posted on 21-May-2002 5:31:59 PM by tyranese
Let me fall.
This is a story based on an impossible love and the steel bonds of four sisters. Set in the rich countryside where one young girl will endure one of the hardest tests of growing up and be forced to decide which is more important to her. A new range of feelings she can’t comprehend or the love of one of her sisters and possibly the rest of her family.
-Author: Nicola Clarke
-Category: Max and Liz
-Disclaimer: This story is mine but the traitor Jason Katims owns the original characters.
-Rating: NC-17
Dedication: I owe this story to Paulinna Simmons. I got a lot of this stories ideas from her book, the bronze horseman, and I think this should be for her.

~* Prologue *~

You know you’re nervous when perspiration gathers grotesquely on your forehead and above your lips. Your palms feel slippery and the ‘butterflies’ in your stomach flutter so insistently that you’re sure they’re trying to fly up your throat.

You know you look good and you’ve been through this more then a hundred times before but you never cease to get worked up and over excited.

“Elizabeth that dress is beyond flattering on you, I hope you agree.”

Isabelle, Is, Belle, Isabella, she represents everything that is proper in Elizabeth’s life.

“If you don’t get noticed in that dress I don’t know if you ever will.”

She fixed the clip in her own hair and said, “Let’s do your hair now shall we?”

Elizabeth looked at her reflection in the mirror. She was the only brunette daughter in her family and she was shorter then her other three blonde sisters too. Isabel was a stunning, round faced, glowing, girl with all the makings of someone respected and important. She was the eldest of the children with an age of twenty-four.

The next contribution to the family was Carmen; she was also blonde and though she was a little shorter then Isabel she matched her twin, Elizabeth’s other sister, Maria, perfectly. Carmen and Maria were very skinny with long fingers and toes like their mother and they both had white blonde hair… somewhat thicker and lighter then Isabelle’s. They were twenty-one and Elizabeth the youngest of them all… was twenty.

“My hair is done,” Elizabeth explained to her sister. “I want to leave it down tonight.”

Isabelle cleared her throat.

“Uh right I’m sure you do but no one wears there hair down unless they are going to bed… it just isn’t proper. As pretty as it is, it isn’t appropriate for our festivities tonight I’m sorry.”

Elizabeth was definitely the unique one of the sisters with her brown button eyes and her brown wavy hair.

She was smaller in every way… bust, height, and just basic appearance.

“I’m leaving it down… I’ll just add this little black clip here…”

Elizabeth put a little, black, butterfly clasp in her hair and nodded with approval. “I’m not changing my mind,” she said.

Obviously her mother and father would tell her off for pulling such a stunt; woman did not wear their hair down in public it just wasn’t done, end of story.

“But…” Isabelle tried to protest but Elizabeth wouldn’t even give her the time of day.

“No, I want it like this… I like it and it’s my opinion first, right?”

Isabelle shook her head and let go of Elizabeth’s hair.

“This is Maria’s fault, she’s putting silly thoughts in your head.”

Maria, though she could do nothing to fix the current situation of women and their rights, she very openly let her complaints be heard. Anything from trying to get woman the right to vote and the right to be able to wear and have a job. Elizabeth agreed in some ways but not as forcefully as Maria, Carmen and Isabelle were happy to just be wives.

“Are you guys ready…?” Speaking of Maria… “Hey Elizabeth your hair is stunning.”

Elizabeth beamed with pride. “Thank you Maria.”

“She’s rebelling against society,” Isabelle pointed out.

“Thank God somebody is, good for you Elizabeth.”

Maria opened the door fully and reminded them it was time to go downstairs again.

“Okay we’re ready… well I am anyway.” Isabelle followed Maria out into the hall. “Are you coming Elizabeth?”

“I’ll be right there,” She replied.

She looked in the mirror again; she loved the dress she was wearing. It had a corset holding her upper half and had no straps; the skirt was attached to top and flowed down past her ankles. The color of her gown was burgundy but there was black stitching that was very noticeable and made it even more original.

Elizabeth left the room and made her way down the hall to the staircase where her three sisters and mother were waiting.

Tonight was a celebration for Maria and Carmen’s betrothals. It is tradition to get married when you turn twenty-one in the Parker family and tonight the announcement would be made as to who the two daughters would be marrying. Their parent’s picked the men they would marry, Isabelle was lucky to have had Alexander Whitman picked for her, he was the successful son of Charles Whitman and she claimed she couldn’t be happier with him. They shared a large and stunning house not far from the Parker residence. The girls were not allowed to meet the bachelors before the celebration night and Elizabeth hoped her sisters would be matched as perfectly as Isabelle had been.

When ever they had a party at the Parker’s estate the five woman of the family would meet at the top of the staircase in front of the ballroom. The music would stop so they could walk down in age order and have the main focus in the room, when they reached the bottom everyone greeted them and clapped as a sign of respect. The Parker’s were superior people and everyone knew of them, they were almost considered royalty because of their wealth and kindness.

When she reached the designated space at the top of the staircase Carmen opened her mouth to say something about her hair but before she could their mother instructed them to follow her now. The music stopped and they slowly walked into the view of all their guests, there were over two hundred people gathered in a group waiting for them.

They all smiled in unison and the guests clapped happily, Elizabeth thought this was such a corny thing to do. The ballroom was lit up with chandeliers and the music source was an orchestra and female singer whom were positioned in the left corner near the archway leading to the dinning room.

The ballroom was used more frequently then you would think, whether it be used during the day for the daughters dancing lesson’s or whether it be used for their social gatherings through the night. The floors were white marble and on either side of the room were a set of French doors leading out to the gardens. Large sets of windows were positioned on both sides of the doors and large cream drapes hung from them. The doors were frequently left open except for when it was raining and the main fire was lit to warm up the bedrooms.

Elizabeth looked around the room in search of her friends in the crowd but there were none in sight.

She saw parent’s friends and complete strangers but no one that she could escape to when she reached the bottom of the stairs.

If she knew what Maria and Carmen’s fiancee’s looked like she would have looked for them so she could point them out to her sisters. But since no one except their parent’s knew what they looked like tonight would be one big guessing game and conquest to find out which bachelor would be significant in their futures. There were many young men in the room but one that stirred Liz’s curiosity instantly was a strapping man with dark eyes.

He was standing in the corner of the room surrounded by many people maybe twice his age. Elizbabeth would have moved on to look at something else except something in his gaze, that was directly focused on her, captivated her and urged her to keep looking. He noticed her replying to his looks with a stare of her own and they both blushed. When she was brave enough to look him directly in the eyes again she felt something move within her, move.

He was tall maybe a little taller then six foot and his short hair was stuck up at the front just a little bit… there was no mistaking he was good looking.

She was unable to tear her gaze away; she had never seen him before… who could this beautiful stranger be, she wondered. She reached the bottom of the stairs and her view of him was blocked, she almost cried out.

“Elizabeth Parker,” her mother hissed with a fake smile on her face so her guests wouldn’t notice she was telling her daughter off.

“What do you think you’re doing? Why isn’t your hair done!”

She nodded to a lady and then looked back at her daughter. “Is this some kind of stunt? Are you trying to deliberately rui….”

“Nancy you look fabulous!” One of their guests came up and kissed her mothers cheeks.

“We’ll finish this later,” Nancy mumbled in Elizabeth’s ear.

She pushed past her and was soon lost in the mingling and dancing bodies.

Elizabeth could not have been less interested in her mother’s warnings all she cared about was finding the handsome man she had seen from the stairs.

One of her sisters crept up behind her. “You’re in big trouble now,” she said.

Elizabeth discovered it was Carmen.

“You’re so silly you know that?” she whispered.

She chuckled and kissed Elizabeth’s cheek.

Elizabeth was too busy searching the crowd to care what her sister was saying. She finally spotted the person she was looking for making his way towards her.

Her heart missed a beat as she looked up to meet his gaze.

“But I do have a new respect for you. I didn’t think you had it in you, I think I may even love you more.” Carmen tugged on her arm. “Come on let’s go and get a drink.”

Before Elizabeth could utter a sound she was dragged away and out of his view again, she could have cursed she was so disappointed.

Carmen got a glass of wine off the waiter and handed it to Elizabeth, she then grabbed one herself. “What should we make a toast to?” She asked.

Elizabeth made a brief smile, momentarily forgetting all about the man she had seen.

“Let’s toast to you and you’re soon to be engagement. May he be the man of your dreams like you so deserve.”

Carmen smiled at her sister and they clinked their glasses. “Thank you sweet heart.” Carmen kissed her cheek again. “You always were my favorite sister.”

Elizabeth grinned. “I better be,” she said.

Though all four sisters got on quite well Elizabeth and Carmen got on exceptionally well, they told each other everything and were like best friends. Maria and Isabelle just had too many differences to get on very well but that didn’t matter because Isabelle had a husband and many girlfriends that she had made in school. That was the same for Maria whose best friend was named Rose.

“Do you think my new husband be handsome?” Carmen asked.

Elizabeth nodded. “He will be, our parent’s know you won’t be satisfied unless he is.”

Carmen rolled her eyes. “What is that supposed to mean?” she asked.

“Nothing, nothing.”

Elizabeth drank all of her wine and the waiter took it off of her when he came past again.

“I’m going to go stand by the window and try and get some fresh air, go look for any possible fiancee’s for yourself and when you find the one you know is the one mother and father have set up for you come and tell me.”

Maybe Elizabeth could spot that handsome stranger from the window?

Carmen rolled her eyes. “Okay spoil sport, maybe I should find a fiancee for you while I’m at it?”

“That’s mother and fathers job.” Elizabeth reminded her before going over to the window and looking out at the dark starry night.

Another importance in the Parker family was that the girls had to save themselves for their husbands. If a man was picked to be one of the husbands for Jeff Parker’s daughters it was considered a huge privilege.

Someone cleared his or her throat behind her and she turned around to see her father looking at her with disapproving eyes.

“Elizabeth what are you thinking?”

“I was thinking it looked nice father.” Elizabeth begged him to understand. “Why does it matter if our hair is up anyway?”

“I have never heard of a woman with her hair down in the presence of anyone let alone at a formal party, you have disappointed me.” He shook his head.

“Father I…”

“No. Your mother and I will issue you a deserving punishment after the guests leave. I want you to think about what a mistake you have made.”

He turned on his heels and walked away.

Elizabeth huffed and with sad eyes turned back to look at the sky, maybe she could find enough tranquillity in the dark and shinny pool to drown out all her unpleasant emotions.

Not long after she was faced with yet another clearing of some ones throat except this time when she turned to face the intruder she was not presented with a face of disappointment but one of an intrigued male stranger.

[ edited 35time(s), last at 13-Sep-2002 11:26:43 PM ]
posted on 22-May-2002 6:48:04 PM by tyranese
Ow wow all the Fb! Thank you so much everyone:
frenchkiss70, Jdreamer, Angel eyes, Lana Lane, AvengingAngelIQ, bubbles, Christina, Shama, JaneLane, Nikki, LiLEvEe, care bears, becca, Wayliz, Spicy trini1, Baby, roswelllover, Jbehrbabe, jeremiah, PSW2001, roswellluver, Michelle, Carolyn, Nikki Nicole, anna, marteloise.

I hope you still continue to read my story after this part, enjoy!

~* I *~

He held his hand out to her.

“May I have this dance?” He asked. His voice was warm and friendly like Elizabeth had expected it to be.

She nodded and lifted her hand to put it in his. When their skin touched Elizabeth blushed and looked away from his face, she was so glad he had come to her.

He led her out to the dance floor just as a new song was starting; they did not look at each other.

When they found a somewhat empty space on the floor he rapped his arm around her waist and she put her hand on his shoulder, their joined hands stayed at their side.

Unforgettable, that’s what you are,

Unforgettable, though near or far,

Like a song of love that clings to me,

How the thought of you does things to me,

Never before has someone been more.

Unforgettable, in every way,

And for ever more, And for ever more,

That’s how you’ll stay,

That’s how you’ll stay.

While swaying to the music he introduced himself.

“My name is Maxwell Evan’s.” He stared into her eyes.

“Elizabeth Parker,” she replied looking right back at him.

She would have smiled but she was too shy.

He had a slight smile on his face like she amused him. “Nice to meet you,” he teased.

Though she was shy it happened naturally, she finally smiled. “The pleasures all mine,” she said.

That’s why darling, it’s incredible,

That someone so unforgettable thinks that I am,

unforgettable too.

“If you don’t mind me asking why do you look so different from your sisters?”

Maxwell leaned into her left ear so she could hear him over the music.

She sucked in a breath and in doing so inhaled his masculine, dreamy smell.

“I guess I have more of my father in me,” she answered. “I hate it.”

“Don’t,” he whispered back almost inaudibly.

Like never before, has someone been more,



In every way,

In every way,

And for ever more,

And for ever more,

They were so close their faces and chests nearly touched.

“What do you want most in life?” Maxwell suddenly asked.

Elizabeth, a little flustered, replied, “What do you mean Mr. Evan’s?”

She had already forgotten all about her rules for herself, not to want to get involved with anyone because whom she married was not her decision. She couldn’t hide the fact that this man intrigued her greatly.

He let out a husky laugh and then answered, “I learnt a little while ago that when you want to get to know someone you don’t ask them what their favorite color is, or how they like their tea or anything like that but what they want from life. After you have listened intently to their detailed description of their most important goal I am to ask why you have done nothing to get what you find dearest.”

She was mystified by him.

“And what if they have what they want so much?” She asked.

He stared at her with loving eyes. “Do you?” He asked.

“No,” she whispered back.

That’s how you’ll stay,

That’s how you’ll stay,

That’s why darling, it’s incredible,

That someone so unforgettable thinks that I am

unforgettable too.

Once the song ended Maxwell politely asked if Elizabeth would like to join him in a walk outside under the stars.

She replied that she’d love to and he took her hand and led her out through the open French doors to the garden.

As they walked Elizabeth did not let go of Maxwell’s hand and he did not let go of hers either.

“You know what I want most in life?” Maxwell asked.

Elizabeth did not reply afraid he would tell her.

He waited a few minutes before saying, “To feel fulfilled in every way.”

“You don’t feel fulfilled?” She asked.

He stopped walking and turned to look down at her.

“No, not in every way.

Elizabeth suspected he had another meaning behind his words but she was too inexperienced to know what. She dismissed it and asked about his father, “I have never seen you at our house before, I suspect your father knows my parent’s?”

He let go of her hand much to Elizabeth’s disappointment.

“I don’t know much about why I am here, I am sure my mother is an old friend of your mothers.” He looked up at the sky. “It’s beautiful isn’t it?”

“Yes.” Elizabeth wanted to sit down on the bench next to the fishpond with him but she was to shy to ask.

“Want to sit down?” Maxwell asked motioning to the bench. Elizabeth smiled to herself and wondered if he’d read her mind. They sat down quite close to each other, closer then you would with a stranger.

“How old are you Mr. Evan’s?” Elizabeth asked.

“Please call me Maxwell,” he replied, smiling. “I am twenty-two but in less then four months I will be twenty-three.”

Elizabeth looked down at her hands in her lap. “Mr. Evan’s how…?”

Maxwell,” he corrected her.

Teasingly she cleared her throat and said, “Mr. Evan’s, how far away do you live?”

He rolled his eyes but his face showed blatantly that he was amused by her.

“Not far.”

He pointed west from where they were sitting. “If you follow the bank next to the river straight down, the sixth apartment are my lodgings.”

“That is about ten minutes on horse back?” She asked.

He nodded and then replied, “Yes.”

Elizabeth sucked in a breath. “You live with your parent’s?”

“Until I’m married, yes.”

He looked down at her. They went silent and just stared at each other for some time.

“Elizabeth!” Isabelle called from the French doors at the house. “Where are you? It’s time for the announcement!”

“Oh no.” Elizabeth stood up. “Oh no I completely forgot. I have to go it was nice meeting you Mr. Evan’s.” She hurried back along the paths holding her skirt up with her hands.

“Elizabeth?” Maxwell called after her. “Will I see you again?”

She stopped and turned to look at him. “If you would like to see me again, it will happen most definitely.” She smiled then turned and hurried back to the house.

“Where have you been?” Isabelle demanded. “Your sisters are about to meet their husbands and you’re wandering around outside?”

Elizabeth apologized, “I’m sorry I got distracted.”

“By what?” Isabelle folded her arms over herself and looked out into the gardens. She noticed Maxwell approaching and her mouth opened in disbelief. “Oh my goodness you weren’t with…?”

Elizabeth blushed. “Shh, we were just walking. Let’s go inside shall we?”

Isabelle smiled at Maxwell. “Excuse me?” She said.

He smiled back.

"Yes?” He answered.

Elizabeth shook her head in embarrassment.

“What were you doing out here with baby sister? You have good intentions I hope?” She pinched Elizabeth’s arm.

“Definitely good intentions.” He bowed his head to them both then walked into the house. Elizabeth rubbed her arm where she had just been pinched.

“What is wrong with you?” She demanded, “Why do you have to embarrass me?”

“Oh wait till I tell your sisters you were out with a man!” Isabelle teased.

“You won’t do anything of the sort, let’s go inside now.”

Elizabeth lead them back in through the doors and over to their parents who gathered with Maria and Carmen in the corner.

“Where have you been?” Carmen whispered in Elizabeth’s ear.

“No where. Be quiet.”

Elizabeth smiled at her parent’s. “Are we going to meet them now? I am very anxious to meet my soon to be brother in laws.”

“If you were so anxious why were you not here more promptly?” Her mother asked.

Elizabeth apologized.

When Maria, Carmen, and Elizabeth had questioned Isabelle what it was like when she met Alexander in front of all those people she replied it was one of the most nervous but exciting moments in her whole life and that she did not regret it at all.

The music stopped and everyone knew it was time, Elizabeth squeezed her sister’s arms and wished them the best of luck. They had it to their advantage they could go through this together, Isabelle had to do it not only alone but also first! Elizabeth would have to do it alone and last.

Did that mean she would get the most attention? She hoped not.

Everyone turned to look at Jeffery Parker as he walked up the staircase so he was easily seen.

“First of all,” he started. “I want to thank all of you for making an appearance in our home tonight, this is a big occasion for me and Nancy, loosing two of our daughters at once. You being here is such a great support and we hope you are enjoying yourselves.”

He glanced down at his four daughters. “It doesn’t seem to have been long since we were last here for Isabelle we were all pleased to find out that we had matched her well with Alexander…”

He noticed Alexander’s late arrival through the doors on the side of the room and smiled to himself.

“Now it is time to give two of my three daughters left away to men that don’t even know themselves that tonight they will leave engaged.” He chuckled. “I’m sure they will be satisfied though."

Everyone laughed.

“Maria darling.” He motioned for her to come and stand next to him. “You’re soon to be husband is in this room and is probably just being informed that he has been chosen for you.”

“Oh father…” Maria shook her head.

“Michael Guerin,” Jeff suddenly said. He motioned to a man with light brown hair and a big nose.

Elizabeth watched his shocked face as everyone turned to him including Maria. He walked up and stood next to her.

“Nice to meet you,” he muttered.

“You too,” she said.

Elizabeth frowned; this should not be the way things were done. They really should be able to meet the man they were going to marry in a private place before this ceremony.

“And Carmen come here it’s your turn.” Jeffery took her arm. “As I can see from here he has just been informed…” He smiled.

“Maxwell Evan’s.”

Elizabeth’s breath left her body so quickly she felt she would faint. Maxwell Evan’s, her Maxwell Evan’s?
He walked up and took Carmen’s hand in his, “Hi,” he whispered.

Everyone started clapping and cheering with happiness.
Elizabeth paled and was sure she was about to be sick, she turned around and put her hands over her mouth.

How could this be happening?

She closed her eyes she wanted to cry.

“Oh my god,” Isabelle muttered behind her. “Elizabeth I’m so sorr…”

Elizabeth turned around. “I’m fine.” She put on a fake smile. It was like she had been given a wonderful gift and then found out it was all a joke and it wasn’t hers at all. After she had been so excited….

“Oh Elizabeth….” Isabelle touched her arm. “He’s just a man, we’ll find you a new one.”

Elizabeth cleared her throat. “No,” she said.

All the guests went back to dancing so just the family and its new additions were left standing together.

Elizabeth would not look at Carmen and Maxwell… no not would not, could not.

Was he looking at her? Did he care at all… or was he happy he was marrying her sister and had forgotten all about her?

The two new couples went out on the dance floor to dance and Nancy and Jeffery turned to Isabelle and Elizabeth.

“What do you think,” Jeffery asked. “Good match?”

Isabelle opened her mouth but she was too shocked and ended up just nodding and rapping her arms around Elizabeth.

“I’m going to get a drink.” Elizabeth pushed Isabelle’s arms away and walked away from them.

“What is wrong with her this evening Isabelle?” Nancy looked concerned. “First she breaks rules then she disappears to who knows where and now…”

“Leave her alone mom, she’s having a hard night.”

Isabelle felt Alexander rap his arms around her waist and she smiled.

“Your later then I expected,” she said.

“I am deeply sorry.” He smiled. “Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Parker, I saw the men you have chosen for Maria and Carmen, nice work I’m sure they are wonderful.”

“Why thank you Alexander,” Nancy replied, smiling.

“Let’s dance?” Alexander asked Isabelle.

She nodded and they walked out onto the floor together.

~* *~

When the night was over and everyone had gone home the family was in Elizabeth’s room… all for different reasons.

Isabelle because she felt the need to let Elizabeth know she knew she was hurt and she was here to help.

Carmen because she wanted to talk about how happy she was with Maxwell and about how handsome he was.

Maria because she wanted to bitch about the snotty man she was going to be forced into marriage with.

Nancy Parker because she wanted to make sure Elizabeth was sufficiently punished and talked to.

Jeffery Parker because he wanted to express his disappointment for her foul behavior this evening.

Elizabeth lay on her side away from them, away from it all. She was not in a good mood and she didn’t want to hear any of it, even if one of them was there to help with her situation. She wanted none of it.

She wanted this night to be instantly over.

“Elizabeth turn to us this instant!” Nancy growled. “Such foul behavior so disrespectful!”

“Mother you have to understand she is about to loose the only two sisters she has left here at home, who will she have to play with?” Maria said.

Elizabeth heard her whisper something to her parent’s and their apologies towards her.

“I’m sorry Elizabeth but when things aren’t going your way you must not repel…”

“I don’t think it’s that.” Isabelle was stroking Elizabeth’s hair.
“I think you have every right to be upset my sister,” she whispered in her ear.

Elizabeth shuddered.

“Are you going to reply…?” Nancy asked.

Isabelle turned to her parent’s. “In the morning you can talk to her, she needs to be left alone tonight. Please understand.”

If Elizabeth had been up to talking she would have thanked her eldest sister for helping her. She did not how ever like her sympathy.

Her parent’s left the room and soon after her sisters did too. Unfortunately half an hour later Carmen returned in her night wear and climbed into bed with her.

“Tell me what’s wrong darling.” She rapped her arms around Elizabeth.

“Nothing is wrong.”

Elizabeth never lied to Carmen but she could not tell her what was really wrong. What was wrong was to do with her and if she told her she would be faced with no solution and an awkward situation. What she really wanted to say was, but I saw him first he danced with me. He held my hand.

Carmen sucked in a breath. “I am really happy with Maxwell,” she whispered. “He is so kind and wonderful…”

“I’m glad.”

Elizabeth closed her eyes tight and begged for someone to take her away.

“And did you see how handsome he was?” Carmen drew patterns on Elizabeth’s stomach. “I think he may be the most handsome man I have ever met. I thanked our parent’s vigorously for their good choice…”

“As you should,” Elizabeth muttered. But I will not, she thought.

“Is it possible to fall in love after one night?” Carmen asked.

Tears filled Elizabeth’s eyes. “I thought so…” She swallowed back a sob. “But no.”

Carmen got out of the bed and went back to her own room. Elizabeth was left to face her own sorrows.

Breakfast the next morning was a joyous occasion for everyone except Elizabeth whom had not gotten very much sleep last night.

“I don’t like him.” Maria was talking about Michael. “He’s completely different from me and I don’t want to marry him.”

“Maria darling you must get to know him better, you will like him you’ll see.” Jeffery glanced at his wife. “He is a good man…”

“Well I for one am ecstatic about the man you picked for me!” Carmen had a huge smile plastered on her face. “I can not thank you enough.”

“We knew you’d like him, we thought he was perfect for you.” Nancy smiled. “I knew his mother when I was younger and they only moved back into town a couple of months ago, when I heard she had a son…”

I knew that, Elizabeth thought shamefully.

“It’s meant to be,” Carmen said letting out a chuckle.

Elizabeth cleared her throat. “May I be excused?” She asked. She told herself she would get over this but if she had to see him every day with her sister how could she forget him?

He had smiled at her and they had held hands when they walked together… was that a lie? Was this the lie?

“You may leave,” Jeffery said blankly.

Elizabeth left the table and went to the only place she could get sanctuary from.

“Why is she so glum?” Nancy asked saddened by her usually very happy daughter.

“I think this is a hard time for her mom, she’s loosing two sisters at once,” Carmen explained.

“She still needs a punishment,” Jeffery claimed.

Elizabeth had just gotten changed into her riding gear and went down to the stables to her horse. She loved horses and she was a very talented rider despite what people said about ladies and riding horses. They were supposed to have both legs on one side but Elizabeth could not imagine being unable to gallop along the banks of the river like she so frequently did.

After she had brushed her caramel colored horse and fixed it with a saddle she climbed on and started a slow pace out to the meadow not far from the house.

“Elizabeth!” Maria cried. “Come back for a second would you?”

Elizabeth rode back and asked what was wrong.

“We are going into town for the morning we won’t be back till after lunch, will you be okay here by yourself? Father said you couldn’t come because you needed to be punished…”

“I’ll be fine.” Elizabeth bit her lip, she didn’t want to come into town anyway. “Are you going to see the Rose family?” She asked.

Maria nodded. “It’s likely.”

“Can you say hello to them for me and tell Jennifer I have some nice shoes here for her if she wants them… they have hardly been worn and look brand new.”

Elizabeth stroked her horses mane.

“Okay… Elizabeth,” she said. “You really should be wearing a helmet you know.”

“I’ll be fine.”

Elizabeth rode away a little faster this time and Maria went back inside. She never wore a helmet, she liked to wear her hair down and have the wind fly through it… it was such a nice feeling of freedom.

She could spend forever flying around the meadows and riverbanks on her horse. It brought her so much peace and she was the happiest she ever was…

Elizabeth rode around for forty minutes before she was interrupted. She didn’t know that he had been watching her for ten minutes though. She saw him when was nearing the house and her heart stopped, what was he doing here?

Well obviously he was here to see her sister.

She climbed off of her horse and he walked up to her, he greeted her so warmly.

“Good morning.”

He was smiling so all of his white teeth could be seen.

She blushed and looked down at her boots.

“Hello,” she muttered.

“Pardon me? I can’t hear you with your face down towards the ground.”

When she looked up Maxwell was looking at her with such–-

“My families not here,” she said. “They have gone to town, I’m sorry you came all this way.”

“I didn’t come very far,” he said.

“Yes… well.”

She brushed her hands on her pants and realized she must look a fright with her hair everywhere. She pulled a hair tie out of her pocket and quickly pulled her hair up into a pony tale.

"Your welcome to stay,” she said whilst shrugging. “But there isn’t much to do… I have to put my horse away, excuse me?”

He followed her back to her horse.

“What’s his name?” He asked.

“Your very observant.” She couldn’t help but smile. “You knew he was a male straight away, do you like horses?”

“I love horses.” Maxwell ran his hand along the horses side. “And this is a stunning horse.”

“Thank you, I take good care of him. His name is Trigger.”

She undid the saddle and slid it off the horses back.

“I’ve never seen a woman ride a horse like you just did.”

“You mean with one leg on each side? I can’t ride any other way.”

She lead the horse towards the stables, she needed to control her heart, suddenly it was beating very quickly. Maxwell had been on her mind since last night and she couldn’t hide that she was happy to see him. They had had something when they were alone during the dance and afterwards, she wasn’t lying to herself about that and she hoped he thought so to.

She felt bad about feeling for him but she did not wish she didn’t feel that way.

When they were in the stable Maxwell looked her right in the face and said, “About last night… I’m sorry ab…”

“Don’t worry,” Elizabeth interrupted him. He brought it up that meant so much.

“No I had no idea and I shouldn’t have just…”

“It’s not your fault it turned out this way, you don’t have to apologize. My sister thinks your wonderful and you two will be great together.”

Why did it hurt to say that?

She wanted to add that she was sad and she wished things were different but could not it would not benefit either of them they would just feel worse.

They looked at each other, their eyes filled with the time they had spent together dancing and walking…

How could such a short time with some one have meant so much?

Elizabeth cleared her throat. “Oh well…” she said quietly.

Maxwell reached out and touched her arm. “I wish things were different.” His eyes were focused only on her. “I wish that so much.”

Elizabeth returned his stare. “But they can’t be,” she said.

She bit her lip and looked away from his intense stare, it was too much for her.

Maxwell took his hand away from her arm and stepped away, regret was in his eyes.

An okay so some of you guessed it even before you read the next part! Thankyou again for all the feedback... I love hearing what you think *happy*


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Sep-2002 6:37:10 PM ]
posted on 23-May-2002 4:22:00 PM by tyranese
thankyou for all the wonderful feedback here's a new part!!

~* II *~

The first thing Elizabeth saw in the morning was Maxwell's face. She was trying to forget him, she wanted so much to let go and do the right thing for her sister, why was it so hard?

She had never been so interested in a man before, why did the one she happened to feel for have to be the one so wrong for her? Why was it so obviously not meant to be?

She wanted to cry, she wanted to talk to someone, she wanted to do something anything other then have to go through this every day. Elizabeth couldn't ring the hurt out of herself.

She tried to hide her sad face behind smiles and laughs but on the inside the flame in her heart was not bright and glowing beautifully it was weak and surrounded by dark and damp. The one thing not even she could understand was how she had connected with a stranger so fully and so quickly.

When she got dressed she thought of him, when she ate breakfast she thought of him but worst of all when she saw Carmen's face she thought of him. Elizabeth was tempted to step forward and tell her family about everything but her sister was too important to her and she would be hurt. Elizabeth knew her well and she would try to hide it but she would be hurt deeply.

I am hurt too, Elizabeth thought. I am hurting all day because of this and there is nothing I can do to stop it, but I will not put myself before my sister she vowed.

~* *~

Elizabeth sucked in a breath as her mother pulled on the strings at the back of her cosset. She tugged on them once more and Elizabeth clenched her teeth to stop from crying out.

“Mother,” she panted.

Her mother tied the ends up and apologized, “I’m sorry Elizabeth.”

Her mom put her hand up to her mouth and stared down at the floor. “ I’m worried about you,” she said honestly.

“Don’t be,” Elizabeth turned to face her. “Everything is fine.”

Her mother stared at her face as if she were expecting to find something wrong on it, she nodded her head and then said, “You’ve been acting a little strange lately.”

Elizabeth could tell she was concerned and for a second she thought very seriously about telling her exactly why she had been acting different lately. That second passed and then so did another, Elizabeth did not tell her. Instead she looked down at her shoes and said in a quiet voice, “Have I?”

“Yes Elizabeth you have.” Her mother put her hand on her daughter’s cheek. “I’m your mother,” she said. “and I can tell something is bothering you. You know you can always come to me with anything.”

“I know,” Elizabeth bit her lip.

When she had turned fifteen and woke up to discover she was bleeding down there she had been afraid to tell her mother. Finally her mother did found out and she was very supportive and hugged her. She congratulated her on becoming a woman and somehow made Elizabeth feel proud to get her monthlies. Elizabeth never had trouble talking to her since.

“Are you sure nothing is wrong?” Nancy brushed a strand of hair behind Elizabeth’s ear.

Elizabeth sucked in a breath and with a heavy heart said, “I am fine mother, I’m sorry for worrying you.”

Nancy nodded. “Well I’m just glad your okay,” she said.

A small smile perked on her lips. “I want to apologize for over reacting the other night. Your hair does look lovely down but you know you shouldn’t wear it like that to big events…”

Elizabeth bit her lip. “Why?” She asked.

Her mother was silent for a little while. Finally she replied, “It’s just something woman have always done.”

“But there’s no point in it,” Elizabeth argued.

Her mother chuckled. “You sound like Maria,” she said.

Elizabeth blushed. “I’m sorry.”

They both laughed.

“It’s just more presentable and I admit it was probably a man that started it.” Nancy rolled her eyes. “We have a certain appearance we have to attain next to them.”

Elizabeth knew that complaining about it further would not do anything so she didn’t say anything else. After her mother did her hair up and she was dressed appropriately for church they went down stairs where the rest of the family was waiting. Carmen looped her arm through Elizabeth’s and whispered in her ear, “Tonight we are having dinner at the Evan’s house, I’m so excited.”

“We are?” Elizabeth swallowed.

Carmen nodded.

“All of us?” Elizabeth asked horrified.

Carmen nodded.

The family boarded the carriage that was to take them to the church in town; Elizabeth got to sit next to the little window and stared out it at the passing trees and houses.

She spent the whole journey trying to decide whether she was happy she was going to see Maxwell again or whether she was annoyed she would have to spend a whole evening watching him with her sister. She decided it would be so much easier if she just never saw him again… she’d surely forget him then wouldn’t she?

It was raining when they reached the church and the family went inside speedily. Elizabeth sat with Isabelle and Alexander at the back, her family were up the front with the Guerins.

“How are you doing?” Isabelle rapped her arm around Elizabeth’s waist.

“I’m fine,” she said, smiling. “As I should be.”

Alexander pinched her knee. “Isabelle told me about what happened, I’m sorry. You are allowed to be upset.”

Elizabeth looked mortified. “You told him?” She asked.

Isabelle looked at her with wide eyes.

“Please don’t tell anyone else,” she begged.

Alexander chuckled. “Don’t worry we won’t tell anyone…”

“Elizabeth,” Isabelle interrupted him. “Why don’t you just tell mother and father, who knows maybe they will…”

“Oh my god Isabelle no,” Elizabeth interrupted her before she could finish. “Carmen has fallen for Maxwell and talks about him constantly, it would upset her to know.”

Isabelle and Alexander looked at her sympathetically.

“I will get over it, stop worrying about me.”

Elizabeth wished she’d never sat down there.

Church was as enlightening as usual and afterwards they all went home to a nice warm fireplace to sit in front of. Elizabeth sat down with a book and stayed there until it was time to go to dinner at the Evan’s house. Her father sat with her for a little while and he told her about the horse show that he had found out about.

“We can go and spend the day in the next town over so you can see it.” He had the newspaper on his lap.

“Do you think you would like to see it?” He asked.

“I would love to see it Father, thank you.”

For just a second Elizabeth was so happy she forgot all about Maxwell and smiled.

“We can invite Maxwell and Michael,” her father suggested.

Her smile disappeared so quickly you would have thought it was never there.

After a long time of arguing with herself she decided to let herself be happy she was going to see him again, there was no way out of this situation so she may as well get used to it.

When they got to Maxwell’s house the maid’s led them through to a lounge area where he sat in front of the fire reading the newspaper. When he looked up he smiled and Elizabeth’s heart missed a beat, he had such a stunning smile.

For a second his gaze hovered on her but it was only for a short time so when she thought back to it she realized it may not have happened at all.

“Good evening Mr. Evan’s, your house is as lovely as it was last time we were here,” Nancy smiled. "I suspect all is well?”

“All is wonderful.”

Maxwell stood up and walked towards them. He shook Jeffery’s hand and bowed his head to Nancy politely. Everything about him was so proper and so magnificent, Elizabeth thought fondly. When they had danced he had not made one mistake and he stood strong and tall bearing all that was his. With every movement of his body he said this is what I have been given and I am proud of all I have been graced with. I did not ask for all that I have and not taking it for granted does not make me shallow.

“Nancy, Jeffery!” Diane and Philip Evan’s walked into the room gracefully.

While Maxwell’s parent’s were greeting their old friends Maxwell greeted the three daughters, he kissed Camen’s cheek but he did not touch Maria or Elizabeth. And so he shouldn’t, Elizabeth thought sadly.

They were all seated for dinner, Elizabeth between Maria and her mother and Carmen next to Maxwell.

How could she do this? Elizabeth was in such a weak position and she wondered did she have enough strength to be in the same room as them and not crumble into tiny pieces?

Half way through the meal when everyone was talking she noticed Maxwell glance at her. She had been watching him out of the corner of her eye and when he looked at her he looked at her with such longing. She was thankful for his discrete attention towards her.

They were silent but they shared a stare that let Elizabeth know that he did notice her and she was not the only one who was uncomfortable with the situation.

She was at a constant battle with herself, she was relieved when she thought about him wanting to be with her but she also knew it was wrong and she had to get over it, it was just selfish of her.

Elizabeth managed to get a hold of her self through out dinner but near the end of the night Carmen said she didn’t want to leave just yet and Maxwell’s parent’s said Maxwell could drop her off later if the rest of the family wanted to go home. Elizabeth had to excuse herself from the room and was so out of it she didn’t hear the directions to the bathroom.

She stumbled down the hallways with her hands clenched at her sides. She had to find a way to get over this! What would she do at their wedding? What would she do when they were living together?

The thought made her want to throw up.

She had to find a way to stop feeling, she had o find a way to become immune.

She was leaning against the wall in the corridor outside the room when she heard his voice.

“Are you okay?” He asked.

Her eyes flew open and she stumbled backwards so her whole body was pressed up against the wall.

“I’m fine… just couldn’t find the bathroom.” Her bottom lip trembled. She wasn’t really to talk to him yet she wasn’t strong enough.

She was so afraid of what he would say to her.

Her worst fear was what his reaction would be if he found out just how hopelessly obsessed she was with him. She was so afraid he would tell her she was being silly and that she needed to forget about what they may or may not have had when they first met. Though she was constantly telling herself that him telling her it too would destroy her.

Maxwell frowned at her. “Let me show you where it is…” He motioned for her to come with him and she hesitantly followed.

They walked in silence but when they reached the bathroom Maxwell turned to her and with a smile said, “you want to go horse riding tomorrow?”

“What?” Elizabeth asked shocked. “No I can’t, not with you.”

He chuckled. “What?” He shrugged. “Just as friends… you love horses I love horses, maybe we can teach each other something.”

“My family will definitely frown upon me going somewhere alone with my sisters fiancee.” Her heart was fluttering in happiness that he had asked but she knew she couldn’t go.

“Don’t tell them then.” He started backing down the hallway. “One-thirty down by the creek halfway between your house and mine, I’ll meet up with you.”

“Wait… no I can’t,” she said. She wanted to so much.

“See you tomorrow.”

She saw him smile before he disappeared from her view.

“Oh no,” she mumbled. “Oh no, what am I doing?”

She couldn’t go and meet him; it was going way to far.

Every bit of her fiber screamed for her to go meet him and have a great time but her innocence told her it was not okay.

She would have to tell him that it was not okay for him to ask her places and do that to her, they couldn’t see each other they just needed to deal with it. When would she tell him that?

She would have to go tomorrow and tell him that then leave.

They were just going to meet once and she will talk to him and everything would go back to the way they were before she ever met him.

Yeah right part of her mind said.

~* *~

“So…” Elizabeth muttered. “What time did you get home last night?”

Carmen smiled brightly. “Only about two hours after you but they were the best two hours!” She held Elizabeth’s hands in her own. “He’s the one Elizabeth I’m sure of it,” she said.

As much as Elizabeth wanted to put herself first she could not. Her sister was too important to her to jeopardize their relationship; Maxwell had been in her life for less then a week but Carmen had been in her life for over twenty years. She could do what was right.

She looked at her sister and saw how happy she was.

That should be enough to keep her going she decided.

Knowing that what she was doing the right thing for the person she loved most would have to be extra relief.

Elizabeth sucked in a breath. “He better be the one! You are going to marry him,” she said it with as much enthusiasm as she could conjure up.

Carmen chuckled. “Wait till you meet the one for you, you’ll know what I’m talking about.”

“Will I?” Elizabeth asked. But what if I know it now? She thought.

“Of course.” Carmen nodded. “You won’t be able to think about anything else just like me.”

Elizabeth looked down at their entangled hands. “Let’s hope so,” she whispered.

Carmen studied her face. “You're so sad are you sure nothing’s wrong?”

“I guess I’m just tired.” Elizabeth pulled her hand away from Carmen’s and stood up. “I’m going to go for a ride, I’ll be back later okay?”

“Why don’t I come?” Carmen stood up too.

“No!” Elizabeth exclaimed. “I mean no darling, I kind of want to be by myself is that okay? We’ll go for a ride together tomorrow.”

Carmen frowned. “Um okay if you want to.” She sat back down.

“I’m sorry I just need to free myself for a while.” Elizabeth touched her sisters arm. “Hey what about this when I get back we can strawberry smoothes to go with dinner?”

Carmen smiled. “Okay then.”

Elizabeth nodded. “Okay, I’ll be back in a little while.” She went up to her room and stared at herself in the mirror for a while, did she look okay?

Should she care what she looked like?

She was just going to tell him that it was wrong of him to put her in a position where she couldn’t say no and that it would never happen again.

She got changed anyway.

Instead of her normal riding gear she got into one of her nicest dresses. She managed to get out of the house without being seen and quickly climbed on her horse and headed down the creek.

She wasn’t going very fast; in fact she was going at a very slow relaxed pace. Maybe he won’t come, she thought, and I won’t have to lie to my sister like that ever again.

She felt horrible.

Deciding she had gone far enough she climbed off her horse and sat down on the edge of the creek with her knee’s up against her chest. This afternoon her innocence was lost. The innocence of honesty was gone forever, for she knew she would have to live in deceit, every day in verse and prose, in the same quarters, every time she smiled laughed with Carmen, she would live in deceit. Because she felt for him.

But what Elizabeth felt for Maxwell was true.

Maxwell, my nights, my days, my every thought. You will fall away from me in just a little while, won’t you, and I’ll be whole again, and I will go on to feel for someone else, the way everyone does.

But my innocence is gone forever.


Maxwell walked up behind her with the lead for his horse in his hand. She turned her head and looked at him.

"Hello,” she said shyly.

“You didn’t wait long did you?” He smiled.

“No, not long,” she answered.

He sat down next to her and looked out at the creek. “This is a nice spot isn’t it? A lot of the creek can be quite…”

“Smelly?” Elizabeth said.

He chuckled. “Not the word I was looking for but yeah, you’re probably right.”

She was trying to find the courage to tell him what she had come here to tell him. The quicker she got it over and done with the quicker she could leave—

“Before you say anything.” Maxwell got up. “Let’s go for a ride?” He held his hand out for her.

Her gaze darted from his face to his hand and uncomfortably she let him pull her up to her feet. They both climbed on their horses and rode quietly beside one another.

Elizabeth thought about telling him straight away and then leaving but she couldn’t bring herself to leave so soon, she struck up with a conversation instead. “What was your last home like?” She asked.

“My last home?” He said. “Well… it definitely wasn’t as promising as this place is.”

Elizabeth didn’t know what he meant but she blushed anyway.

“This place is stunning… right next to the woods." He gazed across the river at the tree’s. “I like it better here.”

She stared down at her hands on the horse and tried not to think about how wrong this was. “How good at riding are you?” She looked up at him. “I’ll race you, ready?”

He was grinning.

“Go!” She kicked the side of her horse and was off very quickly.

Maxwell didn’t have a chance in the world.

When he finally caught up with her he said, “you are very talented in this department aren’t you? Do you have any other tricks up your sleeve?”

“What sleeve?” Elizabeth smiled.

He rolled his eyes.

“I am an artist.” Elizabeth hated it how she was so shy. “I walk to the town hall a little while away from here on Wednesday mornings and Saturday evenings. I teach art to who ever wants to learn. To tell you the truth I do it more for myself then anyone else, it’s so much fun.” She tucked her hair behind her ear.

“Art?” Maxwell said intrigued. “I am the worst drawer you’d ever meet.”

“I’m sure your not that bad.” She walked her horse under a big tree and reached up to hold one of the lower branches. “It just takes practice,” she said.

Maxwell watched her stand up on the back of her horse using the branch for balance. She smiled at him. “What do you do with your time?”

She lost her footing and slipped, if it wasn’t for the branch she would have fallen to the ground.

“Be careful,” he said shocked and concerned.

She blushed and sat back down on the horse. “I was just pretending,” she chuckled.

“Riiiight.” He nodded

She laughed at him.

I,” he said kicking the side of his horse and walking away slowly. “Work with my father in his office, we can’t all be as interesting as you.”

She followed after him. “I’m not interesting, I’m just more interesting then you.”

“No your interesting,” he said. They were silent for a little while. The sound of the water flowing down the creak and the birds chirping and the tree’s moving in the wind were the only thing that could be heard.

“Do they call you anything other then Elizabeth?” Maxwell asked breaking the silence.

“Who’s they?” She asked.

He never replied.

“Once,” she said quietly. “Someone called me Liz.

“Liz.” He smiled. “Can I call you that?”

“Sure,” she said. She could not think about her sister.

They didn’t speak for a little while and then Maxwell said. “I like writing,” he admitted. “That is my hidden talent.”

“Really?” She asked. “You’ll have to let me read something of yours one day.” Why did she say that?

She regretted it the second she said it, she shouldn’t do anything that would make her feel for him more. If that was even possible…

“You can if you want to,” he said. “Some day…”

“Magnificent author Maxwell Evan’s in the flesh,” she said.

“Hardly,” he muttered. He opened is mouth to say something but then shut it again. Elizabeth watched his face change.

“If you want,” he said. “You can call me Max.”

“Who calls you that?” She asked, her heart beating a hundred times faster then usual.

“No one,” he said.

When Elizabeth went home she realized that she had dug herself into an even deeper hole then before and she hadn’t even told him all the things she had needed to say.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Sep-2002 6:55:27 PM ]
posted on 24-May-2002 8:13:08 PM by tyranese
Okay being the exellent person I am *lol* I re-wrote the part that I couldn't get to and here it is. Words can not describe how happy your feeback makes me! Thank you everyone!!!

Nice and long *wink*

~* III *~

Elizabeth lay in bed staring at the ceiling. Guilt was eating at her and she could not sleep, all she could see was Maxwell’s smiling face. She sucked in a breath and climbed out of bed, she needed to go see her sister.

She didn’t bother to pull on her nightgown she just hurried out of her room and down the hall to Carmen’s room. She opened the door and crept in quietly, Carmen did not move.

“Carmen,” she whispered. Elizabeth walked over to the bed and climbed in. “Are you awake?” She asked.

“Hmm what do you want?” Carmen sounded half-asleep.

“I just…” Elizabeth closed her eyes tight.

Carmen rolled over and rapped her arms around her sister. “What is it?” She asked.

“I love you,” Elizabeth’s voice cracked. “You’re more important to me then anything, you will always come first. Always remember that okay?”

“Okay. I love you too, go to sleep.” Carmen sucked in a breath and slowly drifted off to sleep.

Elizabeth could see the outline of her face even in the dark, even through her tears.

~* *~

On Tuesday just before lunch Elizabeth went to her friend Erica’s house. Jennifer, Elizabeth’s other friend, was there too and they were all going to have lunch together. Erica lived with her husband that she had married when she was nineteen. She had not been betrothed and she did not have sisters, she chose whom she wanted to marry and did so when she wanted to too.

They weren’t wealthy but they got all they needed from Jim’s job in the timber industry and they had a small but very comfy house.

“I couldn’t find you at the betrothal last week,” Elizabeth brought up. “Where were you?”

She wondered if they had been there would she have seen Maxwell and would she have danced with him?

Maybe if they had been there she would have spotted them first and gone over to them and not had the time she would have with Maxwell. Then she wouldn’t have been infatuated with him before she found out her sister was marrying him.

But, what if she had met him afterwards and felt for him then too? She didn’t know the answer but she did know that, either way, he would be stuck in her life.

“Will I couldn’t make it.” Erica put a plate with tomato down on the table and then headed back to the kitchen to get another plate of food.

“I was there,” Jennifer said. “But you went back upstairs straight after the announcement and I didn’t get to talk to you. I looked for you before then but I couldn’t find you anywhere… I stood with Maria.”

“Oh,” Elizabeth frowned. “I’m sorry, I was outside.”

“Outside?” Erica asked as she re-entered the room. “What were you doing outside?”

“Oh…nothing.” Elizabeth ran her hand along the wooden table and folded her legs. “Just looking at the stars I guess… it was too loud in the ballroom.”

She contemplated telling her friends but decided against it. Though they were more her friends they were friendly with Carmen and if they didn’t tell Elizabeth to tell her sister, which Elizabeth was certain they would, they would either accidentally or intentionally tell her sister themselves.

Elizabeth could not have that happen so she kept quiet about her own life.

“What were the men like that were picked for your sisters?” Erica sat down at the table and poured some water into the three glasses she got a few minutes before.

“Oh they were so handsome,” Jennifer commented. “Oh Elizabeth weren’t they just dreamy? Tell her, they so were.”

“They were okay,” Elizabeth said.

Jennifer shook her head and waved her hands around in the air. “They were better then okay! Especially… which one was it? What is his name, the one with Carmen?”

Elizabeth sucked in a breath. “Maxwell,” she said.

“Yeah, Maxwell. He was very good looking… you have to admit that.” Jennifer laughed at herself. “Oh I sound so funny,” she said.

“Your making me wish I was there,” Erica chuckled.

Elizabeth paused her eating. “You're married!” She cried with a smile on her face.

“So? I’m not going to do anything, I’m just going to look.” Erica shrugged her shoulders. “You know… have a little perve.” She giggled.

Erica was a middle-sized girl with big breasts and big thighs. Her hair was shoulder length and light brown she had blue eyes. If you looked at her you wouldn’t think she was stunning but she was fairly attractive. Erica was the same height as Elizabeth, which made Elizabeth feel better because barely no one was her height… she was so short. Jennifer on the other hand was tall with very long black hair, a freckle covered face, and broad shoulders. She was lanky and had no breasts, she was only fairly attractive too.

“Come on Elizabeth admit it, Maxwell was incredibly yummy.” Jennifer picked up a piece of warm, freshly made, bread and bit into it.

“Okay.” Elizabeth blushed. “Maxwell was and is very attractive.”

The two other girls cooed with laughter. “Oh it’s so funny to hear you say something like that,” Erica said. “You never even notice boys.”

“I notice boys,” Elizabeth said.

Both the girls shook their heads. “No you don’t,” Jennifer argued.

Elizabeth shook her head. “No, no I do all the time.”

“Oh yeah? Well why don’t you ever point them out like we do? You’re always looking the other way at scenery or something boring like that.” Jennifer rolled her eyes.

Elizabeth sipped her glass of water and then put her glass back down. “I look at scenery because I am a landscape artist,” she said. “Not a portrait artist.”

“Yes and how boring,” Erica said.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “If it’s so boring why do you have one of my paintings hanging about your fire place?”

She didn’t say anything.

“Hey,” Jennifer said. “When’s your sisters weddings? Erica will have to come to them so she can see the grooms.”

“They are having a double wedding in four and a half months,” Elizabeth sighed.

Erica nibbled on a little piece of cheese. “Why that’s a long time away, why so late?” She asked.

Elizabeth didn’t want to talk about this she came here to get away from home and stop seeing her sister and stop thinking about—

“Because they want to have it in spring and it will take a long time to plan because it will be a very big event.”

Elizabeth stabbed the butter knife into a piece of egg. “The biggest event of the year apparently,” she said.

“It is a big event,” Erica said.

The front door to the small house shut and Erica’s husband Jim trudged into the room. “What’s a big event?” he asked pulling off his hat and coat. Jim was a short man, he was taller then his wife and had a round face and potbelly. His nose was round and his face was friendly.

“Say hello to my friends first darling.” Erica rolled her eyes at her friends as if to say, I’m-sorry-he-can-forget-himself-sometimes and just-ignore-him.

“Hello Elizabeth, Jennifer.” He smiled then kissed Erica’s lips. “Now do you mind if I join you? I’m starving.”

Elizabeth adored how in love Erica and Jim were; they were so lovely with each other. They never argued or bickered and if they happened to they couldn’t stay mad at each other and shared a loving hug filled with apology straight afterwards. They always kissed and didn’t care that they were in the presence of other people, Erica explained that they were in constant need to let each other know how much they loved one another and didn’t care if people saw.

Elizabeth had never kissed any man before but she longed to. Unfortunately (?) she was saving herself completely and fully for her husband.

Jennifer got up from her seat and moved to the other side of the table next to Elizabeth so Jim could sit next to his wife.

“Help yourself,” Jennifer said with a smile.

Erica picked up a piece of egg and plopped it in her mouth, when she had finished chewing she said, “it’s quite cold don’t you think?” She folded her arms. “Do you think you could light the fire after you’ve finished eating sweet heart?”

“Of course,” he said. “It’s very cold outside, it will be snowing in a month, maybe less.”

“Hmm,” Elizabeth sighed. “No more riding my horse near the creek then,” she said.

No one said anything.

“So what were you talking about when I walked in?” Jim asked, he was piling up one of the metal plates with food.

“Elizabeth’s sisters double wedding,” Erica answered. “It’s going to be next year when it’s spring time.”

“Oh yeah?” Jim asked.

Elizabeth sighed. Would she ever escape all of it?

~* *~

Erica sat in on Elizabeth’s art class the next afternoon and afterwards asked if Elizabeth if she wanted to come to her house that evening.

“I don’t know,” Elizabeth replied.

“You don’t have to, I just thought you looked like you needed to get away from your family and your house for a while. Yesterday you seemed kind of distant.”
Erica touched her shoulder. “There’s nothing wrong is there?”

Elizabeth sighed. “Nothings wrong, I wish people would stop asking me that.”

“Well if you start acting like your normal self again everyone will stop asking.” Erica pinched her arm. “So you want to come tonight or what?”

“No I don’t think I should…” Elizabeth tidied up all the art supplies and put it all away in a cupboard. She didn’t really feel like doing anything her family would disagree with… she’d done enough of that lately.

Erica said that was okay and left, a couple of seconds later she popped her head back in the door. “There’s a tall dark man waiting out here for you, maybe you should hurry up.” She blinked. “Is Elizabeth keeping secrets from her friends or is she not seeing some man?”

Elizabeth’s heart sped up. “There’s someone waiting for me?” She frowned.

“You’ll tell me what’s going on later, I will make sure of that. See ya later.” She waved and hurried away again. Elizabeth quickly finished packing up and then went outside to see who was there.

Maxwell sat on the little brick fence at the bottom of the stairs and she sucked in a breath, he shouldn’t be there, she thought. She closed the hall door and locked it then walked over to him.

“Hi,” He smiled warmly.

“Um hi.” She frowned. “What are you doing here? You missed the art class…”

“I didn’t come for the class.” He stood up and with a shy grin he said, “I came to walk you home.”

The look of confusion did not leave her face.

“Walk me home?”

“Yeah had nothing better to do.” He chuckled. “No I thought you might like some company… come on.” He headed off down the road and she walked after him with a small smile. He shouldn’t be there but she was glad he was.

In her hands she carried a sketchbook and his gaze hovered on it for a second. “Can I see your work?” He asked.

She hesitantly handed it to him and turned bright red while he looked through it. “Your drawings are stunning,” he commented. “Are all of your drawings of landscapes?”

“Hmm.” She breathed nodding her head a little. She was so glad he liked them, she would have been embarrassed if he hadn’t.

“Do you paint like this too?” He asked handing the book to her.

She looked down at her feet as she walked. “Yes,” she answered.

“I once drew a rabbit that looked like a duck,” he teased. “My mother stuck it to her mirror, I think it’s still there.”

She laughed. “That’s just wrong,” she said.

“What? The fact that my mother still has it or…”

“That you managed to get a rabbit to look like a duck.” She shook her head. “I would have thought it wasn’t possible…”

He laughed quite hard and afterwards he said, “thank you Liz.”

She blushed, he called her Liz.

They walked in silence for a second and that was enough or Elizabeth to realize she was doing it again, she was betraying her sister. It was wrong was to break hearts and families.

“Do you want to walk along the road or…?” Maxwell asked.

“No let’s walk over there.” She pointed to the grass down by the side of the road under the trees. They walked down there. You never loose what you want but in this case Elizabeth hopped she would. She wanted to say no don’t come and see me and please leave me alone but she was incapable of saying it, she enjoyed looking and talking to him too much.

She asked about his friends, “do you have a best friend…?” She asked.

She was sure she saw a flash of sadness cross over his face.

“I did have a best friend,” he answered.

Did he just say did? Elizabeth swallowed.

There is an extent to what you can do wrong in your lifetime, you can be let off a certain amount of times and only you know when you've pushed that limit.

Elizabeth felt as if she had pushed that limit just by doing this one thing wrong. Thought she had never sinned before in her innocent life she felt that it all went down the drain just because she had been tested the one time and she was failing horribly.

It wasn't the test of friendship it was the test of family and that was worse test of them all because it would have the biggest effects.

"What happened?" Elizabeth asked Maxwell.

She shouldn't be asking him this because it would enhance her knowledge of his life therefor bringing her closer to him but she was sick of telling herself she shouldn't do things, she had to make. Right now she decided Maxwell Evans needed to tell someone about his past and she was going to be the one he told. She needed more stability, from this moment on she decided she would make up her mind and stop thinking about what she shouldn't be doing. She as torn between wanting him and doing the honorable thing, right now she was going to have some relief and do what she wanted to do. Be damned anyone else...but only for now.

Maxwell sucked in a sharp painful breath and without looking at her, he started his story. "My best friend was named Christopher and we did everything together, just like any best friends do," he paused, "You really want to hear this?"

"Of course," she answered.

He studied her face and her being the bravest she ever was stared right back at him.

"Who are you?" He asked.

"I'm Liz," she said. We to you I am anyway, she thought.

He smiled. "You are indeed," he said.

Elizabeth knew so many thoughts were going through his head and she wished so much she could catch some of it and write it down, she bet it was very insightful. Was it about her, what did he think of her anyway?

So many questions, she felt her brain would combust.
Why did he want to keep seeing her? Did he feel the same way?

Oh how wonderful that would be, she thought sadly.

"Anyway," Maxwell continued. "As I was saying..." He picked a leaf off a tree they were passing by, he ran his fingers over the lines on it. Was he trying to find strength in distracting himself?

Elizabeth wanted to touch his arm and let him know she was there for him. She didn't though.

Maxwell was struggling with his words.

"You don't have to tell me," Elizabeth said. "If it is to hard."

"I need to tell you," he said. "To cut a long story short we were friends our whole life and when he died I was completely shocked... I thought I knew him so well but if I knew him so well why didn't I see it coming?" His voice cracked. "He killed himself and didn't even say goodbye or leave a note..."

Elizabeth gasped. "Oh my goodness," she whispered. She clutched her hands together over her chest and waited for him to continue.

"I took it pretty hard, I just wish I could have seen it coming so I could have done something... it never even occurred to that he might..."

"Don't blame yourself," she said. "You couldn't have predicted it."

He shook his head. "But I was closest to him, no one else would have noticed if I didn't even, it was my job and I didn't." He sighed. "But it's too late now."

"Don't," she said. "Stop doing that to yourself."

He looked at her and his eyes glazed over, he didn't say anything but he was staring at her with that undeterminable expression he always wore. Without warning he reached down and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear.

"You don't deserve any of this," he whispered.

All her breath left her body. "What do you mean?" She asked.

His hand remained on her face. "You." He caressed her cheekbone. "Have too pure a heart..."

"How do you know?" She whispered. Their eyes were boring into each other’s and in this one second it felt it could make or break their futures, if one thing happened...

A sound a few meters away broke their moments and Maxwell let his hand drop from her face, Elizabeth stepped away. They stared at each other longingly for a little while then continued walking.

"Tell me more about Christopher," Elizabeth said. "What was he like? What did he look like?"

Maxwell smiled. "He was very silly, you know those people that are just continuously trying to make light of the situation... he was always cracking jokes."

Elizabeth smiled and not even believing it herself touched his arm with her hand. "I know someone like that." She chuckled.

Maxwell looked down at her. "Who is that?" He asked.

"Alexander my eldest sister's husband..." She laughed. "He knows when to be serious but he is always being silly, he is so much fun to be around. Opposites prove to attract when it comes to him and Isabelle, she is so serious and he is just so..."

Maxwell was hypnotized by the look of delight on her face.

She shook her head. "They are my home away from home when I need to escape." She took her hand away from his arm and crossed her arms over her chest with her book in-between them. "They are wonderful,” she said.

"I'm glad you have a little haven." He smiled. "That must be nice."

Well not lately, Elizabeth thought. Isabelle wouldn't leave her alone about Maxwell and Carmen.

"It is," she said nonetheless.

"Christopher was very tall and had red hair and freckles..." Maxwell looked up at the sky. "Its such a waste," he said.

Elizabeth bit the side of her mouth. "Well you can make new friends here now..." She grinned. "Like me. Congratulations."

He laughed. "I'm honored, thank you." He patted her head. "Let's see do you play... football?" He asked.

"Football?" Elizabeth scrunched up her nose. "No. But I'm up for anything, you'll have to give me a while to get used to it though. But I'll always be there to give you horse races," she said.

"Wonderful," he said.

They were nearly at her house so they slowed down their pace of walking.

“What do you write about Max?” She asked, she was so happy she could call him that…

“What do I write about?” He thought for a second. “Anything I feel like writing about. What’s going on around me…”

Elizabeth nodded. “Kind of like a journal but different?”

“Yeah kind of like that I guess,” he said.

"I'm home," she said quietly. "Thank you for walking me, the company was an unexpected treat."

He shoved his hands in his pockets. "It was my pleasure," he said. He leaned down and kissed her cheek, his lips were warm and soft against her skin...

Before he pulled away he leaned his lips into her ear and said quietly, "may your heart be as beautiful as yourself."

Elizabeth blushed.

He smiled at her then turned around and headed back in the direction they had just come in.

Elizabeth could not take her eyes off of him as he walked, she knew she should turn and head towards her house but she couldn't. How silly she would look if he turned around and saw her gawking at him like a child, she would be so embarrassed.

All most on cue he turned around and with a little wave said, "bye Liz."

She looked down at the ground and slowly found the courage to look back up at him.

"Bye Max," she said.

~* *~

"I get to spend the whole afternoon with him, I'm so excited." Carmen looped her arm through Maria's and grinned at Elizabeth. "Maria has to spend the afternoon with Michael and she is grumpy," she explained.

"I have to spend the rest of my life with him and I'm grumpy." Maria pulled away from Carmen. "We can't all be as happy as you and Isabelle are."

"Why not?" Elizabeth asked. She crossed her legs on the bed. "Michael seems like a nice enough guy," she said.

"Seems is different from being."

Carmen plopped down next to Elizabeth on the bed. "Very different," she added.

Elizabeth stared at Carmen. "Why are you so infatuated with Mr. Evans Carmen? What has he done to cause these great feelings you have for him?"

Carmen danced around the room in tiny steps. "Does he have to do anything?” She asked. "He is gentle and the way he focuses on nothing else when you talk to him... he is a wonderful dancer, he talks with such certainty and pride..."

I know, I know, I know, and I know, thought Elizabeth.

"So you love him more so for what he is rather then for how he is when he is with you?" She asked.

"Both." Carmen smiled. "He is lovely in every way."

I know, Elizabeth rested her head in her hands. But I knew it before you did.

[ edited 3 time(s), last at 14-Sep-2002 7:17:55 PM ]
posted on 27-May-2002 4:05:06 AM by tyranese
Your feedback is incedible and I couldn't ask for more. You really give me your opinions and ideas I read them all very carefully, it means so much. I owe you all the biggest thank you!

~* IV *~

Doesn't it just suck when you have been telling yourself for the last few days that things could be a lot worse and then all of a sudden they turn worse?
You are certain some ones testing you and they want to see you fail and fall to the ground and you are very willing to let them have that, they are so good at making you feel ten times worse then before. Who ever they may be.
You want to, 1- lock yourself in your bedroom, close the curtains and never come out. 2- Dig a hole and bury yourself in it. 3- run away and never come back will they miss you anyway?

Elizabeth deserved a little bit of happiness didn't she? She was a good person she had always been the perfect daughter and done everything she was ever told to do. Why was she the one that had to have it come back and slap her in the face? Was it so wrong to be speared from listening to her sister go on and on and on about the one person she didn't want to hear about? Was this her punishment for having feelings, for having an opinion for once and not turning away and letting everyone have what they wanted first?
Why did she have to sit through her sister talking about her first kiss with her fiancee Maxwell? Why did she have to hear that it was passionate but soft and slow at the same time? She didn't need this, she didn't ask for this, and most of all she did not want this.
But was it just the feelings she didn't want? She wanted Maxwell, that was obvious to her now, she had admitted that to herself a while ago, but all the guilt and grief that came with wanting him... that was the part she could do without.
While her sister went into further detail about her dreamy kiss Elizabeth felt herself feeling more sick by the second. Maria seemed to be enjoying Carmen's satisfying description of her evening but Elizabeth... she felt like some one was stabbing blunt rusty kitchen knives into her chest.
“It was outside the front door, I looked up at him and he said goodnight then I leaned up and we kissed,” Carmen bobbed up and down on the bed in happiness.
Maria laughed but Elizabeth did not.
“Excuse me,” she stood up, “I just need to go to the bathroom.”
“Aren’t you so happy for me Elizabeth?” Carmen asked.
Elizabeth nodded as she walked to the door, “I am so happy for you Carmen, you deserve this so much.” As soon as she was out of the room she ran down the hall to the bathroom, she collapsed on her knees in front of the toilet and threw up. She threw up like she had never thrown up before…and when she looked up Maria was standing in the doorway frowning at her.

Maria folded her arms over herself, “are you okay?” she asked.
Elizabeth sat up and wiped her mouth with her hand, “I don’t feel well,” her eyes welled up. She was trying so hard not to cry…
Did Maria think Elizabeth had thrown up because of what Carmen said? Elizabeth couldn’t let her think that because then she’d figure everything out and no, no!
“I haven’t been feeling well all day,” Elizabeth lied, “I must be coming down with something.”
Maria was silent for a minute, “why didn’t you tell us?” she asked.
Elizabeth’s lip trembled, “I was hoping it would just go away…”
“Oh Elizabeth….” Maria walked in and sat on the ground next to her, she rapped her arms around Elizabeth and though she wanted to keep it in she could not. She wept on her sister for a long time and when she didn’t feel like she had any left she wiped her eyes and pulled away.
Maria bit her lip and after a minute asked, “you don’t… have feelings for Maxwell do you?”
Elizabeth looked horrified, “No, what are you talking about? What a silly thing to ask… he’s Carmen’s fiancee!” her heart sped up.
“I just … since you… straight after…” she shook her head, “sorry it’s just me being silly. I’ll go tell mother to call the doctor okay? Do you think you’ll throw up again?”
“No,” Elizabeth said.
Maria washed out the toilet with a bucket of water while Elizabeth cleaned her teeth. When they left the bathroom Carmen walked up to them and asked what was wrong.
“She’s just not feeling well Carmen, go tell mother and father would you? I’ll help her to bed,” Maria had her arm around Elizabeth’s waist.
If only you knew the truth, a tear dripped down Elizabeth’s cheek. If only you knew that I can not stand to be around you because you have what I want and I can not forgive myself.
“There, there,” Carmen wiped her cheek, “you’ll be fine in no time, no need to cry.”
Elizabeth sniffled, “if only,” she muttered to herself.

When she was in bed Maria dabbed her head with a wet cloth, “are you going to tell me why you’re crying?” she asked.
Elizabeth closed her eyes, “I don’t know why I’m crying,” she whispered, “I just… everything’s too much for me lately.”
Please don’t ask me again, she begged, please I can not take this.
“You should stay in bed for the rest of the day,” Maria said, “and to cheer you up you should be glad you don’t have to marry Michael… think about how I feel.”
Elizabeth opened her eyes, “why do you always complain about him? What has he done?” she asked. She felt they were in major need of a conversation change…
Maria opened her mouth to say something but stopped because she couldn’t think of anything. “Well he’s…” she sighed, “and he always…”
“What? Comes around here wanting to take you out and buys you flowers?” Elizabeth asked.
Maria blushed, “just leave me alone would you!”
“Not until you stop the act and admit you like him! I know you do Maria, maybe you should hurry up and accept it to,” Elizabeth’s mouth tugged into a little smile, “go on admit it, I won’t tell anyone.”
“I won’t admit anything,” Maria said.
Elizabeth rolled her eyes.

Maria left a few minutes after because the doctor was there to look at Elizabeth. When he was done her parent’s came in and said he told them she was fine but she should rest for a while.
“Are you feeling okay now?” her mom touched Elizabeth’s cheek; “do you have any idea why you feel so sick?”
“No,” Elizabeth had never lied this much in her whole life. This had to end.
When everyone was gone Elizabeth rolled onto her stomach and buried her face in her pillow. To imagine her sister touching Maxwell like that and to imagine him holding her and being loving with her...
Her stomach churned again she decided she better just stop thinking about it. This was a horrible day and not even her horse Trigger could fix her sadness.

~* *~

That was your sister’s fiancee?” Erica laughed, “okay Jessica was right, he is definitely yummy.”
Elizabeth shrugged, “doesn’t everyone just think so?” she said.
“Well, yeah!” Erica said. “So what was he doing waiting for you?” she asked.
Elizabeth crossed her legs, “I don’t even know, it was weird,” she looked down at her hands, “he wanted to know stuff about Carmen…”
“He wants to find out all about her!” Erica said, “Oh that is so adorable,”
“Hmm,” Elizabeth said, “isn’t it just?”
Was she a good liar, she wondered? She should be after how much she had been doing it lately… it was just lie after lie after lie.
“So,” Erica got up off the couch, “what do you want to do for the rest of the day? I heard about you not feeling well yesterday, are you up for anything?”
“I don’t know,” Elizabeth muttered.
They heard the front door open and Carmen’s laughter, followed by Maxwell’s talking. Elizabeth knew it was him, she knew it straight away and closed her eyes in pain. They came into the room holding hands with big smiles on their faces…
“Oh hi,” Carmen let go of Maxwell’s hand and walked over to them, “what have you guys been doing?” she asked. Maxwell walked up behind her and greeted them. Elizabeth allowed herself one glance in his direction and everything she wanted to see in his face was there, the attention and that expression she couldn’t read, the smile…
Her breath caught in her throat.
“We haven’t done anything yet,” Erica crossed her arms, “is anyone going to introduce me…?”
“Oh yeah,” Carmen giggled, “Maxwell this is one of Elizabeth’s best friends, Erica. Erica this is Maxwell my fiancee.
They shook hands, “nice to meet you,” Maxwell said.
“You too,” Erica looked at Elizabeth who was still sitting on the couch, she had her eyes closed. “You still not feeling well?” she asked.
Elizabeth’s eyes snapped open, “no I’m…fine. Let’s go,” she got up of off the couch.
“Go where?” Erica asked.
“I don’t know,” Elizabeth had her back to Carmen and Maxwell, “anywhere… just out. I need to get out of here, please.”
Erica shrugged, “Okay then,” she smiled.
“Can we come?” Carmen asked, “let’s all go out for lunch or something,” she smiled at Maxwell.
No, oh no, no, no Elizabeth thought, no please don’t.
“Won’t Maxwell feel a little left out since he’ll be the only male?” Erica asked.
Maxwell shrugged, “I’m fine with it. In fact I’m honored I’ll have the company of three wonderful woman…”
Oh crap, Elizabeth wanted to whack her head against the wall.
“Well then let’s go,” Erica headed towards the door. Maxwell followed her and Carmen walked over to Elizabeth and rapped her arm around her shoulders, “I told you he was wonderful…” she whispered in her ear.
“Hmm,” Elizabeth put on a fake smile.

~* *~

On Saturday after Elizabeth’s art class she walked outside found Maxwell waiting for her outside again.
She put her hands over her heart to keep it from exploding, “What are you doing here?” she asked.
He didn’t answer, “how was your class?” he asked.
“It was good,” she said. They walked.
Why was he here? She wanted to know what his intentions were. “Why are you here Max-well?” she rapped her arms around herself. The sun was going down so the sky was orange and red; soon it would be black. It was nearing winter so it was very cold and happened to be very windy today.
Maxwell tilted his head to the side, “we’re just friends right? I like your company,” he grinned.
Just friends, Elizabeth thought sadly. Is that all I am to you, just a friend? Well of course I am, you don’t feel the same way as I do, do you?
She didn’t want him to walk her home, she didn’t want him to talk to her, and she didn’t want him in her life… she wished she could believe that. There was no way out, she wasn’t strong enough to tell him to go away but she wasn’t strong enough to have him there either.
“These are the best times,” Maxwell said, “when it’s not complicated and…”
Elizabeth interrupted him, “you call this not complicated?” she asked.
“No,” he answered.
She found it very complicated. She was so confused, what were his intentions for her?
They walked slowly and close together, his arm accidentally bumped her arm occasionally and when it did this, her whole body would break out in goose bumps.
“I have to go away for a few days with my father tomorrow,” he explained, “for work.”
She rapped her arms around herself, “Carmen will be upset,” she said. Even herself surprised her.
Maxwell swallowed but did not say anything in reply to her comment. After a few minutes of silence he said, “you know when I was younger my father used to take me to the stoke market building in our old town and he would always say, ‘I’ll make you into a honorable man.’”
Elizabeth wondered if he had told Carmen this.
When she didn’t say anything Maxwell stopped walking and stood in front of her. “Liz?” he waved his hand in front of her face, “are you in there today?” he asked.
“Yeah, um, I’m sorry,” she swallowed, “I’m just tired.” Now she was even lying to the person who was causing her to lie to everyone else.
He was studying her face and by his look Elizabeth knew that he knew why she was being so quiet. He sucked in a breath, “you need to stop thinking,” he said, “stop worrying, we aren’t doing anything wrong I’m just walking you home. We can’t be together so we may as well be together as friends.” He bit his lip and then quietly said, “Ineed to see you.”
I need to be able to see your face.”
She looked down at her feet, “You can see me when you come to my house for my sister and when you come around for dinner,” she said. She rapped her arms around herself to keep some warmth in her, her hair was being whipped across her face and her lips were slightly blue.
“Not alone,” he tucked some of her hair behind her ears, “come on let’s walk you need to get home it’s too cold out here.”
They walked in silence for a long time and Elizabeth’s head was swimming with questions, did he feel the same way as she did? Was he only with her sister because if he wasn’t he wouldn’t be able to come around to the house and that meant they would not see each other any more? Did he want her more? And most importantly… did he love her?
“If you have any questions,” Maxwell said, “yes is the answer to all of them. Yes, a thousand times…”
She looked up at him; he was staring straight ahead. “Really?” she asked.
“Yes,” he answered.
They didn’t talk again for the rest of the way home but when it was time for them to part Maxwell put his hand on her lower back and leaned in to kiss her cheek, “see you later Liz,” he whispered. He left his lips on her skin for longer then you usually would and then stepped away. They stared at each other longingly for a long time before leaving.

~* *~

A few nights later when Elizabeth was lying in bed thinking about only one thing/ person, Carmen came into the room and climbed into bed with her. She didn’t say anything for a long time and Elizabeth wondered if she’d fallen asleep.
She hadn’t. “I miss him so much,” she said finally, “I wish he didn’t have to go away.”
Me too, Elizabeth wanted to reply, I need to lie my eyes on him.
Instead she looked at her and said, “he’ll be back before you know it, stop worrying.”
Carmen sucked in a breath, “do you think he misses me?” she asked.
As much as Elizabeth knew what she was about to say would hurt she said it anyway, her sister needed comforting and everyone always comes before her. “Yes,” she answered, “probably just as much as you do.”
Carmen smiled, “thank you for saying that,” she ran her hand through her hair. “He’s so hot and cold sometimes, he never tells me about himself or his past… about his friends. I always ask but he always seems reluctant, I don’t know do you think maybe it’s just because he’s having a hard time opening up?”
Elizabeth closed her eyes, “give him time, he probably needs time to get used to the idea of marriage and a serious commitment.”
Carmen propped herself up on her elbows, “your probably right.”
“I am right,” Elizabeth grinned, “I’m always right.”
Carmen laughed, “yeah right,” she said. After a few silent seconds she said, “we never talk any more, what’s happening? We never really talk about what we used to.”
Elizabeth shrugged, “your too obsessed with a certain person.”
“It’s not my fault is it?” she scooted in closer to Elizabeth, “you’ve been a little sheltered and I have been obsessed, it’s both of our fault.”
“Okay,” Elizabeth said.
Carmen sighed, “it’s just so strange to be engaged. I feel like I’m all grown up, well even more then before. It’s like my childhood is over kind of.”
“Well it is,” Elizabeth replied, “but it’s not a bad thing, we still have so much a head of us.”
“You think?”
Elizabeth nodded, “of course. Do you remember when we were thirteen and I won that horse riding competition? You were so proud of me you went around school telling everyone and even go the head master to give me an award in assembly.”
“Well you deserved one!” Carmen lay back down on the bed.
Elizabeth smiled, “you had so much faith in me and you told me all along I would win.”
“That’s because I’m psychic,” she replied, “and your brilliant.”
“You’ve always been there for me,” Elizabeth closed her eyes, “you’ve never done anything but love me and encourage me and I don’t deserve it.”
“What do you mean you don’t deserve it?” Carmen asked, “you’ve always been there for me too, you still are even when all I talk about is Maxwell. We’re best friends right? What a best friends for.”
Elizabeth rolled onto her side, “if I did something really selfish and not fair at all would you still love me?”
Carmen frowned, “knowing you selfish is probably a really little thing,” she said, “but yes, of course I’ll always love you and I know you’ll never do anything to make me feel like I shouldn’t.”

When Carmen fell asleep Elizabeth thought about what Maxwell said about needing to see her and needing to be alone with her. She realized now even more then before that she needed it too. She needed that little time they had when he walked her home from down the road, she needed him to focus only on her and talk only to her.
She needed her sister too. She needed her older sister that held her hand when she was nervous and climbed into bed with her so they could talk. She needed the sister that always stood up for her when she was being told off and always came out to join her on the horses even though she didn’t like them. She needed the sister that sat outside on the balcony watching her paint the sunset with a blanket around her shoulders.
What was she going to do?
Could she just pretend that her and Maxwell walking home together was completely harmless and wasn’t complicated? Could she do what he told her to do and just stop thinking? She would have to try that because right now she couldn’t give him or her sister up.

posted on 29-May-2002 2:10:36 AM by tyranese
hey everyone!

I just so much to do tonight that I don't know if I'll be able to post a part today! I have written half of the new part but I have to make dinner, do homework, do some more on my bfriend b-day present, have a shower and get my things ready for tomorrow. I will do my best and if I have enough time you will get a new part tonight... wish me luck!!!

posted on 29-May-2002 5:37:41 AM by tyranese
Okay I managed to get it done, it's not as long as they usually are but I hope you like it! Thank you for the great feedback!!! it is very much appreciated...

~* V *~

It was amazing and very scary to learn how strong her feelings were for him once he was gone. He used to be around all the time and though she felt for him then, now that she was deprived of him she felt lost. These feelings scared her, she had never felt them before and she didn’t want to feel them for anyone else ever again.

If she was going to feel them she only wanted to feel them for Maxwell.

On Wednesday after her art class she scrubbed her hands so there was no paint on them and she checked herself in the mirror, she didn’t even know if he’d be there but if he was she wanted to look good.

She wasn’t disappointed. He was there, with a smile on his face and his elbows resting on his knees.

She walked down the steps in her feminine boots, her long winter dress, coat and gloves and he watched her the whole time. She didn’t say hello and he didn’t either, he just stood up and they walked.

“How long have you been back?” She asked.

He looked ahead of them and said, “about thirty minutes.”

Elizabeth couldn’t help but smile to herself. “So you haven’t gone and seen my sister yet?” She asked.

He shook his head. “No, not yet.”

She sighed. “You should go see her, she has been missing you unbearably.” I should know I’m the one she complained to.

“What about you?” He grinned.

She blushed. “Don’t ask me that,” she said.

He told her all about his trip for the rest of the way home, Elizabeth was just happy to see him again. At one point when he was talking her mouth drifted open and she was gawking at him without knowing. She couldn’t stop looking at him he was her air.

When they reached her house he came in with her because he had to go and see Carmen.
"My duty,” she thought she heard him whisper as they walked inside.

“Look who I found Carmen!” She lead him into the lounge and Carmen squealed with delight and ran up to him.

What Elizabeth didn’t expect to see was her plant a big kiss smack on him lips, unfortunately it did happen and she felt herself pale. She had no idea how profoundly disgusting it was for her to see her sister touch Maxwell before that moment. She had to go and sit down before she fell down.

She had to do something about this, it was only going to get worse and she wouldn’t be able to take it. She had to tell him not to come and see her anymore, some how she had to. And then she would get over him surely. It wasn’t the best plan in the world but things couldn’t continue this way forever, what about when they got married? Did he expect to keep seeing her then?

Carmen and Maxwell went out and she was left with Maria and her parent’s.

~* *~

It was Thursday evening and the Parker family was sitting at the dinner table with a guest: Maxwell Evan’s.

Carmen sat on his left and Nancy on his right, Jeffery at the head of the table and Maria and Elizabeth on the opposite side of the table. Elizabeth was directly in front of him.

She was smack dab one meter away face to face with him. If she wanted to she could lift her leg and stretch it out to touch his leg. She would not do that though.

“I’m entering the local art contest with the painting of the sun rise…” Elizabeth looked at her father and mother. “Do you think that one good enough?” She asked.

“Yes, it’s stunning,” Nancy answered.

“You’ll win like you did the last two years.” Jeffery sipped his drink. “Maxwell did you know Elizabeth paints? Well of course you didn’t… well she does and she is very talented.”

“Father…” Elizabeth blushed.

Maxwell grinned. “You paint?” He asked. “What kind of things do you paint?”

Elizabeth glanced at him, he not only knew she painted he had seen a lot of her work. She couldn’t believe the lies they held between them. “I paint landscapes,” she answered. She turned back to her parent’s. “So you think the sunse…”

Maxwell cut her off, “who’s your favorite famous artist?” He asked with a twinkle in his eyes.

Elizabeth wanted to mouth, No stop, to Maxwell. She couldn’t because Maria was watching her… Maria why was she looking at her like that? She looked accusing, questioning? Elizabeth did not know but it worried her anyway.

“My favorite artist…” she said catching Maxwell’s eyes and ignoring Maria. “Is Monet.” She watched Maxwell eyes and the little smile he was trying to keep off his lips… he wasn’t having much luck.

“I love Monet.” His eyes were boring into hers.

“I also love.” She looked right back at him with the same intensity. “Lean….”

“Enough about art,” Carmen sighed cutting her off. “Art is so boring.”

Elizabeth broke her staring contest with Maxwell and looked down at her plate. “Yes, never mind,” she muttered.

After dinner when Elizabeth excused herself Maria went after her, Elizabeth didn’t want to talk to Maria and see her scary stare.

Maria grabbed her arm when they left the room. “I’m not blind,” she whispered in Elizabeth’s ear. Elizabeth swallowed and clenched her hands into fists.

"What are you talking about?” she asked.

Maria looked her in the eye for a long time and then walked away.

Elizabeth started to panic did Maria know something?

Had she figured out that Elizabeth had feelings for Maxwell?

She sat down on the couch in front of the fireplace and stared at the bright flames, maybe they could warm her insides and get her heart pumping again?

While she sat there she wondered if anyone in the whole world had been in her situation before. Chances are that someone had but Elizabeth knew it would be rare, no sister would be as selfish as she was to let her feelings go this far for her sister’s man. She sighed and rested her chin against the palms of her hands, was Maxwell okay with living this lie?

Did he not mind that he would have to live with Carmen and never be able to be with Elizabeth? Well Elizabeth minded.

Would Carmen want to be with Maxwell if she knew he had feelings for Elizabeth? Would she continue to step in their way or back down and let them be together?

Elizabeth needed some answers and she needed them soon. It would be okay if Maxwell wasn’t going to see her every Wednesday morning and Saturday evening. If they hid their feelings and did nothing about them then Elizabeth wouldn’t feel as bad and things would get better.

Well for Carmen anyway, they would never get better for Elizabeth.

She would turn twenty-one in a few months and she would get married and her husband would be everything and more. They would fall in love and she would ask him if they could move away from her family so they didn’t have to stay in this town for the rest of their lives. They would go to some far off place and they would have four children and live happily ever after.

That’s the way she had always planned it but now she could only picture herself being depressed and lonely for the rest of her life because Maxwell would never be hers. She hated being depressed; she used to be such a jolly and optimistic person… she used to be the person people came to when they needed cheering up.

Now she was the girl who needed cheering up but couldn’t go to anyone. She couldn’t think of anything that would cheer her up anyway…

Maybe if she just ran away she could leave her sister to be with Maxwell and she wouldn’t have to have it rubbed in her face every day. Then she could go on and she could explore the world and forget about everything she had left behind. That way she would not have a sister or Maxwell but at least her sister could be happy without Elizabeth ruining it for her.

It wasn’t very good to run away from her problems but right now it seemed like the perfect thing to do. It was very appealing because on one side of the scale she had Feeling depressed and never being able to have Maxwell for the rest of her life. Or on scale two she had running away and being depressed for a little while but eventually getting over it and moving on to great things in life.

If only it were possible to just run away, things would be so much easier.

~* *~

The next day the Parkers were going to the next town over over the horse show Jeffery Parker had promised his daughter. They had to take two carriages, one for the daughters and Maxwell and Michael. And the other for Jeffery, Nancy, Isabelle and Alexander.

Elizabeth hopped into the carriage and soon followed her was Maxwell, he sat down next to her and Carmen sat down on the other side of him. Michael and Maria sat across from them.

The journey was going to be over an hour long and Elizabeth did not know if it was possible for her to last the whole ride with Maxwell so close but yet so unimaginably far from her reach. When she was staring out the window trying to forget he was there she kept feeling him gaze at her, she didn’t turn her head to look back at him but it was nice to know he was acknowledging her. Maria and Michael were talking quietly to each other and Carmen had her eyes closed and her head resting on Maxwell’s shoulder.

Elizabeth felt tired and she wanted to rest her head on his shoulder too but she couldn’t so she rested her head on the wall and closed her eyes, she pictured her and Maxwell riding together through the wind on their horses.

She must have fallen asleep because when she opened her eyes everyone was out of the carriage except Maxwell who had his hand on her arm and was whispering her name. She wondered if she was still dreaming.

“Liz,” he said. “Wake up we’re here everyone’s waiting.”

She yawned and turned her head to look at him. “We’re here?” She asked.

He nodded. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s go see the horses you love so much.”

She wanted to touch him. “Okay,” she said. They climbed out of the carriage and walked over to her family and Michael.

“Poor you Elizabeth.” Isabelle rapped her arm around her shoulders. “Having to be stuck in that carriage with the two couples the whole way.”

“She was asleep for most of it,” Maria commented. “So was Carmen.”

Elizabeth yawned again. “Let’s just go see the horses can we?” She rapped her arms around herself.

“Very eager.” Jeffery smiled. “Good to see. You're right let’s go…”

They all walked to the audience seats. Maxwell walked with Carmen, Isabelle with Alexander, Maria with Michael, her parent’s together, and her… by herself.

She would not let anything ruin her day, she was here to see one of her favorite things and nothing would get in the way, she was determined to be happy for the first day in a while.

Through out the day she seemed to be the only one actually watching the horses. Everyone else was talking and drinking and eating…

She wanted to go out and ride so much; she really needed to feel the wind through her hair.

Maxwell and Carmen went up to the railing to have a better view of the fields. Elizabeth could see them out of the corner of her eye and giving up she turned her head to look up at them. She saw Carmen touch Maxwell’s shoulder and him turn to face her, she leaned up and kissed him and then pulled away and smiled. Elizabeth’s face dropped and she turned her head away and to her family. When she did she saw Maria and Isabelle’s eyes on her with the same sympathetic expression on their faces. One of them knew more then the other but they both had the same thoughts…

Elizabeth put on a fake smile and said in a cheery voice. “I’m going to go down and see if I can touch one of the horses, I’ll be back later okay?”

“Okay darling,” Nancy said.

Isabelle and Maria did not stop looking at her until she was gone.

While she patted the horses she decided she was going to do it, she was going to tell Maxwell not to come and see her anymore. She had to and she would find the strength somewhere.

Her sister was the most important thing to her. Since she had known Carmen longer and she would always be there she was the one who deserved Elizabeth’s truth. She would just have to give up Maxwell.

She stared into the horses fur and let a single tear drop down, she would be okay. She would have to be.

~* *~

On Saturday night when she walked out of her art class he was waiting for her like he always did. He was smiling but she was not. She decided she was going to cut right to the chase and walk straight up to him and say what she needed to say.

Summoning up to her strength she approached him.

“Hi,” he said.

She sucked in a breath and in the strongest voice she could find she said, “you can’t come and walk me home anymore.”

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Sep-2002 7:30:51 PM ]
posted on 30-May-2002 5:39:10 AM by tyranese
I have read and re-written this part so many times that I am beyond tired!! I have been working on it all night so I hope you like it. Please tell me what you think, I love to know if I've screwed something up so I can fix it lol. thankyou again!

~* VI *~

Maxwell stood up. “Come on let’s walk.”

They walked across the road.

“Now,” Maxwell said with a very tender voice. “What’s wrong?”

Elizabeth knew she couldn’t get away with just saying that and having him leave, as much as she wished it were that easy.

“You can’t come and see me anymore Max. I can’t take this anymore.”

Maxwell shoved his hands in his pockets. “Can’t take what?” He asked.

Elizabeth swallowed, this was so hard for her and she knew that he would not make this easier.

“I can’t take the guilt,” she said. “We may have the pretense of not be doing anything wrong but please.”

She sucked in a breath. “Why don’t we tell Carmen you walk me home?”

“Because it could confuse and upset her,” he answered.

“Of course it would. It should!” Elizabeth said. “I know my feelings for you are not just friendly. I know that we are aren’t doing anything wrong but I have not been lying to myself about my feelings.” She closed her eyes. “And I can’t lie to everyone else anymore. I can’t be this upset anymore.”

Maxwell sucked in a breath. “How can I not come and see you?” He asked.

“Please find a way.” She opened her eyes and looked up at him. “I can’t take all the lying, I have never lied this much in my life. I think it would be best if you just stayed away from me…”

“I can’t,” he said.

Her heart swelled but that was exactly what she didn’t want to happen. “You can! You barely know me,” she said. “Why do you come here, you are marrying my sister. You can’t possibly believe that I can live with this when she is my best friend.”

“Liz,” he said. “Look at me.”

She turned her head away. “No,” she said.

“Look at me,” he said taking both her hands in his.

She raised her eyes to Maxwell. His big hands felt comforting.

“Liz, look at me and say, Max, I don’t want you to come anymore.”

He did not let go of her hands, nor did she pull away.

“Max,” she said in a whisper. “I don’t want you to come anymore.”

He sighed. “You don’t want me to come anymore since when?”

“Since you started!” She said. “Since I started feeling this bad for my sister…”

He didn’t say anything and she knew he as thinking she could tell he was. What he said a few seconds later shocked her so much she nearly tripped over her own feet.

“Liz!” He exclaimed suddenly. “Let’s tell them!”

“What?” she thought she had misheard.

“Yes! Let’s tell them.”

“There is nothing to tell them,” she said her tongue suddenly full of frozen fear. “And that is why we have to stop this before there is.”

“Liz please!” Maxwell’s eyes flashed at her. “Let’s tell them the truth and deal with the consequences. Let’s do the honest thing. Carmen deserves that—”

“NO!” She tried to pull her hands away. “Please, no. Please. You can’t she loves you. It will break her heart.”

Maxwell shook his head. “No. She is in love with being in love,” he said.

Elizabeth frowned. “How would you know?” She asked.

“I’m the one marrying her!” He said.

“Oh yes remind me a little more why don’t you? I’m not around people talking about it all day every day.”

“She doesn’t love me she doesn’t know me,” he said.

“You aren’t being very fair,” she said. “Max.” Her nerves were raw. “Please…”

You please!” He said loudly. “I am sick to death of this—all because you want to do the honorable thing.”

You’re sick to death of this?” Elizabeth asked in disbelief. “You’re not the one who has feelings for her sisters fiancee and has to have their marriage rubbed in her face every day!”

“Oh you think it’s any better for me? I am the one who is only around for one person and that person.” He brought his face right up to hers. “Won’t even stand up for what she want’s.”

“You never asked me to!” She cried.

“I shouldn’t have to if you cared enough!” He retorted.

Elizabeth stepped away from him. “Don’t you dare say I don’t care enough, you have no idea how I feel about you. YOU are making me the bad guy just because I wanted to do the honorable…” She raised her voice, “The HUMAINE thing for my sister.” She shuddered. “You should be ashamed of yourself.”

“I AM ashamed of myself,” he said.

They didn’t speak again for a few minutes.

Maxwell broke the silence. “So I am not allowed to see you ever again?” He asked.

“You can come and see me again, just not alone,” Elizabeth said. “I can’t sacrifice my sisters happiness for my own.” She felt tears sting her eyes. “Please understand.”

“No,” Maxwell said. “The only reason I’m still involved in your family is because of you. If you don’t want me around I’m going to tell your father I’m not going to marry Carmen.”

Elizabeth’s head shot up. “What? No! Max we have to think of other people.”

“Liz,” he whispered. “What about us?” He asked. “What about you and me?”

She couldn’t take much more of this, any minute she was going to crumble to the ground and she would let him

Pick her up and she would let him have her. “You are hers,” she said quietly. “I have no place in your world.”

“I am only yours,” he whispered cupping her cheeks. “What are we doing? Why are we fighting?”

“Because you need to stop coming to see me, don’t you understand that I am around my sister all day and all night and I cannot look her in the eye without feeling guilty.” She wanted to move away from him but he would not let her. “Please don’t end it with my sister,” she said. “That’s not fair on her.”

He moved his hands from her cheeks to her arms. “You want me to keep seeing her but not you and you think that will make the situation better?” He asked.

“I will get over it, I…” She cut herself off and a tear dripped down her cheek. “This place and time is all wrong for us but it’s not for you and Carmen. Do you at least like her?” She asked.

“You think just because you won’t be walking with me anymore that you still won’t be guilty? You still look at me and you still feel for me, no matter what you’ll still be—”

“No!” She cried. “Stop it please!”

“You stop!” He said.

She looked down at her feet. “You must like her a little so you will learn to feel for her.” Elizabeth wanted to cry but she would not in front of him. She needed to be strong and she needed not to let him know she could live without him.

“And what if I say no to this and tell your father I don’t want to be with Carmen?” He asked.

Elizabeth sucked in a painful breath. “Then you will never see my face again.”

He shook his head. “Don’t do this,” he said.

Elizabeth’s lip trembled. “It is the only way.”

“No there is another way but you are not strong enough to want or fight for it.” He started walking in the direction of her house. Elizabeth went after him.

“I want it but it is not mine to have,” she said. “You are making this so hard for me.”

“Because I fight for what I want,” he said.

Elizabeth couldn’t keep up with him; he was walking too fast. “Is that what you’ve been doing is it? Fighting for me? I couldn’t see it what with all the kisses you and my sister have been sharing!”

“What do you expect? We are supposed to be getting married,” he said. “I had no way out of it, I haven’t wanted to get close to you because I feared I would scare you off!”

“So you stuck around getting all comfy with my sister just so you could see me?” She asked, “why don’t I believe that?”

“Because you are blind,” he said.

Elizabeth panted. “What you just expected me to be your mistress while your married to my sister?”

“Of course not,” he said.

“Then what?” She asked. “What was your plan once you had me?”

“I don’t know!” He said honestly. “We’ll work it out, Liz, I promise, somehow we’ll—”

Elizabeth grabbed his arm. “Stop walking so fast!” She said. “If things did find a way they would end with Carmen not talking to me ever again.”

“Not if we end this now, she will get over it,” he said.

“I don’t think she will,” Elizabeth said. They were nearly at her house so she stopped walking and waited for him to stop too. He didn’t till he was a meter away from her then he came marching back with big strides.

“If you be with my sister you’ll still see me when your over at my house,” she said. “Eventually you will get over me and I will get over you. With you coming here it isn’t benefiting your or my situation… it’s just making it harder.”

“I want to see you more then that,” he said full of love.

Her lip trembled and she lifted her hand over it to stop him from seeing. “I do to but can’t you understand that I have no where else to go! In the end I will still be in that house and if I am not I will always be the daughter that betrayed her family!” Another tear dripped down her cheek. “You wouldn’t give up your family for me.

“See that’s the difference between you and me,” he said. “I would.”

Elizabeth was shocked. She gasped and shook her head. “I don’t believe you,” she said. She had been brought up to love her family and be respectful to her family in every way, giving them up was unthinkable.

She couldn’t believe that he felt that much for her… was it even possible?

Knowing that all these feelings were new for her, she guessed it was.

“Well you wouldn’t would you?” He sighed.

She wiped her eyes. “There will be other boys but their will never be another family,” she said. “There will never be another sister.”

“I am not a boy,” he said.

She ignored his comment. “I will be engaged not long after your wedding, there is no way for us. We need to forget each other.”

“That’s so easy for you to say,” he spat.

“Are you kidding?” She asked. “are you joking?” She yelled. “This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life!”

He put his hands on his head and sucked in a breath. “Don’t do it then!” He said.

“ARGH!” She cried. “You never give up! I can’t do this! Don’t you understand? I will not give up my family for you. If you really cared for me you wouldn’t make me.”

“Well that’s just perfect isn’t it?” He turned and walked away in the other direction. Elizabeth did not go after him and she did not go home, she went to her stables and sat with her horse and cried.

~* *~

Things were even worse now that he wasn’t coming to see her anymore. She craved him all day long and all night, there was not a moment that went by she didn’t think about him.

She was relieved that he did not go to her father and end it with Carmen but she was not happy about the situation either. She just had to keep telling herself that she would get over this and she would move on eventually. It didn’t work, she felt like she would never stop feeling the way she did for him. And as the days turned into weeks and she walked home from her art classes alone and without him, she let herself realize that she was deeply in love with him. Before she would believe she just felt for him but she couldn’t anymore, she knew the extent to her emotions.

She never saw him even when he called on Carmen to go out, because he didn’t come inside anymore. The thing was he rarely came to get Carmen because he rarely called on her anymore. Carmen was worried about his sudden lose of his appearance but Elizabeth tried to calm her by saying he was probably just busy with work and things and that she just needed to give him time.

Carmen was reluctant but since she had no other choice she gave into Elizabeth’s opinion.

Finally about three weeks after their talk, Maxwell came around to the Parker’s house for dinner with Michael. Isabelle and Alexander came too.

It was the first time they had seen each other for three weeks and they barely acknowledged each other’s presence. Well why would they? Elizabeth thought sadly, they were not friends. He was probably still mad at her for doing what she did and she had to deal with that.

She had to deal with the fact that he was getting over her like she had asked and now she needed to as well. It was time.

It was not that easy.

Neither of them talked much to anyone during dinner and though they never caught each other’s eyes they glanced at each other frequently.

Half way through the meal Maxwell excused himself to go to the bathroom and Elizabeth stared at his empty chair till he came back.

“So,” Nancy said. “Maxwell we haven’t seen much of you lately."
“Yeah,” he said. “I’m sorry about that, I have been busy with work.”

Carmen looked at Elizabeth and Elizabeth nodded as if to say, I told you so. Dinner was fast to Elizabeth because all she could think during it was; I’m not going to see him again for a really long time. She knew this was all her fault but that didn’t make her miss him less.

“Carmen can you pass me the potato please?” Elizabeth asked. Carmen handed it to Maxwell to pass to Elizabeth and when he handed it to her his hand accidentally brushed her hand. They didn’t look at each other but it meant a lot to them both.

Why was this so unfair? Why had things turned out this way? She wanted to throw a big tantrum at how unfair things were. In fairy tales there was always an obstacle keeping the soul mates from being together and then they would have their happy ending. This was not a fairy tale though and Elizabeth doubted there would be a ‘and they lived happily ever after’ forever. She could wish and pray all she wanted but that would not do anything, and she would not brake.

So as Carmen put her arm around Maxwell’s shoulders and nuzzled her face in his neck, she turned to Maria and asked her about the success of her latest protest. She would be strong and she would get through this.
It would just take a lot out of her…

After dinner Carmen went out to say goodbye to Maxwell and when she came out Maria went out to bid farewell to Michael.

“Well I’m so glad he’s acting normal again.” Carmen walked up to Elizabeth. “And you were right!”

“Hmm.” Elizabeth put on a fake smile. She went up to her room to get away from everyone but unfortunately Carmen followed her.

As soon as she entered her room she saw the little note with Liz written on the front of it. It was on her pillow and she sprinted over to grab it before Carmen could see it. She leaped onto the bed and grabbed it…

Carmen walked in and frowned at Elizabeth.

Elizabeth hid the note in her hands. “Nothings wrong, don’t worry about me.” Did she sound suspicious?

“Who’s worrying?” Carmen shrugged. “You are so weird. Any way about the wedding I was thinking maybe you should wear lavender?”

Elizabeth sat up and shoved the note in her hands under her pillow.

“Elizabeth?” Carmen asked. She sat down on the bed and folded her arms.

Elizabeth wanted to read the note but she was afraid what was in it.

“Elizabeth!” Carmen exclaimed.

“What?” Elizabeth asked shocked. Why was she yelling?

“I asked if you’d like to wear lavender to the wedding?” Carmen was frowning again.

“Oh yeah sure, what ever.” Elizabeth nodded. "Good idea."
Carmen sucked in a breath. “You don’t sound very convincing…”

Elizabeth wanted her to leave she needed to read the note—

“Don’t I?” She asked. “Sorry… I think lavender is a great color.”

“It’s go great with all the decorations and my dress and…” Carmen did not leave for forty-five minutes and Elizabeth was about ready to pull her hair out.

“Look I am really tired Carmen and I am so happy for you, the wedding is going to be wonderful. But I need to sleep now, please, please go away.” It was her last resort, she had tried yawning and giving her hints but Carmen wouldn’t notice them.

“Okay.” Carmen got up. “I’m just really excited, sorry. Good night.”

“Night,” Elizabeth said smiling.

Carmen walked to the door and as soon as she was gone Elizabeth threw the pillow back and reached for the note…

“Elizabeth?” Carmen popped her head back in through the door. Elizabeth shoved the note behind her back.

“Ah yeah?” She answered.

“I hope you’re not lonely what with being the only one of us without a man…” She said.

Elizabeth sighed. “I’m fine, it’s nearly my turn. I can handle the wait.”

“Hmm, okay. See ya.” She closed the door and Elizabeth sucked in a relieved breath.


She stared at the note and her name on the front. She knew it was from Maxwell, she knew it as soon as she saw it. This was the first time she was seeing his hand writing, it was neat and perfect.

She opened the note and inside it said, right in the middle:

I want to see you one last time alone, please meet me at two-am behind your horse-riding paddock near the creek.

She closed the note and sucked in a breath, should she go? She wondered.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Sep-2002 7:50:30 PM ]
posted on 31-May-2002 4:27:55 AM by tyranese
ahhh I love feedback, I really do. It is so wonderful.
Okay I'm not going to lie to you, my goal for this part was to make you cry, I got very emotional writing this part because I can just picture this part so clear in my head! I really hope you like it!!!

~* VII *~

Elizabeth spent the rest of the evening and a lot of the morning sitting on her bed contemplating whether to go or not to go and see Maxwell. There were so many reasons not go but her longing to talk to him was strong.

He said he wanted to talk to her one last time, did that mean he just wanted to make sure they were parting on good terms? Did he want to give them both a little piece of mind before giving up all they felt for good?

If it was for those reasons Elizabeth saw no harm in going. But if he was going to fight with her again she saw no logic in going.

She knew that there was no point in sitting there re-reading his note and trying to find the meaning behind his words, she would have to go and meet him to know for sure.

At approximately one-forty in the morning she got into a long cream skirt and a white skivvie. She had boots on her feet and rapped around a scarf around her neck for warmth. She tied her hair up in a tight pony tale at the back of her head.

Sneaking through the house was the worse part of going to see him; she was so afraid someone would wake up and demand to know where she was going. Luckily she managed to get out through the French doors in the ballroom safely.

Outside the cold ate at her skin harshly. She hadn’t realized it would be so cold and wished she had put on more clothing. It was too late for her to go back now, she did not want to go back in that house and get caught.

She walked along the gravel paths out to the paddocks with her arms rapped around herself and her face buried in her scarf. Maybe Maxwell will have a jacket I can wear? She wondered. She decided no, he will need if for himself and tried to get a grip.

Maxwell saw her before she saw him. He was sitting on a bench waiting for her, and he had plenty of clothing on to keep him warm. Not far in front of him stood a magnificent black stallion chewing on some grass.

When she saw him she rapped her arms around herself tighter and stopped walking, this was going to be awkward, she thought.

He stood up and walked over to her. “Hi,” he said quietly.

She looked up at him and saw his face properly for the first time in a long time. At dinner she hadn’t had the chance to look him in the face with fear he would see the scars in her eyes.

It was a good thing she hadn’t looked because he did not look like the vibrant man he used to be. His face had less color and he had dark lines under his eyes. He looked… sad. He was like a little boy. His face was emotionless like there hadn’t been a smile on it for a while. She had to fight the urge to rap her arms around him and comfort him until he was better. Seeing him like this upset her and tore at her heart. She almost wanted to say, ‘be with me. Be with me if it will make you smile.’

Surely she couldn’t be the one that inflicted this pain on his face?

Did she look like that?

Maxwell sucked in a breath. “Look, look what I brought for you to see.” He motioned to the horse. “I thought you would appreciate seeing him.”

She couldn’t take her eyes off his face.

His mouth twitched. “What?” He asked, “why are you looking at me like that?” His eyes started to glow with a little bit of life.

“Keep looking,” he whispered.

She did.

But not for very long because she knew she was giving in to him. Instead she turned to look at the horse and said, “that is a stunning horse.”

“Isn’t it?” He said. “A visitor to town is staying with us and he owns it.”

Elizabeth turned to look at Maxwell again while he was looking at the horse. Gone were his bright eyes, gone were his smiling luscious lips, gone. Gone. Gone. Gone.

She wanted to touch him.

“Do you want to ride him?” Maxwell turned his head back to look at her.

Elizabeth bit her lip. Finally she replied with disappointment, “I want to but I can’t. I’m wearing a skirt.” She shivered.

Maxwell pulled off his coat and handed it to her. “You’ll freeze out here in those clothes,” he said. “Put it on.”

“What about you?” she asked.

He rubbed his hands together. “I’m fine I have heaps of layers.”

Elizabeth gladly pulled on his coat and snuggled into its comfy, warm innards. It smelt like him
She did feel rude taking his coat but she was freezing and she had felt like she was slowly turning into ice cream sludge.

“You’ll just have to ride him,” Maxwell explained. “Like a normal girl.”

Elizabeth opened her mouth to say that she didn’t think it would be a good idea but he mentioned that he would sit up on the horse with her to help. She couldn’t say no then. If he was going to be on there with her that would mean he would have to touch her at some point. She needed to feel his hands on her.

They walked over to the horse and Maxwell helped her up by letting her use him to climb on. She slipped once and for a second was pressed up against him and the horse; it felt wonderful to have his body against hers.

Embarrassed and flushed she quickly moved away and climbed on the horse. He joined her a few seconds later and put each of his legs on either side of the horse. She had no choice but to sit very close to him, there was no where else to go.

They didn’t know what to say once they were up there so Maxwell kicked the side of the horse and it started aimlessly wandering around the area in front of the creek.

Surprisingly Elizabeth was the one to break the silence. “Tell me what your thinking,” she said.

He swallowed. “You don’t want to know what I’m thinking.”

“Okay.” She stared ahead at the little bit of light coming up along the horizon. They were silent again, but it was not that bad. Elizabeth cleared her throat. “Look Maxwell I…”
“Suddenly I’m Maxwell again?” She asked.

She looked at him. “Please stop,” she said.

He looked down. “I know you said not to come and see you again but at least this time I asked you to come to me…” He said.

She rolled her eyes. “That does not make a difference.”

“Why did you come then?” he asked.

“Because I wanted to know what you wanted,” she answered. “You know I wish things were different…”

“I do?” He asked. “How do I know this?”

He looked at her and she looked back. “You just do,” she said.

He shrugged. “Could have fooled me.”

“Do you hate me?” She asked. He didn’t answer for a long time and when he did he wasn’t being rude and accusing like he had been for the last few minutes.

“I don’t hate you,” he said. “I can’t hate you… it’s impossible. I am mad at you for what you said.”

She nodded. “If there was a way… just the slightest chance that we could…” She cleared her throat. “Be together I would take it in a second, believe that.”
“It’s not enough,” he said.

She sighed. “I’m sorry I’ve hurt you.” She turned away from him and looked at the sunrise, it lit their cold faces with orange light and it was a magnificent sight. “If we could go back,” she said quietly. “To that ball night. I would change the way it turned out.”

“How?” Maxwell asked in a quiet voice.

“I would,” her voice cracked. “I would have told my parent’s and Carmen that we had and I had…” She buried her head in her hands. “You have no idea how much I want things to be different. I am so lost, I don’t know what to do.”

Maxwell turned her around to face him and wiped the tears from her face. “What do you mean I have no idea? I have just had the hardest and most devastating three weeks of my life. To have the thought." He was having trouble keeping his emotions in tact too. “That I would never be able to share my life with you…” His voice cracked. “It’s the worst thing that could happen to me.”

Her big eyes were glazed over with tears threatening to spill.

“I love my sister,” she said emotionally. “She may not be there much for me lately because she is to infatuated with you but she has always been there for me through my life. She...”

The tears spilled down her cheeks. “She was always the one there for me when I needed her and she never asked for anything in return. Now whenever I want to be with you all I can think about is her and how much she talks about you and how much she needs you. I can’t imagine hurting her like I know it would... I am dying.”

She wiped her eyes. “To give up my family for you but you have to understand that you are not in my situation. You can say you would give up your family for me because you don’t have to do it. Your family will understand because you are the male and were forced into this.”

Maxwell opened his mouth to say something but she shook her head. “Let me finish,” she said. “You probably think I don’t feel the same way for you that you do for me but that couldn’t be further from the truth.” She was speaking quietly and her emotion showed that every word was coming from her heart. “I need to be with you.”

Her lips trembled and she was clearly just about to break down. “And I can’t live with out you,” she cried. “I have never felt this before and I am not sure what to.” Her face crinkled up because of all her efforts to stay composed. “Please don’t think that I wanted any of this and that I am not lost without you because I am.”

She sobbed. “You are the most amazing and wonderful person I have ever met and when I see you with Carmen…” She wanted to get off the horse and run away. “I am slowly breaking,” she whispered.

“Every time you touch her a little bit of me is ripped out…"

“Shh.” Maxwell put his finger to her lips. “Stop don’t say anymore.” A tear dripped down in his cheek. “I don’t need to hear anymore.”

She coiled over and broke down on his chest. He rapped his arms around her and pressed his head in her hair.

“Shh,” he whispered kissing the top of her head.

As the sun came up Elizabeth let it all out and it was in the best possible place: Maxwell’s arms. This was where he could breath it all in and share it with her. Finally she let herself let go and had someone look after her for once.

All the pain and all the emotion she had felt since she had met him just came out and as it did she slowly started feeling better. She knew that he wanted her and no one else and that helped. She did not know what she did to get his love nor did she know if she deserved it.

All she knew was that she could not live without it.
And when she couldn’t cry anymore she stayed in his arms and rested her wet face in the crook of his neck.

Maxwell did not loosen his grip on her and she did not move away. They needed this.

“That’s why darling, it’s incredible,
That someone so unforgettable thinks that I am, unforgettable too.”

Elizabeth pulled away from Maxwell and wiped her red eyes.

“What was that?” She asked.

He looked down at his hands on her leg. “That was the song we danced to the night we met,” he said.

And when he looked up they couldn’t help it. They had no power over it. It just happened.

They kissed.

When their lips touched it was amazing. It was the perfect scene with the sun coming up in front of them and the horse underneath them.

They rapped their arms around each other’s waists and leaned into each other as far as physically possible.

Maxwell parted Elizabeth’s mouth with his and he raped her off her first kiss. He had taken her innocence and neither of them cared. All they could think about was how right this was, to be in each other’s arms.

Elizabeth’s head was spinning; she had never experienced such a great thing in her whole life.

Not even horse riding could bring her such great feelings; not even painting the world like it was a perfect place. Nothing.

And all she wanted was more. She wanted to get closer to him in every way; she wanted to be inside of him so they would never stop touching. She shifted her body so her body was leaning back with him slightly on top of her.

The sound of squishing plop noises broke them apart and when Elizabeth realized what the noise was she laughed and said in a quiet, amused voice, “how appropriate.”

Max laughed and looked down at the big brown pile of fresh waste on the grass. What a time for something like that to happen, Elizabeth thought.

Maxwell was somewhat glad for the interruption. He felt as if something had to stop him.

They didn’t talk about what had happened but Elizabeth leaned into Maxwell’s chest while they enjoyed the sight of the sun coming up before them.

~* *~

Elizabeth awoke late in the morning after her sleep deprived night. Maria came into the room dressed in her Sunday dress and when she saw Elizabeth was not yet up she screeched and demanded that she got dressed right that second or they would be late for church.

Elizabeth yawned and slowly got up of her big bed.

“Elizabeth!” Maria cried. “Why are you so tired? You should have been ready to go by now!”

“I’m sorry." Elizabeth stumbled over to her wardrobe. “I didn’t realize what time it was.”

They quickly got Elizabeth dressed and ready then went down stairs to the rest of the family.

“What took you so long?” Carmen asked.

“Elizabeth decided to sleep in,” Maria sighed.

Carmen rapped her arm around her sister. “Oh well no harm done.”

Elizabeth’s situation was not better and she did not know what was going to happen in the future but this morning she just wanted to be content because of her morning with Maxwell. After the sun had risen he had walked her back to the house with his hand in hers and before he had left he had said that they would work thins out some how. Some how they would be together, they just needed to have faith.

Elizabeth didn’t think faith was going to be enough to keep them together but she was too happy to care today. She didn’t care if Carmen went on about the stupid wedding because she and Maxwell had kissed and it was wonderful.

On the ride to church she wondered how it was possible for two people to only want one thing in life and that one thing was to be together. It was amazing how strong the bonds of love could be and as much as it fascinated and intrigued her it also frightened her to death.

What were she and Maxwell going to do? What lay ahead for them both?

There was no way of telling the future but Elizabeth knew that what was coming was going to be beyond hard and a great challenge for everyone.

Today she was ignoring it all though and she had a good reason to. She had stayed up all night and she had seen the sun rise, now she was going to float in its warmth for a while.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Sep-2002 8:05:40 PM ]
posted on 2-Jun-2002 3:36:53 AM by tyranese

~* VIII *~

“I saw you Elizabeth,” Carmen said. “I saw you with him.”

Elizabeth’s stomach dropped. “What are you talking about?”

They were sitting by the fire and Elizabeth was drawing while Carmen had a book.

“Don’t lie to me,” Carmen said painfully. “I thought you were the one that would never hurt me. I thought that since we were such great friends that I would never have to worry about you deceiving me.”

Elizabeth swallowed. “You don’t have to worry about me deceiving you.” She looked down at her drawing of the sun rise and closed the book. “I don’t know what your talking about,” she said.

“You do.” Carmen’s face showed her hurt. “I saw you with Maxwell and I’ve seen the way you look at each other. Tell me how long have I been completely blind?”

“Your crazy.” Elizabeth paled. “There is nothing going on between Maxwell and I.”

“You’ve been lying to me for so long how can you possibly still be now?” Carmen started to cry. “I can’t believe I didn’t see it sooner, it’s all so clear now.”

Elizabeth was jolted out of her nightmare because of the front door slamming. She sat up quickly and looked around, Carmen glanced at her from the end of the couch, she was still holding her book.

She rubbed her eyes and looked at the front door where her father was taking off his jacket, “its going to be a very harsh winter,” he commented.

Elizabeth slumped back onto the couch and stared at the dark ceiling lit slightly by the fire. What a horrible dream, she thought.

Isn’t it a shame that one day of content has to end and you have to go back to normal as soon as reality enlightens you? Elizabeth may have been happy for one day because she and Maxwell shared something that seemed more significant than just a kiss. But once she realized everything around her was still exactly the same and she was still in the same situation but worse she found it hard to stay happy for long.

Now she was not only haunted with guilt during her days but she was also haunted during her dreams. She found that very unfair.

Only one thing was better since that wonderful morning.

She had more hope for the future.

She didn’t feel better about hurting her sister but to know Maxwell shared her feelings and he was optimistic things would work out—it just helped somehow.

Her father walked past the couch and patted her on the head. “I’m glad your both comfortable,” he smiled.

Carmen chuckled. “The way it should be.”

Their father nodded his head and headed up stairs in seek of his wife.

Elizabeth looked at Carmen, she was looking back at her.

“Elizabeth I heard something from one of the girls in town,” Carmen said.

Elizabeth put her pencil and pad down on the floor next to the couch. “What did you hear?” She asked.

Carmen’s eyes glowed. “I heard that there is going to be a war,” she said.

“A war?” Elizabeth asked.

“Between the confederacy and the Union,” she cleared her throat. “The North and South. People are calling it the war of Southern independence.”

Elizabeth swallowed. She only knew a little of the slavery down South but since she lived in the North where people did not agree with those ways, she hadn’t heard too much.

“Do you think we’ll be safe here?” She asked.

“I don’t know.” Carmen closed her book. “But it’s all just rumors for now. We don’t know if anything will actually happen.”

Elizabeth sighed. “Well it would be good for those slaves to finally be freed but in a war sense not so good.”

“Yeah,” Carmen agreed.

~* *~

Another night, another damn dinner party.

This time it was a larger gathering with not just family and extended family but friends as well. When the girls gathered at the stairs to walk down into the ball room Elizabeth looked at Isabelle and said with a slight smile on her lips, “when I get married I am going as far away from here as possible so I don’t have to do this anymore.”

“It’s so embarrassing,” Carmen giggled.

“I know!” Maria scrunched her nose. “Maybe we she inquire about not doing it anymore…”

Elizabeth shrugged. “I don’t think it will help.”

Isabelle laughed at them. “Elizabeth’s right, father enjoys watching all his girls come down the stairs. He takes great pride in us and being able to parade us around makes him happy. I say we give him that much.”

“Let’s go,” Nancy said.

Elizabeth sighed and followed her sisters. She knew Maxwell was in the room and that made her stomach churn with excitement. She hadn’t had a chance to see him before everyone arrived because she was too busy getting ready in her room. She had chosen an ivory colored dress tonight; she wanted to look her best. Her hair was up and she was wearing a diamond necklace around her neck.

She saw Maxwell straight away; he was standing in front of the window on the left-hand side of the room with a wine in his hand. She loved it how he was focusing on nothing but her.

At the bottom of the stairs Erica was waiting for her. “You look stunning tonight,” she said.

“Thank you,” Elizabeth blushed.

They made their way over to where her husband was and a group of his male friends. Jennifer was there too but she was on her way out to the dance floor with a man named Timothy.

While Elizabeth stood there talking with the people gathered around all she could think about was how much she wished Maxwell were at her side. Maybe in another world they could have been together in public but not in this one.

“Look there’s Jonathan.” Erica pointed to their friend making his way over to them. “He always had the biggest crush on you…” she whispered in Elizabeth’s ear.

“He does not,” Elizabeth argued. Jonathan had just got back from being away at university down south.

“Elizabeth you look as stunning as you did when I left.” He hugged her and kissed her cheeks. “Let’s dance?”

Elizabeth nodded. "Okay.”

They walked out to the dance floor and Jonathan stood a little closer then friendly. Elizabeth did not feel comfortable at all.

After one song Elizabeth wanted to leave but her insisted they dance again, she gave in and danced with him for one more song. When it ended she looked up to see Maxwell with such a bank expression on his face that it hurt to breathe.

“Excuse me.” She quickly walked away from Jonathan and straight to him.

When she reached him he leaned down and whispered in her ear. “Meet me in your bedroom in five minutes.”

She nodded. "Okay."

It wasn’t very safe for them to be talking in a public place like this. They looked at each other once before separating.

She was on her way up to meet him when she was asked to dance by a male she had never met before.

She was too polite to say no so she danced with him one song.

“I’m Gregory,” he introduced himself.

Like she cared. “I’m Elizabeth.” She smiled.

As soon as the song ended she hurried out to the rare staircase and rushed up to her bedroom. When she opened the door she felt him grab her and pull her over to him. He closed the door and they stood facing each other next to the wall.

“Do you have any idea.” He smiled. “How gorgeous you look tonight?”

She blushed and looked down at the ground. “I wanted to look my best,” she said.

He brought his hand up to her cheek and she looked up into his eyes. “Practically every male in the room was drooling over you,” he commented.

She rolled her eyes. “I’m sure it had nothing to do with my three stunning sisters in front of me?”

“It had nothing to do with them.” He stepped closer to her and his eyes darkened. “You're much more attractive then your sisters.”

Elizabeth’s voice went husky. “It’s nice to have one person appreciate me,” she said. They leaned into each other and shared a passionate kiss filled with longing and love. When they broke away Maxwell pressed his forehead against hers.

“I want to be able to dance with you so much… it’s not fair that every other male gets to.”

She bit her lip. “Just know that I wish it were you…” She whispered.

He kissed her again, this time she leaned back into the wall and lifted one leg to go around his. She could not think about her sister.

“I have to get back down stairs,” she panted. He was kissing her neck and behind her ears. “My family will notice I’m gone and come looking for me,” she said.

He sighed and let go of her. “Okay.” In a quiet voice he added, “you’ll go and I won’t be happy…”

“Maybe I’ll see you later?” She asked.

“And I’ll be happy.” He grinned. They shared another kiss and then Maxwell left. She had to go and re-do her make up before going back down stairs.

“Where did you disappear to?” Maria asked as soon as she saw her.

Elizabeth swallowed. “I just went to freshen up.” She smiled. “Where’s Michael?”

Maria eyed her suspiciously. “Where’s Maxwell?” She asked.

Elizabeth frowned. “How should I know? Is he even here, I haven’t seen him yet?” She looked around. “Oh look there he is dancing with Carmen.” She pointed.

Maria bit the side of her mouth then said quietly. “I hope what I’m guessing is wrong.”

Elizabeth looked at her with fake happiness. “What are you guessing?” She asked. Then, afraid Maria would tell her she said, “no don’t, come on let’s go mingle?”

Later on in the evening when everyone was dancing, Elizabeth sat in the corner watching all the happy faces.

She was focusing on one in particular and that was Carmen’s. She was walking around with her hand in Maxwell’s and was introducing him as her fiancee to everyone.

It hurt Elizabeth to see them together. Even knowing that Maxwell wished it were her, he was so convincing to everyone that he was happy with Carmen. He treated her like a man about to marry a girl would.

She sighed and closed her eyes for a minute, when she opened them Isabelle was standing in front of her.

“Hi.” Isabelle smiled. “How’s it going?”

Elizabeth smiled back. “Everything is wonderful, I am wonderful. As I should be,” she said.

“I’m glad.” Isabelle took a seat next to her. “Christmas soon, excited?”

“Not really,” Elizabeth answered. “It’s just going to be spent with a whole lot of people here having a huge dinner. Not very private at all.” Elizabeth envied Erica’s Christmas’s because she spent them with her husband and some times their parent’s would come over.

Christmas may be a time for friends and family to get together but Elizabeth just wanted family and not the whole town.

“Well I am.” Isabelle loved Christmas. “I have brought you a great present.”

Elizabeth tried to be enthusiastic. “Thank you in advance.”

Isabelle got up. “Why so glum all the time darling? There is so much to be happy about. Focus on the good things…”

“I am,” Elizabeth said. I’m focusing on my one good thing every second, she thought.

~* *~

Christmas morning was the busiest time of the whole year at the Parker’s house. The maids were milling around setting up decorations and cooking. The daughters were busy getting dressed up and soaking in the bath. Music was playing joyfully and the person who seemed to enjoy this day the most was Jeffery Parker.

He sung with the music and helped with the decorations and tasted all the foods the maids were cooking. He loved Christmas just like Isabelle.

Elizabeth lay on her bed staring at the ceiling. She was dressed and her hair was done and soon she would have to go downstairs and have to greet all the guests. All the guests.

Around fifty people would be seated at the long dinner table and gorgeous foods would be covering every inch of it. Elizabeth thought the food was the best part of Christmas.

“Elizabeth!” Maria opened the door with a smile on her face and missile toe in her hair. “This way,” she explained. “If I have it on my head all the time every man will have to kiss me.” She grinned.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “You’re supposed to be getting married,” she said.

“So? I’m not married yet,” Maria said, laughing.

Getting up off the bed Elizabeth explained to her that when you are in love you are not supposed to want anyone else.

“Like you would know,” Maria said. They went down stairs to where everyone was already arriving.

Michael came and took Maria away from Elizabeth and she was left to stand-alone and smile at everyone as they came inside. Carmen joined her a few minutes later; she was so much better at greeting people then Elizabeth was. With her huge smile and joyous voice… everyone loved her.

When Maxwell walked in the door after his parent’s Carmen swarmed around him so Elizabeth was yet again let alone.

Once everyone arrived Elizabeth went and took a seat, right at the head of the table on her fathers left. Nancy was on his right.

Through out dinner Elizabeth thought sadly about the decision she would have to make very soon. Maxwell wouldn’t wait for her to make up her mind much longer… he would tell her parent’s the truth if she didn’t.

Basically she was being asked to choose between Maxwell and Carmen.

Everything she had learnt as she grew up was telling her to choose her sister. But if she chose her sister Maxwell would leave Carmen and neither of them would have him.

Was that better then just Elizabeth having him?

For Elizabeth it was not but for Carmen it might be.

Argh! This was so unfair!

She should just tell her family… they deserved to know the truth even if it would hurt them.

It was much easier to say it then do it.

“Just before we move on to have dessert,” Jeffery interrupted everyone. “I have an announcement.”

Everyone went quiet and turned to focus on Mr. Parker.

“ Me and Nancy have been talking and we have decided to do things a little different than usual.” He looked at Elizabeth and smiled.“Elizabeth…” he said.

She put her wineglass down on the table and looked at him.

“Yeah?" She asked nervously.

“I know your not twenty-one yet but it’s not too long away and because of that…”

“Oh no,” Elizabeth mumbled.

“We are going to make the wedding next year a triple one.” He studied her face. “We have chosen your fiancee.”

Elizabeth’s eyes widened. “Is he here?” She whispered.

“No, unfortunately he’s traveling here from the west and won’t arrive for another day or so.” He put his hand on top of his daughters. “His name is Kyle Valenti and he has a wonderful kind father. From what I’ve seen and heard he is just as decent as dad.”

Elizabeth sucked in a breath, all she could think was what is Maxwell thinking right now?

“That’s wonderful!” Carmen said. “Oh Elizabeth you won’t be the only one of us left! Don’t you think that’s wonderful?”

Elizabeth turned to her sister and with a fake smile on her face said, “it is wonderful.”

Maria and Isabelle glanced at each other.

After dinner Elizabeth went and sat down by the fire by herself. Her mother came and sat down with her a few minutes later. “Shocked?” She asked.

Elizabeth nodded. “When did you decide this?” She asked.

Nancy stared at the fire. “About four days ago. You’ll like Kyle Elizabeth, he is a wonderful boy.”

Elizabeth knew this was a good time to tell her mother the truth about everything but for some reason it just wouldn’t come out. She opened her mouth and tried to say what she needed to say but she couldn’t.

“I’m sure I will like him mother,” she said instead. “You have wonderful taste in husbands.”

Nancy nodded her head. “Just wait and see okay?”

“Okay,” Elizabeth sighed.

“Try not to be so down all the time darling. Why don’t you go and dance with one of the guests?”

Elizabeth shook her head. “No I think I’m just going to stay warm for a while.”

Her mother got up. “Well come and join everyone eventually will you? It’s Christmas! Everyone has to have a good time at Christmas.”

Elizabeth was amazed that things could get worse then they already were. Some how they had managed to and she wondered if the world was out to get her and Maxwell. Were they just not meant to be?

She turned her head and looked around all the people. She spotted Maxwell standing with Maria and Carmen in the corner and when he turned her head he caught her gaze and they stared at each other for a moment. Yet again she was faced with the same question that she had had since she met Maxwell. What were they going to do?

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Sep-2002 4:01:34 AM ]
posted on 2-Jun-2002 8:35:54 PM by tyranese

~* IX *~

“Nervous?” Carmen rapped her arm around Elizabeth’s shoulders and kissed her cheek. “Don’t worry.”

Elizabeth sucked in a breath. “I’m not nervous,” she said.

Carmen giggled. “Sure you are. I remember how nervous I was and now look at me. I am so happy, you have nothing to worry about.”

“I know,” Elizabeth said letting a small sigh escape her lips.

Kyle would be arriving any minute now and she would meet the man she had no intention in marrying.

A carriage pulled up but it was Maxwell’s, he was here to pick up Carmen. He walked up the steps in front of the house and approached them. He did not glance once at Elizabeth.

“Hi darling,” Carmen said kissing his lips.

He nodded his head. “Hi. Let’s get going shall we?”

“No let’s wait I want to meet the man who’s going to marry Elizabeth.” She giggled. “Oh this is so weird, just think a triple wedding. How exciting!”

“Hmm,” Maxwell muttered.

“And he’s traveling all this way for you.” Carmen was so enthusiastic. “Oh that’s so adorable.”

Elizabeth grinned. “Isn’t it just?”

“I’d really like to go…” Maxwell said. “I feel like I’m intruding.”

“Oh don’t worry Maxwell your not!” Carmen smiled. “Elizabeth you don’t mind Maxwell being here do you? I mean he will be family soon anyway so your going to have to get used to him…”

“I don’t mind.” Elizabeth looked at her feet.

“Oh look he’s here!” Carmen jumped up and down once. “Mother! Father! He’s here!”

Nancy and Jeffery hurried into the room. “Oh wonderful, I’m so glad," Nancy said. She smiled and rubbed her hands together.

They all waited anxiously for him to make an appearance and after a few minutes the carriage stopped behind Maxwell’s and the little door opened. Out stepped a woman, most likely his mother and then another man, Jim Valenti. Finally Kyle hopped out and took off his top hat. Carmen nudged Elizabeth’s side.

“Oh handsome!” she said smiling.

Elizabeth finally caught Maxwell’s eyes and she wished she hadn’t. His eyes showed all that he was feeling- confusion, hurt, jealousy, and worry. She wanted to let him know she was only thinking about him but couldn’t very well do that here could she?

The Valenti family came up to the building and Nancy and Jeffery hugged and greeted them all. “How was your journey?” Nancy asked.

“It was quite pleasant,” Amy Valenti replied. “You look great Nancy, the same as you did last time I saw you.”

Nancy laughed. “Oh tha