.

Next part is the conclusion!!!