posted on 3-Jun-2002 2:04:16 AM by ravrac
I know this is really short. But if you think it's worth my while and yours for me to explore the possibilities with this fic, please let me know. Otherwise, I won't bother. Thanks.

SUMMARY: What if Max still had a baby with Tess and gave him up for adoption, but didn't know Liz during that whole time? What if Max still didn't have a "love connection" with Tess? Also, what if Tess still died, not only trying to save her son, but also to help Max and the others win a major battle? Please read on to find out my take on what would have happened after that.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 1

(Present Day)

"Mark, honey, what's wrong? Did you have another bad dream?" she said to her son.

"Yeah, Mom," Mark said, as he sat up in his bed, tears running down his face.

"It's okay, baby. I'm right here. You'll be okay." I won't let anything happen to you," she said as she loving and protectively held her son in her arms. "Can you tell me anything about it, sweetie?"

"No," he said slowly. "I can never remember anything," he said, as he continued to quietly sob.

"That's okay, honey. Just go back to sleep now," she said as she tucked him in and began walking to the door."

"Mom, please don't leave. Stay with me. I'm afraid."

It tore at Liz's heart, seeing him feeling so vulnerable. "Okay, sweetie. I'll stay with you tonight." As she nestled herself next to her son, she was reminded how just a few years ago, she would never have imagined how one little boy could have won her heart so quickly. As she lay there, holding her young son in her arms, she found she could not stay awake. Before she even realized it, she was dreaming back to that moment when Mark had first entered her life.

TBC-??
*sad*

[ edited 27time(s), last at 24-Nov-2002 2:22:45 AM ]
posted on 3-Jun-2002 3:54:39 PM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

I'm so glad to see people offer me feedback so quickly for this story. I already have some ideas on how the story line will go. To reward you for offering feedback so quickly, I'm including the next part I just developed. Hope you enjoy this part as well. I'll look forward to further feedback, to see what you think. Thanks again.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In MY DREAMS"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)


Part 2

*****Dream Sequence*****

“Liz, I’m so excited,” Christine, her best friend in the world, said, as soon as Liz had picked up her phone.

“Christine, what’s gotten into you? It’s 2 a.m.”

“I can’t help it, Liz. I’m so happy. I just had to share it with my best friend.”

“Okay. I give. Tell me already.”

“Oh, I can’t tell you. You have to see for yourself. Would you please come over?”

“Now? But what about Eric? Won’t he think it strange for me to come over at this time of day?”

“Are you kidding? He’s the one who told me to call you. He’s as happy as I am.”

Now Christine really had Liz’s attention. “Okay, Christine. But this better be good. Because I know at this rate, I won’t be making it into class today for lab. I’ll be over shortly.”

Within five minutes, Liz had had thrown on some clothes, and within another five, was over at Christine’s. “Okay, Christine. This really better be good. You know I don’t function well without my sleep.”

“Okay. But you’ve got to close your eyes first,” both Christine and Eric said.

“What is going on with you guys? Have you both gone nuts?” Liz said as she closed her eyes.

In less than a minute, they said, “Okay. Now open them.”

Liz had imagined really laying into them for playing this irritating game this early in the morning. But instead of speaking, she could only gasp at the sight before her.

“Isn’t he beautiful, Liz?” Christine said, as she proudly held an adorable infant dressed in blue in her arms.

“Oh, Christine – wait a minute. I didn’t even know you were pregnant,” she said in an indignant tone.

“No, Liz, I wasn’t,” Christine responded, as just a hint of sadness appeared on her face. But just as quickly, it was gone. “Remember? We told you we wanted to adopt. We were told we’d be on a waiting list for possibly several years. But overnight, the agency called us, telling us there had been a last-minute request to find an infant a home. It seemed there was a lot of secrecy over the whole thing, which worried us at first. We don’t know much about the parents, except they were teens, way too young to be parents, apparently. Plus, it was requested the baby be placed in a home out of state from wherever his parents were. Apparently, that’s why we were called, because we especially met that requirement.” The whole time she talked, she held the baby close to her, cuddling him and cooing quietly to him.

“Oh, Christine, he is so beautiful. I can’t believe how blessed you both must feel. You’re going to be such wonderful parents,” she said tearfully, as she hugged both Christine and Eric.

Liz had never really thought of herself as a “baby” person. All she’d been able to focus on throughout high school, was getting the grades she’d need to get her into her dream school, Harvard. Her only goal in life till that moment was to become a molecular biologist. But when she saw this beautiful infant, she couldn’t control herself. She just had to hold him. “Christine,” she said shyly, “would you mind if I hold him for just a minute?”

“He’s stolen your heart too, hasn’t he, Liz?”

All Liz could do was nod.

“Hold out your arms,” Christine said.

Liz obediently did so and was immediately rewarded. She sat on Christine and Eric’s sofa, gently holding the baby, kissing him and softly talking to him. Within only a few minutes, he was sound asleep.

Liz could not believe he’d fallen asleep in her arms. Whenever she’d ever tried holding babies in the past, they’d always cry, and struggle to get out of her grasp.

Even Christine and Eric were surprised. He hadn’t even fallen asleep in their arms yet, since they’d just gotten him that night. “Boy, Liz, how did you do that? You’ve got to show me.”

“I honestly don’t know, guys.”

“Well, this settles it, Liz.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Eric, would you tell her, please.”

“Well, Liz, when we were filling out the adoption papers, we put your name down to call in case of any emergencies.”

“Oh, that’s fine, guys. I’d be honored.”

Eric and Christine looked at each other. “Liz, I’m not sure you quite understand,” Christine said.

“What do you mean?”

“Liz, what Eric was trying to tell you is that we’ve put you down to contact in case something serious happens to us.”

“Wait. What – do you mean – are you” –

“Yes, Liz, we are.”

“I don’t know, guys. That’s a big decision. I’m not even married. I’m even still in college. I really need to think about that. Can I let you know in a couple of days?”

“Of course, Liz. We just want you to know how privileged we’d feel if you would let us follow through with our wish.”

Of course, Liz already knew what she’d say. Somehow, she’d already felt she’d connected with the little baby. She went home to really think about it. She realized, if anything happened to her friends, her whole life would change forever. She may not even be able to finish school and get her degree. She realized she was probably overdramatizing the possibilities. After all, her friends were still only in their mid twenties. What were the chances of something happening to them, leaving the baby once again without any parents?

But in one moment of time, as soon as Mark had been in her arms, she realized she would be willing to do anything or forego anything to keep this child safe and in her life. So she talked to her friends the next day, letting them know her decision.
****End of Dream****

As Liz continued lying there, asleep with Mark, she protectively pulled him to her, saying in her sleep as she did so, “I love you, Mark. I don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t had you in my life.”

TBC???

*bounce**bounce*
posted on 8-Jun-2002 7:40:43 PM by ravrac
Hi, Guys:

I'm baaaack. Was gone for a few days. Hope you like the next part. Always remember, feedback is really a good motivator for me. Look forward to hearing from everyone.


RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"IN MY DREAMS"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 3

(Back in Roswell, N.M., at the Crashdown)

“Isabel, what is Max’s problem? He’s been moping around for the last week.”

“Don’t you remember, Michael? It was five years ago this week that Max gave Zan up for adoption. There’s never been a day go by that Max hasn’t thought about him. But the anniversary of when it happened is the hardest for him.”

“Oh, man. I totally forgot. Well, now that the war’s over, maybe he can find him. Why doesn’t he just have your dad do a search?”

“He tried. But dad said, since he’d gone to such efforts to bury the information about the adoption, even he couldn’t uncover Zan’s whereabouts.”

As they were talking, Maria walked up to them. “Okay, guys, what can I get you?”

“Nothing for me, Maria, except maybe a Cherry Coke.”

“What about you, Spaceboy?”

“I’ll have the same, and some Space Fries.”

“Coming right up.”

“Oh, Maria?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you have any plans tonight?” Michael casually asked.

“Kyle and I were just planning to hang out and rent some movies.”

“Where is that brother of yours anyway?”

“I think he’s helping dad get his car running again.
“Why? Did you have something in mind?”

Michael thought about responding, but decided he'd rather have a little privacy first. "Can I talk with you privately?" he said shyly.

"Well, this is a change. To what" --

"Okay. Knock it off, Maria. I just want to talk with you privately, if that's okay."

"Oh, okay.
"Agnes, could you cover for me for a few minutes?"

"All right. But make it quick. I have my break coming up in 15 minutes, and I don't plan to miss it."

Michael walked with Maria back to the lounge before speaking.
"Okay, Michael. What brought on all this secrecy business? You haven't acted this way since -- wait, is everything all right? There isn't another invasion, is there?" she asked worriedly.

"No, no, nothing like that. It's just that -- well, things are just finally beginning to settle down since the war ended. And I've missed you. We haven't really had a chance to spend some quality time together in a long time. I just wondered" --

"You're not going all 'Max' on me, are you? Not that I'd be complaining, mind you. I'm just" --

"Look, you're really making it hard for me to ask you out. So would you shut up for just a minute?"

Maria looked him thoughtfully for a few seconds and then said, "You want to ask me out, as in, on a date?"

"Well, yeah, that was the general idea. So, will you? Go out with me, that is?"

"Oh, Michael, that is so sweet. I'd love to go out with you. But Kyle and I did already have plans. But would you like to join us? I'm sure he wouldn't mind."

"Well, okay. Sure, I'll join you. But can we make a date for next weekend to go out?"

"Oh, Michael, that would really be great.
"By the way, I heard you and Isabel talking about Max. How's he doing right now?"

"Well, Isabel was reminding me how Max has been down this week because it was five years ago he gave Zan up for adoption. I remember when he did that how hard it was for him. But I remember how worried he was that it might put Zan in danger. And then, with all the business with the invasion of the Skins and Khivar wanting to destroy Max's heir, I think it really was the best decision Max could have made at the time. But I know that doesn't help him much now. All he can think about is wondering how Zan is doing, and if he's being well taken care of. It's just such a shame. Max doesn't have anyone except Isabel and me."

He paused momentarily and then added, "Of course, he realizes he has you, Kyle, the sheriff, and his wife Amy. It's just that, even when he and Tess were together, although Tess finally convinced him it was their destiny to be together, Max would often confide in me that he was just so certain there was someone out there for him, and he was just as certain it was not Tess. "

As Michael continued talking and Maria sat listening to him, she realized this was the first time she could ever remember Michael opening up so much. Of course, it was to talk about someone else, but at least it was a start.

When Michael paused again, Maria interjected. "Michael, how do you think Max would take it if we set him up on a blind date?"

"I really don't think that would be a good idea at all. It would probably just remind him of the whole 'destiny' thing with Tess. That's the last thing he needs right now, is a reminder of Tess."

"Yeah, I suppose you're right." Even as she spoke, though, she couldn't help thinking to herself, if she ever found someone that suited Max, she wouldn't hesitate to introduce them. She'd watched Max over the years, and she could tell, whenever she and Michael were together, how much Max envied their relationship. Even when he'd been with Tess, he'd never been truly content. There had always been a hint of sadness in his face. At this point, though, it was a moot point. There was no one around for miles that any of them could even imagine would be suitable enough for Max.

"Well, Michael, I really should get back. Agnes won't hesitate to stop right in the middle of an order to take her break. So I better get in there before that happens."

As she got up to leave, she turned around and said, "I just want you to know, Michael, I've really enjoyed sitting here talking with you. It's really been satisfying, hearing what's on your mind, instead of trying to guess."

"Well, I guess maybe I've matured a little in recent weeks. Just don't go getting any ideas that I'll always feel like talking this much," he said in his next breath. Before Maria could leave, Michael pulled her back to him and spoke softly to her. "I really have missed spending time with you, Maria." With that he gently kissed her cheek and walked out of the break room.

Needless to say, Maria stood there dazed. 'Was that the same Michael that used to irritate me so much for so many years?' she said to herself. 'I know. I must have been dreaming. I'll just have to get back to work to wake up from it,' and off she went to relieve Agnes.

TBC????-
*bounce**bounce**bounce*
posted on 8-Jun-2002 8:48:28 PM by ravrac
Hi, Guys:

Me again. I can't help it. Whenever I haven't posted for a while, I get all excited about giving a little more info to make up for not posting for a couple of days. So I'm posting the next chapter, even though I just posted part 3 a short time ago. Hope you enjoy the parts. Don't expect me to update this often on a regular basis, though. I sometimes get to a point where I'm a little burned out. So enjoy it while you can.

By the way, someone asked about what happened to Liz's friends who'd adopted Mark initially. I'll be touching on that in flashbacks at various points. I don't want to give it all away all at once. Also, for all you Alex fans, he's alive and well in this fic and will be popping up in a few more chapters. Don't worry. I'm an Alex fan myself.

Now, on to the next part.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 4

(At the Evans home)

Isabel had just returned from visiting her friends at the Crashdown. The whole time she'd been worried about her brother. She knew without a doubt, when she got home, she'd find him in his room, listening to "Counting Crows." Ever since the war had ended and things had started to settle down and get back into some semblance of order, Max had gone into his emotional shell. It was as though he had lost his sense of direction.

At least, while they were fighting their battles with Khivar and the Skins, it kept Max too busy to mourn the loss of his son. Even before that, when Tess had sacrificed her life saving the others, Max had not been so lost. Of course, Isabel had to remind herself Tess and he never had been what all their friends had called "a couple who were made for each other." There had always been the aggravation to Max that Tess had basically thrown herself at him. But she knew Max had stayed with her out of a sense of duty. Max always had been the one to sacrifice his own needs for the sake of others, even if it meant his own happiness.

Isabel only hoped Maria was right. She hadn't heard the conversation Maria and Michael had had, but she and Maria had many times before discussed the hope that one day Max would find his soul mate. She only hoped it would be sooner rather than later. She didn't know how much longer Max could go on the way he was before he just shriveled up from loneliness and sadness.

Isabel herself had also yearned for that one special someone. Michael and she had known that they were also supposed to have been destined to be together. But somehow, that never seemed as critical, nor did either of them pressure the other into a relationship that neither of them had a desire to be a part of. She also felt lonely. But somehow, she couldn't imagine her loneliness being as severe as Max's, especially since he'd lost a part of himself in his son.

After having mused over their circumstances for a few minutes, she knocked on Max's door. Of course, it didn't surprise her that he did not respond. So she quietly let herself in. What caught her eyes as she entered just tore her heart out. Max was sleeping on his bed. But she could tell by his clothing and the fact that he probably hadn't shaved for several days that he was really having a hard time on this anniversary, probably harder than ever before.

Even as Max slept, Isabel could tell by the swelling of his eyelids that he'd likely been crying for quite some time. It truly baffled her that this young man of 23 had been able to lead his people to victory over such a despot as Khivar, with all the skills of any of the best leaders in Earth's history and yet, when faced with his own personal demons, he could be brought to such an emotional state of vulnerability only weeks after such a momentous victory.

Max's people had truly hoped he would return to Antar to fulfill his duties as their rightful king once and for all. But after sacrificing so much of himself for his people, when he declined, they could only hope that one day he would return to them, and that, when he did, it would be to see him as the mighty warrior who had saved them from certain slavery, had Khivar succeeded in destroying Max.

During all the time the war had been raging, Max and Isabel's family had been safely in seclusion, so Khivar could not use them to weaken Max's position. Though the war had been over for several weeks, their parents had still not returned. So Max and Isabel had been living in their home, taking care of things, but looking forward to the time when they'd see their beloved parents again, this time without fear of capture or death.

Isabel quietly closed Max's door, once again hoping that some day, very soon, Max would return to the person she'd known just a few years ago who had been, not necessarily a clown, but had at least had much longer periods of feeling joy. For now, she could only let Max continue trying to heal privately.

~~~~~~Meanwhile~~~~~~

When Isabel had entered his room, he hadn't heard a sound. He had just drifted off into a fitful sleep. He hadn't uttered a word to anyone in the last week about what had him in such an emotional state of turmoil. But he knew Isabel understood what was going on. So he hadn't felt the need to try talking about it.

Though he always thought of his son Zan, wondering how he was doing and if he was being taken care of properly, it was only during the anniversary of his adoption that Max felt the pain and regret most acutely. Recently, though, along with the pain and regret, he had begun having nightmares. The strange thing was that he wasn't remembering what the nightmare was about when he awoke, which was the most frustrating thing of all. At least, if he could remember them, he thought he might be able to figure out what was causing them. But he hadn't been able to do that yet.

This day was another one in a series of times when he had another nightmare. He always knew it had been because, when he'd awaken, he'd awaken with a start, his body soaked in sweat, his breathing labored. This time, though, he remembered one thing, a little boy. The only thing he remembered was a little boy who was crying, calling for his mother. It wasn't much, but at least it was something. Now, if he could only figure out what it meant.

This time, though Max had once again awakened from a nightmare, he found in some small way that he actually felt a measure of relief from what had up until now been a never-ending pit of despair. He couldn't imagine why he felt this minute sense of hope, but he wasn't going to 'look a gift horse in the mouth.' He only hoped it might continue.

TBC-?????

*bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce*
posted on 10-Jun-2002 7:53:39 PM by ravrac
Hi, Guys:

I'm on a little bit of a roll. So I'm submitting another part. Hope you like it. FB will determine how quickly I try or am able to get another part, depending how stimulated the writing juices become with assistance. Hope you like it.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)


Part 5a

The next morning, Liz awoke, realizing Mark was no longer in her arms, which worried her, since Mark had had a nightmare the previous night. She worriedly got off Mark's bed, immediately looking for him. Needless to say, she was surprised to find him sitting at the kitchen table, calmly and quietly drawing a picture.

Feeling an immediate sense of calm, she walked up and asked, "What are you drawing there, Mark?"

"It was something I dreamed about."

"So you had another dream after the bad one?"

"Yeah," he responded in a preoccupied tone.

Liz came closer to look at the drawing. It looked like a spaceship that had crashed into a building. "Sweetie, what is this? Do you know?"

Mark shook his head and said, "Huh-uh. But I saw a really nice man inside that told me not to be scared. After I saw him, I didn't feel afraid anymore. He told me everything was going to be okay."

If it hadn't been for the fact that Mark had put so much detail into the drawing, Liz would have dismissed it altogether. But because there was so much, Liz couldn't help but wonder where he'd seen the image before. So she asked, "Mark, sweetie, where did you get the image you used for this picture?"

Without hesitation, Mark answered, "From my dream."

"Are you saying you never saw this building before, except in your dream?"

"Uh-huh," he answered innocently.

Now Liz was even more amazed and began thinking to herself, 'I wonder if such a place really exists.' But she couldn't tell by looking at the picture what kind of building it was. If there were going to be any chance for her to track down or research if there was, she'd need more information. So on a hunch, she continued asking Mark questions. "Sweetie, do you remember if the man in your dream was doing anything?"

"Uh-huh."

"What was he doing?"

"Sitting at a table."

"Was he doing anything else?"

"Uh-huh."

"What was he doing?"

"Eating."

"Do you remember seeing anyone else in the dream?"

"Huh-uh."

Still not feeling she had enough information, she asked, "Did you see any other tables?"

"Huh-uh," he said, and then added, "but there was a seat on the other side of the table."

"You mean like a chair?"

"No, Mom. You know, like a picnic seat."

"Oh, you mean like the booth at the café we sometimes eat at?"

"Yeah! Like that!" he said excitedly.

Liz suddenly realized Mark must have seen the inside of some kind of a café. Maybe the picture Mark had drawn was what it looked like on the outside.

"Sweetie, you are so smart. I'm so proud of you for remembering all those things. And you drew such a pretty picture too," she said, not wanting to ask too many more questions, so as not to concern her son about what she was thinking.

"You know, sweetie, I was really worried about you last night. But you really seem to be feeling better today. Do you think you feel well enough to go to school today?"

"Yeah, Mom. I'll be okay now."

"You sound so sure of that."

"I am."

"Why is that?"

He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know. I guess the man in my dream just made me feel safe."

Although Liz was happy to see he wasn't afraid anymore, it concerned her about the man in Mark's dream. She couldn't help but wonder, 'Is this a real man or just a made-up person?' Again, she didn't want to alarm Mark. Instead, she said, "Okay, then. Let's get you ready for school, shall we?"

"Okay, Mom," and off they went to get him ready.


*shy**wink**tongue*
posted on 13-Jun-2002 9:53:13 AM by ravrac
Here's the next part. I really need help, though. I'd really appreciate any feedback to help me stay motivated. Hope you like this part.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)


Part 5B

Once Liz had helped Mark get ready for school and had dropped him off, she decided she was going to surf the net to see if she could find any kind of building that might actually exist that possibly looked like Mark's drawing. She decided she wouldn't focus on the man in Mark's dream until she first of all determined whether or not the building was real.

Liz was still taking college classes, working toward completing the requirements for her degree in biology. She had a class scheduled that afternoon. So she only had a few hours to do her research before that class.
She got her cup of tea prepared and then settled down at her computer and got to work.

Several hours and many searches later, she had an answer to her first concern about Mark's drawing, which only succeeded in giving her further concerns about the man in his dream. Through her searching, she'd finally found a building that actually resembled Mark's drawing. It came as no surprise to Liz that the name of the building, which actually did turn out to be a café, was called "The Crashdown." Of course, Mark wouldn't have known that, since he hadn't yet learned to read. It also did not surprise Liz to find the café still existed in, of all places, Roswell, New Mexico.

By now, of course, Liz's scheduled class had long since come and gone. She'd been so engrossed in her search, she just barely realized it was already time to pick up Mark from school. Though she was more than certain her discovery was what was in Mark's dream, she decided to suppress her previous concerns until she was absolutely certain she was right.

After picking up Mark and, as they were on their way home, Liz asked, "How was school today, sweetie?"

"It was okay," he said distractedly.

Concerned by his response, Liz asked, "Sweetie, is something wrong?"

"Huh-uh."

"Did something happen?"

"Well, no."

"What does that mean?"

"Well, nothing happened in class or anything."

"But something happened. What was it?"

"Well, I sort of had another dream."

"You fell asleep at school?"

"Well, sort of. But I was still awake."

"Oh, you were daydreaming.
"But you've daydreamed before. Why was it different this time?"

"I saw the face of the man again who was in my dream last night."

Even as Mark was speaking, Liz could feel goose bumps rising on her arms. "Did you see him in the same place?"

"Uh-huh."

"Did he scare you?"

"Huh-uh."

"What happened when you saw him?"

"Nothing. He just smiled at me and reached for me."

"How did that make you feel?"

When Mark didn't immediately answer, Liz sensed maybe he was concerned how she might take what he would tell her.

"Are you afraid you might hurt me if you tell me?"

"Uh-huh."

"Oh, sweetie. I promise you I won't be hurt. No matter what it is, it's okay. I want you to know I'll be okay, no matter what.
"Now, how did you feel?"

Mark paused and then said, "I wanted to go to him, Mom. I felt like I knew him and that he knew me."

At hearing his words, Liz could feel her stomach knot up. Her worst fear and imagination had come true, it seemed, that perhaps Mark's parents would one day come looking for him. She remembered her friend Christine saying Mark's parents had only been teenagers. She'd also had time to think over the years how she might have felt if she'd been a teenager giving a child up for adoption. She had no doubt she would have regretted doing such a thing. And she'd always silently feared Mark's parents would feel the same way. The thing she feared most, though, was that they would act on those feelings.

Now the time had actually arrived, Liz wasn't sure how she felt or what she should do about it. But she was also remembering her concerns, not just for keeping him safe, but to help him be happy as well. The idea of possibly losing Mark to his real parents saddened Liz deeply. She knew, should the time ever come that she must decide whether or not to sacrifice her love for him in order for him to be happy in the long run, as much as she knew she would hurt, she'd be willing to do it. That was how deeply her love went for this little boy she'd known practically his whole life.

Although it seemed to Liz she'd been deep in thought for a very long time, in reality, it had only been seconds. It occurred to her, in order for her to figure out what to do next, she'd need to ask Mark directly what he wanted to do. So she began, "Mark, I've been thinking. If you had the chance to find out if the place in your dreams was real, would you want to see it for real?"

Mark sat in the back seat, thinking for what seemed like ages to Liz. Finally, he responded, "Yeah, I think so."

Liz knew she would probably not like the answer to her next question, but she also knew she had to ask. "Why would that be so important to you?" she asked hestitantly.

"'Cause, if that was real, maybe the man's real too. And if he is, I would want to meet him."

He paused again before continuing, "Mom, do you love me?"

"Of course, I do. Why would you ask that?"

"Well, I love you too. But somehow I think I love the man in my dreams too. Just 'cause I feel that way about him, though, doesn't mean I don't love you anymore, Mom. I guess I just want to know why I feel love for that man, even though I never met him before."

After Mark finished talking, he was quiet for the last few minutes it took to get home.

It was tearing Liz up inside, hearing Mark express his possible affections for someone he'd never met. She knew he couldn't understand why he'd feel the way he did because she knew the only father he'd ever known, if at all, was Eric. Of course, he also knew about Christine being his mom, but he knew they'd adopted him. Even as she thought about it, she realized he probably really didn't even remember them except what she had told him about Eric and Christine. They'd only had him a very short time before they'd died.

Liz also realized she couldn't think too much more deeply about her plans, or she'd chicken out of what she'd decided to do earlier in the day. She decided she better put her plan into action before she talked herself out of it altogether.

"Sweetie, I've been thinking. You've been such a good boy in school this year. I've decided I want to give you a surprise.

Before she could continue, Mark excitedly said, "Really, Mom? When can I have it?"

"Well, actually, we'll have to take a trip before I can give it to you."

"Why?" he asked, not being able to mask his disappointment.

"Because it's such a big surprise, I can't have it sent to us."

Before he could express any more disappointment, she asked, "So, would you like to take a trip?

After thinking only briefly, he responded, "You know, Mom, I'd like that. I don't really care where we go, as long as we're together."

Those last words touched Liz so deeply, she began crying. "That is so sweet. I feel the same way about you." To herself, she thought, 'Maybe it won't be such a bad idea after all.'

tbc-?????????

posted on 16-Jun-2002 6:03:18 PM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

I'm happy to know you're enjoying this story. I have the next part ready, even though it's rather short. But I hope you'll let me know if you like it.

Here goes:

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)



Part 6

(In Roswell)

Once again, Isabel was knocking on Max's door.

"Max, are you in there? Max?" she asked again, as she opened his door. As she entered, she was surprised at what she saw. "Max, are you going somewhere? Why are you packing?"

Max didn't stop what he was doing as he responded, "I had another dream, Isabel. I saw the same little boy in my dream."

"What does that have to do with your packing?"

"Don't you see, Is? I can't help but feel it's my son. He's trying to contact me. I don't know. I can't explain it. All I know is he's somehow trying to reach out to me. In my dream, I reached out to him. He wanted to reach out to me, but he was afraid. It wasn't a fear of being harmed; more like he was afraid of hurting someone."

Max paused, trying to think of a way to better explain himself. "It's been five years, Is. I've never had any dreams about any children, least of all, a little boy. But somehow I'm getting the feeling his alien powers are only now awakening within him. I think that's how I was able to see him in my dreams."

"But, Max, how can you be sure it's your little boy?"

"I don't know, Isabel. I just feel it. I guess it's just a connection that Antarian parents must have with their children. Maybe……" Max paused, contemplating whether or not to express his thoughts.

"Maybe what, Max?"

"Maybe, if Tess were still here, the two of us together would have had a stronger connection with him. I know it probably sounds ridiculous to say that. Tess never really wanted the baby in the first place. She only got pregnant because she was trying to trick us into going back to Antar with her. Even so….."

"Anyway, I was getting these images of where he might be."

"How, Max? Did he say something?"

"Well, no. But I think somehow I'll figure it out in my dreams."

"Max, are you nuts? You can't just go off on a wild goose chase."

"I have to do something, Is. Ever since we won the war against the Skins and Khivar, I've been feeling like I've been dead inside. I haven't ever been able to forgive myself for giving up my son. Now I feel I'm being given a chance to make up for that."

"But, Max, have you thought this through? He was adopted according to Earth's laws. You can't just expect to go up to his adoptive parents and say, 'Oh, you know what. I changed my mind. I want my son back.'"

"I know that, Is. At this point, I just want to make sure he's okay and happy. Even if I can only ever be a friend of the family, I'll be satisfied with that. I just need to have him in my life, Is.
"I don't expect you to understand. I don't think you could unless you had a child of your own."

"No, you're probably right, Max. I just don't want you to be disappointed or hurt if things don't work out as you hope."

"Maybe they won't. But I at least have to try. Can you understand that?"

"Yes, I can. Here, let me help you pack."

"Thanks, Is."

*happy**happy**happy**happy**happy*
posted on 29-Jun-2002 9:26:56 AM by ravrac
Hi, Guys:

I know it's been awhile. I've been getting sidetracked. I know it's not very long, but at least it's moving.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 7

(Back at Liz's)

Liz spent the next several weeks making plans for the trip she and Mark would be making to Roswell. In the process, her brother Alex got back into town from a business trip he'd been on. Not knowing Liz's plans, he dropped by her home, looking forward to visiting his nephew and bringing him a gift he always got while he was gone on business.

"Liz, are you going somewhere?"

"Oh, hi, Alex. Welcome home," she said as she gave him a kiss and a hug. Not wanting to go into detail as to what she was doing, she decided to give him a nebulous answer. "Oh, well, I told Mark I had a surprise for him. But we have to take a trip before I can give it to him."

"Liz, what are you up to?"

"Nothing, Alex. I just want to take a road trip with my son. What's wrong with that?"

"That depends. Where are you going?"

"What is this, Alex? I'm not one of your lowly employees. I don't have to check in with you."

"No, you don't, Liz. I just worry about you. That's all. Isn't that what older brothers are supposed to do?" he said as this time he hugged Liz. "Besides," he continued, "ever since Mark's parents were killed, it's just made me realize you can never be too careful."

"Come on, Alex. That could have happened anywhere."

"That's exactly my point, Liz. That's why I worry about you.
"So, where are you going?"

"Roswell, New Mexico."

"Why there?"

"There's a surprise there for Mark."

"What could possibly be there that you'd want to go all that way?"

"It's a surprise. I don't want to spoil it for him."

"Can't you tell me?"

"No."

"Well, it's settled, then."

"What's settled?"

"I'm going with you."

"Come on, Alex. You just got back. You can't just leave again so soon."

"Why not? I own the company. Besides, that's why I have employees."

"Well, if you're going to insist….okay. Why not. Then you can help me drive."

So it was settled. Alex got his things re-packed, and a few days later, he, Liz, and Mark were on their way to Roswell, New Mexico.

tbc

posted on 1-Jul-2002 10:32:51 AM by ravrac
Hi, Guys:

I know. This is another short part. But not everything on their roadtrip was noteworthy. This is just one of the things that was. Enjoy.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)



Part 8

Max had left Roswell four weeks before. Each night he slept, he seemed to get clearer and clearer pictures of the young boy he'd been dreaming about. Max couldn't understand how, but each night's dream seemed to nudge him in the direction he should travel to find his son.

One night on his journey, Max had been on the road for a few hours and needed to stop and rest and get a bite to eat. He realized he probably should use the restroom before sitting down to order at the truck stop diner. Since it was such a small diner, there was only one restroom for the men and one for the women. So Max was starting to squirm when the man occupying the men's restroom finally emerged. He was trying to get inside promptly, but the man coming out, when he looked at Max, just stopped in his tracks and stared at Max.

"Hey, buddy, are you all right?" Max asked.

"Oh, yeah. I'm sorry for staring. You just reminded me so much of a friend of mine. Sorry, man," the gentleman said, as he stepped aside for Max.

As the young man walked away, Max couldn't help but wonder about him. But he immediately remembered some business he needed to take care of and quickly forgot about the young man.

(Meanwhile)

Mark had fallen asleep while Liz and Alex had been finishing their meal. "Well, Alex, shall we get going?"

"Yeah. Why don't you go and wait for me in the car. I'll be out shortly."

"Okay," Liz said, as she carried a sleeping Mark out to the car.

Finally, about 20 minutes later, Alex got back to the car.

"What took you so long, Alex? I was beginning to think you got stuck in there or something."

"Well, I had to wait because it was occupied. Then, when I came out, there was a guy waiting and….." Alex drifted off.

"And what?"

"Oh, nothing. Never mind. Let's get going."

"I hate it when you do that," Liz responded, as they continued on in their journey to Roswell.
~~~~~~~~~~

As Max sat at the table after finishing his meal, he couldn't help but begin thinking again of the man coming out of the restroom. There was something about the whole experience that made Max feel uncomfortable, but he couldn't figure out what it was.

'Oh, well,' he thought to himself, 'I better get back on the road if I'm going to find a room for the night.'

tbc-???

*sad**sad**sad*
posted on 2-Jul-2002 10:35:32 PM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

I'm glad you're enjoying my tale. Here's a treat for you, another part. Enjoy.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 9

A couple days later, after a very long drive, Liz, Alex, and Mark finally made it to the town that contained the coffee shop Mark had seen in his dream. Liz still hadn’t told Mark anything about what her surprise was, and Alex knew absolutely nothing of what she had in mind. If he had, with his knowledge of business details and such, he might have tried persuading her to rethink her plan. After all, Liz had no idea what kind of reception they would receive if they really did end up finding Mark’s real parents. She especially didn’t have a clue as to whether the parents would try taking Mark away from her. But she was confident, after having cared for Mark over the last almost five years, that the courts would be on her side, if things really ended up coming down to something as dramatic as that.

At this point, though, the furthest thing from Liz’s mind was the idea of having to worry about legal matters. They’d been on the road almost nonstop since leaving home. They’d stayed at a motel or two on the way, but Liz had never really felt comfortable enough to just try to relax and take a nice, hot soak. She had decided to wait until they reached their destination before indulging herself with that luxury.

When they finally pulled up to what appeared to be one of the few motels on the main stretch to town, Liz had to stifle a giggle when she saw the name of it. ‘The Launching Pad.’ ‘Only in Roswell would that make sense,’ she thought to herself.

Both Alex and Mark had been sleeping for a few hours. So even though Liz had tried not to, she’d awakened them with her giggles.

When Alex was fully awake and saw what had her attention, he could only say, “You’ve got to be kidding.” Now Alex was more curious and determined than ever to find out what little scheme Liz had up her sleeve.

“Okay, guys. Now that you’re awake, let’s go check to see if they have an available room.”

“Are you joking?” Alex said in disbelief. “Are you going to tell me you didn’t even make a reservation ahead of time?”

“Come on, Alex. Look around. Does it really look like they’d be all booked up?” Liz said nonchalantly, as she got out of the car and began walking to the entrance.

As Alex began looking around, he scratched his head. “I guess you have a point.” Since he could see Liz walking over to the motel, he turned his attention to Mark. “Okay, Buddy. Let’s get our stuff together, shall we?”

“Okay, Uncle Alex,” Mark responded in a sleepy voice.

Mark was still too sleepy to look at their surroundings. If he had, he would have seen how strange the motel looked where they would be staying for a few days. But there would be time enough for that when there was more daylight.
*****
Liz had already gone inside to rent a room for the three of them. “Is it always so quiet and peaceful here in town?” she asked the clerk.

“Yeah, pretty much. That is, until around September or so.”

“What happens then?” she asked.

“You’re obviously not from around here, are you, Hon?” the clerk asked.

When Liz only shook her head, the clerk continued, “September will be the anniversary of when a spaceship supposedly crashed here in 1947. We have a festival for it every year. After all, if it weren’t for that, no one would want to come here now, would they?” As an afterthought, she said, “Isn’t that why you’re here?”

“Well, no, not really,” Liz said sheepishly. “But I was wondering. Do you have a building here in town that looks like this?” Then she pulled out the drawing Mark had done several weeks earlier.

The clerk looked at it only briefly before responding, “My stars, Hon, that looks like the Crashdown Café. It’s just up the street. It’s probably the favorite hangout of all the high school kids. Believe it or not, their food’s actually pretty decent.”

“Do you think they’d still be serving meals this time of night?” Liz casually asked.

“Let’s see. It’s 8:00 p.m. You know, I think they might be open till 10:00 p.m. If you just drop your stuff off in your room, you might make it in time before they close down the grille.”

“Oh, that’s great. Thanks so much. We’ve been on the road for quite a while. So we could really use a hot meal right now.”

“Okay, Hon. Here’s your key. You be sure to hurry on over there.”

“We will. Thanks again for all your help.”

“My pleasure, Hon. We aim to please.”
*****
Liz had checked in and was coming out of the lobby just as Alex and Mark had gotten everything out of the car. “That was fast,” Alex commented.

“Like I said, does it look like they’d be all booked up?” Liz said sarcastically.

Changing the subject, Liz said, “Hey, are you guys hungry?”

“We’re starved,” Alex and Mark said in unison.

“Well, the clerk told me where we can get a nice hot meal, but we have to hurry. They’ll probably be closing the grille in an hour or so.”

“What are we waiting for?” the two hungry young men said, again in unison.

“Not that fast, guys. Let’s take our bags to the room first. Okay?”

“Oh, okay.”
******
(10 minutes later)

“Hurry up, Mom. We’re hungry.”

“Hold your horses, will you. I at least had to wash my face after that long, grimy trip.”

“Why?” Mark asked innocently. “You look beautiful already.”

Liz immediately started tearing up. How could she ever do without this young man who had brought so much joy and laughter into her life? Yes, it had been a lot of work, and a huge challenge, being single. But she wouldn’t have changed anything for the world. She was afraid, though, that they were treading into waters that would ultimately change everything for all of them. She had no idea how true that would be.

Quickly trying to regain her composure, she said, “Well, let’s go. I’ve got to feed my two starving men, haven’t I.”

They got back into the car and slowly drove down the street toward their destiny.

tbc-???

What do you think?

*bounce**bounce**bounce*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 8-Jul-2002 9:37:27 PM ]
posted on 8-Jul-2002 9:36:51 PM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

I'm ba-ack. Sorry it took so long, but I was out of town for a short time. Anyway, just wanted to post the next part for those of you who are keeping up. Hope you like it. As always, let me know what you think.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)



Part 10

It was getting late, but Max had promised Isabel he’d check in every night, just so everyone would know he was okay. This night was no different than any other, with one exception. He couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that the last couple days, he’d been going farther and farther from his son rather than closer. So when he called Isabel this night, she could hear the frustration and discouragement in his voice.

“Max, what’s wrong? You don’t sound well.”

“It’s nothing, Is. I’m just tired, I guess. I’ve been on the road for quite a while now, but I feel farther from my son than before.”

“Max….” Isabel paused, not knowing if Max would like what she was about to say.

When she didn’t continue, Max said, “What is it, Isabel? Tell me.”

“I’m not sure you’ll want to hear it.”

“At this point, you’d be surprised.”

“Well, as you said, you’ve been away from home for so long now. We all miss you here. And I can tell in your voice how frustrated and discouraged you are. Maybe it’s time to come home. Maybe all the dreams you’ve had were just that – dreams.”

“I know, Is. You’re right,” he said in frustration. “I was just so sure they were coming from him.” He paused briefly, tiredly wiping his brow, and then continued, “I’m really tired, Is. I’m going to rent a room for the night and get some sleep. Then I’m heading home first thing tomorrow.”

“I know you’re disappointed, Max. I wish there were something I could say or do to help.”

“Just listening is a big help, Is.
“Look, my cell battery is kind of low. So I’m turning off the phone after I hang up. Hopefully, I can charge it while I’m sleeping.”

“Okay, Max. Call me tomorrow before you start back.”

“I will, Is. And thanks again for being there for me. I….I love you.”

“I love you too Max. Good night.” As Isabel hung up the phone, she got all choked up. She ached so much for Max to find someone to love him the way he’d needed to be loved, completely and intimately. She knew he’d had the intimacy with Tess, but she also knew that was really all it was, a physical intimacy. She knew more importantly that Max needed someone who could fill his need emotionally.

They’d all been through so much. But she knew Max had suffered the most through everything, what with having to worry about, not only himself, but his friends, his family, and, last, but certainly not least, his planet. He’d never taken the time to take care of his own needs, since everyone else’s always came before his.

Isabel tried getting out of her slump, but was having a hard time. So she decided she needed to be with her friends and family right now – over at the Crashdown. Just as she had that thought, the phone rang again.

“Hello?”

Without any kind of greeting at all, she heard Maria’s voice. “Is, you’ve got to get over here right now.”

“What’s wrong, Maria?”

“No time to explain. Just get over here as soon as you can,” and then the line went dead.

Isabel couldn’t help but wonder what Maria was overdramatizing about now. But since she was headed over there anyway, she decided to just slowly meander over there. She knew it drove Maria crazy when she did that, but right now she needed a little diversion, and it couldn’t have come at a more convenient time.
*****
Liz, Alex, and Mark got out of the car. As they did so, Liz stood back, waiting to see if Mark would recognize anything around them. She didn’t have to wait long to find out.

As soon as Mark was out of the car, he was attracted by all the colored lights. When he’d had a chance to see clearly where they were coming from, he yelled, “Mom, it’s from my dream! It’s from my dream!”

Liz still had not filled Alex in on what was going on. So when Mark started yelling, Alex was shocked. He turned and looked at Liz, only to see her smile as a tear silently rolled down her cheek. She hadn’t noticed Alex at all. She could only focus on her son right now.

“Yes, Mark, you’re right. It is from your dream.”

“Is this my surprise?”

“Yes, sweetie, it is.”

Liz had bent down and was hugging Mark as he excitedly said, “Do you think the man in my dream will be inside?”

“I don’t know, sweetie. I guess we’ll just have to go in and find out, won’t we.”

At this point, bells began silently going off in Alex’s head.

“What man, Liz?”

When Liz didn’t respond, but only looked at him with a ghost of an expression, he understood. “You brought him here to meet his real parents, didn’t you?”

Liz could only nod.

“Liz, are you nuts? Do you have any idea what could happen? You could end up losing Mark.” All the while that he spoke, Mark had been jumping up and down excitedly, oblivious to the conversation taking place around him.

“Okay. Look, if anyone asks, Mark is our son. You and I are married. Got that?”

“What?” Liz said in a shocked tone.

“Just trust me. I think it’ll be safer if people think we’re married.”

“But what about Mark? He’s not going to call you ‘dad.’”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
“For now, I guess we better go inside if we’re going to eat before the grille closes.”
*****
Isabel was true to herself in taking longer to get to the Crashdown than usual. Instead of the normal 10 minutes, it took her almost a whole half hour before she arrived. So it didn’t surprise her to see Maria silently but frantically motioning for her to come quickly over to where she and Michael were standing.

She didn’t even get that far, though, before she saw a young raven-haired boy pop his head up from one of the booths as she walked in. When she saw the young child, she stopped dead in her tracks, with her mouth gaping open, until she saw the little boy sit back down.

She’d been so stunned by the little boy, she hadn’t focused on the man sitting next to him. If she had, she would have seen the look Alex was giving her. She was the prettiest young woman Alex had ever seen. As the young woman passed their booth, Alex silently kicked himself for telling Liz he wanted people to think they were married.

As Alex was staring at the young woman, Liz was watching him. She could tell just by his staring, what Alex was thinking. She chuckled to herself, remembering what people had thought of him in school, that he was nothing more than a geek. None of the girls had wanted to date him because he wasn’t part of the ‘in’ crowd of jocks. Alex had never really shown much interest in girls at the time either. He’d always preferred focusing on his passion – computers, which ended up serving him well. He’d ended up getting a full scholarship to the college of his choice, where he’d graduated a few years earlier. He’d been working on developing some software programs soon after graduating, on games of all things, and soon thereafter started his own company. The sales of the games had become so successful, within a very short time he’d had to hire several people to help run the business. During all that time, she’d never really observed Alex showing much interest in women at all. But when she saw how Alex was staring at the young woman who’d just walked by, she actually saw a look on his face she’d never seen before. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but it was enough for her to know Alex was interested in the young woman.

Liz was still silently assessing her brother when he finally seemed to ‘come back to earth’ from his trance-like state. As he did so, he was finally aware of Liz looking at him. “What?” he said to her.

“Oh, nothing, Alex,” Liz said with a smirk.

“Then why are you looking at me like that?” Alex asked indignantly.

“I was just thinking. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you stare at a woman like that before. It was actually kind of cute.”

“Oh, great. Was I that obvious?” he asked.

“Don’t worry. I don’t think she noticed.” Liz paused, thinking, and then continued, “For some reason, she seemed transfixed by Mark.”

“That’s just great. I was too much of a geek in school to be noticed by girls. Now I’m too old, and she wants to rob the cradle,” he said in exasperation.

“I don’t think it’s that, Alex,” Liz said, trying to comfort him. “It seemed more like she’d seen a ghost as she was looking at him,” she continued, distractedly.

“You think so?” Alex asked, hopefully.

Pulling herself out of her daze, she responded, “I’m certain of it.”

“Well, it doesn’t matter anyway,” Alex said wistfully.

“Why? Because you want people to think we’re married?” Liz queried quietly. When Alex didn’t respond, she suggested, “We can just as easily be who we are.”

Trying to focus more on the task at hand, he said, “No. I still think it’s a good idea, at least for now.” He returned to his eating, if for no other reason than to get his mind off the young beauty he hadn’t been able to take his eyes off of. He’d already forgotten only moments earlier how hungry he’d initially been.
*****
When Isabel finally got to the counter, Maria said, “You saw the resemblance too, didn’t you?”

Isabel could only nod. She was still speechless from what she’d seen. When she finally was able to speak, she said, “I’ve got to call Max.” Without another word, she stood and walked to the breakroom of the Crashdown and began attempting to do just that, only to hear Max’s voicemail to leave a message. Only then did she recall Max’s comment just before hanging up. ‘My cell battery is kind of low. I’m going to try charging it while I’m sleeping.’

‘That’s just great,’ she thought. Just when I really need to contact him.’

She walked back to the counter and sat there glumly.

“I guess you weren’t able to contact him, huh, Is?” Michael asked.

“No. I forgot he was going to turn off his phone as soon as I talked with him.”

Maria came back to the counter as Isabel was speaking. “Maybe you can dreamwalk him later,” she suggested.

“That’s a great idea, Maria. I’m going to go try right now. He said he was going to find a place to sleep. Maybe he’s already done that.” Before Michael or Maria could say another word, Isabel had left on her mission.
*****
Liz, Alex, and Mark were talking about their plans for the next couple days when Alex again saw the young beauty from earlier quickly pass their booth. Once again, he spaced out as he watched her hurriedly leave the café. It wasn’t until he heard Liz clear her throat, though, that he realized he had spaced out.

“Are you okay, Uncle Alex?” Mark asked with concern.

“Oh, yeah, I’m fine, Mark,” Alex said, as he pulled himself together.

Once again, as Liz watched her brother, she was amazed how drawn he’d been to the young woman. Now she was certain she’d never seen him act this way before. ‘Well,’ she thought to herself, ‘once we figure things out with Mark and his parents, maybe at least Alex will finally find 'his' soulmate, even if I never do,’ she thought wistfully.

tbc-??
*happy**happy**happy**happy*
posted on 12-Jul-2002 11:30:48 PM by ravrac
Hi, Guys:

I got a little sidetracked, but here's the next part. Hope you like it.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)



Part 11

Isabel returned home as quickly as possible and went to her room to get a picture of Max. As quickly as she could, she got comfortable on her bed and willed herself to sleep, hoping she’d be able to contact Max.
*****
It had taken awhile, once Max had gotten off the phone with Isabel, to find a motel to stay for the night. Once he found one and checked in, he realized he hadn’t eaten all day and went to the motel’s café to get something for the night. Since the ovens were already closed for the night, he was only able to get a cold roast beef sandwich, chips, and, of course, a Cherry Coke. The one thing missing, though, was the tobasco sauce. But he was so tired, he decided he could live without it for one night. He ordered to go and took it back to his room.

Max had gotten halfway through his meal when he suddenly felt so tired, he could no longer keep his eyes open. He quickly dozed off and instantly began dreaming. Instantly, he again dreamed of the little boy who’d invaded his dreams for the last several weeks. For the first time in the last few days, though, he saw the boy in an area that looked strangely familiar. This time, though, there were others in the dream as well. Sitting next to him was a young man, and across from him was a young woman. He thought they must be his adoptive parents. The little boy seemed happy enough, but he seemed somewhat distracted, as though he was looking for…..

“Isabel, what are you doing here?” Max asked. Before she could respond, though, he continued, “Isabel, I saw the little boy again in my dream. Can you see him?” he asked, hopefully.

Isabel looked around to see what or who he was seeing. It took her a few minutes to focus, and then she saw his dream. She saw a little boy, sitting next to a young man. Sitting across from the boy was a young woman. Then the surroundings came into focus.

When Isabel didn’t speak, Max began worrying. “Isabel, do you see him?”

“Yes, Max, I see him, and everyone else and everything else as well.”

“Oh, good,” he breathed in relief.

When Max said nothing else, Isabel asked him “Can you tell where he is, Max?”

“The surroundings looked somehow familiar….” He trailed off, in thought.

When Max did not continue, Isabel couldn’t wait any longer. “Max, I’ve seen him.”

“Yeah, I know. You just told me that.”

“No, Max, you don’t understand. I’ve actually seen him.”

“You mean for real, not just in my dream?” he asked in disbelief.

When Isabel only nodded, Max grabbed hold of her shoulders and began shaking her. “Where, Isabel? Please tell me. I’ve got to find him.”

“Max, he’s in Roswell right this minute.”

“What? Where?”

“He came into the Crashdown with a man and woman, the two people in your dream.”

Then Max understood why the surroundings were familiar.

“How long have they been there?” he asked.

“I don’t know. They just came in tonight. I tried calling you, but you’d already turned off your phone.”

“How long will they be there?”

“I don’t know, Max. But you’ve got to come home immediately.”

“Okay. Look, try to keep them there as long as you can. I’m going to head back home tonight.”

“I’ll do what I can. But I don’t even know where they’re staying.”

“Do what you can, Isabel. And, Is, thanks for getting in touch with me. It means a lot.”

“I’d do anything for you, Max. You know that. I just want you to be happy again,” she said as she hugged him. “I’m going now. Get back as soon as you can,” she said as she let him go.

“I will, Is. And I want you to be happy too! You deserve it just as much.”

“I’ll be happy, just to see it for you. Maybe one day I’ll have my chance,” she said wistfully.
“Hurry home. Okay?”

“Okay.”

And with that, she was gone from his dream.

Max immediately awoke, feeling more refreshed than he’d felt in a very long time. He immediately got his things together, did an express checkout, and was quickly back on the road again.
*****
When they got back to their room from eating, Liz began talking. “You know, guys, I was thinking. Since we’ve come this far, why don’t we drive over to see the Grand Canyon? What do you think?”

“That’s a great idea!
“What do you think, Mark?”

“But I want to go back to that place. Maybe the next time that man will be there. I don’t want to miss him.”

“I was thinking we’d go exploring for a couple days. And then we’ll stop back here again for a couple days, before we head home. Does that sound okay?”

After Mark thought for a minute, he said, “Yeah, okay, Mom. But if I dream about him being here again, can we come back right away?”

Liz saw the anxiety in Mark’s face. She pulled him into her arms and hugged him, saying, “Of course, we can, Mark. If that happens, you tell me right away, even if you have to wake me up. Okay?”

“Okay, Mom. Thanks,” he said, as he gave her a hug back. He then looked into her eyes and said, “I love you, Mom.”

“I love you too, Mark,” she said, as she hugged him tighter.
*****
Max had been driving for almost two days straight without taking time to sleep. He was afraid, if he wasted time sleeping, he’d miss the little boy. Finally, though, he couldn’t go any farther. His body was demanding rest. So he had no choice but to comply, fearing to do otherwise, he’d fall asleep at the wheel. This time, though, he didn’t waste time finding a room. He pulled over into a recreational rest area, turned the engine off, and was immediately asleep.

Immediately, he began seeing images of the little boy again. This time, though, it wasn’t the Crashdown. He was looking at some huge, beautiful canyon. But the little boy wasn’t alone. There was a young woman holding his hand. Max suddenly realized he’d seen the young woman in his previous dream. The little boy looked up to her, smiling, and said, “I love you, Mom.” She looked down at him, bent down, hugged him, and said, “I love you too, Mark, so much. Remember, no matter what happens, I’ll always love you.” As she spoke, Mark looked into her eyes. “Mom, why are you crying?” As she spoke, somehow Max understood she was not telling her son her real feelings when she said, “Because I’m so happy I’ve had the privilege of having you in my life.” Although he sensed she was happy Mark was in her life, he also sensed the young woman worried he wouldn’t remain in her life.

Shortly after she spoke, a young man came into focus. He bent down to Mark and his mom, saying, "Everything will work out, Liz. You've got to hang on to that hope. Somehow it will work out. I don't know how, but it just has to."

"I hope you're right, Alex," she said, as the two hugged each other.

Something touched Max as he watched the interchange among the three. His first thought was that these two must be the ones who adopted Zan. But there was something he felt about the man and woman that didn't quite feel right. He had no time to dwell on it, though, because at that moment, the little boy turned and saw him.

"You're here again.
"Mom, this is the man in my dreams," Mark said excitedly.

Before Max could say anything else, he awoke from his dream, sweating profusely. 'I've got to get back before it's too late,' he said to himself, and began driving again before he lost any more valuable time.
*****

Liz, Alex, and Mark had found a motel to spend the night as they made their way toward the Grand Canyon. They'd found a place to eat and then went to bed shortly afterward.

Mark instantly fell asleep and began dreaming. He and Liz were standing, hand in hand, looking at the Grand Canyon. Then his mom was crying. In the next scene, he finally saw the man he'd been looking for at the Crashdown. As soon as he saw him, he said, "You're here again. Mom, this is the man in my dream." Before being able to communicate with him, though, Mark awoke from his dreams.

"Mom! Mom! Wake up. I saw the man in my dreams again. We've got to go back, Mom, please. He's looking for me!"

Liz awoke but was still groggy. After rubbing her eyes, she said, "How do you now he's looking for you, Mark?"

"I don't know, but he is. Please, Mom. You promised we could go back if I dreamed about him again."

She hugged him and said, "Yes, I did, didn't I? Let's get some sleep, and we'll leave first thing in the morning.

"Promise?"

"Promise."

"Thanks, Mom. Don't forget. I love you."

"I love you too, Mark," she said, as she hugged him as he fell asleep again. She couldn't help but worry that this might be the last time she could hold Mark in her arms like this. Though she knew she wanted what was best for Mark, she feared it wouldn't be best for her.

tbc-???

As always, let me know what you think.

*happy**happy**happy**happy**happy*
posted on 13-Jul-2002 6:43:57 PM by ravrac
Hi, Guys:

This is the next part, where -- well, maybe you should read it for yourself. I don't want to give it away. Hope you like it.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)



Part 12

First thing in the morning, once Liz, Alex, and Mark had eaten, they began heading back to Roswell. Liz and Alex were quiet, concerned about what would happen later that day. But Mark didn't notice. He was too excited, thinking that finally, later that day, he'd meet the man he'd dreamed about over the last several weeks. He didn't know why, but somehow he sensed everything would be okay.
*****
Max had been driving for hours. He'd only made one stop since waking from his dream, and that was only to get gas for his car. He was afraid, if he stopped for anything else, he'd be too late to find his son.

It was around dinnertime when Max finally got back to Roswell. Although he hadn't eaten since he'd begun driving several hours earlier, food was not the most important thing on his mind at that moment. Even so, he headed directly for the Crashdown, hoping to find his sister and his friends there, and that they would be able to tell him where he could find his son.

The first person he saw when he entered was his sister. "Isabel," he called, as he quickly walked up to the counter where she was, "I got back as soon as I could. What did you find out? Where are they staying?" he desperately asked.

"Max, I'm so sorry to have to tell you this, but they're not in town anymore. We finally tracked them down to have stayed at 'The Launching Pad,' but they had checked out a few days ago."

Max was devastated to receive such disappointing news. He didn't say a word, but just sat on one of the stools at the counter and put his head in his hands and began crying like a baby. There was nothing Isabel could do to comfort her brother but to put her arm around him as he sat there crying. Even Maria and Michael stood at the counter, feeling really bad for Max, neither knowing what to say to comfort him.
*****
Liz and Alex had been taking turns driving for the last several hundred miles, continually being spurred on by Mark's excited enthusiasm that he could somehow feel that the man was getting closer to him all the time.

Mark had been taking a nap for the last hour. So he did not realize they were only a mere 20 minutes or so from Roswell once again. Liz and Alex were quietly talking between themselves, trying to decide how to handle the situation should they actually meet the man Mark was so sure he would find.

"Liz, do you have any idea how you're going to handle this if it ends up being Mark's father and he wants Mark back?"

"To be honest, Alex, I have tried not to think that far ahead. I know I don't want to lose Mark, but I also know I want him to be happy."

"Are you going to tell Mark ahead of time who the man is?"

"I can't do that, Alex. I don't even know for sure myself who he is. At this point, I just want to let nature take its course and see what happens. Maybe we're both worrying for nothing. Why make matters worse if we don't have to?"

As Liz was speaking, Mark began stirring and sat up. Without even knowing where they were in relation to Roswell, Mark said, "He's there, Mom. I can just feel it."

"Who, Mark?"

"The man. He's waiting for me at the Crashdown." He paused briefly, and then continued, "He's sad, though, for some reason."

"Do you know why he's sad?"

Mark could only shake his head in the negative.

"Well, we're getting very close. If you're right, maybe you can ask him yourself when we get there. We should be there in another five minutes or so."
*****
Max had remained slumped on the stool for the last 20 minutes or so, still not able to face the very real possibility that he would never find his son. Finally, he was able to gather the energy and stand up and hug his sister, saying, "Isabel, I've had a long several days. I think I'm just going to head home and collapse for a while." He then turned around to head for the Crashdown entrance.

Before he got to the door, though, it opened, and a young boy came bounding in. He immediately saw Max and stopped dead in his tracks. As Mark was standing there, staring at Max, Liz and Alex had finally caught up with him and entered.

As soon as Max saw the little boy, he collapsed to the floor, speechless, and could only stare at him. The others in the Crashdown in one breath said, "Oh, my god. He came back."

Mark finally found his voice and again began walking toward Max, and said, "It's you, the man who's been in my dreams for so long." When Max could say nothing in response, Mark asked him "Why are you so sad?"

Until that moment, Max himself hadn't realized how sad he had felt. But the instant he'd seen Mark, he'd forgotten the sadness. Max finally found the words to speak. "I've been sad because I haven't been able to find my son," he said honestly.

Mark looked at him for a very long moment and then asked, "How did you lose him?"

Max felt his stomach begin to knot up at the question because he didn't know how he was going to answer it. Finally, he decided the only way was to be truthful. "I was very young when I became his father, and so was his mother. We were still almost children ourselves, and we didn't have jobs or a place to live to take care of him. So we had to let other people take care of him, who could give him the food, clothing, and a place to live that we couldn't."

Mark thought about Max's words for a minute and then very innocently asked, "But why didn't you go visit him at the other people's house?"

Again, Max felt himself becoming all choked up as he struggled to try to put his explanation into words a child could understand. "Well, the people who helped us find a good family for our son had some rules we had to follow before they would agree to help us. One of the rules was that we would not be allowed to know what family had him or where they lived." Even as Max was speaking, he came close to breaking down right then.

"That really sucks," said Mark, in his childlike way. Even as Mark was trying to comfort this man he'd only ever seen in his dreams, his subconscious mind suddenly became very active, trying to assimilate everything that was happening and, at the same time, activating thoughts that had been stored in a dormant corner of his mind for the last five years. As Mark continued trying to comfort this man who was sad about his son, without even realizing it, his subconscious mind began flashing scenes of another time in his head. Still not yet aware of the flashes, Mark asked the man, "Do you miss your son?"

"I miss him very much. There's not a day that has gone by over the years that I haven't thought of him," Max honestly said. He continued speaking, though very emotionally, "There are days that it hurts so much that I can't hold him in my arms and hug him, to let him know how much I've always loved him, and that I will never stop loving him, no matter what."

Once again, Mark was trying, in his childlike way, to think of a way that he could help this man not feel so sad. Finally, he said to Max "If it will help you feel better, you can hug me. I don't mind."

"I would really like that," Max said, once again, almost breaking down in tears. "What's your name?"

"Mark."

Mark shyly walked up to Max and put his arms around Max's neck. Max immediately wrapped his arms around the little boy, for the first time in five years feeling the joy and pride that comes of a father being able to hug his child with such love. Even so, Max's heart still felt a little sad, that he could not tell this little boy how much he loved him.
*****
Unbeknownst to Max or Mark, the flashes in Mark's mind were intensifying, until finally it registered to Mark what was going on. He continued holding onto Max, but suddenly with a grip that took Max totally by surprise. As Max was adjusting to the intense grip, Mark spoke softly into his ear "I love you, Dad."

At hearing those words, Max could no longer hold back the flood of emotions that had befallen him the instant he'd laid eyes on the little boy, and he began crying to such an extent that Mark could feel the deep pain that Max had had bottled up inside of him over the last five years, from never being able to see or hold his son. Max continued sobbing for several minutes, while Mark only stood there holding ever more tightly to him, gently rubbing his dad's back.
*****
Everyone else who was in the restaurant had been silently standing by, watching the exchange between Max and Mark. Though Liz had known it would quite possibly come to this, she hadn't been able to prepare herself for the pain she herself would feel at the prospect of losing Mark to his real parents. As soon as she saw the emotional interchange between the two, she herself began to sob intensely, but for an entirely different reason. She could no longer continue standing there, watching Mark hug his father. She quickly ran out of the restaurant, not wanting anyone else to see the turmoil she was going through.

And no one did notice except, of course, her brother Alex. Alex had known it might come to this, and he had tried warning Liz beforehand. But he now realized Liz hadn't really expected things to work out this way. He knew Liz would need some time to come to grips with the situation. So he allowed her to leave without his following her. He knew there would be plenty of time to hold her when she would be in a depression about all of this, and he knew it would take a very long time for her to overcome it. For now, he would just let her have the time she would need for herself.
*****
Max and Mark had been holding each other for several minutes until, finally, Max was able to gain control of his emotions. When he finally did, he held the boy back from him and asked, "How did you know?"

Mark simply said, "You told me."

"But how…." Max began.

Before he could finish his question, Mark continued, "You gave me a memory a very long time ago. But I didn't remember it until you hugged me."

As Mark spoke, Max suddenly remembered all those years ago, just before giving his son to his own father, having planted a memory in his son's mind, hoping that one day Max would somehow be able to find him and activate that memory. Now that it had finally happened and his son had accepted him so unconditionally, it was all he could do to hug Mark once more, this time more intensely than ever.

They again continued hugging for another several minutes until finally Mark asked, "Where's my mom?"

That was a question Max hadn't been prepared to answer, since, as it was, he hadn't even expected to tell the boy he was his father. Again, though, he decided honesty was the best way to go. "Your mother died when you were just a baby. When we have time, I'll tell you about her. I'm sorry you never had a chance to know her."

"That's okay," Mark said in his childlike way. "I have a really good mom. I love her very much. I want you to meet her," he continued, as he turned around, looking for Liz.

When Mark didn't see Liz, he asked Alex, "Where'd mom go?"

Alex stepped forward and said, "She wasn't feeling very well. She went outside to get some air."

"Oh," Mark said. "Well, before you meet my mom, this is my" --

Before Mark had a chance to continue, Alex interrupted and said, "I'm Mark's father."

Mark began to protest, wanting to explain, but Alex continued speaking. "Mark has always called me 'Uncle Alex,' since I was a friend of the family's for years. But Liz and I just recently got married. So Mark hasn't really had a chance to get used to calling me 'Dad.'"

Mark didn't understand why his uncle was saying this, but he didn't really have time to dwell on the matter. As Max and Alex were becoming acquainted, the rest of Max's friends and his sister finally approached the group.

"Oh, Alex, this is my sister Isabel and my friends Michael and Maria."

As Max made the introductions, Alex was once again wishing he didn't have to pretend to be married to Liz. But for the time being, he was really concerned about what Max might try to do to get his son back. So he decided it would only be the brotherly thing to protect his sister, even if it meant having to pass up getting better acquainted with the most enchanting creature he'd ever met or been interested in.

Isabel and Michael and Maria were so thrilled for Max to have finally been able to meet his son, and for them to finally meet him themselves that they all circled around Mark, wanting to get to know him better themselves, asking him all kinds of questions about what he'd done over the last few years in his life.

As they occupied Mark's attention, Max pulled Alex to the side and began asking about Mark's mother. "Look, Alex, I know this must really be awkward for you and Mark's mom right now. I can only imagine what must be going through your minds as to what my intensions are regarding him. I just want to assure you I am just so happy to have found him. It was never my intension to ever even think of breaking up the family he's lived with all this time. Even if all I can do is visit him from time to time, I would consider it a privilege to have that opportunity. Do you think that kind of an arrangement would be all right with you and his mom?" Max asked, with uncertainty in his voice.

Alex could not believe what he was hearing. He was so relieved to hear from the father himself what his intensions were. But he hadn't heard the interchange between Max and Mark about his birth mother. So he asked, "But what about his birth mother? I know from experience it's usually the mother who has the strongest emotional tie to the child, having carried him for nine months and all. Does she feel the same way?" he asked.

Max hesitated briefly, staring off into space, before he responded. "You don't need to worry. That won't be a problem. Zan's -- I mean Mark's mom died several years ago, when he was still an infant." Max didn't want to go into any more detail than that, at least not right now.

"Oh," Alex said, relief evident in his voice. "Well, I'm sure Liz will be happy to -- that is -- well, not happy that she'd dead, but happy that" --

The more Alex tried to explain, the worse it got.

"That's okay, Alex. I think I know what you're trying to say."

"Good. Because I'm not saying it very well.
"I think Liz needs to hear this information. I'm going to" --

Before he could continue, Max interrupted and said, "If you don't mind, I'd really like to tell her. I really want her to understand I won't be a threat to her and her relationship with Mark. Plus, I want to thank her for doing such a good job in bringing him up all these years.
"That reminds me. If you don't mind my asking, what happened to her previous husband?"

"Actually, that's probably a question you should ask her. But I don’t think this would be the appropriate time to ask."

"Okay. You're probably right about that.
"If you don't mind, I'm going to go look for her and explain my intensions."

"By all means. I'm sure it will lift a great load off her shoulders right now," Alex said. 'And to myself,' he thought.

tbc-???

Well, what do you think?

*bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce*
posted on 27-Jul-2002 4:12:57 PM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I got rather distracted. But I really appreciate all the bumps. It really helped me see the story's still being read, even though I've been distracted and struggling with writer's block for quite some time. But I've been putting thoughts down as I have them. So I have squeezed out another chapter. Hope you like it.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 13

Liz had been outside for the last several minutes, sobbing silently over the fact that she was very likely going to lose her son after she had seen what transpired between Mark and Max. She’d known all along it was a possibility, but now she realized she’d never really thought it would actually happen.

She had spent the last couple minutes trying to compose herself so that she could get up the courage to go back into the café and try to be civil to Mark’s biological father. Just as she was about ready to head back inside, she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder. She turned around and found herself looking into the gold-flected amber eyes of that biological father, who then began talking to her.

“Excuse me……I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to address you. Should I call you Mark’s mom, or Alex’s wife, or…..well, why don’t you just tell me what you’d feel comfortable having me call you.”

She almost began to protest about the idea of being called Alex’s wife, until she remembered what Alex’s scheme was. After thinking on the question for a minute or so, she said, “Most people call me Liz. So that will be okay with me.”

“Okay. Liz it is, then.
“Look, Liz, I want to get straight to the point. I’m sure, after what you just saw happen, that you’ve very likely got some major concerns about Mark. So I just want to start out by putting your mind at ease.
“I’ve spent every free moment I could over the last few years, trying to find my son. So I’m sure you can imagine my joy at having finally found him tonight after all this time.
“At the same time, though, I realize you and Alex have been rearing him as your own during the same time frame. And I can tell from just having spoken with Mark over the last half hour or so that you’ve done a wonderful job with him.
“As much as I’ve loved him all these years, and as happy as I am today to finally have held him in my arms, I want you to know you don’t need to worry about me fighting you for custody of him. I don’t think I can put into words how grateful I feel at this moment to even have been able to spend time with him.
“As much I have loved him all these years, though, I would never want to break up the family he’s come to know and love since he was a baby. It wouldn’t be fair to him, and it wouldn’t be fair to you and Alex after all the effort you’ve put forth in getting him this far.
“I just hope you and Alex can find it in your hearts to allow me to see him and to keep in touch with him.”

Liz couldn’t believe what she was hearing. So she had to ask, just to make sure she wasn’t misunderstanding. “Are you saying you don’t want custody of him?” she asked.

“Of course, I WANT custody. But I’m not blind. I can see how much you love my son. But I can also see how much my son loves you. You and Alex have done a wonderful job in raising him. I’ll always be grateful to you for that. I just hope you’ll allow me to be a part of his life from now on. Whatever amount of time you’ll allow will be acceptable to me.”

Although Liz was thrilled to hear what Max was saying, she still wasn’t completely convinced he meant it. After all, he hadn’t said a word about the biological mother’s intentions. So before she would agree to anything, she felt the need to be straightforward and ask. “You haven’t once mentioned his biological mother. Would she agree to the same terms as you’re proposing? I’m sorry if I sound rather blunt about asking, but it’s just hard for me to believe she wouldn’t want to fight to get her son back. I know, if I were in her shoes, I would do everything in my power to get him back in my life permanently,” she said with conviction.

As she spoke, Max was even more certain of his assessment of her love for his son. “Actually, you don’t need to worry about his mother changing her mind. She died almost five years ago, shortly after giving birth to Zan.”

“Zan?” she asked. Is that what you called him?” Before Max could respond, she added, “I’ve never heard that name before. How did you come up with it?”

“Let’s just say we wanted a name that was ‘out of this world,’ and that’s what we came up with.”

Liz, realizing she’d gotten off the subject, said, “I’m truly sorry about his mother. Did she die…. during childbirth?” She’d hesitated before asking, not sure if Max would want to talk about it.

“No, she didn’t die during childbirth. But I guess you could still say she gave her life for him.”

Liz saw the far-off look in his eyes as he spoke.

“You must have loved her very much.”

Realizing he’d been staring into space, Max responded, “Honestly, I think we were both too young to know what it meant to truly love each other. As much as I hate to admit it, we were experimenting more than anything else. It had never really occurred to us what the consequences might be. We were only intimate with one another that one time,” he said, again, with a far-off look on his face.

Liz was now becoming uncomfortable with the direction the conversation was going. So she asked, “Is that why you gave Mark up for adoption, because of you both being so young?”

“That’s the main reason,” he said, not really wanting to be any more specific than that.

Though Liz could somehow sense he was leaving something out, she’d only just met him. So she didn’t feel comfortable questioning him further about the subject. Instead, she chose to mention the subject he’d mentioned about spending time with Mark.

“Max…..is it okay if I call you that?” Liz asked.

“Yes, by all means.”

“Look, I can’t even imagine how you’ve felt all this time, not being able to have Mark – that is, Zan, in your life. I only know how I would feel if I were in your shoes. So I’ll be happy to be as flexible as I can in order for you to have opportunities to spend time with him.”

“Do you think Alex will be as willing to be flexible?” Max asked.

Once again, Liz had forgotten the ruse Alex had wanted them to continue with. “Oh. Yeah. Yeah, I’m positive. Alex and I think a lot alike. So I know without a doubt he’ll be willing,” she said, trying to hide her uneasiness of the lie she and Alex were continuing.

As Liz was speaking, Max could sense there was something else weighing on her mind. But at that point, all he really wanted to focus on was when he’d be able to begin making regular visits to spend time with his son. So he said, “Look, Liz, I know it might seem awfully soon to be asking this, but would it be all right if perhaps I came to visit your family over the weekend next week?”

Liz thought for a minute before responding. I need to talk with Alex about it first. But if it’s okay with him, I think we can arrange that.”

“Oh, thank you so much, Liz,” he said, as he grabbed her hand out of excitement, to shake it. As he did so, he was surprised to have a flash, something he hadn’t experienced in a very long time. In fact, as he subconsciously thought about it, he realized the last time he’d experienced flashes was when he’d first met Tess. But he also realized these flashes were quite different. The flashes with Tess had been more about their home planet. These flashes were more of an emotional nature. He saw himself cuddling with this young woman. He immediately began mentally berating himself, reminding himself he couldn’t think such things; after all, this young woman was married. In order to distract himself from such emotional flashes, he forced himself to concentrate on his son.

Max had no way of knowing that Liz too was having flashes. Liz had never experienced anything like it before, though. So she had no way of knowing the flashes she was having were what Max was seeing also. All she knew was that she was seeing herself cuddling with this young man. As she saw the pictures, she felt her face flush with embarrassment.

Both Max and Liz were in a haze, from the flashes, neither realizing they maintained hand contact for several seconds. Finally, Liz could no longer endure the flush she had been feeling. So she made a very conscious effort to free her hand from Max’s grasp. It wasn’t until he felt her trying to pull away that he even realized he was still holding her hand.

As each very self-consciously released the other’s hand, they simultaneously began speaking.

“I really should get back to my family,” Liz said, as Max said, “Shall we both go back in?”

Realizing they’d both spoken at the same time, they both tried responding, “Yeah, that’s a good idea,” Liz said, as Max simultaneously said, “Yeah, you’re right.”

After they both spoke at the same time for the second time, they both said, for a third time, “Oh, I’m sorry.” When it happened the third time, all either of them could do was laugh at the humor of the situation.

As they were trying to pull themselves together, Mark came running out of the Crashdown. “Mom,” he yelled.

Max and Liz both turned to look at Mark, and Liz responded, “Yes, Mark?”

“I just asked Uncle Alex if my dad – that is, Max, can come visit me next weekend. He said if it’s okay with you, it’s okay with him.”

Max and Liz both again began laughing, this time because they couldn’t get over the coincidence of Mark’s comments to what they’d just been discussing.

Even as they were laughing, though, Liz had realized Mark had just called Alex his uncle. She wasn’t sure if Max had caught it, but she didn’t want to mention it, just in case he hadn’t.

Max, on the other hand, HAD realized that Mark had called Alex his uncle. Though Max didn’t have a clue why he would have done so, he didn’t want to pry into their private affairs. So for the time being, he decided not to acknowledge the comment, hoping at a later time he’d be able to possibly find out what Mark had meant by doing so.

Mark didn’t have a clue why they’d been laughing. So he said, “What’s so funny?”

“What’s funny is that we were just talking about the possibility of Max coming to visit you next weekend. But since we now already know it’s okay with me, I guess the answer is yes, Max can come visit you next weekened.”

“Yippee!” Mark screamed happily.
“Okay, Mark. That’s enough excitement for one night. We really need to go check back into the motel for the night, so we can freshen up before we head back home.”

“Oh, mom….” Mark moaned.

“You know, Liz, I have an idea,” Max said.

“Oh? What’s that?”

“Why don’t the three of you come stay with Isabel and me tonight? That way, you won’t have to pay for another night at the motel. Besides, our mom and dad have been out of town for a while now. And we don’t expect them back for another week or two. So we have plenty of room for you guys. You can stay in their room.”

“Are you sure they won’t mind?”

“I’m positive.”

“Well, okay. Let me go talk with Alex first.”

“Sure. No problem.”

Just as they were making the arrangements, both Isabel and Alex came out to see what all the whooping and hollering was about, mainly coming from Mark. Again, Alex was kicking himself for having decided to pretend he was Liz’s husband. He’d been talking to Isabel inside and was already smitten by her. But he had to keep up the front for now, if only for Liz’s sake.

“What’s going on out here? We could hear you guys all the way inside,” Isabel said.

“Oh, Is, I’ve just offered to have Liz, Alex, and Mark stay with us tonight, so they won’t have to spend any more money at the motel.”

Isabel was initially somewhat stunned by Max’s sudden generosity. Never in the past would he have given even a first thought to having strangers stay with them, let alone a second thought. But then she reminded herself that this couple had been raising Max’s son as their own for the last few years. And from what she’d seen of Mark, it looked to her like they’d really done a great job with him. He seemed very happy and well adjusted.

After a moment’s pause, she responded, "Yeah, that's a good idea. It's getting kind of late anyway. Maybe we should head home now, so they can get themselves settled before it gets to be much later," she said, as she nonchalantly began heading in that direction.

To say Max was stunned by her somewhat prompt acceptance of his decision was putting mildly. He knew he'd probably get an earful from her about it later, but right now Max was too happy to worry about that. For now, he was going to enjoy every moment with his son that he could. Though plans were in the works to visit Mark at his home, Max was already dreading having to separate from him for even a short while. So he decided he was going to make the most of the short time Mark was in their home.

tbc-???

*happy**happy**happy**happy**happy*
posted on 28-Jul-2002 1:25:47 AM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

I'm so tickled there are a few of you out there who have liked the story enough so far to give it a five-star rating. What a boost for the morale and the desire to get myself in gear again. Thanks so much for the praise.

posted on 2-Aug-2002 11:26:25 AM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

I'm so pleased you're enjoying the story. It's really stimulating me to forge on. I've been working on the next part for a while. It was really going to be a very long one. But since you're so eager for another part, I've broken it up and will continuing what I don't post here to the next part. And, remember, your feedback is really helping the 'old' brain cells. Enjoy!

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 14

Max and Isabel headed home, with Liz, Alex, and Mark following them in their car. During most of the ride, Isabel was quiet, which really worried Max. He was still expecting her to let him have it and was surprised she hadn’t taken this time they were alone to do so. So he decided to hedge the subject himself.

“So, Isabel, I was a little surprised you so promptly accepted my suggestion about having Mark and his family stay with us tonight.”

“Well, I have to admit, at first I was really upset about it. But then I was remembering how hard it’s been for you all these years since you gave him up, especially ever since the war ended. I’ve been so worried about you, Max. It was as though you’d given up on life. But as soon as you and Mark saw each other, I noticed an immediate change in your expression. I couldn’t take that away from you, Max,” she said, as they pulled up into their driveway.

Max shut off the engine to the Jeep, turned toward Isabel, and said, “Thanks, Isabel. That means a lot to me.” He would have said more, but he immediately heard the voice of his little boy calling for him.

“Dad – I mean Max,” he yelled, as he jumped out of Liz and Alex’s car, and ran toward the Jeep.

“Hey, sport, we made it. This is where Isabel and I live with our parents.”

“You mean I have grandparents?” Mark asked excitedly.

“Well, yeah, you do. But we’ll talk about that later. Let me get you and your family settled inside first.”

As Max headed toward the house, Mark ran toward Liz, begging, “Mom, can I spend the night with Max? Please, please, please!”
She was so distracted by Mark and his begging, she didn’t see Max walk back to their car and help Alex get their bags out. “Here, Alex, let me help you with those.”

“Oh, hey, Max, you don’t need to do that. We can handle it.”

“Nonsense. It’s no bother at all,” Max said, as he gathered up the bags Alex had not already grabbed. “Follow me, Alex. I’ll show you where you and your family can settle in for the evening.”

“Thanks again, Max, for your offer.”

“Please, Alex, you don’t need to thank me. It’s the least I can do for all the effort you and Liz have put forth in taking care of my son all these years. I’ll never be able to repay you for that. So at least let me do what I can,” he said, as they were heading to one of the bedrooms.

“Here, this is our parents’ room. I’m sure you’ll be comfortable. It has a private bathroom. So you can have your privacy when you get up in the morning.”

“Well, I want to thank you anyway, Max,” Alex said, as they set down all the bags they’d brought in. Just as they were doing that, Mark came running into the room, excitedly saying to Max, “Max, can I please sleep in your room tonight?”

Surprised by Mark’s enthusiasm at the possibility of doing that, Max slowly responded, “Well, Mark, I’d love to have you. But…….how does your mom feel about that?” he asked, as he turned toward Liz, who had just walked into the room.

Before Liz could respond, though, Mark did it for her. “Oh, she said it was okay if it was okay with you. She said she didn’t want me to pester you if you said no. But you weren’t going to say no, were you, Max?” Mark asked, with his eyes looking like the eyes of a little puppy dog.

Max was still concerned about how Liz thought about it, though. So he again turned to her and said, “Listen, if it bothers you, it’s okay with me if he doesn’t. I mean – I don’t want to” –

Max didn’t know how to say he didn’t want Liz feeling like he was taking over or that she was losing her son, especially so suddenly after just getting acquainted with his son.

But before he could figure out how to explain himself, Liz gently touched his arm with her hand and said, “It’s okay, Max. I know I haven’t lost him. And I know you both need to spend some time together alone to get better acquainted.” Even as she was speaking, she was again feeling as though her cheeks were on fire. So she immediately removed her hand from Max’s arm.

Max too was feeling as though he was on fire, especially where Liz was touching him on his arm. And as soon as Liz removed her hand, he immediately felt a loss……of what, he wasn’t sure.

“Thanks, Liz. I really appreciate your sensitivity about that.” Again, even as he spoke, he was remembering back to the dream he’d had of cuddling with this young woman. And once again, he was silently berating himself, trying not to think of such an impossible scenario.

Pulling himself out of his self-induced dream world, he asked for Mark’s bags, picked them up, and then walked backwards to the door, as he continued looking at Liz, until he was finally out of the room, and then closed the door behind him.
*****
As soon as Max had left the room, Alex let out of sigh of frustration.

“What’s wrong, Alex?”

“Liz, please don’t think bad of me, but I’m really having a hard time pretending we’re married.”

“Oh? Why’s that? It was, after all, your idea.”

“I know. But I had a chance to get briefly acquainted with Isabel, Max’s sister, while you and Max were outside talking. I don’t know what it is, Liz, but I’m really attracted to her. It was so hard talking about myself since I have to let on that you and I are married.”

Of course, Alex didn’t know why Liz was so willing to let the cat out of the bag, and at this point she wasn’t going to tell him. But she said, “Look, Alex, if you want to stop the ruse right now, it’s okay with me.
“As it is, Mark slipped up earlier by calling you ‘Uncle.’ I don’t know if anyone caught it. But even if they didn’t, I don’t know how we’re going to keep Mark from calling you ‘uncle’ again.” Even as she spoke, it occurred to her Mark might do just that while he was talking to Max tonight. But then she thought, ‘Oh, well, maybe it will sound better coming from Mark anyway.’ So she decided she wasn’t going to worry about it any further.

“No,” Alex responded, “let’s keep up the ruse at least until Max comes out to visit. Maybe by then we’ll know enough about him and his motives to be able to make a better decision then.”

“Actually, I already know a little about that. That’s what we were talking about outside. He didn’t go into detail about Mark’s birth mom, except to say that she had not been alive for the past several years. She died shortly after Mark was born.
“He also told me I didn’t need to worry about him trying to get custody of Mark. I know I don’t know much more about him than that, but somehow, Alex, I really believe he’s an honorable person, and is a person of his word.”
“Even so, Liz, let’s just wait a little longer. Let me see if I can get any further information about him. Once I do that, I’ll feel a lot better about owning up to our little charade.”

“Okay, Alex. If you think it’s for the best.”

“I do. Now, what do you say we get some sleep. I know it feels awkward, us sleeping in the same room. We haven’t done that in years. But, hey, I’m just going to sleep with my clothes on and then shower in the morning.”

“That’s a good idea. So will I. Okay. Good night, Alex.”

“Good night, Liz.”
*****
After Max had taken Mark to his room, he showed him where everything was, and then headed to the kitchen while Mark was getting settled in.

Isabel walked in as Max seemed to be gathering some snacks to take back to his room.

“What are you doing, Max?”

“Oh, I’m getting some food to take back to the room. I have a feeling Mark and I will be up talking for a while. And I’m also sure we’ll get hungry while we’re talking.”

As Max was continuing to gather things, Isabel said, “I’m really happy for you, Max, that you finally found him.”

“What’s wrong, Is?”

“Oh, nothing,” she said wistfully.

“Don’t tell me that. I know better. I can tell by the sound of your voice.”

“Is it that obvious?”

“I don’t know about that. But face it, Isabel, you and I know each other inside and out. Now, what gives?”

“Okay. But please don’t laugh.”

“I won’t. Now, what is it?”

“While you were outside, talking to Mark’s mom, I had some time to get a little acquainted with Liz’s husband, Alex. He really seems to be such a nice guy, Max. I couldn’t help thinking, I wish I could meet someone like him. I really envy Alex and Liz. They seem to really get along well. Not that I saw the two of them together. It just seems that they’re both really good people. They’ve obviously done a wonderful job of bringing up Mark. I’m just so lonely, Max. You and I both have been so lonely over the years. Out of the three of us, Michael has been the only one who seems to have found someone he genuinely loves and who seems to genuinely care for him as well. Even if Maria is only human.”

Max could tell by her words she was feeling extremely vulnerable right now. So he put down all the things in his hands and arms and pulled Isabel into his arms. “Believe me, how you’re feeling is not funny to me. I have to let you in on a little secret of my own,” he said, as he continued holding her in his arms. I was thinking the same thing about Alex and Liz. I wish I could find someone like Liz. I don’t know what it is, but I feel as though I’ve been getting vibes from her. It doesn’t make any sense, I know. But as I was talking to her about something, she put her hand on my arm. And as she did so, I’d swear I felt my body flush at her touch. But I know I shouldn’t be feeling things like that. After all, they’re married. I feel terrible that I was experiencing such personal emotions as those,” he said, as he finally released Isabel from his arms.

“Let’s face it, Max. We’re both pathetic.”

“Maybe so. But at least we can be pathetic together.
“Well, I better get in there. Mark will wonder what’s happened to me. Good night, Isabel.”

“Good night, Max.”

tbc-????
*bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce*
posted on 3-Aug-2002 2:27:16 PM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

Me again. I'm so encouraged by the positive feedback I'm getting that it's really stirring up the creative juices. So I have the next part ready for you. Hope it answers some of your accumulating questions. And as you know, I really look forward to hearing your thoughts. It will help me maintain the motivation to continue.

Here goes.


RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 15

“Max,” Mark said with excitement, “I was beginning to wonder where you were.”

“Well, I thought you and I would probably be talking for a while. And I know how hungry I get when I’m talking. So I wanted to bring some snacks for us, so we wouldn’t go into the kitchen and make too much noise.”

“That’s a great idea. I’m hungry already.”

Once they’d both taken what they wanted from the goodies Max had brought in, they both settled on the bed, and Max said, “So, Mark, tell me what you’ve been up to all these years.”

“Just kid stuff. Maybe you can ask me questions. That’ll help me remember things better.”

“That’s a good idea. Okay. How about this question. I noticed earlier you called Alex your uncle. Why did you do that?”

“Oh, that’s an easy one. Because he is.”

“You mean that’s what you called him before they got married?”
“No, he really is my uncle. He’s my mom’s brother. I don’t understand at all why mom said they were married.”

At hearing this news, Max was in shock for a few seconds. Quickly recovering, he said, “Well, maybe they’re just being cautious. After all, they don’t know Isabel and me very well. Maybe they thought I’d try to take you away from them if I knew your mom wasn’t married.”

“But you wouldn’t do that……..would you?” Mark asked in fear.

“No, Mark, of course not. I know how much your mom loves you. I’d never want to hurt her by doing something like that.

Even as Max was talking to Mark, he found himself feeling emotions of joy and……what?……was it desire he was feeling? He wasn’t quite sure what they were. But he knew one thing for certain. He’d never felt these emotions with Tess.

Max realized he hadn’t spoken to Mark for several seconds. When he saw the expression of concern on Mark’s face, he decided he’d have to think about his emotions later. For now, he wanted to continue their conversation.

“So, Mark, here’s another question for you. Who told you about me, your mom?”

“No. She didn’t know anything about my real parents.”

“Then how did you learn about me?”

“Well…..promise you won’t laugh?”

“Promise.”

“I dreamed about you.”

He felt a little bad when he saw his dad smile, but he realized at least he hadn’t laughed. “Thanks for not laughing.”

“I’m not laughing, Mark, because I dreamed about you too.”

“Really?” Mark said in surprise. “How’s that possible?”

“I have the same ability. So I guess you got it from me.
“Have you been able to do anything else recently that you couldn’t do before?”

Mark slowly nodded his head to Max’s question. “I was waiting for mom to pick me up from Serena’s house one day and --


“First, Mark, who’s Serena?”

“A friend of mom’s. She helps mom by taking care of me when mom’s got things to do for school or something else.”

“Okay. Go on.”

“Well…..I don’t know if I should. I’m even afraid to tell mom about it.”

“Why?” Max gently asked.

“Because I don’t want her to think I’m a freak. Maybe you’ll think that too.”

“I promise, Mark, I won’t.”

“But you smiled when I told you about my dreams.”

“I was smiling because I just realized you had probably gotten the ability from me. But I wasn’t laughing at you, Mark. I hope you understand that.
“Now, back to what you were telling me about. Maybe I can help you understand what happened, being your birth father and all.”

“You mean like the dreams?”

“Exactly.”

“Okay. Well, while I was waiting for mom in Serena’s backyard, I saw a bird hopping around. I got closer to him, but he didn’t fly away, like most birds do. It was like it was injured or hurt or something. So I picked it up and held it, thinking I wished I could fix his hurt. I was rubbing its wing, since it wasn’t flying away.
“Next thing I knew, the bird hopped out of my hands, opened its wings, and was able to take off. I know it sounds silly, but I think I healed him.”

“No, Mark, it’s not silly.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because I’ve done that too.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“But how?”

“Remember you told me that I’d given you a memory?”

“Yeah.”

“Is there anything else you remember from that memory?”

Mark lay on the bed for several seconds, thinking, as he munched on the potato chips Max had brought in. Finally, he said, “I remember seeing stars and outer space, a red sky” – suddenly Mark stopped talking and began giggling.

“What’s so funny?”

“I was just seeing a picture in my head of you eating potato chips with tobasco sauce. I thought I was the only one who did that.”

“Have you been doing it for a long time?” Max asked out of curiosity.

Again, Mark had a look of concentration on his face. You know, I only started a couple weeks ago. Only I didn’t put it on chips the first time, but on my French fries.
“I guess that’s another thing I got from you,” Mark said, giggling once again.

“Yeah, that’s where you got it.
“Do you have any memories of me when I was a boy?”

Again, Mark thought briefly. Suddenly, Max saw a look of recognition on Mark’s face. Then Mark spoke. “You healed a bird too when you were a kid, huh?”

Max nodded his head knowingly.

“What does that mean, Dad – I mean, Max?” Before Max had a chance to respond, Mark asked, “Do you mind if I call you dad?”

“Of course not, Mark. I’d be honored if you would. But do you think you mom would mind if you do?”

“I don’t know. But maybe I’ll just call you dad when we’re alone. Is that okay?”

“That’s more than okay.”

Then Mark dropped a bombshell Max had no idea was going to hit him.

“Dad, can I ask you a question?”

“Of course, Mark. Anything you want to know.”

“Why did you want me to be with someone else instead of you? Did I do something bad?” Again, before Max could respond, Mark asked another question. “Didn’t you love me?”

At hearing Mark’s questions, Max was cut to the heart. How he could ever give a sufficient enough answer to such genuinely innocent questions. Even as Max was trying to figure out how to respond, he felt tears running down his face. He’d always wondered how he would explain that to his son if her ever found him. He’d never imagined how difficult it would be to do so when the time came.

Max was silent again for several seconds, trying to compose himself as well as trying to give a good enough answer to this little boy that Max had ached for ever since having given him up. Finally, he decided the only thing he could do was to give an honest answer to such innocent questions.

“Mark, I don’t want you to ever think you did anything wrong. It had nothing to do with you.”

“Then why?” Mark asked, in a serious tone. “Didn’t you want me?”

This time Max could hold it in no longer. The flood of tears came. He was so overcome with emotion he couldn’t say a word. All he could do was grab Mark into his arms and hold him tightly, never, ever, wanting to let him go. As he held Mark tightly to him, he went over in his mind trying to find the words to let Mark know how deeply he loved him. He went over in his mind the memory of that day of sadness he’d felt when his own father had taken Max’s son from his arms. He was then reflecting on how sad he’d felt for weeks after that moment, but also remembering how he’d felt it was the only way to keep his son safe from any possible harm from the Skins and Khivar and his cohorts.

As Max was going over all these things in his mind, Mark pulled back from Max with a look of fear.

“What’s wrong, Mark?”

“I….I….you weren’t just talking out loud, were you, Dad?”

“No. Why?”

“’Cause I thought I heard you say something.”

Startled by this unexpected result, Max had to ask Mark about it before he could be sure. “What did you think I said?”

“Something about how you can’t find the words to tell me how sad you were when your dad took me from your arms. And that you were sad for a very long time. And…..that you loved me real deep.”

Again, Max was overcome with emotion and grabbed Mark tightly to him.

“What’s wrong, Dad?”

“Mark, I didn’t say those things……I thought them.”

“You did?” Mark asked in awe. “Does that mean I read your mind?”

“Well, not exactly. But it is a gift that I’ve experienced from time to time.”

“But how is it possible, Dad, that I can do these things? Now I’m getting scared. Are you sure you don’t think I’m a freak?”

“I’m positive you’re not a freak.”

“Then how come I can do these things? It’s not normal……is it?”

“Well, no, it’s not normal…..for most people. But, Mark, I guess you can see that you and I are not normal.”

“So how come we can do these things?”

“Well, Mark, I wasn’t planning to tell you these things quite yet. But I can see you need to have an explanation. Do you think you can stay awake long enough for me to tell you a story?”

Mark nodded his head eagerly. “I love stories. Mom always reads me one before we go to bed.”

“Well, then, get comfortable. It’s going to be a long story.”

tbc

*bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce*
posted on 7-Aug-2002 4:56:48 PM by ravrac
Hey, Everyone:

I have another part prepared. I can't emphasize enough how helpful and motivating your thoughts and comments are in helping me have spurts of ideas to put down. Keep up the good work.

Meanwhile, I hope you like the next part.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 16

Max had finished telling Mark the story of their heritage hours ago. And Mark was awake until the very end. But as soon as Max said, “Well, Mark, that’s pretty much it for now,” Mark said, “Oh, okay,” turned his head as he was leaning against Max, and instantly fell asleep. Max had been certain Mark would have all kinds of questions he’d want to ask, but he’d forgotten Mark was only five years old, besides the fact that he hadn’t slept all day, with all the excitement and all. So Max drew comfort from the satisfaction of finally having his son in his arms after searching unsuccessfully for him for such a long time.

As Max continued holding Mark in his arms, feeling regret over all the things he’d already missed in his young son’s life, he gradually began thinking of Liz, the young woman, single at that, who seemed to have done such a wonderful job with Mark. Though he was Mark’s “real” parent, he reminded himself he would have a lot to learn about what real parenting was all about. As he lay there on the bed with Mark, he slowly dosed off to sleep, thinking about what Liz would be able to teach him. As he did so, his face unconsciously went into the biggest, warmest smile he’d had on his face in a very long time.
*****
Though it was the weekend, with all the excitement that had taken place the previous evening, Isabel found herself awakening earlier than usual. As she did so, she realized she could smell bacon, eggs, and….’Wait a minute,’ she thought to herself. ‘Max and I rarely make breakfast.’ Though she hated getting up early in the morning, her curiosity got the better of her. She was dying to see who was making breakfast.

As Isabel wrapped herself in her robe, she quietly opened her bedroom door and began walking down the hallway to the kitchen. On the way, she noticed Max’s door was pretty much closed, except for a crack. Again, her curiosity got the better of her. So she peeked in to see if Max was still asleep. What she saw warmed her heart deeply. She was in awe of how natural a picture it was to see Max lying on the bed, with Mark’s head held to his chest tenderly. She was again reminded of how…..was it only a few weeks back….. she’d been so worried about Max. To look at him now, no one would have ever had such a thought, not even her. Not wanting to disturb the beautiful, heart-warming sight, Isabel quietly closed Max’s door behind her and continued on her quest to see who was making breakfast.

As Isabel cautiously peeked into the kitchen, she realized it was the young man she’d been speaking with last night…..what was his name?….oh, right. It was Alex. Just remembering her conversation with him last night, she was once again also reminded of how envious she felt of Liz. If only she could find someone who was as thoughtful and caring as this young man obviously was.

Isabel had been in such a dream world, she wasn’t paying attention when Alex turned around and saw her standing there.

“Would you like some coffee?” he asked.

After several seconds Isabel came out of her dream world, only to realize Alex was staring right at her. “Oh, I’m so sorry. Did you say something?” she asked in embarrassment.

“I was just asking if you’d like some coffee,” he again said.

“Oh, that would be great,” she said. Forgetting she was only in her sleeping clothes, with her robe on, she began walking into the kitchen, when, suddenly, realization hit her in the face. “Oh, you know what. I’ll be right back. Save me a cup,” and off she went to her room.

Although Alex was a little disappointed she’d left so soon, he was also in a way relieved she’d probably gone to get dressed. He couldn’t help thinking once again, for about the thousandth time, how he’d wished he wasn’t keeping up this ruse for Liz. ‘Oh, well,’ he said to himself, ‘just a little while longer,’ as he went back to making breakfast.

As he turned back to the stove, Liz walked into the kitchen. “Alex, what are you doing, helping yourself to their food and all?” she said, teasingly.

“I know. I just couldn’t sleep. And as much as I hate to bring it up, we really should be heading back home. I’ve already been away from my business long enough. I figured, if we ate breakfast here, we could get an earlier start than having to stop at a diner on the way.”

“I know you’re right, Alex. But I know it’s going to be hard for Mark to leave. Did you see how eager he was to spend the night with Max?” she asked. She couldn’t help thinking to herself how she would loved to have been able to watch the two of them interact. She even found herself wishing she too could have gotten better acquainted with Max. Before she could continue dwelling on that thought, though, Alex interrupted.

“Yeah, I noticed. I just hope Max doesn’t get any wild ideas about keeping him here.”

“I’m sure he won’t, Alex. We already discussed that last night.”

“And you’re positive he won’t try to deceive you into giving up custody of Mark?” Alex asked, suspiciously.

“I don’t know, Alex. There’s something……”

Before Liz could finish her sentence, someone else spoke up. “I would never do anything like that to your family.”

Both Alex and Liz turned around to see Max standing behind them. As they saw who it was, both their faces had turned beet-red.

Then Max turned and looked directly at Liz. “I’d hoped I’d made it perfectly clear I would never do that to you,” he said, with his piercing, amber-flected eyes, as though he were only talking to Liz.

Realizing himself how focused he was in trying to reassure Liz, Max consciously turned and looked at Alex and added, “or to you.”

Though the effort was very chivalrous, Alex wasn’t deceived. He knew Max had only been directing his thoughts to Liz, almost as if……no, he couldn’t know.

Alex responded, “I appreciate that, Max. It’s just that we live in a world where, more often than not, people don’t say what they mean, or mean what they say. You can never be too cautious, as far as I’m concerned.”

“I know you’re right, Alex. I’ve been deceived myself a few times for exactly those reasons,” he said, as he sat down with a more relaxed look on his face.
“Now, what was it you were saying about getting back home?”

“Oh, yeah. I was just telling Liz we need to get back. My business won’t run itself much longer on its own. I know I have employees to take up the slack, but there are some things I need to take care of personally.”

“Oh, that’s a shame. But, of course, I understand. I hope it will still be okay for me to come out next weekend to visit Mark,” Max said, hopefully.

“Of course. I wouldn’t want to interfere with that. If you could just let us know when you’re on your way out, though, it’ll help us have a mental idea of when you’ll be there.”

“Sure. No problem.”

As they were talking about the arrangements for Max’s visit, Isabel came back into the kitchen, this time fully clothed.

As Alex saw her walk in, he said, “Well, it looks like everyone’s up except Mark.”

“No, I’m here, Un-“ –

Before Mark could finish his sentence, Alex interrupted, “Oh, good, Mark. You’re just in time. I’ve made breakfast for everyone. Shall we all sit down and have a meal together before the three of us have to leave?”

“That’s a great idea,” Max said, grinning to himself at Mark’s slip and at Alex’s lame attempt to cover it up. But at least, now that he knew what was going on, he could sit back and enjoy everyone’s company. He was already subconsciously beginning to plan how he’d find a way to become better acquainted with this young woman who had stolen his son’s heart long ago and, before long, would have his completely as well. He’d thought earlier in the morning, before falling asleep, about possibly telling Isabel about Alex and Liz. But he thought better of it, at least for the time being. The first step was Liz. Then, maybe he would learn more about Alex. He suddenly realized he was as protective of his sister as Alex was of his. That in itself made him realize that he and Alex had a lot in common.

As he was dwelling on these thoughts, both Isabel and Liz, almost simultaneously, got up and said, “Hey, Alex, let us serve everyone.” They both paused, looking at each other for having talked at the same time. “Then, again simultaneously, they said, “It’s the least we can do for all your hard work.”

As Max watched the interchange between Isabel and Liz, he once again was realizing how much he and Alex had in common. He couldn’t wait until a time when, he hoped, in the not-too-distant future, he’d be able to remind everyone of this moment and how natural it had been right from the very beginning for them to eat together as one big happy family. Because to Max, that was what he was hoping they would all become. He only hoped it wouldn’t be too hard to convince the others.

tbc

*happy**happy**happy**happy**happy*
posted on 18-Aug-2002 3:47:36 PM by ravrac
Hi, Mary, and those of the others of you who have been faithfully and consistently "bumping" me for another part. I have to admit it helps me remember there are some of you out there who are faithfully keeping up with what I've written so far. It also helps me continue making efforts to keep it up. So thanks for the nudge. And to reward you for your efforts, I've posted the next part. Hope you like it. As always, by leaving your feedback, it will help me continue to feel motivated.


RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 17

The happy group had just finished breakfast and Liz, Alex, and Mark were getting their things together to head back home when Alex got a call on his cell phone.

"Excuse me, guys. I'm going into another room to take this call. I'll be right back."

"Oh, okay, 'Dear,'" Liz said, halfheartedly.

Liz had stayed in the kitchen, cleaning up Alex’s mess, while he was on his cell phone. She was also trying to discreetly listen as Mark was chatting with Max.

A few minutes later, Alex walked back into the kitchen, saying, “Liz, can I talk to you privately for a minute, dear?”

“Sure….honey,” Liz said as she walked toward Alex; then they both went into the next room to talk.

While they were gone, Max had continued talking to Mark, and vice versa. Mark said something at this point that touched Max as deeply as it saddened him. “I sure wish you could come back home with us, Dad.”

“Yeah, me too, Mark. But it will only be a few days before I come out to visit with you.”

“I know. It just seems like such a long time. I only just got to meet you. I don’t want to lose you.”

“You won’t lose me, Mark,” Max said, as he reached out his hands to pull Mark into his arms.

While Max was hugging Mark, Liz and Alex walked back into the kitchen.

“Max, can I speak with you privately?” Alex asked.

“Sure,” Max said in a confused voice, and they too walked into the other room to talk.

“Is everything okay, Mom?” Mark asked apprehensively.

“Everything’s fine, sweetie,” Liz responded.

“Then how come Alex wanted to talk with d- -- Max?”

“Well…”

As Liz was trying to figure out what to say, both Max and Alex walked into the kitchen, with Max sporting a huge small on his face.

Walking directly up to Mark and pulling him into his hands and throwing him into the air, he said, “Mark, what do you think about me coming back home with you and your mom?”

“You mean it?”

“Well, yeah, if it’s okay with you.”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes!” Mark exclaimed as Max continued to throw Mark into the air.
*****
As Liz watched the interchange between her son and Max, she couldn’t help but feel a chill go through her body. Even as she’d been watching them, she began having daydreams of seeing this same interchange with, not just Max, but her as well, playing with Mark, as though they were a family. She promptly reminded herself she would have to steer clear of such ideas if she was going to make it home in the same car with Max.

As Liz was silently trying to clear her thoughts, Alex walked up beside her and quietly said, “I’m really sorry about this, Liz. It’s against my better judgment to have Max go back with you guys. But there’s no way I want you two to go back on your own. I just don’t see any other way, what with me having to fly back and all.”

“I understand, Alex. Don’t worry. I’m sure everything will be fine.” Liz knew she didn’t dare mention to Alex the daydreams she was just having about Max.

Just as Alex and Liz were talking, they heard a car horn honking outside. “I can’t believe it. That must be the cab already. Look, Liz, I’ve got to get going. Please be careful with this guy, will you. I don’t care that he’s Mark’s dad. The fact is, we still don’t really know anything about him.”

“Alex, would you get going already. I told you, everything is going to be fine,” Liz said, as she began nudging him to the front door. Though Liz still had her own misgivings, there was no way she was going to express them to Alex. At that moment he had too many other concerns on his mind, not the least of which was problems that had just developed with his business.

“I’ll return home as soon as I can,” Alex yelled as he hurried to the cab. As soon as he was inside, the cab promptly took off.

Liz was still staring in the direction she’d seen Alex’s cab head when she was startled by a voice next to her. “I’m sure Alex will make it back safely,” Max said, still holding Mark in his arms. Since he had to leave so unexpectedly, you and Mark are more than welcome to stay a few more days before we head back,” Max added, hoping she’d accept his offer.

“That’s very kind of you,” she responded, not looking directly at him, but instead looking in the direction of their luggage, “but I really do need to be heading back. I have an appointment in a few days that I can’t cancel,” she added, still not looking at him. Of course, the appointment she ‘couldn’t cancel’ was a date she’d made with a fellow student from one of her college classes, named Nicholas. But everyone just called him ‘Nick.’ She especially did not want to make eye contact with Max when giving him only the very nebulous information she had provided. She knew, if she had done so, she would have had to break down and tell him the truth about her and Alex, and she wasn’t quite sure she was ready to do that. ‘Besides,’ she reasoned to herself, ‘it’s better this way. Maybe it will help me get these ridiculous daydreams out of my head.’

“Oh, okay. Well, I guess I should go pack myself a bag as well,” Max said, as he reluctantly put Mark down and headed to his room.

As he did so, Isabel followed him to ask what had just so unexpectedly happened in the last couple minutes for him to do what he was doing. As he was explaining, he still felt a little guilty that he hadn’t told her about Alex and Liz’s true relationship. But he had already decided it would be best to keep things to himself until he was fully aware of that relationship and hopefully had gained Liz’s trust, at least to some small degree.

As Max was getting his last few items packed, he said, “If you need to get in touch with me at all, just call my cell phone. Once we get back to their place, I’ll call you and let you know where you can reach me,” he finished, as he turned around and pulled Isabel into his arms for a hug. “While I’m gone, maybe you’d feel better if you have Maria and Michael stay with you, just as a precaution,” he added.

“Yeah. Right. Like I need anyone to watch over me,” she responded indignantly.

“Yeah, I know. I just thought you might like some company,” he gently added.

“I’m sorry for snapping at you, Max,” she said apologetically. It’s just that everything happened so fast. I haven’t had time to sort through the last day, let alone what just happened in a few minutes. But I also know you need to do this, Max. You’ve waited for such a long time just to find your son. Now that you have a chance to get to know him better, it’s only reasonable for you to take it. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. Just keep me posted about how things go,” she said, as she returned Max’s previous hug.

“Thanks, Isabel, for understanding. Look, I really need to get going. Liz seemed to be in a hurry to get going. But I’ll be in touch.” He hugged Isabel one last time before heading to Liz’s car.

He wasn’t surprised, once he got there, to see Mark and Liz had already put their bags in it and were waiting for him. Mark was sitting in the front seat, next to Liz. Max actually found himself feeling a sense of disappointment at observing the seating arrangements. But he quickly reminded himself they’d be traveling for a few days. So he immediately realized the seating arrangements would more than likely change during the course of their travel. Part of Max was concerned about what to expect during he trip, but a greater part of him felt amazingly excited at the prospect, as he quickly got in the back seat of the car and rolled down his window to wave at Isabel as Liz promptly drove away from their house.

tbc-???

*bounce**happy**bounce**happy**bounce**happy**bounce*
posted on 20-Aug-2002 1:01:55 AM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

I've posted another part. Hope you like it.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 18

Liz had been quiet for the last few hours, as she drove and listened to Max and Mark becoming better acquainted. It moved her deeply to see the rapport that the two had. It continued to gnaw at her at the same time, though she wasn’t sure why. As she continued to think about it, it finally struck her. She was feeling a sense of jealousy. Was she feeling jealousy that Mark was paying more attention to Max than to her, she thought? Or….was she jealous that Mark was able to converse so freely with this young man who had turned out to be his biological father? She could feel her heart playing its own tug-of-war as she continued contemplating the situation. ‘Why,’ she wondered to herself, ‘would I feel jealous about something like that? I should be happy Mark is being so open with his biological father.’ She continued trying to figure out in her mind what she feared her heart already understood, but her mind was not willing to accept, that she was attracted to the young man. Before she could think further about the ephiphany that had just struck her, she was jolted from her thoughts.

“Liz?” she heard the voice say. Suddenly, she realized Max was speaking to her.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Did you say something?” Liz said, as she glanced into her rearview mirror to look at Max as she continued to drive.

“I was just wondering if you were okay. You seemed to doze off or something there. And I was thinking, if you like, I can take the wheel for a little while so you can take a nap.”

“Oh, no. That’s okay. I wouldn’t want to intrude on your time with Mark.” Even as she spoke, she realized even to herself that her words sounded a little harsh, and she silently cringed as they came out.

As Liz was responding, Max somehow sensed she was irritated with him, though for the life of him he didn’t understand why. But he also knew she’d been driving for quite some time. So he decided to shrug off her harshness as having been due to a need for a break. “I guess you’ve been concentrating so much on the drive, you didn’t notice Mark and I haven’t been talking for quite some time. He fell asleep about 15 minutes ago.”

Liz was so surprised by Max’s comment, she immediately hit the brakes and turned around to verify for herself what Max had just said. Sure enough, when she turned around, Mark was spread out across Max and was obviously out cold.

As Liz had turned and was observing Mark, she suddenly realized she too was feeling as though she couldn’t keep her eyes open. Though she still was feeling cautious around the young man, she also realized that for her to continue driving in the state of tiredness she was in would not be safe for anyone. “You know, I think I’ll take you up on that offer. I’m suddenly feeling really drowsy, and I know it wouldn’t be safe for me to drive any farther feeling this way.”

As she was speaking, she began exiting the car to walk around to the other side of it. Max had already reached the driver’s side of the car so as to exchange places with her. So when she began exiting the car, he was there to hold the door open for her, which ended up being a good thing. Just as Max reached out his hand to help her get up from the seat, she almost collapsed just outside the door. Though she was trying to stand on her feet, she was really having a hard time of it. The next thing she knew, Max had scooped her up in his arms and was carrying her over to the other side of the car.

Even as Max was doing so, he was hit with a strong whiff of the smell of vanilla and strawberries. Her scent was intoxicating. And Max was finding himself desperately wanting to gently kiss her as he carried her. But he had to remind himself Liz didn’t realize he already knew about her relationship with her brother. So he grappled with himself to be a gentleman as he gently set her down on the seat he had just vacated. Even as he was doing so, he heard Liz say, “Thanks, Max,” and then he watched as she promptly turned her head to the side and fell asleep. ‘Oh, well,’ he thought to himself, ‘I guess I’ll be entertaining myself for a while until one of them wakes up.’
*****
Max had been driving for about an hour when he began hearing movement in the back seat. “Are you awake back there, Mark?”

“Yeah, Dad. I was just beginning to wonder where you were. I thought you’d left.”

Mark had tried to keep the fear out of his voice as he spoke, but Max had already become familiar enough with Mark and his thoughts and emotions to know what he was doing. “Mark, you don’t need to worry. I won’t ever leave you again.”

“Promise, Dad?”

“Promise.”

“But you’ll still be going back to Roswell after your visit. You’ll be leaving then.”

“Well, that’s true. But it’s not the same as leaving without letting you know.” Even as Max was trying to allay his fears, it was tearing him up inside that his son was feeling such a sense of loss that a child should never have to experience.

“Dad, can I ask you a question?”

Not sure he wanted to hear the question but wanting his son to feel he could ask anything, he responded, “Sure. Go ahead. But I can’t promise I’ll know the answer.”

“Oh, you’ll know the answer to this one.” Before Max could even prepare himself for what was to come, Mark continued, “Why didn’t you love my mom?”

Though Max definitely knew the answer, he felt as though someone had kicked him in the gut when he heard it. What especially made him feel the sense of kicking in his gut was his amazement that Mark would have even be able to know how he’d felt about Tess.

Not sure how he was going to answer such a question, he tried asking one of his own, hoping it would buy him time as he tried to figure out what to say. “What makes you think I didn’t love your mom, Mark?”

“Well, you haven’t talked about her or mentioned her at all. I just thought you didn’t want to think about her because you didn’t lover her,” Mark answered innocently.

At hearing Mark’s innocent comment, Max suddenly realized he didn’t need to go into a lot of detail about Tess. It suddenly occurred to him that Mark just wanted to know about his mom and the kind of person she was. Even that information was something he really didn’t want to get into at any length until Mark was old enough to understand things more clearly. But he knew he had to tell his son something about Tess.

So he began to say something. But before he had a chance to, he heard Liz’s voice at the side of him. “Mark, I’m sure your dad has all kinds of things he wants to tell you about her. But maybe he just wanted to get to know you better first. You’ve got the whole rest of your life to find out all about your mom. Don’t you think it would be better to talk about that when Max can hold you in his arms as he tells you about her? That way, he’ll be able to concentrate and make sure he tells you all the good things about her that he remembers,” she concluded.

Even as Liz was talking with Mark, she found herself feeling all choked up. Though she had initially interrupted Max to help him out of a tough spot, she realized she’d interrupted more for herself than for him. Though she didn’t even really know the young man, she knew it would have upset her to hear Max talk about Mark’s mom. Though she remembered Max saying they’d only been experimenting, somehow she found herself wishing she could have an intimate closeness of her own with him. And Liz didn’t think she could bear it to hear him talking about Mark’s mom at all.

At hearing the things Liz was saying, Mark said to Max, “I’m sorry, Dad. I didn’t think about you wanting to get to know me first. I’ll try and wait until you want to talk about ‘mom.’”

Even as Mark said ‘mom,’ Liz felt her heart tie up in knots. She’d had no idea how much it would hurt her to hear Mark call Tess his ‘mom.’ She found herself hating the idea of him learning about her because, she feared, he would not think of her as his mom anymore.

And even as Mark was calling Tess his ‘mom,’ Max saw silent tears begin sliding down Liz’s face, and he instantly understood what must be going through her mind. Not wanting to see her feeling such pain, Max spoke up as gently as he could. “You know, Mark, when the time is right, I’ll be happy to tell you all about Tess, your biological mom. But don’t ever forget it was Liz who has always been there for you, to tell you stories, to play games with you. Whatever you’ve needed, Liz has always been there for you. So no matter what good things I’ll eventually share with you about Tess, don’t ever forget that Tess was never the one who was there to be a mom to you the way Liz has.”

Even as Max spoke, he quietly glanced over at Liz. As he did so, he saw her look at him with such a look of appreciation it took his breath away. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to concentrate on her for long because he was still trying to make sure not to hurt Mark as he spoke. It wasn’t until Mark spoke that he was sure he’d succeeded.

“Oh, I know that. Mom knows no one will ever take her place. If it hadn’t been for her, I never would have found you, Dad,” Mark said innocently as he rolled down the window and began looking at the scenery as they continued driving. Little did Mark know that he’d given his dad a huge reason to hope that his earlier dream of a family was at that moment given an enormous boost.

*happy**happy**happy**happy**happy*
posted on 22-Aug-2002 9:58:33 PM by ravrac
Hi, Guys:

Thanks for all the "bumps." Sorry I don't have another part ready yet. Unfortunately, "life" keeps interfering, what with having to do "work" and other things there's no getting around. But thanks for hanging in there with me. Hopefully, I'll get through the "burnout" I'm feeling right now so I can get the "thinking cap" back on. Thanks again for your nudges of encouragement.

*shy**shy**shy**shy**shy*
posted on 23-Aug-2002 11:03:47 PM by ravrac
Hi, Islandgirl5:

Glad to know it sounds somewhat unique. I was shocked and saddened to learn that one of the stories I was really enjoying reading had been copied from another source.

I'm still working on the next part. It will be up in the next day or so.

I just want to once again thank everyone who's been enjoying my story and letting me know. It really helps the motivation factor.

More later.
posted on 1-Sep-2002 3:29:28 AM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

Sorry it took so long to post another chapter. I got sidetracked by my other story, "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder." I didn't want you to wait any longer. So I stayed up for a little while, preparing this next part. Hope you like it. Look forward to your feedback.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 19

Liz, Mark, and Max had been on the road a couple of days and had gotten pretty close to home before they got caught in a summer storm. It had begun raining so hard they decided the safest thing to do would be to get a couple of rooms for the night, until the storm had blown over.

Max had taken it upon himself to do most of the rest of the driving. So it was Max who finally decided that would be the safest thing to do. "Well, guys, the rain's coming down pretty heavily right now. We're not going to be able to go any farther at this point, since we can't even see through the windshield. We're going to have to stop for the night."

Reluctantly, Liz had to agree. She had hoped they'd be able to get back that night, but she also realized stopping was the best decision they could make. "Yeah, I guess you're right. I saw a Travelodge just about a mile or two behind us. We can probably get a couple of rooms there for the night."

Even as Liz was speaking, Max found himself feeling disappointed at her phrase 'a couple of rooms.' Of course, that was the proper thing to do. But he'd already begun thinking of Liz and Mark as his family. So he'd already subconsciously been thinking they'd only need one room. Of course, he knew he dared not express such an idea. He knew to do so would not paint him in a very good light, as far as Liz was concerned. So he resolved in his heart to accept her idea without complaint.
*****
As they pulled into the parking lot of the Travelodge, Max said, "Why don't you go ahead and see if there are any rooms available, and I'll park the car right out front under the overhang, so you won't have to come out into the pouring rain."

"All right. Hopefully, I won't be gone too long.
"Mark, why don't you come with me," Liz said.

"Ah, Mom, do I have to? I was hoping to wait here with Dad."

Before Liz could respond, Max answered Mark, "You know what, buddy, I'm sure your mom would really appreciate your company when she goes in. That way, she won't be by herself. Someone's got to protect her in there," he said, as he turned to Liz and discreetly winked his eye.

"Oh, okay, Dad. But we'll be back soon."

"Okay, buddy. I'll be waiting for you."
****
It seemed that several minutes had gone by before Max finally saw Liz and Mark exit the lobby of the Travelodge. If they'd been in there much longer, he would have headed in after them.

Max noticed, when they got back in the car, Liz seemed extremely quiet. A little worried about her, he asked, "Liz, is everything okay?"

"Huh? Oh. Yeah. I'm sorry."

"Well, were you able to get some rooms?"

"Well, yes and no."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I was only able to get one room. It seems everyone else had the same idea. So we were fortunate to even get that one," she said, as her voice trailed off.

Though secretly Max was thrilled at the news, he was careful to pause and regain his composure before responding. "Oh. Well, I'm sure we'll work something out. Let's see how the room's arranged, and then we'll see what we can do."

"Yeah….that's a good idea," Liz said, with just a hint of nervousness in her voice.

By the time they found their room and were able to get their bags out of the car, Mark had already fallen asleep again, though he and Liz had only been back in the car a short time. Not wanting Liz or Mark to get any wetter from the rain than necessary, Max said, "Liz, I'm going to carry Mark up to the room. Why don't you come with me so you can open the door. Then I'll come back and bring whatever bags are left."

"But you're going to get soaked, Max. I can't let you do that. You could get really sick being out in all that rain."

Of course, Liz didn't realize Max would not get sick from all the rain, but he was certain Liz might. "Oh, don't worry about me. At this point, I'm more concerned about you and Mark."


"But" --

"Please, Liz, let me do this for you and Mark. It's the least I can do for all you've done for Mark all these years."

"Well, okay. But I sure do hope you're not going to continue thinking like that. Otherwise, you might feel you'll never be able to do enough," she said, as she was gathering a couple of the bags together. Little did she know, though, that was exactly how Max was feeling. And as far as he was concerned, he was going to do just that, spend the rest of his life trying to make it up to her for all she'd done for Mark.
*****
When they finally got to the room and opened the door, Liz was dismayed to see that there was only one bed in the room. Before she had time to dwell on it, though, Max gently laid Mark down on the bed, and then turned to Liz. "I'm going to get the rest of the bags, and I'll be right back," he said, as he looked down into what to him were the most beautiful doe-brown eyes he'd ever seen. Even after he'd finished speaking, they both stood there staring at one another for several seconds. Finally, Max broke the silence. "Well, I guess I better go get the rest of the bags. Lock the door behind me."

"But, Max, you'll only be gone" --

"Please, Liz, humor me, just to be on the safe side. Besides, if you'll give me the key, I can get back in, just in case you're….indisposed or something," he said, as he felt his face begin to flush.

Liz too blushed at his words. So she couldn't look at him as she handed him the key. "Well, I'm going to get Mark's wet clothes off of him so he won't catch cold," she said, trying to busy herself and still not look at Max.

"Okay. I'll be back shortly."

While Max was gone, Liz began removing Mark's wet clothing. As she did so, though, she found herself becoming extremely drowsy. She realized she too would get sick if she didn't get out of her wet clothes. Feeling as tired as she did, she went to the bathroom and quickly undressed, down to her underwear. She knew Max would be back soon, and she didn't want him to catch her in her present attire. So she went through her bags, looking for her nightgown, and quickly threw it on; then hurriedly got under the blankets. She stayed awake just long enough to finish undressing Mark and then covering him with the blankets as well before she surrendered to the overpowering need for sleep.
*****
Max was concerned about Liz's uneasiness at having to share a room with him. So he'd decided to himself that he would be chivalrous and offer to let her and Mark take the bed. Of course, he found it to be a moot point when he returned. After setting the bags down and closing the door, he turned around to see both Liz and Mark snuggled down into the blankets, with Liz having a protective arm wrapped across Mark, as they both slept. He sat down on the nearby chair and stared at them for several seconds, moved with deep emotion at the beautiful sight before him.

After Max had composed himself enough and the need for sleep was quickly overtaking him, he finally headed to the bathroom to get ready to sleep. Though he knew he could easily dry his clothes instantly, he wanted to be careful not to arouse any suspicions about anything he was not yet ready to reveal to either Mark or Liz. So he decided he better take off his outer clothing and let it dry out over the bathtub.

When he got into the bathroom, though, he was a little stunned by what he saw. Liz's underwear was already draped over the tub. Immediately, his imagination began trying to take over, but he did not want to think of Liz so intimately at this early date. He wanted to treat her with the dignity and respect that she deserved, and get to know her as the mother of his son first. So he quickly blocked his visions of Liz by trying to focus more on Mark and what the next day would bring in getting to know his son even better.

After Max had gotten undressed, he headed for the nearby chair, preparing for what promised to be a very uncomfortable night of rest, when he heard his name being called out. "Dad, why don't you come to bed with Mom and me."

"I don't know if that's such a good idea, Mark. I wouldn't want to upset your mom."

"Please, Dad."

Max hesitated, concerned about what Liz might think. "Well, tell you what. I'll sleep on top of the blankets."

"Thanks, Dad," Mark said, as he wrapped his little arm over his dad's chest.

'I'll just wait until he dozes off, and then I'll just get up and go to the chair,' Max thought to himself. But before he knew it, he too was in deep slumber. If anyone had seen the sight, they would have never guessed this was not a natural family.

Tbc
*bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce*
posted on 2-Sep-2002 11:59:00 PM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

Your kind words continue to keep me motivated. So I'm posting another chapter. Hope you enjoy it.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 20

Max shifted on the bed, reminding himself, in his near stupor of sleep, that he’d need to get up as soon as Mark fell asleep. But he didn’t want to make any sudden moves, in case he accidentally awakened him before he had a chance to completely drop off. So he lay there, holding him in his arms, reveling in the feel of his son near him. He drew himself closer to his son, marveling at how soft his young son’s skin was. He drew his hand up to his son’s arm, stroking it gently, still having difficulty believing they’d finally found each other.

As he was remembering his first contact with Mark, he was again reminded of Liz and how delicate and petite she was. As he continued stroking his son’s arm, it occurred to him how similar in build Mark seemed to be to Liz. ‘But…..that doesn’t make sense…..’ he thought to himself, as he continued his stroking. As he was doing so, he suddenly realized Mark’s hair smelled like…..’is that the smell of strawberries,’ he thought to himself. He went to touch Mark’s hair and found…..’his hair’s too long to be…..’ Suddenly it dawned on Max who was lying next to him. He slowly opened his eyes, worried that Liz might get the idea he’d been trying to get fresh with her. When he had finally opened his eyes completely and was able to focus on the body next to him, he felt himself immediately get beet red, realizing Liz had turned toward him in her sleep, and her face, more specifically her lips, were just centimeters away from his.

Though he wanted desperately to touch those beautiful lips, he knew to do so would possibly either begin something neither of them was ready for yet, or Liz would react so violently, she might completely change her mind about allowing Max to keep in touch with Mark. So, reluctantly, he slowly inched himself away from Liz, not even daring to breathe until he was far enough away that his breath wouldn’t be felt on Liz’s skin.

When Max was finally far enough away to breathe and was sure Liz was still asleep, he turned in concern, looking for Mark. He didn’t need to worry, though. Mark was just sitting over near the television, watching cartoons.

“What are doing there, buddy?” Max asked.

“Oh. Hi, Dad. I didn’t want to wake you or Mom. So I just decided to watch some TV until you guys woke up.”

“I am so proud of you, Mark, for not going outside by yourself.”

“Oh, don’t worry. Mom taught me when I was little, to not go anywhere by myself, especially not to open the door at home to any strangers.”

At Mark’s comment, Max looked at the clock and realized it was about 11:00 a.m. Suddenly, it dawned on him maybe someone had been at the door. So he asked, “Mark, did someone knock on the door while we were sleeping?”

“Uh-huh,” Mark answered, as he continued paying attention to the cartoon he was watching.

“Do you know who it was?”

“I think it was the maid, wanting to clean the room. But I told her through the door my mom and dad were sleeping.”

“Well, then, I’m especially proud of you, Mark, for being obedient to your mom.” As he was talking to Mark, it just registered to him what Mark had said to the maid. ‘My mom and dad.’ At that thought, Max began feeling a tightness in his chest, as though – he wasn’t really sure how to describe it to himself. But it touched him deeply to have Mark refer to him in the same breath as Liz when calling them ‘mom and dad.’ He found himself once again hoping that one day that would officially be the case.

As Max was thinking in his own little dream world, he heard Mark speak again.

“Hi, Mom. You’re finally awake. I’m hungry.”

As Mark was speaking, Max turned to look in Liz’s direction. He was so glad he’d awakened when he did. He was concerned about how Liz would have reacted had she awakened before he had.

“Hi, guys,” Liz said, as she sleepily sat up in bed. As she did so, she noticed how Max almost embarrassedly turned away from her. Then she realized what she was wearing and quickly pulled the blankets up to her chin.

“You know, I’ve noticed it’s stopped raining. I think I’ll go get a paper,” Max said, trying to discreetly give Liz some privacy so that she could get up and get dressed.

“Can I come, Dad?”

“Well….” Max said.

“That’s a good idea, Mark. Go ahead.”

“Are you sure, Liz?” Max said. He’d forgotten about what Liz was wearing. So he turned around as he spoke.

Liz saw Max blush as he turned and looked toward her. “It’s okay, Max,” she said. “I’m covered. But thanks for not staring, though.
“And yes, I’m sure about Mark. It will give me a chance to get up and ready without worrying what Mark’s doing while I am.”

“Okay, then. We’ll be back in about 20 minutes – that is – I mean will that be long enough time for you?”

“Oh, yeah. You forget. I’m used to having to get ready in a short time, having to keep my eye on squirt over there and all,” she said, as she motioned toward Mark.

“Squirt, huh?” Max said, as he tousled Mark’s hair. “Let’s get going, shall we.”

“Yeah, Dad, let’s go,” Mark said as he jumped up to leave.

As Max was watching Mark, he was surprised to see that Mark had already dressed himself, and had done a good job at that. ‘I guess Liz has taught Mark a lot of things in just a short time,’ Max observed to himself. ‘I only hope I’ll be able to do the same,’ he thought as they both walked out the door.
****
As Liz watched Mark and Max go out the door, she felt herself get all choked up. She’d never realized how desperately Mark had needed the male attention and guidance that he’d missed from his father the whole time she’d been raising him. Once again, she felt a twinge of jealousy go through her body, fearing that now Mark had Max, she’d only feel like a third wheel between the two of them, and that eventually Mark wouldn’t want to stay with her but with Max.

Liz’s thought processes continued on in that same pattern for a few minutes before she scolded herself, saying, ‘What is wrong with you, Liz? Of course, he’ll always need you. You’re the only mom he’s ever known.’ She glanced at her watch as she was mentally battling with herself and then jumped off the bed when she realized Max and Mark had already been gone for 10 minutes. She didn’t know Max well enough to know if punctuality was an issue for him. But she decided she didn’t want to take the chance that it was, and have him come back to see that she was still lounging around in her nightgown. So she raced out of bed, took a shower, and was putting on her makeup when she heard the door to the room open. She still hadn’t dried her hair, but she realized now she wasn’t going to have a chance to dry it.

“Mom, are you ready?” Mark yelled, as he and Max entered the room.

“Yes, Mark, I’m ready. I’m just putting my makeup on.”

Max saw Mark roll his eyes at his mom’s comment.

“Why did you roll your eyes like that, Mark?”

“Girls. They always have to paint their faces and do girly stuff. Yuck. Even moms want to do that stuff.”

Max grinned at his son’s innocent comment and responded, “Well, it may bother you now. But there’s going to come a time when you’ll like the fact that they do all that ‘girly stuff,’ as you like to put it.”

“You mean you like that girls – even that Mom’s doing all that girly stuff?”

Max blushed slightly as he responded, though Mark didn’t notice. “Well, let’s just say I appreciate that your mom wants to look nice. I’ll leave it at that.”

Max could see Mark didn’t understand his answer and was going to ask about it. But before he had a chance, Liz appeared before them. “Well, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Let’s got eat breakfast, shall we.”

Max turned in the direction of Liz’s voice and stood speechless for several seconds, entranced by the beauty he saw before him, with her hair still hanging down her shoulders wet, from her shower. Though she’d said she’d been putting on makeup, to Max she looked as fresh as if she’d just stepped out of the shower. He would have continued in his speechless state except for one hungry little person standing next to him. “Come on, Dad, I’m starved. Besides, do you have to look at Mom like that? She’s just a girl, doing all that girly stuff,” he said, as he headed toward the door.

Both Max and Liz blushed deeply at Mark’s comment, but neither spoke a word. Both were afraid they might say the wrong thing, so chose instead to remain silent, except for Liz adding to Mark’s comment, “You know, Mark, I’m getting pretty hungry myself. Let’s get going,” she said, as she hurried to catch up with Mark, leaving Max staring at her as he continued in his daze as he closed the door behind him.


Max saw Mark roll his eyes at his mom’s comment.

“Why did you roll your eyes like that, Mark?”

“Girls. They always have to paint their faces and do girly stuff. Yuck. Even moms want to do that stuff.”

Max grinned at his son’s innocent comment and responded, “Well, it may bother you now. But there’s going to come a time when you’ll like the fact that they do all that ‘girly stuff,’ as you like to put it.”

“You mean you like that girls – even that Mom’s doing all that girly stuff?”

Max blushed slightly as he responded, though Mark didn’t notice. “Well, let’s just say I appreciate that your mom wants to look nice. I’ll leave it at that.”

Max could see Mark didn’t understand his answer and was going to ask about it. But before he had a chance, Liz appeared before them. “Well, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Let’s got eat breakfast, shall we.”

Max turned in the direction of Liz’s voice and stood speechless for several seconds, entranced by the beauty he saw before him, with her hair still hanging down her shoulders wet, from her shower. Though she’d said she’d been putting on makeup, to Max she looked as fresh as if she’d just stepped out of the shower. He would have continued in his speechless state except for one hungry little person standing next to him. “Come on, Dad, I’m starved. Besides, do you have to look at Mom like that? She’s just a girl, doing all that girly stuff,” he said, as he headed toward the door.

Both Max and Liz blushed deeply at Mark’s comment, but neither spoke a word. Both were afraid they might say the wrong thing, so chose instead to remain silent, except for Liz adding to Mark’s comment, “You know, Mark, I’m getting pretty hungry myself. Let’s get going,” she said, as she hurried to catch up with Mark, leaving Max staring at her as he continued in his daze as he closed the door behind him.

tbc

*happy**happy**happy**happy**happy*
posted on 4-Sep-2002 10:56:39 AM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

I'm on another mini-roll of imagination. So I have another part ready for you. Hope you like it.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)

Part 21

After breakfast, the three got back on the road, heading for Liz and Mark's home. It only took a few hours before they finally got back to their home in Upstate New York. Unfortunately, for Max, it wasn't long enough. He had hoped he'd have more time to get to know them both more fully, especially Liz. But that was not to be, at least for the time being. Mark kept him busy with all kinds of questions about things Max did growing up, and about his family and his sister and friends in New Mexico. Liz had taken over the driving. So Max was able to devote his full concentration to the questions. Liz was content to just listen in as he spoke. Max was presently talking about his best friend Michael Guerin and Michael's girlfriend Maria DeLuca.

Liz was getting a kick out of some of the antics that the group had been involved in over the years. At the same time, though, she found herself envying the fact that Max had some kind of a past. It grieved her deeply that she could not remember anything before the age of six, but she did not like to dwell on that. She'd accepted long ago that she would never be able to trace her own background to the past. All she'd known until Alex and his family had come and adopted her was the orphanage she'd lived in for four years after having been found in one of the underground tunnels of New York City. She never had been informed as to how she'd ended up there. All she'd been told was that she didn't speak English when she had first arrived. But no one had been able to tell her what other language she had spoken because no one had been able to identify it.

As she continued remembering back to that time, she felt tears well up in her eyes. She would always be grateful to Alex and his mom and dad for saving her from the misery that she had later learned was the fate for most orphans, especially ten-year-olds. From the very beginning of her acquaintance with the Whitman family, she'd felt like she belonged, at least from that point on. She knew she would never overcome her emptiness at not knowing of her origins. But she was once again counting herself grateful to have a person like Alex who had always treated her like the dearest younger sister he had never had, always playing the part of the protective older brother, even to the point of gong with her and Mark to New Mexico.

Her mind had drifted off from the present, listening to Max and Mark talking. So she was startled when she heard Max's voice. "Liz, are you all right?"

"Oh! Yeah, I'm sorry. I guess I spaced out there for a few," she said, as she tried to cover up the sadness as well as the emotional gratitude she was feeling at that moment.

Unknown to her, though, for some reason unknown to Max, he was able to feel the waves of sadness, loneliness, and sense of loss she was feeling at that moment. He'd picked up on her feelings of gratitude as well, but the other emotions seemed much more pronounced. He wanted so much to give her a hug and let her know he could truly relate to those emotions. But he dared not; otherwise, he'd have to explain how he knew what she was feeling. He decided he better once again focus his attention on Mark so as to steer himself free of her emotional turmoil, at least for now. He hoped, though, that at a more appropriate time he'd be able to encourage her to open up about her past. Unfortunately, he would soon find out that was not going to happen immediately upon their arrival.
*****
"Well, this is home," Liz said, as she dropped her bags down inside her house. Because they'd been delayed from arriving the previous day due to the storm they'd encountered, she realized she'd have to promptly call the sitter, who was supposed to come over and watch Mark so she'd be able to keep her date with Nick, just to make sure everything was still on for the evening.

Liz was still standing at the entrance of the house, contemplating her next move, when Max walked in the door, carrying the rest of the bags for Mark and Liz. As he approached, Liz realized she was going to have to help Max find a room to stay at while he was in town, visiting with Mark. But she reminded herself once again that she'd need to contact the sitter first.

As Max began to speak with her, she interrupted. "I'm sorry, Max. I need to make a phone call first. I'll be right back," she said, as she went to the phone in the kitchen.

Max didn't have time to question her because Mark immediately grabbed hold of his hand, saying, "Come on, Dad. I want to show you my room."

"Okay, buddy. Let's go," Max said, as he wistfully glanced back in Liz's direction.
*****
Max and Mark had been talking for only a minute or two when Max heard Liz raise her voice in disappointment. Since Mark's room wasn't too far from the kitchen, Max decided to find some lame excuse to head in that direction, so he could discreetly try to find out what was going on. "You know what, Mark, I'm kind of hungry. Do you think your mom would mind if I go rustle us up a snack or two to bring back to your room?"

"No, she won't mind. I'm gonna turn on my computer while you're gone, so we can play some games when you get back."

"Okay, Mark. Hold that thought," he said, as he found his way back to the kitchen.

As he walked in, Liz was just getting off the phone, looking extremely disappointed about something.

"Are you okay, Liz? Is something wrong?"

"Oh, hey, Max. No, nothing major. I was just talking with Jasmine. She's the girl who usually watches Mark for me when I -- that is, well -- oh, heck with it. I might as well tell you the truth. I was supposed to go out on a date tonight. But since we didn't get back last night, and Jasmine couldn't get ahold of me, she thought my plans had changed and so she made other plans herself for tonight," she said, mentally kicking herself for not having thought to call Jasmine from the motel. She was so involved in the moment of her frustration, she apparently hadn't even realized what she'd just told Max. When she realized Max hadn't said anything, she looked up to see he was leaning in the arch of the doorway to the kitchen, looking at her with a grin on his face.

Still not realizing what she'd said, she asked, "What's so funny?"

"You don't even realize what you just said, do you?"

"What do you mean?"

"You just told me you had plans for a date tonight."

As he was speaking, a light finally went on in Liz's head. Immediately, Max saw her turn beet red. "I'm so sorry, Max. I hope you're not upset. I know we should have told you when we first met, but -- well, to be honest with you, it was Alex's idea. Since we didn't know what to expect before we met you, Alex was concerned that you would -- well, I'm sure you can draw your own conclusions."

"You mean as far as me trying to take Mark away from you?"

"Exactly. And as much as Alex and I both wanted to come clean a few times, we felt like we'd already committed ourselves. So we had decided to continue playing along with our ruse while we were in New Mexico. But then, of course, when Alex's plans unexpectedly changed, I guess you could say that changed everything.
"Well, to be honest with you, I'm glad you know. I hate lying to people. So now I don’t have to worry about it anymore. And I'm going to let Alex know what happened. Believe it or not, in his own way he's going to be relieved."

"Why's that?"

"Well, I don't know if you noticed how taken he was with your sister. As soon as he met her, he was kicking himself for having come up with the idea. But you know what they say, 'Blood is thicker than water' -- at least, metaphorically speaking," she said, as her voice trailed off.

"What do you mean by that?"

"Huh? Oh, nothing. That's another story.
"Well, I guess I better call Nick back and let him know I'll have to cancel on him once again. I'm sure by now he's going to have a complex," she said as she went to dial his number.

"Why do you say that?"

"Well, I've cancelled on him, like, five times in the last month. I'm sure he'll be thinking I honestly don't want to go out with him," as she continued dialing.

Before she could complete the number, Max walked up behind her and pushed the button to the receiver.

"Why'd you do that?" she asked in irritation.

"Why should you cancel? I can sit with Mark. Besides, it'll give me a chance to get to know him in his own environment," he said, with a grin on his face.

"You mean you're not mad at us for lying to you?" she asked in surprise.

"No, I'm not. You see, I have a sister too. And I think, if I had been in Alex's shoes, I might have made the same decision he did. So I really do understand." Of course, Max had his own personal reasons for being happy about her news. But under the circumstances, her having plans for a date, he decided to temper his enthusiasm. He didn’t know how serious it was between her and this Nick she spoke of. So he didn't want to get his hopes up too high, just in case. For now, at least he could get to know Mark. And privately he was going to hope and pray there was nothing serious going on between Liz and her date.

Max had only been spaced out momentarily when suddenly Liz's arms were around his neck. It had been such a spontaneous reaction for Liz, she herself didn't realize what she was doing until it happened. Even as she was realizing what she was doing, she was giving him a peck on the cheek. Immediately, they both felt a jolt of electricity go through their bodies, and they both promptly jumped back from each other, neither having experienced such a chemical reaction before from such an innocent action.

Before Max had a chance to react or respond to Liz's gesture, she promptly lowered her head and thanked Max profusely as she headed toward her room to get ready for her date.

Max continued standing there speechless for several seconds, with the only word going through his head being 'WOW!' He didn't have much time to contemplate what had just happened because he suddenly heard a yell. "Dad! Where are you? I'm starved," Mark yelled from his room.

Max had to shake himself out of his reverie before finally responding, "I'll be right there, Mark." Then he proceeded to raid the refrigerator for anything that looked like it might pass for good 'junk food' that all kids -- and at least one alien -- love to pig out on.

tbc

As always, FB is extremely appreciated.

*bounce**happy**bounce**happy**bounce**happy**bounce*
posted on 15-Sep-2002 10:41:51 PM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

I'm back. I had a busy weekend. But the good thing is I was able to come up with a couple more chapters. Ch. 22 is a little short. So I've included Ch. 23 along with it. I didn't want to keep you in too much suspense about the date. As always, let me know what you think.

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)


Part 22

Max and Mark had been playing games on the computer and pigging out for a half hour or so when Liz finally appeared in Mark’s doorway. She needed reassurance that she looked okay, and she knew she could always count on Mark to be honest with her about how she looked. “Well, guys, how do I look?” she asked hesitantly.

Max and Mark stopped talking in mid-sentence and looked toward the door. “Wow, Mom, you look great!” Mark exclaimed.

“You think so, sweetie?” Liz asked.

Max hadn’t said anything since he and Mark had stopped what they were doing. Liz looked directly at Max and asked, “What do you think, Max? Do I look okay?”

When Max still didn’t say anything, Liz became concerned that perhaps something was wrong with her appearance. “I guess maybe I should go try something else,” she said, as she began walking dejectedly back to her room.

As she began walking away, Max found his voice. “No, Liz….you – you look beautiful. You don’t need to try something else. You look perfect the way you are,” he barely whispered.

Liz turned back toward Max and could tell by his expression that his comment had been genuine. “Thank you, Max,” she said, as she began to blush.

As the two continued standing there staring at one another, the doorbell rang. “I’ll go get that,” Mark yelled, as he ran toward the door.

Max and Liz continued staring at each other even after Mark had left. “Well,” Liz finally said, “I guess I should go say hi to my date.”

“Yeah, I guess so,” Max said, as they both began heading toward the living room. “Wait, Liz,” he said, as he reached for her arm.

“Yes?” she said shyly.

“I just want you to know if you need – that is, if your date doesn’t – look, I hope your date goes well.”

“Thanks, Max,” she shyly responded, as they got to the living room.

They got to the living room just as Mark was opening the door. Nick was standing there in the doorway when he saw Liz. “Hi, Liz,” he said. “You look positively gorgeous.”

At Nick’s comment, Liz again began blushing, this time even more than at Max’s compliment. She had no desire to stand there trying to make introductions at the moment. She was already feeling extremely embarrassed by all the compliments she had just received, something she never had been able to accept graciously her whole life, since she never had felt there was ever any truth to them.

So Max never did have a chance to meet the guy who might possibly stand in the way of him having the kind of relationship that he’d been hoping, praying, and…yes, dreaming about ever since having first met Liz. If he had had a chance to meet him, he would have immediately been concerned for Liz’s welfare. And in the days to come, he would learn there would be other matters as well that would deeply concern him and all those he cared for and…loved. More importantly, though, he would unceasingly feel a sense of gratitude to Alex for having allowed him to accompany Liz and Mark back home to face their uncertain future. For the time being, though, he innocently went about having a very enjoyable time continuing to get to know his son better.

Part 23

Nick had taken Liz out to a very nice restaurant, complete with musicians serenading them at their table as they ate their meal. Nick had spared no expense, which concerned Liz to a degree. Granted, she’d known Nick for the last couple of semesters in college. He was a nice enough guy, she’d observed. But she couldn’t remember ever feeling that she’d led him on that theirs was anything more than a platonic ‘good friends’ and ‘college chums’ relationship.

Which was why his extravagance on their date subconsciously bothered her. She couldn’t help but wonder what his apparent generosity might be leading up to. And somehow she was certain it must be leading up to something. So for most of the night, though she enjoyed the ambience and the meal, she continued to subconsciously feel a little unsettled about how the night would conclude.

Her uneasiness continued to develop as he began asking questions about Mark, and how she’d come to have a child as a single parent. Somehow, this did not seem to be an appropriate topic she wanted to discuss with him. She realized, as he continued trying to subtly pry into her life with Mark, it was a subject she had never discussed with anyone. She realized she hadn’t even given Max, Mark’s own father, the kinds of details Nick was asking for. And what unnerved her even further was that Nick seemed to know the kinds of questions he needed to ask to learn more about Mark and his background. She was no expert about these things, but the motherly instinct she seemed to have developed ever since first holding Mark in her arms, even though at the time her friends were his adoptive parents, suddenly kicked in. She decided she did not want to answer these questions and was now trying to find an inconspicuous way of drawing their ‘perfect evening’ to a close.

Nick had been continuing to try to get further information about Mark when Liz finally decided she didn’t wish to discuss any further personal details about her family with this college acquaintance. “You know, Nick, it’s getting a little late, and I told my sitter I’d try to be back by 10:00 p.m. So I’d really appreciate it if you’d take me home now.”

“Ah, come on, Liz. 10:00 p.m.’s not late. Why don’t you call your sitter and let her know you’ll be a little late.”

Liz hadn’t mentioned to Nick she didn’t have her usual sitter tonight. And it suddenly occurred to her maybe it was a blessing she hadn’t. “Well, actually, I couldn’t get my regular sitter tonight. And the only one I could get said they’d need me to be back by 10:30. So I promised I would be back by then. Since it’s only the first time that they’re watching Mark, I don’t want to go back on my word. Otherwise, I may never be able to get them again….that is, in case the need arises again.” She hated lying to Nick outright, but something deep down in her gut told her this was one of those times she should make an exception.

“Well, I guess we don’t want to cause you any problems. Let me take care of the check, and then we’ll go.”

“Thanks so much, Nick. I really appreciate that,” Liz said, as she silently sighed with relief.
*****
Fortunately, the restaurant Nick had taken Liz to wasn’t far from her home. So it didn’t take too long for her to get home. The problem she was now having was that Nick didn’t seem to want to let her go in just yet.

“Well, thanks for a lovely evening, Nick,” she said, as she began trying to open the door to the car.

“Ah, come on, Liz. We’ve still got another 20 minutes until it’s 10:30. I’d really like you to sit and talk with me for a little while before you go in. Besides, we didn’t finish our discussion about Mark earlier,” Nick said, as he used the ‘automatic lock’ button on the driver’s side to lock her door and then reached over and grabbed her left hand so she couldn’t turn to the door and try to open it.

Suddenly Liz felt a chill of foreboding shoot through her body. The door of her home to safety was only 25 feet away, but at this point it might as well have been on the other side of the universe, she thought, as she began trembling with fear.

“So, Liz, how did you come to be the single parent of Mark? I thought he was adopted by a man and woman,” he said knowingly.

When Nick shared this piece of information that only one other person knew besides Liz – and that was Alex – she began fearing, not only for herself but for Mark’s welfare. She tried to appear calm as she spoke. “How did you know he was adopted by a man and woman?”

“Let’s just say I have my ways,” Nick responded.

“But why should you care about Mark’s background?” Liz asked. Though she was afraid of what Nick might do to her if she didn’t tell him, something told her it was extremely important not to give him any information, that somehow it was a matter of life and death, not just for Mark, but for her as well.
*****
Max and Mark had played all kinds of games until 9:00, when Liz had said she wanted Mark in bed. Though Mark had protested, Max did not want to get on Liz’s bad side by allowing him to stay up longer. After 15 minutes of Mark trying to find excuses not to go, Max had said, “It’s no use, Mark. I am not going to have your mom get mad at me for letting you stay up past your bedtime.”

“Oh, okay,” Mark grumbled, as Max whisked him off to his bed. Mark still talked him into reading a story, but within 5 minutes of beginning the story, Mark had fallen asleep.

For the last half hour, Max had been lying on the sofa in the living room, waiting for Liz’s return. He himself was feeling rather tired after all the things he’d done to keep Mark busy since Liz had left. So he left the lights off when he went to lie down. The last time he’d looked at the clock, it was about 9:45, and the next thing he knew, he’d fallen asleep as well.

As Max was sleeping, he began dreaming about Liz. He got a picture in his head of Liz having dinner with her date, Nick, but he couldn’t see Nick’s face, only the back of his head. He could see them talking, but couldn’t hear what was being said.

In the next scene, he saw Liz sitting in Nick’s car outside her home. But because it was dark out, Max still could not see Nick’s face. Though Max couldn’t see Liz’s face either, somehow he sensed she was afraid, but of what, he didn’t know.

“Dad, Dad, wake up,” Mark said, as he began trying to shake Max awake. “Dad, please wake up. Please, Dad. Mom’s in trouble!”

At hearing Mark’s last three words, Max instantly awoke. “What did you say?” he asked.

“Mom, she’s in trouble,” Mark sobbed.

“How do you know that?” Max said, as he grabbed both of Mark’s arms.

“I had a dream, Dad. The man mom had a date with, he wants to hurt her.”

“Do you remember his name, Mark?”

“Yeah. It’s Nick.”

'Nick?' Max said to himself. For some reason the name sounded familiar to him. And then…"Mark, has your mom ever called him by any other name?” Max asked, hoping it wasn’t who he feared it might be.

When Mark didn’t seem to remember, Max said, “Please, Mark, it’s very important. Do you remember your mom calling him by any other name?”

Finally, Mark had a look of recognition on his face. “I think she called him ‘Nicholas’ once,” he answered.

Though Max felt nauseous at hearing the name, he knew he did not have time to dwell on that thought at the moment. As he jumped up from the sofa and began running to the front door, Mark called, “Wait, Dad. I know what we need to do.”

“What are you talking about, Mark?” Max said, worried that he might already be too late to save Liz from Nicholas’ mindrape technique he was known so well for.

“I know how to keep that man from going inside mom’s head.”

Max was dumbfounded at Mark’s words. ‘How could he possibly know Nicholas could do that?’ he thought to himself. Again, though, he realized he didn’t have time to question Mark about it. That would have to wait for another time.

“Okay, Mark. You’ve got my attention. What do we need to do?”

“You and I need to concentrate on his face so we can get into his head.” Mark responded.

“But how” –

Before Max had a chance to ask, Mark said, “You and I together are stronger than he is, Dad. We can make him” –

This time Max interrupted. “You mean like a mindwarp?”

At hearing the word ‘mindwarp,’ Max saw a questioning look on Mark’s face. “Never mind. Explain it to me later. Right now, let’s help Liz,” Max said, with deep emotion in his voice.
*****
Nicholas was tiring of Liz’s evasive responses to his questions. He grabbed Liz’s wrist tight and said, “If you don’t tell me what I want to know, I’m going to break your arm. And then I’m going to break your other arm. And then I’ll just go inside your head and get the answers I want myself,” he said, in a deep, evil tone. And then he continued, “After I’m finished with you, I’ll take care of that little brat you’ve been protecting for the last five years.” He then placed his free hand on Liz’s head and began talking again. “I don’t know why I waste my time on you humans and your weak race. All I have to do is go in myself and………”

Nicholas didn’t get to finish his thought. He suddenly found himself in excruciating pain. He suddenly let go of Liz and grabbed his head and began screaming for relief from the pain.

As soon as Liz realized she was free, she began trying to open the car door. But before she could, it was pulled open from the outside, and there stood Max, looking down at her. He scooped her up into his arms and ran back to the house. He quickly laid her on the sofa and then joined forces with his son once again. The last thing Liz heard before she passed out was Nicholas’ car tearing off down the road.

tbc


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posted on 24-Nov-2002 2:21:04 AM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

I'm so sorry it took so long to post this next part. I have a really hard time going back and forth on several stories. I sort of get tunnel vision when I'm working on a story. Otherwise, I somehow lose the momentum of my thoughts.

Anyway, I was just checking on the stories I've worked on over the last few months, seeing what I had worked on and if it was enough to post. I didn't realize it, but I had actually created two "Part 24's." Once I realized that, it took me a while to figure out how I could use both parts. But I actually succeeded. So I'm FINALLY posting something for this story after a very long delay. Thanks for your patience. I hope you will feel it was worth the wait. Let me know what you think.

By the way, I'm glad to know there have been one or two new readers to this thread. Hope this part continues to whet your appetite. Enjoy!

RATING: Not sure yet
AU -- Eventually, M/L; others included
None of the characters belong to me. I guess they now belong to the Sci

"In My Dreams"

(It's been about five years since Max gave his son up for adoption.)


Part 24

After Max and Mark were certain Nicholas was nowhere nearby, Max finally coaxed Mark back into bed, assuring Mark that he would keep a watchful eye on his mom the rest of the night. Liz had stirred at one point during the night and had awakened in fear. Max had gone over to calm her and tried to have her lie back down. But she wouldn’t cooperate until Max pulled her into his arms and held her. At that point, she finally decided to lie down. When Max had tried to untangle himself from her, she again awakened, and refused to let go of him. Since there was not enough room for both of them to lie on the sofa, he took all the sofa pillows to the floor and laid himself down, with Liz tightly holding onto him. That was the sight that greeted Mark the next morning when he got up to see how his mom was doing.
*****
After the ordeal Mark had been through with Max the previous night in helping Liz, it took some time before Max calmed him down enough to get some sleep. Somehow, he sensed, though, that his dad really would keep a watchful eye on his mom for the rest of the night. Just that thought was enough to help him calm down enough to be able to get to sleep. He didn’t know why, but somehow he could just sense that he and his father would be able to protect his mom, no matter what. With that comforting thought being his last thought, he fell into a restful slumber for the rest of the night and had the nicest dream he’d ever had up to that time.

~~~~~Dream sequence~~~~~

Mark was just getting home from school, and he began looking for his mom and dad. “Mom? Dad? Where are you guys?”

“We’re in here, son,” came his father’s voice.

Following the sound of the voice, Mark entered into the den on the back side of the house. There he found his mom and dad quietly snuggled up together, with his father holding his mother gently toward him, as he was softly caressing her arm and gently kissing her forehead.

“What’s going on? How come you’re in here? Is everything okay?”

“Yes, son. Everything’s fine. We just got some wonderful news, and we were doing a little quiet celebrating.”

“What sort of good news?”

As Mark approached his parents, they both got into a sitting position on the sofa. “Well, what do you think of the idea of having a little brother or sister?” his father asked.

When Mark didn’t promptly reply, his parents began thinking maybe he didn’t like the idea. But just as his mother began to ask him that, he said, “I think that would be super. Am I going to have one? When? Can I give him or her a name?”

“Whoa! Whoa! Slow down there, partner. One thing at a time, the first being, we don’t know yet whether it’s a boy or a girl. But as to the ‘when’ part, in about two months or so.”

“That’s really great!” Mark responded.
~~~~~End of Dream~~~~~

His subconscious mind dwelt a little longer on the subject in his dream, and then his mind finally rested from any further thoughts for the rest of the night.
*****

When Mark awoke the next morning, his first thought was how his mom was doing. Suddenly, he began recalling the events of the previous night, and he rushed out of his room, looking for her.

He’d forgotten about Max being there. But somehow, when he saw Max asleep on the floor, with his mom snugly wrapped in his arms, he knew she was safe. Instantly, his desire to protect his mom subsided. Seeing everything was under control, he quietly went back to his room and turned on the TV to watch cartoons, at least until Max and his mom awoke.
*****
While Max and Liz were sleeping, cuddled in one another’s arms, they both slept soundly. They both even dreamed, though neither would remember that first dream when they awoke.

~~~~~Dream sequence~~~~~

Max and Liz had only been married a short time. They’d only just gotten back from their weeklong honeymoon. Max had gone back to work, but Liz had decided to take some time off from her teaching job. She found she was preferring spending her time with Max and Mark than having to share her energies with a classroom of students, and then only giving what was left to Max and Mark. So she’d taken a few months off before getting back into her work routine.

The first full week back to their routine, Max had grudgingly gone back to work, and Mark had gone back to school. He’d hated having to be separated from Max and his mom, but he also somehow sensed they needed to have some time together alone. So he’d grudgingly accepted the fact that he would be staying with Max’s parents while Max and Liz were on their honeymoon.

Liz was the happiest she’d felt in a very long time. She’d decided she wanted to make their first family meal a very special event. So she’d gone to the store to get what she’d need to prepare the evening meal for the two special men in her life. She’d begun humming as she was happily making all the preparations for the meal when, suddenly, she wasn’t feeling very well. In fact, she almost felt like she was going to be sick.

Without warning, she doubled up in pain and fell to the floor, unconscious.
*****
Max had headed back to work this morning, hating having to leave the love of his life. But he knew it was important for all of them to get back into their routine. So he’d subconsciously gone about his job duties, all the while not being able to forget about the most amazing night he and Liz had had only the night before, even more amazing than during their honeymoon. He found himself blushing as he remembered each caress and each kiss he’d shared with his soulmate, as well as the other things they’d done to fulfill one another’s needs and desires.

Before he had time to dwell too much further, though, he suddenly found himself sensing that Liz was in danger. He came out of his self-induced haze, feeling an immediate urge to call her at home, if only to hear her sweet voice. But when he did call, the phone just kept ringing. Suddenly, he was struck with panic that something must be terribly wrong. ‘Otherwise, why would she just let the phone ring like that,’ he thought.

Not even taking the time to let anyone know he was leaving, he took off for home, fearing what he’d find when he got there.

Not wanting to waste valuable time trying to fumble with a key, Max quickly used his powers to open the door, then went in, calling for Liz. He first headed to the kitchen and immediately saw Liz’s limp, lifeless body lying on the ground.

“Liz! Liz! Wake up. Please wake up. I can’t lose you like this,” he sobbed, as he pulled her unconscious body into his arms. Max was so overcome with emotion, he didn’t hear the faint response until Liz brought her hand to his face.

“Max. Max. I’m okay. I just sort of passed out,” she said, as she touched his face.

“Why? What happened?” he asked.

“I don’t know. I just doubled up in pain and fell to the floor. That’s all I remember. I must have blacked out after that.”

“Let me check you to make sure you didn’t hurt yourself,” he said lovingly. As he spoke, he slowly, but carefully, moved his hand all over her body, making sure all of her organs were functioning properly.

After several seconds of doing so, he still hadn’t found the problem. As he was trying to figure out what could possibly be wrong with Liz, he inadvertently laid his hand on her abdomen. Instantly, he felt as though something were trying to make a connection with him.

“That’s odd,” he uttered.

“What?” Liz asked.

“I just felt” – and suddenly it occurred to Max what was happening. Immediately, a big grin formed on his face.

“What’s going on? You have this huge, beautiful smile on your face,” Liz said, as she looked up at his face.

“Before I tell you, let’s go relax in the den, shall we?”

“Why all the mystery?”

“You’ll know soon enough,” he said, as he scooped her up in his arms.

Once they’d gotten snuggled together on the sofa and Max had his arms lovingly and snugly wrapped around Liz, he began kissing her neck and her chin and her face.

“Max, would you stop that. If you keep it up, I’ll want you to ravish me right here and now. But I really want to know what’s going on. So, spill.”

“Well, my love, you and I are pregnant,” he said, as he continued to nuzzle his face into her neck and hair.

“What?!!!! Are you sure?” Liz asked in disbelief.

“Absolutely positive. I suddenly realized, when I felt something trying to connect with me, it was a life that’s growing in my beautiful wife,” he said, as he continued holding her, lavishing her with soft, gentle kisses.

They continued holding one another in that position until Mark got home from school and they shared their happy news with him.

Yes, Max and Liz were going to have another child, they both happily thought, as they continued enjoying the love they shared in each other’s arms.
~~~~~End of Dream~~~~~

The dream had ended in the wee hours of the morning. After it ended, Max and Liz both took hold of each other even more tightly than before, both with the look of sheer bliss on their faces, and remained that way for most of the rest of the night.

*****

Later that morning, Max had been having the most wonderful dream he could remember in a long time. He was holding Liz in his arms, breathing in her strawberry and vanilla scent. Her lips were close enough for him to kiss. He only had to raise her chin to him and…."Dad, wake up. Dad, wake up," Max heard in his ear.

He opened his eyes to find himself within a centimeter of Liz's lips. As he contemplated moving just a little closer….he heard the voice again. "Dad…"

"Okay, Mark. I'm awake. What's wrong?"

"Nothing, Dad. I just wanted to ask you a question."

"Oh, what's that?" Max said, as he yawned and stretched the free arm not holding onto Liz.

"Are you and Mom gonna get married?"

Though Max had not been able to think of much these days except a life with Liz and Mark, somehow Mark's question startled him into reality. Instantly, he removed his arm from Liz and sat up. "Now, why would you ask a question like that?" he asked.

"Well…." Mark began.

"Go ahead. What were you going to say?"

"I…I saw things, Dad."

"What do you mean?"

"You know, when we -- last night, remember?"

Max had to think for a minute before he could grasp what Mark was saying. Then it dawned on him he had merged his thoughts with Mark. More importantly, it dawned on him Mark had probably seen his fantasy of holding Liz in his arms and kissing her senseless, and then….'Oh, god,' he thought, 'How am I going to explain what he might have seen?' Reminding himself of Mark's tender age, it occurred to him he might not need to get too specific. 'The best way to know would be to ask Mark a question,' he thought.

"I don't know, Mark. What do you think?"

"I think it would be great."

"Oh, really? Why's that?"

"'Cause mom's been raising me all by herself, except for Uncle Alex. I know sometimes she gets really lonely," Mark said, as his voice drifted off.

As Max was sitting there, observing Mark's body language, Liz began to stir near him. He decided this wouldn't be a good time to continue with Mark. "Son, I need to talk with your mom for a little while. Could you go upstairs and watch TV in your mom's room while I do that?"

"Mom doesn't like me going in her room."

"I'll tell her I asked you to. Don't worry. You won't get in trouble."

"I have a TV in my room. Can I go there instead?"

"Oh, sure. That's a good idea."

"But I haven't had breakfast yet."

"Tell you what. Once I finish talking with her, I'll take the three of us out for breakfast. How does that sound?"

"That sounds great, Dad. Come and get me when you're ready," he yelled back as he ran up the stairs.
*****
Liz had been having the worst nightmare she'd had in a while. She was dreaming her date, Nick, was trying to take Mark away from her, that he locked her in his car and she couldn’t get out, that….suddenly, Nick seemed to get a headache, and the passenger door was ripped off. And then she saw Max scoop her up in his arms. Though she'd been petrified of Nick, somehow, in Max's arms she felt safe, next to his firm, muscular chest…'Oh, god,' she thought to herself. 'I have to stop thinking of Max that way….but I can't seem to help myself. What is it about him that is attracting me so? Yes, he's very handsome. But…there's something else. What is it that draws me to him like this?' she continued thinking.

The more she continued thinking, the more her mind cleared. She suddenly felt arms wrapping around her and a voice. "Liz? Are you okay? Liz?" she heard.

When she opened her eyes, she was looking into the beautiful brown, soulful eyes of…"Max? Where are we?" she asked as she looked around. Getting her bearings and realizing she was in her own home, she suddenly realized her dream hadn’t been a dream at all but….Instantly, she began shivering.

After watching Liz get her bearings, Max realized she was remembering what had happened the previous night. Suddenly, she began violently shivering. He pulled her tightly into his arms. "Sh," he whispered into her ear as he held her to him. "It's okay. Everything's okay. Mark's okay too," he said, sensing that would be her next question. He didn't know how he knew she'd ask that, but he did. He immediately felt her body relax in his arms. He looked down into her face and saw her eyes welling up with tears. "Sh. It's okay," he again whispered, as he gently pulled Liz's hair from her face. "You're safe now."

As Max continued looking down into her doe-brown eyes, he thought to himself 'God, you're beautiful, Liz. I want so much to kiss you right now, but after what you've just been through, I don't want you to fear me as well.'

Before Max could clear his head enough to carry on a somewhat coherent conversation with Liz about what had happened the previous night, Liz silently reached her hand to Max's neck and pulled him down to her.
*****
Ever since meeting Max, Liz had been fighting the attraction she'd felt toward him. But after just remembering what had happened with Nick, her emotions got the better of her. In the heat of the moment, she stopped thinking and, instead, reacted. Though Max hadn't said anything to her in a few seconds, he was looking at her in a way she hadn't seen from him before. It was as though he were thinking something but wasn't saying it. All she seemed able to focus on was his lips. She'd had her share of dates in the last few years, but no one steady. The guys she'd dated had never struck a cord with her -- that is, until now. She didn't know what it was, but she felt as if some secret part of her that she wasn't even aware of was somehow awakening, only now, only in Max's embrace.

Liz didn't say a word as she silently reached her hand up to Max's neck and pulled him down to her. At that instant, each looked into the other's eyes. Neither understood why, but they couldn’t stop staring at one another, until their lips met. Instantly, as they touched, their eyes closed, both lost in the wonder of their experience. Though both, unknown to the other, felt a heated passion neither knew they possessed, somehow, being in each other's arms, reveling at the wonder of their embrace, was enough to somehow momentarily sooth an ache that neither had known existed until that moment.

They continued in their embrace for several seconds, taking it at such a gentle and methodical pace that neither found it necessary to come up for air. It was as though one was providing the air necessary for the other to keep breathing.

Finally, though neither wanted the moment to end, both realized there were pressing matters to attend to before they could….continue where they'd left off. Though both had willingly brought their moment of intimacy to an end, it took another several seconds of staring at one another, as each tried to grasp what had just happened between them.

As Max continued looking into Liz's eyes, he couldn't read what she was thinking. 'Oh, man,' he thought to himself, fearing perhaps he'd overstepped his bounds. 'Wait a minute,' he again thought, 'she kissed me.'

As Max was grappling with his thoughts, concerned by Liz's silence, she once again silently lifted her hand, this time touching a finger to his lips. Almost as if Liz must have known what he was thinking, she said, "It's okay, Max. You didn't do anything wrong. I kissed you first, remember?"

Max, not realizing Liz had, in fact, put into words what he'd been thinking, spoke. "Oh, god, Liz, I've wanted to do that since the first time I met you. When I first thought you and Alex were married, I actually found myself envying him and wishing it weren't true," he said, as he again held Liz close to him.

When Max finally took a breath and slightly held her back from him, Liz once again raised her hand to Max's face, and said, "I have a confession, Max. I felt the same way. I hated lying to everyone, but it was Alex's idea. He was afraid that" --

"That I'd want to take Mark from you?" he asked.

Liz could only nod in response. Registering his words, she began silently crying, realizing that it appeared that was what Nick had on his mind. She gently pulled away from Max, not out of fear of him, but because of the new thought on her mind.

She turned sideways toward him and asked, "Max, why would Nick want to know about Mark and his background? He doesn't even know my son," she said, as she once again began crying, realizing for the first time how close the call had been with Nick.

"Well, Liz, I think it's about time I explained to you about Mark…..and me, for that matter."

"What are you talking about, Max?"

tbc

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