posted on 4-Oct-2001 10:22:58 AM by not applicable
so this is the last complete trilogy I've got...I'm working on the final story in the next trilogy but it's taken forever, maybe this weekend...

hope everyone has a great weekend!

Title: #1 Know Where You’re Going (Road Rules trilogy, part 1)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language and definite sexual situation
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I just can’t keep myself from borrowing them.
Summary: Goin’ on a road trip.
Author’s note/soapbox: So if you’re reading this you’ve probably already read the previous stories, and if you haven’t, then none of this is going to make sense – you’ve been warned. Okay…so I’m gonna take this opportunity to give you all a little insight into the friendship of Maria and Liz in my little world. Why? Because it has pretty big ramifications at the end of this story (in other words, it’s gonna get a little angsty between M and M). I don’t really know what to think of what the show has done with the human friendships, but I think it’s pretty lacking for the most part. (I’m still caught up by the fact that Maria actually asked Liz for $100 to go on the father/daughter camping trip…really good girlfriends – I'm sorry, just don’t do that.) So…really (like really) good friends…aren’t really friends – they’re family. And when you love your family because they’ve all you’ve got…you’d do anything (anything) for them. Maria’s a pretty strong person – but I think a good portion of that strength comes from Liz – from Liz’s belief in her, support of her, and love for her – because she doesn’t really get that from anyone else. So what this all boils down to is this – Maria would do just about anything for Liz, and when you mess with Liz then you have to deal with Maria. Watching Liz go through something that she doesn’t understand, and can’t do anything about, pushes the boundaries of her anger – and we already knew that she had problems dealing with that. You can disagree with me – that’s cool – but in this universe that’s what it is…and that’s what’s behind Maria’s behavior towards the end of this story…so with that…here you go…

(Music: Toad the Wet Sprocket – Good Intentions. Scene: Crashdown, various. Michael is in the kitchen with an abnormally messy apron and the hair to match. Maria comes up to the pick up window and slaps down a couple more orders. Michael looks at her with a mixture of panic and annoyance, but she just laughs at him and walks away. Michael glaringly watches her go but gets a good whiff of burning burger and his attention is quickly returned to work…

A couple hours later Jose, wearing his coat slaps Michael on the back and heads for the exit. Michael watches him go, letting out a heavy sigh. Maria and Isabel watch from the pick up window with obvious amusement at Michael’s helpless appearance. Michael turns back to the grill ignoring the on-lookers, entertained at his expense. Maria and Isabel each let out laughs as they pick up their orders and return to work. They get about a step from the counter before finding french fries being hurled – and sticking – to the back of their heads. They spin on their heels to Michael with the most venomous glares and he just looks at them for a second before plopping a fry in his mouth and turning to the grill...

Later that evening, closing time. Alex and Liz are sitting in the far booth playing poker for popcorn while Maria, combining condiments at the back counter, stares at the only customers in the place – a couple eating near the front. In the kitchen Michael is in the middle of a massive clean up while Isabel puts away the broom and dustpan before heading into the kitchen to check on Michael. Maria, looking severely irritated, walks over to Liz and Alex and plops down in the booth)

Maria (a little louder than necessary): Are these people ever gonna leave?

Alex (studying his cards): It’s not like you were too obvious about it – you only gave them their bill with their meal.

Maria: Well if you’re gonna come in at 9:40 then you better be out by 10 – don’t they realize we have plans?

Liz (dealing two cards to herself and three to Alex): You all but told them. (She looks at her cards and then places them on the table face up)

Alex: Damn.

Maria (looking at the cards, to Alex): Kicking your ass?

(Alex glares sideways at her and then tilts a bowl toward Maria. There are a couple of pieces of popcorn in it. Maria looks over at Liz who has a practically overflowing bowl of popcorn.)

Maria (to Liz): Did you at least try and be gentle with him?

Liz: It’s like physiologically impossible for me – you know…I couldn’t even let the kids I used to baby-sit win.

Maria: Right, like the time you made Joey Reister cry.

Liz: It’s important for kids to learn how to lose…

Maria (rolling her eyes): Oh, like you’re so good at it.

Alex: Hey I’m still chess champion.

Liz (to Alex): Yea, I’m working on that.

Maria: Point proven. (Returning her attention to the couple) Maybe we should start putting chairs on the tables…

Alex: Or maybe you can just start cleaning their dishes while they’re still eating from them.

Maria (glaring and flicking popcorn at him): Loser.

Alex (gently brushing his arm where the popcorn bounced off him – mocking Maria): Like Teflon, babe.

(Maria glares at him and contemplates tossing all of Liz’s popcorn at him but the bells on the door jingle as the couple finally leaves. She darts up and locks the door behind them. She clears their table and goes into the back. Alex and Liz get up from the booth. Liz clears the booth of the playing cards and puts the popcorn in a bag. Alex starts pushing tables aside and putting chairs on top of them. Maria returns to the front with a CD player and a handful of CD’s. She sets them on the counter, then takes the condiment tray into the back. Liz walks over to Alex to help him lift chairs on top of the tables.)

Alex (looking at Liz, who’s in mid-reach for a chair): Uh…what do you think you’re doing?

Liz (innocently glancing up at him): Helping.

Alex (he bats her hand away from the chair and looks at her reprimandingly): Help over there (he points to the CD player).

Liz: It’s not that heavy.

Alex: Tell it to the CD player.

(Liz grudgingly walks over to the counter and plugs in the stereo. She peruses the CDs and holds one up to Alex)

Liz: This the new one?

Alex (looking over at her): Buena Vista – yea. You’re gonna love these guys. I made a copy of it so that’s yours.

Liz (while putting the CD in): It’s been a long time hasn’t it?

Alex: Too long my fri…

(He stops as Isabel walks in from the back. She glares at him, and as she passes him, heading for the cash register, she lets out a sigh of irritation, which is far from subtle.)

Isabel (clearly in one of her ‘moods’): I’m cashing out the register and we’re taking off.

Liz: What movie you guys gonna see tonight?

Isabel: Battlefield Earth.

Alex: I heard that was really bad.

Isabel (looking straight at Alex): I think it might actually be…inspiring.

(Alex and Liz look at each other and then continue what they were doing. Liz pushes play and Alex finishes the chairs at the table he’s at and then moves to the next one. When the music starts Isabel looks at Liz out of the corner of her eye curiously and then finishes what she’s doing and heads toward the back passing Maria through the doors)

Maria: Is she like irritable with a side of extra-pissy tonight or is it me?

Alex: Yea, and she’s taking it out on me. (He looks at Maria) Thank you very much.

Maria: Me?

Alex: This is your party – and you didn’t want to invite them.

Maria: This isn’t my party, it’s Liz’s. (Liz and Alex just look at her and she lets out a sigh of frustration) Okay, okay…so technically it’s for me…(she points at Alex accusatorily) but it’s not like you didn’t need it either.

Liz (looking around the café): Well let’s get started. What’s left?

Maria (making a sweeping glance around): The ice cream, cookies, cheetos, chocolate fudge, strawberries…and um…just about everything else my body is seriously going to regret havin’ eaten.

Liz: Need help?

Alex: Say no.

Liz: Thanks Dad…

Maria (reaching over and pushing the forward button on the CD player a couple of times it skips to a slower song: Buena Vista Social Club – Pueblo Nuevo, looking at Alex): Be careful with Ginger, Fred, or her parents will kill us.

Liz (rolling her eyes at Maria and sighing with indignation): And Mom.

(Maria just smiles at her and heads into the back. Opening her locker Maria pulls out her shorts and puts them on under her uniform. She undoes a couple of buttons and steps out of the dress. Michael, in the kitchen, walks past the door and glances out. He immediately stops. His feet can’t seem to move and his eyes won’t look away from the image of Maria’s back. He watches her slide her shirt over her head and shut her locker. The noise of that snaps him out of it and he quickly moves to avoid getting caught. Maria doesn’t notice him as she turns and heads into the kitchen to retrieve the food. She opens up the freezer and starts pulling out ice cream while Michael ties up the trash bags.)

Michael: So what are you guys gonna do tonight? Hold hands, sing songs and watch movies? (He turns to look at her and eyes the mound of food she’s piling up on the counter) Or just stuff yourselves?

Maria (shuts the door and thinks aloud about what he said): Hold hands…sing…movies. Yes, yes, yes (She looks up and over at Michael batting her eyes and smiling) Yea, pretty much.

Michael (sarcastically): Thanks for keeping it between yourselves.

Maria (eyeing him with a mischievous smile): It’s a good thing really. I mean, you avoid dances like they’re a disease or something, and I’m guessing your sense of rhythm is seriously whacked from listening to that crap you call music.

Michael (confused): What?

Maria (looking up from the tray to him): What?

Michael (irritated and confused): What are you talkin’ about?

Maria: This. Tonight. You know earthlings stay aliens leave. It’s totally for your own good – you would’ve humiliated yourself. (She picks up the tray and pauses) Though, that’s actually kinda fun to watch. (Michael shakes his head in utter bewilderment)

(Out front, Alex walks up to Liz and playfully bows to her – she curtsies back and they begin dancing to the music – we’re talking serious slow-salsa dancing.)

Alex: I’m telling you Parker – if the Harvard thing falls through we could go pro.

Liz (laughing): And admit to your dad that all those years at summer camp weren’t spent taking archery?

Alex: I think that cover story’s been blown...(shaking his head at the memory). He asked me to get his ‘Gamegetters’ once…(he gently dips Liz)…like he couldn’t have just called them arrows? (He shakes his head again) But it was definitely worth it.

Liz (closing her eyes and moving to the music): I’ve missed this…definitely need to teach Max.

(Alex just watches her and lets out a sigh, which Liz hears and she opens her eyes looking up at him. He reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a crinkled piece of napkin.)

Alex: Care to share?

Liz (not really wanting to): A hunch?

Alex: A hunch? Nice try, Velma.

Liz: I just know, Alex, I can’t explain it.

Alex: Are we talking ‘know’ as in ‘I don’t know I’m feeling lucky today’ or ‘know’ as in ‘the evil one told me so?’

Liz (looking up at him): It makes sense doesn’t it? I mean think about it…there’s Michael and Max and then Isabel and someone else.

Alex: So what, you think they come in sets.

Liz (letting out a sigh): He didn’t exactly tell me…but I know what he was showing me.

Alex (looking at her seriously): Does Max know?

Liz: No, and I don’t think we should tell him – any of them – until we find something. (Alex looks at her questioningly) Trust me.

Alex: You know I do – but I haven’t been able to find anything. I’ve still got a few more places to look but so far nothin’ in Albuquerque.

Liz (thinking about it): Where could she be?

Maria (coming in from the back loaded down with the tray of junk food): Right here, babe. Let the bondage begin – wait…that didn’t sound good…

(Scene fastforwards about 15 minutes. Isabel comes out of the bathroom holding her uniform and walks over to the lockers. She doesn’t notice Michael standing near the doors to the front, off to the side, looking through the window.)

Isabel (looking at the uniform in her hand): I am so over this. (She stuffs it forcefully in her bag and tosses her headband into the locker and swings it shut. She turns and starts when she sees Michael.) Michael? What are you doing?

Michael (without moving): Max would get visions just watchin’ this.

Isabel (walking over to him): What?

Michael (moving only to point at the window in the door): That.

(Isabel turns slightly to look through the window. Her mouth drops a little and her eyes widen as she sees Liz and Alex dancing – like really dancing. She has a flash of her and Alex dancing together from his dream and barely hears Michael.)

Michael: Is there anything she doesn’t do…

Isabel (lost in thought): I thought he was dreaming...

Michael: What?

Isabel (coming out of it and looking at Michael): Nothing. (She looks at her watch) Where is Max?

Michael: Now? (Ducking his head to look out the window closer) Sitting in his drool out front.

(Isabel looks at him and Michael points again over toward the far corner of the café – barely visible through the window is the right headlight and front grill of the jeep. At about that moment the song changes and Maria starts singing – in Spanish – along with the music. Michael stiffens, just enough for Isabel to notice, and slowly moves so he can see behind the counter. Maria is holding the CD book singing along to the lyrics and dancing around behind the counter waiting for the drinks to fill up.)

Isabel (watching Michael): Should I get you a bucket for yours? (Michael turns and glares at her)

(Scene cuts to the jeep. Max is sitting in the front seat pretty much immobilized by what he’s watching. All he can do is stare. He doesn’t hear Michael and Isabel until they actually start climbing into the jeep.)

Michael (looking at Max and smirking): Maybe I should drive. (Max doesn’t say anything) Looks like you’re gonna need dance lessons Maximillan.

Max (looking over at Michael and nodding toward the café): Me? (He lets out a laugh) I’m not the only one.

(Michael looks from Max to the Crashdown and sees Maria now dancing with Alex. Michael sort of chokes on his breath and the three of them just sit in the jeep watching what’s going on inside.)

(Scene cuts to inside)

Alex (playfully frustrated): Okay, let’s go over this again. (He stops dancing with Maria and steps away from her) Who am I?

Maria (rolling her eyes and letting out a frustrated sigh): The boy – however questionable.

Alex (gives her a playfully stern look): Do you want to dance? (Maria sighs and looks up at him) And what does the boy do?

Maria (even more frustrated): Leads, okay, but…

Alex (putting up his hand and interrupting her): Aaah…

Maria: Fine.

(Alex pulls her to him and they start dancing again as Liz dances over to a booth near them carrying a huge vanilla sundae.)

(Scene: The Evans House, middle of the same night. Diane shuffles down the hallway and enters the kitchen. She turns on the lights and Max, sitting at the table, squints at the brightness.)

Diane (surveying the scene): Strawberry milk?

(Max looks down at the half glass of pink milk and the tiny – one shot – bottle of Tabasco sauce sitting in plain sight next to it. He doesn’t say anything, or do anything, and Diane walks over to the fridge)

Diane (as she pulls out the milk and pours a glass for herself): Comfort food at (she looks at the clock on the coffee machine) 3 a.m. – you want to talk about it? (Max lets out a sigh) Must be something more than forgetting how to sleep in a bed. (Max looks sideways at his mother as she comes over to the table and sits down across from him) I almost forgot I had a son.

Max: Mom…

Diane: I know sweetie, your father and I understand. Is that what this is about? (Max looks away from her) Liz? How is she?

Max: She says she’s fine but I think she’s trying too hard to be for everyone else and…(he catches himself and sort of blushes looking up at his smiling mom)…Fine, she’s fine.

Diane: Jeff and Nancy must be glad to have her home. I talked to Sheriff Valenti…

Max: What? When?

Diane: I was just inquiring about the investigation. He said there weren’t any leads. He doesn’t think they’ll ever find who did it. I can’t believe it – no witnesses on a Friday night at the movies. (She shakes her head and takes a sip of milk. She watches Max for a few moments and then hesitantly starts again) Your father and I have been meaning to talk to you.

Max (looking over at her): What about?

Diane (delicately): Honey, we know you’re very serious about Liz. (Max immediately stiffens, knowing exactly where this conversation is headed) We just want to make sure that you’re…careful.

Max (uncomfortably): Mom, you don’t…

Diane (smiling): It’s about time don’t you think? You’ve avoided this for longer than I thought possible. Your sister on the other hand (she shakes her head)…You though, we’ve never had to worry about – much to the disappointment of the girls in your class…

Max (seriously wanting out of this): Mom, please…

Diane: Liz is a wonderful girl. (Max sinks further in his chair and Diane looks at him intently. Her eyes fall to the table and the curious bottle of Tabasco sauce next to the milk – nothing she hasn’t seen before. She looks back up at Max and lets out a sigh.) I know there are…things you don’t want to talk to me about – for whatever reason. But I hope you can talk to her about them…or (Max quickly glances over at her and she stops – immediately recognizing in the look on his face that he already has. Her smile deepens and she gets up from her seat.) Goodnight, honey. (She gently touches his face) Be gentle with your father tomorrow he’s had this speech planned for years.

Max (inwardly groaning): I’ll try. Goodnight, mom.

Diane (walking over to the hallway and pausing): You want the lights on or off?

Max: Off please.

Diane (smiling): See you in the afternoon. (She flips the switch to the kitchen and lingers a moment. Max lets out a heavy sigh and she heads down the hall.)

(Scene: Hotel room. There is a VCR hooked up to the television. It’s just playing fuzz. Agents Banks and Jones are sitting in silence staring at it. Banks finally looks over to Jones.)

Banks: You think it’s the Sheriff?

Jones: Who else could it be?

Banks: We still don’t have anything on the guy who killed Coop and Patton.

Jones: We’re not here for him – we’re here for the kid.

Banks (shaking his head): Guess last night was a good thing – they would’ve just had more of that (he motions toward the t.v.). I don’t get how they rigged it though – shit we don’t even know where Patton’s equipment is. Maybe the Sheriff found it.

Jones (furrowing his brow and looking over at Banks, contemplating his comment): Maybe Sheriff Valenti knows more than we think.

(Scene: School, before classes – pretty early. Max is standing at his locker transferring books from his backpack to the locker. Liz turns the corner and sees him. She smiles and saunters up to him.)

Liz: Hey.

Max (not really looking at her): Hey.

Liz: So did you have a good weekend?

Max (avoiding eye contact): Okay. You?

Liz: Yea I had a great time on Saturday.

Max: That’s good.

Liz (watching him for a moment): So you wanna know what we did?

Max: I’m just glad you had a good time.

Liz (smiling knowingly): You’re not the least bit curious?

(Her tone makes Max look over at her and he instantly knows he was caught)

Max: How’d you…

Liz: I saw the jeep – plus I figured you had to pick up Isabel for the movie – how was that?

Max: We didn’t go.

Liz (moving closer to Max and looking up at him slightly seductively): So when do you want to start?

Max (mentally shuffling through the millions of things that could be): What?

Liz (inching even closer): Dance lessons.

Max (taking a step back): I don’t think that would be a good idea.

Liz: You don’t?

Max (shaking his head and returning to the locker, talking more to himself than her): No, yea, not a good idea.

Liz (leaning back against the locker): Well than I’ll just have to keep looking for someone else – I mean Alex is only temporary…

Max: What? Wait? Someone else for what?

Liz: To dance with.

Max: Like that?

Liz: Well, yea, and other ways.

Max (fighting that and shaking his head): I don’t…uh…

Liz (smiling even broader and stepping into him): So, when did you want to start?

(Max just looks down at her and takes a deep breath. He’s saved by a group of girls entering the hallway and spotting Liz.)

Girl1: Liz!

Girl2: Ohmigod!

(Liz is swarmed with girls, giving Max the perfect opportunity to escape. He backs up and lets out a major sigh of relief. He glances at her before turning down the hallway. She’s caught in the crossfire of numerous questions and finally just lifts up her shirt to show everyone where the bandage is. Max sucks in his breath and quickly heads down the hall.)

(Music: Ugly Americans – You Turn Me On. Scene continues about an hour later. Liz is intentionally, and quite successfully, driving Max nuts.

In Geometry class she keeps playing with her hair – repeatedly putting it up in a bun and taking it out. She drops her pencil an abnormal number of times, and when she raises her hand a certain way her tank top rides up just an inch farther than normal…

Later in the halls she’s talking to a group of girls while Max watches her from a safe, seemingly out of sight place. She pulls out the pencil holding her hair in a bun and shakes her hair down. Her hand falls down to her thigh and she softly scratches just under her skirt hem. Max shakes his head – is she doing this on purpose? Kyle, walking the hallway, sees the whole interaction and as he passes Max he hits him on the back)

Kyle: Give it up Evans.

(Biology class pushes new levels of distraction. Now she’s brushing up against him accidentally – and frequently. And then there’s the soft sighing, and the constant fiddling with her sandal. And every time she raises her hand – how do her parents let her out dressed like that? The bell rings and Max has had about enough. Liz walks out in front of him but she doesn’t get very far before finding herself being pulled into the nearest closet. He backs her up against the door and with his hand, unnoticed by either of them, glowing over the doorknob he leans in and kisses her – we’re talking breath stealing, toe tingling, knee weakening kisses her – well, almost. It would have been if he hadn’t stopped just short of the tingling, weakening, and sure to follow, ‘seeing’ of things.)

Liz (completely breathless): What took you so long?

Max (equally breathless): Too many people.

Liz (getting her bearings of where they are): Not in here.

(Max pulls away from her and looks around and then back at Liz. She looks up at him and he lets out a sigh and leans his head into the door.)

Max (strained): Liz, you have to stop.

Liz: Why, Max?

Max: Because I can’t.

Liz: Max I…

Max (shaking his head and interrupting her): No. (He swallows) To be with you…I’ve (he looks away and doesn’t finish. Liz gently turns his face back to her) I can’t let it be like this. I – I – don’t want it to be like this. I want it to be…special…and (he tenderly places his hand over where her bandage is on her abdomen)…and you’re hurt and it might hurt you more.

(Liz places her hand over his and leans her head forward into his shoulder)

Liz: I’m sorry.

Max: For…

Liz (pulling back and looking up at him guiltily): This, for trying to…seduce you.

Max (smiles at her): You don’t have to try.

(Liz looks down at their hands and laces her fingers through Max’s. She looks back up at him.)

Liz: But there’s still the visions, Max. And I – we – need to be free of them so it can just be us.

Max (letting out a frustrated sigh): I know. I just…

Liz: Let’s just take it slow. I promise I won’t let anything – like that – happen.

(Max looks to protest but Liz gently pulls his face to hers, abruptly cutting off all thought.)

(Scene switches to the lunch quad, at relatively the same time. Alex is sitting at a table opening up his sack lunch. Isabel spots him and hesitantly walks up to the table and sits down.)

Isabel: Hey.

Alex (surprised): Hey. (He looks around the quad suspiciously) Everything okay?

Isabel: Yea, what?

Alex (looking at her suspiciously): Nothing. How was your weekend?

Isabel (sarcastically): Full of family bonding. Mom and dad had to make up for all the fun Max missed these last couple of weeks – if I have to play Monopoly one more time I’m gonna turn that board back into a tree.

Alex (taking a bite from his sandwich): At least your family games don’t involve shooting things and/or camouflage.

Isabel: Shooting things sounds nice.

Alex: So the movie was good?

Isabel: Movie?

Alex: Battlefield Earth.

Isabel: Oh, we didn’t go.

Alex: What’d you do?

Isabel (trying her hardest to suppress flashbacks of Alex dancing): Um, nothing – sat around. (Quickly changing the subject) So what kinds of things do you shoot, besides bows and arrows?

Alex (raising his eyebrow and grinning at her): Ever tried paintball?

(Scene: Janitor’s Closet. Liz is learning the hard way not to make promises you can’t keep. What was she thinking? What started out as slow controlled kissing quickly erupted into this – whatever this is. Liz is now backed up against a waist-high stack of boxes. Supporting her back and grabbing her leg Max lifts her onto the boxes – without breaking the kiss. He slides his right hand up her thigh to her waist and pulls her forward. Max can feel her melting into his left hand, as it creeps up her spine. He can feel it but he doesn’t register it. His mind is overflowing…

…the desert…Atherton…suspicion…more Atherton…hope…Atherton smiling, laughing…pictures of alien sightings…Atherton holding the necklace…showing Atherton the stones…discovering the stones missing…Atherton talking to a man in a suit in the dessert…rage, betrayal…killing Atherton…searching Atherton’s home…nothing…hopelessness…that woman again, with a little boy – God, who is she?…longing…the V constellation…anger…killing…again…the Navajo reservation cave…a hand brushing against the cave wall and the image from the necklace appearing…killing a woman…another cave…a different symbol…another killing and another cave…

...Max is screaming in his head for Liz to make it stop – it’s so loud why can’t she hear him? She can but she’s lost in her own struggle between wanting Max and keeping the promise she’s made him. It feels too good. His hand in her hair, his lips on her neck, and his other hand…God, what is he doing to her…she doesn’t want it to stop. But it has to…she can feel him pleading…

The loud jiggling of the closet doorknob, followed by a low curse, is enough to break them apart – panic quickly setting in)

Janitor (from behind the door): Damn kids – always locking this door. (The key is heard going in but the knob still won’t turn) What the…

(He jiggles the knob harder and bangs on the door. Max looks to the doorknob and sighs some relief when he sees that somehow in the middle of all this he managed to melt it. The relief is short lived as feeling slowly returns to his body. The slight movement of Max relaxing causes Liz to breathe in sharply and softly moan. Max looks at her, confused by her moaning, and suddenly becomes very aware of the warmth surrounding his right hand. His breathing stops and his eyes slightly widen as panic creeps into him again. He slowly lets his eyes fall down Liz’s body but quickly closes them before reaching the folds of her skirt. He no long needs visual confirmation as he can feel the soft cushion of Liz’s upper leg beneath his arm and the silky fabric of her skirt above it. He’s so overwhelmed in his thoughts that he isn’t even startled by the Janitor’s final bang of frustration on the door.)

Janitor: If Mr. Ortez doesn’t do something about these damn kids…(his voice gets faint as he heads down the hall toward the principals office.)

(Max instantaneously brings both hands to his side and opens his wounded eyes to Liz’s apologetic ones.)

Liz (a desperate whisper): I’m so sorry, Max.

(Scene: School Hallway. Maria is impatiently waiting for Liz. She keeps looking at her watch and then sighing in frustration. Michael turns the corner practically running into her.)

Maria (frustrated): You’re not Liz.

Michael: Obviously.

Maria: Have you seen her?

Michael: Why…you guys gonna have another group hug?

Maria: I was going to take her out to lunch.

Michael: My guess, she’s on a vision quest.

Maria: It’s noon – ye of little faith. She’s probably talking to Ms. Hardy about her homework or something.

Michael (getting a mischievous smile): Bet?

(Maria narrows her eyes and cautiously looks at Michael out of the corner of them.)

(Scene cuts to the principal and janitor walking down the hall headed toward Maria and Michael – now shaking hands. As they pass them…)

Janitor: You’ve got to do something about these damn kids in our closets. They lock them, jam the door…(They turn the corner and trail off. Michael smirks and looks at Maria.)

Maria: Damn! She is so paying for this! (She storms off down the hallway)

(Music: Mary Karlzen – Dimestore Life. Scene: Crashdown. Nancy is standing on the counter hanging little green aliens dressed in caps and gowns from the ceiling. She bends down to pick up the next alien as the bells on the door jingle.)

Nancy (looking to the door): Diane.

Diane: Nancy. (She nods at the decorations) Getting ready for the 15th?

Nancy (looking up at the ceiling): Yep. It’s amazing! I can’t believe another year’s already gone by.

Diane (nodding her head in agreement): Won’t be long before it’s our turn.

Nancy (letting out a sigh and stepping down from the counter): If mine lives to see it.

Diane (looking over at Nancy): How is she? Max is very sparse with details.

Nancy (letting out a sigh and walking over to the coffee machine): Sometimes I wonder if she even realizes she’s been shot. (Looking up at Diane) Coffee?

Diane: I’d love some.

Nancy (pouring two cups): Let alone been in a coma. She’s more worried about catching up with the school she’s missed than recovering. (She walks over to Diane and they sit down at a table) I’m just waiting for it to hit her.

Diane (taking a sip of coffee): Well it certainly hit Max. (Nancy smiles and Diane catches it and shakes her head) Jeff feel like he gained a son sooner than he wanted? (Nancy laughs) Philip and I sure couldn’t remember if we had one. I think I’ve seen him three times in the last three weeks. (She lets out a sigh and shakes her head again) I’m still trying to figure out when all this started.

Nancy (sipping her coffee, thoughtfully): I think sixth grade. (Diane looks at her surprised) Max used to come in and sit over there (she points to the corner table up front) and get a… vanilla blast – no strawberry, it was always pink…He’d get the milkshake and an order of fries and watch Lizzie work on her homework at the counter. How she never noticed, I’ll never know.

Diane: So this is where his allowance has been going all these years. (The two women laugh) I’ve had my suspicions since November…but boy, was Philip starting to get a little worried about his lack of interest.

Nancy (almost choking on her coffee with laughter): Poor Jeff can quell those fears. I thought he was going to lapse into a coma when he saw them sleeping on that hospital bed.

Diane: Together?

Nancy: Very innocently…(thinking)…but I think Jeff’s had his suspicions for awhile too. Looking back it’s easy to spot the signs – so subtle at the time but now…now they hit you over the head.

Diane (reflectively): They’re good kids.

Nancy (nodding): That they are.

(The conversation lulls for a moment as both women sip their coffees and think about their children. The quiet is interrupted as Amy DeLuca attempts to enter the café caring an insanely large number of boxed pies.)

Nancy (getting up from the table): My word.

(Diane joins her and they each take an armful of boxes and set them down on the counter. Amy returns from the car with another load and plops them down.)

Nancy (surprised at the quantity): Amy?

Amy (letting out a deep breath and raising her hand): Don’t ask. (Seeing Diane’s confused state) It’s very therapeutic – I think it’s the dough kneading. (All three of them laugh)

Nancy (walking over to the coffee machine, looking at Amy and raising her mug): Can I get you some?

Amy: Decaf?

Nancy: Yea. So who was it this time…Jim or Maria?

Amy (sitting down at the table next to Diane and letting out a sigh): She has been driving me batty this past week. (Nancy sits down and Amy relaxes) Don’t worry, I think Jeff’s finally been forgiven.

Nancy (seeing the lost look on Diane’s face): Hiring Michael Guerin didn’t have the reaction he was expecting.

Amy: Who knew this week they’d stopped speaking to one another? I swear those two…

Diane (thoughtfully): Michael Guerin. (Nancy and Amy look over at her) My only regret is that I didn’t find him too. (She shakes her head) He’s known Isabel and Max for years and he still doesn’t trust Philip and I. We’ve tried…At least we could get him free of Hank.

Nancy: Any word from him?

Diane: Nothing. I’m sure he only kept Michael for the money. Just a shame…

Amy: Maria mentioned it was bad.

Diane (shaking her head): He was in and out of foster homes for a few years and then Hank got him. Why he stayed there I don’t know. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hank hit him – he certainly yelled at him. Max would say things but when Philip or I would ask, Michael would just deny it.

Amy (sipping her coffee): Well that explains a lot of things. Not the hair, but a lot of other things.

Diane (smiling): The hair…

Nancy (looking at Diane): Without Isabel here these past few days I think Maria would have killed him.

Amy (shaking her head): Oh…a few times over.

Diane: I can’t tell you how pleased we are that she’s been working here. She’s grown so much this year…Working, developing real friendships – most of the girls she used to spend time with were so…well, shallow…and now she’s spending so much time with Alex Whitman. Though she says that it’s strictly friendly.

Amy (looking to Nancy and then Diane and raising her hand above her head): Tall skinny Alex Whitman?

Diane: With a sense of humor and a ten-speed bike named Floyd.

Amy (letting out a laugh): He’s been in love with her for years.

Diane (surprised): Really?

Nancy (smiling as she sips her coffee): Oh…years.

Diane: I had no idea!

Nancy (laughing at remembering): I caught him once – fifth grade I think – talking to himself in the bathroom mirror. He was giving himself a motivational talk to get up the courage to go talk to her.

Amy: No, no, no…I caught him writing an ‘Ode to Isabel’ once.

Nancy: Oh no…Did you ever get the Valentines Day heart-to-heart…

Amy: ‘Mrs. DeLuca what makes a woman fall in love?’

Nancy (laughing harder): I was trying so hard not to laugh all I could come up with was telling him about when Jeff used to write songs for me.

Diane (looking from Nancy to Amy): Don’t tell me – chocolate covered strawberries. (Amy nods and all three of them crack up) She’s been getting those for years – I wouldn’t let her eat any of them because we never know who was sending them to her.

Amy (through tears): It could have been worse…if I had said what I was really thinking.

(The laughter starts again, bringing all three of them practically to tears.)

Diane (wiping at her eyes): Oh to be young again.

Nancy: And in love.

Amy (slightly dreamily): It’s wonderful. (Nancy and Diane both look at her and she rolls her eyes) Did I just say that?

Nancy: Jim?

Amy (smiling like a schoolgirl): I don’t know.

Diane: Jim Valenti?

Amy: Are the Gods laughing or what? Tonight’s our three-month anniversary – take two.

Nancy (sliding out of her seat): This needs pie.

(Scene: School Hallway. Sixth period has just gotten out. Michael’s walking the halls toward the exit. As he crosses the parking lot to ditch school he turns his head and abruptly stops. He squints, looks around and then changes direction heading for the football field bleachers. As he gets closer Max can be seen sitting on them staring out into space. Michael strides up the stairs and sits down next to him. The expression on Max’s face tells him this isn’t a conversation for him to start. They sit there in silence.)

Max (not moving): Do you ever think about it, Michael?

Michael: What’s that, Maxwell? (Max looks over to him as if answering without words) Of course, everybody thinks about it. You can’t have the parts and not think about it.

Max: I’ve thought about it with Liz, I mean, I’ve only ever thought about it with Liz…dreamt about it. And now it’s happening but it’s still a dream. I can’t even feel it – or control it…I don’t even remember what we do. It’s like everything I’ve ever wanted to happen…is happening without me…

Michael (eyeing him very carefully): Max, when this is over you can…

Max (interrupting and turning to him): What? Start over? No. (He shakes his head and turns away from him, softly to hide the pain) No, you only get one first. You get one first love, one first kiss, one first (he stops and turns his head farther away from Michael)

Michael (cautiously): We don’t know if it will hurt her…

Max (angrily): It was never about sex – not to him. He never wanted us to do it. This…this is what he wanted.

Michael (at a total loss): What happened, Max?

Max (letting out a sigh and turning to Michael): Atherton took the stones.

Michael (effectively sidetracked for now): What?

Max (looking back to the field): I think he stole them from Nasedo.

Michael: Shit we were so close.

Max: I don’t think Nasedo knew about the secret room downstairs – I didn’t see it.

Michael: We’ve gotta go back.

(Music: Trish Murphy – Outsider. Scene: Crashdown. Michael’s in the kitchen while Maria is out front waiting on a table. She writes down the order and heads to the pick up window.)

Michael: Where’s Liz?

Maria (placing the order on the counter, with a hint of concern): Upstairs.

Michael (shaking his head as he dumps fries into the fryer): Something happened.

Maria (annoyed): What tipped you off, Genius– Max cutting classes, Liz locking herself in her room or…um…the bat signal?

(Michael just stares at her and she simply stares back. Moments pass as they silently regard one another. The jingle of the front door can barely be heard.)

Michael (not moving): You have customers.

Maria (likewise not breaking her gaze): Your burgers are burning.

(They stare at each other for a few seconds more before they both turn their respective ways. Maria lets out a sigh as her eyes fall on the new customer sitting at the counter.)

Maria (wiping her hands on her uniform as she approaches the counter): Hey Kyle.

Kyle (looking up from the menu briefly): Maria.

Maria: Too much to stomach?

Kyle: Once was enough – I didn’t need the instant replay.

Maria (leaning up against the counter and letting out a sigh): I think this has gone well past the whole ‘passing phase.’ (She turns and looks at him) I thought you said two months and he’d bail.

Kyle: He normally does. What about you…Your mom going for a personal best or something?

Maria: Or something.

(Kyle looks back down at the menu and Maria takes off her headband and fiddles with it. She lets out a deep sigh and Kyle looks back over at her. Looking past Maria, he notices Michael watching them, warily, from the kitchen.)

Kyle (nodding in Michael’s direction): So what, you guys afraid you won’t see enough of each other during the summer? All you need is Whitman in one of those (he motions with the menu to Maria’s uniform) and every day’s a class reunion.

Alex (sitting down next to Kyle): Did I hear my name or am I just being vain?

Kyle (looking at Alex): I was saying with your long legs (again he motions to the uniform) one of these might actually do something for you.

Alex (shaking his head): No no my friend, it’s your legs the girls show up to all those basketball games for…you put the cheerleaders to shame. (Kyle just looks at him and then back to the menu. Alex looks between the two disheartened faces) So, dare I ask what else I’ve missed in this conversation?

Maria: The parental dating game continues to disgust.

Alex: Did we not deal with this last night?

Kyle: Round two. (Alex looks from him to Maria)

Maria: Their date last night was interrupted by some shootout or something. (Looking at Kyle) Fries and a coke?

Kyle (setting down the menu): I guess.

(Maria turns to fill up Kyle’s drink. As she sets it in front of him, Michael hits the order pick up bell, a little harder than he intended and all three of them turn to look at the source of the excessively loud noise and see Michael’s irritated face. Maria rolls her eyes and heads to the window.)

Maria: Smooth.

Michael: What’s Jr. doing here?

Maria (balancing the plates in her arm): Communal commiseration…okay?

Michael (just looking at her): He better be gone when everyone gets here.

Maria: Everyone? Who’s coming? Did you phone home and invite the rest of your race? He wants fries and he’ll leave when he feels like it. (She turns to deliver the food she’s balancing but stops and looks over her shoulder) And don’t do anything funny to them either.

(Michael watches her walk over to the table then shifts his eyes to Kyle and Alex at the counter.)

Alex: You know they’re hiring a dishwasher – I’ve got an in with the owner.

Kyle (looks to Alex and then over to the kitchen): Yea, and confine myself to a small room with that (nodding at Michael) and sharp metal objects? No thanks. (Alex nods in agreement) The guy’s got issues. (Kyle takes a sip of his drink and Alex watches Michael return to the grill)

Alex (under his breath): You have no idea.

Kyle: So you joining the retro-alien workforce this summer?

Alex (caught off guard by the ‘a’ word): Huh? (Kyle picks up Maria’s discarded antennae headband and waves them at Alex.) Oh, no – working at the Rec.

Kyle (sincerely interested): Doin’ what?

Alex: Teaching some computer classes and the chess club.

Kyle (almost choking on his drink): People actually sign up for that?

Alex: You’d be surprised how interested Grandma and Grandpa are in the web…

Kyle: No…chess?

Alex: Oh, yea...

Kyle: Besides you?

Alex: Hey man, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.

Kyle (raising his eyebrow and his glass): Maybe the next life.

(The pick up order bell rings again and Maria walks back to the counter for Kyle’s fries. She eyes the fries suspiciously.)

Maria: You do anything to these?

Michael: What? Like I’d really …

Isabel (interrupting as she enters the kitchen): Where’s Max and what’s up with the ‘adopt-a-buddy program’ going on out there? (She nods toward Alex and Kyle)

Maria (looking at her as she picks up the plate): Why, do you need one? (Isabel can’t help but smile and acknowledge setting herself up) The Max Magnet is upstairs so I’m assuming he’s soon to follow. Though if you really want to know ask Sherlock here – he’s been on fire all day.

(She smiles at both of them and as she looks at Michael pops a ‘test’ fry in her mouth. He doesn’t react so she turns and heads to the counter.)

Kyle: You know, Whitman, you’re not so bad, (he glances over to Alex) for being a girl.

Alex (patting Kyle on the back): You’re not so bad yourself Kyle, once you take the jock strap off.

(They smile at each other and out of the corner of his eye, Alex catches Isabel’s disapproving look. He gets up from his seat.)

Alex: Catch you later – let me know when you want me to wipe my chessboard with your ass.

Kyle (smiling): Just after I mop the court with yours.

Alex (as Maria sets down Kyle’s plate of fries): It’s a date.

(Scene: Liz’s Roof. Liz is sitting on the lounge chair writing in her journal.)

Voice over: There isn’t a part of me that Max hasn’t touched – mentally, emotionally…(she bites her lip and looks away) physically. God, just the thought makes me blush. I should be this permanent shade of shimmering silver from being wrapped in his touch. And if you peeled back the layers of me it would only get shinier. The deeper he touches me the brighter it shines…glows.

(She closes her eyes for a moment and then opens them up to the sky as she lets out a deep breath.)

V.O: That’s what I should be feeling. You know that warm wonderful tingling sensation that makes every cell in your body do cartwheels…or something – something other than this. And if I think about it, I do feel it – as if he’s touching me again. But that’s just my body. The rest of me…can’t stop feeling so…

(She stops and her face falls. She sadly turns away from her journal and looks over the roof.)

V.O.: I can handle a lot of things. I’ve proven that to myself – if ever I doubted it. But the look on Max’s face when he realized what he’d done – what I had let him do… And what’s hard to handle is the fact that I put it there – that look. So confused. Lost. Like I’d taken something from him – an experience he’d dreamed of…a memory he was waiting his whole life to create.

(She shakes her head, angry with herself, and lets out a sigh)

V.O.: And I couldn’t stop him… (She closes her eyes and lets her head slightly fall to the side, reliving the feeling of Max’s touch.) How could I with those eyes and his smell (she breathes in deeply, as if smelling him again) and his hands, God his hands? (She bites her lip) He rendered me senseless – no, (she shakes her head softly) not senseless. I was swimming in them. Blinded by them…by feeling him, feeling me.

Max (softly from the top of the ladder): Liz.

(She sucks in her breath and closes her eyes at the sound of his voice. After the briefest of moments she turns her head to him and opens her eyes.)

Liz (hesitantly): Max.

(He climbs onto the roof and stops – conflicted between crossing to Liz and retreating down the ladder. Liz closes her journal and readjusts on the chair so she’s facing him. She watches him – his eyes avoiding hers – desperately wishing this moment was over.)

Liz/Max (at roughly the same time): I’m sorry.

(Both are surprised by the other and Max crosses to the chair)

Max: I’m sorry. I never would have…(he looks away from her). I never would have done that without asking…without talking and…and knowing you wanted me to…

Liz (quietly): Max I didn’t want to stop you. It felt too good. (Max turns to her as if he heard her wrong and she rushes to get it out) I promised you I wouldn’t let something like that happen…but I couldn’t stop it. (Just louder than a whisper) I’m so sorry, Max. But you make me feel things that I don’t know how to control.

Max (looking at his hands, fidgeting in his lap, after an endless pause): I…I just wish I could have felt it...that I could remember…

Liz (looking over to him, softly): You can. (He looks up at her) Feel it now.

(Max’s air intake stops as he watches Liz slowly take his hand in hers. She gently brings it to her face. Cupping it with her hand, she takes his other hand and repeats the motion. With his hands holding her face and hers on top of them she looks into Max’s eyes and as he sucks in his breath a connection is formed.

(Max is hit with flashes from earlier that afternoon. The kissing, the touching…the feeling. The fact that he’s the cause of Liz’s feelings is enough of an aphrodisiac but pile on top of that what she’s feeling and Max is discovering new dimensions of ‘desire.’

(But the connection goes both ways, and while Max is swimming in Liz’s ecstasy, Liz is drowning in his despair. For the first time she can feel and see what Max sees when he kisses her. Nasedo. Atherton. Wrenching betrayal. Desperate loneliness – a thousand times over from what she felt from Max the first time he connected with her. Searing anger and…killing. She jolts at the sight of Atherton dying and the connection is broken.

(They both gasp for air as if struggling to breathe through the weight of understanding that’s hit them. Liz moves her hands to Max’s arms and clinging to him, pulls him into an embrace.)

(Scene cuts to the Parker hallway just outside Liz’s door. Maria knocks on the door as she enters. Noticing the bathroom door open and light off she quickly looks to the roof. As she begins to call out Liz’s name, she stops short, seeing her and Max in the middle of an emotional embrace. Maria closes her mouth and backs away from the window, feeling like an intruder. She looks around the room and then lowers herself down to the bed, shaking her head and letting out a deep breath.)

(Scene: Outside the Valenti home, later that evening. Amy and Jim walk out the front door. After checking to make sure it’s locked Jim puts his arm around Amy and walks her to Kyle’s car. They get in and as the Sheriff adjusts the rearview mirror he catches a pair of headlights in the distance just turning on. He looks to Amy as she starts talking about her day but keeps checking the mirror as he drives down the street.)

Amy (noticing her somewhat distracted date): Turned in the radio and the keys to the cruiser…but couldn’t leave the Sheriff at home.

Valenti (catching the tail end of her comment): What? (She just looks at him) I’m sorry.

Amy (playfully): You promised. Or are you hoping the third times the charm?

Valenti (looking from the mirror over to Amy): Won’t happen again – not tonight…I’m all yours.

Amy (as she watches out of the corner of her eye, him looking in the mirror out of the corner of his eye): On loan...

(The Sheriff shuffles between listening to Amy, watching the road, and keeping on eye on the car following them. He takes a deliberately long and out of the way route to the Mexican restaurant. Once there, he surveys the street as he holds the door open for Amy. As he turns to enter he can see in the reflection of the window Agent Jones driving past the restaurant. The Sheriff squints and then smiles as he walks through the door to join Amy.)

(Music: Everclear – Wonderful. Scene: Crashdown. The gang is sitting around the back booth. Michael, Max and Liz are on one side facing Maria, Alex and Isabel.)

Maria (defiantly): Go back?

Alex: Hey, I’ve never been. (Everybody just looks at him) You can’t ‘go back’ if you’ve never been.

Maria (letting out a frustrated sigh in the direction of Alex, but turning her attention back to Michael): Don’t you think we would have seen them?

Michael: We weren’t looking for them.

Maria: Well what about whoever was looking for us – or did you forget that whole ‘almost-getting-our-asses-discovered-by someone-lurking-above-us’ moment?

Alex (not helping Maria’s frustration): Suddenly thankful he’s never been.

Maria (continuing, after shooting an evil glare to Alex): Don’t you think they cleared the place of all the important (lowering her tone) alien artifacts?

Michael: They’re stones.

Maria: With symbols on them.

Max (softly interjecting): On one side.

Maria (looking to Max): Isn’t that enough? It’s not like they wouldn’t know what they were looking for. And you don’t really know that Darth Vader didn’t look down there.

Max: I didn’t see it.

Maria: And that means what? Do you see everything the guy does? Can he pee farther than you? Did you see what he saw when he was frying the guy like a shishkabob?

Liz (softly): Maria...

Maria (turning to Liz, forcefully): Don’t even. (Everybody looks at Maria, who’s staring at Liz fiercely)

Liz (softly): What?

Maria: Oh, like I don’t know what’s comin’ out of your mouth. (She turns to Alex, while everyone else watches in total confusion) Are you helpin’ here or what?

Alex: You’re doin’ fine.

Maria (jerking back to Liz, adamantly): You are not allowed to feel sorry for him Lizzie! Does ‘sex-toy-mind-snatching-body-violating-asshole’ mean anything to you? There is no such thing as forgiving that!

(Liz looks down at the table and Max and Isabel look at her just about as horrified as Maria)

Liz (softly): It’s just sad, that’s all…and it explains things.

Maria: Sad my ass. He’s done nothing…

Michael (interjecting): He saved her life.

Maria: And then proceeded to play nookie games with her and, might I remind you, your best friend too.
What aren’t you getting?

Michael: I don’t know why he’s doing that…(almost desperate) We don’t know anything about him or who he is…or…

Maria: If you’re searching for a long lost relative, Michael, you sure picked a winner.

Michael (spitting it out in utter anger): Just like your dad?

(And then there was silence…Liz immediately reaches for Max, finding his leg and grabbing it with the force of a tourniquet. Max, sucking in air, quickly looks to Alex – who gives him a slight nod.)

Alex (calmly looking between Michael and Maria): This…(he motions with his hand between the two of them) this is not good. Unless the intent of this exercise was in fact to start the first intergalactic war known to humankind. And if that’s the case, which it very well could be seeing as I’m consistently the last to know these sorts of things, then bravo – I for one, am thoroughly impressed! Though, a little notice would’ve been nice. I mean, I could have brought some popcorn and a box of jellyheads. (He takes a deep breath, focusing his gaze on Maria) But my thinking is…that’s not what we’re here for. And you know I’ve always wanted to go to Texas – so don’t ruin this for me.

(Michael and Maria remain unmoved and Alex turns to the rest of the table in search of help.)

Isabel (taking in a deep breath): It doesn’t hurt to go back…to make sure. It’d be easy to miss – I mean they’re stones, he could have used them for doorstops.

Alex: They’d be pretty cool paperweights…depending on the size. (The three active listeners at the table turn and look at him.) Well, they would be.

Max: I can’t this weekend.

Liz: I’m under house arrest for at least a month.

Alex: I’m free…oh, but Bambi isn’t – she’s goin’ on a fishin’ trip with dad.

(Isabel looks to Max and he immediately shakes his head)

Max: We were lucky the jeep didn’t break down the first time. We can fix some things but…I wouldn’t want to risk it.

Isabel: Okay, then what do we do? We can’t just beam ourselves there Max.

(Alex looks from Isabel to Maria and seconds later all four heads are turned in her direction.)

Alex: Maria. (She doesn’t respond) Let’s call it a tie and deal with this. Let’s figure it out, and then I promise once it’s over I’ll let you beat him up – if he doesn’t kill you first. (She shakes her head, almost intensifying her glare. Time to bring out the big guns…) Think about Lizzie, Maria, the sooner we find this thing then the sooner all this stuff stops happening to her.

(The impact is immediate. As soon as the words fall on her ears Maria turns to Liz and reaches her hand out to her.)

Maria (now on a mission): What do we do?

Alex (setting his hand on her arm): The Jetta this weekend.

Maria: I’m working.

Liz: I can get you off.

Maria (looking to Isabel): What about you?

Isabel: I’m quitting remember? Just apparently sooner than I thought.

Liz: Isabel, you don’t…

Isabel: No, I’m definitely over the whole servitude thing.

Max (looking at Michael): What about you, Michael?

Michael (slowly shifting his gaze from the side of Maria’s face to Max): Work Sunday, off Saturday.

(The table falls silent for a few moments. Maria just stares at Liz, soaking in her strength, while everyone else looks to Alex.)

Alex (squeezing Maria’s arm): Then Saturday it is. (Looking at Max) I say leave the details for another day.

Max (nodding, softly): Yea. (Looking between Maria and Michael) We can figure it all out later.

(No one moves, not really sure what to do. Isabel finally throws Michael a severe look as she scoots out of the booth. Max and Liz look at one another and then also slide out, followed by Alex and Maria. Alex stands at the edge of the table looking at Maria, hand outstretched. She looks at it then places her headband in it followed by her apron. Alex puts them on, looks himself over, shakes his head, and starts working. Maria looks at Liz.)

Liz (softly): Walk?

(Maria just nods and Liz puts her arm around her and rests her head against her shoulder as they walk toward the front door. Max watches them go then looks down at Michael shaking his head. Michael catches it out of the corner of his eye. But he’s too busy being angry with himself and Maria to care what Max thinks.)

(Music: Paula Cole – Hush, Hush, Hush. Scene: Liz’s bedroom, nighttime. Liz is sleeping peacefully in bed, her face softly illuminated by the moonlight coming through the window. A shadow emerges from the wall and makes its way slowly to the bed. Nasedo pauses and looks down at her with unreadable eyes. Seconds pass as he simply watches her – breathing in and out. Finally he looks away and shakes his head. Looking back at her he reaches down placing his hand gently on the side of her face. His hand begins to glow and he closes his eyes.

Moments later he pulls his hand away from her face. A sudden sound from the far side of the bed causes Nasedo to jerk back. The whimpering noise continues and Nasedo raises a glowing hand to illuminate the room. He narrows his eyes and stares at the restlessly sleeping figure of Maria. She’s not tossing and turning but the myriad of emotions and expressions that cross her face clearly indicate she’s in the middle of a nightmare. Nasedo simply stares at her. Tilting his head he concentrates on her face, as if looking for something invisible to the eye. After a few moments, Maria’s face softens and her breathing steadies. After a few more moments of watching her, now peacefully sleep, Nasedo lowers his hand and slowly backs away from the bed – shifting into shadows.)

posted on 4-Oct-2001 10:25:10 AM by not applicable
Title: #2 Pack Wisely (Road Rules trilogy, part 2)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual situations
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I just can’t stop myself from borrowing them.
Summary: Okay, so now they're really going on a road trip...

(Scene: School hallway before classes. Max is methodically loading his backpack with textbooks and notebooks from his locker. He pauses for a moment and looks to his left, just as Liz turns the corner heading toward him. He quickly zips up his pack and shuts his locker, turning to her as she reaches him.)

Max: Hey.

Liz: Hey.

Max (noting her downcast face): No luck?

Liz (shaking her head slowly): No. You?

Max (leaning his back against the lockers): No. He won’t talk about it with either of us…not for lack of effort on Izzy’s part.

Liz: This is bad. They can’t even look at each other, how are they gonna last 10 hours in a car together tomorrow? They’ll kill each other before reaching the city limits.

Max: I don’t know what to do. Michael’s never been big on apologies.

Liz: You don’t even want to know what Maria’s been calling him.

Max: At least she’s talking about him.

Liz: No, at least she’s been sleeping through the night.

Max (curious): What?

Liz: Her father leaving her was the single most painful experience of her life. And when she dreams about it, it’s not pleasant.

Max (thoughtfully): Sounds like somebody else we know.

(He lets out a sigh and looks down at Liz. A brief smile passes over his face at the sight of Liz absentmindedly playing with one of the buttons on his shirt. The smile fades as his thoughts turn to the past week. He lets out another sigh.)

Max (hesitantly): I’m sorry I’ve been so distant…you know…that we haven’t…been together…

Liz (looking up at him): No, Max, we’ve been busy…with Michael and Maria and…I understand. Believe me, I understand. I wish I would have known sooner, you know, seen what you were seeing – I never would have pushed you…

Max: No you’re right. I would want the visions out of me too.

Liz (earnestly): But we could’ve waited him out – not given him what he wanted.

Max: He would’ve just found another way.

Liz (letting out a heavy sigh and resting her head against the locker, softly): He makes me so confused. (Max looks down at her) I mean, what he’s doing to us, (she looks up at him) to you – I’ve never hated anyone so much. But what I saw, felt – I didn’t think it was possible for loneliness to be so painful. (She shakes her head.) I just don’t know what to think.

Max (leaning into the lockers close to her): It’s okay if you feel sorry for him – I hate him enough for both of us.

Liz (quickly looking up at him): Max…

Max: I saw and felt those things too, Liz – it’s all I can feel, see. What he took I can never get back…we can never get back.

Liz (softly): Max…

(Her eyes darken with pain and Max can’t help but be drawn in by them. This is why he had been staying away...the magnetic force of everything Liz. He gets lost in her eyes, focusing on the little golden specks floating in them, and before he can stop it he’s leaning forward, getting lost in another of his favorite facial features.

(Liz hesitates to kiss, not sure if Max is registering what he’s doing. But it doesn’t take long for her to relax into it, letting her hand slide up his shirt and wrap around his neck. Max slowly brings his left hand to cup her face and, as he does, he furrows his brow. Bringing his right hand to her face he pulls her into him and deepens the kiss.

(They kiss – and keep kissing – oblivious to the fact that the halls slowly begin to fill with students, who can’t help but notice them.)

Jock 1: Dude, is that who I think it is?

Jock 2: Hard to tell.

Girl 1 (as she walks past them): Can’t they keep it to the eraser room?

Girl 2 (walking next to Girl 1): Jealous much?

Girl 3 (as she enters the hallway): Ohmygod!

(The crowd of on lookers grows, as does the intensity of the kissing. Finally Max pulls away, holding his face only inches from Liz’s.)

Max (breathlessly): They’re gone.

Guy 1: Uh, no man, we’re all still pretty much here.

(At the sound of chuckles coming from the bystanders, Max instantly freezes and turns various shades of red.)

Guy 2 (hitting him on the back as he walks past them): Way to go, Evans!

Jock 1 (shaking his head): Perfect, Parker…

(Max can’t move, completely frozen in a state of embarrassed terror. Liz just smiles, trying not to laugh at the look on his face. Poor Max…She takes his hand and turns to the crowd, playfully glaring at them as she leads Max down the hallway.)

Jock 3: I guess we just found who melted the Janitor’s closet.

(Max groans at that comment, the last one he hears before turning the corner and exiting the building.)

(Music: Shawn Colvin – Shotgun Down the Avalanche. Scene cuts to a different part of campus. Maria and Alex are walking together outside in the quad. The group of girls in front of them enters a classroom, no longer blocking the view of the quad walkway – or more importantly, no longer blocking the view of Michael and Isabel heading toward them. Eye contact is made for a nanosecond before both Michael and Maria turn in opposite directions, leaving Isabel and Alex to look at one another in mutual sympathy before following after them.

Scene fast-forwards to second period…Michael is sitting in the last row intently looking at the back of Maria’s head. He lets out a sigh and turns to look out the window, ignoring the penetrating gaze Maria sends him as she turns to zip-up her backpack. The bell rings and Michael stays seated. As Maria’s about to leave the classroom, he looks toward the door and their eyes meet, in an exchange of anger and pain that lasts only seconds.

Later at lunch, Isabel, Max, Alex and Liz are standing around in the quad waiting for Michael and Maria. Maria exits the building from the far right set of doors seconds before Michael exits from the left ones. They walk toward the group. Alex and Liz look at Max and Isabel and they all let out sighs as they divide into separate groups and head in different directions.)

(Scene: Liz’s bedroom, early evening. Liz is in the bathroom checking on her stitches while Maria lies on the bed.)

Liz (from inside the bathroom, exasperated): Maria.

Maria: Don’t even. Do we have to go over the rules again? You’re my best friend, which means you’re on my side.

Liz: There aren’t any sides here, Maria.

Maria (sitting up on the bed, almost hurt): How can you say that? You heard him.

Liz (coming out of the bathroom and sitting down on the bed next to Maria): I know, and what he said was horrible. But I heard you, too, and what you said to him was just as horrible.

Maria (pouting): Some best friend you are.

Liz: Maria.

Maria: He didn’t have to say it.

Liz: That’s the point. You hurt him Maria, so he hurt you back.

Maria: You can’t hurt an inanimate object.

Liz: Please! You knew what you were doing. You wanted to hurt him. (Maria looks away from her.) When you know someone, I mean really know them; it means you know how to hurt them. I’m not talking ‘flesh wounds’ that you just get over. You know Michael better than he knows himself sometimes, just like he knows you.

Maria: Pa-lease! Everyone is not you and Max with the whole soulmate-thing. Michael doesn’t know the first thing about me…

Liz: Right, like he doesn’t know how to push any of your buttons and get you to fly off in a spastic fit?

Maria: Half the school knows how to do that.

Liz (shaking her head and letting out a heavy sigh): We all say things we don’t mean when we’re angry, Maria.

Maria: So? Doesn’t mean they’re forgiven.

(Liz looks at Maria and smiles. She gets up from the bed and goes over to her desk, rummaging through a couple of drawers.)

Maria: What are you doing?

Liz: Fourth grade.

Maria: What?

Liz: You are forcing me to bring up fourth grade.

(Maria watches Liz in confusion, trying to figure out what the hell she’s talking about. Just as Liz finds the letter she’s looking for, it hits her.)

Maria: Oh no, that is so not relevant.

Liz (smiling): Not relevant? Do I need to read this aloud?

Maria: Totally, and in all ways, not relevant!

Liz: Maria, you gave me a letter telling me you hated me, that I was a big baby and that you never (she opens up the letter to read) ‘ever’ (she looks back at Maria) wanted to see me again and that I wasn’t your friend anymore. How is this not relevant?

Maria: It just isn’t…Hello! I was in fourth grade.

Liz: And some things never change. This (she shakes the letter) is how you deal with your anger. Mouth first. Mind later.

Maria: Total cheap shot, and still totally not relevant!

Liz (sitting on the bed): It’s a good thing I wrote you back saying that even if I wasn’t your friend you were still mine…or where would we be now?

Maria: Not in any way hiding from the law or involved with the “Dark Side”.

Liz (pausing and letting out another heavy sigh): What can I say?

Maria: Nothing. (She lies down on the bed, hugging a pillow) I re-live it every day when I wake up, you know. It’s like I can hear Mom crying in the kitchen, and for the slightest second as I’m opening my eyes I’m 8 again…and then I remember, I’m not 8, I’m 16 and Dad still isn’t here, and he never will be.

Liz: What if he did come back now? What would you do?

Maria: Kick his ass. (Liz looks down at her and Maria’s face softens) I don’t know anymore…and I never will, because he’s never coming back.

Liz (looking thoughtfully at Maria as she lies down next to her): Michael’s been alone since the day he was born. Hoping that someone would come back for him – be something to him…and someone finally has. No matter what Nasedo’s done, Michael’s still a little boy looking for someone to explain his existence to him.

Maria: He wasn’t born. He was hatched.

Liz (looking at her): Is that how you see him…them? Hatchlings?

Maria: No, you know that. That’s how he sees himself – ever the alien he is, never the human he pretends to be. He’s so full of shit. (She pauses for a moment) It scares me. It scares me that he can hurt me…hurt me like my dad did.

Liz: I know.

Maria (rolling her head toward Liz after a long pause): I can’t promise anything.

Liz (smiling): I’m just asking for ‘civil’.

Maria: No guarantees.

Liz (resting her head against Maria’s shoulder): Thank you.

Maria (resting her head against Liz’s): Save it babe, let’s live through tomorrow first.

(Scene: The Evans’ house, middle of the night. Isabel’s door opens and she looks down the dark hallway toward Max’s room. The door is shut and she creeps by, heading for the kitchen. Only a sliver of moonlight seeps in from the kitchen window, not enough to illuminate Isabel as she moves about the room with ease. She opens the refrigerator pulling out some milk and a boxed pie. She takes a cup out of the cupboard and grabs a fork. She makes her way to the table and goes to sit down in the dark.)

Max (from the darkness): Get your own chair.

Isabel: Ohmygod! (The pie can be heard sliding inside the box as Isabel tries to recover from the shit getting scared out of her. The lights flip on and, Isabel, now covered in spilt milk, looks down at Max) Max, what are you doing?!

Max (eyeing Isabel and then the pie and pink milk in front of him on the table): Having pie.

Isabel: In the dark?

Max (looking at her): What are you doing?

Isabel (looking down at the pie box in her hand): Whatever. You scared the shit out of me. (She cleans herself of the spilt milk) Why aren’t you in bed? Is Michael sleeping?

Max (slightly shaking his head): He didn’t come over tonight. I don’t think he wanted Maria and Alex to think he’d spent the night here.

Isabel (sitting down across from Max): This is so ridiculous. Why don’t they just kiss and make up?

Max: She threw him.

Isabel (as she pours some Tabasco sauce on a fork-full of pie): What are you talking about?

Max: What she said. He’s been waiting his whole life for Nasedo. Waiting for the answers…who we are, why we’re here, where we came from…We had Mom and Dad and all he had was nothing but the hope that someone would come for him.

Isabel (hesitantly): Do you think he could be…I mean, do you think Nasedo could be related to us?

Max: I don’t know. I hope not. (Their eyes meet across the table and Isabel looks down at the pie.)

Isabel: I’m worried about him. He’s never been like this. (They both take bites of pie and sips of milk and she finally looks at Max questioningly) Why are you up?

Max: I could ask you the same thing.

Isabel: I couldn’t sleep – too busy plotting all the ways I’m going to kill them tomorrow if I need to. Your excuse?

Max: Just couldn’t sleep…that’s all.

Isabel (eyeing him closely): Heard about the show you put on this morning – quite the talk around school. (Max glares over at her as she plops more pie in her mouth.)

Max (letting out a sigh, under his breath): I’m sure it was.

Isabel (intently): So they’re gone?

Max: Yea.

Isabel: You don’t seem too excited about it.

Max: Doesn’t really change things, I could still hurt her. (Thinking about it) Makes it harder actually…

Isabel (taking the last sip of her milk) Poor you! Sexual frustration verses the prospect of spending 12 hours with two bickering 5 year olds in a space the size of this table. (She looks at him.) Care to trade?

Max (laughing at her): No thanks.

Isabel (getting up from the table and putting the pie box back in the refrigerator): Didn’t think so. Wish them luck tomorrow…I am not against using force.

Max: Sorry I’m gonna miss it.

Isabel (as she heads toward the hallway, looking back at Max): I could give you a preview.

(Max raises his hands in defeat and she laughs at him as she turns the corner, flicking the lights off with her powers as she goes.)

(Scene: Outside Michael’s apartment building, early Saturday morning. The Jetta pulls up out front and Isabel quickly gets out and heads for the door. Just for future entertainment purposes, Alex is wearing a red and white, stripped shirt.)

Maria (in the driver’s seat, to Alex sitting in the back behind her as they both watch Isabel waiting for Michael at the front door): Do you realize how much she owes me for this? We’re talking Everest here. It’ll take her years…no more working Saturday nights…or Fridays…and holidays…

(She trails off as Michael appears. He shuts the door behind him and he and Isabel head toward the car. Isabel opens the car door and looks at Michael. Who looks back at her a little confused.)

Maria (leaning over the passenger’s seat): I already have a co-pilot, you’re in the back buddy.

(She reaches over the front of the passenger seat and pulls the little lever causing the seat to move forward giving Michael access to the backseat. Michael glares in her direction as he ducks into the car. Isabel re-adjusts the seat and gets in. She takes a deep breath before shutting the door. Maria pulls away from the curb and they take off down the road.)

Maria (over her shoulder to Alex): You bring it?

Alex: Are you kidding me? Wouldn’t leave home without it.

(He pulls out a tape case from his backpack sitting between him and Michael. Unzipping the case he takes out a tape and hands it up front to Maria. She takes it, checking for the right side and then puts it into the tape deck. Music: Willie Nelson – On The Road Again The music starts and after a second Isabel looks sideways at Maria.)

Isabel: What’s that?

Maria: Mood music.

Isabel: For what, a country hoe-down?

Maria (looking at Isabel, annoyed): Driving.

Isabel: Driving me crazy maybe.

Maria: Got issues, take them up with the backseat.

Isabel (letting out a sigh): Right. (She turns and looks over her shoulder to Alex)

Alex (innocently looking at her): What? It’s like the quintessential kick-off…You know…on the road… goin’ down to Texas. (She looks at him with a raised brow) I just thought we could use a little road trippin’ send off – of the non-psychedelic variety.

Isabel (turning back to the front): Right.

Alex: Hey, we’re thoroughly stocked here. It’s all good, we’ve got the classics…the Beatles, some Stones, a little Queen, Joni Mitchell…all musical tastes shall be satisfied, this is just the first song of the ‘classics collection’…

Michael (reaching over and grabbing the tape case from Alex): Let me see that.

Alex (looking at Michael) Well…there kinda isn’t anything in there for you…your music really isn’t ‘driving’ music...more like ‘crashing’ music.

(Michael looks at him and scowls. He flips through the tapes and eventually pulls one out and turns to Alex holding it up with a questioning face.)

Alex: What? Classic road trip music…granted if we were going north it’d be a little more appropriate.

Michael (very seriously): I am not listening to John Denver.

Maria (looking at Michael in the rearview mirror): Oh really. You know, I’m feeling like a little Rocky Mountain High. (She reaches her hand over to Michael who looks at her and doesn’t move.) I’m driving I choose the music. You got a problem with that? My car, my rules, my driving shift, my music…Give it to me.

(Michael just stares at her in the rearview mirror.)

Isabel (clearly irritated): Give her the tape Michael.

(He looks sideways at the back of Isabel’s head through the car seat and then returns his eyes to a now gloating and smirking Maria – big mistake. He raises his eyebrow at her and the smell of melting plastic fills the car. Maria, wide-eyed, looks down at his hand holding a now ruined John Denver tape. She slams – slams – on the brake and everyone in the car jolts forward.)

Alex (holding his neck): We there already?

Maria (whipping around to Michael): THAT’S IT! Out of the fucking car asshole!

(Michael is too busy peeling himself off of the seat in front of him to hear her. Incensed at his non-response, Maria whips back around to the front and reaches for the door. As she’s about the open it, the locks on all four doors are heard clicking into the ‘locked’ position. She tries unlocking it, but it doesn’t move. Furious, she turns, meeting a very, very irritated Isabel rubbing her shoulder under the seatbelt strap and glaring at her.)

Maria: Let me out of the car, Carrie.

Isabel: At this rate it’ll take us five hours just to get to the highway. Drive the damn car and let me deal with my half of the backseat. (Maria doesn’t move and Isabel intensifies her glare) If you don’t drive this car, you will have more to worry about than the backseat.

Maria (letting out a laugh): You don’t scare me. Eight months ago, maybe that would’ve worked. You can’t make me do anything, least of all make me drive my car.

(Maria defiantly folds her arms across her chest. Isabel raises an eyebrow and Alex in the back quickly reaches over and buckles Michael in his seatbelt. Before Michael can protest the car makes an excruciatingly painful noise as both its brake and accelerator are pushed down at the same time. Scared by the noise Maria releases the brake and the car takes off. Grabbing the steering wheel she attempts to control the car as it speeds through the streetlight.)

Maria: Abducted twice in my own goddamn car…I hate you people!

(Scene: The Valenti residence. The Sheriff, casually dressed, steps out of the house to get the paper resting near the sidewalk. He rolls his neck a couple times; stealing glances down the street. He bends down to pick up the paper and looking to his left spots the car he was searching for. Standing up he leisurely walks back to the front door, smiling.)

(Scene: UFO Center. Max pulls the jeep into the parking lot. He looks at his watch and swearing under his breath, grabs his backpack from the passenger seat and hurriedly walks toward the main entrance. As he rounds the corner another car slowly parks along side the curb across the street. Agent Banks watches as Max enters the Center and he slowly gets out of his car. He surveys the quiet street as he walks across it toward the jeep.

Continually glancing around, he approaches the jeep, pulling a gloved hand with tweezers out of his right coat pocket and a small plastic bag out of his left. Once he reaches the jeep, he looks around again, finding no one in sight he leans down and inspects the top of the front seat for hair. It doesn’t take long for him to notice Max’s coat lying on the backseat. Smiling he reaches over and grabs it. Setting it over the door he takes a couple of strands of hair off the collar and puts them in the bag.

While Banks is busy looking for hair a large black cat jumps onto the hood of the jeep and sits quietly watching him. Banks returns the coat to the back and then sets the bagged hair samples on the front seat. He reaches into his pocket again and pulls out a small cloth inside a plastic bag. Taking it out of the bag he wipes the cloth over the steering wheel and gearshift. While Banks leans to wipe the gearshift the black cat jumps over the windshield, landing in the passenger seat. Banks flinches, startled by the movement, but relaxes when he sees it’s just a cat. The cat meows and moves toward him.)

Banks: Nice kitty.

(The cat reaches out with its front paw and swipes at Banks’ hand and the piece of cloth he holds – connecting with both. Banks retracts his hand and holds it with his other one.)

Banks: Ouch, you damn cat! (He looks down at his gloved hand and can see blood seeping out from a tear in his glove.) Tore right through the leather…(He looks back at the cat, now sitting on top of the bagged hair samples.) Fuckin’ cat.

(Banks checks the parking lot again before returning his attention to the cat.)

Banks: Shoo cat, come on I don’t have all day. What are you waiting for…(Banks puts the torn cloth back in it’s bag, trying not to get his blood on it. He looks at the cat and makes like he’s going to pet it, but the cat swipes again, this time without connecting.) Damnit!

(Banks is getting antsy. He looks around for something to use to push the cat away, finding nothing he lets out a sigh of frustration. He opens the jeep door, to maybe kick the cat off the bag, but once the door is all the way open, the cat jumps down from the seat. Banks grabs the bag and brushes it off. He turns to look at the cat, but it’s gone.)

Banks (shaking his head): Jones’ll never believe this one.

(The cat sits in the shadows near the front corner of the building and watches Banks cross the parking lot and head toward his car. The cat’s eyes follow the agent and then pass him looking beyond the parking lot down the street. In a beat up old car Deputy Blackwood sits with binoculars watching Agent Banks. Is it possible for a cat to smile?)

(Scene: Gas station, outside Fort Stockton, Texas. The red Jetta pulls up to a pump with music blaring – seriously blaring. Maria turns the engine off and looks over at Isabel expectantly. Isabel lets out a sigh and unlocks the doors. Maria opens her door and bolts for the restroom. Alex takes out his earplugs and puts them back in his pocket. He looks over at Michael, who’s watching him.)

Alex: What? (Michael just shakes his head at him and then turns to look out the window after Maria.)

Isabel: She okay?

Alex: Yea, but we won’t be if we don’t start pumpin’ some gas. (He nods in the direction of a man standing outside the door watching them intently.)

Michael (hitting the back of Isabel’s seat): Get out, I’ll do it.

(Isabel gets out of the car, followed by Michael. He walks around the car and unscrews the gas tank cap to start pumping gas. Alex, now standing at the front of the car near Isabel, looks between Michael and the direction Maria went and finally at Isabel. She raises a questioning eyebrow to him and he shrugs his shoulders. Isabel looks back at Michael and then heads for the bathroom. Alex turns around and finds Michael sitting on the hood turning over the ruined John Denver tape in his hand.)

Alex (walking up to him): So can you fix it? (Michael just looks up at him annoyed.) Right. (He sits down next to Michael) She needed a new one anyway…you can’t even hear the lyrics on that one it’s so old. It was her dad’s. (Michael stops fidgeting with it and looks down at it. He looks at Alex, then closes his eyes, inwardly cursing himself.)

(Scene cuts to the women’s restroom inside the station’s quickmart. Isabel stands outside the door leaning into it to see if she can hear Maria. She softly knocks and Maria’s sharp voice answers.)

Maria: What?

Isabel (shaking her head, obviously not sure what to do): Are you done? Can I come in?

Maria: What, so you can watch me pee?

Isabel: No. (She looks to her left and notices she’s being watched by a couple of guys. She turns back to the door.) Look, let me in, okay? People are staring.

(The door unlocks and Maria opens it letting Isabel in. Maria moves over to the sink and Isabel leans against the door watching her. Maria looks at her in the mirror with red eyes.)

Isabel: You okay?

Maria: Like you care.

Isabel: Okay, I’m not very good at this, alright?

Maria: Clearly.

Isabel: I’m trying here, take it or leave it.

Maria: And if I say leave it, you gonna lock me in here and make me listen to you anyway?

Isabel (letting out a sigh): Admittedly, I didn’t handle that very well, but you have to agree that something needed to be done…or we’d still be in Roswell.

Maria: Yea, and humiliating me just happened to be it?

Isabel (shaking her head in frustration): I’m sorry okay, what do you want from me?

Maria (leaning over the sink, quietly): Fix the tape.

Isabel: What?

Maria (looking over at her): The tape, can you fix it?

Isabel (taken aback): Yea.

Maria (turning back to the sink): Thanks.

Isabel (watching Maria closely after a long pause): Look, I don’t know what to think of Nasedo. I don’t like what he’s doing and I know Michael doesn’t either. (Maria looks at her in the mirror and she stops. She shakes her head, lets out a sigh and looks around the bathroom) At least this trip there’s no raunchy Aladdin hotel…

Maria: Yet…he could still blow up the car.

Isabel (smiling at her): True.

(They look at each other smiling and break out into laughter)

Maria (looking around the bathroom): This is definitely a step up.

(Their laughter is interrupted by a knock at the door.)

Alex (from behind the door): Uh, ladies, we’re about five seconds from getting our asses towed outta here if we don’t get a move on. (There’s a brief pause as Alex looks around the mart) Not to mention a couple of guys in big hats checkin’ me out.

(Isabel swings the door open, smiling at Alex)

Isabel: It’s cuz you’re so cute.

(She pinches his cheek as she exits the bathroom. Alex watches her go, dreamily, and Maria rolls her eyes pulling Alex along toward the exit. When they get to the car, Michael’s sitting in the drivers seat waiting for them. Alex climbs in back, followed by Maria. She makes eye contact with Michael, via the rearview mirror, before Isabel shuts the door and Michael starts the car. They pull out of the gas station as John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home Country Roads’ starts in the tape deck. Maria looks at Michael and then Alex, who hands her the tape case of the new tape Michael bought her. She takes the case, looks at the back of Michael’s head again and then turns to the window, closing her eyes and singing along. Michael watches her in the mirror, as does Isabel.)

(Scene: Sheriff’s Station. Sheriff Valenti exits the station putting his hat on and adjusting his sunglasses. He makes his way to the cruiser and gets in. After buckling up he reaches over to the front of his car door, near the dashboard, and uses the small lever to adjust his left side mirror. Finding Jones’s car off in the distance he smiles and starts the car.)

Sheriff: Let’s go for a ride.

(Scene fast-forwards about an hour or so to some random streets of Roswell. The Sheriff makes a few turns, cruising the streets and continually checking to make sure that Jones is following him. He finally turns onto Highway 380 and heads in the direction of Bitter Lake. After stopping, momentarily at Bitter Lake, he turns south on County Road 1, and swings by the town of Dexter before heading north back up to Roswell.

Jones watches the Sheriff intently, from what, in any other circumstances, would be a safe distance. He takes care to note any place the Sheriff stops at or visits repeated times and any landmarks that might be of interest. His patience is wearing thin as they enter the town of Dexter and seem to cruise its streets before getting on Highway 2 and eventually north on Highway 285.)

(Scene: Outskirts of Marathon, Texas. The Jetta pulls up to Atherton’s house and the four teens exit the car and apprehensively approach it.)

Alex (in the general direction of Isabel and Michael): You bring the key?

Isabel (waving her hand over the lock and pushing the door open): What key?

Alex (as he watches Michael, followed by Isabel, enter the house): Right, how do I keep forgetting that…?

(Maria rolls her eyes at him and follows the aliens into the house. Alex takes a long look behind him just for safe measure and then enters and closes the door. Isabel and Michael are on separate sides of the room, looking closely at the ground and shelves in the wall.)

Alex (looking up at the ceiling): Wow, how would you heat this thing? (Lowering his gaze) And why aren’t there any walls?

Michael (as he bends down to look closely at the floor): You don’t need walls. It’s the symmetry of the dome…and it heats with solar panels on the roof – the shape actually conserves heat…(He stands up and finds Isabel, Alex, and Maria staring at him.) What? (They all shake their heads and continue looking around.)

Alex (finally seeing the condition of the house): Man somebody’s sure been here…

Isabel: It’s how we found it last time. It actually doesn’t look any different. (Looking at Maria) Don’t you think?

Maria: Couldn’t really tell you, I was on the verge of peeing my pants the whole time we were here last – wasn’t paying much attention to detail. (Michael looks at her with laughing eyes and she glares at him) Like you weren’t scared…please…we were all shitting bricks…

Isabel (calling out from the back of the house): I don’t see anything here – no rocks on the floor or lying on any shelves.

(Maria and Michael head to the part of the house where the secret door was, with Alex following. Isabel meets them there and she exchanges a hesitant glance with Michael, which Maria observes.)

Maria: You did bring the key right?

Alex: Uh, I thought we don’t need keys…

Michael (looking irritated): We don’t. (He looks at Isabel, hopeful) You can open it, right?

Isabel: Yea. (She turns to the wall and then asks over her shoulder) Where was the lock?

Maria: Can’t you just wave your hand and find it?

Isabel: Can’t you just shut up and help me look for it?

Alex: Hey, I’d help, but I wasn’t invited to this party last time and I don’t know what the hell you’re looking for.

Maria (as she approaches Michael, now standing near Isabel by the wall): It’s a hidden lock to the basement.

(She watches Michael touch the wall and for some unexplainable reason she reaches out and softly touches his arm. Michael looks at her, startled, then quickly back to the wall as they can hear the dummy rock pop open.)

Maria (nonchalantly taking her hand off of Michael’s arm): Worked last time…thought I’d give it a try. (Michael stares at her, a little bewildered, before Isabel voice cuts into his thoughts.)

Isabel: It’s not working.

(Everyone watches as she waves her hand over the lock a couple of times. Michael furrows his brow and turns to look over the room. His eyes fall on Alex standing off behind them. He looks at Alex closely, like he’s trying to remember something.)

Alex (a little unnerved by the close inspection): What?

(Michael doesn’t respond but slowly moves toward Alex, watching his feet as he walks. He reaches Alex and looks up at him annoyed.)

Michael: Get off the door.

Alex: What?

Michael (pointing to the ground): Move. You’re standing on the door.

(Alex looks at the ground and doesn’t see what the hell Michael is talking about but, rather than argue, he takes a step back. Isabel waves her hand over the lock and the door pops up at Alex’s feet.)

Alex (looking up at the three faces staring at him): How was I supposed to know – never been here, remember?

(Scene: 285 North. Valenti turns off the highway and heads into Roswell, trying to figure out where to take Jones next. His stomach growls, deciding for him. Minutes later the cruiser pulls up outside the Crashdown. He exits the car and enters the Café removing his hat and glasses. Music: 3 Doors Down – Kryptonite. Looking to his right he nods at Max sitting in the first booth, fiddling with a menu. Max hesitantly acknowledges the Sheriff and watches him slowly walk over to the counter and take a seat. He’s still watching the Sheriff as Nancy comes over to his booth with a drink in her hands.)

Nancy (setting a large strawberry alien blast in front of Max): Here you go, the usual. (Max looks up at her and slightly blushes, at which Nancy smiles.) You’ll have to come over for dinner sometime Max and let me fix you a real meal…nachos don’t count.

(Max looks down at the menu he can’t seem to stop fidgeting with and then up at Nancy.)

Max (awkwardly): That would be nice…(He stops as his eyes fall on Liz entering from the back. She stops as she spots the Sheriff and then looking over at Max and her mother tilts her head in curiosity. Nancy follows Max’s gaze to her daughter and smiles at the slightly alarmed look on her face.)

Nancy (turning back to Max): You’re order will be right up…it’s a standing offer, any time you want a free dinner, a home cooked one that is.

Max (looking up at her, slightly red): Thanks Mrs. Parker.

(She gently pats him on the shoulder and heads toward the back.)

Nancy (as she passes a suspicious Liz, heading in Max’s direction): Don’t worry…I just asked him over for dinner.

Liz (hushed): Mother!

(Nancy smiles as she goes behind the counter and over toward the Sheriff.)

Liz (as she sits down across from Max): Sorry about that.

Max: What?

Liz: Whatever she said.

Max (smiling at her): You mean you don’t want me to come over for dinner?

Liz: Do you really want to? Cuz we’ll have to do major prepping before you come…I mean Dad can be vicious with the questions.

Max: Suddenly not sure anymore.

Liz (smiling at him): Scared away that easily huh?

Max (playfully, yet so serious): Anything for you. (Liz softly sighs and reaches out to touch his hand resting on the table. Max looks at their hands and then up to Liz’s face) You hear anything yet?

Liz (looking down at her hand tracing Max’s): No. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, though. I told Alex to call if anything happened, but anything happening could include things blowing up and/or the cell phone getting tossed like last time.

Max (watching her): I’m sure they’re fine. Iz seemed to think she had it under control.

Liz: I hope she’s right for all their sakes. Alex is a pretty good co-pilot, though. I’m sure he’s got things covered…I think he even mentioned bringing earplugs – but I think he was joking about that.

Max: I’m sure they were used before reaching 285.

(They look at each other and laugh, but their laughter is interrupted by the sound of Valenti and Nancy laughing over at the counter. Liz turns to look at them and then back around to Max.)

Liz: I wonder why he’s here.

Max: Does he eat here a lot?

Liz: Only when he knows Amy’s dropping off pies or meeting with dad about ordering more supplies. Which isn’t today, on either count. (She turns back around to look at the Sheriff) Maybe he’s just hungry.

Max: Maybe.

(Scene fastforwards about fifteen - twenty minutes. Max and Liz are now finishing up a large plate of nachos.)

Liz (resting her elbows on the table and gazing at Max): So what are you doing tonight?

Max: Not having dinner with you. (She hits him and he smiles) Studying…finals are soon and for some reason I am behind in most of my classes. It’s like I didn’t study at all for a week or something. (She hits him again.)

Liz: I’ll help you study.

Max (eyeing her suspiciously): Aren’t you just as behind as I am?

Liz: We can help each other. You know you need it…

Max: Really? Who had to bail you out of Geometry?

Liz: And who had to bail you out of History, and Biology, and…

Max (surrendering defeat): Enough…I can’t tonight…I want to be home when they get back.

Liz (growing serious): When do you think that’ll be?

Max: I don’t know. Five hours there, five hours back and who knows how long at the house.

Liz: Not to mention any unnatural disasters that happen along the way.

(Max looks at the clock on the wall and sighs reluctantly.)

Max: I’ve gotta go. I have to go to the drug store and pick up some glycerin for Milton. (Liz looks at him curiously) ‘Alien blood.’

Liz: Oh. (She shifts in her seat, places her elbow on the table and rests her chin in the palm of her hand) No dessert?

Max (not catching the hopeful tone in her voice): Oh yea, Milton wants some pie.

Liz (leaning over the table to Max): And what can I get Max Evans for dessert?

(Hard to miss that one…Max looks up at her and catches his breath. He looks from her eyes to her lips and swallows.)

Max (weakly): Pie’s good.

Liz: What kind?

Max (not moving and totally rambling): Pecan…Milton’s got a thing for pecans lately, something about them blooming at weird times because of the crash…

Liz: It’s in the back.

(Scene switches to Valenti at the counter. Nancy walks up with his bill and sets it down. She looks up to see Liz leading Max into the back. Liz turns to her mother and mouths ‘pie.’ Nancy smiles and looks back to the Sheriff, also looking in the direction of the two teens.)

Valenti: Those two seem pretty serious.

Nancy: He’s a good kid. I think if it were anyone else I might be a little more worried than I am. (Remembering Kyle) No offense.

Valenti (raising his hand): None taken. I was never too sure how they ended up together. Not that I wasn’t happy about it…just never expected it to last. (He looks down at the Tabasco bottle he didn’t realize he was fiddling with.) Not sure what exactly happened between them.

Nancy (wiping the counter): Oh, I think Lizzie finally opened her eyes to see Max Evans looking at her the way he has been for the past five years. (She looks at the Sheriff) Hard to resist complete adoration.

Valenti: So that’s his secret?

Nancy: You should take notes – he might be able to help you with Amy. (They laugh) He can sure give Jeff some pointers. (She grabs the Sheriff’s empty glass) Refill?

Valenti: Better make it to go…I’ve got a lot of drivin’ to do today.

(Scene cuts to Max and Liz in the alleyway, involved in some serious action. Max keeps trying to get away but Liz has the power to pull him back. He groans inwardly – or was that outwardly? – as he tries to get the will power to leave.)

Max (desperate, between kisses): I have to go…

Liz (running her hands down his back to keep him from leaving): A little longer…

Max (fighting it): I can’t…

Liz: Please…

Max: Liz…

(Thinking she’s won Liz brings her hands back to cradling Max’s face, where upon he quickly covers them with his own hands and pushes them and her far enough away from him to rest his forehead against the top of her head. Breathing heavily he tries to collect his thoughts and regain control of his body. What does she do to him? Liz sighs at the absence of Max’s lips and opens her eyes to his.)

Max: I have to go.

Liz (pouting): It’s just been so long.

Max: I know.

Liz: After work?

Max: Yea.

(He quickly kisses her then steps away to leave.)

Liz: Max, wait…your dessert. (He turns to her and she grabs the to-go box off the dumpster and holds it out to him.) Wouldn’t want you to forget dessert.

(He takes the box from her hand and somehow manages to turn around and leave…not before giving her a look to knock the wind out of her. Max turns the corner and uncontrollably smiling, Liz slides down the wall to the ground. She sits there with her eyes closed trying to savor the lingering sensations of Max’s touch. When she opens her eyes she tilts her head and smiles. Music starts: Guster – Either Way.)

Liz: Did you come for some pie too?

(The black cat doesn’t move, just sits in the shadows a few feet away from her, watching her.)

Liz: You’re early you know? Better not let Dad catch you back here or that’ll be the end of it. And I won’t be able to help you…

(The cat seems to tilt its head as it watches her. Liz hugs her knees and looks up the wall behind her.)

Liz (with her head tilted back to her roof): I still can’t figure out how you get up there. That’s a pretty big jump…you should be careful, it’s a long way down…

(She lowers her head back to the cat, which remains unmoved. They regard each other for a few moments.)

Liz: Are you ever gonna let me pet you? I mean, don’t you think I’ve proven myself? That’s some high quality free-range chicken I’m feeding you every night…not to mention that I don’t wait around on my roof for just anyone.

(She looks down the alleyway to where Max left and smiles, biting her lip.)

Liz (letting out a soft sigh, under her breath): Not just anyone. (She looks back to the cat.) I won’t hurt you, you know? And whatever Dad says, he’s a big softy, I wouldn’t let him hurt you either. Though I would probably have to stop feeding you, and you couldn’t come up to the roof anymore. Is that what you’re afraid of, you’re just shamelessly using me for food and afraid getting attached increases our chances of getting caught?

(A noise from inside the Crashdown causes her to turn her head toward the door. She lets out a sigh and then turns her head back to the cat.)

Liz: Probably right, but I think it’s too late, I’m kind of attached. The company’s nice – it would be nicer if you’d let me pet you, but I’ll settle for you letting me talk about Max – Maria has a pretty low tolerance these days. (She pauses; watching the cat as closely as it seems to be watching her) Sometimes I even think you’re listening…Or maybe I’m just really desperate and clearly obsessed with my boyfriend.

(She laughs at herself and smiles, again biting her lip. The cat stops licking its paw and looks down the alleyway to the street. A second later the Sheriff’s cruiser passes by, followed moments later by Jones’s car. The cat takes a couple of step forward at the sight of Jones but stops and looks back at Liz.)

Liz: I should go too.

Nancy (from inside the Crashdown): Liz!

Liz (looking from the door back to the cat): Told you. I’ll see you tonight? (She raises her hands) No touching, just talking…and eating…and a lot of homework.

(She rolls her head back, resting it against the wall, and closes her eyes as the sun creeps out from behind a cloud and warms her face. When she opens her eyes and lowers her head the cat is standing only about a foot away from her. She stops moving. Keeping her arms wrapped around her knees, bent in front of her, she watches as the cat debates approaching or retreating. The door to the Crashdown opens suddenly startling both of them. When Liz looks from the door back to where the cat no longer stands. She sighs.)

Nancy (peeking her head out the door, surprised at the sight of her daughter sitting on the ground): Liz?

Liz (under her breath): Almost.

(Scene: Atherton’s House. Michael, Isabel, Alex, and Maria are downstairs in the room rummaging through what’s there. It’s clear that things have been removed but there’s still a surprising amount of stuff still left.)

Maria (while looking around the room): Why wouldn’t they just take it all?

Isabel (also looking around the room): Yea. If they took what we brought back…why wouldn’t they take this too?

Alex (sifting through a stack of papers on top of a file cabinet and picking up one): I guess they weren’t too interested in Aunt Kaitlyn’s trip to Jersey. (He looks up) Don’t know why, sounds like she had a good time.

(Michael frowns in frustration and walks over to Alex. He quickly browses through the pile)

Michael (irritated): Well, they definitely took stuff – but this is all personal.

Isabel (looking through some things on the ground): These are all bills.

Maria (squatting to look at one of the desk drawers lying beside the over turned desk): Check this out.

(Maria reaches into the drawer and looking at it sideways can tell that she hasn’t touched the bottom. She looks up and Michael walks over to her. He does the same and then closing his hand into a fist, busts through the false bottom. He pulls pack thin pieces of wood and then reaching all the way in pulls out a large folder held together with rubber bands. Michael furrows his brow and undoes the rubber bands. He glances at a couple of pieces of paper before looking over at Isabel.)

Michael (laughing): It’s his book – we should take it for Max.

Alex: What book?

Maria (reading from a paper Michael’s holding): ‘Among Us’ – (she looks sideways at Michael) how perceptive.

Alex: What’s it about?

Maria (with raised eyes): Duh? (She points to Michael and Isabel)

Alex: No, you know, what’d he write?

Isabel: I don’t know, Max didn’t finish it – just said the guy was nuts.

Alex (under his breath as he surveys the room): Yea, like the rest of us.

(Scene fastforwards about thirty minutes or so. The desk is now turned upright and the floor is covered with papers. Michael sits at the desk sifting through stacks of stuff and occasionally tossing papers onto the floor. Maria, on the floor, keeps throwing irritated glances up at him as the papers he tosses float by her. Isabel also sits on the floor surrounded by small stacks of books. Michael finishes what he’s looking at and lets out a sigh as he glances around the room.)

Michael (slightly furrowing his brow): Where’s Waldo?

Maria (not looking up from the floor): I don’t know E.T. why don’t you phone 4-1-1 and find out.

Isabel (looking up and glancing around the room): No seriously, where’s Alex?

Maria (quickly looking up): Alex? (Glancing around the room) Wasn’t he just over there? (She points to the uncovered tunnel)

Michael: Great.

(He gets up, along with Isabel and Maria, and they walk over to the tunnel. They all stick their heads inside it, looking and listening for Alex.)

Maria (with her head inside the tunnel): ALEX! (Her voice echoes off the steel tunnel walls and Michael cringes.)

Michael: Was that necessary?

Alex (from upstairs, peeking his head over the secret door opening) What?

(Isabel and Maria both jump at his voice coming form behind them)

Isabel: You scared the crap out of me!

Maria: Where have you been?

Alex: Finding the motherload – you’re not gonna believe this.

(They all look at him curiously then head up the stairs. They follow Alex outside and around the backside of the house. He stops at what looks like the remains of a very large xeorscaped garden and pathway leading to the hills behind the house. The pathway, and border wall, are both made out of small elliptical stones.)

Michael (somewhat irritated): What am I looking at here?

Alex (pointing to the ground beneath Michael’s feet): You’re standin’ on it.

(All heads look down to see a the pathway of familiar looking stones inlayed into the ground to make a relatively smooth pathway.)

Michael: What the…

Isabel (under her breath): Shit.

Maria: Oh my God! (She shoots her head up to Alex) Uh-uh. No way! (She follows the pathway with her eyes up the hill and bending out of sight and then spins to Michael) Wiggle your nose and like make ‘em glow because that (she points to the ground) is like a billion rocks and I’m so not picking them all up.

Michael (turning to her): Don’t you think if I could wiggle my nose and do anything you wouldn’t be here anymore? Huh?

(Michael and Maria glare at each other as Isabel bends down to loosen one of the stones and pick it up.)

Alex: It’s not a bad idea, you know? (Michael and Isabel look over to him)

Michael: What are you talkin’ about?

Alex (taking a deep breath): The glowing part…The way I see it, it’s either we start picking up every one of these or we try it her way (he points to Maria). You got anything better?

(Maria smiles victoriously and Michael looks away, disgusted at all the elliptical stones staring up at him.)

Isabel (standing up): He’s right, Michael. It doesn’t hurt to try – and if it works then it saves us from being here any longer than we have to be.

Michael: We don’t even know what it looks like…

(Alex walks over to his backpack, a few feet off, picks it up and begins shuffling through it. Finding a folded piece of paper he takes it out and heads toward Michael.)

Alex (holding the paper out to Michael): Here you go.

Michael (eyeing the paper suspiciously and not taking it from Alex): What’s that?

(Alex sets the pack down and unfolds the paper. He holds it up so they can see Max’s rough pencil sketch of the stones. Recognition escapes all faces.)

Alex: Was I the only one paying attention at last Thursday’s shindig? (He shakes his head and walks closer to Michael, practically shoving the picture at him) This, is what Max says it looks like, so this, I’m guessing, is what it looks like. Any more excuses I can take care of for you…thirsty? (He reaches for his backpack and pulls out a water bottle) Hungry? I’ve got that one covered too.

(Michael grabs the paper from Alex rather forcefully and Isabel moves next to him. Alex backs away and Isabel looks at the garden of stones and sighs. She takes hold of one side of the paper and holds out her hand to Michael. Michael just stares at her out stretched hand.)

Isabel: Michael, we’ll be stronger if we hold hands – it’ll let us channel our power.

(Michael looks from Isabel’s face to her hand and then reluctantly reaches for it.)

Maria (eyeing Michael carefully): Whatever you do He-Man, don’t blow her up.

(Alex grabs Maria and pulls her out of Michael’s reach before he can go after her and Isabel gently squeezes his hand, reminding him of the task before them. He shoots Maria a seriously threatening look before turning back to Isabel. He watches Isabel take a few deep breaths while concentrating on the picture. She closes her eyes, for just a second before opening them up to Michael.)

Isabel (definitely pissy): It won’t work if you don’t want it to – you have to at least try, Michael.

(He nods. They both concentrate on the picture, taking several deep breaths and then finally closing their eyes. Nothing seems to happen and after a few seconds Alex, letting out a heavy sigh, bends down to start picking up stones.)

Maria (after a few moments, hesitantly): Uh, Alex.

Alex: Suck it up Maria and start helping here.

Maria (sharply): Alex!

(He looks up at her and quickly follows her stunned gaze to Michael and Isabel. The paper they hold starts shaking as the image begins to glow. It gets brighter and brighter, as the intensity of Michael and Isabel’s focus grows.)

Alex: Now that’s some serious glowing.

Maria (grabbing Alex): Come on, we gotta look for the stones. It that’s glowin’ then they’ve gotta be….

(Scene: A dark room. The silence of the room is broken by a soft rattling as dull light slowly begins to escape from cracks in the wall. The light grows brighter and the room begins to illuminate with light reflecting off the metallic room walls. There’s a sudden burst of light, as if someone turned the lights to the room on, and the tiny room of safety deposit boxes comes into full view.)

posted on 4-Oct-2001 10:27:07 AM by not applicable
Title: #3 Pay Attention to Appropriate Road Signs (Road Rules trilogy, part 3)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual situations
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I just can’t keep myself from borrowing them.
Summary: This is a direct continuation of part 2.
Author’s note/soapbox: Okay, so here’s the deal…You’re gonna read this story and when you get to the very end of the last scene you’re gonna say “wait a second that doesn’t make any sense.” I’m asking for a leap of faith here. I promise you that I will make it all make sense but you have to give me the next couple of stories to explain everything and make it clear where I’m taking this. I have two storylines that I’ve been mulling around in my head and I figure it’s about time to actually do something with them. One of them explores the complex past of Nasedo – an attempt to explain why he is the way he is. The other one, which is sort of introduced at the end of this story and the major subject of the next trilogy, is my attempt at explaining the physiology of Max’s race/species. And a quick reminder here…I don’t subscribe to the human/alien genetic engineering because I just don’t like it. So again, bear with me here and believe me when I say that it will all make sense.

(Scene: Walgreens in Roswell. Music playing over the store speaker: The Catchers – Shifting. Max is walking the back aisles looking for glycerin. He finally finds it, and after a few moments of deliberation, chooses a bottle off the shelf and turns toward the front. He heads down the back row and makes a left down an aisle. A few feet into the aisle Max stops, acutely aware that he’s just entered the condom aisle.

He stares down the aisle. Pausing to consider the moment, the opportunity presenting itself, and the fact that the only person in the store even remotely near him is at the very front of the aisle, near the empty checkout, looking at tabloids. Swallowing, Max takes a glance behind him to make sure no one else is around. The coast clear, he steals a hesitant glance at the multitude of little boxes hanging on the wall to his right. He checks the aisle again. Letting out a shaky breath, Max turns back to the boxes and takes a tiny step toward the wall. After one more cautionary glance over his shoulder he leans in for a closer inspection.

While Max is busy educating himself in the fascinating variety of condoms available, the man standing at the front of the aisle glances up from his tabloid. He watches Max for a moment, narrowing his eyes and focusing them on the item Max has in his hand. The man’s face grows dark as he’s mind is hit with the image of the condom box Max is holding.

Max feels a jolt of something he can’t place and quickly looks around the aisle. Seeing the man watching him from 20 some yards away, Max looks down at his hand and back up blushing. He fumbles to put the box back on the wall – what was he gonna do with it anyway – and turns to head down a different aisle to the front. The man watches intently as Max turns and exits the aisle. He stares at the now empty aisle for a moment then hurriedly turns to leave.

As he places the tabloid back into its holder the cover of it, and the tabloid next to it, change from images of Oprah and JFK Jr. to pictures of a dead woman and what looks like a shriveled up baby. The headlines read “Alien Sex Killed My Daughter” and “Abducted Women Dies Giving Birth To Alien Baby.” As Nasedo walks toward the exit he leaves behind horrific tabloid headlines and images at every checkout stand.

Max slowly approaches the front, cautiously looking around for the man who saw him, or did he see him, I mean, the guy was standing a whole aisle away, right? No one else is in the store but the checker popping bubbles and reading a magazine. Max walks up to the register and as he sets the glycerin down notices the tabloids off to his left. His breathing stops for a minute as the headlines hit him.)

Checker: This everything? (Max doesn’t respond) Hey.

Max (shaking his head and looking at the checker): Um…(clearly shaken) yea…no (he reaches out and takes the tabloids and hands them to the checker) Milton always likes these.

Checker (eyeing the headlines and raising his eyebrow): Whatever floats your boat, man.

(Scene: Streets of Roswell. Sheriff Valenti continues to cruise around town, followed shortly behind by an ever increasingly irritated Agent Jones. The Sheriff continually shuffles between driving and checking the review mirror. He marvels at Jones’ arrogance and the rather short distance he keeps. The shrill ringing of a cell phone cuts through his thoughts. He reaches over to the passenger seat and answers the phone.)

Sheriff: Yea, what’ve you got?

Deputy Blackwood: I’m not sure.

Sheriff: What’s your location?

(Scene cuts to the Roswell Industrial Air Center outside of town. Deputy Blackwood sits parked in a beat-up car, a good distance off from the airport parking lot and main building. He has a clear view of the office entrance, and more importantly, Agent Banks sitting outside of it waiting for someone.)

Deputy Blackwood: Air Center.

Sheriff (not expecting that): The airport?

Deputy: Followed the Agent here. He left the Evans boy about three hours ago. Went to the hotel and then came here.

Sheriff: Did he do anything to the boy?

Deputy: Not directly. It was hard to see but I think he took something from the Jeep. His back was turned but he was wearing gloves…collecting something. Sheriff, what’s this kid done this time?

Sheriff: I’m not sure but I know what these Agents have done – and they’ve worn out their welcome. Keep watching him and whatever you see, make sure you get it on tape.

Deputy: Will do.

Sheriff: He does anything to the Evans boy you call me immediately.

Deputy: Yes, Sheriff.

(Deputy Blackwood hangs up the phone and sets it down. He picks up the video camera and uses the zoom feature to get a close up of Agent Banks checking his watch. After a minute or two a man approaches Banks from the direction of the airfield. Banks stands and gives the pilot a small package. The conversation is brief, and Banks watches as the pilot returns to his plane.)

(Scene cuts back to Sheriff Valenti driving around Roswell. He sets the phone down and looks in the rearview mirror at Jones’ car. If the guy was any more arrogant Valenti would be able to see the exasperated look on his face. Valenti shakes his head and makes a right turn.)

Sheriff: Time for you boys to get the hell out of my town.

(Scene: Hills behind Atherton’s home. Exhausted, and definitely looking it, Maria sits on a large boulder watching Michael and Alex – equally as exhausted and showing it – picking up stones and putting them back. Isabel, looking the same, is standing to the side staring back at the house off in the distance.)

Michael (more to himself, but a little louder than he wanted): They’re not here.

Maria (quickly looking over at him): You think? Four hours and four…billion of these later (she throws the rock she holds at the ground), and you’re just now drawing that conclusion? I could have told you that back there. (She irritatingly points in the direction of the house.)

Michael: Right, like you knew.

Isabel (staring down at the drawing, still softly glowing): I just don’t understand why it didn’t work…

Alex (nodding at Michael as he picks himself off the ground): Forget to wiggle your nose? (Faces of irritation surround him) What? I’m sticky, tired, and seriously hungry – very strained conditions for quality humor…that’s the best I can do. (He walks over to Isabel) Besides it did work – that (he points to the paper) is definitely glowing…just means the stones aren’t here.

(Isabel looks at the image again and her eyes widen in panic as the meaning of his words register and begin echoing in her head.)

Isabel: Oh my god! What if someone has them, and they’re not…what if they’re…glowing…or doing something. We don’t even know what these are or what they do. (She looks up at Michael) What have we done?

(A serious silence falls over all of them at the possibilities.)

Maria (finally breaking the silence): There’s nothing we can do now.

Michael (irritated): You think? (Getting just a little angry) This was your idea…

Maria: Like I was supposed to know it was going to work – it’s not like you were trying to ruin my day or…blow something up – those things, you’re good at.

Alex (calmly): Okay, look…I think we’re all tired, irritable and in desperate need of something more substantial than Cheetos and chocolate. Let’s call it a day – it’s gotta be close to four. (He looks at Isabel) She’s right, there’s nothing we can do…maybe Max will have some ideas.

(Isabel looks back down at the drawing she holds and Maria gets off the boulder. She glances at Alex as she passes him, heading down the trail toward the house. Michael runs a hand through his hair and lifts his eyes to Isabel. They share a look of desperation and he shakes his head and follows after Maria. Alex takes a step closer to Isabel.)

Alex: We don’t know where they are. They could be in a box, the middle of no where…

Isabel (looking up at him): What have we done, Alex?

Alex: We’ll deal with it…that’s what we do…crisis happens, Superfriends respond, crisis is resolved, and life goes on. I mean look what we’ve already been through – the whole Spiderman thing, Topolsky, that Tess girl – or whatever her name was, Liz in a coma, Invasion of the Sexually Induced Visions…the car ride here…we’re pretty hearty…

Isabel (looking sideways at him): Superfriends?

Alex: Please, tell me you know who the Superfriends are. (Isabel stares at him blankly and he shakes his head and lets out a sigh of playful disgust) What planet are you from? (Isabel just looks at him and he cringes at his poor choice of words) Okay, nevermind…I would like that officially stricken from the record. (He looks back at Isabel, seriously) It’ll be okay…don’t worry about it now…worry about the next five hours with those two. (He nods in the direction of Michael and Maria, apparently in the middle of another heated discussion)

(Scene: UFO Center. Max is up in the library doing ‘research.’ The tabloids are splayed out to the right of the computer and Max is nervously hunched over the keyboard. His eyes keep darting around the room, completely paranoid that Milton will enter or God forbid Liz makes one of her surprise visits. He clears the search field for the database and glances over at the graphic pictures from the tabloid articles. He takes a deep breath then types in “alien” and “sex” into the search field. He pauses for another quick look around the room then hits enter.

The computer thinks for a while and Max nervously fidgets with the little green alien that usually rests on top of the computer monitor. The computer beeps and Max jumps. He calms himself with yet another reassuring glance around the room. He stares at the keyboard. If the articles in those tabloids are any indication of what awaits him on the computer screen, he’s not sure he wants to see it. He takes in a deep breath and raises his eyes.

He scrolls down with the mouse and scans the various titles…not looking good. Most of what he finds are more outrageous articles similar to those in the tabloids. There’s the occasional scientific sounding one and he’s about to click on one when the door opens.)

Milton: I’ve got it!

(Max about falls out of his chair at the sound of Milton’s voice and he quickly tries to recover and hide what he’s doing by grabbing the tabloids and closing the database window…yea right. His attempts only result in the tabloids falling to the ground along with a coke…and a few other things. Though, he does somehow manage to close the database.)

Milton: You okay, Evans?

Max (fumbling is an understatement): Um...yea…you…um…you startled me.

Milton: This is what I love about you, Max – so absorbed in your work – serious and dedicated to the truth. What are you working on now?

Max: Um…I was…um looking for some info about the pecans blooming. Haven’t found anything yet.

Milton: Nevermind that, Max, I’ve had a…a…an epiphany that came to me last night while I was watching T.V. This. (He tosses a piece of paper at Max, but Max is still too flustered to catch it. He bends down and picks it up. He looks at the scribbled picture and then questioningly up at Milton)

Max: This?

Milton: Do you know what this is? This…This (he motions with his arms) is our new exhibit. Forget Elvis…this is where the truth is at.

Max (looking back down at the paper and trying really hard to understand): What…what exactly is this?

Milton (grabbing the paper from Max and holding it out): What does it look like?

Max (studying the picture and just not getting it): Um…well…a…well…an elephant in a boa constrictor? (Milton looks at the picture then at Max) The Little Prince – (he shakes his head) nevermind…

Milton: Don’t you see it…the spaceship?

Max: Spaceship?

Milton: This…(Milton pulls up a chair next to Max) is the outline of the ruins of Chaco Canyon – connect the dots and…look (he traces his finger around the drawing) it’s a spaceship.

Max: Chaco Canyon?

Milton: You know what happened in Chaco Canyon?

Max: I thought nobody knew…I mean they just disappeared.

Milton (looking down at the ‘spaceship’): Exactly…I can’t believe I haven’t thought of it sooner…And this is just the beginning…Alien symbols are everywhere in Native American Art. We’re on to something Max…

Max (gently): Hasn’t that already been explored…you know like the caves of Machu Picchu?

Milton: We’re gonna do the definitive study…this museum will be home to the world’s foremost exhibit exploring the Alien/Indian connection…and there is one…I can feel it – can you feel it, Max?

(Max just looks between Milton and the picture, trying to understand what just happened…and trying inconspicuously to scoot a tabloid under the desk and out of Milton’s sight.)

(Scene: Jones’ car parked off to the side of the road, in clear sight of the McDonalds. The Sheriff’s cruiser can be seen in the drive-thru line. The agent exudes irritation. His suit jacket is off, hair ruffled from many a frustrated hand run through it, and his face is a perfect scowl. He stares at the cruiser, surely thinking evil thoughts when his cell phone rings. He picks it up from under his jacket and answers.)

Jones: What?

Banks: Guess I know how your day’s goin’.

Jones: Did you get the samples?

Banks: Yea, they’re en route. Anything from the Sheriff?

Jones (sighing): Unbelievable…I knew there was a reason I didn’t go into local law-enforcement. (He lets out a disgusted sigh) I’ve seen more of this town then I’d ever care to…

Banks: Nothing?

Jones: Except for his affinity for fast food…he’s straight out of Mayberry. It’s just a matter of time…
What about the kid?

Banks: Nothin’ just work, errands, and lunch with the Parker girl. I still think she’s the key…I mean if this kid is what we think he is – what’s she doin’ with him?

Jones: Lookin’ for the ride of her life…

(The conversation continues but the scene switches to the McDonalds entrance. A McDonalds employee, carrying a large drink, steps out of the door and scans the street. He spots what he’s looking for and starts walking toward the car. Crossing the street he cautiously approaches the black car on the driver’s side. Jones stops talking as he catches sight of the kid. He quickly jerks his head out of the window as the kid reaches it.)

Kid (holding up the drink to Jones): Here you go. Uh…(the kid looks a little intimidated as Jones stares at him seething with anger)…the Sheriff hopes you…um…enjoyed the tour of the County…I think that’s what he said…It’s on him.

(He shoves the drink at Jones who can’t speak past his rage, then quickly leaves. He crosses the street as the Sheriff’s cruiser pulls up to Jones’ car. Valenti smiles at Jones, tips his hat and raises his drink then drives through the stop sign. Jones throws the drink on the ground and begins shouting all obscenities imaginable.)

(Scene: The Longhorn Lounge in Angeles, Texas. The door opens as four, clearly out of place, weary teenagers enter. It’s a total dive with lots of thematic ‘atmosphere’. Isabel and Maria look around, mirroring faces of doubt and disgust. Michael eyes the inside of the dive with his usual countenance of irritation and masked worry. Alex smiles like a schoolboy, and heads in-between a hesitant Maria and Isabel, over toward an open booth. Reluctantly, the others follow and slide in.)

Maria (to Alex): Okay, can you, um, explain what we’re doing here and not at the Taco Bell back in, whatever town that was.

Alex: What?

Isabel: Like that needs clarifying…take the keys from him now before we end up at the Alamo…

Alex: Hey…

Maria (cutting him off while looking around): We’re not like staying are we?

Michael (emotionlessly): We’re sitting aren’t we?

Maria (making a move to slide out): Not for long…

Alex: What…is your problem?

Maria: I seriously have to pee, okay? And there is no way I’m using the facilities here…eew.

Michael: There’s a tree out front.

Maria (scowling at Michael): Yea, well if you had to sit down every time you had to pee, then you’d be a little more selective too…

Isabel: Do we really need to be having this conversation? And if we’re leaving we better make it quick because I just made eye contact with the waitress.

Maria: Never make eye contact!…Haven’t you learned anything…?

Alex (uncharacteristically pissy): My back is sore, my hands are blistered, my head is burnt, my stomach is growling, and if I had to sit on a toilet I wouldn’t be able to get off because my leg muscles – however microscopic they may be – are burning – burning – from squatting for four hours straight. I’ve never been to Texas, and God damnit I am not leaving it until I’ve had some authentic cookin’!

Isabel: Someone’s suffering from low blood sugar…

Maria: Fine…but someone needs to clean the bathroom.

(Michael and Alex look at Isabel, who grunts in annoyance and looks at Maria)

Maria: After this morning I think it’s the least you can do.

(Isabel lets out a sigh and exits the booth followed by Maria. On their way to the restroom they pass the waitress heading to the booth with water and menus. She gives them to Alex and Michael and leaves.)

Alex (after a few minutes of perusing the menu): I wonder what part of the cow they use for the Governor Bush burger.

Michael (not looking up from the menu): The ass.

(Alex looks at Michael startled by the comical quip and can’t help but break into laughter. Michael tries to hide a smile from behind his menu.)

Alex: Well we knew it wasn’t the brains – the guy pretty much flunked my Geography midterm…even I know where Serbia is. The guy probably thinks Czechoslovakia’s still a country…

(Michael’s smile widens and Alex laughs. He looks up at Michael, reading his menu, and Alex’s face softens. How do you hold the fate of someone’s life in your hands, and not really know who they are? Especially when life, death, and a lifetime of jail is involved, not to mention the seriously damaging psychological effects this whole thing could lead to…and the sucking away of one’s youth…and…)

Michael (looking at Alex, staring at him): What?

Alex (startled): What?

Michael: What are you lookin’ at?

Alex (shaking his head): You…(he waves his finger at Michael head) do you think my hair would do that?

Michael: I don’t know.

Alex: Right. Does it like take effort, or do you wake up like that?

Michael: What is this?

Alex: What?

Michael: Your interest in my personal hygiene…(he motions in the direction of where the girls went) Has she been talking to you or something?

Alex: No, what, guys aren’t supposed to talk about hair?

Michael (raising an eyebrow): No.

Alex: Damn, I’ve been hanging around girls too long. (He looks up at Michael) We should hang out some time.

Michael (about as surprised to hear the words, as Alex is to have said them): Me and you?

Alex (so much for subtlety): Yea…we should do something – outside the call of duty.

Michael: Hang out?

Alex: What? We’re swingin’ bachelors…I mean, I can’t get a girlfriend and you can’t keep one…(someone shut him up) and you know, Max, is pretty much useless in that department since he’s oblivious to anything outside the Land of Liz. (Alex fiddles with the menu and steals a glance at Michael – who’s still trying to process the whole ‘girlfriend’ comment) Do you play chess? (Where is this coming from? Michael just looks at him more confused) Cuz I think you’d like it…the whole strategic planning and plotting of annihilation…(Oh, God)…not that you’re into that or…I just think you’d like it…the whole intellectual challenge of it.

Michael (dumbfounded): Do you always get this way when you haven’t eaten in awhile?

Alex: You mean, irritable and agitated and talking incessantly? (Alex nods) Yea, pretty much…

Michael (eyes Alex for a lingering moment then returns to the menu): Right. (After a pause) Chess huh?

Alex: I really think you’d like it.

(The table returns to an awkward silence as Alex fiddles with the silverware, while Michael finally decides what he wants. Michael sets down his menu and glances in the direction of the bathrooms.)

Michael (letting out a sigh): What’s with girls and bathrooms?

Alex (shaking his head): Man, it’s a portal to a place, you do not want go…(Michael looks at Alex) Trust me.

(Scene: Liz’s Rooftop, early evening around 6 p.m. She sits on the lounge chair reading her Biology book. She jerks her head behind her at the sound of Max opening up her window from inside.)

Liz: Max, what are you doing?

Max (stopping, a little confused): You said to come by after work.

Liz: Through the window?

Max: Oh, (he continues his progression through the window) Actually your dad caught me, said I should just come up.

Liz: Hmm…

Max: Hmmm?

Liz (looking up at Max’s questioning face): Curious that’s all.

Max (raising his eyebrow): Curious?

Liz: You know, one usually doesn’t invite the enemy up, let alone acknowledge them. You should hear some of the things he says when he thinks I’m not in the room…

Max (as he crosses over toward her): The enemy?

Liz (smiling at him): Well, you are in effect trying to take his only child and eternal little girl away from him.

Max: To a galaxy far far away no less.

Liz (she playfully hits him): That, I think we should hold off sharing.

Max (shaking his head, seriously): Never.

(Liz looks at him as he picks up her Biology book and starts fiddling with it.)

Liz (softly): You know they’d still love you.

Max (reluctantly looking at her): Isabel thinks…

Liz: Max, you’re their son.

Max: I’m not even their race…

Liz: So. (Max looks at her) Doesn’t bother me…and I haven’t known you your whole life.

Max: Yea, well you wouldn’t have known if…

(Liz eyes the side of Max’s face, turned away from her.)

Liz: Some things are a blessing in disguise…just think what you’d be missing out on.

Max (wryly): Like endangering your life, pretty much threatening your future with jail or worse…or being responsible for your body being used for someone else’s sick and twisted games?

Liz: You are not responsible for that…and besides I was thinking more along the lines of the benefits. (Her eyes fall down Max’s face and she bites her lower lip) You know like…this…(she leans over and gently places a kiss on Max’s neck. Pulling only inches away and moving up to his ear) or maybe this…(she places a kiss on his earlobe. Max is in surprisingly good control until she softly bites down on his earlobe)…this I especially like…

Max (shifting so that he’s looking at her): Really? I prefer this…(He cups her face and pulls her in for a slow, lingering kiss. And so begins make-out session #554, or somewhere around there.)

(The kissing intensifies – the exploration of lips, hands, and exposed skin. As Max tries to shift them on the lounge chair to get a little more comfortable…he’s hit with the image of the dead women from the tabloid looking like Liz. He immediately cuts off the kiss and gasps, pulling away from Liz.)

Liz (concerned): Max? What’s wrong?

Max (seriously shaken): Um…nothing…I…I thought I heard something.

Liz (eyeing him very carefully): Are you okay?

Max (looking at her and reaching out to brush a loose strand of hair behind her ear): Yea, come here…(He pulls her into a hug. Closing his eyes and breathing deeply he tries to push back his panic and erase the graphic image from his mind. After a few moments he opens his eyes and pulls back a little.)

Max (curiously): When’d you get a cat?

(Liz turns and smiles at the sight of the black cat sitting on the roof ledge watching them.)

(Scene: Sheriff’s Office. Valenti sits at his desk fiddling with some electrical equipment in the left-hand upper left hand draw of his desk. It’s a recording device with cords running up to his phone. He checks all the plugs and picks up the phone causing the reels of tape on the device to start turning. He sets down the phone in satisfaction and leans back in his chair. His door opens quickly and a Deputy peeks his head in.)

Deputy: Agent Stevens on line 2.

Valenti (as he sits forward): That didn’t take long. That’ll be all, Deputy. (The Deputy nods and closes the door. Valenti looks at the phone, smiles and picks it up.) I’ve been expecting your call, what can I do for you Agent Stevens?

Stevens: You know exactly what I want. Let’s cut the crap, Sheriff, your interference with our investigation is only making things more difficult.

Valenti: Well now Agent, you never said your investigation included me, did you?

Stevens: Sheriff, our investigation is none of your concern and we’ll take whatever means necessary to ensure that it continues… undisturbed.

Valenti: Could you repeat that Agent, I want to make sure I got that threat on tape. (Dead silence) See Agent Stevens, I may be a small town Sheriff but I’m not stupid – I don’t need to learn a lesson twice.

Stevens: You have no idea who you’re dealing with.

Valenti: No, I’m pretty clear on that but you might want to remind your Agents who they’re dealing with…I’d have spotted him following me two weeks out of the Academy.

Stevens: I’d be careful if I were you…

Valenti: Two threats in one phone call – I must be doing something right. I wouldn’t worry about me Agent Stevens. I’ve learned a few things from my mistakes…and my father’s. Anything happens to me and it’s just a few degrees of separation back to you. And don’t even think about touching my family.

Stevens (laughing): Now who’s making threats…and empty ones at best.

Valenti: I’m just a phone call away from the 11 o’clock news top story…“FBI shoots a sixteen year old girl in the search for aliens.” You think the people of this town thought my dad was crazy…wait ‘til they get a load of you.

Stevens (after a pause): What do you want, Sheriff?

Valenti: I want your boys out of my town by tomorrow morning.

Stevens: This isn’t over.

Valenti: I didn’t expect it to be…and Agent, I’d warn the next batch you send this way to pay a little more respect to the local law enforcement – at least make it interesting for me.

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom late evening, around 9 p.m. Max is asleep at his desk, his History book being used as an uncomfortable pillow, and the pencil he holds threatening to fall out of his loose grip. The door, slightly open, is pushed all the way open as Michael enters. He sees Max at the desk and walks over, promptly dropping the large folder he carries, inches away from Max’s head. The loud noise jolts Max up.)

Max (startled and looking around the desk): I’m up, I’m up…(He quickly looks around the room and finds Michael retreating to the bed) Was that necessary?

Michael (as he sits down on the bed): Don’t even, Maxwell…

Max (eyeing Michael with a slight grin): Well I don’t see any bruises or scratches…

(Michael just glares at him and Max tries to keep the grin from spreading across his face. The moment is interrupted as Isabel enters the room and shuts the door.)

Isabel (looking at Michael): Did you tell him? (Michael cringes slightly and Max looks between the two of them)

Max: The stones…did you find them?

Michael: We found a goddamn rock quarry Maxwell – but it didn’t have the stones we were looking for.

Max: What?

Isabel (sheepishly): We didn’t find them…they weren’t there.

Max (looking away in frustration): I thought for sure they’d be there. (He looks up in time to see an almost guilty glance pass between Michael and Isabel.) What? (Michael looks away, entirely too disgusted to deal with this, and Isabel reaches into her pocket and pulls out a folded piece of paper.)

Isabel (hesitantly): We…(she doesn’t know how to explain so she just opens up the glowing piece of paper for Max to see) We thought we could find them by…

Michael (under his breath): Maria’s stupid idea…

Max (unmoved by what he’s seeing): Why’s it still glowing? (Michael and Isabel look at him dumbfounded)

Isabel (obviously missing something): What?

Max: Why didn’t you make it stop?

Isabel (sanity wavering): Make it stop? We don’t even know how we made it start. What are you talking about?

Max (looking at Isabel): Haven’t you ever helped Mom find her keys?

(Isabel just stares at him, like he’s speaking another language, and Max shakes his head in frustration. He focuses on the image and closes his eyes. He’s hit with a flash of the stones from one of the visions he’s seen from Liz, then darkness. The glowing dims and he opens his eyes. Michael and Isabel both stare at the paper and then Max. Isabel opens her mouth to speak but shuts it promptly. She looks down at the picture and then back up at Max.)

Isabel: How?

Max: I don’t know…we don’t really know how we do any of this…I just think about something and sometimes stuff happens. (Michael just furrows his brow, Isabel remains speechless, and Max quietly adds) Keys are smaller, and usually no where near Mom.

(Isabel shakes her head and looks adamantly at Max. She opens her mouth to speak but gets abruptly cut off.)

Mrs. Evans (from somewhere in the house): ISABEL DIANE EVANS!

(Isabel stiffens, it’s been a long time since that name’s been used. She looks at Max questioningly)

Max: Forget to tell Mom and Dad about quitting the Crashdown?

(Isabel’s face visibly pales as she inwardly curses.)

Mr. Evans (from wherever Mrs. Evans is): YOU HEARD YOUR MOTHER!

(Isabel throws the picture to Michael and turns, quickly exiting the room. Michael looks at the picture then over at Max, who’s rubbing his eyes and stretching his back. Michael reaches over the bed and picks up the drawing, studying it.)

Max (after a long pause): How long has it been glowing?

Michael (shaking his head): Eight hours. (Max shakes his own head and Michael just looks at him) You don’t think we started anything…you know turned them…on?

Max (shaking his head again): No…years of looking for Mom’s keys never started the car.

(Michael stares at the picture and Max silently surveys his desk, his eyes finally falling on the thick folder resting on top of it.)

Max (picking up the folder): What’s this?

Michael (slightly delayed reaction): What? Oh, his book…

Max (looking at it): Oh. (He looks up at Michael) Anything else in the house?

Michael (shaking his head): No…just some personal stuff… Nothing left of what we would’ve wanted. (He looks up at Max) What do we do now?

Max: I don’t know…I don’t know what we can do. That was the only lead…

Michael: We can’t just sit around and do nothing. What about the fourth…the guy in Santa Fe?

Max: I don’t know…Isabel and Alex were working on that…but we can’t go anytime soon, Michael. Liz can’t…

Michael: We can’t just wait around here…there’s another one of us out there Maxwell.

Max: We wouldn’t even know about them without Liz, Michael, we have to wait for her.

Michael (getting up): You, you have to wait for her…I didn’t subscribe to the 24-hour Liz Channel.

Max (also getting up and grabbing Michael by the arm to stop him from leaving): We, Michael, we do this together…(he notices the paper on the bed) We’ve already seen what happens when we split up.

Michael (angrily): Any more little tricks we haven’t seen yet Maxwell?

Max (defiantly): It’s not just me Michael, you can do it too…(nodding to the paper) you made that glow.

(Michael falters a little as realization hits. He looks at the paper and then back at Max. He slightly smiles)

Michael: I did, didn’t I?

Max (relaxing and smiling at Michael): Yea, now if we can just get you stop melting and blowing things up. (Michael cringes at that and pulls out the melted John Denver tape from his coat pocket.)

Michael (handing it to Max, disgruntled): Here. (Max takes it in his hand and looks at it) Fix it.

Max: What is it?

Michael: Just fix it okay?

Max: It helps to know what it was…

Michael: A tape…a stupid tape, alright?

(Max, not wanting to push it, looks from Michael to the melted plastic blob and waving his hand over it changes it back into what it was.)

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom, middle of the night. Music: Alanis Morissette – Uninvited, just the music, no lyrics. The room is illuminated by moonlight creeping in from the window and the soft red glow of the alarm clock – which reads 3:00 a.m. Max sleeps restlessly, and his face glistens – streams of sweat reflecting the moon’s light. His body starts to shake as chills come over him, and he turns on his side, instinctively curling into the fetal position. He continues to shiver and sweat, saturating his pillow and covers. After several long moments his eyes suddenly snap open and he sits up in bed.

He peels the damp blanket off himself and runs a shaky hand through his soaking hair. He lets out a sigh loaded with frustration, confusion, and fear. After glancing at the alarm clock he shakes his head and gets out of bed. He exits the room only to return minutes later carrying a glass of milk. He stares around his darkened room, contemplating what to do now. The kitchen’s no longer safe – one more chance encounter with his mom or Isabel and there’s no way to avoid the inevitable questions of concern…questions he doesn’t have answers for. His eyes shift from the pile of laundry needing to be folded to the textbooks on his desk. Homework it is.

Rubbing at his eyes, he slowly makes his way to the desk and turns the lamp on. He sits down and his eyes fall on the folder resting on the corner of the desk. He stares at the folder, glances over at the textbooks and then back to the folder. Letting out a sigh, he slides the folder over so it’s directly in front of him. After a few seconds, and a few sips of milk, he takes the rubber bands off the folder and hesitantly opens it. The first bunch of papers appear to be correspondence between Atherton and the publisher. Max quickly sifts through them and stops when he sees the title page of what looks like the manuscript.

Max turns the page and looks down at the next one with a furrowed brow. What he reads he doesn’t remember from the edition of the book he read earlier that year…but then again, he hadn’t paid much attention to anything preceding the Table of Contents. There’s only one line on the page and Max reads it repeatedly, curiously…

“Talent alone cannot make a writer. There must be a man behind the book.” – Emerson.

After moments of dwelling on the curious quote Max turns the page and immediately swallows, gagging back fear, and the overwhelming urge to throw up. The page has two words, well only one word really.

“For, N”

Max scoots his chair out, and stares at the object on his desk. Afraid to touch it, to acknowledge it, to recognize the implications. He brings his hands to his head as if the pressure from his fingertips will keep it from exploding. How had he missed this? How had he been so blind, so assuming the first read through? He peers at the book through his hands and releases a shaky breath, as everything he’s ever wanted to know about himself, stares back up at him.