posted on 4-Jan-2002 6:41:53 PM
A Change of Heart
Prologue


This story takes place 5 years after Tess went back to Antar. After high school the "Roswell Crew" moved to New England where Maria and Liz bought an old farmhouse. They live together, Max and Isabel live together, and Michael has an apartment on his own. Two year after the move, Max went to Spain, where he stayed for three years. He has returned only a week before the story begins. Michael is mellowed a good deal, and is not afraid of his feelings. Here we begin.

A Change of Heart
Chapter 1




Liz stood, gazing dreamily into the mirror from behind the filmy folds of the wedding veil. She sighed winsomely and stared, mesmerized by the picture of her face covered in the veil -- wrapped in her dreams -- the dreams that would never come to fruition. That last dreary thought ripped her from her reverie. A step sounded on the stairway and Liz flushed scarlet. Hastily she pulled off the veil and stowed it in its box. Rushing across the room she flung herself into an old, dusty recliner and grabbed up a book, attempting nonchalance as the door opened admitting a very stressed-looking Maria.

"Liz, babe, I need you today!" Maria exclaimed, "Why are you hiding up here in the attic?"

"I just needed some time to myself Maria," Liz explained, "Everything is so hectic around here these days."

Maria groaned, "Tell me about it. The wedding is tomorrow for crying out loud and we still have so much to do!"

"I still can't believe you are getting married tomorrow Maria! It still seems too soon to be married." Liz threw her arms around her best friend; "It seems like just yesterday we were six years old and chasing Alex around the playground."

"I know, hon, but we are twenty-two years old and we will be old and gray before we know it."

They both fell silent for a moment thinking about the great and unexpected changes they had experienced in the last five years.

"After Tess left, everything changed," Liz mused aloud, "When Max and I got back together I thought that everything was going to get back to normal. We really seemed to be making progress. And then, all of a sudden, he started pulling away from me again. I don't know, maybe he was afraid I was getting too close. Those three years he spent in Spain, he almost stopped writing to me. I would wait and wait for a letter, and then get a couple of lines about the weather or the soccer team. It was really frustrating."

Maria picked up the story line, " I know, it was like he was just breaking off with everyone he knew. I think that girl, whoever she was hurt him really badly. He would never say much about her, just that he loved her so much and that she rejected him."

Liz ducked her head to hide the pain that sprang into her eyes. Only she and Isabel knew how the whole affair had happened. The way Isabel told it was that Max had left a letter for Liz when he left. In it he declared his love and asked Liz if she would wait and marry him when he came back. He stated that if she did not answer his letter, he would assume that she was refusing him and never ask again. There was one small problem; Liz never got the letter. So Max, feeling completely crushed, had stayed in Spain for three years, returning only last Saturday.

Upon his arrival, he had asked to see Liz privately, and, with pain and anger in his voice he had berated her harshly for her betrayal. Liz had no idea what was going on and the scolding hurt. They pain in his eyes struck her and she didn't know what to do, so she sat silently as he stomped out of the room, almost in tears. Yesterday, Thursday, she had confronted Isabel and learned about the letter, but by then it was too late, Max and Maria were engaged and the wedding was set for Saturday --- two days later.

Maria was still speaking, "I hate her so much for ripping his heart out like that!" she spat the words out as if they were poison, her eyes flashed angrily, "Where ever she is, Whoever she is, I hope she is having a nice life!" The words fairly dripped with disdain.

"Don't hate her too much," Liz interjected quietly, "Maybe she didn't know what she was doing." The last words were spoken in a choked kind of sob. She struggled to compose herself --- Maria must never know. Maria never noticed, she was still rambling on in righteous indignation.

"I mean, yeah, she taught him a little about life and knocked a bit of sense into his head, but I still hate her, and I always will!"

"Maybe it is because you get her cast-offs," Liz laughed, oops, she wished she could take those words back. Maria's head snapped up as if she had been slapped. She stared at Liz in disbelief, tears welling in her eyes. Her face turned scarlet and she spun around on her heel and stomped down the attic steps.

"Maria, please, I'm sorry, I-I don't know why I said that, it was mean!" Liz flew down the stairs after her retreating friend. "Please Maria, wait up!"

Slowly Maria turned, tears streaming down her face.

"I know you think we don't love each other, but Max and I will be very happy together. We will!" she spoke firmly. "But I still don't understand why it is me he is marrying, and not you."

"Maria," Liz sighed in exasperation, "We've been through this a thousand times! I had my chance, and now it is your turn to be happy. End of conversation. Now come on, let's go do the last changes on your wedding dress."

To be continued soon

[ edited 5 time(s), last at 8-Feb-2002 2:50:52 PM ]
posted on 7-Jan-2002 5:20:11 PM
A Change Of Heart
Chapter 2


The big day dawned cloudy, but beautiful. Maria woke early feeling nervous, and somehow depressed. That wasn’t how she had imagined herself feeling on her wedding day. Something about the way Max had acted last night made her uneasy, he seemed sad, distracted. He didn’t exactly act like a man in love. Oh well, they were both most likely getting the pre-wedding jitters. Today was going to be perfect; she would make sure of that.
Liz arrived at 8:00am. They still had to set the flowers out in the yard and they needed to wrestle Maria into her wedding dress. The wedding was at 10:00, so they didn’t have much time.

It was nine-fifty-five on the clock. All of the guests were seated, the bridal party was in place, and everything was ready. No, scratch that, the best man was missing. Where was Michael? Liz went outside to ask Max if he had any idea where Michael could be. He all but ignored her, speaking in terse, clipped sentences and refusing to look at her at all. He had no idea where Michael was, but he was willing to wait a few minutes to see if he would show up. Liz sighed and went back into the house – A Very, Very quiet house.
“Maria, Maria! Max doesn’t know where Michael is either. We’re going to hold the wedding back a few minutes, ok? Maria?” She opened the door to the room where Maria was waiting – Correction – HAD been waiting. The room was empty.
“Great, just great! Two people MIA in one morning. Where did Maria disappear to?”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Max waited outside. “How did I end up standing here today?” he muttered, “I always thought it would be Liz I was waiting at the altar for, not Maria.” His face clouded with anger and pain leapt into his eyes as he thought of how Liz had stomped on his heart. And speaking of Liz, there came the little betrayer now.
Liz ran out of the house, horror written on all of her features. She clutched the note tightly in her hand. Man, she didn’t want to do this to him, not today, not now. Sure, it had to be done, but why her? He already hated her, and now she had to be the bearer of bad news too.
“Well, here goes,” she whispered to herself. Drawing a shaky breath, she walked up to Max. The open hostility in his eyes took her breath away.
“Max…Umm…I – I think you should see this,” she stuttered, holding the crumpled message out to him. Their fingers brushed as he reached for the note. Both flinched and Max pulled away as if he had been burned. Hastily he scanned the note. His face blanched white and his breath came in painful gasps. Isabel saw his confusion and rushed over.
“Max are you OK?” she asked. Not receiving an answer she whirled on Liz. “What have you done now?!” The acid words dripped off of her lips, Liz flinched and looked away. Isabel snatched the note out of her brother’s limp finger and stared at it in disbelief.

Liz please don’t hate me. I have to leave, NOW. Michael has been in a bad accident. I love him Liz, I always have. I can’t let him die with out knowing that. Tell Isabel and Max to get here as soon as they can, and tell Max I’m sorry. You were right, I never loved him, and I should never have agreed to marry him.
Maria
The name of the hospital was scrawled on the back.
“Max, we have to go! Michael may be dying, he needs our help! Come on, snap out of it!” Isabel cried, “Max please!” Her impassioned plea jerked Max out of his daze. He grabbed Isabel’s hand and shoved Liz back toward the house.
“We’re leaving!” he growled, ”Tell them all to go home!” he gestured to the wedding guests. He and Isabel jumped into the Jeep and pealed out of the lane. In seconds they were gone and Liz was left gazing in shock across the yard.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The phone rang in the still house. Liz had just gone outside to find out if Max knew what was holding Michael up, so there was no one to answer it. Maria grabbed her train up in both of her hands and awkwardly rushed to the phone. If this is Michael, he’d better have a darn good reason for being late she thought as she picked up the receiver. It was the hospital. She listened in growing dismay as they told her that Michael had been brought in a few moments ago. He had had an accident on his motorbike and they hadn’t discovered how badly he was hurt yet, but he was asking for her. Maria hung up the phone and grabbed the notepaper off of the telephone table. Hastily she scribbled a note to Liz and then looked for a way out. Front door? No, everyone would see and they would try to stop her. Back door? Wait a minute -- this house had no back door. Window? Yes, that would work. She opened the nearest window and jumped out, grabbing her cell phone off the dresser. She started to run, dialing a cab as she went. Soon she was speeding toward the hospital.
A number of amused pedestrians watched Maria as she ran in to the hospital. She had forgotten that she was wearing her wedding dress. At the desk she stopped reluctantly and out-of-breath asked for Michael Guerin’s room. Then she was off running again; she didn’t even notice the looks people were giving her. Michael was sitting up in bed – he was pale but he looked ok – mostly he just looked ticked off. All of a sudden a pile of lace and tulle landed in his lap and Maria was all over him. She kissed his cheeks, his eyelids, his nose, his chin, his lips, anywhere that she could find bare skin.
“ Oh, Michael,” she murmured between kisses, “I thought I had lost you forever! I can’t live without you anymore, marry me!”
“What?” he asked, still recovering from the shock of having her land in his lap “Aren’t you marrying Max today?”
“No, I don’t love him, I love you! I want you to marry me, today. We can get married here at the chapel. Please Michael I don’t want to be apart from you anymore.”
He didn’t answer her, just placed a hand on either side of her face and kissed her hard on the lips. They clung together for what could have been forever, neither one wanted to let go.
“I hated Max when he proposed to you! I wished I could be the one down on my knee in front of you like that. Can I?” She nodded, still not able to speak. Michael slipped off of the bed and knelt in front of the girl he adored. He took her hands and looked right into her face.
“You know I’m not any good at the ‘feelings’ thing, but I want to try. Maria, you have always been the one girl that I even considered spending my life with. I want to marry you, to take care of you forever…will you let me?” He had already known that she would say yes, but he wasn’t expecting the tears that poured down her face. She was smiling and crying and nodding her head off. Feeling somewhat foolish he got up off the floor and placed his hand on her shoulder. That wasn’t enough for Maria. She sprang up off the bed and thrust her lips up onto his. They would have spent another one of their eternity-moments in each other’s arms, but they heard someone clear their throat softly behind them. They spun around and saw a young nurse standing in the doorway with tears in her eyes.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to watch, but I saw the whole thing. It was such a sweet thing to hear. Do you want me to find the chapel-priest for you?” They nodded and she took off, coming back a few moments later with a balding man in a clerical collar.
The priest motioned that they should follow and led them to the tiny chapel. Joining Maria and Michael’s hands he began the ceremony.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered today…”

posted on 7-Jan-2002 6:14:11 PM
A Change Of Heart
Chapter 3


Max and Isabel rushed into the hospital. They found Michael’s room and threw open the door -- empty. They queried the rushing nursed to no avail, and then, finally one of them remembered seeing a lady in a wedding dress walking with a priest and a man in a hospital gown toward the chapel. Their hearts fell: if Michael was going to church, then things were worse than they thought. None of their special powers could help him now. Michael was as good as gone.
They sprinted to the chapel, only hoping to get there before it was too late. The scene that greeted them pulled them up short. Maria and a very healthy-looking Michael were locked in a passionate kiss, clinging together as if their lives depended on it. A slightly bemused-looking priest looked on. This was not the dying-warrior-grieving-lady scene that they expected.
“Michael, are you dying?” Isabel panted, “Are you even hurt?”
“If he’s not now he will be soon, I’ll kill him myself for scaring us like that!” Max growled out of breath. Maria and Michael reluctantly parted raising flushed faces to the panting pair in front of them. Seeing the anger in his friends’ faces, Michael pushed Maria behind him – warrior and defender to the extreme.
“I was in an accident on my way to the wedding,” he explained, “A truck broadsided me on my bike and I flew off and hit my head. I was knocked out for a while and someone found me and called 911. I am fine, OK Maxwell?” He sounded kind of annoyed. “For this you interrupt my first moment with my wife?”
“But the note said…wait a minute…WIFE?!!” Isabel stuttered, ”B-but how? Why?”
Maria jumped in, ”I asked him…no he asked me…no…whatever, we had an understanding! Oh, Max girlfriend, here’s your diamond back.”
“Maria!” Isabel gasped in horror, seeing her brother’s stricken face, “That was cruel! Talk about twist the knife!”
“Oh, yeah, sorry Max.” Maria mumbled absently. She was not paying attention anymore. She was too busy losing herself in the eyes of her new husband.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Meanwhile Liz was back at the house trying to figure out how she was going to get rid of a whole yard full of impatient wedding guests.
“Get rid of them he said, yeah, OK, sure, whatever you say your highness, but just one small problem…HOW?” She mulled over the problem for a few moments more and then decided the short, easy dismissal was best. Marching up to the altar she turned to face the now bewildered guests.
“Uh…everybody…leave now…just go away!” She spun around and walked back into the house, slamming the door behind her. When she did not return the very confused guests straggled away one by one. The yard was soon deserted and one strong gust of wind sent the rose arbor crashing to the ground. Liz thought it was rather appropriate a final act of defiance against the marriage that would never happen.
Isabel phoned Liz to catch her up on what was happening. She said that they would stay in town the whole day with Michael and Maria because Maria wanted to go shopping for her trousseau. She had never gotten around to that with Max. Liz was happy for her best friend and happy for herself and happy for Michael and happy for the whole world in general. She promised to keep the wedding supper that was supposed to be served earlier in the day hot for them and she said that she would make homemade ice cream to go with the cake. She advised them to have fun and to make the day special for the newlyweds. Hanging up the phone she got to work on the dinner and ice cream and then took a bath and went to sit outside and watch the sunset. Man, this day turned out different than it was supposed to! She only hoped that Max was not taking it too hard. It had to have hurt when his fiancé not only ran out on the wedding, but went and married someone else on the same day. How she longed to be able to take him in her arms and comfort him, but she knew that the chances of that happening were less than nothing.

Next part soon
posted on 22-Jan-2002 7:17:25 PM
A Change Of Heart
Chapter 4


A pair of headlights swept into the dusk-softened yard. Four car doors creaked open and then slammed shut. Liz watched her friends’ approach from her vantage point on the corner of the porch. They trooped up the stairs, quietly laughing and joking, and Max knocked softly on the door.
“Over here guys,” Liz spoke out of the darkness. They all jumped and spun around to face her. “So, Michael, I see that the report of your near death was greatly exaggerated, considering Maria was the only one carrying you up those steps, or were you carrying her? It’s kinda hard to tell. I don’t think anyone could even shine a flashlight between you two! Oh yeah, congrats on the marriage and all, but I still think that two weddings on the same day for the same person is a bit much!” Michael and Maria laughed good-naturedly at the ribbing. They had expected it after all, Liz was a good friend, but she would never let an opportunity like this pass without teasing them mercilessly.
All five adults entered the house and sat around the kitchen table drinking coffee and talking. Well, Liz and Maria were talking. Max was sitting across the table glaring at Liz, Isabel still looked rather shell-shocked and had little to say, and Michael seemed happy to just sit with his wife. The two girls rehashed the day over and over and Max looked more and more annoyed. Finally, pleading exhaustion, Liz excused herself for the night. Maria invited Max and Isabel to stay over and she and Michael also disappeared upstairs. The house was soon dark and silent as each person allowed sleep to claim them.
It was 2:00am when Liz awoke. She could not put her finger on the reason why. Was it a sound that pulled her out of her sleep? No, not a noise…a dream maybe? Yes, that was it, a dream. Now if she could only remember what the dream was. Suddenly it all came back. The dream had been a picture museum of her life before the letter, her life with Max.
“Isn’t it bad enough that I have to endure seeing you all day? Why do you insist of hanging around in my dreams too?” she muttered into the darkness. She let the scenes roll over her again.

*FLASH*

Max’s face as he stared in the window and saw herself and Kyle in bed.

*FLASH*

The pain and plea in his eyes as he explained that he got Tess pregnant and they were all leaving the planet to save her baby.

*FLASH*

Max and Liz sharing a soda at the Crashdown after school.

*FLASH*

The pain in his voice as he yelled at her for betraying him when he got back from Spain.

*FLASH*

Red roses flying through the air and changing to white

The bittersweet memories engulfed her and tears sprang to her eyes. “Oh Max, how did I let you go so easily. How did I lose you like this?”

Max couldn’t sleep. Too much had happened in the last 24 hours for his mind to relax. He lay and listened to the tiny sounds of the near-silent house. Someone was snoring, the refrigerator turned on in the kitchen, a tap was dripping somewhere, a dog barked in the distance. Hours passed and he was getting very bored, then he heard someone crying softly. Quietly, he got out of bed and padded down the hall following the sound. Coming to a stop outside of Liz’s room he listened. He heard her whimper and strained to understand the words.
“Max…how did I lose you?”
His head jerked back in surprise and his eyed opened wide, then narrowed in to angry slits. If she still cared enough to cry over him at night then why did she reject him as if throwing away a worn-out toy? Nothing about this day made any sense he thought as he went back to bed. It was enough to make a man crazy! He lay staring at the ceiling trying to make sense out of what he had heard. It just didn’t add up. Thinking about Liz brought back the pain and anticipation he had felt as he waited for her to answer his letter. Every day for three very long years his heart would drop lower and lower at the sight of his empty mailbox. He remembered how, gradually, his pain had turned to anger, and his anger turned to bitterness. He remembered the morning when he woke up and no longer felt the familiar rush of love when her saw her picture beside the bed, and he remembered the sense of loss that had followed him from that day. He still marveled that that tiny girl could cause him so much hurt. Emotionally exhausted he finally fell asleep.

Morning came slowly for Liz. She slept only in small snatches filled with dreams of the happy days she had once known. At 5:00 she gave up and got out of bed. She trudged bleary eyed down the stairs, tying her robe tightly around herself. Not looking where she was going, she rounded the corner in to the living room and ran smack into a rock hard stomach. Max threw his arms around the small body that whacked into him on reflex and then dropped his arms and stepped back as if he had been burned. Liz blanched white and he could feel his own face burning red. His fingers itched to reach out and caress the face that had been planted into his chest, just like they used to, but he quickly squelched the yearning. Liz mumbled an apology and darted around him into the kitchen.
She needed to calm down. Her heart was pounding and her knees felt like limp spaghetti. The feeling of those hard, defined abs under her cheek raised painfully sweet memories. Breathing deeply she filled the kettle and set it on the stove to heat. Liz was lost in the past when the kettle whistled and startled her. She brewed herself a cup of instant coffee and sat at the table warming her hands on the hot mug. She sipped the drink slowly, letting the rich aroma and the warm liquid sooth her jangled nerves and whirling thoughts.
In the living room Max was trying to regain control of his trembling body. No matter how badly she had hurt him, his body still recognized and reacted to Liz’s presence. The familiar feeling of Liz’s small body pressed against his and her soft hair trailing over his bare chest wakened many memories and made his loss seem so much more painful. Taking deep, calming breaths, he forced himself to think of other things. Eventually the pleasant scent of coffee drifted into the room. His stomach rumbled it smelled so good. But SHE was in there-he could hear her moving around. He debated with himself for a few moments and decided to go for it anyway, the smell was driving him crazy.
Liz heard Max enter the room. All of a sudden the cream swirls in the top of her coffee cup seemed incredibly entertaining. She SO did not want to talk to him right now. She finished her coffee as fast as she could, placed her cup in the sink and escaped to her room. She changed into her exercise clothes and went out for her daily jog.

Everyone was awake and eating breakfast when Liz returned. Her face was red and sweaty and her hair was flying everywhere, but Max thought he had never seen anyone look more beautiful – wait a moment, where did that come from?! One second he was trying very hard to hate the girl and the next he was drooling over her again?
“Get a grip, you’re over her, remember?” he muttered to himself. Now it was his turn to escape in haste. He ran to his room and locked himself in until he could get a firmer grip on reality.


posted on 22-Jan-2002 7:19:42 PM
A Change of Heart
Chapter 5


Several awkward, but uneventful days passed and then Max and Isabel took a few days vacation to go visit their parents in Roswell. All in all things were going well, maybe too well.

Author Interjection:
Have you ever noticed that when everything is going good, then THAT is the moment that the Fates choose to conspire against you? The same thing happened this time.

Max and Isabel were just pulling into the driveway of the house that Liz, Maria and now Michael shared when Maria came barreling out at top speed, she looked positively frantic!
“Max, Isabel! Where have you guys been? I called the house, I called the cell, no one answered!” She gasped.
“Maria, Maria calm down!” Isabel grabbed her friend’s shoulders and shook her a little. “Take a deep breath and tell us what is wrong.”
“It’s Liz,” Maria wailed, “I don’t know what is wrong. She has been kind of tired for a couple of days and she has had a bit of a headache, but she kept saying that she was OK. Then this morning I found her in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. She was burning up and she wouldn’t open her eyes. Michael carried her up to her room and she just lay there like she was in a-a coma or something. A half-hour ago she woke up and it sounds like she is saying her last good-byes. Guys I’m scared, I think she is dying! Michael tried to help, but he is no good at healing. Please, you have to do something!”
Isabel took off running for the house but Max stayed where he was. He still wasn’t very comfortable around Liz and he wasn’t sure he wanted to go in there right now. But then again, it IS a matter of life and death he reasoned. He was soon running beside Isabel and they entered the house at the same time. Michael met them inside the door, his eyes red and swollen from crying.
“This has SO got to be bad,” Isabel muttered to herself, “If ‘Stone Wall’ Guerin is crying we haven’t got much time here.” Similar thoughts raced through Max’s head as they raced up the stairs toward the sick girl’s room. He could hear soft moaning sounds as they entered the hall. Max reached the room first and stopped dead in the doorway. THIS was LIZ? He would never have recognized her. She was skin and bones. The fever had melted the flesh right off of her. She had always been tiny, but now her ravaged form barely made a bump in the bedcovers. How could someone change so much in four days?!

Liz dimly heard someone enter the room and she fought to open her eyes. Light stabbed into her brain and she made out the shape of Max in the doorway. He just stood there gawking at her. She knew that if she spoke to Max first, she would never be able to speak to Isabel, she would be that exhausted emotionally. Isabel came first here, save the hard one for last.
“Isabel” she whispered. The words were hardly audible, but Max must have heard her because he immediately stepped to the side and let a panicked-looking Isabel into the room and closed the door. Iz ran to the side of the bed and dropped down beside her friend.
“It’s going to be OK, we’ll get you all fixed up. Let me call Max and-“
“No Iz,” came the breathy reply, “There’s something you need to know….”

Max stepped to the side to let his sister enter Liz’s room. He quietly closed the door to allow them to have a little privacy in possibly their last moments. He felt oddly disappointed that Liz would ask for Isabel before him. It made no sense, but that was how he felt. About ten minutes later the door opened again and Isabel stumbled out into the hall. Her eyes were rimmed in red and tears were drying on her face. She motioned that Liz wanted to speak to him and he slipped into the room. Liz looked so white and still lying there. He knew that her time was running out fast. He knelt be the bed, bringing her face up to eye level and reached out for her hand.
“Hey,” he said softly, “how are ya feeling?”
“Really… weak.” She had to breathe deeply between the words, “Look Max… I need…talk…to...you.” her breath caught in her throat and she coughed violently. He helped her to sit up and the coughing subsided. He reached for her glass of water and held it to her lips. She sipped the liquid and smiled a weak thank you.
“Shhh, hush now. Let’s just get you better first, OK? There’s plenty of time to talk later.”
“No, Max…important.” Her eyes pleaded with him to allow her to speak and he relented. He held her tight up against his shoulder to help her breathe and she closed her eyes for a moment, seemingly steeling herself for what she was about to say. He leaned his ear close to hear the hushed words.
“I never got your…letter, Max…I would have said…yes… Always loved …you… I’m…sorry… Max… so … sorry… I …love…you.” She drew a painful, rattling breath, closed her eyes and lay still. A small tremor ran through her fragile frame and she was gone.
“NOOOOO… Liz, come back!” Max cried, “You can’t leave me now! I love you! I’m sorry! Please, come back!” Shaking her still body he started to cry great, wrenching sobs that ripped the stillness of the room. He gathered into his arms and rocked her tenderly, whispering pitifully, “Please…please… please”

New part soon
posted on 25-Jan-2002 3:39:29 PM
Okay, everyone can breathe now, I'm not really that mean


A Change of Heart
Chapter 6


Isabel waited outside as Max spoke to Liz. She could hear very little and assumed that her brother was in the middle of healing the girl. When she heard Max cry out she was surprised. She ran back into the room and saw him sitting on the bed rocking Liz’s obviously dead body. Iz knew that Liz could still be brought back, but the time window was very small and they had to act fast. She grabbed her brother’s shoulders and shook him a little to snap him out of his fog of grief. He didn’t respond. She shook him harder, still nothing. She didn’t know what else to do, so she took a deep breath, drew back her hand and slapped him full in the face. That got a reaction. Max raised angry eyes to his sister’s face. He was about to demand an explanation but she cut him off.
“We can still save her, but we are wasting time. We only have a couple of minutes before it is too late!” Isabel grabbed Liz’s still-warm hand. Slipping quickly into the dream plane she searched out her friend’s fading aura. Max connected to his sister and was drawn into the dream plane too. He knew exactly which aura he was looking for and disappeared inside the dream. Isabel slipped back into reality. It was all up to him now.

Max was pulled into the star studded, foggy plain. Instinctively he knew which dream-aura belonged to Liz; her essence drew him to her automatically. The shell of her dream bubble looked fragile, as if it could burst and disappear forever any moment. He entered the dream and saw nothing. Nothing was there except a black void, but he sensed her presence. His eyes adjusted to the sudden dark and he made out her form far off in the distance, walking toward a doorway. He followed her. His footsteps made no sound at all. She made it to the doorway before he did and when he arrived there, sunlight poured into his brain making him unable to see for a few moments. His eyes cleared and he saw that he was on top of a hill, looking down toward a beautifully shining pond. Liz lay sleeping beside the pond, dressed in a long burgundy gown. She was smiling in her sleep and he heard her murmur his name. He found himself at her side, thought he didn’t remember walking down the hill, and he lay down beside her. He traced a gentle finger across the plains of her face, her eyebrows, her cheekbones, her nose, that cute little dip above her lips. He couldn’t resist leaning down to kiss her softly. She woke up and stared into his eyes. Her eyes grew pensive and sad when she realized why he was here.
“Liz, I can’t let you go yet. Will you let me heal you?” She nodded. He looked into her eyes and placed his hands on both of her cheeks. Pain crossed his features for a fleeting moment as he felt the ravage that the illness had created inside of her. He worked hard at repairing the damage for many minutes until he could find no more trace of the infirmity. Exhausted, sweaty, and gasping for breath, he pulled her close and gave her a tight hug. Then he woke up on her bed again.

Isabel watched the emotions play across Max’s face in his concentration. Wonder, tenderness, love, pain, and fatigue passed over his features in quick succession. Sweat popped out on his forehead, wet patches developed under his arms and down his chest. He began to tremble and gasp for air. Then his eyes fluttered and opened. He lay for a few moments, recovering his strength, and then he rolled over and took Liz’s face in his hands again. Liz was bewildered. She only knew that Max hated her a few minutes ago, and now he was kissing her. She remembered seeing his face over her, and then darkness, and then she woke up and her head and her insides didn’t hurt anymore, and he was holding her face and kissing her softly. Tears streamed down his face as he slumped to his knees beside the bed and took Liz’s hand, lifting it gently up to his mouth. He let the tears fall unheeded onto the soft white skin as he pressed a kiss onto her knuckles.
“Please don’t ever leave me like that,” he whispered around his tears, “I can’t bear to lose you again.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Liz slowly gained back her strength and all of the weight she had lost to the fever. From the time she woke up with Max watching her he never left her side. He even slept on a cot in her room. He seemed afraid to let her out of his sight. She was slightly bewildered by the attention. She could still not figure out why Max had changed his mind about her. He had gone so suddenly from hating her guts to acting the way he did in high school. She became his life again - his sun, moon, and stars. His devotion was dazzling, and Liz cried more than once from the sheer joy of having him back. She didn’t understand, but if he was willing to forgive and move on, then so was she.

He watched her sleep. It was such a precious gift to be allowed even that privilege. She was so beautiful. “Fool!” he berated himself, “How could I possibly think she would not be loyal? I had the most precious jewel in all the world in my hand, and I threw her away without asking questions.” Even in her sleep Liz recognized his voice and turned toward him smiling. “ Now I just wonder why she didn’t toss me out of her house, why she has let me get close to her again. I am such an IDIOT!” He felt miles away from her even though he was sitting right beside the bed. Needing to be closer he kicked off his shoes and lay down next to the slumbering girl. He wrapped his arms tightly around her and allowed sleep to claim him. The last thought that ran through his head was how good it felt to have her small form in his arms again. It had been too long.

Liz woke slowly. She was pinned to the mattress and there was a great weight on her chest. She opened her eyes and saw Max’s tousled head snuggled into her shoulder. His arm was tossed across her body pinning her down. He looked so adorable sleeping there, all curled up and rumpled. It made him look like a little boy. He must have been sitting up into the night with her again and fallen asleep. He was still in his jeans and T-shirt. She smiled at his little boy expression and pushed his head gently off of her shoulder onto the pillow. He stirred and pulled her closer. She stifled a giggle and stroked his head until he went back into a deep sleep. Finger by finger she loosened his grip on her and slipped out of the bed. She pulled on her terry-cloth robe, sitting on the chair next to the bed. He shivered, so she tugged her quilt over him and watched him snuggle in. The early-morning sun cast its golden-pink glow on his face. A tear glimmered on his eyelashes and another ran down his cheek. He whimpered quietly, lip quivering.
“Liz, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry Liz, please, don’t leave me! Please!” More tears were sliding off his cheeks onto the pillow.

She scooted back onto the bed and knelt over the huddled form. Gently she rubbed her hands through his hair trying to reassure him and calm him down. She placed her hands on either side of his face and kissed his eyelids, his forehead, his wet, salty cheeks, and then she pressed a tenderly lingering kiss on his trembling lips. His sobs faded out and he stopped trembling so violently. She lifted his head and cradled it in her arms.
“Shh, it’s okay baby, it’s okay. I’m here, I’m right here. I am not going anywhere. I promise. Hush now, everything’s okay.” She bent her head and pressed an upside-down kiss onto the end of his nose. He stirred and opened his eyes.


*~*~*~*~*~

Max saw Liz standing before him in the airport. She had all of her suitcases with her. He asked her where she was going, “Away” is all she would tell him. She turned to walk away and he grabbed her arm.
“You can’t leave me,” he pleaded with her.
“Why not? You didn’t trust me enough to believe I would wait for you. I can do whatever I want.” Her tone was brittle and accusing. Without a backward glance she turned and walked away.
“No! Liz, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry Liz! Please, don’t leave me! Please!” He felt sick to his stomach as he realized he had lost her yet again. Then Liz faded in front of him and he was back in her room, staring up at her. She looked so concerned, so beautiful.
“It’s okay Max, I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying right here. You don’t have to be afraid that I’ll leave.” She smoothed his hair again. “I’m staying.”
Max sat up rubbing sleep and salt from his eyes. He stood and stretched and then held a hand out to Liz. She took it and he pulled her up against him. He pressed her hard to his body and kissed the top of her head.
“You are incredible!” he murmured into her hair, “I love you so much.”
“Thanks Max, I love you too.” she answered, a little confused, “But why the change of heart? Only last week you hated to be around me and now we are back to the way we were in high school. What changed your mind?”
“You don’t remember?” he asked, amazed
“Remember what?”
“Everything that you said to me before you…died.”
“No, what did I say?”
“You told me everything. That you never got my letter, that you love me and you always have, that you would have married me if you had known.” he explained.
“I said all of that?” she asked, blushing
“Yeah.”
“Oh, ok… not that I didn’t mean it. I did. I do love you, more that you will ever know, but I never expected to get the chance to tell you.”
“I love you too. You are my whole life, Liz. I never really got over you. Next to you, all the other girls looked lifeless and dull. No one could match the way you look at me with such complete love. I am addicted to you and you’re heady stuff.” Max was a little embarrassed at spilling everything that was in his heart, but he needed to tell her. “I love you more than anyone ever should.” He pulled her back into a tight hug. He never wanted to let her go again and she seemed willing to comply. Arms around each other they left the room.

Better?
Next part soon, maybe tomorrow
posted on 1-Feb-2002 9:30:41 PM
A Change of Heart
Chapter 7


It was the evening after Max and Liz proclaimed their love for each other. Liz had dragged Max outside for a walk, hoping to find out what was making him act so strangely. He had been distracted all day, secretive and on edge. He seemed almost nervous as they walked hand in hand through the garden. Near the porch she decided that enough was enough and turned him around to face her.
“Is something wrong Max?” she asked, “You know you can tell me anything.”
“I can’t tell you.” he whispered, “Not right now.” Her face contorted with worry in the moonlight.
“Is something wrong? Something’s wrong isn’t it? For pity’s sake Max, tell me! Are you in trouble?” Max fought hard to keep his grin from reaching his mouth. She was so darned adorable when she got all riled up!
“ No, nothing is wrong, I promise. I just can’t tell you right now.” Liz’s eyes were searching his face worriedly as if looking for some sign that he wasn’t telling the truth. “Liz trust me. I love you and I won’t lie to you. Ask me again in a couple of days.”
Now she knew something was up. “Oh come on, what’s the big secret. Please?”
“Nope, not gonna tell!” Max said firmly. She pleaded and cajoled and threatened to hate him forever, but the kisses she put on his forehead belied the danger of that happening. He stopped her “torture” and lifted her chin so that she was looking up into his face. Her eyes widened when she saw the look on his face and she closed her eyes in anticipation of the kiss she knew was coming. Instead he lowered his lips to her ear and whispered, “Pouting won’t do you any good either. You have to be a good little girl and wait till tomorrow.”
Feigning insult she turned and started to walk toward the house. He grabbed her arm and spun her around to face him again. Before she could say anything he dropped his mouth to cover hers and he kissed her. Her arms wrapped around his neck, pulling him closer. They stood in the moonlit garden together for a long moment. Finally Liz pulled back. She stared solemnly into his eyes. “I guess I can wait.” He chuckled. “Goodnight my Liz,” he said and he placed a kiss on the end of her nose. The moon shone approvingly down as they turned and entered the house together.

Liz woke early. She was excited and eager to find out what Max’s big secret was. She dressed quickly and rushed into the kitchen. Michael and Maria were there, but there was no sign of Max.
“Has anyone seen Max this morning?” she asked her friends. They looked at each other and smiled. Great, she thought, it’s a conspiracy and they are in on it too. Michael spoke up.
“He left early this morning. He said he had errands to run and he won’t be back until later tonight. He left you a note.” Michael handed over a red envelope. She opened it and pulled out a white piece of paper.

My Liz
I hope you slept well. I am sorry that I can’t be
there today, but I had a couple of things I really
needed to do. Have some fun today; I’ll see you
tonight. I love you,
Max


She sighed in disappointment. Oh well, she’d find out tonight. Have some fun, huh? She thought about the things she could do for fun. Movie? No, Fair? It closed the day before. What should she do? Maria offered the solution.
“Liz, babe, is there anything that you were going to do today?”
“No there isn’t and you know it. Come on guys, please tell me.”
“No way chica, I will not break my promise to Max.”
“Okay, fine, what did you have in mind?”
“Well, I need to go shopping for Michael’s birthday present, do you want to come?”
“Yeah, sure, why not, it’ll be fun.” Liz agreed.
“Well I’m leaving in half an hour and I’m on a tight schedule, so be ready or I’ll leave with out you.”

The girls spent the day shopping and it was dark when they stopped at McDonald’s for a quick bite on their way home. Maria had to go to the bathroom, so Liz ordered for her and took the food to a table. Maria had told her to get the one farthest away from the window because she said her knees were hurting and the windows let in a draft that would make it worse. Liz thought her friend was overreacting just a little. She had just sat down to wait for Maria when all of the lights in the restaurant went out. People all over the place were screaming. Someone grabbed her arm and she screamed too. A low voice whispered in her ear.
“Be quiet and come with me.”
“Come where?” There was no answer. Instead she felt a blindfold being tied over her eyes and another cloth went around her mouth. Liz was frightened. Nothing like this had happened since they left Roswell five years ago. This wasn’t supposed to happen here. Her captor forced her into the back of a car. He or she tied Liz’s hands behind her and proceeded to belt her in. The kidnapper closed her door, got in the front seat, started the car and they drove off. They drove for around half and hour, Liz couldn’t be sure. The car stopped and Liz was hauled out of the seat. A hand was placed on her back, urging her to walk faster toward a building. She could sense the building looming in front of her. A door opened, and closed behind them. The room they were in was warm. She could hear and smell a fire somewhere. The hands pressed her down into a chair and removed her gag. She heard footsteps receding and a door opened and closed. She was alone. She tried to rub the blindfold off her eyes with her shoulder, but another pair of hands stopped her.
“Oh, no you don’t. You have to leave that on until he gets here.” the new husky voice whispered.” She gave up and sat still.
“So, just who are we waiting for exactly?” There was no answer. These kidnappers weren’t great ones for conversation that’s for sure. The minutes ticked by. Liz’s hands were going numb. She heard a creak, maybe a door, a rustle of cloth and a few hurried whispers. Then new, warm hands began untying the cords that held her.

Her hands tingled as the circulation rushed back into them. The warm hands then moved up to untie her blindfold.
“Keep your eyes closed until I say you can open them.” he commanded. She obeyed without question. She heard sounds of movement and a chair creaked as someone sat down.
“Okay, you can open your eyes now.” She opened her eyes and they widened with shock at the sight that greeted her.
Sorry for how long I took on this one, next part soon.
posted on 3-Feb-2002 1:02:59 PM
A Change of Heart
Chapter 8


A fire was burning in the fireplace, candles glowed on the table, and in the chair facing her sat Max in a tux. She stared openmouthed at her surroundings, unable to utter a sound. He chuckled and rose to stand before her.
“Do you like it my Liz?” he asked softly.
“It’s beautiful, but how…Why?”
“I told you I had things to do. This is it.”
“You did all of this for me?”
“Of course, you are my Queen aren’t you? You deserve to eat like it.” Tears came to her eyes at his tender words.
“Oh…but, I’m not dressed for this!”
“It’s all taken care of my love. Just go into that room right there and Maria will help you get dressed.”
“Maria?!” This was a little confusing. “How did she get here.”
“She brought you here. The whole cloak-and-dagger thing was her idea. I wasn’t very happy about tying you up, but she insisted. She said you would catch on if we didn’t.”
“Oh…okay…who was here when I got here. He said I had to leave my blindfold on until you got here.”
“That was Michael. He was in on this the whole time. He helped me set all of this up. But enough of this, Maria is waiting for you. Off you go.” He gave her a playful slap on the bottom as he sent her toward the dressing room.
She entered the room. Maria was waiting, just like Max had said. She rushed over and gave Liz a hug. “Did it scare you chica? It wasn’t supposed to, but I didn’t know how to get you here without you suspecting.” She giggled. “It was fun though…Come on, let’s get you dressed.” Maria pulled a curtain aside and Liz gasped. There hung the most stunning dress she had ever seen. It was dark burgundy, filmy and well cut. It was perfect.
“Max said something about seeing it in your dream, I didn’t ask what he meant.” Maria lifted the dress off of the hangar and helped Liz get in to it. It fit like a glove, as if it has been made for her. She then sat Liz down in a chair and gave her a quick makeover and hairdo. She gave her friend a hug and a push out the door.
“Now go, Max is waiting out there for you. Michael is waiting in the car, and I have got to go. Have fun chica!”
Liz stepped hesitantly out into the big room again. Max was bent over the fire and didn’t see her come in. She coughed and he spun around. His eyes widened at her transformation and he whistled.
“You are beautiful!” he breathed. He walked over and took her hands. Her stomach grumbled. They both laughed.
“I never got to eat tonight.” she explained with red cheeks. “Maria kidnapped me too fast.”
“She was just following orders. I wanted you to be hungry. I did the cooking.” He led her over to the table and pilled out her chair. She sat and he pushed the chair in. He lifted the covers off of the food. The odors of spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, and caesar salad mingled with the dusky smell of wood smoke. He opened a bottle of Chianti wine and poured the dark liquid into her crystal goblet. Instead of sitting across the table, he moved his chair to sit beside her and twisted so that he was facing her on an angle. There was only one plate on the table. Max served a heap of spaghetti onto the plate and added salad and garlic bread.
“Now,” he said, “I’m going to feed you.” he picked up the fork and expertly twisted spaghetti around the tines. He lifted the fork up to her mouth and touched the spaghetti to her lips. Obediently she opened her mouth and accepted the fragrant pasta. He had outdone himself with the food. It was delicious. It was spicy and sweet and strongly scented with herbs. She closed her eyes and took a bite of the garlic bread he offered and then took the crispy slice out of his hand and held it up to his lips. He opened his mouth and took a bite as well, chewing it slowly, watching her. He took the bread out of her hand and leaned foreword.
“You have sauce on your lip,” he whispered before touching his lips to hers. His fingers threaded through her hair and cupped the back of her head. They kissed lingeringly and then he pulled back. He rested his hose on hers and stared into her eyes. The close proximity of their faces made their eyes meld into one and they both burst out laughing at the comical sight. The spell was broken and they went back to their dinner, taking turns feeding each other. They ate until they were both full and then went and sat on the floor in front of the fireplace.
She pillowed his head in her lap and rubbed her fingers through his hair. They talked for a long time about everything and nothing, just enjoying being together. Max stood up and put on a CD. Soft music floated on the air. He came back over to the rug and lowered a hand to help her up. Holding her close he whispered in her ear,
“May I have this dance” She held him tighter and nodded. They began to move in time to the music, spinning and turning and bending to the beat. The song faded, another started and still they danced, lost in each other’s eyes. They danced until they were tired and then Max returned Liz to her chair. He smoothed back her hair and knelt in front of her. Her eyes filled with tears when she realized what he was doing. He took her hand and stroked inside of her wrist with his thumb.
“My beautiful Liz,” he began softly, “I have loved you as long as I can remember. I’ve made some mistakes, I was clumsy with your heart a few times, but I have learned what it means to really love an angel like you. In my other life, I was an alien King, but in this life you make me the King that I am. It is your love that gives my life meaning. Would you, Liz Parker, do me the honour of being my wife? I want us to be together in this life and the next. I love you. Will you marry me?
Overwhelmed with emotion, Liz could do nothing but sit holding his hands, tears streaming down her face. She gulped back her tears and threw herself into his arms. He laughed in exultation and spun her around and around the room. Laughing and crying they held each other as they slumped down into the chair. He kissed her and slipped a beautiful ruby ring onto her third finger.
“I love you,” he breathed, “I’ll love you forever.”

Epilogue yet to come
posted on 8-Feb-2002 2:49:37 PM

A Change of Heart
Epilogue


The music started and Liz took a breath to steady her trembling limbs. She smiled at her father and took his arm. Together they stepped out onto the rose petal strewn floor of the Crashdown Cafe. Liz knew that the booths were filled with family and friends, but all that she could see was Max’s smiling face as he waited for her near the counter. They had decided to go back to where it all started, where their life began with a gunshot. He held out his hand as she neared him. Her trembling hand reached out to his and grabbed on tight. She smiled again at her father when he surrendered her arm to Max. Max held both of her hands for a second, smiling down at his bride-to-be before they turned to face the preacher.
“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered today to witness the union of Max Evans and Liz Parker…” Max turned his head to see her gazing at him. He smiled and leaned close.
“I love you” he whispered, “Never forget that.”
“…Do you, Max, take Liz to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in sickness and health, in good times and bad, ‘till death do you part?”
“I do.” Then he added so that only she could hear, “Death will not stop me from loving you my Liz. Ours is a love that makes simple barriers cease to exist.”
“… ‘Till death do you part?”
“ I do.” she vowed, and then again only for his ears, “I’ll love you forever Max, it was meant to be.”

End