posted on 17-Apr-2002 10:48:53 AM by applebybehr
title: Cutting edge.
author: Gracie Panszczyk
mail me: gracie_p⊕msn.com
rating: pg-13 at the moment, the highest rating will be R.
category: AU/CC. No aliens at all, Max and Liz all the way with a bit of everyone else thrown in for fun.
disclaimer: The characters belong to Melinda Metz, Jason Katims and UPN. Disclaimer also goes to Debbie Horsefild for giving me the idea. her show 'Cutting It' is a gem!
summary: Liz Parker and Alex Whitman own a very successful salon. They both met at college studying for a business degree. They then both went to cosmetology school together and decided to open up a salon when they graduated. (I've never been to New York, so anything about the city is my imagination or info that I've found on the net).

note: I saw a new show the other night called 'Cutting It' (Debbie Horsefield), what can I say? It was my inspiration! I had a dream about this all...I know, me and my dreams!*tongue* LOL! But I swear it's different from the show. I'm just borrowing the main idea for this fic. Tess will be in this, but you'll have to wait and see what happens! Max won't be in the first couple of parts...his character comes in later on.

prologue:

Liz Parker made her way down the busy avenue towards her salon. It was early, but this being new york everyone was out and ready for work before the sun came up. People pushed past her and she didn't mind one bit, this was her favorite time of day. Everyone else on the side-walk was rushing to get to work on time, ans she was enjoying her ritual of people watching. The air was thick with heat, summer was a killer living in the city! and this time the hot weather was early in the season. It was going to be a long summer.

Her dress already clinging to her petite body, the material blowing in the slight breeze. Swirling around her bare legs and cooling her down if for a little while, she couldn't wait to turn on the air conditioning at the salon! Another block down the road and she was close enough to see that their was someone waiting outside. She hoped it was staff and not a customer...it was way to early to deal with people begging for an appointment.


part one:


"Maria, hey!" she greeted the resident masseusse warmly with a smile.

"Hey chica, how are you? I myself need another cup of strong coffee!" she joked.

"You forget your key again?"

"Yeah, my apartment is in a complete mess! I can't wait for those decorators to be finished." Maria said ending with a sigh.

It was monday morning and the start of a busy week. The salon was booked up and people were on the waiting list, 'I guess I'll have to talk to Alex about recruiting new staff,' Liz thought to herself. She finally got the double doors open which were the main focus on the front of the salon, the huge floor to floor windows on either side were another part of the grand design that Peter their architect had come up with. Liz loved it all, she just hated it when clients would complain about people looking at them while they were getting their treatments.

She headed inside, Maria hot on her heals rushing to the coffee machine in the back room. Liz opened the 'staff only' door at the back of the salon and walked into the lounge on the other side of the door. Lockers lining one side of the room, for her employees personal belongings. Large shelves spreading around the remaining three walls, filled with various hair products, supplies and spare equipment. Setting her bag down on one ofthe plush couches, Liz made her way over to the air con. and turned it up high. There was no way anyone could complain about being hot this morning!

Hearing the door opening at the front of the salon she walked to the main studio and smiled at her good friend Alex who was struggling with the rather large portfolio he was currently carrying.

"Liz, babe! Morning to you, I trust Maria is at the coffee machine already?" He said with a wry grin.

"Yeah, do you want a cup?"

"God yes! I was up all night with this baby," he signaled to the portfolio in his hands.

"MARIA, CAN WE GET A COFFEE FOR ALEX, PLEASE?" Liz shouted in the direction of the staff room. There was a muffled "yes" from insode and liz tuned back around to face alex. Who had dropped the folder and used his hands to cover his ears. She burst into laughter at the pure shock displayed on his features.

"Crap, Liz! It's 7.30 in the morning! What's with all the shouting?" Alex asked her, finally removing his hands from his ears as soon as it was apparent that his partner wasn't planning to shout anymore.

"Sorry, Alex. Can't I be happy in the morning?"

"Sweetie, are you on drugs?" He asked with barely suppressed mirth.

"I'm just excited! The weathers great, it's the beginning of the week, and when I turned up at work there were no crazed fans waiting for a glimpse of Brad Pitt." A huge smilre gracing her lips.

"Brad's appointment is tomorrow, but we won't hold that against them!" Alex ended with a laugh.

They were interrupted with a knock from the front doors, their staff were waiting outside on the front steps, alez obviously locked the doors again when he came in. They all knew how paranoid he was about safety! Liz made her way over to the doors and dropped the latch, greeting the rest of their employees with a cheerful hello.

A coffee and chat was on the cards before the salon opened it's doors to clients at 8.30am. By the time Liz made her made her way back towards the staff room, after checking that her station was fully equipped , everyone was seated on the three sofa's. Alex and Maria tumbled together both huddling over their hot drinks, Sophie, Luke, Matt, Kira, Sasha, Joby, Vannessa and Korinya all chatting about last night's shows. They made up the workforce for one of the most well known in New York.

Cutting Edge had started out as a simple dream between friends. Alex and Liz had both met while studying for degrees in business, they were friends quickly and for life. They then attended Cosmetology School together, and went on to study at the Advance School of Hair-design. Their salon was famous and successful. With a huge list of clients, either famous themselves, high-class elite, business men/women....who all enjoyed being treated at Cutting Edge. The blend of new ideas, friendly staff and an up market atmosphere apealed to a lot of people.

Liz Parker, 27 years old and hugly successful in her profession as a hair-dresser, stylist, colorist and famed for having fresh ideas in hair design and a sharp business mind.
Alex Whitman, also 27 years old. Equally successful as his partner. Famous for his sharp hair-design and radical coloring expertise.
They both made up on of the most prominent partnerships in the world of hair-design. Working with an excellent group of staff, all top class and professional, hand-picked by alex and Liz when they first ventured into starting up their own salon.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At 8.15am they all made their way out into the front studio and checked their stations over. clearing away things left out from the weekend rush on saturday. some of them walking back into the staff room needing to re-stock on a product or replace a piece of equipment that wasn't up to standard for the start of the week. Korinya sat down at the front desk and booted up her computer, opening the appointment sheets for the day ahead, it was busy work being the receptionist of such a high-profile salon.

the door opened at the front of the salon and the first customer of the day walked in and up to the front desk. pretty soon all the stylists were out and everyone was busy working on the person sitting at their given stations.

creativity was in the air.

tbc....


let me know what you think! if it sucks tell me, if you like it tell me that too!LOL! the next part will be posted sooner if I get feedback. thankyou for reading*big*
gracie***

[ edited 46time(s), last at 4-Oct-2002 2:48:16 PM ]
posted on 17-Apr-2002 11:47:21 AM by applebybehr
Dia, angelbaby6977

that's for the feedback! dia, wasn't it great?!?!?! I loved it! can't wait for the next episode!LOL! if I get a couple more replies today I'll post the next part tonight. thanks for reading it, I'm glad you both liked it*big*
gracie***
posted on 17-Apr-2002 5:09:21 PM by applebybehr
"Cutting It"
(more details go to first part)

thanks for all the feedback! helps me write *big*

part two

"How's the empire, Nicole?" Liz asked the client seated before her, offereing a grin in the mirror so that nicole could tell she was joking around.

"It's fine thankyou, Liz dear. Although I am having trouble finding decent staff. I guess fashion design is a hard business to get into these days." Stress evident in her voice.

"Are the stores going okay? I know they were doing well the last time we spoke."

"Yeah, sales are rising but there are so many new designers around at the moment, it makes the shows even more competitive than they already are. My models are being difficult as well. Can't they just wear my designs instead of complaining all the time?" Nicole said, not expecting an andswer to the last question.

"I'm sorry to hear that, honey. I hope a good cut and color can relax you for the day at least."

"I'm sure it will, I always love coming here. you have an excellent team and you know you're my favorite! If I could hire you to work only for me, I would!" She joked.

"And you know I'd jump at the chance!" Liz said with a grin. "So, what are we going for today? A new color or same as the one you have now?"

"I'm not sure, could you bring the charts?"

"Sure, I'll be back in a minute." She placed grips in Nicole's hair and then went into the back room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lunch came around quickly, and Liz waved off her lastest client after showing her to the front desk to make another appointment.

"K, (short for korinya), how long before my next client gets here?" Liz asked glancing up from the folder she was looking at in her hands.

"Twenty minutes. Is that going to be long enough for you to have lunch, Liz?" She asked, worried about her boss.

"Yeah, it should be fine. If they get here early just give them a coffee or something and come get me, okay?"

"Sure thing, Liz."

Grabbing her bag from the back room, Liz made her way out of the salon and across the street into the sandwich bar opposite the salon. She ordered, and picked a tabel at the front of the shop. Getting the folder out of her bag, that she had glanced at quickly back at the salon, she settled down to look through the latest business venture that alex had been working on the night before. He planned to open up another salon across the city, and he'd been in meeting's all weekend with their investors and accountants seeing if it was profitable to open up another salon. If they did, then that would mean they would both have to split their time between both salons, and find a new team. It would be a lot of work and it was a pretty big decision...Liz wasn't to keen on the idea. Their main salon was a huge success and it was so well known, Liz just didn't see the need to open up another branch. But the investors were eager to get the new plan out in the open and start working with the architect on the new design.

It was just such a huge amount of work! They would have to work double what they did now, building up the new salon and client list, making sure it was a working success before they passed the reigns over to someone else. Picking out a new location was going to be hard enough as it was. This was New York....the wrong location could sink the new salon in weeks. She didn't think she could be comfortable with someone they barely knew running the new salon in their absence. There was a shop up for lease on the other side of the road they were on at the moment, but Alex had his heart set on a new location...it was a bad idea to have them so close, they needed to let the business grow, he'd said.

Seeing that her break was nearly over Liz gathered up her bag and folder, grabbing her drink before she exited the shop. On the way out she crashed into someone ...her drink spilling all over the other person's very expensive suit.

"Oh, I am so sorry! I wasn't paying attention." Liz spoke, she was in shock.

"Really it's okay, nothing a bit of soda won't fix." Answered a deep voice.

Liz looked up at the man in question and blushed as she looked into his laughing eyes. 'I love his hair!' she thought to herself. The mad, messed up style was the look she was busy trying to plug for next season.

"Would you like my card or something? You know, to pay for the dry cleaning? There's no way soda can fix that! I feel so bad, I'm so sorry." She rambled on.

"There's no need, really."

"I'd still feel better if you'd just take my card, please phone me to cover the cost." She reached into her bag and pulled out a business card, handing it to the man standing in front of her.

"Okay, but I won't be calling you!" He joked.

"Liz Parker," she said as she stuck her hand out in front of her.

"Michael Guerin," he shook her hand, following it with a boyish grin and made his way over to the counter.

"Sorry again about the suit!" She called out to him. He waved her off and liz made her way out of the store, cursing at her clumsiness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Her afternoon appointment went well, a quick cut on a middle aged business man and she was free for an afternoon of dealing with paperwork. Liz figured she could help man the front desk with K if they got to busy with clients. They were one stylist short for the rest of the day, and it always got more busy when someone was away from their station.

After phoning a couple of suppliers and working on the accounts for two hours, Liz made her way out to the front of the salon. She was shocked to see the man from earlier currently chatting up maria.

He caught sight of her coming their way and offered her a warm smile, "hello again"

"Hi, how can I help you? Is it about the suit? I still can't believe that I did that!" A rueful look on her face.

"I told you not to worry abour it, I just wanted to check out your salon. The address was on your card, plus it was just across the street from the sandwich bar. I hope you don't mind that I turned up here."

"Of course not. Would you like to make an appointment or something?" She asked while quietly begging that he wouldn't get his great hair cut off! "I'm sure Korinya at the front desk could help you."

"I'm fine here speaking to this wonderful lady actually, thanks anyway," he said, his eyes on a blushing Maria.

Liz narrowed her eyes. Maria never blushed....something was up.

Maria playfully shoved Michael on the arm and giggled....definitely something up, another major give-away, liz thought.

"Sorry Michael, but this masseuse has an afternoon appointment waiting for her...someone else needs my magic hands!" Maria backed away with a laugh.

"Will you give me your number then? I'd love to see you again," Michael already reaching into his inside jacket pocket for his palm-planner.

At this point Liz walked away from them both, she was pretty sure that Maria would dish the details later. Maybe ice-cream was on the cards for an after work treat! She made her way over to the front desk to see how things were going with K, seeing that she was manning the phone at the moment. Adding another person to the booking sheet, Liz sat down on the chair next to their busy receptionist.

"Someone else needing a cut?" Liz asked as soon as K was finished on the phone.

"You got it, boss. I said we could slot her in this evening, is that okay?"

"Yeah, I'm sure Alex or Luke will take her."

"Actually she asked for you. Was pretty adamant that she didn't want any of the other stylists."

"Really? that's odd," Liz said with a frown marring her features.

"'Miss Tess Harding' was the name she gave," K supplied.

tbc......



was that part okay? I just needed to write all that to bring in some new characters and stuff. to all the lovely people from england, tess is kind of a Mia character....but her and Liz will not be caught up on the same bloke, okay? Liz is single....and remember: where there's Michael, there's Max!*big*
gracie***

tell me what you thought, I'm off to watch 'teachers'!LOL!

[ edited 4 time(s), last at 27-Apr-2002 1:16:18 PM ]
posted on 18-Apr-2002 11:07:57 AM by applebybehr
thanks for all the lovely feedback everyone! *big* I've got this fic planned out until part nine...max probably won't be bought in until around part six, can you wait that long? if not I don't mind changing things around so that he's bought into this fic much sooner. let me know your idea's on that one. I'm working on part three right now, so if I'm lucky it'll be posted sometime tonight.

thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the new part when it's posted*big*
gracie***
posted on 21-Apr-2002 1:44:06 PM by applebybehr
okay, first of all a huge thankyou too:

Dia, angelbaby6977, lttlemrmade, nana, roswellluver, m15, frenchkiss70, soppy and care bears for all the wonderful feedback you guys have left me! here's the new part thats been so hard to post.

long story there, but I posted this twice on friday night....and neither of them showed up...I was out all day yesterday and then caught up watching CSI. as for today, blame it on pete yorn!LOL!


"Cutting Edge"

part three:


Her late minute appoinment was late.

That's right. The lady who she waiting for couldn't even turn up on time. Liz had asked Korinya why she had been booked in at all, seeing as they were booked up for the whole week and everyone else was put on the waiting list: something about miss harding having to attend a last minute business engagment...she was hysterical on the phone, so Korinya had told her. 'Please don't let me be stuck here for long,' Liz prayed.

It wasn't that she didn't love her job, but it had been a long, hot day and not only was a warm shower and a good book waiting for her at home: but she had a bad feeling about this last client.

There no details given on what treatments she was expecting from Liz....did she want a cut? Color? Style? The salon was due to close at 7pm and since it was already 6.30pm there wasn't really a lot of time for Liz to do anything major unless she kept the salon open over-time.

At least the team wouldn't leaving until way after Liz was finished. Alex was spending the evening tutoring them all on a new weaving technique that he'd been teaching at the local comsmetology school. Everytime alex was a tutor there he came back to the salon hell-bent on teaching them all the new things he'd taught to the students. They'd be here all night if someone didn't control Alex!

The door opened and in walked a short blonde teetering around on expensive heals..."my lucky day," Liz mumbled to herself. The blonde in question walked up to the front desk and confirmed her name with Korinya, she was then directed over to liz's station.

"I'm so sorry I'm late!" The blonde exclaimed, "traffic is awful at the moment, took me half an hour to travel four blocks! plus, I got stuck on the phone to one of my friends."

"Not a problem. I'm Liz, what can I do for you?

"Just a quick style please, I don't have a lot of time left before I have to be at my dinner appoinment."

Tess sat down at the chair placed in front of the mirror, and Liz reached under her station, pulling out a protective cape to cover her clients shoulders. After securing the cape, she turned to look at Tess in the mirror and gave her a smile.

"What would you like me to do?"

"Just a wash and blow-dry, maybe you could try and tame these curls of mine," she joked.

"Keeping it in the style that you have now?"

"Yeah, that would be great."

Asking Tess if she'd like to follow her over to the basins she sat tess down in the chair and proceeded to wash her hair. Her curls were in pretty bad shape....but the dye treatment sh'd obviously had seemed to be done well. If they both had more time Liz would have recommended a good cut and treatment...she'd have to ask her back for another session.

Pretty soon Liz was busy adding various products to Tess' damp hair and the blonde in front of her sparked up a conversation.

"So, you're a partner at this salon?"

"Yes, I am. My partner Alex co-owns it with me."

"And how long have you been running the salon?"

"Coming on to four years this fall."

"That's great! I know you must get asked this question so many times, but I'd love to know if you have any famous clients!" Tess ended with a giggle.

....Liz was contemplating murder by hair-dryer all over again....

"We have a fair amount on the books, but I really can't tell you any names. Our clients like to keep a low-profile when they come here, and we keep up with their requests."

Tess pouted in the mirror, quickly changing her expression to a smile when Liz looked up at her reflection.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Liz sighed in realief when tess finally left the salon. she had insisted on staying for a chat and a coffee with the rest of the team, and after an hour of listening to the blonde's constant chatter- about totally meaningless topics- Liz had finally announced that they needed to close up the salon. Obviously there was no important dinner engagment.....Luke had practically pushed her out the door.

Liz hadn't asked her back for another appoinment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Alex and Liz made their way back to Liz's apartment. They still needed to talk about business, Alex had told her. They stopped off at the market to pick up something to eat and then walked the couple of blocks to Liz's building. As soon as they got out of the elevator and into the hallway leading to Liz's home, Alex had started telling her about all of the grand ideas he had for the new salon.

"Liz, this would be such a good venture for us! Think about all the extra work and clients we could bring in! It'll be amazing!" he enthused.

"Alex, you know how I feel about opening up a new salon. When we started out it was tough, and I mean really tough. Now that we have a successful business, it doesn't mean that it's going to be any easier. I don't see why we have to open up another salon when the one was have already is so popular."

"But it's the fact that it's so popular that it would be a great time to open up another one. Don't you want to expand the business?"

"Alex! It's not about that. Everything I say on the matter, you disagree with so can we just cook dinner and discuss it later?"

Alex was on a roll, "the investors and everyone else involved in the salon are pushing for the idea to be picked up. This whole thing could go ahead even if you don't want it too. Think about that, Liz."

She turned round and stared at her best friend in shock. Did he really just tell her that ultimately her opinion on the matter didn't count? That what she thought didn't have any effect on the running of the salon, or any new one that they opened?

"Look Alex, we are partners! and I don't really care if the investors are pushing the new plans! We decide how to run OUR business...we are equal partners in the salon and I won't have you pull rank on me and tell me that my idea's don't count."

Alex had regret written all over his face. 'I am such an ass sometimes!' He thought to himself. "I'm sorry liz, I got carried away and what I said was totally out of order. I'm sorry for upsetting you, I didn't know it was 'that time of the month'."....that last comment had just sliped out. Oh god! I am an ass! were the thoughts running through his head.

Liz fumed- "Alex, all I want is a shower and some food. we've both had a long day, I think it's better if you just leave." She was so mad.....hurt was evident in her voice.

She heard the door bang shut behind Alex and she fought to control the tears pooling in her eyes.

What had happened to their rookie ideas about opening up their own business? What had gone wrong over the last few years that made earning money more important than being happy and loving the job that you had?

After having a shower and washing the stress of the day away from her body, calming her mind, she walked into her bedroom wrapped in a towel and pulled some shorts and a tank-top from her chest of drawers. Getting dresed in her bed-clothes, she walked out into the kitchen to prepare dinner for herself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


As soon as Liz woke the next morning she pulled herself out of bed and padded over to the bathroom, looking at her reflection in the mirror she had trouble recognizing her face under the stress and tear tracks marring her features. Dinner was a no hope last night, so she'd just curled up on the couche, a hot sweet tea in her hands. Last night could have gone better.

She flipped on the radio back in her bedroom and scrunched up her nose at the sound of yet another cheesy pop song blaring out of the tiny speakers. Deciding that it would be better just to get dressed and head to work Liz walked herself over to her closet, picking out a long cord skirt and a crsip white shirt. She slipped her feet into a pair of sandals, and after brushing her teeth and applying a small amount of make-up....she was out the door.

Liz was the first at the salon that morning, no Maria waiting on the front steps for Liz to come along and open shop. Liz pushed open the doors and locked them back up behind her. It would be at least half and hour before anyone else showed up and by the looks of things, Maria either didn't have a first hour booking- or she was running late again.

Walking towards the staff room Liz sifted through the mail that she'd picked up from the floor back in the studio. Eyeing the assortment of bills and other important looking letters in her hand, she decided to vent her anger and start work on the appoinments for the next couple of weeks. She was pretty sure korinya wouldn't mind having someome do a bit of work for her!

Checking figures on the computer at the front desk, then opening up the appointment files- Liz relaxed and focused.

Time passed quickly and soon the other staff were unlocking the doors and buzzing with the new gossip. Picking up on a few sentences here and there, liz's curiosity got the better of her.

"What's new this morning?" She directed to the group in front of her.

"You know that shop accross the road?" Matt asked, after nodding her head he went on. "Well, someone's picked up the lease, said the movers will be here this afternoon."

"I wonder what they'll do with it, it's a pretty big place," Vanessa mussed.

"I wonder who bought it," Matt scoffed.


tbc.....


SOPPY! I know, I completely forgot to tell you about this. things have been so hectic lately....forgive me! LOL! glad you like it though, sweetie.

I'll get the new part out as soon as I can. oh and another thing, I cut some things out of my plan, so now you only have to wait for max until part five, not six. hope that's still okay for you all.*big*

thanks for reading, and let me know what you think.
gracie***
posted on 21-Apr-2002 3:44:03 PM by applebybehr
angelbaby6977, littlemrmade, ILYMEFOREVER and Dia

thanks for the feedback! that was pretty quick*big* I'm working on the next part right now, so it'll be up in the next day or two....I'm so glad you like this!
gracie***
posted on 24-Apr-2002 11:21:23 AM by applebybehr
Lizzie_Parker17, m15 (x2), roswellluver, Alien614, maia, lttlemrmade (x2) and abbs007

thankyou so much for all the feedback! lttlemrmade you were cracking me up! that really made my day. don't worry, I swear that part five isn't far off. sorry I haven't posted part four yet, but things have been bad with my mom so she's pretty much cut me off from the internet. (I'm on the pretense that I'm doing school work, thank god for being home-tutored!LOL!) I will post the new part as soon as I can. thankyou again for all the lovely feedback! it's great, glad to know you all like this*big*
gracie***

yes, alex is an ass....I'm thinking of letting him redeam himself later on. *happy*
posted on 26-Apr-2002 11:34:58 AM by applebybehr
first the thankyou's:

Lttlemrmade- I was LMPAO when I read your post....withdrawals would be very bad, so I'll make sure that doesn't happen by getting on with my mom more and writing this fic! thanks for the bump as well....very cool!*big*

m15- you won't have to wait long, I promise. oh, and sucking up is always good!LOL! (j/k) if you decide to post the fic you're working on, don't forget to tell me! I'd love to read it*big*

Lucky star- hey Mon! I know, I know. I didn't tell soppy about this fic too....forgive me????LOL! I'm glad that you like it. oh god yeah, a good whack over the head should do it, right? I'm making alex nice, and I'll even write a date for michael and maria if anyone's interested.

ILYMEFOREVER- good to know I won't be losing any of you great feedbackers (?) if I'm a litle slack sometimes!LOL!

dancepixie- hey there! thanks for reading my fic, and I'm happy that you like it. I would be giving the story away if I told you about michael and max's connection....but there is one. keep on the lookout!

I just want to say, thankyou so much for all the feedback that I've recieved so far. I was so happy when I cam on this tread again and saw everyone enjoying my fic. feedback really does motivate writing! here's the new part, it's kind of short but needed so it's easier to bring in the next part and next round of new people and plot lines....I hope you like it! let me know what you think.


"Cutting Edge"

part four:


The announcment of a new shop across the road had caused excitment in the Cutting Edge salon. The staff chatted with their clients about possible business' that could be moving in, and opening directly opposite. Various idea's were thrown around the room...a new shoe shop, clothes shop, make-up studio, gym and maybe even a new office with it's fair share of good-looking men in suits. The reality was much different.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Liz glanced over at Alex again. They hadn't spoken to each other all morning which was a break on tradition for them both. Their morning ritual of catching up was usually the first thing they did when the met in the morning. Yep, their friendship seemed to be pretty much crashing into the rocks that were the new salon idea's.

Liz was mad. Really mad. She was still looking for a way in which the new salon plans woulnd't be put into motion if she didn't agree to them, but it was pretty pointless. The bind in the mix were the investors and other people who had a hand in the business.

In reality it wasn't a straight forward 50/50 split down the middle- Alex on one side, Liz on the other. Their investors held share in the salon, and if they were all behind the new plans and had the support of one of the partners- they could go ahead with any plans that they had.

She needed to have a good long talk with Alex. Maybe she should call a meeting with their investors? Maybe even bring in the lawyers....but that was on the 'last-option-only' list for now.

She looked over at Alex again, surprised to see him looking back at her. He turned away when she made eye contact. Not being able to stand the no-talking thing they had going at the moment, Liz bid goodbye to her last client and walked over to her friend.

"Hey Alex," she hated the hesitancy in her voice.

"Liz," he replied shortly.

She was taken back at his tone. "Well I was going to say sorry about last night, but I guess you still hold it against me. I won't waste your time." With hurt in her voice, she walked back into the staff-room. She wasn't aware that Alex was following her.

He reached forward and grabbed her arm, turning her towards him, "Liz, look- you don't need to be sorry about anything. I'm the one in the wrong here."

"Shouldn't you be out in the studio? I don't think it's good for business to be leaving you clients," she returned, sounding harsher than she felt.

"Screw the client, liz! I care about you, okay? I really am so sorry about last night. I'm sorry for being an ass about the whole thing, I guess if I just stopped being so childish about the new salon, and actually listened to you- I would understand why you're so against the idea. You know what I'm like when I get an idea in my head, huh? Remember that one time in cosmetology school when I swore to the tutor that green hair dye was back in?" he said, hoping to get a laugh out of her.

"Yeah, I do. She nearly failed you in the process!" Liz said with a giggle.

"See? We've been trough so much together. You were the one that set me straight about my awful coloring idea's and you helped me get through college....I think we need to talk about this some more. You game?"

"Yeah, but not tonight. How about tomorrow?"

"That's fine wih me, babe. You just tell me when and where, and I'll be thee."

"Alex, I don't want us to fight about this anymore. I mean; you're my best friend! We hardly ever fight, so just listen to my point of view this time- please?" She really hoped this wouldn't end up in another shouting match.

"I hate fighting with you too. I promise to listen and try not to be such an ass."

"We should start with baby steps first. We'll work on the ass thing when we have more time!" She joked.

They both burst out laughing. Yep, they were friends again!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Around 2pm in the afternoon two big trucks pulled up across the road and everyone over the road at Cutting Edge practically ran to the front windows, waiting to get a peek at what the turcks were loaded with.

Liz just rolled her eyes as she heard Kira and Joby trying to guess what was in the back of the trucks, she had to admitt though- she was excited!

They didn't have to wait long. First various flat-packed furniture packages were carried out of the first truck, the delivery men unloading eveything onto the side-walk outside of the new shop. The only excuse that anyone could come up with; was that the new owners must be running late and they had failed to supply the delivery guys with a key. All of it seemed innocent, if not a little weird.

Liz took a look around her co-workers and clients....everyone was buzzing with anticipation!

"Hey, would anyone like a coffee or something?" She asked the group around her. They'd be here waiting for some time, and it was pretty clear that no one was moving until the new owners made an appearance.

A couple of people answered back to her, and Liz made her way back into the staff room intent on making drinks for everyone. She didn't think anyone was interested in having their hair finished until the mystery across the road was solved.

Liz was busy trying to find cups for everyone when she was called back into the salon by Alex's frantic voice. "Liz, get your butt back in here now! there's something you should see!" He called to her.

Liz rushed back into the studio and came to a halt when she got the first glipmse of the things going down across the street. Her breath caught in her throat as she began to recognize the equipment now being unloaded.

There was no mistaking it....those were tanning booths and salon basins sitting there by the side of the trucks.

More was bought out of the first truck and soon it was pretty clear what the new shop would be.

Liz felt herself fighting panic- she could feel it rising in her chest and trying to take hold and break free.

There was no hiding from it- a new salon was being set up across the street.

Directly across from Cutting Edge.

Alex turned round and managed to catch sight of liz's back as she ran towards the bathrooms.

tbc??????


I know this is like the show, but I needed to bring in a salon across the road so that I could bring in some competition and a threat to liz and alex's world. this will not be the same idea throught this fic....you know- the whole phin/mia/allie thing. stay wth me here, I've got it all planned out!*big* tell me what you think, new part out as soon as I can- look for it this weekend.
gracie***

[ edited 3 time(s), last at 28-Apr-2002 7:11:16 AM ]
posted on 26-Apr-2002 1:42:49 PM by applebybehr
Lttlemrmade- you can just call me gracie if you'd like! oh, your guessing was pretty good....but not quite right. you'll just have to wait and see what happens! *evil laugh* (LMPAO) which do you prefer? season one, two or three michael hair? in this fic it's S-one....I think it's the best of the three.
maia- thanks for the feedback! and I hope I can continue to churn out good parts for you all!
Dia- hey! thanks so much for the encouraging words...I keep on thinking that this is running to close to the show, so I'm trying to put in different ideas and everything. yep, the next part is with max!
Alien614- that's the best part! max is in the new part to this fic, so stay on the look-out over the weekend!

thanks for the speedy feedback! if you guys have any questions along the way, just ask and I'll to answer them for you. thanks again!
posted on 26-Apr-2002 3:06:49 PM by applebybehr
hey tania!
oh, I've got so many different idea's on how to introduce max into the story....I spent the afternoon discussing it with my sister!LOL! but the road will be rocky, so you'll have to behr with me and max/liz. it's so hard writing this sometimes b/c I don't want it to be exactly the same as the show, so I'm trying to rack my brains for different ideas!LOL! I've started writing part five already, so as soon as I finish it I'll post it straight away. I'm so happy that you like my fic!*big*
gracie***

I loved it when michael had his spikey hair....so cool! I hope you have a great weekend too, sweetie*happy*
posted on 26-Apr-2002 7:02:21 PM by applebybehr
thanks for all the feedback everyone! I'll do detailed thanks and all that tomorrow...I'm off to bed. I'm about half-way through the second version of part five....I'll pick which one soon and I'll post it even sooner! I'm hoping you won't have to wait long. thanks again, you all make me-*big* (LOL)
gracie***
posted on 27-Apr-2002 1:08:41 PM by applebybehr
roswellluver, m15, lttlemrmade and jason'sLove-

I'm working on the new part right now....I've decided which one to choose, but I need to re-write some things to get it perfect for you guys. m15 and tania, you guys are making me LMPAO! I'll be back soon*big*
gracie***

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Apr-2002 1:09:19 PM ]
posted on 29-Apr-2002 3:46:28 AM by applebybehr
hey guys!

please don't hit me for holding back on posting! *ducks under a table waving some white undies* (I'm all out of flags!) yesterday it was my auntie's birthday....which I forgot about so we were over at her house for most of the day, and today it's my mom's birthday and my sister and I are taking her out for the day. I have the new part all written up all I have to do is post it. thankyou for baring with me! thanks for keeping this thread moving about too...you guys are keeping me laughing!LOL! I will be back tonight british time...that's sometime in the afternoon for everywhere else. you're all great, thanks for waiting for me.
thankyou!*big*
gracie***

tania, m15....be strong! (LOL)
hey kristen80!*happy*

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 29-Apr-2002 3:49:05 AM ]
posted on 29-Apr-2002 2:05:43 PM by applebybehr
oops! let's try that again shall we?

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 29-Apr-2002 2:08:24 PM ]
posted on 29-Apr-2002 3:40:51 PM by applebybehr
"Cutting Edge"

part five:


Maria went after Liz as soon as she saw her re-treating into the bathrooms, gently pushing the door open she could hear faint sobs coming from underneath one of the stalls.

"Liz, sugar? are you okay?" She asked, a worried frown on her face.

"I don't want to talk right now, Maria." Came the quiet response from inside the last stall.

"Liz, you know I won't leave until you come out of there!"

"Maria, please. I don't want to talk about it, okay?" Liz pleaded with her.

Maria wasn't giving up though, "just open the door so that I can see you're alright." she pushed.

Liz got up off of the closed toilet seat and reached forward, pulling back the lock on the door. As soon as Maria heard the door being unlocked she rushed forward and pushed it back.

"Oh, Liz," Maria closed the space between Liz and herself and enfolded her friend in a tight hug.

"God Maria! How could someone open up a salon right across from us?" Came her pained question, Liz's voice muffled slightly as she had dug her face into Maria's shoulder.

"I don't know honey. But I'm sure once I've had a nice, not-so-friendly chat with the new owners they'll move out pretty quick!" Liz knew Maria was trying to make light of the situation.

Liz pulled back and offered a grin to Maria. She wiped the tears from her now blotchy cheeks and blew her nose again.

"Sorry for getting so upset, this is just so unbelievable!"

"Hey, what's with the apologies? You have nothing to be sorry about, but the scum across the road? Well, that's another story."

"Maria, they might be really nice people." Liz tried to reason with her, before Maria started getting out of hand.

"Liz, they open up a rival salon across the road from yours, and you think they're nice people?" She leaned over and knocked on Liz's head: "Hello? Is anyone in there?"

Her hand got pushed away by a laughing Liz and pretty soon Maria was rolling around laughing too. "Come one babe, we've got clients to serve."

"I'll be out in just a minute, Maria. Can you tell Korinya to stall my next client for a couple of minutes please?"

"Of course I will!" After sharing another hug, Maria was out the door and back into the salon.


After giving her self a pep-talk in the mirror Liz was ready for action. She smoothed her skirt down and then pulled open the door. She greeted her next client and apologized for the wait, she set to work on the woman's hair in front of her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Two clients later and Liz was once again called over to the window by Alex...."Oh my god!" he exclaimed loudly.

"What is it now Alex?" Liz asked warily

"Look what the cat dragged in!" He told her, pointing towards the new salon over the road.

There, Liz was greeted with the one person she'd prayed that she would never have to meet, see or talk to EVER again. That's right. Across the road was none other that Pamela Troy.

In the flesh and all her glory.

Liz felt the urge to run back into the bathrooms.

And who was hanging around next to that awful woman? but the exact same Tess Harding that had wasted everyone's time only a few days ago. They looked pretty cozy in their new salon, currently directing the delivery men where to put things and going over the floor plans with the good looking guy next to them.

"Well, talk about a blast from the past, huh? And not the good kind either!" Alex commented to Liz.

"It's like being stuck at a bad reunion and never being able to leave when you spot all the people who you hated when you were in school." Came Liz's awed response.

"After all the things she did to you in cosmetology school, and she has the nerve to set up shop across from us? We'll never be rid of her!" Alex whined.

Liz knew how he felt.

The rest of the staff had come over to Alex and Liz when they'd seen the shock come over their boss' faces.

"Who is she?" Vanessa asked

"Pam Troy," Liz stated. As if she needed to explain any more!

"And I take it you know her?" Maria enquired.

"Oh yeah. and it's not the warm and fuzzy kind of memory you'd like to remember for the rest of your life."

"Care to elaborate?" Maria pushed further.

"She tried to ruin Liz when we were all at cosmet' together. she nearly got Liz kicked off the course as well as stealing most of Liz's work and design idea's." Alex explained.

Gasps echoed around them.

"She really did that to you?" it was to much to believe for matt.

"She really did. if Alex hadn't helped me clear my name I wouldn't be here today, that bitch ripped me off and tried to pass it all off as her own." they were shocked to hear the usually calm Liz get more and more angry.

There was obviously none love lost between the three of them.

"I never thought she'd get qualified though. she got kicked out and I passed with honors!" Liz carried on.

"Her dad was rich as hell Liz, he probably bought her a place back at school." Alex mused out-loud.

"This day just keeps getting better!" Liz said, her voice laced with sarcasm.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



"Maria, can you come over here please?" it was a couple of hours since the new owners had been revealed and Liz was back at work trying to sort out the booking's.

Maria didn't turn around.

"MARIA!"

"What, what, you need what?" she wiped around and faced Liz.

"I need to know your hours for next week if you want me to organize your bookings, sweetie." Liz explained.

"Okay, sure, just give me a minute." she was obviously distracted.

"Maria, what is going on with you?"

"God Liz, have you seen the car parked across the street? it's a dream!" Maria's eye's were glued to the flash car in front of her.

Liz got up from her seat and walked over to her friend, who had acquired a taste for expensive cars it seemed.

Maria squealed when she saw the guy getting out of the car....it was Michael. But he wasn't the only person exiting the car.

They both froze. In front of them was one of the most handsome specimen of the male species either of them had ever seen.

Oh yeah, the mystery guy was hot all right....hell he was practically on fire! 'Or is that just me?' Liz thought.

They both swooned over the new man now totally oblivious to the now waving Michael.

Liz held her hand to the window as if trying to get a hold of the man across the street....Maria followed suit.

Michael waved at theM both, indicating that they should come outside. A perplexed expression flew across his face as neither girl moved. He looked behind him and was just in time to see his traveling buddy open the door and walk into the salon owned by two of his friends.

He was hurt.....Maria wasn't looking at him? What the hell was going on??

He walked into cutting edge to confront Maria, he was getting an answer if it was the last thing he did!

Just as he was about to open his mouth Liz piped up gaining his attention for the time being. "Michael, who's the guy with you?" she asked, her voice a little dreamy.

Michael gave her a funny look, what was wrong with the women in this place?

"That's max, he's my business partner." he then turned to Maria and they embarked on a healthy fight, Maria claimed that Michael didn't trust her- and Michael argued that Maria was acting like a love-sick school-girl.

"Yeah, I'm love-sick over you, you stupid lug!" she shouted at him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Liz continued to watch the man across the street, so his name was max, huh?

She sucked in a tortured breath when she saw him greet the two witches in the new salon.

He was kissing Pam!

On the cheek!

Okay, so it was on the cheek, but still....

He was kissing Pam!

She turned away from the window and got an eye-full, as a now silent Michael and Maria (save a few moans here and there) seemed to be eating each other right now...or was that a new form of kissing?

Liz couldn't tell.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!" She let out in frustration, "Maria, you have clients waiting for you!"

Her words fell on deaf ears.



tbc???
posted on 29-Apr-2002 3:42:36 PM by applebybehr
me and my sister have tried over five times to get this to post right....this is the last time I'm doing it! *angry face* sorry if the set-up sucks.
gracie***
posted on 29-Apr-2002 3:49:16 PM by applebybehr
okay, here we go:

m15, kristen80, abbs007, Lucky star, frenchkiss70, attilathehoney, Lttlemrmade, marteloise, Lizzie_Parker17 and soppy!

thanks so much for all of the feedback you guys have left for me! you keep me pretty entertained!LOL! I hope this part is okay, if there's anything wrong with it...you know sp's and typo's, tell me please! I'm being kicked off the 'puter now, so later!
gracie***
posted on 29-Apr-2002 3:51:13 PM by applebybehr
okay before I go...soppy that was pretty damn close!

it's spelt: Panszczyk.

see? excellent! sweetie, I will b-mail as soon as I can get back online...which will be sometime tonight*big*
gracie***
posted on 30-Apr-2002 5:10:10 AM by applebybehr
soppy- it has two z's! but hell, don't worry about it...thanks for the feedback sweetie! LMPAO! yeah, sorry my pert ass took so long!*tongue* yep, I'm sure chris would love to have him!LOL! everything will be sorted out in the next couple of parts, cool your jets!*big*

Lizzie_Parker17- britt! thanks for the bump, and hey to you too....sorry I haven't mailed you for days, I'll do it today. thanks for reading this! speak to you soon*big*

m15- can I call you michaela? and hey, if it wasn't for you guys leaving me so much great feedback I wouldn't be writing this! you are free to kick tess' ass anytime you want.....we'll have to get in line!LOL! thanks for the feedback! as always it was excellent*big*

abbs007- I'm not really a big candy, but I wanted to write about m/m in this fic....I'm glad it was okay! yeah, tess was over to check out the competition....she's so sneeky! (sp?) I plan to seriously kick some pam troy butt in the parts to come...liz will get to feel a whole lot better! thanks for reading and leaving me brilliant feedback*big*

Lttlemrmade- tania! I hope your dog's okay! my cat got in a fight the other day and another cat bit his ear....he looks so funny! (now I feel bad for laughing at him*sad*) thanks for the wonderful feedback! LMPAO! yep, we'd better take max to the doctors for his cooties booster!LOL!*big*

frenchkiss70- I think it would be best for max to go into instant quarantine! but not to long....he has to meet liz. thanks for the feedback! and I'll be back soon with the next part*big*

kristen80- I will have words with max, don't you worry! on the cheek is as worse as on the mouth! (ugh, gross mental picture....must think of max and liz, must think of max and liz)LOL! thanks for the feedback!*big*

roswellluver- I'm thinking that was the only time max will have to kiss pam...he has to save all his kisses for liz! but you'll have to wait somemore for those....thanks for reading and leaving me feedback*big*

Alien614 ahhhhh, you'll have to wait and see! but it was pretty bad, huh? poor guy, and bad me for making him do it! thanks for the feedback!*big*

ISLANDGIRL5- hey! max will need some pretty strong soap, huh? thanks for reading this! and for leaving such great feedback*big*

angelbaby6977- I'm glad you liked the new part! *happy* you'll have to wait and see about the pam/tess thing....but you won't be waiting long. thanks for the feedback!

okay, I've been *big*ing way to much this morning!LOL! I have some school-work to finish and everything....so it'll be a little while before I can post the new part. but I'll get on writing some of it now.
as in the words of jet set satellite- "baby, cool your jets" I'll be back soon, and once again: thanks for all the lovely feedback! I'm so glad that people are enjoying this*bounce*
gracie***

I do plan on bringing isabel into this fic...she'll be max's younger sister...would you like her to be in this or not?
posted on 30-Apr-2002 5:12:19 AM by applebybehr
polarbehr- see you soon then! let me know what you think*big*

ISLANDGIRL5- I'm thinking of having her join the team at cutting edge...she'll pretty much hate tess and pam. well I have a couple of idea's about issy....but I'll type her in!thanks*big*
gracie***

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 30-Apr-2002 5:14:53 AM ]
posted on 1-May-2002 10:46:23 AM by applebybehr
ISLANDGIRL5, Lucky star(plus bump!),Lttlemrmade and abbs007:

thanks for your help! I'll be writing Issy into the next few parts. I have a killer essay I have to have finished for tomorrow (important appointment at the college) so I'm busy typing that up at the moment. I'll be sure to have the new part out in the next few days! thankyou for keeping the thread moving*big*
gracie***
posted on 6-May-2002 9:13:30 AM by applebybehr
thank you for all the bumps! I'm working on the new part right now...long story as to why it's taken so long, and I'm sure you're not interested in hearing about it (LOL) so I'll get on with my writing and hopefully post it soon.
thanks for waiting for me! feel free to kick my butt, I deserve it!LOL!*big*
gracie***
posted on 6-May-2002 3:10:17 PM by applebybehr
once again thanks for all the feedback and bumps! and soppy , yes, you may kick my butt...just go easy on me!LOL! yeah, I've read britt's new fic, just didn't have time to leave and feedback.

on with what you really want me to post!LOL!

part six:


Maria ran about her apartment trying to find her favorite pair of shoes. This was it! Her first date with Michael....oh god, she needed some cedar oil.

They had only met on Monday and now it was Thursday, kind of quick moving but she had a feeling that he was it for her.

She was excited and scared all at the same time.

The door bell rang and she squealed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Liz and Alex were having a meeting. Okay, so it was informal and at Alex's apartment...but a meeting all the same. Once again they were dicussing the plans for a new salon, and to Liz's surprise- Alex was actually listening to her idea's.

"I know how much you want to open another salon, but I don't think we need it. There'd be so much work and I don't know if we'd have the time to interview new employess and train them as well. It's too hectic at Cutting Edge as it is."

She had a migraine...it was happening a lot lately.

"Liz, I have to agree with you there. As much as I want too, we have more urgent matters that need our attention."

Liz looked at him in shock. Did he just say that he agreed with her?

Alex sat across from her and busted out laughing at the expression on her face.

"Yes Liz, I am finally seeing the light and putting the new plans on the back-burner....for now anyway. And if the investors don't like it, I'll have to sort them out."

"Thankyou Alex!" She reached over to him and gave him a firm hug.

"Now we really need to work out how to beat Pam and Tess. We need an attack plan!" He said, rubbing his hands together.

Liz gigled," you got that right! You know they'll be going after blood and we need to protect ourselves." She said thoughtfully.

"I still can't believe that she's come back, and that she's qualified!" He was still trying to get his head round that one.

"Yeah, I know what you mean. She's going to be hard to beat, she always was a sly one. We'll need to watch out for her.

"Liz we should call a meeting tomorrow after work with the whole team. Call in the people who have the day off...everything. We need to nip this in the bud."

"They'll think we're over-reacting on this one!" Liz pointed out.

"I don't care Liz, we both know what Pam's like and no doubt tess is the same."

He had her there. Everyone was still mad that Tess had infiltrated the ranks, so to speak. It was hard to believe that she took the time out to come over to the salon hell-bent on being friends with them, and all the time sizing up the opposition. Oh yeah, so like Pam!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Maria walked over to her front door, taking deep breaths as she went.

Slowly opening the door, after looking through the peep-hole, she greeted Michael with a smile.

"Hey there," she sounded confident, that was good.

"Hey Maria, are you ready to go?" He asked, his own smile mirroring hers.

"Oh, about that. I can't find my shoes, so come in and make yourself comfortable while I search for them." She looked ruefully at him.

He laughed at her predicament, "I'd love to come in, take your time our reservations not for another half and hour." He informed her.

She showed him to the lounge and left him to run into her room.

Michael looked around the room she had led him too. It was lovely and full of color. 'Kind of like Maria,' he thought with a small smile.

"Maria?" he called out to her.

"Yeah? Are you okay? Would you like a drink or something?" Came the reply.

"I just wanted to tell you that from what I've seen, your apartment's great!"

"Awwwww, thankyou! The decorators finally finished it yesterday, so you're the first guest to have a look at it. Wonder round if you'd like."

"Thanks, I will." He walked down a small hallway and found himself in the kitchen, all smooth lines and sleek surfaces. He was impressed.

Maria watched him from the doorway, he was so gorgeous and all hers....well, for now anyway.

Michael caught sight of her out the corner of his eye and waited for her to make a move. He didn't have to wait long.

"So, what do you think?" She asked as she moved further into the room.

"Beautiful...the apartments not too bad either!" He said, a smirk on his face.

Maria stood there stunned. Did she just imagine that, or did he say she was beautiful?

"Michael," she moved forward until she was standing in front of him, she looked straight into his eyes. He didnt look away from her. She leaned up and placed a sweet kiss on his lips, when she went to pull away Michael grabbed her round the waist and puleed her flush against him. Urging her to open her mouth fully to him, she obliged with his request and his tongue entered her mouth. She moaned at the contact- or was that Michael? It didn't really matter....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"So Liz, kind of a shocker that Michael knows Tess and Pam, huh?" Alex asked her over their food, their pizza had been delivered only moments ago, it was being eaten pretty quickly.

"Yeah it was, I just hope he's truthfully interested in her and not out to use her just to help out the witches across the road." Yes, she was worried about her friend. Liz couldn't help the direction her thoughts were going in though...when she thought of Michael she thought of Max.

She felt like standing up and shouting to the world that she, Liz Parker, liked him! But she curbed that thought pretty quickly. He had kissed pam, there was obviously something going on there. She wasn't sure if she wanted to get burned just yet...but there was no harm in staying close to the flame.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


All thoughts flew out of Michael's mind as soon as Maria deepened the kiss. Screw dinner reservations! He was pretty sure food was the last thing on either of their minds. They had moved out of the kitchen and were now lying together on the couch. It was moving fast but stopping this sweet delight was not on the agenda. Maybe they could go out another time....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"You know, I think they had a date tonight," Liz told Alex.

"Really? They only met the other day."

"Alex, you can't get to know someone if you don't spend time with them."

"I'm just worried about her too. She's my best friend! You both are, and you're like sisters to me. You know I worry about you too." A bashful smile graced his face.

She reached over and grabbed his hand, "I know you do, and I love you for it."

"I love you too." He told her, " right enough with all this sappy stuff! Now onto talking about the looks you were throwing the friend of Michael's today!" Alex was in teasing mode, "what's his name again? Bob, Bill, B...."

"It's MAX!" She cut him off, and after catching the look that spread over his face Liz was regretting answering so quickly.

"Max, huh? How silly of me to forget," joking around with Liz was one of his favorite past-times.

"Alex, I saw him kissing Pam, I don't think he's open for offers." That frown was back on her face again.

"You told me it was on the cheek! I kiss you and Maria all the time, and we're just friends! Maybe he was just being polite." Alex liked seeing the hopeful look on her face, and he wanted to make it return.

"Yeah, maybe." Liz wanted this conversation to stop. The things she were feeling were too overwhelming to think about right now. What was she talking about? All she knew about this guy was his name....she didn't even know him. No matter how much she wanted to, she'd have to check out the whole Pam thing first.

Alex saw her change in mood and went back to sipping his coke and eating his pizza.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Maria got up off the couch and held onto Michael's hand....he pulled himself up and followed her. She was taking him towards her bedroom, he wasn't sure how he felt about that.

He tugged on her hand, making her stop. "Maria, are you sure about this?" He asked her, searching her face for hesitation. He found none.

"I'm sure," came her reply.

She looked at him for a moment, gave him a small kiss and then resumed the task of leading him to her bedroom.

She closed the door behind them.


tbc???

I'll be back soon with the next part*big*
gracie***
posted on 9-May-2002 4:42:50 AM by applebybehr
here goes:

Dia, melodycrsh47, soppy, marteloise, lttlemrmade, maxzhot, m14, abbs007, Lizzie_Parker17, dancepixie, roswellluver, angelbaby6977, Lucky star, frenchkiss and ISLANDGIRL5:

thank you all so much for leaving me great feedback and letting me know what you think, I didn't know so many people were reading my fic!LOL! tania and michaela....as always you two make me LMPAO! and ISLANDGIRL5, feel free to kick tess' butt all you want. I'll keep you in mind when she needs a kickin'!LOL!

okay so, all yesterday evening I couldn't get on the computer so I wrote the new part by hand...I never do that. I'm a typing freak! anyway, I'm off to have my hair cut soon, and then I'm spending the whole afternoon with my grampies (oh how I wish I was old enough to drive). I wont be back home until this evening, but the new part is all written up, I just need to go through spell-check and post it. I really like the new part, I'm very proud of it. and guess what?!?!?!? there will be max and liz interaction (sp?)....you'll just have to wait a bit longer!LOL! *evil laugh*

I'll answer any questions and stuff when I'm back this evening. thank you once again*big*
gracie***

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-May-2002 4:48:19 AM ]
posted on 9-May-2002 4:27:24 PM by applebybehr
Lucky star- hey Mon!

and yes, michaela you did make me laugh!LOL!

SH*T! I am so sorry guys, but I just spent ages typing up the new part and then I lost my internet connection- therefore losing all the stuff I had written. I'm telling you, I was one click away from posting it! I'm so mad right now *angry face* anway, it'a 9.30pm here already and I have chores to do still, plus taking a shower and doing my washing. I'll try to come on before I go to bed and post it for you guys.

sorry again. kill me now*big*
gracie***
posted on 10-May-2002 8:13:00 AM by applebybehr
soppy! I'll bmail you in a minute...lots to tell you! *wink* I think you'll be interested.

Lttlemrmade- hey tania! you still waiting by your computer???? LOL! sorry for the long wait, things just kept going wrong yesterday!

m14- michaela!! are you okay now? I didn't mean to cause you pain!LOL!

thanks also to: frenchkiss70, maxzhot and melodycrsh47. and ofcourse to everyone who's left me feedback since I started this fic!LOL! it was only a couple of weeks ago....april 17th or something. WOW.


part seven:


An arm shot out from under the covers and hastily groped around the bed-side table valiantly searching for the offending object- formall known as an alarm clock. The hand finally connected with something solid and fingers searched for the snooze button. Giving up a few seconds later a disgruntled head emerged and promptly, along with the fingers, found the off switch.

Oh, Liz felt bad this morning! Her mouth was parched and in desperate need of water, her tongue felt like sand-paper. She tried to lick her lps but it was no use, she'd have to get up and hunt down a glass of water.

As she pulled herself out of her bed Liz cast a withering glance at her alarm clock and sauntered off to the kitchen.

It was Saturday, and thankfully the salon was closed for the weekend. A small mercy in a week of sheer terror.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


After the shock of seeing Pam Troy again, and the ever annoying Tess Harding- and the fact that they had pitched up another salon in an attempt to ruin her business....Liz had swallowed her hurt and pride, hell, her pride was hurt! What was the point of separating the two words? She had fueled by her anger and determination to beat the witches across the road- at all costs. There was no way those two were taking her business. No way that she was giving up, and definitely no way she was going to let on how worried she was.


Okay, so she still had the luzury of thinking about Max, that was still on the cards, but thinking was all it was. After the first look at him mid-week, it had turned out to be the last. He hadn't showed again for the next few days. She had tried to tell herself that she didn't miss him, heck, she'd only looked at him once: although look was a pretty stupid word for it- she had swooned. And he didn't even know that she lived and breathed.


Maria had been firmly planted over on cloud nine for the past two days, Liz had managed to tear herself away from the front windows long enough to get Maria to divulge all the deltails. She was happy for her friend, at least one of them was lucky in the land of love once in a while. Maria had blushed an attractive sahade of tomato red when she's admitted that she did love Michael....well kind of. It was fast and reckless and totally unexpected, but Liz had whooped with delight and theyhad blown off lunch plans and sat in the nearest ice-cream parlor for a straight 45 minutes.

Liz was living vicariously through her friends.

She needed to get out more!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


After a refreshing glass of cold water Liz walked back into her bedroom, stepped into her bathroom and took a shower. She would feel better after she'd gotten dressed. She hoped.

Slipping into a light weight stone colored linen dress she finished her hair and set about getting ready for the day. Picking up her work case and portfolio she put on her sandals and was out the door and down the street to the salon. Today, with the salon being calm and quiet she could get to work on planning for the up coming hairdreser of the year award.

She had won it once already and after the break of not entering last year- she was back and ready to win.

Liz searched for her keys and swore silently when she couldn't find them. In a last ditch effort she laid her case and folder on the ground, and tipped her bag out. Finally the silver glint of her keys caught her eye and she rose triumpfently as she turned to open the front doors. To her surprise the door opened before she even turned the key and squishing down on her fear, Liz walked into the salon.

Hearing voices in the staff room she gingerly stepped forward, girpping her case for lack of a better weapon- she moved closer to the door.

She recognized two of the voices and sighed in relief. It was just Maria and Michael! Berating herself for getting so worked up, Liz reached the doorway and breezed in. Hoping that she wouldn't be interrupting a IDA ((a/n- indoor display of affection. LMPAO)) one one of the sofa's.

To her shock Michale and Maria were seated respectfully (thank god) a coffee mug in each of their hands. They were laughing at something and at this point Liz recognized another person in the room.

It was Max.

And he was looking like something out of GQ, all casual jeans and a pale blue shirt.

He looked good....more than good.

Maria set her mug down on the coffee table and jumped up to greet her. "Liz babe! What are you doing here on the weekend?"

"I do own the place Maria!" She joked. Keeping the conversation light would hopefully hide the blatant fact that she couldn't keep her eyes off the beautiful man in front of her, for more than a few seconds.

Liz was praying that no one would notice her wondering eyes.

He was looking right at her. Concentrating on breathing normally, she teared her gaze away from those sinfully delightful eyes- and said a quick hello to Michael.

"Hey Liz," he answered back, a smirk making home on his face. As if anyone wouldn't notice the looks between his friend and Liz. He chuckled to himself.

Maria took hold of Liz's arm and turned her in the direction of Max.

"Liz, this is Max Evans- Max this is Liz Parker."

Max stood up from the couch and moved towards Liz, throwing her a truly dashing smile, he held his hand out for her to shake.
Liz jostled the huge folder in her hands and after wondering what to do, she let the folder drop to the floor.
Placing her small hand in his much larger one, she shock it briefly and smiled looking into his eyes again.

"Hi"

"Hi"

They blushed as they said hello at the same time, and after smiles took perminent residence on both of their faces, Liz was the first to break contact and lean down to pick up her folder. Feeling foolish for dropping it in the first place, she hurridly walked over to her desk and set both her case and folder dow.

Turning to the magnificent man in front of her- not forgetting Maria and Michael, who both had twin smirks on their faces- these were the inspiring words from her mouth.

"You kissed Pam!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Oh God, oh God, oh God! Liz was begging that this was a dream and she did not just make such a sweeping statement about someone she barely knew- and in the process embarrassing herself on front of the occupants in the room.

A nervous, terrified laugh made it's way out from between her lips and her mind searched furiously for a way out of this nightmare.

Her second attempt at talking failed to impress any better.

"Someone please say something, leaving it to me to carry this conversation is a bad idea. There's still room in my mouth for another foot." She flinched.

Sending out a silent prayer: 'Ground swallow me up....PLEASE!'

Liz spun on her heals and dashed out of the staffroom, screwing up her face when she heard Michael and Maria's ruckus laughing.

She was embarressed.

She was shocked.

She was really embarressed!

Liz stopped short when she heard someone calling her name.

"Liz?"

It was Max, he had chased after her.


tbc????

I've changed my mind, I think this part sucks...let me know what you think *big*
gracie***

[ edited 5 time(s), last at 5-Jun-2002 6:52:27 AM ]
posted on 10-May-2002 8:15:51 AM by applebybehr
by the way, the foot in mouth thing was taken from Christie Ridway's 'wish you were here'....it's a great book!LOL!
gracie***
posted on 10-May-2002 12:37:21 PM by applebybehr
is it wrong to bump your own fic????LOL! I hope everyone's having a good day!*big*
gracie***
posted on 13-May-2002 11:30:06 AM by applebybehr
a huge thankyou too:

lisabehr, marteloise, angelbaby6977, Dia, Lttlemrmade, roswellluver, soppy, m14 (plus multi bumps!LOL!),maxzhot, frenchkiss70, Alien614, abbs007, ILYMEFOREVER, Lucky star and Angelic:

thanks for all the feedback guys! I'm glad you're all liking my fic and that the last part was up to par....um, the next part is really hard to write. I'm kind of stuck for ideas at the moment, and believe me I've been trying to get them down on paper for a few days now. the weather is lovely today (heavy rain and cold winds) so I'm pretty much going to kick my own butt and get in gear.

the new part should be out very soon. stay with me here!LOL!

Angelic: the show is brilliant! I totally never miss taping an episode...but the whole ruby/allie thing was so unexpected! I was shocked. and isn't gavin lovely? I'd have him over finn any day.*tongue* (LMPAO)

see you all soon*big*
gracie***

oh, and Mon- LOL! your idea is a good one....where would they go?*wink*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 13-May-2002 2:44:09 PM ]
posted on 14-May-2002 9:08:31 AM by applebybehr
Mon- this is me: *dreamy smile on my face* oh yeah, that's some nice mental images!LOL! ....sorry 'bout that!LMPAO

Angelic- I know! I can't believe that they did that...and ruby nearly sleeping with finn, it's her dad! I was freaking out when that nearly happened. I really like allie, but she's stupid for sleeping with finn again. that man gives me the creeps!LOL! *whines* "I want a gavin!"

new episode tonight! can't wait*big* I'm just gonna go work on the new part now...

gracie***
posted on 16-May-2002 8:45:26 AM by applebybehr
thanks for the bumps and feedback guys! my sister is beta reading the new part right now, all I have to wait for is her say and help on editing it- and then it's being posted!

sorry for making you wait so long*big*
gracie***
posted on 16-May-2002 11:18:11 AM by applebybehr
I could go on for ages about why it's taken me so long to post a new part, but the main reason is that I just didn't know what to write. thankyou for waiting for me, and if you'd still like to read it, here's the new part.*big*

From part seven:

"Liz?"

It was Max, he had chased after her.


Part eight:


"Max," she called back.

"Liz, are you okay?" Came his concerned question.

When she didn't turn round to face him Max pulled on her arm and turned her body towards him. Liz felt a burning on her arm when he put his hand on her...she would never last the whole day!

"Liz, please- talk to me," he was getting desperate now....and had still failed to remove his hand from her soft skin.

"God, I am so sorry, Max! I can't believe I said those things back there! I had no right to say anything about you and Pma, it's really none of my business and I was out of order. I am so sorry, I'm such an idiot..."

Max was quick to cut her off, "Liz, just calm down okay? It's alright, I'm sorry that feel so uncomfortable around me." He uttered to her, a desolate tone to his voice.

Whoa! Hold up here, Liz thought to herself- how could he turn the whole thing round and put it all on himself? She was the rude one here!

"Max, it's not you- really. I just got nervous and flustered and I made a fool out of myself." A small smile slowly appeared on her face and she sighed in relief when she saw Max offer her a similar smile.

"How about we start again, huh?" He suggested.

"Sounds like a good idea."

Max finally let go of her arm and backed away from her a step, after a moment of collecting himself he looked back at her, a huge grin on his face.

He cleared his throat, "Hi there, I'm Max Evans. You would be?"

"I would be Liz Parker. It's a pleasure to meet you, Max."

He had this little-boy grin on his face and Liz just about melted on the spot. He was so adorable! Unable to stop her face from exploding into a full-grown grin herself, Liz held out her hand for him to shake. He took hold of her hand and shook it briefly.

After dropping each other's hand, they slowly turned and both made their way back into the staff-room to sit with Maria and Michael. Just before they reached the doorway Max stopped walking and turned to Liz.

"There's nothing between Pam and I, by the way. Brunettes are more my style than blonde's," and with a parting smirk thrown her way, he was off and into the staff-room.

Liz stood there stunned. Now is not the time to turn into a flake! She chastised herself. Taking a deep breath and gathering her wits, she fanned her face for a second hoping that the flush covering her cheeks would disappear sometime soon.

It was going to be an awkward day.

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^


Liz held her head up high as she walked into the staff-room, and managed to avoid making eye contact with either Maria and Michael...and more importantly- Max.

Still unable to grasp what on earth had possessed her to even come into work today, she suddenly remembered that no one was meant to be here- that was why she had come in the first place.

"Maria, why are you here today?" Liz asked, trying to keep the angry tone out of her voice.

She failed.

Maria looked over at Liz, and tried to get over the fact that her friend had addressed her in such a tone. "I forgot some things from my locker, and I needed to collect some charts. Is that okay? Nearly everyone who works here has a key." She pointed out.

"I know Maria, and I didn't mean anything by it. I was just wondering." Liz was regretting being so rude...two down, one to go.

"Liz, can I talk to you for a minute?" Maria was already standing up and waiting for her boss to do the same.

"Uh, sure." Everyone could tell that Liz was hesitant to have this discussion.

They walked over to Liz's desk, still close to Max and Michael- but if they spoke quietly they would be out of earshot.

"Liz what is up with you today?"

"Nothing is up with me, Maria. Why do you ask?"

"Oh maybe the fact that you've been acting weird since you got here? What the hell was that all back there?" She gestured wildly wit her hands, "you know I come in sometimes on the weekend." Maria placed a comforting hand on Liz's arm.

She took a deep breath before she answered, "Maria, I'm sorry okay? I've got a lot on my mind- not that it's any excuse- what with the imminent threat of Pam, the competition coming up...and the fact that there is a complete God sitting over there!" She ended with on a giggle.

A triumphant gleam could be seen in Maria's eyes.

Liz sighed, there was no way she could take that last statment back, was there?

"I knew you liked him! After the whole staring thing last week!"

"Maria, I seem to remember you joining me on that one!" Oh there was no way Maria was winning this.

"Minor incident...I thought he was Michael." She was covering.

"Ah, yes. Michael with a different hair color, different cut, different facial features, different build,different..."

Maria stepped in and cut her off, "LIZ! LIZ! I get the point okay?" They were both laughing now.

Leaning in towards Maria, Liz voiced the question she'd been begging to ask. "Maria, why is Max here? and Michael too for that matter."

Instantly a guilty look passed over her face and she sheepishly told Liz what had happened. "Well babe, Michael was with me last night..."

"Again?!"

"Yes Liz, again- are you going to let me finish here?" Seeing a nod for the affirmative from Liz, she carried on. "Anyway, like I said, Michael stayed over last night and then I remembered that I left some things at work yesterday, and he drove me over here this moring."

"And Max?"

Maria flashed her a glare, "I thought you said you'd let me finish?" Not waiting for an answer this time she began to talk again- "We were pulling up outside when Michael spotted Max's car parked across the street. No doubt wanting to run like the wind away from those vile people he was conversing with, he made his excuses and came over to speak to us. And by the way, you have not told me the whole story about you and Pam!" She poked Liz in the chest accusingly.

Liz winced, "yeah, about that- are you free tonight? Alex and I want to run a few things by you."

"Oh, sorry babe. I have plans."

"Okay, how about you come round to mine for brunch tomorrow? It is Sunday after all and we always hang out."

A huge smile lit up Maria's face- "Sure I'd love to! Remember to get those bagels I love, " she remined her.


Liz shook her head to clear her thoughts, "back to the suject at hand now, how did Max get inside the salon?"

"Oh, well we invited him in for coffee."

They both turned to look at Max for a minute and then turned back to face each other, totally missing the confused look on Max's face.

"And what's the plan for the rest of the day?" Liz asked.

"Oh, nothing concrete yet, how about you?"

"Well I did intend to work on my plans for the competition- but I could change my plans." Liz finished with a smirk.

Maria looked at her knowingly- "Well, it's getting late in the moring now, how about her hang out here and then go for lunch?"

"Did I mention that I love you?" Liz said with a laugh, "although I really should work on my designs for a bit today."

"You can do that now, and we'll all talk and get to know each other while you work at your desk" That was an appealing suggestion.

"Great plan, Maria. Lets go ask the guys if they mind."

WOW! Was she really going to spend the day with Max? She hoped Michael would say yes.

After running the idea by them, Michael and Max both agreed that it was a great suggestion, and they laid down plans for where to eat. After deciding on a nearby deli for food later on, Liz turned to her desk and sat down to work while the other three spoke among themselves.

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^^*^*^*^


Liz worked on her designs, planning out what looks and styles she was going for this year. Her past entries had always been new and fresh so still keeping hold of the original idea, she sketched out some designs.

The competition had pretty strict rules on how you did things. Having to do various designs on both men and women, there was a week for the work with male models, and then a longer period for the work on female models. Not only did hair come under scrutiny with the female design core, but also the whole team came along to perform make-up and nails....not the mention many other branches of the competition in full.

It never got easier, but the edge on the whole thing kept Liz's determination sharp and strong. It was going to be a great year! Finally back in to competition circuit, Liz felt at home. While salon work was wonderful- there was no substitute for the pressure of a high-staked competition.

The conversation was lively and they seemed to be enjoying him or herself, only once in a while did any of them include Liz- Michael and Max didnt really know what she was working on, but they understood that it was important. So only questions that needed a direct answer from Liz were addressed to her. Not that she minded, infact she liked the fact that Maria and Michael were getting on so well, and Max seemed to having a good time too. Things seemed to be going alright.

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^


Max couldn't help but glance at Liz every couple of minutes: she was so beautiful he couldn't help it. Seeing the concentrated look on her face and the determination in her eyes, he thought she was inspiring. Sure, he didn't have any idea what she was doing- something about designs- but he was impressed none the less. Did he already mention that he thought she was beautiful?

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^


Liz could feel Max's heated gaze on her, and she fought to keep herself from looking up at him and catching his eye. But pretty soon she gave up the fight and lifted her head from her drawing pad.

Catching his intense look, she couldn't help but take a deep breath at the look in his eyes. He was practically studying her. It was kind of scary and un-nerving, but she liked it too. His eyes sucked her in and Liz felt her heart beat pick up more speed.

Maria, seeing the looks being passed between the two of them, decided that it would be best if she broke it up- after all, Liz did need to get some work done today!

"You okay there, Liz?" She shouted.

Startling Liz out of her staring contest with Max, a bright pink flush hastily covered her face and neck. "Yes, Maria?" Once again she was back to avoiding max's stare, not sure if she could stop herself from falling in to the deep depths of those eyes again.

"How's the work going? Can I see them?"

"They're still a work in progress, but sure, why not."

Maria stood up from her embrace with Michael and walked over to Liz's desk- taking a look at what she had been working on Maria couldn't stop the gasp that passed her lips. They were amazing. "Liz, these are wonderful!"

Liz blushed under her friends admiring gaze, "Maria, they're just some sketches. Not even finished yet."

"Really Liz, if these are your designs for the competition," Mair changed her voice into a booming announcer style, "we have a winner ladies and gentlemen!" The two of them fell about laughing and Maria tried to get air into her lungs.

Michael and Max soon got sick of being left out of the loop and spoke up, "Liz, are you nearly finished? We're hungry!" Michael whined.

"Yeah, come on Liz, finish up- we need food!" Max said, joining in on the joking around.

Taking pity on the men in front of them, Liz and Maria shared a look.

"Okay boys, " Maria smiled even wider when she heard the scoffs from them at the 'boys' comment, " give Liz another half and hour and then we can go to lunch."

Shouts of delight were heard from them both, and this time all of them were in on the laugh.

"Come one, quiet Liz needs to work," Max said, shocking them all....did he really just say that?

"Max, you don't even know what she's doing!" Michael pointed out.

"Something to do with the hairdressing competition coming up, Michael?" Max said, a superior look on his face what he guessed right.

He smiled over at Liz and felt elated when a twin smile showed itself on her own face...he felt good at being able to pelase here. Not really sure where all these feelings were coming from, he mentally shrugged them off and just enjoyed being in the company of friends.

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^


Maria and Michael were bickering over something trivial- they seemed to do that a lot- so Max went over to where Liz was working and just glanced over her shoulder. Maria was right: the designs she was working on were great.

He placed a warm hand on her shoulder and got her attention, "So, what's all of this for?" He enquired.

Liz turned her head so that she could see his face, "like you said, the hairdressing competition that's in a few weeks."

"Have you ever entered before?"

"A couple of times, my trophies are over there." She pointed to the display cabinet. It wasn't just Liz's accomplishments in there, but an array of different awards and certificates that the salon and its employees had won.

Max walked over to them to get a better look. His eyes grew wide when he saw the "first place" inscription on both of them. Whipping his head round to catch the look on her face- and seeing the laughter in her eyes- he continued to admire the trophies in the case. She said she was how old?


One thing was for sure, Max though: Pam didn't stand a chance at winning against Liz.

tbc??

let me know what you think.
kisses,
gracie***

[ edited 5 time(s), last at 15-Jul-2002 9:49:35 AM ]
posted on 16-May-2002 11:25:40 AM by applebybehr
hey angelic !

I missed your post while I was typing up the new part, anyway...I know! I can't believe all that happened! and gavin leaving allie? I hope they get back together! and I loved it when gavin punched finn, and I love tom, and ruby and eugene (sp) are way sweet!LOL! ugh, I didn't really know what to think about mia this week...she seemed to be making an effort with allie and everything. but I think darcy and sydney were horrible to allie. she didn't deserve that- they slept with finn too!

did you hear? there's going to be another series! can't bloody wait! by the by- did you see teachers last night? I love that show!*big*
gracie***

edited to say- and it's bloody hot today! 26 degrees is pretty hot for us in may, huh? kind of nice after all that rain we had though...

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 16-May-2002 11:28:38 AM ]
posted on 17-May-2002 6:31:21 AM by applebybehr
just a short author's note- um, you guys probably won't read it anyway- but what the heck!LOL!

right, so there's a huge music festival going on in my city this weekend, it starts tonight and my sister, my dad and myself are off out tonight to get involved in it all. tomorrow the whole family is off to my aunt's house for the whole day and evening- so I won't be around then either.

I'm writing part nine right now- and I'm gonna try my hardest to have it out for you all today. thankyou so much everyone for the wonderful feedback- I love it as always!LOL!

if all goes to plan- should see you guys soon*big*
gracie***

(more detailed thankyou notes later on*happy*)
posted on 18-May-2002 4:54:22 AM by applebybehr
m14 - I knew there was something I had to do! LOL!

angelic- I live in Salisbury, wiltshire (you know, stone henge and all that kind of thing) where about's do you live? anyway, it's huge! for this weekend there are 80 live bands playing around the city in pub and restaurants...

I went out yesterday and it was so cool! we saw a jazz band and they were excellent*big* you can all hit me now- but we went out much earlier than I thought we would, I have half of the new part written, and I'm gonna try and get the rest down today.

sorry! I said I'd try and I did...*runs to hide*
gracie***
posted on 21-May-2002 8:32:01 AM by applebybehr
hey guys! whew *wipes brow* lots of things have been happening these past few days. I'm not trying to mess you around when I say I'm gonna post something....other things just get in the way, sorry! anyway, I burnt my arm pretty bad on the weekend, nasty wound*sad* and then that same night I smashed my head into the side of my ward-robe (it was an accident, honest!) and not only do I have a killer head-ache, but I also took a chunk off the bottom of my tongue and bit the top of it too! lots of blood.

the festival was great! my parents are on holiday this week (very rare) so I have no idea where they're taking us next....thought I'd better come in here and post the new part!LOL!

thanks for the bumps and feedback*big*

"Cutting Edge"
Gracie Panszczyk.

part nine: (already???)


Liz looked around at the three people in her apartment, Max, Michael and Maria were all sitting on her sofa the boys drinking bottles of beer straight from the neck and Maria and herself sipping on red wine.

She thought back to the day they had spent together with a smile on her face.

******************************************


(Earlier in the day)

After Liz had finished up on her primary designs they had all walked over to the deli, which was a block over from the salon. Maria and Michael were walking up in front of them, Michael had his arm around Maria, while she snuggled in his side. Liz couldn't quite work out how they could bare to be so close when it was so hot! It had been fairly cool this morning, but now that it was mid-day the sun was out in full force.

It was baking.

She turned her head to glance at Max, who was walking next to her. She observed his profile and sighed in happiness. There was no doubting it- the man was a God.

His strong shoulders hidden under a cotton shirt, his impressive biceps were pushing out of the short sleeves...wonder what he looks like *under* that shirt, she thought to herself.

Okay, so maybe it was time to fan her face again...Whoa! Well, she could always blame it on the scorching weather if she had a bout of blushing: men thought a flustered woman was cute- right?

Or was that scary?

After the short walk to the resaurant they walked inside and all breathed in the cool air-conditioned air. Oh yeah! They'd be staying here all afternoon if they could! Max looked over at Liz- he'd been doing that a lot during the walk over- and caught his breath: the cool air coming down from the vents above them had set her loose hair dancing around her face. She looked amazing.

Okay, Max, keep your cool- you won't be doing yourself any favours if she cathes you looking at her like a hungry man! Pep talk over he cast his eye over the menu boards hanging on the wall opposite the small table they had been seated on.

After ordering their food and drinks they all seemed to relax into casual conversation. Liz was determined to find out what it was exactly that connected Max and Michael to Pam.

"So, Max, how do you know Pam? If you don't mind me asking of course." She caught the look Max shared with Michael when she had asked her question.

"Why does it matter, Liz?" He answered in a harsh tone.

Liz was visibly taken back, what on earth was up with him? "I was just asking a simple question, Max. I wasn't aware that you weren't open to questions about your life."

Seeing the tension between the two Maria set about starting a light conversation about what they were like when they were younger, or something like that. Liz wasn't paying attention.

The rest of the table laughed when Michael retailed some tale about getting lost when he was out with his family...it really was funny but Liz really wasn't in the mood to joke about anything anymore. She just wanted to go home.

Next up it was Maria's turn, Liz had heard this one already anyway. She smiled when she listened to Maria's dramatics and wild hand gestures as she described the pain of losing her favourite doll when she was on holiday with her mom and dad. You could hear the wistful catch in her voice when she told Max and Michael about her parents. They were divorced now and Maria had no contact with her father, but this really wasn't the time to share personal and painful details like that with two men that they didn't really know.

Well, of course she knew Michael...in more ways that on- it didn't matter though. She wasn't ready to share everything about ehr life with him yet.

Their food was delivered to the table and everyone was busy digging into their meals, the need for food was far greater than the situation between Max and Liz. Once all the food was eaten Maria called a bathroom break and Liz was dragged off behind her.

They reached the ladies and Maria turned to her friend and held her with a strong gaze. "Liz, are you okay? What the hell is wrong with max?"

Liz sighed in resignation: she really didn't want to talk about this anymore. "Maria, I have no idea what's going on, OK? He was fine while we were walking over here and then he went all cagey when we arrived."

"Well, do you want me to ask him about it? You know I have no problem bringing a man down to size!" She joked. Even more glad when she raised a laugh out of Liz.

Maria re-applied some lipstick and then they walked back to the table. Liz chanced a look at Max and was reassured when she saw his regretful look, but that didn't change the fact that he was rude to her.

"Anyone up for desert?" Maria asked them all as they sat down. Max and Michael both declined, she then turned to Liz. "What about you, Liz?"

"No thankyou, Maria." She tried to keep the clipped tone out of her voice, but after hearing herself it seemed it was there for good.

"Well, I don't know about you guys, but there's a piece of chocolate cake over there just begging to be eaten!" She told them, a gleeful look on her face. This was obviously going to be a long lunch.

She went up to order her cake, Michael set about following her with his gaze, Max looked at Liz hopefully- while Liz was doing her best not to look at anyone at the table. Let alone Max. Her plan was up in smoek however when he grew tired of trying to catch her attention, and reached out to take her hand- which was resting on her thigh- in his own. Max took a second to marvel at how tiny her hand was compared to his, before he had time to make things right between them ahain. For some odd reason it really irket him to have Liz mad, especially when it was aimed at him.

Liz was sitting stiff in her chair desperately trying to ignore the fact that Max was stroking his fingers comfortingly across her knuckles. "Liz, will you please look at me?" He asked her softly. He checked that Michael was pre-occupied with Maria, so that they could maybe have this discussion in a little privacy. She didn't turn to look at him, "please." That was the second time he'd asked and he smiled slightly when she finally turned her head toward him. They were sittng close next to each other, so there really wasn't any point in not sorting this out.

"Yes, Max?" She still sounded upset.

"Look, I'm sorry about what happened back there. Please don't be mad at me, baby." Opps! The endearment kind of just slipped out. He was hoping that Liz hadn't really been listening to him, and that she had missed that. But turning serious again he was pretty sure she had, she had a playful smile on her beautiful face.

"So, you think I'm your baby now, huh?" A jovial look on her face when she saw the flush shoot across his features.

"I was hoping that you'd overlook that, but it feels right- you know?" He knew he was maybe assuming to much, but he really did was her to be his girl and if she shot him down- well, he'd just have to deal with it.

"Yeah, I know Max. Don't worry about it, I like it." She finally bid farewell to her bad mood and basked in the fact that he wanted her. This was good!

Okay, so they'd established that he was aloud to call her his baby...next thing on the agenda.

"Uh, I'm sorry I brushed you off when you asked about Pam. It was wrong of me to be rude to you, and I'm, sorry."

"We seem to be apologising to each other an awful lot today," she pointed out. "Why can't you just tell me?"

"I'm not hiding anything from you liz, " well actually he was, but only he knew that- "I'm a Financial Adviser, working to help Pam and Tess in the overall running of the salon on the business side of things."

She took some time mulling this information over, "and why couldn't you tell me this before?"

"You don't seem to get on with Pam or Tess much and I didn't want you to think that they were up to something when I told you how I'm connected to them." He said sheepishly, it really was silly now if you thought about it.

"Okay, Max. Am I allowed to ask you something else about your life, or are you going to clam up on me again?" She joked.

Max chuckled lightly, "nope, fire away Miss Parker." Neither of them had noticed that Max still had a hold on her hand. It wasn't until Liz laced her fingers with his, that they realised this fact. They both looked down at their joined hands for a minute before reverting their gaze back up to each other, to check that this development was okay. It was more tha okay they both conceded.

"How old are you?"

"28, how 'bout you?"

"27."

"Ah, a younger woman! I knew this day would come!" They both laughed at his joke, and after regaining control of each other once again, Liz carried on with her questions.

"Any siblings?"

"Only the one, my little sister Isabel. She's 24 this November."

"What does she do?"

"Fresh out of cosmetology school actually. " He told her with a proud grin.

"WOW! It seems like ages when I was there. Where's she planning to work? With Pam and Tess?" Liz asked, spitting out their two names.

Max flinched at her icy tone, "actually she doesn't get on with either of them. So I doubt it very much." This all said with a conspiring tone, "but don't tell them that. They keep on asking her to come and work with them although she's refused about a million times."

Liz laughed at this, she liked the sound of his sister already. She thought things over and voiced her musing's out loud. "Max, you should ask her if she'd like to work with us. I'd love to have a new person in the salon. Tell her that she's invited to take a look around anytime. All she has to do is ask for me, okay?"

Max looked at her in amazement. Did she really just tell him that his sister could work with her? "Liz, are you sure? I don't want you to feel like you have to say that just because we were talking about her."

Liz shook her head, "Max, I mean it. We've been looking for a new hairdresser for a couple of weeks now." She admitted to him.

"That's great! I'll tell her when she phones me tomorrow."

"You plan when you speak to each other?" She asked with a teasing grin.

"Hey! I'm a very busy man if you must know!" He told her, fake outrage on his face. Liz errupted in laughter and Max chuckled.

******************************************


Dinner turned out better in the end and after walking back to the salon to colect ther things; they planned to go back to Liz's apartment. They'd been at the deli for close to three hours, so it was prety late in the faternoon.

"My place is only a couple of blocks away, we don't need to call for a cab or anything." Michael was gurmbling about having to walk about again in the heat and everyone else laughed at him.

Liz locked up the front doors to the salon and turned to face her friends. Her eyes caught movment from across the road and she was surprised to see Pam looking over at them. She couldn't deny the fact that her gazes made Liz feel uncomfortable. Max looked over at what had caught Liz's attention; he should have known Pam would be watching them. He gave a slight wave in her direction, this seemed to placate her some and she turned back to her client.

Liz brushed off the disturbed feelings currently resting on her shoulders. How strange that Pam would expect an acknowledgement from Max. Shrugging her shoulders she asked if everyone was ready, and then they were on their way.


Unfortunately they got caught in an unexpected and very sudden downpour.

*****


People hurried into nearby shops and establishments while the rain continued to come down from the sky. Yes, it even rained when it was summer so it seemed. Several people watched with ammusment when they cast their eyes on the group of four who carried on walking through the rain. Both women were dressed in sundresses and sandals, but that didn't seem to stop them as she splashed in the puddles swiftly appearing on the streets around them. The men with them seemed to be amused at the girl's relucance to find cover, so they both trailed alongside them as they made their way down the road.

*****


The rain wasn't letting up anytime soon, so Max and Michael tried to rush Maria and Liz in the direction they'd been told that Liz lived in. There was no fun in gettng soaked in the middle of the afternoon!

Finally they reached Liz's apartment building and were quick to get tinside. Liz was greeted by the doorman while Max and Michael looked appreciatively around the foyer. It was a nice place, more than nice.

The elevator was called for them and Liz pressed the button for the seventh floor. Max grabbed a hold of Liz's hand again as they ascended up the building, both smiling at each other.

Maria and Michael shared a look.

The doors to the elevator opened when they reached the right floor and Liz led the way to her front door. There were four apartments on each floor, but it was a big place- Max quietly conseeded that her apartment must be pretty large. Liz fiddled with the key for a second and then the door was open and she was ushering them into her home. The rain had gone from fresh and cool, to clingy and cold. They really needed to dry off.

She left the three of them in her lounge and walked off into her bathroom in search of some towels. Liz bought the towels into the lounge so that she could hand them out to everyone; they all thanked her and then set about drying their hair.

"Would anyone like a blanket? I've got some in my closet."

"That would be great Liz, thanks." Came the reply from Michael.

"I'll help you with them," Max spoke up. Anything to spend a little alone time with Liz, he thought.

She led him to her bedrom and walked over to her open closet.

"You have a great room, Liz." Max observed.

"Thank you, there's a balcony too."

"Really? I bet you have great views." He turned to her and saw her stuggling with the stuff in her closet and rushed over to help her. "You should have said if you needed help, Liz." He said to her, in a slight accusatory tone.

"I thought I could handle it on me own, I seem to do that a lot!"

Max smiled down at her, she really was quite a bit shorter than him. "I don't mind helping you, just ask." He was surprised when he found her leaning up to him, and even more surprised when her soft lips came in contact with his jaw.

"Thank you, Max." She said as she pulled away.

"Not...uh, not a problem Liz." He seemed to be pretty flustered, she couldn't help from inwardly smirking.

She turned to the task in hand and was startled when his own lips gently kissed her neck, sighing softly in delight as he stimulated her flesh. He slowly turned her towards his body and held her to his strong chest; leaning down to her he caught her lips with his own as he tenderly kissed her. Both groaning at the first contact, Liz opened to him and he gladly swept his tongue into her hot mouth.

They pulled apart; both a little shocked at the newest feelings cursing through each other. Breathing in, Liz was the first to speak. "Wow!" she said, a glazed look in her eyes.

"Wow." Max repeated.

She stood on her tip-toes and pressed her mouth against his once again before pulling her lips and body away from his, grabbing the blankets from the floor- they'd fallen to the ground while they kissed- she waltzed out the door.

Leaving Max to stand there trying to get himself under a semblance of control. Then he too , followed her out towards the lounge, preparing himself to face Liz again.

Not to mention Maria and Michael.


tbc???


tell me what you think. any idea's? let me know.
gracie***



[ edited 7 time(s), last at 26-Jul-2002 8:49:31 AM ]
posted on 21-May-2002 9:39:41 AM by applebybehr
thanks for the feedback already!

angelic- OMG! I know, can't wait. have you seen the adverts for it? looks so good! I'm barely concealing my excitment here!LOL! how did your exam go? my sister has one right now....started at two. it's her last year at college. you know what? I'm gonna get my tape ready right now!LOL!

thanks again*big*
gracie***
posted on 21-May-2002 9:48:36 AM by applebybehr
so you have your GCSE's at the moment? I hope they go well for you! I'm taking them next year in college. anyway, I know! I'm pretty sure I'll be bawling my eyes out...I still can't believe she'd do that to gavin! LOL!
gracie***

and I really hope sydney isn't pregger's with finn's baby too...what a mess!
posted on 21-May-2002 10:15:14 AM by applebybehr
hey angelic! LMPAO! all this talk about the show is making me want to see it all the more!*big* uh, long story 'bout that really- I'm home tutored so I'm doing them next year....I only get one year to take them instead of two, talk about a huge amount of work! what exams are you doing?
gracie***
posted on 26-May-2002 12:20:01 PM by applebybehr
hey everyone!

thanks so much for all the bumps and feedback! you guys are great*big* I haven't really had much time to write this past week, but I'm working on the new part at the moment....so expect an update in the next couple of days (this is a promise I can keep!)LOL! thanks again...I'll do detailed thanks and notes when I post the new part. wonderful- see you all soon!
gracie***
posted on 27-May-2002 9:48:08 AM by applebybehr
*screams* the new part is really stressing me out at the moment!LOL! I'll get it out soon as, thanks for the bumps*big*
gracie***
posted on 27-May-2002 2:10:45 PM by applebybehr
a whole bucket of thanks too:

MandyRoswell, angelbaby6977, marteloise, Angelic, lisabehr, Rim, maxzhot, Lttlemrmade, roswellluver, soppy, frenchkiss70, dancepixie, m14, ISLANDGIRL5, Lucky star, ILYMEFOREVER and abbs007.

extra for bumps:

Angelic (twice) Lttlemrmade (twice, hey tania!), m14 (three times, hey michaela), Lucky star (twice, hey Mon!), ILYMEFOREVER (once)

I hope I got everyone! tell me if I missed you*big*

Angelic- hey! OMG! I'm still totally shocked at what happened! I've watched my tape everyday since....and it still baffles me how allie can pick finn over gavin. yep, I'm 16. home-tutoring can be pretty cool, I don't have to follow what everyone else does at school- I just do my own thing and call it work!LOL! I'm undecided at what I'm taking at college at the moment; english, lit, computer studies, maths, art and I might have to do the sciences too. such a huge workload in one year!

abbs007- have you been reading my notes???? LMPAO! you're pretty damn close to what I've got planned, for that you get a *angel* badge! (I am so sad!)LOL!

dancepixie- well, here's my part of the bargin- hope you can finish off your part! can't bloody wait*big*


I'm watching crappy childrens t.v. at the moment....I really should just turn it off. here's the new part! thanks again for every bit of feedback you guys give me*big*


Cutting Edge.
Gracie Panszczyk.

part then:


Liz bid farewell to Maria and Michael, making sure to finalise plans with Maria about the brunch date they had the next day. She closed the door on their departing figures and turned to her remaining guest. Max. They nervously looked at each other; this was the first time all evening that they were finally alone.

Max was the first to speak: "Liz, I had a wonderful day, I hope I didn't disrupt any plans you had, " hea said to her, a rueful smile on his face.

"Don't be silly, Max! I had a great time too- I can work all week, weekends are a break!" She was quick to reassure him.

Silence took over the ample-sized apartment...including the inhabitants.

"So....uh, don't forget to let Isabel know about my offer." Liz reminded him, hoping to start up some kind of conversation with him.

"I can already imagine how excited she'll be. Thanks again, Liz- this means a lot." Thanks written all over his face, his admiration clear.

She blushed under his gaze, "I'm sure sure it'll be a pleasure, Max. She sounds great!"

"So, what would be the best time for her to come by?"

"Monday and Tuesday are pretty quiet for me this week- but if she's not free, Isabel is more than welcome to come by any time this week." Liz said, mentally going through her appointments for the week ahead.

He stepped forward, "so, when will I see you again?"

She bit her bottom lip, "when's best for you?" Liz realised that it was going to be hard to make any plans for most of the day- both being professionals. "How about we swap numbers and then see how it goes?" She suggested.

He smiled reassuringly at her, "I think that's the best idea for now."

Liz then set about locating her diary, jotting down his number and address, she wrote down her own details and passed him the piece of paper. Hands touched- they both felt the heat of each other.

Max cleared his throat and that managed to break the spell between them. The phone rang, quickly shattering any moves for the time being. Sighing, Liz picked up on the third ring, smiling at Max as she greeted who ever her caller was. It was Alex: had they not already spoken today? Liz tried to get a word in as Alex babbled on in her ear, Max, seeing that she would be caught up motioned to the door- indicating that he should get going. She held up her hand to signal for him to wait just one second. He looked on in amusement as she tried to talk on the phone.

"Alex...ALEX! Look, I have a guest over at the moment....no I am not sharing any details with you!...it is not the pizza guy either...yes, it is a real person! I really have to go now, he's about to leave....yes, it is a man! I'm hanging up now- I'll call you later, bye!" Liz turned the phone off to escape being interrupted by anyone else, while she said goodnight to Max.

She caught him trying to hold in his laughter, "he thought you were saying goodbye to the pizza guy?" He asked her, before losing out to his laughter.

She reached over and playfully jabbed him on the shoulder, "I'll have you know he's a good friend of mine!" Liz joked.

After sharing a good laugh Max turned serious again, stepping up close to her, he reached his hand out, stroking her face- smiling once again when she closed her eyes and leaned into his touch. "I should really go now," he muttered quietly, not wanting to shatter the mood. Liz nodded at him, "I'll phone you tomorrow and we can talk more," he suggested.

Liz opened her eyes, "I'd like that, Max."

"Okay then."

"Okay."

Max slowly leaned towards her, bending down he softly covered her waiting mouth with his own. She reached up with her hands, grasping the hair at the nape of his neck, while standing on her toes trying to get closer to him. Deepening the kiss for a moment, he pulled away- catching his breath- he still had his eyes closed although she had opened hers. She took her time to admire his strong features while he was so deliciously open to her.

Max slowly opened his eyes...and promptly fell into Liz's. They looked at each other, studying one another. "I'd...uh, better get going," he said once again.

"Yeah," she quietly replied. He kissed her briefly before her was out the door, throwing promises to call at her.

Liz watched as he walked to the end of the hallway, getting into the waiting elevator. Silently closing the door on her evening she waited a few moments before erupting into gleeful shouts. Still wearing the serene smile as she picked up her phone and pressed the speed-dial number for Alex. He picked up as soon as it started to ring.

"Hey Alex...I know, sorry about hangin up on you....yes, I am a bad friend...I'll tell you about it if you'd just let me talk!...It was amazing." She breathed out as she closed the door to her bedroom, her voice carried around her empty apartment as she told Alex all the details of her day....

******************************************


"Thanks again for brunch, Lizzie!" Maria said as she rushed past her. Monday as always, was busy and Liz was taking on extra clients for the morning as Matt was on a course.

"No problem, sweetie. Your place next week, right?" She called back.

"Yeah!" Came the relply as Maria walked into her small studio, getting ready for her next client.

Liz turned her attention back to her current client, getting back to cutting hair and chatting along to them.

*****


It was mid-morning and Liz had already seen three clients, she really needed a break but this was the last appointment until she could take her lunch break- so it was better to get this done now, rather than take a break and then work on the client. She looked up as the door to the salon opened, a tall blonde walked through the door: she was very beautiful, Liz observed. Dressed in balck capri pants, a pale blue top and wedge heals, she looked around the salon floor assessing the people she swa working with their clients. Walking up to the front desk, she enquired with Korinya...Liz couldn't tell what it was about- she was to far away. She forgot about the new face when she turned back to her client, apologising to them for not giving her full attention.

She felt a ap on her shoulder as K called her name, Liz turned her head round to see her, "everything okay?" she asked.

K smiled at her, "there's someone to see you, Liz."

"Did they give a name?" she said as she continued to cut her clients hair.

"Isabel Evans, she said you were expecting her."

Liz looked around the waiting area, her eyes landing on the blonde again, She indicated to her, "is that Isabel?"

"Yeah, that's her. Do you know her?"

"I know her brother, and she's here to look around before she takes up the open staff position." Liz explained.

"What should I tell her?"

"I'll be over in a couple of minutes, don't worry about it."

Liz finished up on her client and led them over to the front desk to settle up the bill and make a return appointment. Liz walked into the staff room washing her hands off, before she went back into the salon. She rushed over to the waiting area, smiling at Isabel when she saw looked up at her. She held out her hand, "Hi, you must be Isabel. I'm Liz Parker."

Isabel tood there for a second not knowing what to say to each other, until Liz found her footing again. " So, uh, Max told me about you just finishing cosmetology school, I hope you'll except me offer of a job. We'd love to have you here." She enthused.

Isabel was shocked, this woman in front of her didn't even know her- and she was offering her a job at a highly successful salon- that said woman, co-owned. "Thank you so much, I hope you don't mind that I came down today- Max said it was okay."

"Oh, sure, sweetie!" Liz reassured her. "I'm finished for the morning so if you'd like me to show you around so that you can meet the other staff, that's fine with me.

"I'd like that, I still can't believe you're offering me a job so quick!" She laughed.

"You come with good recommendations, "Liz told her.

She then proceeded to show Isabel around the salon, introducing the Cutting Edge staff as they went round the shop follr. Some of them weren't on for today, but Isabel managed to meet a fair few people. Alex wasn't in until the afternoon- so if Isabel was still around then they could meet each other.

Liz really liked Issy- as she had been told to call her- she was enthusiastic and a real joy to be around , Friendly to everyone she met, she even seemed a little nervous when she was shown around- no matter how confident she looked; she had this kind of innocent quality that just endeared her to Liz.

They were sitting in the staff room now, mulling over cups of coffee, "so, how do you like the place?" Liz asked her.

Isabel smiled, "I love it, Liz- really. It's got such a nice atmosphere, everyone seems to get on really well."

"I'm so glad, so, do you think you'll except the job?"

"I'd like to meet with the other owner, Alex isn't it? And if that goes well I'd love to work with you."

Liz squealed in delight, she jumped up off the couch she was sitting on and leaned down to hug Isabel, "so, would you like to have lunch with me?"

"Sounds good," Isabel answered.

"I usually do with Maria, but she has clients until two- so it'll just be us." Liz explained.

"Okay."

"Are you ready to go now?"

Isabel just couldn't stop smiling at Liz, "yeah, I'm ready. Where are we eating?"

"Do you know this area well? You can choose if you do."

Isabel had a slight frown on her face, "no, I'm pretty new to this whole city- Max persuaded me to move down here. I don't even have anywhere to live yet, I'm stayng at Max's at the moment."

Liz rubbed her arm in comfort, about a million thoughts spinning around her head concerning Issy's living situation. "I know the perfect place for lunch, and then we can discuss places for you to live, okay?"

Isabel managed to raise a smile, "I can't tell you how much I appreciate all you're doing for me." She said, getting tearful.

Liz enfolded the girl in a hug, even though she was shorter, "I know how scary it can be coming to a big city, but now you know me and the rest of the staff here- so you've already put down roots, honey." After sharing a hug Isabel pulled away from her, looking bashful at the fact that she had gotten weepy in front of her. Liz just smiled at her, and then led the way out of the salon.


Liz picked a little restautrant for lunch, it had a relaxed atmosphere and she hoped it would put Isabel at ease once again. They ordered fod and then started up a conversation over their drinks.

"So, I hear you're not to keen on Pma and Tess, huh?" Liz asked her.

"Who told you that?" Isabel asked back, shocked that she knew how she felt.

"Max. It just came up in conversation and that's when he told me about you." Liz told her sheepishly.

"Well, it's no secret that I don't like them- the message just seems to have not reached them!" Isabel said laughing, "and I think what they're doing to you sucks!"

Liz nodded in agreement, "how do you know them? Max didn't really tell me a lot about what he does for them, how they met, that kind of thing." Liz admitted.

"That's odd, we've all known each other for about two years actually. They were in my cosmet' Graduating class."

This time is was Liz's turn to be surprised. Why the hell didn't he tell her that? "Max just told me he worked for them, I didn't know you all knew each other outside of work." Okay, so now she was sure Max was hiding something from her and it was making her angry and upset. Why be so cagey about it all?

Needing to find a new subject to talk about, Liz opted for telling Isabel about the details of her job. "So let's talk about your new job!" She said excitedly.

"Fine by me, boss." Isabel sassed her.

"Would you be okay working full time?"

"yeah, not a problem. What kind of position is on offer?"

"Well, we're looking for someone to fill the hairdressing side of things, but you'll need to confidently experienced in coloring, styling and prepared to go on courses to learn new techniques. Alex and myself also offer extra learning oppertunities- we both guest speak at the local college as well as go on different courses ourselves- so we're pretty clued up on things at Cutting Edge. Think you can do all that?"

"Yes, I think I'll be able to handle it."

"This is your first job after graduating, right?" She recieved a nod, "well, we'd ease you into a full time position, and if you ever need help with something and I'm not there myself, the other members of the team are more than capable of helping you out." Liz carried on explaining.

It was a pretty big workload for someone just starting out, but after looking through Isabel's portfolio back at the salon, Liz was notably impressed.

The food was delivered to their table, and Liz threw out some living arrangment idea's: " you know, I have pretty big place- I'd love to have a roomie!" She spoke up.

Isabel looked excited for a minute, "I couldn't ask you to offer me a home as well as a job." She told her.

Liz brushed her hestitation off witha wave of her hand, "I mean it, Isabel. I have three bedrooms and I'm pretty sure I only use one!" She quipped.

Isabel still seemed reluctant to accept her offer though, "okay then, you think it over and if you don't find anywhere soon- my place is on the cards, right?"

"Thankyou again, Liz. I'll definitely think about it." She smiled.

After reaching a compromise the two just generally chatted about school, what kind of things they enjoyed doing, just taking time to learn more about eahc other.

******************************************


Lunch came to an end and Liz had to rush back to be in time for her next client. Isabel followed her, after being invited to sit in with Liz for the rest of the day. Both were pleased at how weel they seemed to get along, things were going great!

Alex was busy setting things up for his afternoon appointments when they finally reached the salon, they both walked over so that Isabel could meet him.

"Alex?" Liz called.

"Yes, Lizzie?" came his reply, his back still turned to her.

"I'd like you to meet Isabel Evans, she's a shoe-in for the position we have open!" She said happily told him.

He turned round to face them both, smiling slightly whe he looked upon Isabel, "Alex Whitman"- he hle dout hishand to her, which she shook briefly.

Isabel couldn't help but notice that the guy sure was handsome.

"Nice to meet you, Isabel."

"Same to you, Alex."

Liz left them for a moment to greet her next client, and than she set to work with Isabel sitting behind her.

*****


Liz sighed in relief when she kicked off her shoes- finally the day was over and she was home. Things had gone well with Isabel, and Liz hoped that she would consider her offer of sharing the apartment. Truth be told, she didn't really like living on her own all the time. There was no one you could just go and talk too, no one to share ideas with. It got pretty lonely. Sure, she had friends, but they all had their own lives to get on with....she needed a companion.

Liz changed into some house-pants and a tank top, just as she started to make dinner for herself the phone rang. Although she wasn't really in the mood to talk to anyone right, she picked it up anyway. It was Max.

"Hey Max, how are you?"




tbc? let me know what you think any and all comments are more than welcome*big*
hugs to all,
gracie***

any typo's and I'll sort them out later*happy*

[ edited 6 time(s), last at 15-Jul-2002 10:00:06 AM ]
posted on 31-May-2002 6:46:04 AM by applebybehr
thanks for the feedback everyone! you guys are great*big* my sister and I spent a lot of last night planning out what's gonna happen in the next part, so I'm going to be spending today trying to get most of it down on paper. you'll all find out a little more about what's going on with max too...so hang in there until I finish the part!LOL!

m14- I wasn't going to continue with crimson snow, I might carry on with it...not really sure. I'll see if I can write a new part for it soon.
gracie***
posted on 3-Jun-2002 12:12:17 PM by applebybehr
thanks for the bumps you guys*big*

sorry it's taking me so long with the next part...I just don't know how to put my ideas down at the moment. (sounds dumb, right?) there's the stuff with max, a *huge* shock about isabel in store and everything else I plan to include. I have pages of notes and idea's written down- there's so many idea's going through my head at the moment....I'll be back as soon as I can*big* wish me luck!LOL!
gracie***
posted on 9-Jun-2002 6:00:49 AM by applebybehr
gracie *big*'s.....thank you all so much for the lovely feedback and the multitude of bumps. wonderful! I've finally finished the new part, it's been a long time in the making!LOL! I'm kind of going somewhere new with it...and I hope you all still like reading it. a huge shock in this: part eleven.

but anyway, I've had two of my cousins (sp?) over for the weekend, and then my aunt and uncle are coming to collect them and staying for dinner with us- so I won't be able to get on the computer again today....it sucks, I know. and I'm mad that I can't just post it for you. cut and paste on word isn't working right now, otherwise I'd just do that.

enough of my ramblings....see you guys as soon as I can I promise the wait is nearly over!*happy*
hugs, gracie***
posted on 10-Jun-2002 9:16:27 AM by applebybehr
"Cutting Edge"
part eleven:


"Isabel, where are you?"

"I'm so sorry, Liz. I know that I was supposed to meet you early before work, but there's been a problem and Ican't make it. I'm sorry." Her voice was thick, choked up by tears. Liz heard it all and more.

"Is, really, it's fine- don't get upset, sweetie. We can sort this out, do you want to meet up with me somewhere else?"

Isabel sucked in a breath, "I can't, Liz. Archie's upset and he needs me- I can't leave him."

"What? Isabel....who's Archie?" Liz asked, clearly perplexed.

Isabel sighed, taking deep breaths in the hope to calm herself- "He's my son!" She ended on a sob.

Liz paused momentarily. Isabel had a son? Making up her mind she spoke into the phone again. "You know where I live, right Is?" She heard a quiet 'yes' on the line, "I'll meet you there in twenty minutes- bring Archie with you, okay? Don't worry, we'll talk then."

She clasped her phone shut, rushing out to the front of the salon to explain to Alex where she was going. Then she was out the salon doors and running in the direction of her home.

Isabel had a son?!?

*****


Liz was hurrying around her apartment when she heard the knock at her front door; she smoothed out her skirt and walked over to the door. Taking a deep calming breath as she opened it. Her heart stopped at the sight infront of her.

Isabel had tears streaming down her face, obviously distressed, while her son clung onto her neck- crying heartily- gasping in air as he was reduced to loud hic-ups. Liz felt tears pool in her eyes as she ushered both of the inside, eyeing Isabel and seeing how scared she looked, Liz quickly took control of the situation.

Smiling reassuringly at Isabel, she asked if she could take the young boy. Shock written over her face, Isabel nodded a yes and watched silently as Liz reached over and tenderly scooped up the little guy. He instantly curled into her, his small arms going round her neck, burrowing his head into the side of her neck. Liz wrapped an arm under his legs to add support while she gripped Isabel's hand with her own.

"It's okay, Issy. Go and wash-up, I'll look after Archie. We'll be fine, okay?"

Isabel burst into fresh tears at the kind words she was hearing, different from the anger she though she would be facing. "Okay," came her reply before she rushed in the direction Liz had told her the bathroom would be.

Liz looked down at the small bundle in her arms, what she could see anyway. A shock of blonde hair on his head, his small T-shirt and shorts, his feet covered in equally tiny sneakers. Rubbing his back in an effort to calm him, she finally spoke. "Archie? Sweetie, are you okay?" Her answer was even louder sobs erupting from his body. Not knowing what to do she held on to him tighter as she moved down the hall-way to her kitchen. Liz smiled as she felt the racking sobs slowly die down, sighing in relief when he lifted his head to take a look at his new surroundigs. He still gripped her neck with his arms, not wanting to loose contact with this new person just yet. He quietly looked on as Liz opened cupboards ans set cups down on the counter, watching her turn on the coffee machine after she filled tha tank with water, watching as she opened the fridge and contemplated it's contents.

"Archie, do you know if your mommy likes cream or milk in her coffee?" She asked, figuring it would be best to include him in her task: ask him questions in an attempt to get him used to her. He untangled one of his arms, gripping his legs lighter around her waist so he had no way of falling off. Pointing to the milk quickly, his arms returning around her neck. "Thank you, honey," she cooed. Grabbing the bottle of milk and setting it on the counter next to the cups.

"Would you like anything to drink? We have soda, juice, water, milk..." Liz rattled off the choices.

"You got apple juice?" He asked.

Liz beamed, he had such a cute voice, "I sure do!"

Liz walked over to the larder, opening the large door and picking up the carton of juice. She grinned as she saw Archie eyeing the snacks in there. "You want anything else?" She leaning in, like she was disclosing a secret- "I'm having a candy bar, would you like one?" She picked up two before she stepped back and closed the door again.

She then set about untangling his gripping limbs from around her body, carefully setting him down on the counter- keeping an arm around his so he didn't slip off. She filled up the two cups of coffee, then opened up another cupboard above them to get a tumbler: placing that down on the counter and then filling it up with juice. He continued to watch her move around the kitchen, not taking his eyes off her form. Eye's widening as she bought out more treats from a drawer and placed them on a tray.

Liz looked over at him, smiling at his cute little face. He really was an adorable child: his face a mixture of Isabel's features and what could only be his fathers. She glanced over at the doorway when she heard a noise, seeing Isabel shuffling her feet while looking around nervously. Liz left Archie on the counter and walked the few strides over to Isabel; she gripped her in a hug. Squeezing her shoulders as she felt the rising sobs in Issy's body again. Liz pulled back and wiped the tears off Isabel's blotchy face, "I think you need another damp cloth!" She joked, lightening the mood considerably.

Isabel let a giggle burst forth, her voice sounding rough from all her crying. Liz walked back over to Archie, her face lighting up as she saw him unwrapping one of the candy bars. She picked him up in her arms, loving the feel of him once again curling around her- this was what she was missing. Indicating to the tray of drinks and treats as she turned back to Isabel. "We'll talk in the lounge, alright?" She recieved a nod, "could you bring the tray please, sweetie?"

Isabel picked up the try and followed Liz down another hallway and into a huge lounge. She was still amazed at the care Liz was showing her, and she'd even calmed Archie down! By no mean a small feat at the best of times. Isabel set the tray down on the coffee table which was set in the middle of three sofa's, wiping her hands on her pants before she sat down next to Liz.

Liz turned herself and placed Archie down between them, the boy moved over and got comfortable in his mommy's lap- Isabel wrapped her arms around him, trying to hold on to someting secure as she prepared herself for the talk coming up. She was taken back once again at the words out of Liz's mouth...

"Are you okay, Is? You had me worried for both of you there!"

Isabel swallowed hard, where should she start talking? She should have told Liz about her son before she excepted the job, and then she'd panicked this morning when she was due in work, on top of that Archie was upset too- they must have looked a state on the way over here! "I am so sorry I didn't tell you about Archie before, Liz. I feel like such an idiot!" She held a hand to her temple as she felt the on set of a killer headache.

Liz placed a hand on her arm and just smiled at her, "I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't shocked, Isabel. But I'll not judge you, you must have had your reasons." Isabel visibly relaxed.

"I can't believe you're still talking to me! I know it was wrong not to tell you before I accepted the job- but I really want to work at Cutting Edge so bad. I couldn't handle another rejection." She started to explain.

"It's alright, Isabel, really. Ican't believe that people wouldn't offer you a job just beacause you had a small child though." Liz admitted.

Isabel was quick to step in; "You wouldn't believe some people. They want you to be able to be there whenever they need you- and I guess I'm not the person whan I have Archie to think about." She said, stroking Archie's hair as she spoke.

"Well, we're not like that at Cutting Edge. Alex and I understand that our staff have lives outside of work- I mean, Kira has three children herself, so we can work something out. It's not a problem."

Isabel grinned, "I can't get my head around how nice you're being about it all, Liz. I was so worried that you wouldn't want me to work with you after this."

Liz waved her hand dismissively, "I wish you'd come to me sooner and I could have helped you look for a creche or child-minder." She leaned down to Archie, "how old are you, sweetie?"

He smiled up at Liz, "four," he told her, while holding up three fingers. Isabel and Liz both smiled at this, laughter shining in their eyes.

"Is that why you wouldn't except my offer to live with me?" Liz gently asked her.

Isabel looked away embarrassed. "I just couldn't turn up here with another person along for the ride." She explained, looking out the windows around them.

Liz got her attention again, "How does Max feel about you moving out?"

Isabel turned back to the woman next to her, "He's worried about me, and I'm welcome to stay there as long as I need too- bit I'd like to move somewhere on my own." She answered after thinking for a second.

Archie perked up at the mention at the mention of his Uncle Maxie, his voice rang out loud as he spoke; "My uncle Max is the best! He calls me Art for short, coz he says it takes to long to call me Archie!" He giggled with childish exuberance as he said the last part.

"Art, huh?" Liz asked him.

He nodded enthusiastically at her, "yeah, you can call me that too if you want."

"I would like that very much, honey." Liz told him, laughing slightly when Art smiled adorably.

Lix turned back to Isabel: "The offer still stands if you'd like to move in with me. We could make the spare room into Archie's"

Isabel looked startled, "you really mean that? No- I couldn't take over your home just like that- it wouldn't be fair."

Liz shushed her, "Nonsense! It's been way too quiet here with just me, I get lonely by myself in such a big place. No, I'd love to have you guys living here with me." She decided.

Isabel reached over Archie and puleed Liz into a tight hug, "Thank you so much, you're so kind. Thank you." She told her, Liz hugged her back just as hard, excited at the prospect of having two new housemates for the price of one.

Isabel pulled away, wiping at the tears that had managed to escape, she choked out a laugh when she looked over at her new friend. "I'm not sure I can keep up with the rent, it must be pretty high," she mused outloud.

Liz just smiled, "I bought it, Is. It's mine...well, now it's ours. All we have to do is pay the bills and a contribution towards the building every month."

Isabel gasped, "how could you afford this place?" She asked, amazed. Snapping her hand over her mouth a second later when she realised how rude she'd just been, but she was put to ease by Liz's jovial laughter.

"Let's just say- I had to work a few photo shoots and leave it at that!" She winked at Isabel, smiling down at Art and ruffling his hair.

"So, when would you both like to move in?" She asked, her eyes lighting up.

*********************


Liz smiled at the sight in front of her: Isabel was trying to wash Art's face and hands, while he was trying his hardest to escape his mother's fussing.

they'd spent the whole day together in Liz's apartment, just getting used to the idea of them living together. Going over further plans for Archie's care- he would be sent off to full-time kindergarten, while Isabel worked in the salon, and then a child-minder would look after him for a few more hours until Isabel finished work. The staff at Cutting Edge had pretty flexible hours, not always needing to stay until close, so either Isabel or Liz would be able to collect Art early. It was going to be hard for him to get used t the new arrangment, but it would be a good idea to get him prepared before he started grade-school.

"Isabel, would you like to stay for dinner?" Liz asked, while they were clearing up the mess Art had made...who knew a few finger paints could be so messy? Obviously she hadn't, until now.

Isabel flashed Liz one of her fabulous grins, "that would be lovely, Liz. Would you like that Art?" she said, turning her attention to her son.

He looked up from what he was doing- channel hopping on Liz's huge TV- "What?"

"Archie, it's not 'what', you say pardon." She told him.

He looked a little scared for a moment, afraid that he'd done something wrong and his mommy and his Liz were angry. He turned back to the TV, transfixed by the images flashing across the screen.

Liz looked over at Isabel; she seemed embarrassed by her son's behaviour. Liz didn't know a whole lot about children but she knew he didn't mean it...he was only young. "Art, would you like to stay for dinner?" she asked him in a quiet voice, happy when he turned to face her.

"Ooooo, what we havin'?" He asked excitedly.

Liz laughed, "Not sure about that yet, sweetie." She indicated to Isabel that they should move into the kitchen, Liz got to her feet and Isabel did the same after she made sure Archie was okay.

Liz breezed into the kitchen, setting the tray with their plates and cups down on the counter nearest the sink: ready for them to be rinsed and then loaded into the dishwasher. After washing her hands she turned to Isabel who was seated at the table, Liz braced herself on the side of the counter, leaning back on her hands.

"So, Issy- would it be okay if I invited some people to join us for dinner?"

"Oh, sure Liz. Whom do you have in mind?" She asked politely.

Liz thought for a second, "Well, Alex, Maria and then of course we'd have to invite Michael 'cause those two are joined at the hip!" she said with a laugh, "and then maybe Max...what do you think?"

Isabel smiled, liking the fact that Liz was including her in her plans. "That sounds great! Now we need to decide what to cook for them all." Isabel said, her mind already overflowing with recipes. She loved to cook and play hostess.

"Why don't you have a look in the fridge and see what fresh produce we have? I'll call the others," she moved out of the kitchen as soon as she saw Isabel nod in agreement. She walked down the hall to the phone, pressing the first number, Alex.

She had a brief conversation with both Alex and surprisingly enough- Michael. It seemed they really were joined at the hip...he had excepted her invitation and assured her that Maria would be ready in time.. Now all she had to do was call Max, no biggie- right? She pressed the newest number added to her speed-dial. He answered on the second ring.

"Hello?" Oh, he sounded distracted; maybe this wasn't a good time....

"Hey, Max, it's me. Liz."

She had his full attention from then on. "Liz, how are you? Everything okay?"

"Oh, yeah, everything's....everything's great. Um- I was just wondering if you would like to join us for dinner tonight?" She had her fingers crossed; please say yes, please say yes.

"I would love that, Liz. Oh, whose the 'us'?"

Shw swallowed, "Just myself, Alex, Maria and Michael. And Isabel and Art."

"No way! Art's there too? What happened today? I thought Isabel was starting work?" he asked, sounding confused.

"Max, we can talk about this tonight, okay?" She paused, "there's a lot we need to talk about." She let out a sigh.

"Are you sure you're okay, baby? You sound tired." Liz smiled when he uttered the endearment again.

"I'm fine, worn out, but in the mood for a dinner party!" She ended with a laugh, Max chuckled.

"What time do I need to be there?"

"When are you free?"

"I'm finished now, just looking over some paper-work."

"Well, come over whenever- just be here by 6.30!" She warned.

"Oh, I'll be there." He muttered in her ear. Liz tried to cover her quickened breathing.

"Okay then, can't wait."

"Me either, say hi to Art and Issy for me."

"Sure, bye Max."

"Bye, Liz."

They both waited a few seconds before hanging up. Liz straightened her shoulders, then the panic set in.

Oh, god, she had people to feed tonight!


************************


His fists clenched at his sides as he continued to mull over his thoughts, pacing back and forth over the floor in front of his desk in the mean time. "I can't do this anymore. You have to find some other way." He sounded frustrated, even to his own ears.

"Are you willing to suffer the effects if you go against our agreement? I want to ruin her; there is no other way. You can go along with the plan or pick your career out of the gutter...along with her's."

The anger returned, surely he couldn't do this to her? She couldn't and shouldn't have this hold over him. But she did and there was no way out of it. He'd thought about it a million times, always coming up with the same two choices. Either way someone would get burned. His face contorted in a grimace. "I'll do it...I'll do whatever you want."

He pressed his hands to his face, what had he set himself up for??


TBC....


A/N: I know that Art is typically a shortened version of Arthur, but seeing as Archie is a variant if Arthur...I figured it would be okay to call Archie, Art! LOL!

hugs,
gracie***

by the by- my mom says that to me all the time "grace, it's not 'what', it's pardon!" LOL!





[ edited 4 time(s), last at 13-Jul-2002 9:10:22 AM ]
posted on 10-Jun-2002 10:47:21 AM by applebybehr
hey nana ! speedy feedback!LOL!

ugh, there are so many typo's in that part, but I'm off to do my chores. I'll sort them out when I finish*big*
gracie***
posted on 15-Jun-2002 9:30:49 AM by applebybehr
thanks for the feedback, guys. I haven't really done a lot of writing for the past week, so I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon trying to get the bulk of part twelve done. I was LMPAO at my dad....he's on a huge high after watching the latest England match- so funny hearing him shout at the TV. anyway, I'll do my best to have the new part out in the next few days. thanks again*big*
gracie***

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Jun-2002 9:31:14 AM ]
posted on 18-Jun-2002 12:25:01 PM by applebybehr
thank you again for all the bumps.*big* my hay-fever is really bad at the moment, so I feel rather crappy...but I'll try to sit down to finish the next part as quickly as I can.
hugs,
gracie***
posted on 18-Jun-2002 12:54:05 PM by applebybehr
hey, thanks tania! I hope it does too!LOL!
I'll try to get some more done tonight, sweetie. hope you didn't hurt yourself when you fell!LMPAO!*big*
gracie***
posted on 27-Jun-2002 2:16:05 PM by applebybehr
*waves* hey everyone!

sorry it's taken me so long to update this, and don't worry, I will be finishing it. long story really, I'll shorten it down for you all.

first, writers block hit....in a big way!LOL! my hay-fever is so bad right now. it has been for the past couple of weeks, I'm waking up at like, 4 am nearly every day...and can't get back to sleep because I can't breath properly. my nose is blocked up all the time, my throat is raw and my eyes are sore. actually, my eyes are the worst at the moment. I couldn't open my right eye the other day. it's swollen from the inside, out, and it hurts!LOL! it sounds kinda silly now! *laughs* I also burnt myself the other day (with a hot drink), all down my front- and it hurt when I sat up for too long.

I'm a walking danger zone! anyway, on with the new part for all you lovely people*big*

Cutting Edge
part 12:


"How are we doing for time, Is?"

"Um...about two hours 'til people start to arrive. How's the pastry coming along?" Isabel asked, looking up from what she was doing.

Liz paused what she was working on and threw a smile Isabel's way. "It's doing okay. I think I'll just cook it blind instead of putting it in the fridge- what do you think?"

Isabel thought it over for a minute, "taking in the time, I think cooking it blind would be easier."

"Thanks, sweetie." Liz finished laying the pastry in the dish and walked it over to the oven, gently placing it on the middle shelf. She pushed her hair out of her face, after she closed the door: wiping her floured hands on the apron she was wearing.

"Okay, pastry's cooking, how's everything else?"

"Just finishing up the meat." Is called back.



Liz was setting the table when the doorbell rang, she quickly ran down the hallway to the front door. She opened it and was pleased to see Maria and Michael on the other side. Maria looked stunning and Michael looked scrubbed- minus the hair, which was in it's usual style.

"Nice outfit, Liz." Maria said, teasingly.

Liz looked down and blushed; she was still wearing her cooking apron plus the flour and bit's of food she'd managed to spill on herself. "I forgot I needed to change," she murmured. Maria just laughed and threw herself at Liz for a hug, careful not to let her dress come in contact with Liz's apron. Liz was then drawn into an embrace with Michael: who made no attempt to avoid her messy self in typical Michael fashion.

Maria burst out laughing when Michael pulled away from Liz; he was now sporting several food groups on his clean dress shirt.

Liz brought a hand up to her face, "sorry Michael, let me get a cloth." She scurried away back into the kitchen where Isabel was putting the finishing touches to all the food that they had made.

"You okay if I leave you, Issy?" she asked.

Isabel looked up from preparing a salad, "Sure, Liz." She smiled.

Maria and Michael had joined them by now and Maria was introduced to Archie, Michael promtly started up a mock fight with the little guy. Isabel stood at the counter rolling her eyes at the both of them. They were always like this!

Liz walked away laughing, making her way down the dimly lit hallway towards her room. She stepped in to her bathroom and stripped her clothes, chucking tham in the laundry hamper before moving into the warm shower.

She was dressed and towel drying her hair when she heard a noise at her door, turning and seeing nothing Liz just shrugged her shoulders and turned her attention back to her hair.

That's when Max snuck up on her.

She felt the hot puffs of hair on her neck as Max breathed in and out heavily. Sighing in delight when he placed open-mouthed kisses along the column of her neck. She had closed her eyes when he had started his sweet torture, he moved his lips down over her shoulder blades. Liz opened her eyes then and gasped at the image they presented in her mirror. She was flushed- a rosy tint going from her head all the way down to her chest.

Max was the first to speak, and Liz was shocked that she didn't even notice him pull away. His kisses were feather- light. "You okay, Liz?" he asked her quietly, not wanting to break the silence.

She smiled at his concern, "I'm more than okay. When did you get here?" She turned to him.

"Right about when you were in the shower. Loved the singing by the way, you really brought Doris Day to life." He joked.

She slapped his chest, "Jerk!"

Max was just about to lean down and catch her lips in a kiss when their attention was diverted to the noise going on outside her door.

"It's Maria," Liz told him, when she heard the high-pitched screaming.

Max kissed her lips quickly, not going any deeper and not keeping up contact for long- he then pulled away and twined his fingers with Liz's, locking their hands together. They both reached the door and had to laugh at what was going on.

A very extreme tickle fight was taking place, Michael and Art both chasing Maria as she ran around the apartment to escape their wriggling fingers. Liz kissed Max on the cheek before removing her hand from his and making her way back towards the kitchen to see how Isabel was doing. Art's gleeful shouts followed her down the hallway as he set his eyes on his uncle Max.


Alex arrived not long after and he pulled Liz into a friendly embrace with a flourish, kissing her on the cheek. "Everything okay, Liz? I was worried about you all day." He said, pulling back to take a good look at her.

"I'm fine, Alex, everything's great. Sorry for worrying you."

"Don't do it again anytime soon, I'd like to live until I'm oh, thirty at least." He joked wit her.

His eyes ran over the other people in the room, settling on the small boy clinging to Max. Liz came to the rescue, seeing his questioning gaze as he looked at Art. She rested a hand on his arm, "Alex, this is Archie. Isabel's son."

Alex looked back at Liz in surprise and then at Isabel- who was busy admiring the stone floor. He recovered quickly when he felt Liz squeeze him arm in reassurance. "Well, Archie, it's nice to meet you. I'm Alex." He said, crouching down to Archie's level and holding his hand out. Archie giggled as he shook it, and Alex felt a smile spread across his face.

He straightened up and turned to face Isabel, "It's nice to see you again, Isabel." He told her truthfully.

A relieved looked passed over Isabel's features as she relaxed, thankful that everything seemed to be okay. "Like wise, Alex." She smiled at him.

Alex said hello to the other three people in the room before Liz clapped her hands; "Dinner's just about ready, everyone go and sit down!" She ordered. Maria and Isabel uttered protests and stayed where they were to help Liz bring all of the dishes into the dining room.

Max had settled Archie down in a chair next to Isabel's seat, placing him on a plush cushion so that he could reach the table. Isabel and Maria were now seated and everyone looked on in barelt concealed amusement as Liz carried on fussing with the food- making sure that there were enough knives and forks, if they all had a drink and so on.

"Liz, would you just sit down!" Michael spoke up, laughter creasing his eyes as he tried to control himself. Liz blushed as her friends all laughed at her, she wasn't even aware of what she'd been doing that was o funny. Max clutched her hand again, pulling her down to her seat next to him.

"Oh, but Art's run out of juice. I'll just be a minute." She told the table full of people. She tried to stand while Max gently and firmly held her to her chair.

"You're not going anywhere, Liz." He told her.

She was just about to voice another protest, when Isabel stood up to tend to her son.

Liz was looking a little anooyed at not being able to serve her guest, but she calmed down when Max squeezed her hand- which he was still holding- and kissed her lightly on the cheek.

Okay, so maybe she was just fussing for no reason. It would be better if she stayed seated next to the handsome man next to her.

Although she didn't mind one bit, and even managed to laugh herself, when Michael and Maria continued to tease her.

*************************************



Liz smiled as she sat back in her chair and cast her eyes over all of her closest friends.

The table was crowded with food- bowls of all shapes and sizes, glasses in every available space left. Isabel was trying to fee dArt, who was so excited at seeing so many new faces that he'd hardly touched his food. Maria and Michael were bickering again, something about the superiority of crackers over bread. Alex was deep in discussion with Max- as soon as he'd gotten ind of Max's profession, he was on his tale and throwing business plans all over the place. Liz felt the air catch in her throat as Max stroked her thigh...she hadn't even realised that his hand was currently resting on her leg. How long ago had that happened? She chanced a glance at him, finding him still immersed in conversation- but with the added bonus of a smug grin on his face.

Surly he wasn't aware of how he was affecting her? It seemed he was. She felt his hand squeeze her leg, while he made his excuses to Alex and then turning his attention fully to her.

"You okay, baby?" he breathed into her ear, his voice honey-smooth.

She turned to face him, placing her hand on top of his, rubbing his knuckles with the pads of her fingers. "I'm wonderful, thank you."

He looked at her....caressing her thigh again. "You are indeed, Ms Parker. You are indeed."

She instantly heated in a blush. Had the room temperature just gone up a couple of degrees? Or was she the only one burning up right now, at the result of the quiet whispers she was sharing with this sexy man next to her?

Her eyes darted quickly over the other people in the room. Nope, everyone else looked normal. Liz unconsciously squirmed in her seat as Max ran his hand dangerously high on her thigh. His fingers running up and down her skin, disappearing now and then underneath her dress hem.

She cleared her throat before speaking up, "Would you all like something from the kitchen? Coffee?" Liz saw Max frowning beside her; he took his hand from her leg.

"I'd love a coffee, Liz."

"Me too." Maria and Michael answered.

"Isabel, would you like anything? Something for Art?" Liz asked her friend.

Isabel flitted her eyes towards Liz for a moment, while trying to tempt Archie to eat some food. "I'd love a coffee, Liz, and could you please bring a cup of tea for Archie? Just put it in one of his drink tumblers- I think there's one on the side-board."

"Extra milk, right?"

"Right," Isabel smiled her thanks.

She was just getting up from her chair when Alex spoke up, "I'll give you a hand."

"Thank you, Alex." She looked at him and could tell that he wanted to talk to her about something. He wondered off towards the kitchen and Liz turned to Max, leaning down to ask him if he'd like anything."

"I'll have a soda, thanks." He replied, still sounding distracted.

She placed a finger under his chin and pulled his face up to meet hers, so that she could kiss him. She did so slowly, claiming his lips in a soft kiss. "I won't be long." She muttered against his mouth, he nodded and kissed her again before she pulled away.

Liz got up from the table and turned to go, hesitating at the doorway, turning back to Max- who had a bashful grin on his face, obviously sorry for his attitude before. She looked straight into his eyes. Loving the way his gaze kept shifting down to her mouth and then back up to her eyes.

'I want you.' She mouthed to him, satisfied with the look on his face, and the way his eyes widened in surprise at what she was suggesting. With that, Liz bolted to the kitchen.

**********************************



When she got to the kitchen she was faced with a very nervous Alex. He was clanging cups and saucers together in his haste, Liz silently walked up to him, placing a hand on his arm to steady his movemnt; he put the crockery down on the counter and looked at her. "You should have told me she had a son, Liz." She wasn't sure if he was really mad or not.

Liz looked at him, having the grace to be ashamed. "I didn't know, Alex. I only found out this moring myself." She sad averting her gaze.

Alex sighed, "Is that why you didn't come to work today?"

Liz nodded. "There was a lot to talk about and they were both so upset. I couldn't just drrag Isabel to work."


He hit his fist down on thw roktop, Liz jumped in surprise. "She lied to you? To us? That is not on, Liz. You should have spoken to me about this, this moring."

"I'm sorry, Alex. Please don't be mad at Isabel, she was just afraid we wouldn't give her the job if she told us." Liz tried to explain, she knew he was more annoyed at being left out of the loop, then the fact that Isabel had a child.

"How long did she think she could hide it? Hide him from us?" He asked wide-eyed.

Liz held up her hand to him, signalling that it was time for her to speak. "And what are you saying, Alex? That you wouldn't have hired her? Isabel is a wonderful person, and more importantly- she's good at her job. Archie is an amazing little boy and I won't have you make her feel bad for what she did." Liz took a breath, "now stop getting so damn angry and scaring me, you're being an a**. Just make the coffee." She commanded, in a tone that informed him there was no room for argument.

Alex looked away and quietly did what she'd asked. Hell, she'd told him! God, he felt like a naughty little kid! Liz was the only person that he'd ever let, talk to him like that. Okay, so Maria too....and of course his mom. But it was Liz who was chewing him out right now; Maria would be worse, and loud. His mom would've just acted so disappointed with him.

Liz was the better person for this job, "I'm sorry," he told her. Not looking up from pouring the coffee.

Liz just smiled and nodded her head as she carried on gathering cakes and biscuits for everyone.


tbc??





let me know what you think*big* I'm going with my papi to drop my sister off at her art class, so I'll be back later to fix typo's and stuff.
gracie***

[ edited 7 time(s), last at 12-Jul-2002 1:24:47 PM ]
posted on 27-Jun-2002 4:33:14 PM by applebybehr
bump!

hey soppy*happy*
posted on 29-Jun-2002 4:20:22 AM by applebybehr
ISLANDGIRL5- I will be posting soon! give me a couple of days, as soon as I finished that part I was right on drafting the next....I think I'm on a roll!LOL!

thanks for all the feedback so far! I love reading what you all think. michaela- you make me LMPAO! always bring a smile to me face, sweetie.

I was up (yet) again at 4.am this morning and I was hit with new idea's for another fic. I have randon parts already written, and I hope to post the first part soon- so keep your eyes out for it! (if you'd like to read it...you don't have to!LOL)

anyway, I'll go back to my writing right now. thanks again*happy*
gracie***
posted on 29-Jun-2002 4:30:45 AM by applebybehr
*slaps forehead* yeah, I'm gonna carry on with this one....I've still got plenty of ideas to develop, but I don't know if I'll carry it on for a million parts!LOL!

what do you all prefer: longer parts, or shorter?

michaela- I'm not giving anything away yet! it's still a rookie idea, so I'm working on it. I hope you'll read it!*big*
gracie***

(who really is getting offline in a minute and going back to her writing.)
posted on 29-Jun-2002 4:32:43 AM by applebybehr
adding before I go:

soppy, if you come in here today.....HAPPY BIRTHDAY! did you get my surprise? hope you have a great day, sweetie!
love gracie****
posted on 2-Jul-2002 2:38:28 PM by applebybehr
michaela, Bob is the name of max and isabel's jeep....god, I miss him! (LOL!) I was writing down random passages for future parts, so I hope to have the new part out in the next couple of days.*big* you two are keeping me amused!LOL!
gracie***

thanks for the feedback everyone!

*slaps head* looks like someone beat me to it!

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 2-Jul-2002 2:39:12 PM ]
posted on 11-Jul-2002 12:47:14 PM by applebybehr
well, I guess your wish is my command!LOL!

I have the new part hand-written and finished, I have to type it up on word still though. my sister is off to art in about ten minutes, so I'll have to wait until she comes back so that she can beta for me. I'll either have the new part up by tonight....or at the latest- tomorrow morning british time.*big*
gracie***
posted on 12-Jul-2002 7:51:47 AM by applebybehr
Cutting Edge.

part 13:



Liz stood up slowly, blowing a few strands of hair out of her face and running a hand over her forehead. Yet another box packed and ready to be loaded in the van waiting outside. She could hear grunts and mumblings from the guys, as they struggled to shift an ornate dresser from Isabel's room. Everyone was hot, sticky and just about ready to give up on moving for the day!

Maria and Isabel were rounding up some cold drinks for them all. Hopefully some pop, Liz thought.

"We have drinks! Whose for beer?" Maria asked, as chipper as usual.

"I'll take one, Maria." Alex said, raising his hand slightly.

"Me too!" Michael fairly shouted at her. Any excuse to stop shifting furniture for a couple of minutes!

Maria skipped around them, holding out bottles for Michael and Alex, about to pass one to Max when he held up his hand to refuse. "I'm driving, Maria." He explained at her questioning look.

She turned to Liz, "You up for something, sweetie?"

"Do you have any cola? I could really use a cherry coke." She said with a grin. Liz noticed that everyone was giving her weird looks, "What?" she asked, holding her hands out in question.

Michael cleared his throat before speaking, "Uh, Liz, how old are you?"

she threw him a puzzled look, "27, why?"

"Well, grown women don't usually enjoy cherry coke as much as you seem too." Alex explained.

Liz just shrugged her shoulders, "Whatever. You got any, or what?" She directed at Maria, feeling self-conscious.

"Sure thing, girl." Maria answered, turning and walking back into the kitchen.

Liz followed after her, stopping when she reached where the guys were standing around, "You're all really freaking me out." She said, fixing them with a look before she carried on.

She walked into the kitchen, smiling at Isabel who was fixing snacks for everyone. Liz slid up to Archie, who was sitting on the counter again; brushing his lovely blonde locks away from his eyes before placing a kiss on his forehead.

He reached down and held her hand in his own, pulling her towards him for a cuddle. "You alright, Art?" She asked quietly while they hugged. He nodded a yes, and she pulled away from him so that she could see his face, "You worried about moving?" She took a guess, receiving another nod from him.

Liz was just about to offer words of somfort but was cut off by his sweet voice, "Can I have a cherry cola too, Lizzie?"

"Sure you can, bud." Liz said, pulling away from the young boy completely, "He, Is, can Art have a cola too please?" She asked, turning towards her friend.

Isabel looked over at Archie and saw his pleading look, "Okay, but just a little!" She reminded him, sugary drinks were usually out for her little man.

"So, what do you think about Max's house, Liz?" Isabel asked, her back to Liz as she returned to her task.

"It's wonderful, Is." Liz said, looking around the kitchen again. "You know, I'm still surprised that Michael and Max keep it so tidy." She bit her lip to hold back a smile.

Isabel laughed, "Yeah, Max is a neat freak and Michael is safe in the knowledge that no one can tell him to clean up his room. That's where the mess is," She whispered at the end, as if conveying a huge secret.

"Oh my God! Really? That'd better not be true!" Maria exclaimed.

"I thought you'd been here before, Maria?" Liz asked.

"Oh, I have," Maria flicked her hand at them, "But not in his room."

Liz stifled a giggle, "So he stays over at yours most nights, huh?" Isabel and Liz both laughed at Maria's blush.

"I have no idea what you're talking about, Liz." She said, nose in the air; She turned and promptly stormed out of the kitchem to find Michael, intent on bugging him for a couple of hours....at least.

Max walked in past Maria, his eyebrows rising slightly as he took in her fiery expression, and he looked at Isabel questioningly.

"Better not to ask," She told him.

Max moved closer to Liz, just wanting to be near her before he had to move more boxes. He wrapped a muscled arm across her shoulders, pulling her into his body. Liz gladly stepped closer, wrapping her own arm around his waist. He leaned in and kissed her cheek softly, a smile coming to his face when he heard her sigh.

"You smell so good." He whispered quietly to her.

Liz laughed, "Max, I'm all sweaty. I do not smell good!" She affirmed.

Max just shook his head at her before giving her a conspiring grin. He pulled her flush against his body, digging his face into the crook of her neck, making growls and nipping loudly at her skin.

"Max, stop it!" Liz managed to get out before she erupted into gigles and shrieks. He carried on teasing her though, only pulling back to look over at Archie and give him a wink. He too, then gave into his gigles and his little body shook with the force of his amusement.

Isabel turned around to see what all the noise was about, her eyes focussing on her son- who was about to fall off the counter top. She rushed to pick him up and then turned her gaze over at Max and Liz, rolling her eyes at her brother. Max just shrugged his shoulders and then dived towards Liz's neck again; tightening his arms around her as she tried to wriggle away, laughing the whole time.

**********



"A little to the left, Michael. NO! You've gone to far, over to the right. A little more- Michael, you're going the wrong way!" Maria loudly told him.

"What the hell are you talking about, Maria? You said, 'go left' and I went left!" Michael shouted at her in anger and growing frustration.

"OOOOOOOOOOOOOOh, don't you shout at me Mr Michael Guerin! I meant my left, not yours!" She shouted back even louder.

Michael gulped....he shouldn't have gotten her so riled up. Oh well, too late now! He mentally shrugged his shoulders, just taking a deep breath and swallowing his pride in the process; picked up his end of the chest of drawers....and followed all that she yelled at him. He caught Alex's smirk, but just turned away- he'd be staying at his own place tonight, then!



"Isabel, are you aware of just how many clothes you have?" Liz asked in amazement. They were both in Isabel's new room unpacking boxes and hanging things in her closet.

"What can I say? I like to shop!" She told Liz with a cheeky grin. "Thanks again for inviting Art and myself to live with you, Liz." Isabel told her seriously.

Liz laughed good naturedly, "Youre welcome, sweetie- now, no more thank you's or you're going to give me a complex!" She told Isabel, who just carried on smiling at her- Liz threw a sweater in her direction, laughing even harder at the shocked look on Isabel's face.

They both looked up at the doorway when they heard loud footsteps coming towards Isabel's room. Maria came in a few seconds later, throwing her arms up in disgust and then began talking to herself- her lips moving rapidly but making no sound.

Liz shared a look with Isabel. "Uh, Maria?" she asked cautiously.

Maria stopped dead in her tracks, looking at Liz in surprise; "Didn't see you there, Lizzie." She told her.

"Are you okay, Maria?" Isabel asked.

"Yeah, yeah- just peachy." She waved off their concern and they both sighed in relief- glad it wasn't anything major.

"It's Michael." Maria stated. Obviously they'd spoken to soon. "He's just being such an ass! You know, I'm sure he's winding me up deliberately." She claimed wildly.

Liz couldn't help but agree with her on that one! "What happened?"

"Ugh! That idiot out there," Maria said pointing to the door, "He's just been aggravating me all afternoon! He was totaly not listening to me when I was trying to help him and Alex move some of your furniture, Is." She told them, all in one breath.

Liz got up from her kneeling position on the floor and walked over to Maria, "You know, how about you stay in here and help us?" She offered, gaining a huge smile from Maria in thanks.

"Are you sure? I just don't think I can be around Michael at the moment- without seriously harming him!" She ended sweetly.

They all laughed.

"Sure thing, Maria. Could you please pass me some more hangers?" Isabel asked, hoping Maria would calm down enough not to hurt anyone....more so Michael.

"You know he's going to be sorry for being to rude to me. They need me!" She prattled on as she reached over to pass a handful of wooden hangers to Isabel.

As if on cue shouts could be heard from the hallway, "Michael! Will you watch where you're going?!" Alex bellowed.

"See? I hate to say I told you so." Maria smirked, tongue firmly in cheek.

*****************



"Anyone for pizza?" Liz asked yawning. Max was stroking her arm in comfort, they were all worn out and it was getting pretty late; but they still hadn't eaten since mid-day.

She received nods and various grunts of agreement, so Liz untangled herself from Max's embrace, pushing up off the couch. "Any preferences?" She asked, going in search of the phone.

"Just no fishies!" Maria called.

Liz placed their order and returned to the living room, back into Max's warm embrace. He opened his arms to her again, pulling Liz down and snugly fitting her along his side, burying his head in her sweet-smelling hair. He was glad that she'd taken off the head-scarf, no matter how cute she had looked wearing it, Max was happy to be able to run his fingers through it- scalp to tip.

"I am so glad we're done for today," Alex said sleepily.

Archie was tucked up in Isabel's arms having given up the fight to sleep half and hour ago. "I'm just going to put him down," She told them all, slowly standing up- careful not to jarr her little boy. Liz watched her walk out of the room before turning to the group, "I'm so happy they're here," she confessed. Max squeezed her gently, placing a kiss on her head also. Everyone else nodded in agreement.

"Yeah, me too. Glad that we've got the house back to just us guys, hey Max?" Michael told them, receiving an elbow in the gut- courtesy of Maria. "Hey! I was just joking!" He defended himself, but shut up when he saw the warning look his girlfriend was sending him. "Yeah, okay then, Maria."

Alex chuckled, making a whipping sound- hand movement and all.

Michael gave him the evil eye.

Max and Liz just laughed at the three of them.

The door bell rang ten minutes later and Liz got up again, grabbing her purse on the way to the door. After paying the delivery guy she turned around- closing the door- to find Max standing a way in front her her, just watching.

"Need some help?" He offered quietly, she was just so beautiful; he didn't want to break the mood.

She smiled at him, "That would be nice." They both walked to the kitchen, Liz with pizza in hand.

"Um, the plates are in the cupboard there," She told him; pointing to the one she was talking about.

He modded at her and then reached down to get six plates out. "So, we, uh....we had a good day, don't you think?" Max asked her, his back turned.

Liz smiled; he was so cute! "Yeah, we did." She answered.

He stood up walking towards her; they both shared a smile. He pulled up next to her, wrapping his arms firmly around her waist from behind- gently placing a kiss on her neck. Liz was just about to turn around, hoping to kiss him properly....when they were interrupted.

"Great let's get the food split up!" Maria voiced loudly, grinning impishly at Max and Liz; Liz who was sending her looks she chose to ignore.





Liz yawned and stretched her arms above her head as she made her way down the hall to her room, having just said goodbye to Michael, Maria and Alex- she was looking forward to some alone time with Max. She entered her room only to find Max out of sight, she walked round to see if he was in her bathroom but he found it empty. Just about to give up and go look for him, Liz heard a noise from her adjoining office.

Where she found him.....going through some papers on her desk.

She just stood at the doorway silently watching him. What the hell was he doing? He had no right to be in her office. She was about to call him on his behaviour when he turned around to see her, obviously feeling that he was being watched.

She looked on as a million emotions flew across his face; guilt seemed to win out.

"What are you doing in here, Max?" She asked him, hoping he'd tell her the truth.

He rubbed the side of his face, glancing around the room quickly. "I though I heard a ringing. You know, cell phone." He told her, not meeting her gaze.

Liz gave him an 'I don't believe you think I'm going to believe that' look, when he finally met her eyes for a second.

"You know what, Max? I'm actually really tired after today, I think we should just call it a night." She sounded a little hurt, and more than confused.

"Uh, okay Liz." He walked towrads her, feeling relief when she didn't turn away from him but accepted his kiss. "Will I see you tomorrow?" He asked, almost desperate now.

"Maybe, I'm going Sunday shopping with Isabel and Art, I'll call you when we're finished, okay?" She offered, praying that he'd just go.

"Yeah, that sounds good. Thanks for today, Liz. I'll see myself out." He gave her one last look before he was out of her office. Liz heard he front door close a few minutes later.

Taking a deep breath she turned off the light in her office and made her way over to her bathroom. She needed a shower before she could sort this out.

What the hell had he been doing in there? She asked herself, knowing her phone was charging out in the hallway.



tbc?


well, I'm off to make flap-jacks! sorry for the long wait*big*
gracie***

[ edited 10time(s), last at 3-Aug-2002 12:54:05 PM ]
posted on 12-Jul-2002 8:24:50 AM by applebybehr
I didn't think I would upset any of you by posting that part....you'll just have to wait and see what happens*wink*, but just give max a chance to explain himself- it's going to get worse before it gets better. I hope you keep on reading this! *sad*
gracie***

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 12-Jul-2002 8:25:30 AM ]
posted on 13-Jul-2002 9:35:23 AM by applebybehr
I'd just like to say sorry for all of the typo's that were in that last part; what can I say? I was rushing to get it done before I went out. *holds hands up* I think I fixed them all now...thanks for the feedback!*big*
gracie***
posted on 23-Jul-2002 12:15:55 PM by applebybehr
Just a note to say, that I've been writing for the whole afternoon and it's going well so far!LOL! I hope that it won't be much longer before they'll be a part ready to post; I've written a lot already, and there's more I'd like to include in the next part, so I'll think it'll be split up in to A and B parts.

My twinnie has a friend over to stay for the whole week, I'm pretty much being left out of everything at the moment....so I have plenty of time to update this!LOL!*big* thanks for the bumps and feedback, see you all soon.
gracie***
posted on 24-Jul-2002 4:02:42 PM by applebybehr
Mon, I got it! and I sent you an e-mail. did you get it?

Michaela....actually it's pretty sucky at the moment!LOL! all I have to talk to during the day is the cat- and he's not that interesting. well, my older sister was home today, but I try to avoid her at all costs.*tongue* I'm typing up the new part on MicroWord right now. give me a day (maybe even tonight) and part 14A will be up. *big*
gracie***


posted on 25-Jul-2002 9:18:27 AM by applebybehr
okay, so here's what's taking place today.

first off, I don't have any color ink in my printer. even though I have black ink (which is what I'm using) I can't use it b/c they work side by side. so, I came up with the brilliant idea of splitting the screen and working the two seperate windows together.....and I just pressed the wrong thing- and lost all of my work.

I'm gonna go cry now- seriously. uh, I'll do my best with this, okay? thanks. Mon, I was kind of vague in my e-mail!LOL! if you could make sense of it, let me know*tongue*
gracie***
posted on 25-Jul-2002 9:32:02 AM by applebybehr
Cutting Edge.
Part 14A:



Isabel waltzed in through the salon’s front door, holding it open for Archie- who was holding onto her hand.

Liz looked up over at both of them with a grin, “Isabel, Archie, how’s it going?” She asked, turning away from Korinya. Liz was at the front desk ready to see another client.

Issy blew hair out of her face, “Not so good, Liz. The child-minder just called in sick.” She told her boss, a worried look on her face.

“Just give me a minute, okay?” Liz asked, reaching over to squeeze Isabel’s arm in support. She walked over to her client and excused herself, introducing Matt in the process; who would prep her client, getting them ready for her cut, shampooing etc…so that Liz had a few minutes to talk to Isabel.

“Right, shall we go into the back?” She suggested walking back to the both of them again, looking down at Archie and smiling at the expression on his face, as he took in all that was going on around the shop floor. “Hey, you okay little fella?” She asked him. In answer he let go of his Mommy’s hand in favour of stepping forward to take hold of Liz’s. She grasped his hand and led the way into the staff-room, Isabel following behind.

Once inside, Isabel stripped her light jacket and set it don on the sofa along with her bag. She took a deep breath before beginning to explain; “So anyway, Kate called me half and hour ago- she’s too sick to take Archie today, I phoned Max and he’s in a meeting for the rest of the day.” She carried on, pretending that she hadn’t seen Liz blanche at the mention of her brother; she’d have to ask her about it later. “He couldn’t take Art either, I’m on in about ten minutes- so I had to bring Archie down here with me. You don’t mind, do you?” She asked Liz, cautiously.

“Of course not, Isabel. I’m sure we can find something for him to do. Would you like to stay here for today, Art?” she turned to him.

He nodded his head at her and went back to looking at the cluttered supply shelves.

“My next client is ready for me now, Is, and then I’m booked till close. Otherwise I’d take him myself.” Liz told her, looking over at her friend.

Isabel smiled at Liz’s sincerity, “I know you would, Liz. I’m just sorry that this had to happen today. Could Art stay with you while I get myself set up?” She asked.

“That’s a good idea, Isabel.” Liz answered, and after clearing it with Archie- who was more than happy to spend some more time with his Lizzie- Liz picked him up in her arms and they walked out front, waving to Isabel as they left.

Liz had set up an extra chair by her station for Archie, and he was introduced to Liz’s client- she had no problem with him being there- so Liz got to cutting hair and Archie sat, looking on in interest.

***




“What’s going on here?” Alex asked as he came towards Liz, just back from a meeting.

“Nothing much, Art’s staying with me while Isabel gets some work done. The child-minder called in sick.” Liz explained further.

Alex nodded his head in recognition of what she was telling him and then turned his gaze across the room to where Isabel was. She caught his eye and offered him one of her brilliant smiles-, which he returned and waved.

H glanced at his watch, “Well, I’m not booked in for another hour. How about we go and get something to eat, Archie?” He asked: Archie then turned hopeful eyes on Liz- silently asking if her could go. Liz pretended to think it over before giving him a wide smile and nodding her approval.

“You’d better go ask your Mommy, just to make sure.” She pointed out, not wanting to step on Isabel’s toes when it came to her son. She turned back to her work, distracted again at the sight of Alex and Archie both working their best puppy-dog eyes at Isabel- who promptly folded and agreed, thanking Alex for helping out.

Then they were out the door, Alex taking hold of Archie’s small hand as they crossed the street.

Liz and Isabel shared a look over the room, at the picture the two of them made, and then they really did return to attending to their current clients.




Twenty minutes later and Isabel was ready to take her lunch break, she stepped over to Liz- eagerly telling her she was going to the restaurant across the road.

“Okay, Is, see you in an hour.” Liz said, gripping hair as she talked.

“Bye, Liz!” Isabel added before she rushed out of the salon.

Upon reaching the restaurant Isabel was hesitant to interrupt Alex and Archie. Alex was keeping him entertained, while her son’s laughter rang out loud. “Hey guys.” She said quietly when she reached their table.

“Mommy!” Archie yelled, before jumping into her arms.

Isabel looked over his head as she held him in her arms, “Hi.” She offered to Alex.

He smiled tenderly, taking in the sight before him, “Hey there, Isabel.”

Isabel sat down in Archie’s chair, her son content to sit in her lap. “I just had to come over and see how you were both doing.” She told him, running her fingers through Art’s soft blonde hair.

“We’re doing fine, just trying to liven up the atmosphere!” Alex exclaimed. “Would you like to order anything?”

“Uh, yeah. I’ll just have a club sandwich thanks.” She watched as Alex called over their waitress and added her order to his bill.

“You don’t have to pay, Alex.” Isabel uttered when they were left alone again.

“Nonsense.” He waved her concerns away, “It’s nice to relax for a while. My morning was hell.” He explained.

“I’m sorry to hear about that, Alex. Anything you’d like to talk about?” She asked worriedly.

They were interrupted by the arrival of Isabel’s lunch, just about the waitress was about to leave she turned back; “I’d just like to comment, that you’re one of the cutest families I’ve seen in here.”

“Oh, uh, actually…” Alex started to choke out.

“Excuse me, I have another table needing me.” She told them, then walking off.

“I am so sorry.” Isabel said, a little uncomfortable and more than a little embarrassed.

Alex was still getting over his surprise at the comment, “Not a problem, Isabel. It’s okay.” He soothed her, sensing that she was uneasy now.

They both shared a shy smile across the table.

***


“Liz, it was so awful!” Isabel whispered to her friend. They were both standing over by the coffee machine, talking during their break.

“I can imagine.” Liz enthused, “But I wouldn’t fret over it, Is. Alex is a pretty laid back guy about things.” She reached out to offer a hand of comfort, hoping to calm Isabel down.

She sighed loudly, “I hope so, Liz. God, I went so red! Archie kept asking about what she’d said all through the rest of the meal.” Isabel told her, her voice rising in tone as she got more worked up.

“Liz, your 4.35 appointment has just arrived.” Korinya told her, poking her head into the room.

Liz turned back to her, “Isabel, we’ll talk about it more at home, okay? Don’t worry!” she emphasized before grabbing her coffee and leaving.



“So, what did Alex do?” Maria asked, all her attention focused on what Isabel was telling her. They were walking around the supermarket- Maria hanging on every word, and the shopping cart- they had all decided to make a girls night. So Liz and Archie were off finding the best ice cream, while Isabel and Maria were cruising the snack isles.

“Oh, he was really sweet about it- but I could tell he was pretty surprised.” Isabel explained, turning round to face Maria.

“Oh, my God! I can totally picture the look on his face!” Maria suddenly said, laughing. Isabel looked at her in shock, was she really laughing at her?

“Maria!” she hissed, feeling the other shopper’s stares fixed on them; Maria was making a scene after all.

“Oh, hush Isabel. I’m just trying to inject a little humour into the situation!” Maria looked over at the people staring at her, glaring at them until they turned back to their shopping.

“Yeah, okay- so, it wasn’t totally heinous.” She relented.

“You did get a free lunch, that’s gotta be worth something!” Maria stated, starting to laugh again.

Isabel just looked at her, not sure if she should yell at her- she was being rather silly! She chuckled to herself, “Maria, I think we have enough chips.” She told her, before taking hold of the front of the cart, pulling it behind her, trying not to laugh herself when she heard Maria snort.



“And then he told me he thought I was a crap cook! He actually said that to my face.” Maria carried on as Liz was unlocking the front door to their apartment.

Liz turned around and caught Isabel’s eye, ‘She is bad!’ she told her- they both shared a snigger.

“Maria, Michael can be such a….MAN sometimes” Isabel agreed with her.

“Humph! And then he proceeded to tell me what I was doing wrong!” Maria explained, gesturing wildly with her free hand, “Maria, don’t chop the carrots so thinly, they’ll just turn to mush. Maria, don’t heat the oil too much, the flavour should be intense- not boiled down.’” Maria mocked, in the best impression of her boyfriend, she could do. “He was so annoying, I swear I was seriously considering kicking him out!”

They reached the kitchen, all dumping their heavy grocery on the table and then unpacking them all.

“My, how would he survive if you decided not to share your bed with him- again!” Liz said, giggling at how stupid at all was.

Maria shot her a mock- glare and then giggled herself.

“Hey, he wants me. What can I do?” She asked, acting all wide-eyed and innocent.

“Girls, dinner and a calorie filled dessert?” Isabel put forward.

“Yeah Baby!” Maria and Liz both shouted together.

“Momma, can I have ice cream?” Archie asked hopefully.

“Sure thing, but you have to eat all of your vegetables!” Isabel warned, turning round to catch the disgusted look on his face, he was standing at the door way- teddy clutched in his hands.

“Come on, Art. I need your expert help!” Liz said, waving the little boy over to where she was preparing dinner. Liz lifted him up onto the counter, so that he could watch what she was doing.

“You know: if you need help with cooking you should really ask my uncle Michael.” Archie stated proudly.

Maria threw her hands up in mock frustration. “Tonight is a Michael-free zone!” She announced loudly, before stomping over to the fridge to get the wine.




“What’s on the cards tonight then, ladies?” Liz asked. Archie was not long put to sleep in his bed- full on ice cream- and now the three of them were nursing coffee’s, lounging at the dinner table.

“What else is there to talk about but, men and work?!” Maria joked.

“I thought you said no Michael?” Isabel asked her teasingly.

“Well, I’m not talking about work!” Liz voiced, “But we’ll let Isabel tell us about her first week at Cutting Edge.” Liz told them, cheekily.

“Yeah, Isabel- what do you think of everyone?” Maria asked interested.

“Honestly, everyone is being really nice. Very friendly and helpful.” Was all she would say on the matter.

“Ah, but what do you really think?” Maria pressed.

Isabel didn’t answer, just ducked her head and fixed her eyes on her coffee. Maria and Liz shared a look, “Are you alright, Isabel?” Liz asked, worried now that something was wrong.

“It was nothing.” She insisted.

“Issy, do you think we’d let you get away with not telling us?” Maria scolded, half way humour and concern.

“I just heard a few people talking about Archie and myself. You know, questioning where the father was.” Isabel finally admitted.

“What? Who was it?” Liz asked, outraged that someone had managed to upset one of her best friends.

“It doesn’t matter who it was.” Isabel stressed, “I’m sure people are thinking about it. You can’t deny that it hasn’t crossed you mind.”

Liz reached across the table and held one of Isabel’s hands. “We may have thought about it, Is; but it’s really no one’s business except yours.”

“Liz is right, no one else should be concerned with your personal life- especially not gossiping about it.”

“And you don’t have to tell us anything.” Liz added.

“I’d like to tell you both. You’re my best friends and you’ve done so much for Archie and myself.” Isabel said, meeting their eyes.

“If your sure.” Liz reassured. She didn’t want to make Isabel tell them anything when she really didn’t have to.

“It’s okay, Max and Michael both know- you were bound to find out soon.” Isabel took a deep breath before she told her story; I was in my first year of college when I met Ryan- he was my first ever boyfriend- I guess I started kind of late with dating- and I thought I was in love with him. We dated for about six months before we decided to take the next step. But now that I think about it, it wasn’t really a decision; his dorm was empty, the lights were low, curtains drawn, he made the choice for me and I was silly to think that he wanted me. So slept together. he was my first kiss, my first lover and my only since. I thought we’d last forever." Isabel relayed, a wistful look in her eyes.

Liz stroked her hand, giving support; “About a month after we first spent the night together, uh…my period was late so I took a test and it came out positive. God, I was so happy, I had some school-girl idea in my head that we’d be together forever, get married and spend the rest of our lives raising our child.” Isabel told them, disgust in her voice when she remembered how idiotic she’d been.

“I told him over dinner that night and he just sat there stunned, shocked, surprised. Then he just got more and more angry, more frantic. Shouting about me having a termination. When I refused he walked out- and I haven’t seen him since. Max and Michael spent a few weeks trying to find him, but he’d already transferred somewhere else. I would never get rid of my baby, never. And I love Archie so much.” She stressed that last point, not wanting them to think ill of her.

“Isabel, I can’t believe someone did this to you!” Maria said, hand pressed to her mouth in shock.

Liz had tears in her eyes when she finally looked at Isabel, “You’re better off without him, Isabel. Look at how wonderful your son is- and it’s because of you. You are an excellent mother to him.” She told her, not sure if she should cry or cuss at all the men in the universe.

“Michael actually proposed to me when it was obvious that Ryan had run off. He said he didn’t want my baby to be born out of wed-lock.” Isabel told them, “He’s a traditional guy at heart, he couldn’t bare for Archie not to have a proper family.”

“He told me all about, I can’t believe that he would do that for you, Isabel.” Maria said, misting up at how tender her boyfriend really was.

“I said no of course. So we settled on Max and Michael being uncles- honorary in Michael’s case- and they’re both god fathers to Art.” Isabel explained further.

“You were lucky to have them.” Liz mussed.

They all looked at each other, before simultaneously claiming “Group Hug” and launching themselves at each other over the table: pulling back and wiping their eyes, laughing all the while. “You know, I have a sinful chocolate fudge cake in the fridge. I’m pretty sure there’s three pieces all with our names on them!” Liz announced.

“Thought you’d never ask, Liz!” Maria said still emotional.

They all trudged into the kitchen, hands clasped together.




Tonight, friendships were sealed.


tbc....


WOW! I got it back, and I added a short cut straight to here, good for me!LOL! let me know what you think, I'm off to peal some spuds *rolls eyes*
gracie***


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 3-Aug-2002 12:42:25 PM ]
posted on 25-Jul-2002 10:09:52 AM by applebybehr
hey soppy! oh, I will be working on it all weekend- call it an escape from to many relatives (sp?)!LOL!
gracie***
posted on 26-Aug-2002 10:44:34 AM by applebybehr
*waves* hey everyone!

first, I offer my apologies to you all- I'm really sorry that there's been no updates (for....ever!). I was up late last night trying to get some more writing done-, so hopefully I won't make you all wait for that much longer.

I could go on forever explaining the reasons, but lets put it down to an extreme writers blank (not a block, b/c I have the idea's all in my head), and major stressing about starting college.

anywho, thanks much to Mon, Michaela and Christian - for bumping this so often!LOL!
see you soon (I will try and update before I go to college)*big*
hugs, gracie***
posted on 11-Sep-2002 3:32:41 AM by applebybehr
http://hereisnewyork.org

(sorry it's not been shortened down, I can't get it to work at the moment)

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 11-Sep-2002 3:33:25 AM ]
posted on 4-Oct-2002 2:46:45 PM by applebybehr
Cutting Edge.
Part 15:



Liz yawned as she stretched out her body, it was Saturday, she had the weekend off and lots to do. After using the bathroom she walked down the hall to the kitchen and upon entering, was a little taken back to see they had a visitor. Well, Archie did.

Max was sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast with Archie, "Good morning, Max, Archie." She greeted them, dropping a kiss on Art's forehead as she passed him on the way to the fridge.

"Mornin' Lizzie," Archie answered back to her, a toasty grin on his face.

She smiled at him; he was always such a happy little thing in the morning. Listening to Archie prattle on at breakfast was better than any caffeine fix.

"Liz, I hope you slept well." Max said to her. Of course the sight of Liz in her sleep attire momentarily shocked him, and then he just wondered where his morning kiss was.

They hadn't seen each other much in the past few weeks. Other than Max's visits to Isabel and Archie, meeting's had been few and far between. Liz always claimed she was too busy, Max knowing something was wrong and then worrying if she knew anything. And then the night that he was found searching through Liz's desk...

They had been civil to each other and that was all.

Liz had a glass of orange juice in her hand as she moved around the table to take her seat next to Max. She trailed her free hand along the back of his shoulders, took her place next to him and leaned in to place a kiss on his lips.

It had been way too long since she'd touched him, kissed him. No matter what had happened in the past, she couldn't keep away from his kisses. Not anymore. She smiled at max when she pulled back; he looked a little shocked to receive a kiss from her again, but also almost relieved to have one. He reached over and kissed her again, he had her back, may as well take advantage of his right to kiss her whenever.

Liz placed a hand on his chest, partly to push him back (they weren't alone after all), and to just have contact with him once more. He finally released her lips and turned, grinning to Archie- who was looking at them curiously.

Liz saw this and cleared her throat, attempting to ward off her increasing embarrassment. "You all ready for today, Archie?"

He nodded, "Can we go to the star shop?" He asked back it was his favourite shop ever! Well, ever since Alex had taken him in there.

"Of course we can." Liz assured him.

"What's going on today?" Max inquired.

"We're off shopping this morning. Isabel is at work for most of the day and Archie needs some new things." Liz explained, "Has she left already?" She asked in regards to Isabel.

"yeah, Is said something about meeting Alex before work." Max told ehr, stroking his hand over her arm. He couldn't seem to stop touching her at the moment.

"Can we see Mommy later?" Art asked, he really didn't want to leave his momma out.

"Sure thing," Liz said, knowing Archie was already upset about not spending the whole day with Isabel. "In fact, why don't we all meet up at the park this afternoon?" She asked them both. Receiving nods from both of them, Liz went over the plans in her head. "I'll ring the salon and Maria. Maybe we can play some games." She suggested.



"Archie, I'll see you later!" Max called back into the apartment.

"Bye!" He heard his nephew reply.

Max turned back to Liz, who was dressed and ready to go out. "I'll miss you." He told her.

Liz laughed, "I'm seeing you this afternoon!" She shook her head at him.

"I know," He told her quietly as he swooped in to kiss her properly, absolutely loving the sigh what escaped her lips as she did so. He felt her arms come round his neck, felt ehr press closer to him. God, she felt good...more than good. He moaned when he felt her tongue enter his mouth. It had been too long since they'd really kissed .

Max pulled reluctantly, knowing that Liz had to finsh getting Archie ready. Resting his forehead against her own, Max watched as Liz's eyes slowly opened and she met his admiring gaze. "We'll talk this afternoon?" He asked hesitantly- they still had stuff to talk about.

"yes we will." Liz answered, a little afraid that any talking they did at this stage would do more harm than good.

banishing these thoughts from ehr head, Liz stood up on her toes and captured Max's mouth once more. Finding comfort in the way his arms gripped her, wrapped around her back, pressing their bodies closer together.

"You'd better get going." She told him after pulling away from him abruptly. She could interrupt them too...

Max looked at her confused, while he came back to earth. "Yeah, I should." He agreed, already on a direct path back to her. But Liz pulled out of the way at the last minute. "Liz," he whined, this really wasn't fair.

Liz chuckled at his behaviour, "Save them for later." She told him, meeting his eyes with her own hot gaze.

Not prepared to givee up so easily, Max tried once more but found himself being pushed out the door by tiny hands instead. "I'll ring you when I've spoekn to the others." Liz promised him, and then she watched as Max walked off down the hallway, throwing heated looks over his shoulder.

"Lizzie! I can't find my shoes." She heard Archie call out to her from inside.

The door shut with a soft thud as Liz rushed to help her little buddy.




"Glow stars! We need glow stars." Archie told Liz as he pulled on her hand to lead her around the shop.

"Are you sure you need them?" Liz asked, willing to see what Archie would do to get the stars- she'd end up buying them for him anyway.

"Uh huh," Archie siad, noddin his head. "Alex said every lil' boy should have them, I tried to tell him I wasn' little anymore...but they're real pretty. I still want them." Art told her, putting his pleading eyes in place.

Liz couldn't help but laugh lightly, how could anyone ever refuse Archie Evans? "Well, you show me what you'd like and I'll see about getting them for you." She told the little boy who was standing beside her, holding her hand.

It took them all of twenty minutes to choose a pack of stars. They were all so different, different clors, sizes and full out contellations. Not to mention the bumper packs...

"Are you sure these are the right ones?" Liz asked.

"Yeah, I think so, Lizzie. Can I have two different kinds?" He proposed to her, hopeful that she'd say yes.

"I don't know Archie, you really should only have one." Liz said, looking sceptical.

"But I need them, Lizzie!" Art pleaded, "Alex said I do."

Liz thought for a moment on what she should do, she hated to say no to Art- but Isabel might be upset about her buying Archie so many things. "We'll get one pack now, and if your mom says it's okay, we'll come back and get the other one tomorrow. We got a deal?" Liz bargained.

Archie considered this new suggestion- he wasn't really sure why his Lizzie couldn't just buy them both for him, as his Momma would say yes anyway..."Okay, Lizzie." He decided. After all, one was better than none. He could always wait a little longer for more.

"Come on then, we've still got lots to do." Liz told him, secretly adding the other pack of stars to the basket she was carrying. She figured he needed a treat for being so good shopping all morning.

*************************************



"Michael, can you help me with the basket please?" Maria asked, she hadn't countered on the thing being so heavy when she volunteered to carry it.

Michael adjusted his cap a little, looking thoughtful. "I thought you wanted to take it." He pointed out.

"Michael, please? I can't do it on my own- this thing weighs a ton!" Maria pleaded with him.

Her boyfriend smiled at her, pressing his lips to her own for a moment- and then, making a big show of doing something for her, cockily picked up the picnic hamper with one hand.

Maria stuck her tongue out; he could be such an ass sometimes. He infuriated her; they were always fighting about something, trying to out-smart each other and when they weren't doing that.... Well you get the picture. And sure, Michael was hot as hell when he got angry, annoyed or frustrated with her- but sometimes she wished he'd just do what she asked of him. Without showing off.

"Why'd you pack all this food anyway?" He asked her as they walked into the park to find a good spot.

Maria sighed, "Because Michael, people get hungry when they've burned off energy." She explained.

"But we just had lunch!" He pointed out, rolling his eyes at her in return.

"You'll be starving for the food I prepared once you've played a game- then you'll be thanking me for being so prepared- which would be good manners by the way- instead of whining." She told her clueless other half as she set out a blanket in the shade.

They both waited about fifteen minutes before spotting the others coming towards them.

Alex and Isabel were walking side by side Archie was sat on Alex's shoulders, holding onto his up-stretched hands. Every now and then Isabel would meet Alex's eyes and either one would place a kiss on their cheeks. They'd been seeing each other for a couple of weeks; both of them weary to get anything started with each other. But after spending time together, a delicate relationship just kind of.... happened. Maria couldn't be happier for her friends, and little Archie seemed to be handling it all rather well.

Maria felt herself smile even more when she caught sight of her dear Lizzie and Max. After weeks of both of them taking part in some strange sort of avoidance dance, they seemed to have worked some things out.

"What the hell is going on?" Michael asked Maria, confused with the new developments going on as of late.

She just flashed him a reassuring grin and turned back to observe her friends.

Max and Liz were walking close to each other; one of Max's arms was draped over Liz's shoulders, the other busy carrying a drinks cooler. Liz had one arm around Max's back and the other resting low on his hips; as they were looking at each other adoringly, oh, pretty much all the time.


Max couldn't stop looking at the beautiful girl in his arms. Liz was looking attractive and cute, her hair in a French braid with tendrils of honey smooth locks already fallen out and framing her face. Which was turned up towards his own, her eyes trained on his face. He lent down to kiss her, delighting in the way that she responded to him, who knew they'd end up back together again?


"Maxwell,, hand me a beer!" Michael shouted, trying to gain his friends attention.

He yelped when Maria slapped his arm, giving him a disgusted look. "Michael will have a coke, thanks Max." She ordered for him. No way was Michael going to be drinking beer around Archie all afternoon.

"Hey Max!" Micheal tried again- finally succeeding in breaking up the two love birds. He snickered when he saw Liz's blush taint her cheeks. What the hell was she embarrassed about? The whole park had seen them anyway.

************

"Whose up for Frisbee?" Liz suggested to the group. Archie jumped up and grabbed her hand, excited to be playing another game.

Everyone else was a little more worn out, after playing tag, catch and a bit of soccer... but it seemed Liz and Archie had buckets of energy this afternoon.

"Liz, didn't you both go shopping this morning?" Alex asked.

Liz shot him a confused glance, "Yeah, we did. Why?"

"No reason." Alex waved her off.

"You high?" Michael asked laughing- after recieving disapproving looks from Is and Maria, he quickly re-phrased his question, "on sugar?" He added. Disappointed that once again, Isabel had put the brakes on another would-be classic line.

"I just feel really good. We both do, huh Archie?" Liz asked the boy jumping at her side.

"Yeah! Come on lazy bones!" He yelled. Liz and Art turned away from the rest of them, running towards a bigger clearing.

After sharing looks with each other Max shrugged his shoulders and got up to his feet- hell, he couldn't really see Liz clearly anymore- definitely needed to get a better view of his girlfriend. The others reluctantly followed; didn't Liz know about the need to rest?

"Okay, are we in teams?" Alex asked.

"Alex, there are no teams when playing a friendly game of Frisbee- but if you fail to catch, said Frisbee...we'll all laugh at you."Liz told him in mock seriousness while holding back her laughter.

He held his hands up in surrender, "You know I was never educated on the finer points of Frisbee!" Liz and Alex both burst out laughing, obviously sharing some kind of inside joke between long-term best friends.

"Are we playing?" Isabel asked, put out at the fact that Liz and Alex knew so much about each other. But then she stomped on that clearly envious thought; they'd been to college together and opened up a business- of course they'd know everything about each other.

"Come on, Archie, catch this one!" Liz called, throwing an easy one for his first go.

Everyone clapped in celebration when he caught the Frisbee and with some prompting from the guys...performed a small victory dance.

This became the play of events over the next few hours; every time you caught the Frisbee you had to perform some kind of crazy little dance. Liz turned out to be the best at this out of the girls, being carefree enough to not care about what she looked like. It seemed that being away from work suited her well.

After a particulary hilarious and pathetic attempt to catch a throw from Max, Alex ended up on the ground, dirt in his face.

"Kickin' up dust?" Maria joked.

They all walked back to the blanket. Max and Liz all over each other again, he was walking beside her one hand in her back pocket, the other one holding her hand from around his back. Both were walking in sync and managing to do so without falling over. Such a task made even harder when both were staring into each other's eyes. Maria made a disgusted noise when Max pulled Liz to sit between his legs; this earned her clueless looks from both.

Maria just rolled her eyes at her friends and offered them food and drinks. She smiled when she eyed Michael already chewing on a sandwich. She laughed inwardly:

Maria DeLuca- 124657, Michael Guerin- 0.

*******


"I'm really pooped now," Isabel stated. They'd eaten and were resting around on various blankets. The afternoon had been filled with an abundance of laughter and fun. It had really worn everyone out though, running around the park was a lot different and more draining than work.

"Hey, Alex, did you close the salon?" Liz asked from her position- lying up against Max's side while he lightly dozed.

"Yeah, I did. Not enough booking's to keep it open." Alex answered, stretched out on the grass.

"No booking's? But I saw a ton on the diary sheets." Liz said baffled at what Alex was telling her.

"I don't know what happened. Korinya said we'd had some cancellations." Alex mussed.

"Can we stop the shop talk? Because pretty soon I'll have to bore you all introducing my latest clients." Michael told them jokingly.

"Yeah, don't spoil the afternoon by talking about work. I don't want to think about it until Monday morning." Maria sighed.

"Momma please?" They heard Archie quietly plead with Isabel.

"Okay, but only for a while." Was her reply, "We're going over to the swings, guys." She explained, while standing up and reaching down to hold her son's hand.

"I'll go with you." Maria told them, jumping up and heading towards the pair.

Alex watched them go, "I don't know where he gets all of the energy..."

"Art?" Michael asked.

"Well, unless Maria and Isabel are addressed as 'he'" Liz said sarcastically.

"Oh, you're so hilarious, Liz!" Michael dryly sang back

Liz just smiled at him, used to Michael's dry whit and sharp replies. It was too energetic to fight with him right now, much more relaxing to snuggle with her man.

******************


"Liz, I'm just using your bathroom," Max shouted behind him.

"Go ahead," Liz answered, walking into the kitchen.

Max made his way down the hallway, pushing back Liz's door and breathing in her scent. After freshening up, Max browsed a few of Liz's things- smelling her scent bottles and creams. They tickled his nose in a delightful way, inciting a desire to bury his face in the crook of her neck.

He did a double take at the items strewn across her bed, picking up one of them and pocketing it.

"Are you staying?" Liz asked on his return.

"Yeah, thanks Liz." He replied, wakling up to her and placing a kiss on her shoulder. He rubbed his hands over his jeans, freezing up when they came in contact with his pocket.

*tbc*



[ edited 6 time(s), last at 14-Oct-2002 2:15:26 PM ]
posted on 4-Oct-2002 2:51:57 PM by applebybehr
I'm really sorry for all the mistakes (there's loads, huh?), but I had to rush this...astronomy homework calls*big*
gracie***
posted on 5-Oct-2002 9:15:12 AM by applebybehr
no kleptomania in this fic...just max up to *insert beeping noise*....
you'll have to wait and find out!*big*
gracie***
posted on 15-Oct-2002 8:33:11 AM by applebybehr
LOL Mon! I'm a little bogged down with college at the moment, but I'm hoping that the new part won't be too far away. thanks for the bumps! and the wonderful feedback from you all...you guys are great*big*
gracie***