Title: Steps of Faith or Sweet Surrender??? I cant decide!!! Read and post your preference please!
Author: Kitcat26
Summary: The plot would take me forever to summarize so just read the story. Bottom line- Liz is suffering from low self-esteem and a painful past. Guess who helps her believe in herself again? (I’ll give you three guess and the first two don’t count).
Disclaimer: I don’t possess ownership of anything pertaining to Roswell. I also don’t own the lyrics of the song “Sweet Surrender,” by Sarah McLachlin (love her!). I own the plot but, again, what’s familiar to you is most likely from a book. This one being Keeping the Moon (I’m so pathetic, I read a book and automatically see the pod squad as the characters) which I don’t own but am borrowing a few parts to fit my story. The rest is mine, all mine ::evil laugh::
Ratings/Pairings: Up to R (I would write NC-17 but I pretty much suck at them so I’ll leave that to the better writers) M/L AU and CC
Author’s Note: I don’t know if there is a lake in Roswell, but in my story there is, it’s near the CD, and it is a popular hangout spot. Alright here I go. Feedback please!

Part One~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

My name is Elizabeth Parker. Welcome to the first day of the worst summer of my life.

“Liz, sweetie, could you please try not to look do sullen?” my mother implores of me, while trying to simultaneously recheck my boarding pass. I don’t know why she keeps doing that; the information is not going to rewrite itself in the time it takes to get from the check-in desk to the boarding gate.

In answer to my mom’s request I plaster a cheesy counterfeit smile on my face, my muscles straining so tight my cheeks start to burn.

“Oh, now that’s even worse,” she says, giving me a pleading look. I mold my face back to its original patented scowl, my point proven. “Come on Liz. It’s for the best.” After seeing my disbelieving look, she reiterates. “It is!”

‘The best for who? For you? Because this is defiantly NOT how I want to spend my summer.’ I think venomously the words I long to say aloud but don’t dare. They would cause more trouble then they are worth. I know why I have to go, for my mom’s sake but understanding doesn’t make me feel more thrilled about being shipped off from Chicago to the-middle-of-nowhere-Roswell, New Mexico.

We make our way to the gate after checking in my two full suitcases. I choose to make the walk in stony silence, not wanting to make this easier on my poor mother. I lug behind my insolent carry on, whose wayward wheels keep catching on the dirty carpet and every so often falling to the ground, much to my exasperation. After the fifth time the stupid thing collapses on me, my mom goes to take the bag from me. I jerk it away, irritated. I got it.

That’s the thing. My mother always has good intentions but that is usually about as far as she gets.

She keeps throwing anxious looks in my direction and seems somewhat guilty.

‘Good,’ I think bitterly. ‘You should feel accountable.’

We reach the gate. They are already finishing up first class passengers, and now boarding everyone else. We are a bit late due to a fight that broke out between us before we left for the airport.

After handing me my ticket she turns fully towards me and grasps my shoulders. I roll my eyes but don’t jerk away.

“Liz,” she says in a soft voice. Do I detect tears? I sigh and look at her, seeing my incensed expression reflected back at me in her eyes. I grimace at my image. ‘I’m so awful,’ I think miserably, the familiar sensation of shame and self-loathing washing over me.

“Liz,” she continues. “I know you really don’t want to go, but please try and have a good time. Your Aunt and Uncle are really interesting people and Roswell is a fun place. You might not think so right now, but some of my best memories are from that crazy town.”

I put my tongue in check and try not to roll my eyes. ‘Well golly gee, why didn’t ya say so? Never mind my behavior before, now I’m positively GEEKED to go!’ Even in my head I sound as dry as a desert.

Sensing my thoughts, my mom abandons the feel good speech and stops dancing around what REALLY needs to be said.

“Honey, I NEED you to go. This is so hard for me right now and I need to get through it knowing that you are safe with my sister and out of the mess. Everything is scrambled and I have to have some time alone to sort it all out.”

I blink trying hard not to let her words affect my disposition. I had had a picture in my head ever since I found out I was being shipped off to the desert for the summer. In the image, my stony sullen face was the last thing my mother saw of me before I boarded my plane, the picture of it tattooed on her brain, haunting her.

Her eyes fill with the burden of this past year. “Liz,” she croaks after we hear the final boarding call blare across the PA. “Please…” her voice cracks as she flings her arms around me. I stiffen, as usual when ever some one touches me, but then relax. My morbid daydream is shattered and despite myself, I hug her back. So much for my glowering face imprinted on her brain. That’s the thing with me. I always have bad intentions but that’s usually as far as I get.

“It will be alright, mom,” I try to soothe her; try to make this seem less overbearing. I know this is difficult for her. Hell what am I saying? It is SUFFOCATING her and I am amazed she can even get up in the morning.

The final boarding call blasts out again, jerking us apart. “I’m sorry,” I say, really meaning it. I am. She has too much crap to deal with without ME adding to it.

The tears are back. “S’okay,” she whispers.

I quirk a half hearted smile at her that doesn’t reach my deadened chocolate eyes. “Well I’m off!” I say in mock enthusiasm, not totally hitting my desired light tone.

“Bye, sweetie. I love you,” she tells me.

‘Then let me stay,’ I think helplessly. I don’t say it out loud, knowing that the troublesome words would just tumble to the ground and lie there, useless and pathetic. Instead I say the appropriate words in a situation like this.

“I love you, too,” I turn and drag my feet over to the over perky flight attendant who looks just too damn happy to be collecting boarding passes and wishing everyone a good flight.

“I’ll see you in August!” my mom calls out after me.

‘As if I didn’t know. I’m already counting the days for crying out loud, and it’s only been a few hours into the summer.’

“Okay,” I call out over my shoulder in a monotonous voice. The vivacious flight attendant does her little speech and hands me back the little stub of my ticket, which is pretty worthless if you ask me. I mean, I’m just going to throw it away or stick it in the barf bag in front of me once I’m seated. What’s the point?

Well, that’s a question that is asked entirely too much in my life. What’s the point? The thing is, there often isn’t one. A point I mean. Most things in life are random pieces of bullshit strung together in the illusion of truth, happiness and love, the little “fillers” of our happy days on earth, before they show their true identity of lies, misery and loneliness.

It’s just too bad for those of us whose rose colored glasses were ripped away from us before it was our time to see how crass and ugly the world is, or how crass and ugly WE seem to the world. It’s one or the other but I’m leaning towards the latter. Oh and for those of you who didn’t get it, by “those of us” I really mean me.

I get on the cramped plane, twisting and turning in order to bump into the least amount of people. Most of my fellow passengers wrinkle up their noses at the sight of me, something I am sadly all too used to.

But it isn’t for the reason that I am accustomed to. They are most likely grimacing at the sight of my new hair, not at the sight of me and the cruel false reputation that normally trails behind me at school like an unwanted extra shadow, looming and mocking me.

My usually brown strands now have bright red streaks blaring through it and my choice clothing is all black tatters. The hair and clothing was also the cause of my mother’s and my fight that made us late coming here. She had about burst into tears at the sight of it. I went out the previous night and had the hair sloppily done, cheap. I’m not making a fashion statement or anything. It’s a way for my pain to escape from the inside out. Not quite as satisfying as cutting myself, but nevertheless, effective.

Cutting myself wouldn’t be smart, seeing how New Mexico is scorching hot, according to my mom. Long sleeves would be out of place, not to mention uncomfortable. Besides, I don’t want to make a habit out of destroying myself. I’ll leave that to other people, the experts.

I finally reach my seat, pretending I don’t see the familiar stares and whispers. With the way my life has been, you’d think that I could just forget about them, but it’s impossible. No matter how hard I try to ignore them, the gawking and the snickering still manage to wound me each time, taking a part of me with it. I’m still waiting for the time when there is nothing left of me for others to steal and stomp on, but it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t think it ever will. It would make it too easy on me and my life and you could guess that God doesn’t have it in His almighty PLAN for anything to go right for me.

I just have to sit on the ground, where I belong and watch things go right for people like Pam Troy and Tess Harding. Girls like them who stand upon and kick down picked on, defenseless girls like me. Girls like them who take one look at me and believe every little lie about me or add on to the growing list of rumors encircling me wherever I go. Girls like them who take one look at me and hate me instantaneously, just because they can.

I close my eyes as the plane starts to inch towards the runway and the over caffeinated flight attendants start their repetitious little oration that almost everyone on the plane could recite along with them. Someone should tell them that a little variation might be nice, so that maybe those like me, who’ve flown numerous times, don’t fall asleep.

I open my eyes and gaze out at the rapidly disappearing Chicago skyline. Maybe this summer will be different than the rest of my worthless life. I could start over, with no Pam Troy looming around to set anyone foolish enough to befriend me on the right course, with no one knowing about my awful past or the rumors that might as well be fact for the amount of people who accepted them and believed. Maybe…

‘Backup, Liz, and stop right there! What the hell do you think you are doing? Hope gets you nowhere. You don’t deserve to have a happy life, not even for just a summer. Remember how that bastard called hope has betrayed you in former situations. Infidelity is Hopes secret identity, at least where you are concerned. Don’t forget it!’

I force my gaze away from the window and the fluffy white clouds that playfully dance in the wind across the cerulean sky.

‘Still…’ I thought after a while. It could be different this time. Perhaps…

Okay! Fine. So hope still won’t take the hint and leave me alone. I can accept that. It’s not like my emotions have ever listened to me before anyways. That would be nice, but it hasn’t happened yet.

‘Just don’t expect too much,’ I caution myself. ‘Keep the expectation bar barely above the ground and you’ll be fine.’

My eyes quiver sporadically and I have one thought before I fall asleep. ‘Well at least there is ONE thing about this summer that is already looking up. There will be no Pam Troy across the street.” I shudder to think how my summer would have been spent had I stayed at home.

Ready or not, Roswell, New Mexico, here I come. Yee-haw.

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