posted on 7-Jun-2002 3:45:26 PM by wenhaver
An A For the Underachiever

Author: wenhaver (heidi)
Email: heidi⊕delusional.com or wenhaver⊕yahoo.com
Category: Mostly CC, more AU than anything else
Rating: I swear like a sailor but can't write a decent nookie scene to save my soul.
Disclaimer: Nothing related to Roswell is mine. The setting was thought up during a really, really boring day at work.

Summary: Liz is smart. Too smart for her own good. Max spends most of his time being a pain in the ass. Grand adventures are had. There is a 85% chance of alien powers appearing. Tess is nothing to worry about.

AN: Uhm, so this is really short. Mainly because I dunno if anyone is going to like it. Secondly, 'cause I'm trying to ditch work and go get my hair cut so I stop looking like a sheepdog. So. If you like it, please leave feedback, so I know that I'm not wasting bandwidth.

Part the first

twirl, twirl, twirl, twirl….clatter…. scrape…. twirl, twirl, twirl…. tap, tap, tap.

I wish homework were as interesting as twirling this pen. I resist the urge to let my body slump forward until my head hits the table. While the resulting “thump” may be satisfying, the subsequent pain in my head, and the disturbance it would cause others doesn’t justify it. Not that I really care about the others. They all think I’m a freak, a menace, a goody-goody, a kiss-up, or a nobody, anyway. It all depends on the perspective of the individual clique. I’m just not in the mood to be whispered about right now.

Since when does “Gifted and Talented” mean “Boring and Worthless”? The only Gift and Talent I’m getting out of this class is the ability to sleep with my eyes open. They told me I’d be more challenged in these classes. Not as bored. That I wouldn’t have to spend my days stuck in classrooms full of mouth-breathing idiots. My parents were proud, and happy that the school had come up with a solution for my “problem”. Well, “They” lied, and my problem hasn’t been solved. I’ve just moved on in my way of expressing it.

My school file is suprisingly thin, considering. My permanent record is remarkably unscathed. The only thing that could be considered a black mark is that note from my guidance counselor.

October 5
To: Principal Marks
From: Ms. Leon
Re: Parker, Liz
Ms. Parker’s test scores are exceptionally high. Would recommend advancing a grade level, however, her GPA remains low. Suggest Ms. Parker is under-challenged, and therefore undermotivated to perform at her full potential.


Yeah, yeah. “Full potential”, my ass. I’ve been stuck here in Roswell, New Mexico for so long that I don’t even think I could recognize my full potential if it bit me. At least my Dad is a close, old college buddy with the principal. Pretty much makes all the shit I pull get swept under the rug. That’s a good thing, because next year I’ll be heading off to college. Elsewhere. Anywhere but here. And you can’t get to Elsewhere with a 1.57 GPA and a 4-inch thick permanent file. It just won’t happen. So my doting parents and their friends have worked together for the past three years to make sure it will happen. Little Lizzy Parker will go to a good college and be successful. She will Do Good Things. She will make her hometown proud.

Oh, bother.



[ edited 14time(s), last at 14-Aug-2002 11:03:03 PM ]
posted on 7-Jun-2002 4:21:46 PM by wenhaver
Ok. So my last co-wroker just left, which means I'm free to sneak out and go about my weekend 1.57 hours early. Which means that this second part is a shorter than I had intended. Sorry kids, but I really need this haircut. *happy*

Part the second

The bell finally rings, and I scramble to my locker to shove my textbooks away where I won’t have to look at them again until tomorrow. Skillfully dodging and weaving through the crowded hallways, I make my way outside. The sun is bright overhead, as usual. I don’t have a car, but it’s not like the 5-minute walk home is going to kill me. Another second spent is school is about the only thing that could do that.

The bell above the door rings as I enter the Crashdown, my parent’s restaurant and the bane of my existence. Well, of them anyway. Roswell is the alien capital of the world, you know, so there’s all these junky tourist stops all up and down Main Street. My parents own one of them. Lucky me. My torture comes complete with 5 4-hour shifts a week, antennas, and a silver alien head apron. Today’s shift starts in about 45 minutes.

I spend my time lying on my bed, staring at the ceiling. Thinking about nothing. It’s amazingly easy to think about nothing. To just let your mind go where ever it wants. And most of the time, mine goes blank. Profound, aren’t I? I know my 45 minutes are up when I hear my Dad yell my name from downstairs. He must have been calling me for a while, because he has worked up from ‘Lizzy’ to ‘Liz’ and onto ‘Elizabeth’. If I don’t come soon, he’ll add my middle name as well. As I really hate my middle name, I scramble to change while yelling that I’ll be right there.

I spend the next 3 hours fuming over my parent’s choice of name and have just come to the conclusion that they had picked something horrible on purpose, just so that I would be forced to obey them before they exposed it to the whole world. Parents can be tricky like that, you know. The bell above the door jingles again, and I don’t even bother to look up. It’s not busy today but I don’t feel like mustering up the motivation to leave the back room where I’m filling ketchup bottles to take an order. Whoever it is will wait. They always do.

When I finally finish filling bottles, I load my arms up with and begin backing out the door. Just as I’m about to bump the swinging door open with my rear, it flies open and smacks me in the ass. I am a little off-balance anyway, and I ended up falling facedown on the floor. On top of a mountain of ketchup bottles. In a puddle of spilt ketchup. I do a quick limb check to make sure that everything is still in good working order, then whirl to face my attacker.

Max Evans stands in the doorway, eyes wide and a look mixed of amusement and embarrassment.

“Hi Liz”, he says.

posted on 9-Jun-2002 12:31:10 AM by wenhaver
Thank you so much everyone, for all the feedback. I really appreciate it!

rattlebox: I really did need to get my hair cut. My bangs were falling into my face, and trying to poke my eyes out. If their evil plan had succeeded, I would have been blind, and could no longer write. So see, it was something that just had to be done. Oh. And the dog ate my homework and the devil made me do it.

I'm trying to work myself up to longer parts. I really am.

Part the third

“What the hell are you doing here, Max?” I could barely restrain myself from hitting him. Who the hell does he think he is?

“Uhm, are you OK?”

“NO! I am drowning in ketchup here… and I repeat. What the hell are you doing here?” Alright, I really want to hit him now. I can tell he’s trying to not laugh. I’m red, sticky and dripping, and he wants to LAUGH.

“Well, I came to talk to you about that bio project…”

I give him one of my patented “Huh. You’re a complete psycho” looks.

“You know…. The gene thing… the thing with tracing our traits from our parents… the big bio assignment.”

I vaguely remember something about a bio assignment. However, I wasn’t really paying attention, because it’s not like I’m going to do it anyway. Max is supposed to be my lab partner, but I usually don’t do any of the work. He puts my name on the lab sheet anyway, which is why I’m actually getting an A in the class.

“Uhm, Max, I hate to break it to you, but I don’t “do” homework. Especially work that involves a partner. I’m sure you understand…”

“No, Liz. I’m afraid I don’t understand. It’s not like you’re stupid. You could easily be getting an A by yourself. I just don’t get you.”

“Well, I’m not asking you to. I’m not doing it. Sorry. Don’t bother putting my name on your paper… I really don’t care if I pass or not.” There. Now maybe he’ll leave, and I can go take a shower.

“I don’t accept that.”

“What?” Sometimes, I’m so witty I kill myself.

“I don’t accept that.”

Argh. What’s that supposed to mean?

“Argh,” I say. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means that you are doing this project with me, like it or not.”

“Uhm, no.”

“Uhm, yes. I’m adopted. I can’t possibly trace my traits through my parents. So we both have to use yours. And for that I need you.”

“I don’t care.” I’m starting to get really pissed now. He’s in the back of my restaurant, telling me what to do, after causing the accident that has left me dripping and gross. I don’t THINK so, pal.

“It doesn’t matter if you care. You’re going to do it. I’m not having a screw-up like you blow my chances of getting into Columbia. I’ll be here tomorrow at 8. You’re off work by then, right?”

He’s actually more worked up than I am. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Max Evans express anything, much less anger. I’m so taken aback that I just nod stupidly.

“Fine. I’ll see you then. And you had better be ready to work on this.” He storms out, leaving the ‘or else’ silently behind him.

I can’t believe that just happened. I can’t believe I’m standing in a condiment puddle. I can’t believe that my father overheard the whole thing. There will be hell to pay if I don’t at least somewhat cooperate with Max tomorrow.

I’m not dreading school tomorrow nearly as much as I am the visit from my lab partner. Kill me now.


with the next part, I'm planning on letting you in on why Liz is the way she is. And some other familiar faces may start to appear...
posted on 13-Jun-2002 1:02:39 PM by wenhaver
Well, this part isn't as long, but at least it's longer. Work is slow enough today that I could acutally work on this story. Next up in part 5.. Liz and Max start working on the bio project!

Part Four

Do you know how long it takes to get drying ketchup out of your hair? “Lather, Rise, Repeat” becomes more than a genius stroke of marketing… it becomes a necessity.

By the time I get out of the shower, the phone is ringing. Grabbing the phone, I throw myself down on the bed, wet hair flying out around me.

“You are not going to believe the day I’ve had!” See, I already know who it is. It’s Maria. No one calls me except Maria. Well, Alex calls sometimes, too, but either way, my statement is applicable.

“Well, hello to you too.” I was right. It’s Maria.

“No, seriously. I’ve had the day from hell.”

“Customers that bad, huh?”

“Well, no worse than usual. But Max Evans… ooh, I want to just kill him!”

“Max Evans? Max Evans, mystery man? Why would you want to kill him?” Maria has some weird idea that not only is Max Evans uber-hot, but that he has the hots for yours truly. Have I mentioned that my best friend is severely delusional? She should be in therapy.

“He made me drop a whole tray of ketchup bottles. The he PUSHED ME into them, so I had all this ketchup all over me. Then he YELLED at me, and called me a screw-up, and now he’s making me work on some stupid bio project with him!” There. That should lower Mr. Mystery a notch or two in Maria’s mind.

“He what?! I’m sure he didn’t push you, sweetie. At least, I don’t think he could have possibly meant to. He’s not that kind of guy.”

“How would you know? No one knows anything about him. And besides, after he pushed me, he yelled at me! Explain that!” Some best friend. I mean, I’m in serious pain and distress here, and she’s off defending him.

“Well, if he yelled at you, I’m sure it was provoked. You’re not the easiest person to get along with sometimes Lizzie. And what’s this bio project? It wouldn’t kill you to spend some time with him, you know. Find out more about him. You could write a FAQ and sell it to all the girls that follow him around all day, drooling.”

“Argh. I don’t want to do a stupid bio project. Especially with Max Evans, of all people. You of all people should understand why I don’t do homework!”

I can hear Maria sigh heavily into the phone.

“Liz, chica, you’re going to have to get over that some day. That all happened a long time ago. Don’t you think it’s time to move on?”

I’m pretending I don’t hear her.

“I better go. I’m dripping all over the bed.”

“All right. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

I hang up the phone and start my nightly ritual of staring off into space. Then I realize that I am actually dripping all over the bed. Yuck. Damn Max Evans and his stupid project!

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


I wasn’t always like this, you know. I used to be a straight ‘A’ student. I never had to even try for most of my classes. I loved science most of all. It was so clean, so organized, so thought provoking.

In seventh grade, things were great. I had Maria; I had a loving family. I had the admiration and respect of every teacher at Roswell Middle School. I had a ton of friends. By the end of the school year, that had all changed.

People would call me all the time; asking for help on homework, or wanting me to read over a paper to make sure they didn’t sound like a complete jackass. I didn’t mind doing it, for the most part. I would never do work for someone else, but I’d help them figure it out on their own. I had a strict no-cheating policy, and everyone knew it. No one even bothered trying to look at my paper during a test. No one bothered to ask me to cheat for them.

Until Tess Harding.

She called me up one night, in tears. She told me her mom was in the hospital… the doctors had found cancer, and it was at such an advanced stage that they couldn’t do anything about it. Her mom only had a few months to live.

I told her how sorry I was to hear about it. I mean, what do you say when you hear that someone’s mom is dying? Anyway, then she launches into the true purpose of her call. It seems that she wanted to spend as much time as she can with her mom, and just can’t find the time to do her English paper.

I told her no way. I mean, I felt bad and all that her mom had cancer, but I just wasn’t going to do her paper for her. Tess started crying again, and by the time she was finished, I had caved in and agreed to write her paper for her. Just this once I said. Don’t tell ANYONE I said.

Soon there was a science test she didn’t have time to study for, math homework she couldn't figure out – and could I just do it for her, so she could have that time to spend with her mom? I was doing everything for her, because I felt sorry for her. I mean, what would I do if my mom were dying?

Three months, I did all of her work for her on top of my own. Who knows how long that would have gone on if I hadn’t overheard her laughing with Pam Troy in the bathroom?

“Ha ha. I have Lizzie Parker doing all of my work for me. I’ll be sure to get straight ‘A’s this semester, and then my dad will have to send me to California for the summer.”

“How did you manage that? Liz Parker doesn’t cheat for anyone!”

“Oh, I told her my mom has cancer and is dying, like any day now. She totally bought it!”

“Oh, you are so mean! Heehee.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! She had lied! Tess had made the entire thing up, just to get out of some lousy homework, and to get her dad to send her on some trip for the summer! I stepped out of the stall, ready to kill.

“Tess, you lying bitch! How could you?!”

“Oh, Liz. You heard me.” She didn’t even have the decency to look guilty.

“This stops now. I’m not doing anything for you anymore.”

“Oh, I think you will. See, if you don’t do exactly what I say, I’m going to tell everyone that you’ve been doing homework for me. I’ll tell your teachers and your parents. I tell them that you begged me to let you, because you wanted to be my friend. Everyone will know that you’re a cheater.”

I was flabbergasted. She couldn’t do that. She wouldn’t do that to me, would she? I mean, everyone would know that she was cheating too.

“Well, they’ll know that you were cheating, too. Don’t be stupid Tess.”

“I don’t care if they do. I won’t get in nearly as much trouble as you will. Little Lizzie Parker, teacher’s pet. No one will trust you anymore. No teacher will give you the time of day. Your parents will kill you, whereas mine will do nothing to me.”

I still refused, and the next day, a couple kids came up to me, asking me if I wanted to be their friend bad enough to do their homework for them. I knew then that she was serious. Tess Harding was blackmailing me, and there was nothing I could do about it.

For the rest of that year and the next, I did everything Tess wanted me to. Fairly soon, I was doing Pam and Courtney’s homework too. My grades started slipping. Some of my friends stopped talking me to because I didn’t have time to hang out with them anymore. And Tess laughed at me the whole time.

Finally, we were about to start high school. I vowed I would make it stop. We were going into a new school, with new teachers. I could make a fresh start. It turned out that Tess didn’t think the same way I did. The first day of 9th grade, she stopped by my locker, ready to dump off her homework the same way she had for the past two years. When I told her I wasn’t going to do it anymore, she just looked at me and dumped her books by my feet and walked away. I left them there and went home.

That night, I came up with a plan. I just wouldn’t do her work. And I wouldn’t do mine either, so she’d have nothing to copy off of. Let her try to tell on me. No one would believe her if I never turned anything in.

Needless to say, Tess was livid when she came by to pick up her homework. She vowed to get back at me. I didn’t care what she said anymore. I was tired of being used. By the time Tess’s family moved away later that year, I have decided to simply not bother with school at all anymore. I would never put myself in a position where I could be used like that again. Never.

Maria says I should just get over it. But she has no idea what it felt like. To be trapped because I thought I was helping someone out. It still hurts too much. And yes, I’m also still very bitter. Maybe college will be different. Who knows? All I know is that high school is not worth bothering with. People just can’t be trusted.

Oh, and Tess? Well, I heard last year that her mom really did get cancer. That’ll teach her to fuck with karma.

Anyway, I need to get to sleep. I have a study date with Max Evans tomorrow. God help us all.


posted on 13-Jun-2002 3:10:05 PM by wenhaver
I actually felt really weird writing that, but I wanted to show how bitter Liz really is about the whole thing. Like, how much she had changed since the whole Tess thing had started.

Anyway, I'm already starting a new part. Man, todays is moving slowly.

Thanks for the feedback everyone! Please, keep it coming!

heidi
posted on 14-Jun-2002 2:51:05 PM by wenhaver
thanks so much for the feedback, you guys! I'm glad you're all enjoying the story so far... this part isn't as long, but I figure it's better than nothing. remember, the more feedback, the more I want to write! *big*

oh, and there's a little Buffy homage in this part. Bonus points to whoever can name the episode it comes from...

Part 5

It’s amazing. The one day I want school to drag on, and it doesn’t. I mean, even Boring and Worthless is going quickly. How is this possible? Then again, that’s just the way my day seems to be going. I had a run-in with Mr. Mystery today during bio. It went something like this:

Max: So, are you ready to work on our project tonight?
Me: …
Max: Where do you want to work? We could meet at the library, or at the Crash, or at my place…
Me: …
Max: Liz, you are going to actually have to talk to me at some point, you realize.
Me: …
Max: (sigh) Fine. I will meet you at the Crashdown at the end of your shift. You will be ready to work, or I will pull you out of there by your hair and drag you behind my Jeep until you are ready… understood?
Me: (turning to make eye contact for the first time) Bite me.
Max: Good, we have that settled then.


OOOH. Can you believe the nerve of him? Pull me by my hair and drag me behind some shitty Jeep? Who does he think he is? And Maria says I’m difficult… that he’s not the sort of guy that would push me into a mountain of ketchup. I bet Max Evans is the type of guy who pulls the legs off spiders and drowns newborn kittens. In fact, I bet he’s a future serial killer. They say it’s always the quiet types, with a history of small animal mutilation.

I have no idea what the moronic girls in this school see in him. Always following him around, trying to get him to pay attention to them. Stupid sheep. I mean, sure, he’s got a decent build. And really pretty eyes. And nice, strong hands… I bet those girls would think twice about throwing themselves at him if they knew of his pushing-hair pulling-car dragging-spider leg pulling-kitten drowning-future serial killer ways!

What’s worse is that I really don’t know how to get out of working with him on this. My dad pulled my aside this morning, and really read me the riot act. Seems that if I don’t cooperate with Max on this assignment, I’ll be pulling double shifts at the Crash all summer. I won’t have access to the car (not like I really do now, anyway). They will take my phone away. They will wall up my balcony. And worst, the will publish my full name in the graduation announcements in the town paper. How unfair is that? All over some stupid assignment with stupid Max Evans.

And, get this. He’s going to check up on me. I’m sure he’s called the school already to find out the details of the project. And then he’s going to know that I can’t do it without interviewing him and mom. I am so stuck. I’m being blackmailed again, only this time it’s by my own parents. Isn’t there a law against that? If there isn’t, there should be. Cruel and unusual punishment, that’s what it is. I just don’t understand what’s so important about this one particular assignment that they feel the need to threaten me like this. I should call Child Services on them. That would teach them to blackmail me!

Looking at the clock on the wall above the door, I realize there’s only 5 minutes of school left. Add to that 4 hours of servicing the teaming masses in an alien head apron and antennas, and then god-knows-how-long with Mr. Max Evans. I slump down into my chair even farther, and let my skull hit the back of the headrest, groaning low in my throat the whole time. No one pays particular attention to this, as they are used to me slumping and groaning at this time of day. What they don’t realize is that this time, I really, really mean it. My life cannot get much worse.

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


“Hello, My name is Liz and I’ll be your waitress today. Can I get you something to drink, or are you ready to order?” That’s what I’m supposed to say each time I greet a new customer. Only, it comes out more like “llomynameislizillbeyourwaitressdaycanigetyousomethingtodrinkorreyoueadytaorder?” and I never make eye contact. That’s an important fact about being a waitress: no eye contact. The less eye contact you make, the less likely people are to ask you for something. Sure, the tips aren’t as good, but as long as I don’t have to run around for an extra glass of water or some condiment in a little cup on the side, I’m a happy girl. Well, relatively.

Where was I? Oh, yeah.

“Hello, My name is Liz and I’ll be your waitress today. Can I get you something to drink, or are you ready to order?”

“Hey Liz.” That voice sounds really familiar, and I break my cardinal rule by looking up from my order pad.

“Max! I’m not done with my shift yet.” See, so witty. Here’s my current moral enemy, and I’m here sounding like some silly breathy schoolgirl.

“I know. I thought I’d grab something to eat first. I’d like a Galaxy Sub and a Cherry Coke. Oh, and a bottle of Tabasco.”

“Sure. You want anything?” I was so irritated at Max that it took me a minute to realize that Michael Guerin was sitting across from him. That shouldn’t surprise me, considering that they always come in together.

“Saturn Rings and a Cherry Coke.” I should probably mention that Michael doesn’t actually speak like a normal person. He grunts. It’s taken me years to be able to understand exactly what he wants when he orders. I have no idea why Max hangs around him. Unless they’re in some kitten killing cult together, or something. That would make sense.

I turn to place their orders when the annoying bell above the door rings. I glance over to it, hoping Martha, the other waitress is coming in early so I can ditch out on waiting on Max. No such luck. In sweeps Isabel Evans, Max’s twin sister, looking every bit the supermodel. And every bit the raging bitch, but both are standard operating procedure for Isabel. As she marches over towards Max and Michael’s booth, I steal a glance over to Maria and Alex who have been talking about the set list for an upcoming gig their band has. Maria is now standing with her hands on her hips, scowling at Isabel. Alex, on the other hand, has a look of dazed wonder on his face and is practically drooling as Isabel walks by him.

Maria and I just don’t get the fascination Alex has with her. She’s nothing but mean, mean, mean, especially to Alex. Well, I guess she’s never actually said anything mean to him. Come to think of it, I don’t think she’s actually ever said anything to him at all. But she’s just mean and aloof to everyone. Before he developed this crush/obsession thing, Alex used to be the treasurer for the ‘We Hate Isabel’ club. This was before the ‘We Hate Tess’ club, of which is he also the treasurer. Needless to say, we just don’t understand this sick thing he has for her. It’s against all laws of God and man, I tell you!

Isabel is now talking to Max and Michael using quiet tones but expressive arm movements. Max starts to gesture wildly, and even Michael has a surprised look on his face instead of his usual scowl. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of them that… animated before, and especially not all at once. The conversation comes to an abrupt halt as Max and Michael get up from the table. As they head to the door, Max calls over her shoulder to me.

“Hey Liz, cancel our order. Something’s come up. We’ll have to start on bio tomorrow.”

With that, the annoying bell rings again, the door slams shut, and I’m standing here slightly slackjawed.

I’ve just been stood up on my forced study date with Max Evans. I should be thrilled. So, why aren’t I?


*

Sorry that they didn't get to spend some more time together. Damn Isabel... I wonder what she wanted that was so important?

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 14-Jun-2002 3:14:43 PM ]
posted on 17-Jun-2002 5:41:24 PM by wenhaver
Hey everyone.

Wow. Thanks so much for all the feedback!

Now, for the bad news. Today sucked. A lot. And my head hurts, and all I want to do it go home, lock my door, put on my jammies, eat some Chunky Monkey, and play mindless video games until my brains turn to mush and run out my ears.

Also. I only have 3 sentences from the new part. So, you'll have to wait til tomorrow... Sorry, everyone.

heidi

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 17-Jun-2002 5:42:43 PM ]
posted on 18-Jun-2002 4:28:41 PM by wenhaver
Part 6

“What was he thinking, running out of here like that?” Maria and I are standing behind the front counter of the Crash, watching the clock until we get to punch out. The place is pretty dead, so there’s not much else to do.

“I know. Queen Bitch Isabel snaps her little fingers, and he just leaves.” Maria has joined me in my gripe-feast. Ha! She’s having second thoughts on what a great guy Max Evans is now.

“I just don’t see what was so important. I don’t get how that woman can make every man her willing slave!”

“I know. I thought Michael had more taste than that!”

“Michael? Who’s talking about him? I thought we were talking about Max.” I glance over at Maria and realize she’s starting to turn a bright shade of pink.

“Max! Of course. Why, did I say Michael? Uhm, I wasn’t thinking about him at all.”

“Methinks the lady doth protest too much. What’s up? Have you got a thing for Michael?” This is almost more fun than complaining about Max. Besides, that will keep. This Michael thing, on the other hand, needs to be exposed and examined immediately.

“No! I mean, not really.” Maria is starting to squirm, and she’s twirling her hair around her index finger – something she only does when she’s lying.

“Liar!” I point to her traitorous hand.

“Well, I mean, have you seen his art? It’s just so… I don’t know. There’s just something about it.”

“’Ria, honey, you realize the man speaks in grunts, right? I don’t think I’ve actually ever heard him enunciate anything.” I really don’t think I have. I wonder how he gets through life like that. Maybe they have developed telepathy in their kitten-killing cult, and Max and Michael can talk to each other with their minds. Ok, that sounds a little far-fetched, even to me.

“I know. Good thing I don’t want to talk to him, huh?” There goes the blush again…

“Oh, no. No talking. You have other things planned for that mouth, don’t you?” I duck as Maria throws a wet rag at my head. Laughing, I run through the kitchen door and into the back room. Just as I get to the timeclock, it makes it little “thunking” noise that lets me know it’s time to go. I slip my card into the little slot, wait for the little stamp to smack into it, and race upstairs yelling “Call me!” to Maria.

Finally upstairs. I slam and lock the door to my room. Not that the little cheap lock would actually stop anyone, but at least it would serve as notice that I wished to be alone. Ick. I’m still in my uniform, and I smell like fries. Shower time!

Once again, I’m dripping wet and the phone is ringing. It’s gotta be Maria. Like I said, no one else besides Alex calls me.

“Ooohh, Michael…” I breathe seductively into the phone. I’ve never been one for a simple “hello”, anyway.

“Uhm, Liz?” Wait. Wait wait wait. This is not Maria.

“…”

“Hello. This is Max Evans. May I please speak to Liz Parker?”

“Uh, hi Max. I thought you were Maria…” I sound lame. I know I sound lame. Oh, god.

“Uhm, then why were you saying Michael?” Good question there, Maxie-boy. Damn! If I let this slip, Maria is going to kill me.

“Oh, it was just part of an inside joke from earlier in the shift. Tee-hee.” Could I sound more fake and stupid? I don’t think so, either.

“Uhm, ok. Whatever. Look. When do you get off work tomorrow?” Did he buy that? Yes! I think he did!

“Same time as always.”

“Fine. I’ll meet you at the Crash at 8 then.” My, my. He was sounding awfully smug for someone who stood me up for his sister earlier today. Wait. Does that make him really suck, or me really suck?

“Listen, Mr. Evans. You’re the one who stood me up. You’re going to have to try a lot harder than that. Remember you need me, not the other way around. I could care less if you flunked.” Ha! There. That’ll teach him to threaten me.

“I’m sorry about leaving like that. Something important just came up. I promise, tomorrow we get this thing done and we can both get back to our lives.”

“Yeah, I’m sure Isabel had something really important to drag you off to… like a sale.” Woo-hoo! I do believe that was actually witty! Score one for Parker! Wait. Max sounds really tired. I was expecting pissed, peeved, steamed, sarcastic, biting, downright mean… but I wasn’t expecting tired and kind of sad.

“Liz, you don’t know the first thing about Isabel, and you don’t know the first thing about me. So let it go, ok?”

“Uh, geez. Sorry. Didn’t mean to hit a nerve there, Maxie-boy.” Maria is right. Sometimes I just can’t let stuff go.

“((sigh)) I’ll see you tomorrow”

“Yeah. Whatever.”

“Oh, and Liz?”

“Yeah?”

“You were wrong. You do need me.”

All I hear is the gentle buzzing of the dial tone. He hung up on me. And he left me bewildered again. What’s a girl to do?


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


Apparently, a girl is supposed to lair, cheat, steal, rape, pillage and plunder. Well, that’s what my dad thinks I’m capable of. He’s currently yelling at me for “refusing to help that nice Evans boy” and “being rude and insufferable” and a host of other uncomplimentary and untrue things. Well, most of them are untrue.

“Dad”

“And furthermore, Liz, I expect – “

“Dad!”

“Elizabeth, will you please stop interr-“

“DAD!!!”

“What is it, Liz?”

“Max Evans cancelled on me. He needed to help his sister, or something. I didn’t do anything, I swear.”

“Don’t lie to me, Elizabeth. I am not in the mood.”

“I’m not lying. Call Maria, she was there. Call Alex. Call Max freakin’ Evans! They will all tell you the same thing. He stood me up for our little study date!”

“You had better be telling me the truth, young lady.” I just love it when he calls me young lady.

“Sure thing, dad.” I turn and start to wander back to my room as he picks up the phone. I know he’s calling Max. He’d never believe anything Maria or Alex said, even if it was 100% the truth. I briefly fantasize about my dad running up to my room after me, begging me for forgiveness. I soon dismiss that as a lame fantasy and throw myself down on my bed.

‘You do need me.’ echoes through my head for the millionth time.

What the hell is that supposed to mean?

*

Sorry this part sucks. I know where I’m going, but I seem to have lost the map.





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 18-Jun-2002 4:53:10 PM ]
posted on 18-Jun-2002 5:08:10 PM by wenhaver
A/N: Oh yeah, I forgot to talk about the Buffy homage. There was actually a couple, when I went back and looked at it.

What I was referring to was the "We Hate Isabel" club, of which Alex is the treasurer... that refers to Willow's line in season two's "Innocence" that goes something like "remeber? the "We Hate Cordelia Club", of which you are the treasurer".

Ah, anyway. There's a ton of pop culture references lying around here... I can't seem to help myself. Maybe if you're all really good (feedback, feedback!) you'll get another new part tomorrow...

heidi
posted on 20-Jun-2002 2:57:08 PM by wenhaver
Part 7

Well, color me shocked. Surprised. Confused. I’m sitting here with Max Evans, filling out this stupid worksheet for bio. And I almost don’t mind. Almost. We’re sitting at the front counter of the Crash, in plain view of my father. Hopefully, he’s see how cooperative I’ve being, and get the hell off my back. I mean, he even gave me an hour off work so that I could take a shower and ‘gather my study materials’ before Max showed up. I don’t know what study materials he possibly expected me to gather for a half hour – I mean, how long does it take to find a pen? - so I think he’s trying to apologize for not believing me yesterday.

Back to Max. He showed up at 8 on the dot. I got us a couple sodas. When he thought I wasn’t looking, I saw him pour Tabasco sauce into his glass. Ewww. I have no idea what that’s all about, and I don’t really care enough to ask. Well, I am really curious about it, but I don’t want to ask. I don’t want him to know that I care in the least. That would lead to a whole cycle of him expecting me to care about other things, and we can’t have that.

You do need me.

Argh. Out of my head! Out! Out! Out!

So Max is asking me questions about myself. Fairly basic questions. Hair color, eye color, can I roll my tongue, ect. Because he’s adopted, we need to do me, my parents, and my grandparents. However, I only have 1 living grandparent, so we talked to our teacher (ok, Max talked to the teacher), and we’re supposed to make guesses to fill in the information we don’t have, and then justify them. But I refuse to think that far ahead. Because will all that extra work, and all if it dependant on me and my family, I’ll have to spend several hours, possibly spread over several days, with Max Evans. And every cell in my body screams that spending more time with Max Evans is a bad, bad idea.

I call for my mom, as we need her answers to these questions now. I mean, how am I supposed to know if the woman can roll her tongue? It’s never really come up in conversation. Then again, I rarely have what could be called a conversation with either of my parents.

Mom comes, mom gushes about how wonderful it is to see Max and I working together, mom answers silly genetics questions, mom leaves after several “go away now!” glares from me. On to dad.

Replay above, substituting “dad” for “mom”.

Actually, Max is really lucky he doesn’t have to do himself for this project. I mean, what would he put down for eye color? They’re not really brown. And not hazel, either. More amber than anything else. And I don’t think “amber” is a recognized eye color, like at the DMV or anything. I wonder what his driver’s license says. Wait. I’m thinking about Max Evans’ eyes?

You do need me.

Nonononononono! We need to get this project done. Now. Fast and quick-like. I decide to drop all my resolve to be resistant to this project. The more I help, the faster we will be done, and the quicker I won’t have to deal with Max.

I smile brightly at Max. “Ok, partner. What do we have to do now?”

“Uhm, well, I think we need to start filling in these squares on this sheet with all the traits we’ve collected today.” He’s looking at me strangely, like he’s afraid I’m about to bite him or something.

“Ok. Why don’t you take my parents, and I’ll do my parents and grandparents. Well, grandparent. Tomorrow, we can decide what we’re going to fill in for the missing grandparents, and split up the justifications. Then we’ll be done!” Another of my award-winning, brighter-than-the-heavens smiles.

“Uhm. Ok. You’re sure you’re ok with that?” Now he’s looking at me like I took away Christmas and ran over his dog. All confused and almost hurt. Like he knows I’m just doing this Suzie Schoolgirl act so that I won’t have to spend any more time with him.

“Of course! It was my idea, silly. Ok. Well, I’m going to go upstairs and get to work! I’ll see you tomorrow, same time, same place ok?” With that, I grab my pen and notebook, and dash upstairs. A quick glance over my shoulder, and I smile with unrestrained glee. Look who’s confused now…


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


Bio is in 10 minutes. I’m playing with my pen again, watching the clock. This time it’s not in utter dread, but in anticipation. I can’t wait to see the look on his face when I hand him my part of the assignment. It’s done. Totally done. I even went ahead, and did all the justifications for all the grandparent’s stuff.

See, I was bored last night, and more than a little anxious. The more I thought about it, the more I didn’t want to spend any more time with Max that I absolutely had to. Everyone has been on my back about this stupid assignment. You’d think my life depended on it, or something. First Max, then my parents, and now even Maria won’t back me up. She says it’s time I grow up and get over it. She even hung up on me last night when I called her to complain about how unfair my life was. “God, Liz. I’m so tired of this. You used to be fun. Now I can hardly stand to be around you. Grow up, get over it, move on. Ugh.” Then she hung up.

How unfair is that? My best friend in the whole world won’t even stand behind me in my time of need. Granted, I didn’t tell her about what Max said. And I didn’t tell her how being around him makes me want to break out into hives. She’s think it was some stupid mushy romantic thing, and I really can’t handle that kind of conversation right now. It has nothing to do with that. Nothing. I just can’t stand how irritating and smug he’s being about this whole thing.

At any rate, I spent the better part of last night getting as much of this project done as I possibly could. I even worked ahead. That’s why I’m looking forward to his reaction. I’m sure he’s expecting to have to force me to do my part. I bet he even has some choice threats already planned. By like I said, I’m taking the path of least resistance with this one. Anything to get me away from him.

Ring

There’s the bell. Time for bio. Yippee. No, really.

I walk through the door with my head up, for a change. Wow, I’m one of the first ones here. Mr. Perfect isn’t even here yet. I walk over to our table and dig out the assignment. I shuffle the paper a bit, and tap them into a neat stack. I was even going to type my part, but decided not to as I was a little sleepy last night. Besides, that would be overkill, I think. Wouldn’t want anyone getting the wrong impression, now would we?

I’m trying to decide if it would get a better reaction if I just set the papers in front of his workspace, or if I actually handed them to him when he walks in. He looks a little surprised that I’m already there, considering I’m almost always the last one in before the bell rings, if not a little after. I think this is the first time I’ve been early all year. Maybe for all of high school. I suppress a little smirk. This day is just going to be full of suprises for our Maxie-boy.

“Hey.” I’m being super-ultra cheerful. Always keep them guessing and all that.

“Hi.” He’s got that strange look on his face again. Kind of a cross between confusion and suspicion. Good.

“So. Here’s my part of the assignment.” I hand him the stack of carefully fill-in squares.

“Uhm, ok. Thanks. Why don’t you hang on to them until tonight. I wouldn’t want to lose them on you.”

“That’s ok. I made copies.” And I did, too. I’m not taking any chances here.

“Oh. Ok. Well, I guess I’ll see you tonight, and we can finish up.” He looks almost disappointed for some reason. I thought this is what he wanted. Boys are lame. They make no sense whatsoever.

“But, I worked ahead. Maybe we could skip tonight…” I know I sound a little desperate, but I don’t care. I don’t want to spend another night working with him.

“I don’t think so, Liz. I mean, I should really go over this with you, to make sure I understand it so I don’t screw up the write-up we have to do for it.”

“Well, I’ll do the write up. That way, you won’t have to worry about it! Why don’t you give me your part of the assignment, and I’ll compile it and do the write-up.” There. A perfect solution.

“No. That wouldn’t be fair to you. I mean, I don’t want you to have to do the whole project. Besides, I’m sure there will be questions about this on the final, so I think it’s important that I understand it all.”

Ooooh… I want to smack that smug grin off his face. It’s like he knows he has me cornered. Unless I want to offer to let him cheat off me for the final, which would not only be incredibly stupid considering I haven’t been paying attention all year, but it’s also against my “no one uses me again” policy. Not fair! He says me doing most of the project isn’t fair. What’s not fair is me having to spend another night with him! My entire life to this point has been unfair, and he’s worried about some dumbass assignment?! I want to scream. No, I need to scream.

I settle for a good “fuck off and die” glare. It just makes him smirk more.

“I can always call your dad…” Well, at least he’s showing his true colors again. Here come the threats, the second he doesn’t get his way. He’s no better than Tess. In fact, he’s worse. She was too stupid to know better.

“Fine. Tomorrow. 8 pm. You’re one second late, and I leave.” With that, I raise my hand and ask for the hall pass. I won’t sit in here with that jerk a moment longer than I need to.

You do need me. Yeah, I need you Max Evans – like I need a lobotomy.

*

posted on 24-Jun-2002 3:27:04 PM by wenhaver
Short, short, short part. I'm trying to get the next bit to come out right, but I thought I'd at least give you what I have for now.

Part 8a

Somehow, I’m not surprised that he was not a second late. In fact, just to be annoying, he was over a half hour early. Which means that I had to wait on him. Grrrr. He just needs to rub it in, doesn’t he? So now, my shift is over and I’m still in my uniform. I’ll be damned if I’m the one late because I took a shower. He’ll just have to deal with the glare off my apron and the fact that I smell like I’ve gone swimming in the fryer. Serves him right.

I’m going over my little square with him for the third time. It’s like he’s playing dumb, or something. C’mon, Maxie-boy, this ain’t rocket science. There’s my parents. Throw in some scientific rules, very basic math, add a dash of probability, shake, and then you have me. And we don’t even have to do the math. Like I said, not rocket science. I think he’s doing this just to irritate me. If he is, I should congratulate him because it’s working.

I look down at the Powerpuff Girls watch that Alex gave me for my birthday last yet. Blossom is pointing to both the 8 and the 6, which means I’ve been sitting here for over a half hour. That’s far longer than I ever thought I’d be sitting here tonight. I mean, I did all that work last night just to avoid this situation. I’m also starting to feel really self-conscious, as I know that I look really silly in this outfit and I smell bad. I also think my face is all shiny from sweat and grease. It serves him right, having to put up with a greasy lab partner. But when he leans over my shoulder to point something out to me, I can smell his nice clean Max-smell. And it makes me feel bad. Why does he get a Max-smell, and I only get fry-girl smell? It’s all horribly unfair.

I think I am going crazy. Maybe Maria’s not the only one who needs therapy. I need to stop this, quick.

“Look, Max. I don’t know what you’re doing, but I know that you know this. I’m tired. I need a shower. Can we just please drop the act and get on with it?”

“That’s the best suggestion I’ve ever heard from you.”

“Hrm?”

“Ah, nothing. Nevermind. Look, why don’t I take this, and start the write-up. I can give it to you after your shift tomorrow.”

No. No way. Not another night of this. No no no no.

“Uhm, actually, tomorrow is Friday night, and I don’t work Fridays. I usually have to take Saturdays, sometimes double shifts. So I rebelled and told my parents that a healthy teenage girl needs at least one weekend night a week off.” I might be babbling, but I’m not lying for once. I don’t work Fridays.

“Oh, that’s right. I forgot you don’t work Fridays. Well, why don’t we just meet here after school then?”

“Oh, sorry. I have plans with Maria. You know, girl’s night out kind of stuff.” There. That should stop that line of questioning.

“Oh. Well, how about Saturday?”

“Sorry. This Saturday I have a double shift. And I’m not usually capable of higher brain functions after those.” This guy doesn’t quit! I’ve never known someone who wanted to get an A this badly. Well, except Tess.

“Sunday then. I’ll buy you breakfast.”

“Max, I live above a restaurant. You don’t have to buy me breakfast.”

“Fine, but meet me here… say, 10? I’ll give you the write-up, you can look it over and make any changes you think are needed, and then I’ll type it up and hand it in.”

“Fine, fine. Sunday at 10.” I’m so tired at this point, I think I would have agreed to meet him on the moon if he would just shut up and leave.

“Ok. Great. Sunday at 10.” Max gathers his things and finally, finally leaves.

He’s not even fully out the door, and I’m on my way upstairs. I’m on my way to my room, my shower, and anywhere that’s not occupied by Max Evans.

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


I felt kind of bad about lying to Max about the girl’s night out thing, so I decided to call Maria and see if she was free. Who am I kidding… of course she was free. Since she’s been pining away for Michael Guerin (of all people) it’s not like she’s been on tons of dates. She keeps saying she’s too focused on the band she’s in with Alex, but I know better. No one is presenting quite the challenge that Michael is. And Maria does like a challenge.

Of course, we can’t have a girl’s night without Alex. That kind of makes the whole “girl’s night out” thing a misnomer, but who cares? It’s just the three of us, sitting out on my balcony, listening to music and watching the stars. I used to love nights like these. My two best people around me, with no worries and no pressures. I don’t know why, but somehow tonight I feel disquieted. The peacefulness that usually comes from hanging out like this is just out of my reach. It’s making me cranky.

“So. Maria. About Michael….” I begin, knowing that it’s going to piss her off. But hey, I’m already in a bad mood – why not spread it around…

“Liz, drop it. I so don’t want to even think about him tonight. If you insist on picking on someone, there’s always Alex and his Isabel fascination.”

Alex counters with a swat and a “Hey!” before turning a “don’t even go there” glare at me.

My fun spoiled, I go back to looking at the stars, tuning Maria and Alex out as they start talking about one of their new songs. I must zone out at some point, because the next thing I know Maria is talking about how much time I’ve been spending with Max Evans lately.

“So, Lizzie. What’s the scoop on Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome? No one knows a thing about him, other than that he’s smart, has a twin sister, and hangs out with Michael a lot.”
“Veto, Maria. I can’t ask about Michael, you can’t ask about Max.”

“Well, you can’t ask about Michael because I like him. So why is it that I can’t ask about Max? Unless…”

“Maria! Can it, already. I can’t stand him. He’s annoying and difficult and manipulative. I definitely do not like him in any way, least of all a romantic way. Got it?”

I think I hear her mutter “Now who’s protesting too much?” under her breath, but simply glare at her until she turns away. Sometimes even your best friends can get the wrong idea.


*




posted on 25-Jun-2002 11:50:58 PM by wenhaver
Author's Note

Well, I'm waiting for my laptop to charge so I can get the hell out of this sauna I sometimes call an office and get crackin on the next part. Stupid cat went dancing on the power cord, and unplugged the laptop cord, so all the battery drained. *sigh* If it's this much of a pain to have pets, I can't imagine what having kids would be like. heh.

So I'm responding to some feedback here.

rattlebox: Liz's eye color is actually going to be a big deal in the near future. Good call.

SmileeUK: Sorry, sweetie, but I don't think your wish is going to be granted. However, I don't think it will be as bad as you think...

Care_Behr: Liz can't stand Max, and you're already putting them in the sack together? Geez, girl. hehe. I don't think you'll be completely unsatisfied with the next part, however.

Eccentric One and Calinia: Max is getting a little fed up with the cat and mouse game. Wonder how he'll react to a cranky Liz on Sunday morning...

Ok. The good news is that I have the whole story outlined, so I have found the map. The bad news is that my iBook seems to be not wanting to charge, which is pissing me off beyond belief. Grrr. If I can't get it to run off even A/C power, no new part til tomorrow.

heidi
posted on 26-Jun-2002 12:52:58 PM by wenhaver
Part 8b

My alarm is ringing, and I can’t figure out why. It’s Sunday. I’m pretty sure it’s Sunday. So I don’t have to go to school today. I don’t have to work today because I pulled a double yesterday. So why is the damn thing insisting that it’s time for me to get up?

And then I remember. I have to meet with Him today. Great. What a way to start my day. I’m decided to start referring to him as Him. Him is so much more soothing than ‘Max’. ‘Max’ makes my blood boil every time I think of it. It makes me want to vomit. When I think of Him, I don’t get a mental picture of mocking amber eyes or that infuriating smirk he always gives me. I don’t see the glint in his eye when he threatens me, or the flash of perfect white teeth when he laughs at me. No, I don’t think of very much at all when I think of Him.

I roll out of bed and into the shower. Cold water. That should help wake me up. No matter how much it may suck, I need the fortification it will give me. 9:45 am. 15 minutes left. Why do I feel so much dread? I hate that He can turn my insides into knots. I hate Him for it, and I hate me for it. I’m full of things to hate myself for, so just this once it’s easier to hate Him. I finish brushing my hair. 6 minutes left. Might as well head downstairs and have some coffee. Coffee is always fortifying, right?

I’m on my second cup already when the bell over the door jingles. I managed to scald my tongue nice and good on the first cup, so I sip at the second one, watching him cross the restaurant to meet me at the front counter. He stops at his favorite booth and sits down, eyes focused on me.

What the hell? Does he expect me to come over there? He does! That little ass wants me to come to him! I so do not need this. I stare back at him, then glance at the empty seats around me. No. Way. I am not moving. No siree.

He watches me glance at the empty places around me, and then gestures grandly to the spot in front of him in his booth. It seems we're at an impasse, ladies and gentlemen. He and I are having a good old-fashioned standoff. A battle of wills… a contest of –

“Liz, I see your friend Max over there. Why don’t you go join him? I’ll bring you two some breakfast.” My dad, King of Bad Timing.

One look at his face, and I can see that he’s not about to argue with me about this. And really, what compelling points do I have to try to convince my father that going to that booth will be the end of life as I know it? ‘Gee, dad, he wants me to come over there, but I was here first, and I don’t want to move. Besides, it feels safer here at the counter’? No, somehow I don’t think that’s going to fly.

Scowling, I grab my bio folder and drag myself to His table. He knows that I’m not pleased with Him. He knows that I’m only over here because my father told me to. But he’s smiling like he’s won the grand prize, anyway. Do you know how badly my palm itches to slap that grin off his face? I’m not normally a violent person. Sure, I look mean, but I’ve only ever had the urge to smack someone once before this. Clam, Liz. Be calm. You are a calm and patient woman. You are a calm and patient woman. You are a calm and patient woman.

Remind me to tell Maria next time I see her that this mantra crap doesn’t work. I am feeling neither calm nor patient right now.

“G’morning, Liz.”

Oh shut it with the small talk, already.

“Hey. So. You got that report?” See, cut-to-the-chase. In 5 minutes, I’ll be back in my room safe and sound.

“Yeah, it’s right here. Why don’t you read over it while we eat?” Eat? Wait a minute. Eating takes time. Time I don’t plan on spending here, with Him. My father, however, has other ideas. He’s heading our way with a tray full of juice, toast, eggs and bacon. For the second time today, I resist the urge to beat down my fellow man. Or father, as the case my be.

“Fine.” When also else fails, resort to monosyllables.

“Just make any changes you think are necessary in the margins.” He hands me a red pen. He has a red marking pen, for crying out loud. I thought those were specially for use by teachers only.

I start to read the paper, and it’s actually pretty good. I haven’t even bothered to uncap the pen, because whatever else I might think of Him, He is a pretty smart cookie. I’m sure everything is fine. Wait. What the hell is this?

“What the hell is this?”

“What the hell is what?”

“This. This part about me being a genetic freak?!”

“Well, if you’ll read a little farther, I’m sure you’ll see the justification for that.”

“You think I’m a freak because of my eye color?”

“Well, both your parents have blue eyes. You have brown. Recessive genes can’t combine to form a dominant trait. It’s just not the way things work.”

“But you called me a FREAK. Take it out. NOW.”

“But, don’t you think it’s important to the paper…”

“No. It’s not important at all. God, where do you get off, calling me a freak?” I can’t believe him. He actually expects me to be OK with him turning in a paper that labels me some sort of genetic monster. Who cares what color eyes my parents have?

“What’s that supposed to mean? Are you implying that I’m some sort of freak?” Struck a nerve there, did I?

“You tell me. You’re the one always sitting so quietly in the corner of the classroom, pulling straight As and never saying a word. You’re the one who has been here for years, and no one knows a thing about. This is a small town, Max. Yet still, no one knows anything about you at all. That sounds pretty freakish to me.”

“Liz, you have know idea what you’re talking about!” Uh-oh, I think he’s losing his temper at me again.

“Oh, I think I do. What are you hiding, Max?” What you are seeing here is another survival tactic I’ve learned over the years. The key thing is to turn the tables on your opponent. Put them on the defensive. And He is falling for it - hook, line, and sinker.

There’s something like panic in his eyes. Mixed with something like rage. I have no idea what I said to upset him that much. I want to run back upstairs, but refuse to be that much of a coward. I won’t let him know he got to me. Although, the look is starting to kind of scare me.

“Take it out, and hand it in. There. Project finished.” I start to turn and walk away when I feel his hand reach out and spin me back around, pulling me closer. As I look up at him in panic, I can’t read the expression in his eyes. Whatever it is, it’s dangerous. And that’s the last thought I have before his lips come crashing down on mine.

I stand here, completely immobile. I want to run, but it feels like my feet are rooted to the floor. His lips are crushing mine. This isn’t even a kiss – more a brutal invasion. Just as I start to feel as if I could pull away, the invasion turns to seduction as he lightens the pressure. Before I realize what I’m doing, I start to relax in his arms. And then I see stars.

*Flash*
Thousands and thousands of stars, swirling in blackness.
*Flash*
Max as a little boy, holding his sister’s hand, as he walks up the steps to his new home
*Flash*
Seeing Michael for the first time, and knowing he had found a friend.
*Flash*
Me in 6th grade, laughing in the hallway, my hand in my hair.
*Flash*
“You do need me.”

Suddenly, his mouth is gone and he stumbles a few steps back. Grabbing his books, he says, “Well, uhm, I’ll see you later.”

I think that’s what he said, anyway. I don’t really hear him. I don’t really see him leave. I slouch back into the booth, and let my head fall to the table. I don’t hear the “thunk”. I don’t feel the stinging ‘smack’ of impact. All I see is stars swirling in blackness. All I hear is a slight ringing in my ears. All I feel is his warmth leaving my lips, and the tears running down my cheeks.

*


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 26-Jun-2002 12:54:30 PM ]
posted on 26-Jun-2002 10:53:29 PM by wenhaver
A/N:

About the eye thing... well, it's been a loooong time since AP bio, and I didn't do any real fact checking before running with this, but, as I remember it: a brown eyed child from 2 blue eyed parents can't happen. This is because to get blue eyes, you need 2 recessive genes. Hence, with 4 recessive genes combining into a child with 2 genes of her own, the only ones she'd be able to get are for blue eyes. Now, if both her parents had BROWN eyes, it would make perfect sense for Liz to have BLUE eyes, because brown is a dominant, and can appear even if each parent has a gene for brown and a gene for blue. They could both pass on the recessive genes, instead of the dominant ones.

For example, my dad has brown hair and eyes. My mom is a blue-eyed blonde. I have brown hair (I think that's what it is... it's been a while since I've seen my natural color *wink*) and blue eyes. My dad passed on his dominant gene for brown hair, and his recessive gene for blue eyes. Because blonde and blue are both recessive, my mom had to pass on a gene for blonde/blue. So my genetic makeup, in very simple terms, is BBbb/bbbb.

My husband has brown hair and hazel eyes. So it's just as likey for us to have a bunch of pale, white blonde haired, blue eyed kids as it is for us to have swarthy, dark haried, dark eyed kids.

Anyway, I'm going with very simple Punnet squares here. If I'm wrong, please let me know *happy*

heidi
posted on 9-Jul-2002 5:48:40 PM by wenhaver
Sorry guys, I've had an ear infection that refuses to die, and it's put me off my game for a few weeks. Here's a new part.....

Part 9

Four hours later, Maria finds me huddled on my bed. I’ve been sitting here, running through a full spectrum of emotions. Confusion, fear, rage, sadness, back to confusion. They came slowly at first, but for the past half hour or so, I’ve been flickering back and forth between them so fast I can barely even put a name to one before the next one is on me.

“Liz, sweetie, what’s wrong?”

“Oh god. Oh god.” I don’t even know what to tell her. I mean, all he did was kiss me. Why am I so mixed up? Oh yeah, I saw stars. A galaxy of stars.

“Liz, I can’t help if you don’t tell me. What happened?”

“…” I can’t even look at her. Tears start running from my eyes again. I don’t know what I’m feeling right now. How can I possibly explain what’s wrong to her when I don’t even know what’s wrong?

“I’m calling Alex.”

“OK.” That’s about all I can manage.

Alex arrived sometime later. Maria was sitting on my bed, rubbing my back and looking helpless. I understand why she’s so concerned. I don’t think that anyone has ever seen me like this. I don’t know that I’ve ever been like this.

“So Lizziebear, what’s shakin’?” Alex always tries to inject levity into the situation. For some reason, it only makes me cry harder.

“Oh, Liz, don’t cry. Please, please, tell us what happened.” Alex looks as desperate as Maria now.

“He kissed me.”

“Who kissed you?” from Maria.

“Max. Max kissed me.”

“Why all the tears? Max kissed you. So? Was it bad? Did he drool?” Alex, although a dear, dear friend, is still a boy and is incapable of understanding the magnitude of the situation.

“No. He didn’t drool. That’s hardly the point”

“Then what’s so terrible? Did he not stop with just a kiss? Is that it?” Maria, finally, comes to my defense. But I can’t put that sort of rap on Max.

“No, no, he just kissed me. In the Crashdown. We were arguing about that damn bio project, and then he kissed me.”

“And that’s all that happened?” Alex can be a pushy bastard when he wants to be.

“Well. I saw stars.”

“Stars? He kissed you and you saw stars?” Maria is now looking at me like she’s going to shove some foul-smelling oil under my nose.

“Yes.”

“Wow. He made you see stars. I’ve never had a kiss like that.”

“’Ria, not figurative stars. Literal stars.” She’s not getting this. Hell, I don’t even know if I get it.

“Literal stars?”

“Yes, like… this” I jump off my bed, and rummage around my bookshelf looking for an old astronomy book. I don’t know why I hadn’t remembered this before!

“Here. This. This is what I saw when he kissed me.” I point to a picture of a galaxy of stars, spinning in the blackness of space.

“Girl, you get kissed, and you see a picture from an old book. I really don’t understand how your brain works sometimes.”

“No! I didn’t just see a picture, Maria I saw this… galaxy. Moving. Like it was real. Like I had seen it in real life before.”

“Liz, are you sure you aren’t just imagining all this. You’ve been acting kinda weird lately, you know.” Of course Alex doesn’t believe me. I hardly believe me, but I know what I saw. I know. Either that, or I’m going completely nutty.

That must be it. Working with Max Evans has finally driven me insane. That has to be it.

“Liz, what did Max say after all this?” Maria, always after the gory details.

“Nothing. He left. He just… left.”

“Oh, honey.” Maria hugs me. She thinks I’m upset because I’ve been kissed and run out on. Her concerns are wrong, but I’m willing to take comfort where I can at this point. Alex is still standing in the corner, looking both concerned for my sanity and bemused.

“Well, I’m going to go now, and let you girls bond. Or whatever it is that you guys do in times like these.”

“Thanks for coming Alex. I’ll see you tomorrow, ok?”

“Yeah, ok. It’ll be ok, Liz.” Alex ruffles my hair on the way out the door.

“Yeah. Thanks, Alex.” He’s such a good guy, even if he is a little out of his depth with all these girl politics.

Maria and I spend another long hour, mostly in silence. There’s another reason that I’m upset, and Maria knows it. See, I had never been kissed before. Who was I supposed to kiss, after all? One of the foul males at West Roswell High? I don’t think so. I’ve never been to camp. I’ve never been on a prolonged summer trip. I’ve never been anywhere. So yes, Liz Parker is a stone cold prude who’s first kiss was given to her in anger.

I may look like a hardass, but I’ve always had this silly romantic, girly-girl dream. I dreamed of getting out of this dead town, to someplace new. Of finding a man with kind eyes who could see behind my tough-girl exterior and would sweep me off my feet. He would proclaim his love, and kiss me passionately on top of a mountain, the sun setting behind us. Yeah, I know. Sometimes I make myself sick.

Well, in a moment of weakness one night, after watching some cheesy chick-flick with Maria, I told her. The whole sick, deluded fantasy. So she knows this whole Max thing was not really part of the plan. She knows that I wanted that moment to be special. I wanted to remember it forever. Well, I will. But not fondly.

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


So it’s Monday again, and I’m sitting here, watching the clock tick. Countdown to biology. I fidget in my chair, and it’s not from boredom. Ok, well, it is. But not all of it. I’m nervous and frustrated and angry. How am I going to react when he walks into the classroom? Do I let into him for being an ass? Do I ignore the whole thing? Do I wait to see if he says anything and then figure it out? Do I mention the stars?

Am I a complete headcase? Wait, that one I know the answer to.

My hands are clammy, and my heart is racing. I’m feeling a little lightheaded. Maybe I’m getting sick. I should go to the nurse and get sent home. Yeah. Wait, no. I’m not getting sick, and I know it. Delaying the inevitable won’t make me feel any better. I hate feeling like a coward.

The bell rings, and the icy chill of sheer terror grabs me. I have no idea why I’m reacting this way. I just know that seeing Him again is going to be bad. Bad, bad, bad I tell you. But there’s no getting out of it. I gather up my things and shuffle off to meet my doom.

It’s not really a surprise that he beat me here. He’s sitting at our assigned table, notebook and pen already out. At first he doesn’t notice me entering the room. Then he turns and catches my eye. About a millisecond later, he looks away, his head down. He looks embarrassed. And so he should be… mauling me where all of creation could watch. For mauling me at all, really.

I slip into my seat and stare straight ahead. After a few seconds, I glance over at him out of the corner of my eye. He’s staring straight ahead, pretending I don’t exist. Well, two can play that game, mister. I guess we’re both choosing to ignore it. I know I won’t be bringing it up.

The bell rings, class begins, and we’re given time to put the finishing touches on our projects for the rest of the hour. Around me, students at other tables are shuffling papers, scooting chairs around to gossip with friends and dropping pens. About the only people in the whole room sitting absolutely still are Max and me. We’re both sitting still and facing forward, hoping for a fire drilling, wishing we were dead, and desperately willing each other to go away. Still, neither of us moves.

After about 10 more minutes of playing the “I Can Ignore You Better Than You Can Ignore Me” game, Max slides a stack of papers over to me. He hasn’t taken his eyes off the front of the classroom. I glance down, and see that he’s typed up our project.

“Thought you might want to see it before I turn it in.” His head still doesn’t move. It’s like he’s speaking to the air around him.

“Uhm. Sure.” Whew. I talked to him. That wasn’t so hard. I can get through this.

I look through the report, and see that the part about me being a genetic freak has been taken out. I’m glad. I already feel like enough of a freak as it is. Could you just imagine the comments scrawled in red ink across the top of the page? “Liz, I always thought you were a little odd. Now we know why”. No, thank you.

“Looks fine to me.” I push the report back to him. I’m still not looking at him, either. We sit in our stony silence until the bell rings. It has been one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life, but it’s over. I grab my stuff and start bolting for the door.

I’m halfway down the hallway when a strong, warm hand stops me. I turn around to see who would dare keep me from my freedom, and stopped mid-breath.

“Max! What do you want?”

“I need to talk to you.” Oh god, no he doesn’t. I won’t let him.
“I don’t think we have anything to talk about. The project’s over.”

“Well, I wanted to apologize for the other day. You know, in the Crashdown. I was having a rough day.” I’m stunned. I don’t know what to say. So I just look blankly at him. I’ve been letting that dull look take over for my usual wit a lot lately. I should work on that.

“And, well,” he continued, still holding on to my arm so I can’t run away, “I was thinking I could make it up to you.” What the hell is he talking about?

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Ah, I was thinking I could take you to dinner. Maybe Friday night?” Dinner. Max Evans wants to take me to dinner? Like, as in a date? Do people even still call it dating? Whatever. Max Evans just asked me out. On a Date. My mouth is hanging open.

Just as I’m about to tell him where to stick his dinner invitation, another hand clamps itself to me. This time it’s a small hand, and it’s covering my mouth. My head feels funny and light again as I hear Maria say “She’d love to go.”

*

posted on 11-Jul-2002 4:48:46 AM by wenhaver
Hey everyone. Thanks for the great feedback! Is Liz an alien, or isn't she? Hrm... Well, you'll have to stay tuned to find out, but it won't be for a while yet. In the meantime, here's another part. I sat down with every intention of cranking out a part of my other fic, but my little bitchy Liz wanted to talk....

Part 10

I momentarily consider resisting the urge to kill Maria. She is my best friend, after all. Then I think about it. What is an urge, if not a reaction to a basic survival instinct? I decide to make it out of this alive. Biting down hard on Maria’s hand, I stomp on her foot at the same time. She howls and hops backwards, cradling her injured hand. Her eyes are starting to tear. I feel bad… for about a second. And then I remember why I had to hurt her. She sold me out. She told Max Evans that I would go out with him.

I turn to Max, who’s still hanging on to my arm.

“Get your hand off me!” He’s quick to comply. He’s probably afraid that I’m going to stomp on him next.

“So. Friday? Around 6?” He’s standing there like I actually agreed to this date, or whatever.

“I’m sorry, Max. I have other plans.” I finish my sentence with a glare that lets him know that I am in no way sorry to be turning his sorry ass down.

Unfortunately for me, Maria has recovered enough at this point to open her mouth again.

“Oh, Liz. Now, don’t lie. I know you have nothing better to do at all. Max, she’ll be there.” With that, she grabs my arm and starts pulling me away. What is it with people hanging on to me all of a sudden? Augh.

“Maria, I am so going to kill you. You realize you just broke every rule in the Best Friend’s Handbook, right?”

“Chica, I you will thank me later. Besides, I owed you for that bite. That’s going to bruise, you vicious little bitch.”

If anyone else had called me a vicious bitch, I would have slapped them. But coming from Maria, it’s almost a compliment. I can tell that arguing with her is going to get me nowhere, fast. So I decide to drop it. It’s not like she can make me go out on Friday night.

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


Wait. Did I say there was no way Maria could make me go out Friday? I was wrong. So very wrong. But I didn’t understand how far she would go to make this happen. I woefully underestimated my oldest friend. The person who is also my current mortal enemy.

It’s sort of my fault, actually. See, I dropped the whole thing, so Maria being Maria, she assumed she had won. She found out differently when she busted me trying to change shifts with Agnes for Friday night. I figured if I had to work, I couldn’t go. My dad is pretty serious about me working my scheduled hours after all. There’s no way he’d let me off just for a date.

Of course, Maria knew that. She told Agnes to forget it. Then she marched straight up to my dad. I trailed behind her, wondering what she could possibly say to my dad that would have any impact on me. I wasn’t worried about it at all. That was my fatal flaw. I should have tackled her and stuck napkins in her mouth. But I didn’t. I just innocently followed her across the restaurant.

“Mr. Parker. You know how Liz has been working with that nice Max Evans on a project for school?” I’m still clueless as to the depths of Maria’s treachery.

“Well, of course. What about it?”

“It seems that they have another project to work on, but Liz doesn’t want to cooperate. I’ve tried convincing her, but she just won’t listen. I’m worried about her.” Such a sweet, innocent face. She hit the perfect tone between anger and concern. I see where this is going, but it’s too late to stop her.

“Liz! I thought we had this settled. You will be helping Mr. Evans with this project, do you hear me? Maria, when are they supposed to meet to work on it?”
“But, Dad, it’s not –" It was like trying to stop a train wreck. There was too much momentum already caused by Maria’s lie. There was too much past anger and worry on my Dad’s part for him to even want to stop it.

“Enough! I don’t want to hear it!”

“Friday night at six, I think Max said. That’s when they’re supposed to get together.” Maria gives my dad a perfect, sweet smile. Why am I the only one that can see the pure evil behind it?

“Liz, you are going. You understand me, young lady? You are going to assist Mr. Evans with whatever he needs without any lip, or you are in so much trouble... there won’t be words to describe the kind of trouble you’ll be in.” My father threw the rag he had been using before Maria interrupted him on the table in front of him with such force, the salt and pepper shakers bounced.

“But-“ I just really needed my Dad to let me explain things as they really were. To let him know it wasn’t for a school project. But he was done listening.

“Forget it. I don’t want to hear another word about it. You’re going, and it’s final.” Now, dad, how can you not want to hear another word about it when you haven’t heard a single word I’ve said at all?

“Ooooooh!” I screamed, and threw up my hands, storming back to the Employees Only area. Maria followed; hips swinging and a smug look on her face.

“So. What are you going to wear?”

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


So that was that. Now I’ve had an entire week to brood over this whole situation. There is no way my dad is going to let me get out of this. I’ve tried explaining the situation to him, but either he cuts me off or just simply doesn’t hear me. My mom, of course, is so fully behind my dad’s decision on this that she avoids being in the same room with me, so she doesn’t have to hear about it.

Max, of course, has been immune to my hateful glares and scathing remarks. Every time he catches me giving him the Evil Eye, he just grins cheerfully at me. Oh, he just makes me so mad!

And Maria… let’s not even go there. I’ve been ignoring her all week. She, of course, has been doing her best to keep an eye on me. I can tell. She’s even got dear, sweet Alex doing her dirty work for her. I honestly don’t understand why this means so much to her. I just don’t understand why she would betray me like that. She’s always stood beside me, through the whole Tess thing and a million other problems that have come my way. And now she stabs me in the back. It hurts. I have no one to turn to anymore.

It’s been a rough week. I just keep going back to that kiss. And the stars. And his stupid cryptic words… And I have to wonder what Max Evans could possibly want with me. I’ve never been nice to him. I’ve never paid him the slightest amount of attention. Maybe he’s the kind of guy who gets off on abusive girls. Maybe he and Michael have a plan to move up from killing kittens to killing sweet, innocent high school girls. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I just keep turning the situation over in my head. And it feels like I’m drowning. Drowning in hurt and betrayal from my closest friends, my parents, and even my damn lab partner.

I didn’t ask for any of this, you know. All I wanted was to be left alone for the rest of the year. To just get through, get done, and get out. I just want to get away from all the bad things that happened in the past, and really start living my life. It doesn’t look like I’m going to get that very simple wish.

It’s Friday night. 5 pm. One hour until I’m forced to spend some quality time with one Mr. Max Evans. I can’t help wondering where he’s going to take me. Or, truth be told, if he’s going to try to kiss me again. Not that I want him to! No, nothing like that. But if he forces himself on me again, I wonder if I’ll see those stars. I’ll have to pay better attention this time. If there is a this time, that is. Which there better not be, if he expects to get through the night with his reproductive organs still intact.

I suppose I should take a shower and get ready. Not that I want to impress him, or anything. I just can’t seem to think straight unless I’m nice and clean. When I was in middle school, after the whole Tess thing started, I used to take 5 or 6 showers a day. My mom finally gave me a shower limit of 2. She said something about the water bill. Personally, I think it was freaking her out. But I just felt so much better after stepping out of the nice, scalding water into the moist, steamy bathroom. It was very therapeutic then, and still is now.

At quarter to 6, I throw on an old pair of cargo pants and my oldest black sweater. The cuffs and hems on both the pants and sweater are frayed, but I won’t throw them away. Like a good long shower or a nice bowl of ice cream, these are comfort clothes. And I think I’m going to need all the help I can get. I put on a pair of black Docs, and I’m ready for whatever Max has in store for me. On last glance in the mirror to make sure I don’t have anything stuck in my teeth, and I’m out the door. He’s meeting me in the Crash.

I’m still hanging on to the slight hope that he’ll stand me up, or that Isabel will have some sort of dire fashion emergency and whisk him away. As I enter the main seating area, I see Maria and Alex hanging out by the front counter. They are trying to look uninterested in me, but I know better. I give them a good, hearty glare before turning to the front door.

Max Evans is standing in the doorway of my parent’s restaurant, holding a single white rose. Sort of a peace offering, I suppose. Like waving a white flag. Either he’s been talking to Maria, or he’s a really good guesser. White roses are my favorite. Well, his little ploy with the flower isn’t going to sway me one bit. With new determination, I throw back my head and walk confidently across the floor to meet him. I won’t be afraid of him. I won’t be the one to back down. By the end of the night, Max is going to be very sorry he ever messed with yours truly.

*

posted on 31-Jul-2002 11:17:34 AM by wenhaver
Thanks everyone, for all the bumps!

Part 11

Max grins at me as he holds out the rose.

“A flower for my lady” he says, as he gracefully bows. He’s still grinning.

Bastard.

“Thanks. I’ll go put this in some acid.” I snatch the flower and walk back to the counter where Maria is sitting. “Here. You deal with this.”

Maria looks at me strangely, but takes the flower without a word. I think she’s a little shocked I actually spoke to her. Well, spoke and it wasn’t a death threat, that is.

I look up, and see my dad looking at me through narrowed eyes. Alright, alright. Going, going. You’d think the flower would’ve tipped him off. Guess not. He’s too busy being concerned about me to notice the forest for the trees… or whatever the hell that saying is. I send a little salute over to my dad, and go back over to Max.

He’s been standing there by the door the whole time, and I don’t think the smirk has left his face.

Bastard.

“Ready?” Max holds out his arm for me. I ignore it, and push by him.

“The sooner we leave, the sooner this farce is over.”

*

Dinner, so far, has consisted of Max trying to start a conversation, me staring at him blankly, and really tasty Mexican food. One of the only other restaurants in Roswell is Senor Chows. It’s a little more “upscale” than the Crash, but upscale for Roswell isn’t so upscale. I mean, they still have karaoke night.

“So, Liz, what are your plans after graduation? Got a college picked out?”

“…”

“Are you going to say anything to me at all tonight? You did agree to come.”

That did it. “Ha! Agree. Yeah, funny man. Keep it coming.”

Now it’s his turn to look at me blankly.

“What are you talking about? Maria said you were happy about this.”

“Maria! Ha! You’re killing me here!”

“Liz, what’s going on?”

“You honestly don’t know? I mean, really?” Maybe he didn’t know the hell that has been my life for the last week. I’m almost feeling sorry for him.

“No. What the hell is going on?” Ok, there’s the violent, rude boy we all know and love. Sorry? No way.

“Maria forced me into this. If I had my way, I’d be as far away from here and from you as humanly possible.”

“You didn’t want to go out with me?” God, he almost looks like he’s pouting.

“No, I didn’t.”

“Why not?” Innocent face. Just like that backstabbing Maria. Yeah, right.

“Why not?! Why the hell do you think? You threaten me, you force me to do homework. You turned my best friend and my parents against me! YOU KISSED ME AND DIDN’T SAY A WORD ABOUT IT.” Oh wait, did I yell that last part?

“Oh.”

“Is that all you can say? ‘Oh’?” I think I’m still shouting, but frankly I’m too pissed to really notice or really care. He is just sitting there. Like this is all news to him. Like he had never considered the possibility that I didn’t want to spend every waking moment of the last three weeks with him or thinking about him.

No, I wasn’t thinking about him like that. I was thinking about how horrible he is. No, really.

“Look, I’m really sorry if I came off like that. I didn’t mean to. But I really needed you, and nothing I said seemed to be getting through. And tonight was supposed to be my way of thanking you and apologizing.”

You know, he honestly looks sorry. But I’ve seen the act. And I’m not buying into that any more than I’d buy into shares of the Brooklyn Bridge.

“Whatever. Are you done thanking me? Can I go now?”

“You know what? Fine. I’m trying to be nice here. But you keep throwing it in my face. You wanna leave? We’ll leave.” Max glances at the check and throws a $20 on the table. He pushes his way out of the booth – hey, I said it was high class for Roswell.

And where is all this hostility coming from? He needs to join Maria in therapy. Work out some of his anger issues. I was just being honest. I’m the innocent bystander. I’m the one who got dragged into this mess kicking and screaming. He’s the one who forced this all on me. My life was fine until he came into it. A little boring, sure. But I had Maria, and my parents stayed off my back as long as I did my time at the Crash. But now, Maria is being a total bitch, and my parents just won’t shut up about school and homework. This is all his fault. And he has the nerve to be angry with ME.

I scoot out of the booth with as much dignity as one can muster while in the act of ‘scooting’ and storm out of Senor Chows after him. He is not yelling at me and walking away again.

He is quite a bit taller than me, and his longer strides have him almost to the car already. I have to jog to catch up with him. When I do, I grab his arm at the elbow and pull him back. He spins around, and I launch into him.

“What is your problem?” I shout into his face.

“My problem? You want to know what MY problem is?!”

“Yes, I do. You yell at me, you break ketchup bottles on me. You threaten me. You turn my family and friends against me, and you have a problem with me. So yes, I would like an explanation.” I stop just short of stomping my foot. I’d like too, but I don’t want to ruin that wonderful rant by seeming immature.

“What color is the sky in your world, Liz? Are you really that deluded? I ask you for help with this project, a project I needed you for. And after I cover for you all semester, I figure you can help me out just this once. And what do I get? Your bitchy attitude. No wonder you don’t have any friends anymore. If you weren’t such a shrew all the time, maybe people might give a damn about you. You are the most selfish person I know”. Now Max is shouting at me again. He’s bent down so that he’s staring in my eyes, and I get a little spit on me from the force of his words.

“Selfish!” That does it. Me, selfish! All I wanted was to be left alone. Alone. He’s the one that wanted an A on that stupid project. He’s the one who made me do all that stuff. He’s the selfish one. And he’s got that look on his face again.

Something inside me snaps, and before I fully understand what I’m about to do, my hand is making contact with his face. You know in the movies, when the girl slaps the guy and then storms away? Well, I think that was vaguely my plan. But damn that stings! So I stand here, rooted in pain and shock that I actually gave in to the urge to slap someone.

I’m still standing there, trying to not pay attention to my smarting hand, when I notice Max narrow his eyes. He’s just been standing there, too. A Liz hand imprinted on his cheek. I don’t have time realize what he’s doing until it’s too late.

*Flash*
A million stars, swirling in space.
*Flash*
Max, holding a wounded bird.
*Flash*
Alex, twirling me around on my birthday.
*Flash*
Me doodling in my notebook in biology, looking bored.

Max pulls away from the kiss and stares at me. His face is still very close, and I can look straight into his eyes. I’ve gone completely numb, the pain in my hand forgotten. He did it again. He made me see stars.

The look on his face softens. He reaches and touches my face, his hand coming away damp.

“Liz, please don’t cry. I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

Cry? Who’s crying? Wait, I’m crying? Me? I don’t cry. Not for years.

“Why? Why do you keep doing that to me?” My voice comes out small and wobbly. I guess I am crying, after all. Damned if I know why.

“I don’t know. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. Not now. Not angry. Please, please stop crying.”

I walk over and sit on the bumper of the Jeep. How can I stop crying if I don’t know why it started? I am totally out of control. And what the hell is going on? It can’t be normal to see all that stuff when someone kisses you, right? Granted, I don’t have much experience in the area, but I think someone would have mentioned it.

“I want to go home.”

“Just give me 20 minutes, Liz. Give me 20 minutes to show you something. To let me apologize. After that, I won’t bother you again. I promise.”

Right about now, the promise of never having to see him again is all I want. Well, that and a hot shower to clear my head.

“20 minutes, and I never have to deal with you again?”

“20 minutes. And after that, I’ll take you home whenever you ask.”

“Fine. Your 20 minutes starts now.”

We both climb into the Jeep, and Max starts the engine. I can last 20 more minutes. After the next 20 minutes, my life can go back to normal.

*





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 31-Jul-2002 4:56:37 PM ]
posted on 7-Aug-2002 1:06:34 AM by wenhaver
Bah. Ok. So I've been fighting with this part for a week now, and I can't seem to get it to come out right. I have finally decided to let it go, and concentrate on the next part.

Part 12


As the lights from town slowly fade away, I really begin to doubt my decision to give Max his 20 minutes. We’re in the Jeep, heading towards the desert. It’s a chilly, early winter night, but the top is still down. The wind whips into the car, making me even colder. I’m having a hell of a time keeping my hair out of my eyes and mouth.

I hunch down further into my seat to try to get out of the wind, and I glance over at Max. His eyes are looking straight ahead and his expression is perfectly calm. We haven’t said a word since we left the parking lot of the restaurant. Where is he taking me? What’s he going to do to me once we get there? I am the stupidest girl on the planet… my parents taught me never to ride with strangers. Max may not be a stranger, but he’s not someone I trust either. Images of horrible things he could do to me start running through my head, and I scrunch down even further.

Max must have noticed my shifting around, because he reached behind my seat without taking his eyes off the road. Pulling a blanket out, he hands it to me and smiles shyly.

While I’m grateful for the extra warmth, I also have to wonder what a teenage boy is doing with a clean and fresh-smelling blanket in the back of his car. My thoughts do not inspire any confidence, as they fit in nicely with about half the “what’s he going to do” scenarios still playing in my head. I’m about ready to completely start freaking out, when Max pulls the car off the road and onto a small dirt path. I suppose it could be a road, but it’s so old and worn it looks more like a cow trail.

“Hang on. This gets pretty bumpy.”
Yeah, no kidding. I’m practically white-knuckled over here, and very, very glad I have my seatbelt on.

“Almost there.” A minute later, Max brings the Jeep to a stop and I breathe a sigh of relief. I’m so glad the car stopped moving that I forget about my fears about Max being a serial killer. Unbuckling the seat belt, I hop down and stretch. Then I finally take a look around.

Max has driven us out to the middle of the desert, so it seems. To my left are some steep hills, but on all other sides of me the desert stretches for miles. We are parked on some kind of plateau. Even though it’s late, the stars are so bright that I can see fairly well. And still I wonder why he’s brought me here.

“Ok, Max. What did you need to show me? Why did you drag me all the way out here?”

“Well, I didn’t drag you. You agreed to come. And I just wanted to talk to you.”

“You couldn’t talk to me in Roswell?”

“No, I couldn’t. I needed to get you someplace that was free from distractions. This is my favorite place. It’s where I come to just be me. Here, I don’t have to worry about my sister or my parents or school or college applications, or anything. Here, I just am.”

I look at him oddly, but yet I can see what he means. It’s quiet and peaceful here. I inhale the fresh night air deeply, and let it all out in a sigh. If I wasn’t here with Max, I’d be the most relaxed I had been in months. Maybe even years. However, I am here with Max, so there’s no way I can relax. I snap back to the task at hand. He has maybe 5 minutes left.

“Ok, you wanted to talk. So talk. But you’ve only got a few minutes left.”

“Alright. I’ll make this quick. Why don’t you take a seat.” He gestures grandly to the hood of the Jeep. I shrug and hop on, leaning back against the windshield.

“Look, I think I first need to start out by apologizing. I know that I’ve been really rough on you for the last few weeks. I know I’ve done some things to you that I’m not proud of. But I really, really needed you for this. And I promise it won’t happen again. And I really just meant for tonight to be a ‘thank you’… I had no idea Maria forced you into this.”

Hrm. Max Evans is almost groveling to me. As well he should be, for all the hell he put me through. Now, this I like. I like this a lot.

“I really don’t understand why you had to do this. You could have just asked, you know. I’m not that difficult.”

“I did ask. I asked you like 4 times in class. You just ignored me. I don’t even know if you heard me at all. I got desperate. And when I get desperate, I get stupid. I’m really sorry.”

Wait. I don’t remember him ever talking to me before the infamous ketchup incident at the Crash. That’s not to say he didn’t ever talk to me. I tend to zone out a lot during school. It’s just me, the chair, the desk and the clock most of the time. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one, because it’s entirely possible that things went down like he said. Not that he’s off the hook for anything that happened afterwards.

“You were such an ass. You know that, right? You just don’t go around threatening people and blackmailing people, standing people up… KISSING PEOPLE. You just don’t do that.”

“I know. I was panicking. I don’t have an excuse. But I need you to believe that I never meant to hurt you.”

“Who says you hurt me? You just pissed me off.”

“Come on, Liz. I saw the look in your eyes the day I kissed you. I’ve never seen someone in so much pain in my whole life. I feel terrible that I’m the person that made you feel that way.”

“Why is so important to you? Why do you even care what I think about you?” Here, ladies and gents, is the real crux of the situation. Why does he give a damn? He obviously didn’t last week, or the week before. Now that he’s done with me, suddenly he cares about hurting my feelings. It doesn’t make any sense.

Max ducks his head, and swallows a few times before answering me.

“I care now for the same reason I cared then. You might not believe it, but I wasn’t trying to be a bastard to you. I care about you, Liz. I don’t know what happened to make you sullen and withdrawn all the time. I don’t know what took the sparkle of life out of your eyes. But I miss it. And I worry about you. I’ve been worried about you for a long time. You needed someone to wake you up out of your daze. I was hoping to get you interested in this assignment. And I really did need your help – that paper was a huge part of our grade. But I was hoping to get you interested in something. Anything. I needed to do something to make you miss the girl you used to be as much as I do.”

Wow. That was quite a speech. And not what I was expecting at all. His eyes are on the ground and his cheeks are flushed. I think he’s telling me the truth. The longest single speech he has made in his entire life, and every bit of me wants to believe him. Of course, my bits have been wrong before, but I want to believe him. I want to believe he can’t be acting this sincere.

“Uhm. Wow.”

Max glances back up at me.

“I’m not all that changed, you know. I just got tired of being the goody goody all the time.” I can’t tell him about Tess… it’s too humiliating, for him to find out I let myself get used like that. And now, the next big question…

“What do you want from me, Max? I can’t change. I can’t be that person I used to be anymore. What do you want?”

He finally looks me in the eye. “I want to be your friend. I want to get to know you. I want you to forgive me for being an ass.” It all came gushing out at once.

“I don’t know. You really pissed me off. I don’t deal well with high-handed people. And I don’t know if I can forgive you. How am I to know that you won’t do it again?

“I swear, nothing like that will ever happen again. As for knowing, I guess you’ll just have to trust me.”

“Ha! I can’t trust you further than I can throw you!”

“Then I guess I’ll have to earn your trust.”

“Uhmm..”

“Look, will you at least try to let me make amends? Please?”

You know, I can’t handle it when Maria gives me those hound-dog eyes, either. And Max is certainly a master of it. I know I’m going to regret this. I know this is a bad, bad decision on my part. But I’m so tired of fighting with everyone. And I so desperately want to believe him.

“Fine. But any more of that crap, and your ass is mine, mister.”
“Ok. Deal. You won’t regret this.”

I regret this already. This whole night.

“Oh. And one more thing.”

“Yes?”

“You kiss me again like that, and you will be very, very sorry. Do I make myself clear?”

“Crystal.”

We sit for a while and watch the stars, Max and me. I feel so good here, so different. Like I’ve come home. It’s the most at peace I’ve felt with myself in ages.
“I know what it’s like, you know.” Max breaks into my thoughts.

“You know what whats like?”

“Feeling alone, like an outsider. Out of place,”

“…”

“Isabel and I were found, right over there.” He points to some ambiguous point in the desert. “This is the first place I remember. I think that’s why I like it so much here.”

I have never thought about how weird it must be for Max and Isabel. I mean, their parents just dumped them out here, in the middle of nowhere. They have no idea where they came from. They have no clue about their past.

“I don’t remember much from my childhood either,”

“You don’t?”

“Not really. I remember my parents buying the Crashdown. It was so big, and there was so much to look at and explore.”

“How old were you?”

“4 or 5, I guess.”

“And you don’t remember anything before that?”

“Not really. Not clearly, anyway.”

“Oh.”

Akward slience for a few moments, then:

“So. Your 20 minutes are up.”

“Yeah, I guess so. Do you want to go back now?”

“No. I think I want to stay here for a while.”

Max smiles at me, and hands me the blanket from inside the Jeep. An hour ago, if you had told me that I would be sitting here with Max Evans, feeling comfortable in my own skin for once, I would have had Maria push some of her weird oils under your nose. Right now, though, I’m happy to lean back and watch the stars.

*



posted on 14-Aug-2002 11:02:19 PM by wenhaver
A/N: Hey everyone. Thanks for all the wonderful feedback and the bumps. I wish I could seem to get parts out faster.....

For those of you reading my other fic, you might have noticed it hasn't been updated in a while. I've got about 5 more parts of this story sketched out that I want to get out before I'll have time to get back to Mates. I haven't give up on it, tho.

Thank Wendy's ankle-eating yard for this part. If I had 2 whole feet, I'd prolly be doing dishes and cleaning my bathroom instead of writing *wink*


Part 13
It’s really late. We stayed in the desert until my eyes grew heavy, and Max caught me falling asleep. He managed to get me into the car, and as soon as we got off the bumpy death-road, I passed out. Max woke me up when we reached the Crashdown and walked me to the front door. Quite the gentleman. And quiet the change from the ass he has been for the past few weeks. I’m still not sure what is up with the whole change. But I’m willing to go with it. It’s been so long since I trusted anyone. I don’t know if I can anymore. But I want to believe he’s sincere. I want to believe that the human condition isn’t as inherently tarnished as my experience with Tess would let me believe.

Don’t blow this, Max.

I’m creeping up the back stairs. I should have just climbed up the balcony, but I wasn’t really awake when Max left me at the door. I figure, since I’m in I might as well finish behaving like a criminal in my own home. Although, I’m not sure that breaking into my room via the balcony would be any better.

I get to my room, managing to avoid the creaky step, and sneak into my room. I tiptoe to my desk and turn on the lamp.

Surprise!

A very sleepy Maria blinks up at me from her place on the floor. In front of her are two spoons, and beside her is a blue cooler. I bet you anything there’s vanilla ice cream and strawberry syrup in there. While I appreciate the gesture, and I’m in a good enough mood to talk to her without trying to strangle her, I’m just too tired to deal with what is sure to be a very emotional conversation with a very emotional Maria.

“Hey” Maria holds out on of the spoons as if it’s a shield against my coming wrath. Normally she wouldn’t be far off. Tonight… well, tonight is just different. I still have the peace of the desert wrapped around me.

“Hey.”

“So. I come bearing ice cream and waving a white flag.”

“I don’t see a flag.”

“It’s invisible. But it’s there.”

“Ah. “

“Liz, I’m so sorry. So so so so sorry. This week has sucked. What do I need to do to make it up to you?”

“Maria, I appreciate the ice cream and the invisible flag. I really do. And we’ll talk this out, I promise. But how about you pull out the trundle bed and tuck yourself in and let me collapse for now?”

“Uhm, sure.” She’s looking at me suspiciously, like I’m going to put snakes in her bed, or freeze her bra or something.

“I swear, Maria. No tricks. I’m just really, really tired.”

“Oh really? What were you and Maxie up to all night?”

“Drop it, ‘Ria. We are not ok enough for you to start teasing me. We are ok enough that I won’t torment you in your sleep.”

Maria looks down at her feet, then back up at me.

“Ok. I can deal with that for now.”

“Night, Maria.”

“Good night, Liz.”

For the first time in four years, I fall straight into bed. Without a shower. Without tossing and turning. Without a care.

*

I woke up alone in my room. The feeling of peace is still there, but it’s fading. Max promised to take me back to the desert tonight. I’ll need it after waitressing all day. Maybe I work some of that guilt Maria is harboring to get her to take the second half of my shift. I’d like to watch the sunset tonight.

Don’t get me wrong. Maria is still in the dog house. And without this odd inner stillness that I seem to have found, I wouldn’t even be talking to her at all. But I do recognize the role she played in me finding that place. So, I’m willing to start letting her make it up to me.

And, I miss her. Her motor mouth, her delusions, her weird oils – Maria. But don’t tell her that. She still went far out of bounds with that trick she pulled on me. It’s always been Us against the Parents. She broke the cardinal rule, and she needs to be reminded that there are some things best friends just don’t do to each other. They don’t lie and they don’t betray.

I hear my door open, and Maria is standing there with a spoon in front of her again, looking like she doesn’t believe that last night’s goodwill has stretched into the morning. She’s actually being very brave, considering that I’m not much of a morning person even when I’m not mad at her. Still, I don’t think I’m quite ready for ice cream Sugar before 10 am just grosses me out.

“Liz?” Maria’s got a questioning and almost pleading tone in her voice.

“Hey. I’m going to go take a shower and get ready for my shift. I’ll talk to you after, ok?”

“Yeah, ok, sure.” She looks puzzled, but I think she’s willing to go with it.

“Oh, and Liz? I, uhm. I talked to your dad. I told him about last night. You know, how it wasn’t really a school thing. He was wondering why you weren’t talking me to or Alex. And he said you could have tonight off, and that he’s really sorry for jumping all over you.”

“Really? Where is he? I’d like to have a word with him.” Finally! Proof that I’m right, and he’s been unjustly jumping to conclusions!

“Oh, he had to go to Hondo today. Some restaurant supply something-or-other. That’s why he had me tell you.” She waves and ducks out of the door. She knows what’s coming. The second I have something on my dad, and he runs so I can’t bust him. Argh! The story of my life!

*

The stillness has almost entirely left me, now that I’m heading down the stairs to start work. A familiar hollow feeling takes it’s place. Funny, I never really noticed it before. Seven hours, and I’m on my way back to the desert. With Max. I’m not sure how I feel about that, in the harsh light of day. I still want to believe in him, but a large part of my brain is convinced that he’s going to let me down.

Don’t screw this up, Max.

Maybe I’ll be able to ask him about those stars I saw when he kissed me tonight. Nah, he’s going to think I’m nuts. And. I’d have to bring up the part about the kissing. And I want to do that about as much as I want to stick my bare hand into the fryer. Ok, so no bringing up the stars. It was probably just my mind playing tricks on me. It has to be. I mean, who sees stars when someone they don’t even like kisses them?

A nutcase, that’s who.

On to the grind. HimynameisLizandI’llbeyourwaitress……

*

Call me a coward, but I don’t feel like dealing with Maria. She’s been here most of the day, waiting for me to get off. She has the day off, so she’s just been mooching free Alien Blasts and Men in Blackberry pie. She’s had so much sugar today she’s sure to be bouncing off the walls. I can’t handle SuperMaria on a good day, in the best of moods. So today is right out.

I clock out, and look around for Maria, to see if I can sneak upstairs without her noticing. I plan on locking myself in and climbing down from the balcony. I know, a little extreme. But you really have no idea what SuperMaria can be like.

Funny, I don’t see her. I decide not to question my luck, and dart up the stairs. Just about enough time to shower and get the grease smell off before Max gets here to pick me up.

A ten-minute shower… just enough time to wash my hair twice with that strawberry shampoo Maria gave me for my birthday. My mom would be so pleased. I don’t remember the last time I spent to little time in the shower. I need to make sure I have enough time to get ready and get down the balcony before Maria realizes I’m gone. I’d never hear the end of this otherwise.

What is Max Evans doing to me? I see stars and find inner peace and sneak out on my best friend. Remind me to check myself into therapy. First thing after I get back from the desert.

I learned my lesson last night, so tonight I’ve got on both a turtleneck and a sweater. I’m bringing my jacket as well. Hopefully Max will be a gentleman and put the roof up, but I don’t know if he’s capable of being a gentleman. So, layers.

Keys, cell phone, and wallet are shoved into a bag, and I’m on my way over the balcony railing. Right on time.

*

I can’t believe this. I’ve been sulking in this alley for two hours now, and there’s no sign of Max. I’m going back upstairs. Maybe he called and left a message. Or something. He had to…. Otherwise that would mean….

That would mean I’ve been stood up.

My only thought as I climb back into my room is Last chance, Max. Don’t screw it up….”

I feel so lame, but I’m actually running over to my answering machine. The little message indicator light is glowing a steady red. No messages at all. That means no messages from Max. It took him less than 24 hours to completely lose all my trust.

My eyes are blurring as I grab my mom’s car keys and run downstairs. I get in the car, and start to drive.

*
posted on 2-Nov-2002 8:25:17 PM by wenhaver
Wow. People are still bumping!

No, I haven't given up. See, I'm in my first semester of law school. It's 17 credits and about 30 extra hours of studying a week. And, if I wanna eat I have to work, too.

In short, I'm tired. But! I haven't given up on this fic. I have it all planned out, and the next part is half done. I just need to find the time to do something with it.

I know it's a long time, but I'm asking for another month. Then I promise lots of updates over break.

Deal? *big*

Heidi
posted on 31-Dec-2002 11:56:04 AM by wenhaver
I'm coming back. Really and truly. I'm on break from school, and I did promise to come back.

As a warm up, I wrote this.

Give me a few days, and I'll have something new for this story, I promise!

heidi