posted on 18-Jun-2002 12:53:21 PM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

I've had yet another idea that I haven't seen used yet. So please indulge me by reading this first chapter. And, as always, I'd really like to know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

Disclaimer: I own none of the Roswell characters
CATEGORY: M/L and the gang
SUMMARY: Max has been reared on Earth, in preparation for the duties that will befall him when the time comes for him to fulfill his duties as king of Antar. He’s supposed to have been familiarizing himself with Earth’s people and their culture, with the ultimate goal of choosing a mate from among Earth’s inhabitants, in order to united the two worlds. Unfortunately, he’s been distracted by his hormones as well as one very opportunistic Antarian peer. Read on to find out if, or how, Max deals with what has been decided for him.

“Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”

Chapter 1

(Max, Isabel, Michael, and Tess are eating at their favorite hangout)

“Well, guys, in two days we graduate. I can’t wait to put all this juvenile stuff behind me,” Max said as he sat back leisurely in his usual seat at the Crashdown.

“You know, Max, the whole time we’ve been here on Earth, I’ve never been able to figure out why we were put here,” his sister Isabel said.

“Well, it couldn’t have been too important. Otherwise, we’d have been filled in on the details by now,” Max’s best friend Michael added.

The only thing that had ever been on Tess’ agenda was to become more than just friends with Max. After all, she and Max did come from the two most powerful families on Antar. It made all the sense in the world to her that they should become united so that they could take the throne together to rule Antar, and Earth for that matter, in the way she thought they should be ruled. Of course, she’d never verbally made such comments to Max or the others, since Max had never shown any interest in her in that way. But now that school would be finishing, she hoped she’d be able to influence Max in that direction, since he wouldn’t be spending as much time with his sister or best friend. Instead of beginning at this point to verbalize her ultimate goals, she decided to just play along for the time being with the thoughts of her friends. “Well, hey, whatever the reason, I’m sure our elders will fill us in as soon as we finish this part of our lives,” she stated seemingly innocently.

As the four of them were talking, “plain Jane” Liz Parker timidly approached them to take their order. Ever since the four young people had been living in Roswell, Liz had silently yearned to be acquainted with them, especially the young man Max. Although she had observed over the years the seemingly carefree attitude Max had always displayed in every aspect of his life, she couldn’t help but believe, and hope, that there was more to him than that. There were times when she’d observed him at school that she honestly got the impression he had so much more potential than the efforts she’d seen him put forth in school.

Of course, the biggest reason Liz had never attempted to befriend any of the four was because of her appearance. As a child, she’d been in a car accident that had almost taken her life. Although she’d survived, she still bore the scars of her injuries from that accident. She’d been badly disfigured, and a good part of the disfigurement was observable on her face and arms. Over the years, she’d been teased and tormented mercilessly. Such abuse had contributed to her developing into the shy person who was now timidly approaching the four.

“Hi. My name’s Liz. I’ll be your waitress today. What can I get for you?” she said almost mechanically, afraid to speak in any other tone, for fear they would actually notice her and begin teasing her about her scars.

Without even looking up, Max responded, “I’ll have a Will Smith burger, Saturn rings, and a Cherry Coke.”

“I’ll have the same,” Michael added.

“I’ll just have some Saturn rings and a Cherry Coke,” Isabel stated.

“Me too,” added Tess.

“All right. I’ll bring your drinks back shortly,” Liz said, and then walked away.

As she did walk away, Isabel spoke. “You know, I’ve always wondered about that girl.”

“Who are you talking about,” Max asked.

“Liz, our waitress.”

“What have you wondered?” Max asked out of curiosity.

“How she got that scar on her face and arms.”

“Who cares about that, Isabel?” Tess stated in as disinterested a tone as she could muster.

Although Max had always prided himself on not taking himself or anyone else too seriously, he’d always privately felt a measure of pity for people who’d been hurt in any way. Although, after hearing Isabel’s comment, Max realized he’d never paid attention to the young girl who was their waitress. Being honest with himself, he’d never even noticed her in school. But when he heard Tess’ coldhearted comment, he felt a measure of indignation that she should seem so uncaring of another person, even if that person was from Earth.

“You know,” Max began, “maybe that’s one of the reasons we were put here, to understand what kinds of things people on Earth have to deal with in their lives.”

“Where’s that coming from, being all philosophical all of a sudden?” Michael asked out of curiosity. He’d never heard Max make such a caring statement about anyone before, let alone Earthlings.

Realizing he’d revealed a part of himself he didn’t even know existed, Max tried covering himself. “Hey, I was just making an observation, is all. If you recall, we were just commenting about wondering why we were put here on Earth to grow into adults.”

As Max was finishing his comment, Liz came back with their drinks. “Here are your drinks. Your food will be ready shortly,” she said, without looking at any of them; then she walked quickly away.

This time, after Isabel’s comment, Max couldn’t help but casually glance up at the young waitress. The scar he saw made him gasp. He’d never seen someone so badly disfigured before. Suddenly, he felt a pain of emotion that was so new to him. Never had he felt like this before. He searched in his mind for several seconds, trying to identify the emotion he was feeling. Finally, it occurred to him…..He was feeling empathy for someone he didn’t even know. Though it was a whole new sensation for him, he found a measure of comfort from it, though he felt it would be wise not to share his revelation with the others. For now, he would have to examine it privately, so that, ultimately, he hoped he would figure out why he was being so pleasantly affected by it and possibly develop the sensation further.

As Max was meditating on the new sensation, Liz again walked up to their table with the food they’d ordered. “Please let me know if there’s anything else I can get you,” she said as she began to walk away.

“Uh, Liz,” Max said.

“Yes,” she said as she slowly turned only partially around.

Her only partial movement did not go unnoticed by Max. Not wanting to give the appearance of staring, he quickly said, “Could you bring us some Tobasco sauce, please.”

“Sure. I’ll be right back.”

As Liz walked away, she felt a tiny smile on her face. She had never thought she’d live to see the day when Max Evans would actually speak to her. ‘If I had to die right here and now,’ she thought to herself, ‘I would die a happy teenager, because my secret love just spoke my name, and his voice was heavenly.’

tbc-????

*happy**happy**happy**happy**happy*

[ edited 12time(s), last at 4-Oct-2002 9:28:44 PM ]
posted on 19-Jun-2002 11:22:59 AM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

Thank you so much for such encouraging feedback. I actually have another part finished. So I'm going to show my appreciation for your FB by posting it now. Once again, let me know what you think.

Hope you enjoy it.

Chapter 2

There were only a few more days left before graduation, and Liz thought to herself it wouldn't be long before Max Evans would walk out of her life once and for all, though she had to admit, he never really had been in her life in the first place. She chose not to dwell on it further, since there was no point in becoming depressed over wishes that would never come to be. Instead, she quietly went about the business of getting herself ready for Stanford, a journey she had been preparing herself for during all her years of high school.
*****

After the discussion Max and the others had had in the Crashdown a week earlier, none of them had given much thought to the person who had been part of their topic of conversation. They all had much more exciting events to look forward to, that of graduation and the parties that would follow later that evening. As Max had mentioned that day, during all the time he'd been on Earth, living with his surrogate family the Evanses, he'd never been given any indication of what his purpose was for being there in the first place.

As time had progressed over the years, his curious nature about such questions had subsided. Instead, he and his sister Isabel, and Michael and his sister Tess, had become consumed with the everyday goings-on of the average Earth teenager, at least what was considered 'everyday goings-on' for teens growing up in Roswell. Whether they knew it or not, that was all about to change in a way that none of them would be prepared for or willing to accept. So the 'powers that be' had chosen to let them have their last opportunity of complete freedom before they were made aware of what would be expected of them once they graduated from high school. Although, in fact, the 'last opportunity' was really only for the benefit of one of the four in particular. The other three would be left to continue their lives in a 'normal fashion' for a time.

Max and Michael were making their final plans for their dates for grad night. Max would be escorting Tess, and Michael would be escorting Isabel. Of course, three of the teens saw the dates as only innocent fun with their best friends, and the only ones they felt comfortable with, since they all had the same heritage. However, one teen in particular had an entirely different scenario planned out in her mind that she was only too eager to implement.
*****

Liz was closing up the Crashdown the night before graduation, along with her good friend and coworker Maria DeLuca, when Maria's pals Kyle and Alex walked in the door. Because of her shy and timid nature, Liz had never been able to have a friendship with them as Maria was. Her biggest concern was always the worry of how people would view her with her scars.

Maria, on the other hand, had been able to break through the wall Liz had built around herself, probably because she'd had the chance to see the wonderful human being Liz Parker was on the inside. She'd been able to observe her kindness and genuine humanity for others during the two years she'd been working for Liz's father in the Crashdown. It saddened her deeply to see how Liz kept to herself, even when Maria would be having great conversations with Kyle and Alex. She knew them well enough to know that, if Liz would just give them even half a chance, they would all be able to be great friends. But she also knew the insecurities and fears Liz had of herself because of her looks. She'd tried many times to invite Liz to go out with her and the guys, but Liz had always declined. Maria did not doubt that Liz had no plans whatsoever to go to grad night, or even to graduation for that matter. She had come to know Liz well enough to know that Liz cherished her solitude, where she could be free of the quiet taunts and sarcastic remarks that only succeeded in plunging her even deeper into her web of depression. Even so, Maria couldn't resist trying at least one last time before school was out to convince Liz she should come, if only because it would be the last time she'd have the chance to change her mind.

"So, Liz, how are your plans coming for grad night?" Maria asked casually as the guys were walking in.

"You know how I feel about that, Maria. I have no desire to go there for more humiliation." Liz answered resolutely.

Before Maria could respond, Kyle spoke up. "Hey, Maria, you about ready for grad night?"

"You bet I am, buddy. I was just trying to convince my coworker here to join us for our last harrah as high school students."

Though Kyle and Alex had never gotten well enough acquainted with Liz, except to think of her as Maria's coworker, they were feeling generous this night. "Yeah, Liz, how about it? This is our last chance before we have to join the real world of full-time jobs and underpay," Kyle said sarcastically.

Though Liz had seen them in the Crashdown often, she'd never had a lengthy conversation with them, and she wasn't about to start now, trying to make up for lost time, as it were.

"Actually, I have other plans," she lied.

"Oh, really? You never told me about them," Maria said inquiringly. "What could you possibly have in mind to do that's more important than all the parties coming up for seniors that night?"

Liz hadn't prepared a response to such a question, but she didn't want to try making something up either. She pulled Maria to her and softly spoke, "Maria, you know I have no intention of going to any of those parties. So I'd appreciate it if you'd just drop the subject altogether," she said in a warning tone.

Maria had heard that tone before and knew she better stop while she was ahead. She knew there was no way, when Liz was in this frame of mind, of being able to change her mind. "Okay, then.
"So, guys, fill me in on what you've got planned for us." After Maria had helped in closing up the Crashdown, she sat with the guys at a table and went over the plans the three of them had cooked up for grad night.

As Liz watched them reveling in one another's company, she felt a twinge of envy that they could so freely come together and speak of inconsequential matters. She knew she would never have such a relationship, and she began crying inwardly for the loss of her innocence so many years ago from one person's momentary lapse of concentration in their driving. Again, she didn't want to dwell on it. So she called over to Maria, "Maria, would you please turn out the lights and lock up when you guys are leaving?"

"Sure, Chica. No problem," she said as she remained in her position at the table with Alex and Kyle.

That was where Liz left them as she headed up to her bedroom and the balcony she'd come to depend upon for solitude and the chance to stargaze, something she'd never been able to find anyone to enjoy it with her. Of course, honestly, she'd never tried to. But she'd always reasoned, who'd want to watch the stars with me anyway?"
*****

Graduation and then Grad night had come and gone a week earlier , and, of course, Liz had not attended either. Though she was glad she had not subjected herself to what she knew she would have heard, part of her deep down did regret missing it. But the only person she knew who missed her being there was her friend Maria. Liz had made light of her own absence, making excuses that she had a lot to do before leaving to attend Stanford in the fall, which, in actuality, that was still a good three months away. But she'd been doing everything she could to keep her mind off the loss she'd felt after graduation.
Her first priority was to find a car that would function well enough to get her back and forth to visit her family during vacations and holiday breaks, which was what she was doing this fine, beautiful day that she'd taken no notice of, mainly because the car she had been driving had broken down when she was not even halfway to her destination. And, of course, as Murphy's Law would have it, the battery in her cell phone was dead, and there was no phone booth to be found for miles, or for that matter, nearby homes for her to go to for assistance. 'This is great,' she chided herself, as she sat in her car. She'd been stranded for several hours, and it was now getting dark. She was not going to reach her destination this day

What she did notice, though, was all the stars she could see, since she was in an area of desert where there were virtually no lights to interfere with the beauty of their light. Though she knew she should be afraid to be out here alone like this, somehow the skies beckoned to her to such an extent that she felt no fear whatsoever. She decided this would be a perfect opportunity to position herself on her car and just lie comfortably, and enjoy the beautiful sky above her.
*****

Max was returning home to Roswell from a trip to Las Cruces, preparing himself for college in the fall. He'd gotten a late start back because of having to wait so long, in a line of several hundred other prospective students, waiting to register for the fall semester. When he'd finally been able to head back, it had been getting dark. By the time he was still an hour out of Roswell, it was getting really dark. It occurred to him he hadn't been able to take advantage of the beautiful, clear nights in the last week because of the trip he'd been preparing for to Las Cruces. Now that he'd gotten registered, he decided he'd finally be able to take some time and enjoy one of the few passions in his life, stargazing.

As he was deciding where he'd pull off the road to enjoy his passion, he noticed a car that was pulled over. Concerned that perhaps someone had broken down, as much as he wanted to relax a little with his passion, he decided he better just be a Good Samaritan and see if everything was all right before he could conscientiously continue on.
*****

Liz had been so engrossed in her stargazing, she eventually had fallen asleep. So to say she was startled to hear someone's voice was putting it mildly. Initially, she was petrified to hear the voice. But as she continued hearing it, she realized it sounded oddly familiar. Finally, the owner of the voice came into her view.

Feeling extremely vulnerable and embarrassed, she immediately jumped off her car, trying to hide her face as she responded. "Hi….Max; right?"

"Yeah, that's right. Who…..oh, now I remember. Liz; right?"

Too tongue-tied to say anything else, she could only nod.

"I'm sorry if I startled you. I was just heading home, and trying to find a good place to pull over to do some stargazing before continuing, when I saw your car.
"Are you okay?" he asked.

Again, Liz could only nod.

"What are you doing out here, all by yourself like this? If you were my sister, I'd be really upset to find her out here by herself."

Forgetting her shyness, she ventured to speak, "Well, I didn't really have any choice."

"What do you mean?" he asked in confusion.

"Well, I guess you could say I had a 'Murphy's Law' day. Just about anything that could go wrong did go wrong." Without even realizing how she was opening up, she continued, forgetting how embarrassed she'd felt only moments ago. "First, I was heading out to a car dealership to trade in this clunker. But, of course, I didn't make it because the stupid thing broke down. Then, when I tried using my cell phone to call for help, I realized my battery was dead. And, as you can see, I didn't end up anywhere near a pay phone or anyone's home to ask to borrow their phone."

After a brief pause, she continued, "So I just decided I might as well enjoy the stars while I have the chance, since I haven't been able to do that in a long time," she finished.

In all the time Max had been aware of her existence, which had really only been a few weeks, he'd never known she could actually put a sentence together. Not only that, as she was speaking, he learned something else about her that surprised him. Until now, he hadn't known of anyone else who enjoyed stargazing but himself. Even Isabel, Michael, and Tess, though they'd come from out there just as he had, never really appreciated and enjoyed their beauty as much as he did.

As Max came out of his haze, he realized Liz had stopped talking. "Well, I was just thinking how much I've been wanting to do that myself recently. I just haven't seemed to be able to find the right moment until now. Do you mind if I join you?" he asked with a measure of hope in his voice.

This was something Liz could never have dreamed up in even her best fantasy. Knowing for a certainty she'd never have another chance like this, she responded in what she hoped would be a noncommittal tone, though inside she was ecstatic at the opportunity. "By all means. There's plenty of sky to go around for both of us, I think."

Without uttering a word, Max reached for Liz's hand and pulled her over to his Jeep and helped her up into the passenger's seat. Just feeling her hand in his made her shiver. She'd never had the opportunity to hold someone's hand like this before. She knew without a doubt this would be a night she would remember for a very, very long time.
*****

Neither Max nor Liz spoke for a very long time. Somehow, neither felt uncomfortable from the silence. If anything, they both felt a measure of peace and calm that surprised them both. They'd both been quiet for over an hour, just enjoying the view. Finally, Max heard Liz take in a deep, relaxing breath. He turned toward her, only to see she had apparently fallen asleep. He realized what a harrowing day she must have had. Not wanting to awaken her, but wanting to get a closer look at her, he gently brushed aside the soft, raven hair that had been hiding her face. He'd remembered what Isabel had told him about Liz's scarring from an accident. He'd hoped that, if he could just heal it a little, she would not feel so damaged. Much to his dismay, however, his healing touch seemed to have no effect on her. Max was used to being able to heal others, though he'd always used much caution so as not to reveal too much of his gifts to onlookers, who might then want him to misuse those powers. But now, when he really hoped he could do some good for someone who would be deserving, he was not successful.

As he continued looking at Liz as she slept, he could understand why she felt embarrassed. It truly was the ugliest scar he'd ever seen. He was so deep in thought in his confusion of not being able to heal her that he didn't realize she'd awakened from his touch.

Immediately, Liz jumped out of his car. She'd somehow thought he was different. But now she was sure he would make fun of her behind her back, just like everyone else in town had done over the years. She backed away from his Jeep, feeling angry and hurt.

"Where are you going, Liz?"

"Somehow, I thought you were different, Max. Somehow I thought maybe, since we'd enjoyed the stars together tonight, maybe you could accept me, in spite of my scars. But I was wrong. You're just like everyone else. I bet you can't wait to get back to your friends to tell them how you touched 'the leper' and lived to tell about it."

"What are you talking about, Liz?" Max asked in bewilderment. He had no idea what would make her react this way. The thoughts she'd expressed couldn't have been further from the truth.

"Just leave, Max."

"But how will you get home?"

"Don't worry. You don't have to feel guilty about my safety. No one's likely to hurt someone with this face now, are they?" she said with more hatred in her voice than Max could have ever imagined anyone could feel.

"Liz, please, let me" --

"Don't waste your energy. I'll be fine. Now go, will you."

Max realized, if he was going to help her, he was going to have to take matters into his own hands, and not allow her to push him away as she was trying to.

"I'm sorry, Liz. You're not getting away from me that easily. There's no way I'm leaving you out here by yourself. If you don't get back in this Jeep right now, I'll tie you up, if I have to, just so I can make sure you get home safely."

"You wouldn't dare."

"You obviously don't know me very well. I'm very serious, and I don't change my mind once I've made a decision. And this is one of those times I've made a decision. You either come with me voluntarily, or I tie you to the seat."

Not sure Max was serious, but not wanting to test the limits of his words, she decided she better get back in. Even as she did, Max could tell she too had made some kind of private decision. He had a feeling he wasn't going to get another word out of her the rest of the trip into town. At this point, he was too angry to worry about that. His only concern now was to make sure she got back safely. After that, he didn't care if she dropped off the face of the earth, as long as he didn't feel responsible for that outcome. He knew the next hour was going to be one of the longest hours he'd remember for a very long time.
tbc-?????

*wink**wink**wink**wink**wink*
posted on 8-Jul-2002 9:57:35 PM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

Sorry I haven't posted a part in such a long time. I got so involved with a train of thought on another fic that I forgot about this one. So here's the next part. Once again, I LOVE feedback! So please let me know what you think.

Disclaimer: I own none of the Roswell characters
CATEGORY: M/L and the gang
SUMMARY: Max has been reared on Earth, in preparation for the duties that will befall him when the time comes for him to fulfill his duties as king of Antar. He’s supposed to have been familiarizing himself with Earth’s people and their culture, with the ultimate goal of choosing a mate from among Earth’s inhabitants, in order to united the two worlds. Unfortunately, he’s been distracted by his hormones as well as one very opportunistic Antarian peer. Read on to find out if, or how, Max deals with what has been decided for him.


Chapter 3

It had been a few weeks since Liz's unusual encounter with Max. As angry as she had been with him, she was kicking herself that she'd let her temper get the better of her. Now she cringed at the very idea of possibly running into him, especially at the Crashdown, since he had come there often in the past to eat. But she'd noticed, ever since her outburst, he hadn't been into the Crashdown ever once. She didn't even really know the young man, but she was intensely feeling the loss of his nearness, even if only in a superficial way at the Crashdown.

'Well,' she thought to herself, 'you better get used to it. It's going to be even worse when you leave for school in just a few more weeks.' Still, she'd wished she could somehow take back whatever terrible things she must have said to him for him to obviously be avoiding her at all costs.
*****

Max hadn't been to the Crashdown ever since his run-in with Liz a few weeks back. He still couldn't put his finger on why he was so angry with her. When he reflected back on what she'd said, he knew she was expressing hurt over things people had said and done to her over the years. He kept trying to assure himself that he had never said or done any of the things that must have hurt her during all that time. But he began realizing about himself he could have done something to have made her feel more accepted. He couldn't help but remind himself how many times over the years he'd been to the Crashdown and never even realized Liz Parker existed. He'd heard through the grapevine that she'd be leaving in a very short time for Harvard. Somehow it just didn't feel right to let her go without him taking the time to apologize to her for his arrogance over the years. But then it occurred to him she might just see his effort as some form of pity. He knew in his heart of hearts it was not pity he felt for her, but he also knew he would never be able to convince her of that. In the end, he decided to play it safe and do……absolutely nothing.

Time was rapidly drawing close for him to prepare to head off to the dorms in Las Cruces, still not having a clue what his purpose was supposed to be for growing up on Earth, far from the planet from which he came. Unknown to Max, though, time was also fast approaching for him to learn what was expected from him. The question would ultimately be, would he be willing to make the needed sacrifices to fulfill his responsibilities. Only time and the willingness of others as well would determine Max's ultimate destiny.
*****

For weeks now, ever since graduation, Tess had been trying to manipulate situations that would somehow get Max to draw closer to her in an intimate way. But she'd noticed, for some reason she could not fathom, if anything, Max seemed more withdrawn than ever, not just toward her, but toward his own sister and best friend as well. She didn't have a clue what could be going on in that handsome head of his. When the time would finally come for her to learn of everyone's destiny, though, she was going to be in for a rude awakening. She was not going to like the outcome.
*****

Liz was now almost counting down the hours until she would finally leave Roswell, New Mexico, once and for all. Although she knew she'd never be accepted into society because of her scars, she welcomed the opportunity she was being given of at least being able to leave for the purpose of higher education. She still hadn't gotten up the courage to apologize to Max for her rude behavior. But so much time had now gone by that the urgency didn't seem to be there any longer. She'd been able to convince herself it would not have accomplished anything anyway.
*****

Just days before everyone was to leave for destinations 'unknown,' or at least for places very far away, something extraordinary took place in Roswell that no one could have foreseen. Max and Isabel's Antarian parents finally made a trip to Earth. Because most people in Roswell didn't have a clue about Max and Isabel's origins, though, the extraordinary occurrence went pretty much undetected to the unsuspecting inhabitants of Roswell. There were, however, going to be a few who would be among the privileged few to be graced with their presence, although for a long time into the immediate future, they were not going to feel so privileged.

Max had just arrived home from having run some errands that day. When he walked into his home, he found Mr. And Mrs. Evans, along with Isabel, sitting in what appeared to be a very stiff manner. "What's going on with you guys?" he asked as he threw his leather jacket on the sofa. When they didn't answer, he followed their gaze. As soon as he saw the distinguished couple, though he couldn't remember them, he knew immediately who they were.

"Father. Mother. I've been expecting you for such a long time. Why have you never come to visit before now?" he asked, partially out of anger.

"Well, my son," King Zan said to him, "we've been trying to give you time to learn enough about the people of Earth to help you in fulfilling your destiny as Antar's next reigning king."

'You've got to be kidding,' Max said to no one but himself. When he said nothing to his father, King Zan continued. "We’ve been observing you for a very long time, and we have not seen you improve or grow in the areas that will be vital for you to rule Antar with dignity, discernment, and, most of all, empathy for your people."

It was obvious to King Zan that Max didn't have a clue where he was going with this information. So he decided the best way to make it perfectly clear was to just spell it out. "Max, it's time for you to come home with us so that you can get the needed training to be able to follow in my footsteps when the time arrives."

Max could not believe his ears. His Antarian father and mother had the audacity to have left him and Isabel here on Earth basically as orphans, with no direction whatsoever as to why they were here? His next thought ended up being verbal, and not just in his head. "And now you're telling Isabel and me that we are being called home, just when we're going to be able to experience life here on Earth as mature adults?"

"Well, part of what you're saying is correct, my son."

Feeling his anger building by the second, Max spoke yet again. "And just what part of what I said is not correct?" he said in an undercurrent of rage.

"On this trip back, we will only be taking you. Isabel will be remaining here with Michael and Tess."

Even Isabel, who'd been quiet the entire time, was stunned by this news. Max and she had grown up together and had depended on each other for the emotional support they could give to one another, under the circumstances of which they lived. For the first time, Isabel attempted to speak. "But Father…."

Before she could finish her thought, though, her father put out his hand, indicating for her to be silent. "I know this will seem harsh for you. But we have decided it is the only way for you, Max, to learn to stand on the emotional strength you have. Because you've always had Isabel and the others to depend on, you have never taken the initiative to develop the character that will be needed for you to rule Antar effectively. Besides, we have decided the time is drawing near for you to take a wife…"

At his father's last few words, Max exploded. "Take a wife? I'm not ready to get married. I don't want to get married. And what's more, I refuse to be pushed into getting married," Max said in a rage Isabel had never seen the likes of before. She'd never known Max to have such an amount of anger within him.

His father continued, "I'm glad to see you have some measure of strength to speak in such a strong manner. This is exactly what I mean about your training. We need to funnel that in a way that will benefit our people…." King Zan trailed off, knowing his next words would really send Max over the edge. "We know it will be difficult, Max, but I feel it only fair to tell you, we have also taken the liberty of choosing your betrothed."

King Zan's words no sooner came out of his mouth than Max truly did explode. You've what?!!!!!!!! How dare you? I refuse to go with you. You cannot force me to return with you."

"On the contrary, my son. I can, and I will. You see, I have the benefit of many years of experience of life on Antar. I have learned how to develop my power and my gifts. And I will use everything I have learned to get you back home. Whatever you have in mind to do will be of no benefit to you in escaping.
"I know this is all coming as a shock to you. So I will allow you three days to get your things packed and to mentally prepare yourself for the journey. Your mother and I will return at sundown in three days, which will be Friday here on Earth. I expect you to be packed and ready to travel. And remember, if you try to hide, no matter where you will be, I have the power to find you. So don't waste your time or ours on any foolish notions you may have."

Shortly after finishing his last statement, King Zan and his wife were gone, leaving a very confused and emotionally drained teenage boy in their wake. Isabel was in tears, knowing she had only three days to be with Max before he was taken away from her for however long her father deemed necessary.

Michael and Tess had not been made privy to this visit. But when they learned of it, it was Tess who seemed to be as upset as Max himself. He'd taken her grief as that of a sister missing her brother, just as he'd known Isabel was taking it. But when Tess had found the right moment that she happened to be alone with Max, she tried making it clear to him what her real intentions and thoughts were for him.

"Didn't you know, Max, I've loved you ever since we were children. I've always thought I was supposed to be your destiny, just as Michael was to be Isabel's."

Seeing how irrational Tess was becoming, Max realized he would need to treat this situation carefully. Putting his arms around Tess' shoulders ever so lightly, not wanting to lead her on, he said to her, "But, Tess, no one ever told us that was the case. Even when father and mother visited the other day, he gave no indication that you were going to be my betrothed. Surely, if that were the case, you would have been notified, and you would be returning with us." As Max continued trying to calm down Tess' irrational behavior, he found himself feeling glad that his father had not indicated Tess was his betrothed. Somehow, he almost felt relief over the thought that she wasn't coming with him. He'd only ever thought of Tess as a sister, just as he viewed Isabel, the difference, of course, being that Isabel really was his sister and Tess was not.

Max once again looked down at Tess. "Tess, as much as I hate to admit anything that my father said may have merit, I'm beginning to get an inkling that all four of us will be able to grow in ways that we'd never be able to if we remained together. And as much as I resent the idea of feeling like a pawn in my father's hands, I'm beginning to think it's something I really need to do. And I can't help but feel that the three of you will grow in ways you would not be able to if I remained." Once he'd finished sharing his rational thoughts with Tess, he gently raised her head up and he softly kissed her forehead. He knew Tess had wanted more, but he was afraid that to do so would leave her with hope that would be unfounded. And he knew it would be unfair for her to have such hope. He hugged her briefly and then stepped back.

"It's almost time for me to leave, Tess. I still need to say good-bye to Isabel and Michael and the Evanses. I've got to be going. Just know that I'll be thinking of all three of you even after I'm gone. Good-bye, Tess," he said, and then quickly turned and walked away before Tess could try cornering him yet again to commit himself, when he knew deep down it would be a lie to her.
*****
Once Max had said his final farewells to his family, he knew he better leave quickly, before he found himself breaking down in front of them. He knew he did not want to do that in front of King Zan. If anything, it would only serve to make him feel further justified in ripping Max from the only planet and family he'd really known. As he thought back on his life here on Earth, he realized how much he'd come to love the Evanses. Only now was he realizing he'd never told them often enough, and for that he was feeling regret.

Once he'd boarded the Granolith, he knew he'd be back on his home planet within a matter of hours. He still was not ready to have a civil conversation with his father. So he chose a seat far enough away from his father that he could daydream about the life he was leaving on Earth. During the course of his daydream, he was surprised to have someone else haunt his thoughts. He realized that with everything that had gone on, he'd completely forgotten about Liz Parker. After everything that had transpired in the last few days, his run-in with Liz seemed so trivial by comparison. Now he was wishing more than ever, although he had earlier resolved not to, that he had taken the time to speak with Liz to clear the air. He had owed her that much. But because of his arrogance, he had not. Now he would never have a chance to. That was the last thought Max had before he drifted off into a restless sleep before arriving home to Antar.

tbc-???

Well??
*tongue**tongue**tongue*
posted on 9-Jul-2002 12:04:22 AM by ravrac
Hi, Robyn:

Just want you to know, your question will be answered in a couple of chapters. But yes, there is a reason he was not able to heal her. Stay tuned to learn why.


posted on 12-Jul-2002 10:28:20 PM by ravrac
Hi, Guys:

Here's the next chapter. Just to warn you, part of it may be a little upsetting, but nothing is graphically described. With that piece of info, here's the next part. I'd love to hear what you think.

Disclaimer: I own none of the Roswell characters
CATEGORY: M/L and the gang
SUMMARY: Max has been reared on Earth, in preparation for the duties that will befall him when the time comes for him to fulfill his duties as king of Antar. He’s supposed to have been familiarizing himself with Earth’s people and their culture, with the ultimate goal of choosing a mate from among Earth’s inhabitants, in order to united the two worlds. Unfortunately, he’s been distracted by his hormones as well as one very opportunistic Antarian peer. Read on to find out if, or how, Max deals with what has been decided for him.

“Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”

Chapter 4

Liz was finally down to the last day before she'd be leaving Roswell behind once and for all. The closer the time got, the more eager she became. The one thing she was going to miss of her home, though, was the clarity of the stars at night in the desert. She decided, since it was her last night, she deserved to treat herself one last time to the natural beauty around her. She'd weeks ago finally gotten the car she'd need to make sure she didn't break down when she came back periodically to visit her family. So she had no worries this time when she went out to the desert to stargaze. Her family wasn't home because of last-minute errands they needed to do before Liz left. So she wrote them a brief note, telling them what highway she was heading out on, and that they'd be able to contact her by cell phone, if need be. This time she'd made absolutely certain she was not going to have a repeat of that god-awful experience she'd had with one Max Evans.

She found a spot she felt would give her the best view of the stars and proceeded to lie out on the hood of her car, just as she had been doing when Max found her that night. Though she hated to admit it, she found her thoughts drifting back to that moment. The more she thought about it, the more she realized how much she'd enjoyed Max's company that night. In so doing, she once again became angry with herself for having lost her temper. In truth, she was the one who had spoiled the moment. She was so engrossed in reliving that moment that she did not hear the stranger approach her car. Before she even had time to realize what was happening, she was being dragged down off her car and having her clothes ripped off of her. She'd tried to scream, for whatever good it would have done, but before she could, she'd been knocked unconscious.
*****

Liz slowly awakened from a foggy haze, not being able to identify where she was. She also did not remember what had happened until she attempted to sit up. Immediately, her head began pounding, and she had to quickly lie back down. Once she had lain back down, she also began realizing she was in a lot of pain. Her whole body was aching. She lay there for a few minutes, trying to see what she could last remember.

Suddenly, the nightmare came crashing down on her. She'd been out stargazing, when someone had unexpectedly grabbed her and begun ripping her clothes off and then knocked her unconscious. She lay there, silently crying for what had happened to her. She'd already felt worthless during all those years because of her scars. Now she knew without a doubt she would be viewed as 'damaged goods,' not just because of her physical appearance, but because of what had been taken away from her, the one thing that she had been proud of, her virginity.

Even the dream she'd had for so many years of going to Harvard had disappeared. At this point, all she wanted was to be put out of her misery. She no longer had the will to live.
*****
Max had been back on Antar for only a few days, but he was already becoming antsy, waiting for his father to begin the 'so-called training' he'd alluded to while they were on Earth. While he was in his room, still feeling a simmering anger toward his father, his father had walked in, unannounced.

Max had once again been daydreaming. So he did not hear his father's approach. King Zan stood behind Max for several minutes before Max was aware of his presence. When Max finally noticed his father, he was about to sarcastically ask what his father's plans were for him for the day, but his father spoke first.

"Max, I have something I need you to do today."

'And so it begins,' Max said under his breath. Even so, his father still heard him.

"Yes, it does begin now. I have someone I want you to visit in the infirmary," he said, with authority.

At the mention of the infirmary, Max was suddenly and inexplicably reminded of the time when he had tried healing Liz but had been unsuccessful. Forgetting the anger he was harboring toward his father, he decided to ask. "Father, why do we have an infirmary? Why do we need it, since there are those of us who can heal?"

"That's a relevant question, son. Just out of curiosity, have there been times you've attempted healing someone, only to find your powers had no effect?"

Not wanting to reveal the moment or the person, but wanting desperately to understand, Max chose only to answer in one word, "Yes."

King Zan could tell by the way his son responded that he had no wish to discuss the situation. So he was not going to question him further on it. But he was at least glad to know Max had experienced that. Whether Max knew it or not, that moment was a turning point in the direction of his finally beginning to mature. Zan knew the time would arrive when the subject would need to be discussed further. But he was perceptive enough to know this was not yet the time.

Zan realized he'd left his son hanging in relation to his question. So he knew he had to say something about it. "Your question deserves to be answered, son. But it will take longer than the amount of time I have available to me right now. I will answer it in due time. For now, however, it would mean a lot to me if you would do me the kindness of visiting someone for me."

Because Zan was so gracious in the way he asked the favor of Max, Max could not very well turn down his request. "Very well. Where will I find him?"

"Actually, the patient is a young woman. She was badly injured recently, almost to the point of dying. Our advisors felt it would be best to take care of her in a private room for the time being, until she regains some of her strength."

"What else do I need to know before I visit her?"

"I'm sure that will be sufficient for now. When I looked in on her earlier, she looked to be in such bad shape, I doubt she'll be in any kind of mood to carry on any kind of conversation." Zan responded. Of course, he knew a lot more than he was willing to let on. He had already made the decision to let the scenario play out naturally, without any interference from Zan or his advisors, and just see what the ultimate outcome would be.

"I must be going, son. I have some advisors I must meet with who are from one of the stars of our constellation. Let me know how our patient is doing, will you," he said over his shoulder as he left Max.
*****

Though Max had been in the infirmary for several minutes, he still hadn't found the young woman his father had told him about. He was just about to give up when he was passing a bed that had someone lying in it. Though he couldn't see the young woman's face, there was something that felt familiar about her. That thought seemed absurd to Max, since he was sure he hadn't met anyone who lived on Antar. But his curiosity was getting the better of him. So he proceeded to silently approach the bed.

When he was finally able to see the face of the patient, it was all he could do to muffle the gasp that threatened to escape his throat. There lying before him in the bed was none other than….. Liz Parker! She seemed to still be unconscious. And Max did not trust himself to remain silent at this point. There were so many questions crowding his thoughts all at once, not the least of which was -- WHY WAS LIZ PARKER HERE ON ANTAR? AND WHAT HAPPENED TO HER, FOR HER TO BE IN SUCH BAD SHAPE?

Max knew, before he could calmly and rationally check in on her, he needed to talk with his father. He was concerned about what to say to Liz when she herself started asking questions, and he didn't have a clue how to answer the ones he had, let alone the ones he knew she would definitely have.
*****
King Zan had been tied up with meetings with the advisors for the rest of the afternoon. So Max had waited in his father's office chambers for as long as it would take. He knew he could not risk looking in on Liz and have her awaken, only to have a ton of questions he definitely did not feel qualified to answer.

When King Zan finally entered his office, Max could tell from the slump in his shoulders how weary he must feel from the day's activities. There was a moment of…..was that concern he felt for his father? Then he remembered why he'd been waiting to see his father, and he quickly forgot about his father's slumping shoulders.

Max dutifully stood in his father's presence until King Zan motioned for him to sit. "How was the patient, Max?" He could tell by Max's body language that Max obviously had things on his mind. So he thought his one question would be enough to get Max to open up.

"To be perfectly honest with you, Father, I'm not really sure. I have to admit, I was totally shocked to see that it was a young woman I know from Earth. It occurred to me, when I saw her, if she awoke, I wouldn't have a clue what to say to her, especially when she will most assuredly ask 'Where am I?'
"How am I supposed to answer questions such as that, Father? And, for that matter, I myself would like to know why she's here."

"I see your dilemma," King Zan began. "Let me fill you in on how she came to be here. Perhaps that will aid you in knowing what you should explain to her."

"But I was hoping you would tell me what she needs to know. I don't want to frighten her, and I definitely don’t want to make any mistakes that could endanger anyone else."

"Those are both very valid points to keep in mind when deciding what to say. As to my telling you what to say, that would really defeat the whole object of my leaving her in your hands."

"What?!!! What do you mean you're leaving her in my hands?"
"As I see it, this is a perfect opportunity for you to begin further developing your knowledge of Earthlings. And since you're the only one on our planet who's ever had any direct contact with humans for any length of time, it only makes sense you would be the best qualified to help her in her recovery."

"But, Father…."

Before Max could ask any other questions, King Zan continued with his explanation of how Liz had ended up on their planet.

"As to how she ended up being here, let me explain. As we were on our way to meet with you at your home on Earth, we happened on the young woman. She was being attacked by another human being, a male. He had ripped her clothes off and….."

"Raped her?" Max asked in shock.

"No, son, she was not raped. Though I fear, if we had found her only a moment later, that would have definitely been the outcome. But the male beat her very badly, which left her in the shape we found her and which you saw in the infirmary."

"But why didn't you heal her instead of allowing her to suffer the pain she must be in?" Max asked, feeling his anger rise once again.

"As I explained, we were on our way to meet you. We could tell her injuries would require more time than we had available to assist her. So we had her immediately transported back to Antar and put her in stasis until she could be properly attended to."

Before continuing with questions about Liz, Max had to know. "What happened to the person who attacked her? Did you kill him?"

Instead of answering, King Zan asked his own question. "Is that what you would have done, Max?"

Max had to think for a moment before responding. He knew, as angry as he would have been to have found someone being attacked in such a vicious manner, he was not a killer. So he finally answered, "No, I would not have. But I'm sure I would have somehow found a way to frighten him so that he would never attack anyone else in such a terrible manner ever again."

After Max had responded, he'd looked at his father, still waiting for an answer to his question. When his father did not respond, but was only grinning, Max again spoke, "That's what you did, isn't it?"

His father nodded. "Yes, my son, that is exactly what we did. We are not the monsters Earthlings make us out to be. In fact, from what I saw, in many ways we are probably much more civilized than many of them are.
"Before you leave, do you have any other questions for me?"

"Well, yes, I do. I tried healing the young woman once before when we were on Earth, but I wasn't successful. What makes you think I will be successful now?"

Without realizing it, Max had let it slip who he had tried healing. He'd forgotten his father had previously asked him about just such a scenario, and at that he had not volunteered who it was he had tried to heal.

King Zan realized Max's accidental omission but did not want to bring this to his attention. Instead, he chose to answer the question in as mechanical a way as possible, not wanting to give Max more information than he would need for now.

"There are some kinds of healing, son, that require more than just the physical contact of our hands."

"I don't understand. What are you trying to tell me?" Max asked, confused.

"That's really all I can tell you, Max. Let's just say, the kind of healing she requires goes deeper than just the skin." And with that cryptic comment, King Zan dismissed his son. "I have appointments set for the entire day tomorrow. So I need to be getting some rest so I can mentally prepare myself. Keep me informed as to how our patient progresses," he said as he walked off to his bedchamber.

Needless to say, Max was left standing there feeling pretty stupid. He still didn't have a clue what his father was talking about. But at least he'd learned enough about Liz to comfort her to some degree when she started asking questions. He also knew, though, he would have to mentally prepare himself for the onslaught of questions as to where she was, and why. So since his father had left him so abruptly, and since these thoughts were still so fresh on his mind, he decided he better go to his own room and begin making a list of possible things he might be able to share with Liz when the time arose. He didn't know Liz all that well, but he did know her well enough to know she was very analytical about everything. So he decided he better have answers that would fill that need he sensed she would have.

tbc-???
Well?


*bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce*
posted on 28-Jul-2002 2:10:22 AM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

I know it's been a reallllllly long time since I posted on this story. But I was so encouraged by some responses on another story that I got all excited about doing some more updating. When I went to try starting another chapter for this one, I realized I'd already started a chapter but hadn't finished it. So I finished it off and am now posting it. Hope you like it.

Disclaimer: I own none of the Roswell characters
CATEGORY: M/L and the gang
SUMMARY: Max has been reared on Earth, in preparation for the duties that will befall him when the time comes for him to fulfill his duties as king of Antar. He’s supposed to have been familiarizing himself with Earth’s people and their culture, with the ultimate goal of choosing a mate from among Earth’s inhabitants, in order to united the two worlds. Unfortunately, he’s been distracted by his hormones as well as one very opportunistic Antarian peer. Read on to find out if, or how, Max deals with what has been decided for him.

“Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”

Chapter 5

Max spent the rest of the day in his room, trying to write down possible explanations he could give Liz when he went to see her again, assuming she was conscious by then. He'd already come to a couple of conclusions regarding what he would tell her as to where she was, and why. He decided it probably would not be the wisest thing, at least for the time being, to tell her she was on another planet. He knew she would be dealing with quite enough in just trying to heal. So his first decision was to only give her a half truth; that is, that she was recovering in a 'hospital' of sorts.

Of course, he realized there were no windows in her room. And it occurred to him she might want to look out 'windows' when she began feeling better. He knew there were people on his planet who had the same kind of gift Tess had, that of mindwarping people. That is, she could make them see something that wasn't really there. So Max decided he would find out whose help he could enlist to mindwarp Liz for the time being, making her think she was in a regular hospital, and that, when she began looking out a 'window,' she'd actually see things that would be familiar to her from earth. Of course, Max also realized he'd have to share some ideas on what she'd expect, since his assistant wouldn't have a clue what kind of mindwarp to provide.

Max also knew without a doubt she'd want to know why she was there. He was reflecting back to what his first thought had been when his father had told him why she was there -- that she had been attacked by a human. And that, if they had not happened on the scene when they did, she would have been raped, or possibly even killed.

Of course, he also realized he could not refer to the attacker as a 'human.' Otherwise, he'd have to explain further about himself and everything and everyone else around her. No, that would not do for now either.

As he was trying to carefully think through what to say, it occurred to him he could not tell her his father found her. The only father of Max's that Liz knew of was Phillip Evans. Obviously, Mr. Evans would not be available for her to talk with.

Then another thought struck him. She'd want to see her family. How would he overcome that hurdle? The more he thought of what he was going to say, the more confused and inadequate he felt.

Max didn't have time to dwell further on his dilemma because there was a knock at his door. "Come in," he said.

The door opened only slightly, and a young woman from the infirmary briefly stuck her head in. "Sir, your father told all of us in the infirmary, when the young woman regained consciousness, to come and let you know."

'Just great,' he thought. He still didn't have a clue what he was going to say. "Okay. Thank you," he responded. "I'll be there shortly."

'Why did his father put this on him,' he wondered. He couldn't help but feel, if he wasn't careful, he could really mess things up for his people. But somehow, as he began thinking more of Liz and how she might be feeling, his worries and concerns for his people began fading into the background. 'Okay. Focus. Just go in there and first of all see how she's doing. Maybe I'll be able to think more clearly as I talk with her,' he thought, as he slowly left the comfort and security of his room.
*****
Max quietly approached the door to the room Liz was lying in. As he did so, he thought he heard a muffled sob. First thinking he was just hearing things, he stepped farther into her room. As he slowly got closer, though, he realized the sobbing was coming from Liz. It tore his heart out to hear her in so much emotional pain.

He finally approached her bed and said, "Hi, Liz. I was just told you were awake."

"Don't look at me," she screamed, as she turned her head away from his voice.

"What?!!" he asked in confusion. "Why?" he added.

"Oh, I get it. You made a bet with your friends to see who would have the guts to come see the wretched, scarred, 'damaged goods,' and then go back to brag about your conquest."

Max was now more shocked than ever. "What are you talking about? I came because I was concerned about you." Though he knew he was partially telling the truth, he somehow felt deceitful, knowing he was really only there because his father had basically ordered him to keep a watchful eye on her.

"That's a first," Liz said, as she continued looking at the wall on the far side of the room. When did you ever have a concern for me? Oh, wait a minute. I remember now. You felt pity for me that night we were looking at the scars. I saw the way you were looking at me when I woke up.
"Well, I've got news for you. I don't need your sympathy. Just leave. Go away and leave me alone."

"I can't do that, Liz," Max said firmly, not knowing where the firmness in his voice came from.

"Why not?" Liz yelled, looking toward Max, forgetting why she'd turned from him only moments before.

"Because you've been through a traumatic experience, and you need to know you're not alone in this."

"What is it with you? I've been alone my whole life. And after what happened, I don't doubt that I'll be even more alone."

Without even realizing what she was doing, Liz began opening up, expressing long pent-up emotions that had until now remained buried in the deepest crevices of her subconscious. "It's bad enough that I've been a freak ever since the car accident I was in. No one's ever accepted me since then. The only real friend I've ever had was Maria. Now I don't care anymore. Now I'm just damaged goods." She trailed off, sobbing. Her next words shocked Max to his very core. "I wish I'd died. Why did anyone have to save me? I'd rather be dead than have to carry this mark on me for the rest of my life." She again trailed off, sobbing even more deeply.

Again, Max was so emotionally affected by her words. He'd never had any idea how tormented this fragile young woman had been over the years. He again began berating himself for never having paid attention to her in school. He felt terrible knowing that he was probably one of the people over the years who had contributed to her self-loathing, mainly for never seeing any farther than his own wants and desires, that of being accepted by others. If anyone could relate to what Liz was saying, he knew both he and Isabel could, as well as Michael, and maybe Tess. Of course, he realized at this point Liz's pain was so much more traumatic than he thought any of the four of his Antarian group would ever experience.

Trying to pull out of his own emotional turmoil, he decided he had to find some way to comfort Liz. The first thing he wanted to make perfectly clear was that she was NOT 'damaged goods.'

"You're NOT 'damaged goods,' Liz."

"What do you know? Are you a doctor now, I suppose?"

"Well, no, of course not. But…." How was he going to get out of this?

"The people who brought you in were sure they'd caught your attacker before he had a chance to assault you," he finally explained. "Then, when they ran tests and examined any injuries you might have, their assumption was proved correct," he added.

"What?!!!" she said in disbelief. "How do you know that? Were you there when I was brought in?"

"No," he said honestly. "But I asked the nurse before I came in if you had any other injuries besides the beating you were given."

"Oh, that's great. Now you're discussing my sex life. How dare you? You don't even know me. What gives you the right to…."

"I didn't discuss anything on that subject, Liz. What do you think I am, some sort of pervert?" he said in frustration. He had no idea how to get through to this exasperating woman, but he realized he didn't want to upset her any more than she already was.

"Look, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell. It's just that….well, to be honest, I'd been wanting to apologize to you ever since that night."

Liz was at a loss as to what he was talking about. "Apologize for what?" she asked.

"For how arrogant I must have been to you over the years. I just hated the way things were left, and I really wanted to talk with you. But the more time went by, the harder it became to make the effort. Finally, I just deluded myself into thinking it didn't matter anyway, especially because I thought you'd think I was trying to pity you. But in all honesty, Liz, I want you to know that was the furthest thought from my mind." Max didn't remember ever talking with anyone at such length, except to his Antarian family. But somehow, he found it freeing, as if he was tearing down the façade he'd built around himself all these years. As if he was finally speaking from the heart, allowing someone else to see him for who he really felt himself to be deep down inside.

Liz was stunned by his admission. His seemingly heartfelt confession made her forget what she'd been sobbing about. "Well, maybe I should be truthful too, then," she said.

"What do you mean?" he asked in confusion. He couldn't imagine what she'd have to apologize for. He was the one who'd been the jerk.

"I had wanted to apologize to you too."

"Why?" he again asked, in confusion.

"Because I was really rude to you that night. I guess I've just been so used to thinking people couldn't feel anything more for me than pity. And I guess the truth of the matter is I was taking out years of pent-up anger on you. For that, I really am sorry. But I guess I was thinking the same thing you were, that apologizing wouldn't accomplish anything, and that you would have made fun of me if I had even tried talking with you again.
I really am sorry. I hope you'll accept my apology," she said, as she bent her head down to look at the fibers of the blankets on her bed. She didn't know why, but for some reason she really had a hard time looking at Max. It made her feel embarrassment.

"I'll make you a deal. I'll accept your apology if you'll accept mine," he responded.

Still not looking at Max, she shyly nodded her head.

"Okay. It's settled, then. From this point forward, why don't we pretend that episode of embarrassment for both of us never happened, and we'll start over in becoming better acquainted. What do you say?" he asked.

Again, she only nodded, not looking at him.

Max couldn't stand the idea that she seemed to feel such embarrassment at looking at him. So he boldly put the fingers of his hand under her chin and lifted her head. "Please, Liz, look me in the eye and tell me we can start over again. Otherwise, I won't feel secure that you really do forgive me," he lied. Of course, he wasn't feeling insecure. But somehow he decided she needed to think he was.

When Max lifted her head, she had no choice but to look directly into his amber-flected eyes. It wasn't until that moment that she realized how beautiful his eyes were. She was so distracted, she hadn't given Max an answer.

After waiting for several seconds and hearing no response, Max again asked, "Can we please start again?" As he did so, he looked directly into Liz's chocolate, doe-looking eyes. As he did so, he felt himself shudder, and he knew it wasn't from feeling cold. He had not idea what was causing the sensation, but that was the least of his concerns right now.

As Max was experiencing his shudder, Liz responded, "I'd like that. Thank you, Max."

Regaining his composure, he said, "For what?"

"For coming to see me. I haven't wanted to see anyone ever since I've been here. But somehow……I can't explain it, but I really do feel better. And……I guess….never mind. Just thanks," Liz said, deciding she didn't want to sound sorry for herself, even though she was still feeling that way. Somehow, she felt that to express that would put a damper on everything that had transpired in the last several minutes.

Of course, Max didn't have a clue what she was thinking, but he decided this would be a good time to begin talking about other things. "So, are you hungry? I've always heard hospital food is awful but….."

"You know, I am hungry. It seems like I haven't eaten in days."

"Good. I'll tell the nurse to bring you something," he said, as he began to leave.

"You're not going to stay and eat with me?" Liz asked fearfully.

"I'd love to stay. I just didn't want to wear out my welcome."

"Well, we did agree we should start over. Wouldn't this be a good time to begin?"

"Yeah, I guess you're right. Okay. Let me go find out about a meal for both of us, and I'll be right back," he said, as he again headed for the door.

"Okay. I'll be waiting," Liz said. And she actually found she was looking forward to having someone to talk to. Of course, she'd never in a million years ever imagined she'd be having lunch with Max Evans. But she was beginning to realize anything was possible. Heck, for all she knew, maybe there were aliens out there somewhere."

tbc-????

I know feedback will definitely help me get even more fired up. So if you'd like more posts, help me along. Look forward to hearing from you.

*big**big**big**bounce**big**big**big*
posted on 3-Aug-2002 4:03:38 PM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

Glad you're enjoying my fics. Could anyone explain how I could put a link to my other stories, for those who don't know which ones you're talking about? Any help would be really appreciated.

Meanwhile, I have another part that I'm posting right now. Hope you enjoy it. Look forward to hearing from you.

Disclaimer: I own none of the Roswell characters
CATEGORY: M/L and the gang
SUMMARY: Max has been reared on Earth, in preparation for the duties that will befall him when the time comes for him to fulfill his duties as king of Antar. He’s supposed to have been familiarizing himself with Earth’s people and their culture, with the ultimate goal of choosing a mate from among Earth’s inhabitants, in order to united the two worlds. Unfortunately, he’s been distracted by his hormones as well as one very opportunistic Antarian peer. Read on to find out if, or how, Max deals with what has been decided for him.

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Chapter 6

Max was just walking out of Liz's room when his father approached him. "The head of the infirmary notified me the young woman was awake and that they had sent for you to see her.
"How did it go?"

Max looked at his Antarian father, still having a hard time with the idea of calling him father. So he responded, "It actually went pretty well, sir. I was a little worried at first, not really knowing what to say. But she was in such an emotional state and was so upset, that somehow the words just came. Somehow, I managed to say a few good things to her."

"Have you told her where she is or who it was who found her, or anything like that?"

"No, sir. I decided for the time being, it may be best just to let her think she's in a hospital on earth. But I do have some concerns about when she asks to see her family."

"What are they?"

"Well, for one, how am I going to produce them, things like that."

"Well, maybe" --

"Actually, sir, I have an idea. Who can I speak with who has mindwarping capabilities?"

"Ah, I see where you're going with that. Send for Serena. She'll be able to assist you. If you have any other needs or concerns, please feel free to drop by my office any time, son."

"Yes, sir," Max responded dutifully.

"I was just heading out to get a meal. Would you like to join me? Perhaps it will give us time to become better acquainted."

"Actually, sir, I already have plans for my next meal," Max said. Zan wasn't sure, but he thought he detected a hint of shyness and anticipation in his response. Then it occurred to him what may be going on. Not wanting to pry or possibly cause Max's radar to go up, he responded, "Very well, then. We'll plan to do that another time. Keep me posted on your progress with the young woman."

"Yes, sir," Max said in an aggravated tone. 'Why does he talk about Liz as if she's a science project or something?' he wondered. 'She's a person who has gone through a traumatic experience, and all he wants to know about is my progress?'

Though Zan detected a note of irritation in Max's voice, he chose not to address it. Somehow, he sensed at this point to do so would only cause more of a chasm between him and his son than what already existed.

Instead, he said, "If it's convenient, and if you have no other plans, I hope we will be able to have dinner together this evening."

"I -- I don't know, sir. I'll have to see if Liz needs anything first -- that is, if it's all right with you." Though Max was concerned about Liz and her recovery, he was ashamed of himself, realizing in a way he was using Liz as an excuse not to talk with his father.

"Very well, then. Let me know if you'll be joining us."

"Yes, sir, I will."

As Zan walked away, Max was still feeling a pang of guilt. But then he remembered Liz having told him how hungry she was. So he decided he better attend to the task before him promptly.
*****
When Max finally got back to Liz's room, he was pushing a cart in front of him, with several trays, all of which were covered.

"I was beginning to wonder what happened to you. But by the look of the cart, it looks like you decided to prepare the entire meal yourself," she said with a chuckle.

"Well, I wasn't sure what you liked, and I forgot to ask you before I left. So I thought I should bring a variety for you to choose from. Hopefully, you'll find something that suits you," he said, as he pulled the tablecloth off of all the platters.

As Max did so, Liz gasped at what she saw before her. There were all kinds of fruits, raw vegetables, pastries, cheeses, orange juice, but no meat.

"Max, this is wonderful. Some of the fruit looks familiar, but some of it, I don't think I've ever seen before. Where did you get such a variety?" she asked.

Max was mentally kicking himself, having forgotten that some of the food was from his own planet. How was he going to explain that?

"Well, actually, I'm not really sure where it all came from. I was just told to make sure to offer you these items. They didn't tell me where they got everything," he said.

"If I'd known you could get this kind of food in a hospital, I would have come a long time ago," she exclaimed. After realizing what she'd just said, though, she said, "Well, maybe not but -- well, anything, everything looks wonderful. I noticed there's no meat, though. Why's that?"

Of course, Max couldn’t tell her the people here were mostly vegetarians. So he said, "Well, I was told meat might be a little hard on your digestion right now."

"Oh, okay. That makes sense," She said. "Well, shall we dig in?"

"Sure," he responded, as he pulled up a chair.

As Liz sat up and began reaching for some of the fruit, her hair fell gently over her face, just barely hiding her eyes. Without even realizing what he was doing, Max gently pulled her hair out of her face and placed it behind her ears. As he did so, he couldn't help but notice the scars he'd remembered seeing on her face a few weeks back seemed to have healed a little. It wasn't extremely noticeable, but somehow Max was certain the skin looked a little pinker, almost like the skin of a baby. Max had been so involved in his thoughts, he didn't realize Liz had said something.

"Max?"

"Huh? Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't hear what you said."

As he spoke, Liz bent her head. But even as she did so, Max saw a lone tear slide down her face. "Liz, what's wrong?"

When Liz still hadn't said a word after several seconds, Max moved closer to the bed, moved his hand to her chin, and lifted her face up to look at him. "What's wrong, Liz?"

Finally, Liz found her voice and said, "Do you think anyone will ever be able to look at me without first noticing my scars?"

"What -- what are you saying, Liz?"

"The first thing you saw on my face was my scars, and all you could do was think about it. You were so focused on them, you didn't even hear me speaking to you."

"Is that what you think?" he gently asked.

Liz could only nod her head.

At first, Max wasn't sure what to say or how to handle the situation. How was he going to make her understand that wasn't what he was thinking at all. Suddenly, he had an epiphany and said, "Liz, if I really felt your scars were that unbearable, I wouldn't be able to do this," and he bent down closer to her and tenderly kissed her cheek, right where her scars were. Even as he did so, he felt a shudder go through him, though he wasn't cold. In fact, it suddenly occurred to him how warm the room had just become.

As Max was touching his lips to her cheek, Liz sat there first in shock, that anyone would even want to do such a thing, least of all Max Evans. But in the next instant, she'd forgotten her shock and began feeling a warmth going up her face. Along with the feeling of that warmth, without understanding why, she imagined kissing Max Evans on the lips. Even as she was thinking what to her was such a ridiculous thought, she felt Max remove his lips from her cheek. Instantly, Liz felt a loss of the warmth of those lips. But before she could open her eyes and think to ask Max why he'd just done that, she once again felt Max's closeness, this time as he touched his lips to hers.

Max couldn't seem to control himself. As he had been gently kissing Liz's cheek where her scars were, even as he felt the heat rising in the room, he suddenly had the desire, though not knowing where it was coming from, to kiss her lips. As he did so, he was surprised to feel how soft her lips were and how sweet they tasted. Before he had time to explore them further, though, he heard someone in the background clearing their throat.

He instantly jerked himself away from those soft, gentle lips, missing them immediately, even as he did so. He turned around and was shocked to see his father standing there.

King Zan had forgotten there was a list he wanted to go over with Max to begin helping him to become adjusted to the policies of Antar and what would be his expected role, once his assignment with the young woman had concluded. So he'd headed back toward the young woman's room, having caught a glimpse of Max heading in that direction with a cart of what he supposed was food for her.

He entered the room, not realizing he should have knocked. To say he was shocked by what he saw would be an understatement. But even with his shock, he was sensing Max was developing a connection with the young woman. Even in the brief conversation they'd had only minutes earlier, he was already sensing Max beginning to change from the carefree, flippant young man who had accompanied him back to Antar only days earlier. Though he'd initially just thought the young woman would be a good assignment for Max to tackle that would help him begin thinking more along the lines of duty and concern for others, he was beginning to sense this young woman may be of assistance in many other ways as well.

Though Zan felt awkward as he stood there watching his son with this earth woman, he decided he needed to let his son know he was present, just in case anything else might possibly be on his son's mind.

"Oh, fa- -- sir, I didn't realize you were standing there," Max said in embarrassment.

"Yes, that's what I thought.
Not wanting to embarrass the two any further, Zan got right to the point, "Max, I forgot I have a list I need to go over with you when it's convenient," as he handed it out to Max.

As Max reached for it, he began to introduce Zan, but then wasn't sure how to address him. "Liz this is my" --

Before Max accidentally revealed any information that Liz might not understand right now, Zan stepped closer and said, "I'm the head of the infirmary. I of course wanted to see how you were doing as well, my dear," he said, hoping he'd covered enough that Liz hadn't realized what Max had been about to say.

"Thank you, sir," Liz said, at a loss for what else to say, especially under circumstances she herself didn't understand at that moment.

"Well, I have my rounds to make. Please contact me when it's convenient to go over the list with me, will you, Max."

"Yes, sir," Max said, as Zan walked out of the room.

After Zan left, both Liz and Max were speechless, neither knowing what they were feeling or even how to explain what had just happened. Finally, Max decided he couldn't talk about it with Liz until he himself had time to figure out what had just happened. So he said, "You know what, Liz, I suddenly realized I have a lot of tasks I need to take care of. And now I've been given this list of other things to do. So I think I'll take a rain check on lunch, if you don't mind."

Before Liz even had a chance to respond, Max was out the door, not a minute too soon, as far as he was concerned, leaving a very stunned and confused, but definitely affected young woman, especially by lips she'd never dreamed would ever touch her skin, let alone her cheeks…..or her lips, for that matter.

tbc

*happy**happy**happy**happy*
posted on 10-Aug-2002 2:31:47 AM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

I'm so pleased to see that you're enjoying my tale. Please indulge me as you read this next part. Though I had one idea when I began this story, my fingers seem to have taken on minds of their own as I typed up this part. Though I still have my original goal for this story in mind, other ideas popped into my head as I was deciding how to further develop that idea. So please be patient with me as I continue to further develop my theme, even though it looks as though there will be a few more twists and turns on the way than I had originally planned.

Once again, I look forward to your feedback. But if you're disappointed with this part, please let me down easily.

Disclaimer: I own none of the Roswell characters
CATEGORY: M/L and the gang
SUMMARY: Max has been reared on Earth, in preparation for the duties that will befall him when the time comes for him to fulfill his duties as king of Antar. He’s supposed to have been familiarizing himself with Earth’s people and their culture, with the ultimate goal of choosing a mate from among Earth’s inhabitants, in order to united the two worlds. Unfortunately, he’s been distracted by his hormones as well as one very opportunistic Antarian peer. Read on to find out if, or how, Max deals with what has been decided for him.

“Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”


Part 7

Instantly after stepping out of Liz's room, Max began mentally berating himself. 'What was I thinking?' he thought to himself deprecatingly. 'I've got to clear my head,' he thought, and promptly looked for the closest exit to the part of the castle that had been made to appear as an infirmary.

Unknown to Max, however, his father had only stepped out of the room and into the archway of a nearby door. He had initially been stunned by Max's actions when he entered the room. After having stepped out of the room to clear his own head about what he'd just seen, and having already concluded this unexpected turn of events could possibly contribute to the goals he had in mind for Max in fulfilling his royal obligations, he'd decided to wait just outside to see how Max might react after having been caught in such a compromising position. He didn't have to wait long because it was only moments later that he saw Max leave the young woman's room.

As Zan had anticipated, Max had quickly left the premises. He wasted no time in contacting one of the members of his royal court, Nicholas, and giving him the assignment of monitoring Max's activities for the rest of the day. Until the moment he'd walked into the young woman's room moments earlier, Zan had been very concerned and doubtful of Max's suitability for replacing him as king when the time came. But somehow, he'd sensed at the moment of his unexpected intrusion that it was a turning point for Max on his path to fulfilling his destiny. Now Zan's concern was to discreetly guide him on his destined path.
*****
As soon as Max was out in the fresh air, away from the castle, he headed for the stables. Though he hadn’t had the time yet to get used to riding the animals on Antar that amazingly resembled horses on Earth, he decided there was no time like the present to begin his self-induced training. His biggest concern at this point in time was to try to figure out what had just caused him to act as he had with Liz only moments earlier.

After being assisted by one of the stable boys to put a riding saddle on the ebony-colored animal he'd chosen to ride, Max took off into the nearby woods. As he galloped toward them, he immediately felt a sense of refreshment, as though he was blowing cobwebs out of his head. He knew something had to be clogging up his head for him to have done something he'd never even thought to do while on Earth.
*****
After receiving instructions from King Zan, Nicholas dutifully went after Max, in as discreet a fashion as possible. Though to King Zan, he'd given all the appearance of being the typical willing and obedient member of the Royal Court, little did King Zan know that Nicholas had his own hidden agenda for wanting to monitor Max's comings and goings.

When Max and the rest of the Royal Four had been sent to Earth years earlier, there were those who had remained on Antar who had thought their obstacle to claiming rulership to the throne had been permanently removed. During all those years, those who had been and continued to be silent, unsuspected enemies of the present king, Zan, had been plotting the moment when they would usurp the throne from King Zan. They had been quietly building their own army of loyal followers, only waiting for the moment when their leader would manifest himself to Zan and overpower him at his weakest moment, that moment being when it was decreed Zan was supposed to turn over his throne to his rightful heir. Though everyone had known that his son, one of the Royal Four, was that heir, and that they had been removed to another planet, it had been concealed from everyone except Zan's closest advisors as to why this action had been taken.

Since the time when Zan's heir was supposed to have returned had already come and gone the previous year, these silent enemies had not counted on King Zan making the unexpected move of bringing him back, least of all, by himself. Normal protocol had dictated that the Royal Four would all return together. If that action had been taken, these silent enemies would have been able to dispose of them as a unit. But not having access to the other three was definitely going to cause a great deal more effort and planning on the part of those silent enemies, which definitely was throwing off their timeline for accomplishing their previous goals.

The fact that Nicholas was aware of all these circumstances and obstacles made it especially important for him to play the part of the dutiful member of the Royal Court so that he could assist his leader to once and for all reach his goal. Nicholas had already been tiring of the ruse he'd been a part of for the last few years. At this point, he was determined that no one was going to deprive him of the high position he'd been promised when the kingdom changed hands, least of all the flippant young man he'd seen depart from the Granolith just days before. It had been obvious to all onlookers, upon his arrival, that he had not developed the skills that would be needed to rule in a way worthy of his people. And Nicholas was determined he never would, as he stealthily followed Max into the woods.
*****
Max had been riding the animal, which he'd already decided to identify as a horse since that was the term familiar to him at the moment, for only about 15 or 20 minutes and was already realizing how necessary it was going to be for him to do it more often if he was going to be able to endure riding it for longer periods of time.

Under the circumstances, though, he'd decided it would be a perfect opportunity for him to get off the animal and exercise his backside while he focused on his earlier action when in Liz's company.

As Max was walking around through the woods, with the ebony 'horse' silently following behind him, he thought back to what had taken place in the 'infirmary.' He was remembering back to how he'd been staring at the scars on Liz's face and what he'd been thinking as he'd done so. He'd been struck with curiosity at how the scars had seemed to have healed, even if only a little.

Motivated by that curiosity, he'd been unconsciously thinking, even with her scars, Liz really was a stunning young woman. It had occurred to him how he'd never thought about Liz or been aware of her existence at all during the entire time he'd been on Earth. Though he'd known, by Earth's standards, that the girls at his school had been attracted to him -- and he was definitely attracted to them -- he'd realized none of the girls he'd spoken with during all his years on Earth had spoken with such fire and boldness as Liz had in the few times they'd talked while they were on Earth.

He was once again remembering how comfortable he'd felt when he and Liz had been observing the stars. Until that moment, it had never occurred to him that girls thought about anything more than the new dress they were wearing, the guy they'd be going to the school dance with, the new hairdo's, and whatever other mundane things that he'd recalled hearing some of them talking about as he'd walked through the halls of Roswell High. Even his own sister, though being from another planet, had discussed such things. And now that he thought of it, he'd realized, so had Tess. The more he thought about his life and the lives of his three friends, he realized they had gotten caught up in the typical activities that occupy the minds of the typical teenagers on Earth.

Not that it was bad to be familiar with such activities. They were, after all, only teenagers. But the few times he'd been made aware of Liz, he'd begun to realize life for her was totally different from what he'd been experiencing. When he'd finally realized that Liz existed, he saw how her life wasn't that of the typical teenager on Earth. The few times he'd had contact with her, he'd seen by her body language the sadness she felt. He'd learned from her words the anger and bitterness she felt at not being able to fit in with those who had treated her as though she was not their equal.

As he continued thinking about Liz, he was remembering the worthlessness she'd felt after her attack, and her desire to stop the pain of the life she'd been living for the last several years, it occurred to him it was the first time he'd ever given any thought whatsoever to the pain of another person. Up until that moment, he realized the whole time he, Isabel, and the others had been on Earth, they hadn't really thought or cared about anyone's feelings but their own, that of feeling awkward and different from others, as well as not really having a clue why they'd been put on Earth. Until that moment, it had never occurred to him to look further than his own physical space to see how others around him were coping with the obstacles that were in their lives.

As he was having these profound thoughts, he unconsciously began feeling the desire to - was it desire, he thought, or was it need - to once again hold Liz in his arms. Even as the thought crossed his mind, he was reminded of the softness of her cheek. Though the Antarian sun had gone down several minutes earlier and there was a chill in the air from the loss of it, Max was once again finding himself feeling the temperature around him rise as he continued dwelling on his earlier actions, once again remembering the sweet taste of her lips. And all over again, he was reminded of the immediate loss he'd felt when they'd been interrupted by his father.

As he continued trying to figure out what to do about the awkward situation, he realized, though he hated to admit it, the only person he had confidence could help him sort out the mess he suddenly found himself in was……who else but his father, especially since his father was already aware of the awkward moment he would be addressing.

Max decided there was no time like the present to enlist his father's help. His concern at this moment was to take action promptly in that direction, before his pride prevented him from doing what he knew was the only solution to helping him resolve the dilemma he knew he was in. So he once again mounted the 'horse' and headed back to the castle, with the intent of doing one of the things only days earlier he would have never imagined he would be doing, asking for his father's advice.
*****
During all the time Max had been wandering around in the woods, Nicholas had been watching him at a safe distance. The only problem with having been at a 'safe distance' was that he had no idea what, if anything, Max might have been mumbling about to himself as he'd been meandering through the woods. 'This task of figuring out how to destroy Zan now is going to be much harder than any of us could have imagined,' Nicholas thought to himself as he continued his stealthy trail behind Max, as they both headed back to the castle.

tbc

*sad**sad**sad**sad**sad*
posted on 30-Aug-2002 10:48:11 PM by ravrac
Hi, Everyone:

Sorry it's been awhile. I got quite sidetracked the last couple weeks. For those of you who have been reading "In My Dreams," I'm sorry to say I misled you into thinking I had another part ready. I didn't realize, when I said that, that I was really working on chapter 8 of this fic. But at least I'm posting a new chapter for one of them. I know. I know. I need to get back in gear. Meanwhile, hope you like this next part.

Disclaimer: I own none of the Roswell characters
CATEGORY: M/L and the gang
SUMMARY: Max has been reared on Earth, in preparation for the duties that will befall him when the time comes for him to fulfill his duties as king of Antar. He’s supposed to have been familiarizing himself with Earth’s people and their culture, with the ultimate goal of choosing a mate from among Earth’s inhabitants, in order to united the two worlds. Unfortunately, he’s been distracted by his hormones as well as one very opportunistic Antarian peer. Read on to find out if, or how, Max deals with what has been decided for him.

“Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”

Part 8

As soon as Max left the stables after returning his horse, Nicholas quietly did the same. So as not to arouse suspicion from King Zan regarding his true motivation, he promptly headed for King Zan’s chambers to report what little he had observed of Max’s little jaunt. He’d only been in King Zan’s chambers for a short time when there was a knock at the door.

“Come in,” King Zan responded.

The door slowly opened, and King Zan was mildly surprised to see his son, Max, enter.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Father. I didn’t realize you were occupied.”

“No, no, Max. It’s nothing of pressing importance. It can wait. Is everything all right with the assignment I’ve given you?”

“Well, actually, Father, something has come up that I would like to speak with you about…privately, that is.”

Zan was so pleasantly surprised to see Max so soon after finding him in the young Earth woman’s room, he’d momentarily forgotten they were not alone. “Of course, Max.
“Would you please excuse us, Nicholas. We will continue our conversation at another time.”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” Nicholas said, as he slightly bowed and excused himself from their presence. Promptly after leaving, Nicholas began grumbling to himself about the interruption as he headed for his secret leader. Max’s sudden appearance was the last thing Nicholas had expected and, as far as he was concerned, it did not bode well for their own plans.
“Now, Max, what would you like to talk about?”

“First, Father, I wanted to apologize for my behavior earlier today.”

“What behavior might you be referring to?” Zan asked, already intrigued that Max had even given an apology, considering that just that morning Max had given quite the impression of not being willing to discuss anything with his father.

“I guess I had that coming,” Max said, as he hung his head, figuring his father would take every opportunity to lay into him about his duties and responsibilities as the future king.

Instead, Zan responded, “Max, please don’t misunderstand. I was not being – what is the word humans use? – awe, yes. I was not being sarcastic.
“Before we go any further with this conversation, let me speak. Perhaps that will clear the air. First of all, I know how difficult the whole idea of coming back to Antar to fulfill your destiny has been for you. I’ve come to realize just since you’ve been back how difficult a task it must be for you, especially since you were given no warning or instructions beforehand to help you prepare for this inevitability. I blame myself for not having thought through more thoroughly my original plans in sending you and the others to Earth. I will not make excuses for that. All I can say is that it was necessary to be as secretive as possible when we did so.
“But I’ll save that subject for another time. For now, I’d like to help you in any way I can in making your transition less difficult to bear.”

“Thank you, Father. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. But I must also apologize to you. I know I have not made it easy on you since I’ve been here. I also wanted to apologize for the fact that you walked in and found me in such a compromising position, and with an earthling, no less.
“But I also feel I must thank you for having put her under my care. Admittedly, I knew of her when I was on Earth. I even had a couple of conversations with her. But I’m ashamed to say I never really got to ‘know’ her. It’s only been since I’ve spoken with her here that I’m seeing a side of her I don’t think I ever would have observed had we both been on Earth.
“Which, I guess, really brings me to why I’m here.”

Before Max could continue, Zan spoke up. “Max, it’s just about dinnertime. You never did give me an answer earlier about joining me at that time. I would be pleased if you would accept my invitation and join me. That way, we will both be more relaxed, and we can continue this conversation.”

Even as Zan was speaking, Max was thinking to himself that he was even beginning to see a side of his father that he would have refused to acknowledge only days earlier. “I would be honored to join you, Father.”

Though Max had originally observed that Zan was not a man given to outward emotion, he was almost certain he saw his father visibly tremble as Max spoke his words. “It’s settled, then. Let us adjourn to the dining hall, where we can continue this discussion,” he said, as he motioned Max to the door, and then closed it once they’d both stepped into the hallway.
*****
Once Max and his father had taken their seats and begun their meal, Max continued where he’d left off. “Sir, your unexpected appearance helped me think about a few things, one of them being, perhaps I am not the appropriate person to minister to her needs.”

“Why do you feel that way?” Zan asked.

Max was hesitant to answer, not sure he’d be able to. But then he spoke. “My concern, sir, is that, if I can’t keep myself in check, I could possibly develop feelings for her. The only way I’m certain I can succeed at fulfilling my destiny is by NOT developing those feelings. And if I were to develop feelings for her, I’m not certain I’d be strong enough to even want to fulfill my destiny.”

As Max was speaking and explaining his concerns, Zan could not help but feel an enormous amount of pride in his son. Within only hours, he felt as though he was seeing Max transform before his very eyes. Already, by expressing such concerns, he was displaying concern for his own actions as well as for ‘others,’ namely, the young woman Liz. Though he realized he had already told Max he had made previous arrangements for Max’s marital state, he was thankful he had not made the mistake of informing the parents of Max’s intended. ^^^He also realized that, if he had made such an announcement regarding his wishes, it would only have had negative repercussions for Max once he took the throne as well as undermining the leadership of his family line. Even as Max was expressing his concerns, Zan was mentally rearranging Max’s destiny.

Max had been quiet for a few moments, awaiting Zan’s response. When there wasn’t one forthcoming, he added, “So, Father, I’m sure you’ll agree it would be better to appoint someone else to oversee Liz’s recovery.”

“Actually, Max, I’m sorry to disagree with you, but there’s an expression the Earthlings have that, I think, applies rather well here. And that is, I think this arrangement is ’just what the doctor ordered.’”

To say Max was stunned by his father’s words would be putting it mildly. He now realized he was going to need even more counsel from his father on how to ‘maintain damage control’ because of the few moments of sheer pleasure and joy that he had experienced as he had held Liz Parker in his arms.

“Well, then, Father, I must humbly ask for your help in protecting my heart from the emotions I was beginning to feel when I was……when I was….when you walked into Liz’s room,” Max said, as he bowed his head in shame before his father.

“Why do you think you must protect your heart?” his father asked in confusion.

Surprised by his father’s apparent lack of acknowledgement of the possible dangers that his heart would lead him to if it continued on the path it had begun when Liz Parker had been in his arms, he hesitated momentarily, and then responded, “I don’t know that I would be able to fulfill the destiny you have in mind for me, Father, if it were to continue on that path. I don’t know that I would prove worthy enough to fill your shoes when the time comes.” He paused and then continued, “For that matter, I don’t even know if I ‘can’ do justice to your throne as it is.”

Even as Max had been speaking his heart-felt concerns, his father was marveling at the wisdom he was speaking beyond his years. Within only moments of being in the arms of a young innocent Earth woman, his son had begun his transformation into the worthy role his father had not dared hope would even be possible.

When Max’s father did not respond to his concerns, he again spoke. “Father, what must I do to protect my heart from those emotions?”

Again, Zan did not respond immediately. But when he did, it was with words Max would have never imagined his father would speak. “Max, my son, I am deeply moved by your genuine concern to protect your heart from the emotions you felt in the young woman’s arms.”

But the words that followed – or, rather, that didn’t follow, surprised and confused Max even more. “As much as I would like to advise you in matters of the heart, my son, it is not my place to do so.” Zan immediately recognized the confusion on Max’s face, but he knew he dared not give any suggestions that he was certain Max would readily accept and take action on. He knew to do so would completely undermine the course in life Max had already embarked upon. More importantly, though, he knew to do so would not help Max develop into the kind of man who would be needed as king. No, he knew Max could only become the king of strength and compassion his people would need from their leader if he were to make his own decisions regarding the dictates of his heart. He also knew that to nudge Max in any direction would only serve to undermine Max’s self-confidence in making decisions. Though many might have thought that to give advice on such a seemingly insignificant matter could not possibly harm anyone, they would have missed out on a very important point, that Max’s ability to discern the yearnings of his heart and, more importantly, to listen to those yearnings, would one day serve as a foundation for the kind of leader the people would need.

tbc -

*bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce*