posted on 14-Jul-2002 1:50:51 AM by Kitcat26
Title: Risk of Burning.
Author: Cath AKA Kitcat26
Summary: Can love find a second chance, even when it seems all odds are against them?
Disclaimer: Not mine. You know the drill. Title’s from below lyrics.
Ratings/Pairings:R I think. M/L


Challenge by Mystical Light ML 4ever. You can check it out at the Discuss board at roswellfanatics if you want to be spoiled as to where I am going to go with this.

Authors Note: Yes, I am a psycho. Its already been established. Why else would I start all these fics? Dont worry, this wont take away from my other fics. I only have seven-ten parts planned for this and hope to get most of it done while I'm on vacation next week. So. Humor me? The beginning's kind of confusing, but hopefully it will all make sense with time.




Oh and this lovely banner is made for me by talena. Everyone bow to her talent.

1-3-2




You look in my eyes and I get emotional inside.
I know it's crazy but you still can touch my heart.
And after all this time you'd think that I,
I wouldn't feel the same but time melts into nothing and nothing's changed.

CHORUS:
I still believe someday you and me will find ourselves in love again.
I had a dream someday you and me will find ourselves in love again.
Each day of my life I'm filled with all the joy I could find.
You know that I, I'm not the desperate type.
If there's one spark of hope left in my grasp, I'll hold it with both hands.
It's worth the risk of burning to have a second chance. No, no no no no no I need you baby.
I still believe that we can be together(haaoo). If we believe that true love never has to end. Then we must
know that we will love again.

CHORUS:

I still believe (yeeaaah) someday you and me will find ourselves in love again.
Oh baby yeah, I had a dream someday you and me will find ourselves in love again.
I still believe (oh baby I do) some day you and me (just give me one more try) in love again.
I had a dream (I miss your love) someday you and me will find ourselves in love again.
I still believe (yeah I still believe) someday you and me (baby) in love again.


I Still Believe- Mariah Carey




Part One

He held his weary head in his hands, his fingers gripping his thick mane tightly, almost as if he was trying to rip the pain out of his soul. His hands slowly released their iron grip and ceased assault on his strands of hair and languidly slid down to cover his haggard face. His fingers rubbed his eyes furiously, fighting the tears that were threatening to well up, trying to rub away all remains of the horrible memories of that day.

Finally removing his hands, having them collapse dejectedly in his lap, he stared relentlessly at his own body. His own body, which had been foolish enough to remain somewhat intact, while hers did not. His strong arm lay bound in a cast, the bones beneath broken, but it was nothing compared to his broken soul and his torn heart. If only…if only….

Rising from the well-worn chair, the chair that had grown so accustomed to his frequent visits that his shape was almost carved into it, he moved closer to the hospital bed. He was sickened by the fact that the starch white-ness of the sheets matched almost to a fault to the complexion to its occupants.

This wasn’t how that night was supposed to end. This wasn’t how THEY were supposed to end. He felt another tear in his heart, and he was surprised. He had thought that there was nothing left inside him to tear. Everything worthwhile in him, everything that matter had disappeared when he had awaken, only to find that she might never again.

He reached out suddenly. Grabbing her soft, lifeless hand, he lifted it up to meet his quivering lips. Kissing it tenderly, he clenched his jaw, his throat working to fight the primal wail that was working its way up to try and abscond out of his throat. For a while, he stood as such. Staring deeply, his depth filled eyes boring into her own closed ones. He had to blink rapidly against a new, fresh onslaught of tears.

Not letting go for an instant, he turned around and grabbed the beaten in chair and dragged it noisily closer to the bed. Sinking down, he placed his other hand over her own, capturing it, never wanting to let go again.

It was then that he closed his eyes and allowed himself to recall those fateful months; the months where he had thought his life would change forever.

He just hadn’t known how much, nor how drastically.

He was hit with a sudden thought, one that paralyzed him with hope.

Perhaps…

Perhaps if he spoke to her…if he retold everything…

Perhaps the sound of it would reach her deep inside and bring her back to him, back out of the coma…

“Please wake up,” he whispered roughly, his voice breaking. “Please…”

---------------------------

A few months earlier…

Maxwell Evans stared at the doors of West Roswell High. He was so close. Only one last semester of high school and he would finally be rid of this town. He would then be on his way to his dream, his entire life’s goal. He was hoping that then, then would finally feel…fulfilled. For as long as he could remember there had always been something missing from his life. Some unexplainable hollow feeling deep within his chest. And he hoped this was it. This was the year when he was going to start to make it happen. Starting by focusing on High School Graduation and picking out the place in which he would really begin his journey to his dream.

His dream. His reason for going in the morning. The ambition that had been installed in his brain since childhood by his father. To follow in his father’s footsteps and become a successful lawyer in his father’s place. For as long as Max could remember, that had been his every aspiration. Fueled by his father’s demands of him, and own success, Max had not had your average teenage career. When his buddies had gone out late at night, drinking and partying, Max had been in his room, studying extra credit, or volunteering so he could have a lovely college application. Studious and introverted by nature, his father’s expectations of him further shaped his shy disposition, one that had begun to form when his mother had died when he was young. Ever since then, Max had usually taken to himself, not bothering to try and make friends, least they leave him as well. The only person he counted on was his father. Little did he know that that was all about to change.

Not to say that Max didn’t have any friends. His childhood friend, Michael Guerin, had known Max before his mother’s death, and had helped him silently through the aftermath. A man of few words, Michael was somewhat of a rock to lean on. Not that he would ever admit it, he and Max shared a bond that went beyond brotherhood.
Max and his sister Isabel were always close, especially after Diane Evan’s early passing. However, once Isabel hit high school, she found different means of coping with the death than her brother. Instead of retreating into herself, and burying herself in school work like her brother, Isabel molded herself a façade, a mask that she hid behind. To the unwitting world she was the Ice Princess, lusted after and envied. No one, save a few, knew who she really was and most never really bothered to find out. Which was perfectly fine with Isabel.

During middle school, one Maria Deluca had seen through Max’s stoic behavior to the soul that lied within. Her bubbly personality and obstinacy that would stun a yak penetrated through Max’s built up layers one by one, until he allowed her friendship to affect his life. He was glad he did so, for Maria helped fill in his empty feeling, but not entirely. Once Maria had befriended him, her own best friend, one Alex Whitman, also entered Max’s life. This was much to Michael’s dismay, as his own rocky childhood of foster care left him wary of strangers, and aloof to the majority of the world. Gradually, however, with time, Maria’s tenacious personality wore him down and he welcomed hers and Alex’s friendship.

And that was it. Other than that intimate circle of friends, no one else had become close to the mysterious Max Evans. Max often laughed about his supposed reputation, his notoriety for ambiguity, and the rumors that occasionally went around about his life. How disappointed most would be to discover he spent his Friday nights (the ones where Maria’s wacky plans didn’t interfere, or Michael’s supporting of the athletics of America) reading up on the LSAT’s!

Blinking roughly, Max chuckled silently at his wandering thoughts. He often did this. Dissolving into his musings, getting lost in thought. It usually made him partial to dreamy sighs from most of the female population of Roswell, to which he declined most of their pursuits. Maria often teased him good-naturedly, calling him a soft-spoken romantic. Alex often joked that he was gay.

It was none of these, however. He had just never met any girl who could prompt him to take another glance.

The warning bell rang, a blatant, shocking admonition for those just arriving. Max cursed his absorbing thoughts and rushed inside. No more did he contemplate his life, or how he got up to this point, and his sole focus was on his subjects, derailed only slightly at the sound of the day’s latest gossip and Maria’s consistent chatter.

----------------------------

“Max! Over here!”

Max’s raven tousled head spun towards Alex’s voice, and he was meet with the sight of the usual gang sitting under an oak tree in the quad. He was surprised at the sight of his sister sitting with his friends, but his surprise turned into a sly delight at the sight of Alex smiling broadly at Isabel, and Isabel smiling shyly back.

A slight smile still tugging at his lips in amusement, he made his way over, maneuvering swiftly against the onslaught of the rest of the population of West Roswell High. Pausing to deposit his lunch on the nearby table, he leaned indolently against the tall oak. A small breeze wafted through the quad and Max closed his eyes, feeling the cool air caress his cheek. He was enveloped with a memory of his mother, his mother who had always enjoyed nature and all its wonder, and taught him to try and do the same. The wind always reminded him of her for some reason, and yet today that knowledge did not weight with the same burden as it usually did. No, today instead he just relished in her memory, missing her.

“Hey guys!” Maria’s chipper voice cut across the quad and Max turned to watch her come across the grass. A couple of jocks at the table in front of her also turned expectantly at her loud salutation, to which Maria responded disgustedly, “Not YOU, I don’t even know you.” She continued on her way to the gang, dragging behind her a petite brunette, whose features Max couldn’t exactly make out. He stood up straight, loosing his earlier support from the tree and tilted his head to try and place the girl. He was almost sure he had never seen her before, and yet at the same time he felt he had. Odd.

Maria finally reached her desired destination, a smile curving her rosy lips upward. Michael quirked a grin at her and reached out to tug her blonde strands lightly. “What’s up Pixie?” He teased, using a fond nickname he had come up with year ago. Max fought the urge to grin. Who would have ever thought Michael would be joking around with Maria Deluca? If you had told Max that during grade school, he would have pointed you in the direction of the nearest asylum, where in Roswell, alien abductees and UFO crazed townies often took a visit.

Maria rolled her eyes at Michael and muttered something along the lines of “Spaceboy,” before continuing. “There’s someone I want you guys to meet!” She wrenched the brunette’s arm in an attempt to bring her into better view, and the girl, caught entirely unaware, was flung forward.

It seemed entirely reflexive when Max reached out to steady the girl, but as his arms gathered her up to keep her from falling, it was as if an electric jolt went down his throat, carrying his stomach down to his toes and then spreading back up towards every part of him. His breath catching, Max’s amber eyes sought out her own, and when he gazed into her chocolate-y depths he knew nothing would be the same ever again.

-----------------------

Elizabeth Parker gasped slightly at the sensation of being in the arms of this desperately good-looking guy. She had been a bit apprehensive of beginning her last semester of high school in a strange town, a small town no less, where everyone knew everyone all ready, and where there was more than likely no room for a misfit lower middle class girl from the city. Her parents had never had an extravagant sum of money, and when her father was laid off for the third time, her parents decided to go back to the town where Liz’s grandparents grew up in order to start up their own business. And since Grandma Claudia was obsessed with her hometown “alien memorabilia” they had just the ties they needed to start up a themed restaurant in the alien capital of the world.

It wasn’t going to be easy. All of the family’s savings were going into this one shot. It was going to take a lot of work on Liz’s part, in order to help her family, but she was determined to do it. Despite her trepidation as to what would become of this, she still maintained her usual positive outlook on life. Her father liked to call her Sunshine for all her optimism. Which was funny. For she could be as sarcastic as they come. But she digressed.

Her first day back was not quite the disaster that she had dreaded (despite her usual bouts of optimism). She had quickly befriended two her age, Maria Deluca, of whom Liz could already tell she would be close with, and Alex Whitman, with whom she felt instant friendship. But that wasn’t truly unusual. She had never really had trouble making friends, but she had never held a concrete bond with any of them. She had felt a twinge of remorse for those she had left behind at home (including one Kyle Valenti, her first serious boyfriend, with whom she parted with on good terms) but nothing really further. Which was why she was excited upon meeting Alex and Maria. And also why she had been eager to meet their other friends.

But upon arrival on the quad, unmistakable shyness overcame her for some reason as she allowed Maria to drag her to her usual spot. While Maria had led the way, Liz was intrigued by a young man, her age she guessed, leaning against a tall tree. He had had his eyes closed and he seemed to be…reveling in the feel of the passing breeze. Her breath had caught in her throat and she had quickly looked away, bewildered at her reaction, the likes of which she had never felt before, not with Kyle, not with her casual dates with Sean…not with anyone. Strange.

And even stranger was when Maria had accidentally (Liz was so sure) flung Liz forward, causing her to lose her balance, only to be righted by the same guy she had seen from across the quad. When she had met his golden gaze, she felt the same lurch in her chest as she had a minute ago, and this time she welcomed it.

For some time they stayed in the moment, their eyes staring into each other’s, the expressions pleasantly incredulous. Fed up with the silence, Maria resumed her introduction impatiently. “This is Liz Parker. Her parents just moved here and opened up that new restaurant, The Crashdown. She’s a lovely senior, almost free with the rest of us.” Maria winked, pleased with the sound of her own voice. “The guy you just ran over is Max Evans.”

Max rolled his eyes at Maria’s typical antics and then glanced back down at Liz. The corner of his lips curled upward and he reluctantly let her go. “Hi,” he said simply.

Liz found that she could only nod in response.

Alex cracked a grin and stuck out his hand. “Pleased to make your acquaintance once more pretty lady,” he winked and Liz giggled.

Isabel introduced herself and Michael grunted hello, prompting another little spat to go on between Maria and Michael. Liz watched them, eyes wide, until hearing Max’s chuckle. She whirled around. “What?”

He just smiled down at her, and instead of her heart lurching, she felt it melt. He jerked his head at the two, and said, “Michael and Maria are always fighting about one thing or another. They say it has something to do with sibling tendencies but I’ll let you in on my little theory.” Slightly out of breath he leaned closer to her in mock secrecy. “I think,” He went on, trying to be nonchalant about the way her hair smelled of strawberries, “That their fighting is repressed passion, and the only way to cease the verbal, and sometimes in Maria’s case, phsyical spats is for them to just kiss and get it over with.”

Liz laughed, especially when Maria whipped her head around to demand Max to repeat what he had just said, and Max just held up his hands in surrender, but her laugh was forced, trying to cover up the shivers that had crept down her spine when he had leaned close.

She smiled at the group, and for the first time since she arrived in Roswell, she felt her usual optimism flow back at full force, with such a fervor that she knew things were going to change, and change for the better.

---------------------------

“Max! Where are we going?” Liz laughed outright, feeling giddy sitting next to him in his Cheville. The top was down and the wind was whipping her russet locks around her face, framing it in a halo like state. She was suddenly reminded of the first time he told her she was beautiful, their first date, a month after they had met under the oak. They had dined at a local Chinese place and spent the night dancing and shooting pool. Then, afterwards they had driven out into the desert, the stars twinkling down with whispers of the future, their light beaming down and casting a romantic glow upon Liz’s wind whipped hair. She had giggled and quipped that she should have put it up before getting in, but Max had reached over and run his fingers through her silky strands and shushed her, saying that she was beautiful anyway to him. Liz smiled softly to herself, completely wrapped up in the memory.

Max glanced up from the road at the sound of her tinkling laugh. His throat constricted in the way is always did and he grinned, having some inkling as to where her thoughts were by the expression on her face. “You’ll see.”

His stomach flipped over as he fingered the item in his pocket and went over in his head once more of what he had planned for tonight.

Tonight. Tonight was their milestone. It was going to be the happiest night, laced with certain poignancies as to what the future would bring.

Well, actually, Max hoped to dull those worries about the future with what he had planned. He wanted a solution to the problem they were facing now, the problem being that Liz was going to have to stay behind at Las Cruses University, while Max had been accepted to Stanford. Three months prior, at their High School graduation, Max had declared to Liz (after delivering his valedictorian speech) that he would enroll there with Liz as well.

Liz had vehemently refused, telling Max that she couldn’t stand in the way of his future, of everything he had ever worked for to fill the hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach, in which he had told her about a few weeks into dating. She had told him adamantly that she would break up with him if he ever considered such a thing again. He had protested, telling her that SHE was the one thing he cared for, that SHE was the one thing that could ever fill up his empty soul and that she already had. He hadn’t wanted to lose her. He COULDN’T lose her. It would be like losing a part of himself.

It funny that he felt that way, being how’s they had only known each other for seven months. But for some reason it felt more than that. As if he had been searching for her all his life and only just found what he had been looking for. In her. And these past seven months had been the best he had ever known, even though college hadn’t been the only threat to their relationship. But despite that, he wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Which was what brought him to this point. To what he was about to do this night, on their seven month anniversary and the week before he had to leave for California. He pulled out to the spot and got out of his side in order to walk around and help her out, leading her to…

“The high school?” Liz’s face wrinkled in confusion. “What are we doing here Max?”

Max hid his smile from her, reveling in her confusion that he knew would be quickly cleared. He said nothing, just tightened his grip on her hand and cut across into the quad.

There was a tablecloth spread across the parched New Mexico grass underneath a tall oak tree, and atop it was a dinner set for two. Liz took a sharp intake of air and pierced Max with a loving gaze. “Where we first met….” She broke off in a sentimental whisper.

Max kissed her, affirming her suspicion and led her to it. “Happy Anniversary.”

The two sat down and dined, their gazes straying upward above the dim candlelight and locking eyes with each other. When they were finished, Max kept clearing his throat, clearly nervous about something, which Liz found amusing. It was his quiet nature that had drawn her to him in the first place, and yet, once she had gotten to know him he wasn’t as reserved with her. She had penetrated all the layers that Maria, Alex, Isabel and Michael had missed, finally reaching down to the core of Max Evans, and finding the treasure that was held within. She was still awed that she was the one that got him to open up, that she was responsible. It was heady stuff.

“Max,” She stated, looking lovingly at him. “You know I love you, right?” Had it only been a month ago that they had first professed their love to each other? It felt so right, so natural as it rolled off her tongue. It was like she had said to him forever, and yet at the same time each time she said it still carried a special thrill.

Max smiled, his thoughts in a similar patter, and he nodded. “I love you too.”

“Then you know you can tell me anything, right?”

Max nodded again, took a deep breath, once again feeling the item in his pocket and began. “Liz, have I ever told you how happy I was, how happy I am that you walked into the quad, dragged by Maria, that day?” Liz smiled but stayed silent, the giddiness that she felt in the car was nothing compared to what she felt now.

“You changed my life. You got me to open up, to realize what’s really important in life. You’re true, you’re beautiful, you’re pure…you’re everything to me, and I couldn’t imagine my life without you. I think that’s why now I’m so reluctant to go to Stanford. What once seemed so important grew to be second best as far as you’re concerned. Nothing else compares. There’s never going to be another you. Which is why…” At this point Max reached into his pocket and pulled out the tiny black box. “Liz Parker…will you marry me?” He gulped, having said everything he needed to say and he searched her face. Etched onto her features was utter shock, so he quickly added, “And we don’t have to get married right away, I mean we can just stay engaged for a while, or maybe just even…”

Once the shock of his proposal wore off, Liz flung herself into his arms, telling him with her lips just what her answer was, having an entire conversation with him that required no words. Their kiss went on and on and while the moon beams trickled down to light earth and the stars once again whispered promises of the future, Max Evans and Liz Parker made love for the first time.

---------------------

Max gazed at the long road ahead of them, staring out into the inky black of the night, pleased and overjoyed at how well everything had gone. He took a minute to look over at Liz next to him. She looked ravishing. And truly sated. And COMPLETE. Max was sure he looked the same, for he had never felt so WHOLE before in his life. It was perfect. This entire moment was perfect and nothing could change that.

He smiled widely at her, and she returned his smile with a sweet one of her own. They locked gazes, reminiscent of the first time they laid eyes upon each other, and shared a silent promise. Liz’s gaze turned slightly to the road as she saw oncoming headlights and suddenly her eyes grew large and wide with horror.

Max turned his head to see what had her so distraught but it was too late. Just as Liz’s scream was too late. The car in the opposite lane had swerved over into theirs in a drunken stupor and was rushing head on straight to them. Max jerked the wheel, but again, it was too late. The sickening sound of metal crushing metal was the only sound that sliced through the solitude of the desert that night, followed by the eerie silence that bode no good premonitions of what lay inside the wreckage. The stars no longer whispered promises, but instead loomed above like a dangerous foreboding as they illuminated the auburn stain of the blood...

------------------------------------

Back to the present time…

It was here that he stopped talking, his voice breaking and his emotions in turmoil.

Taking in a deep and ragged breath Max allowed himself to search her face, desperately looking for any sign that she had heard him speak of their past months together, any indication that she was coming out of it and when she did she would rush up to him and gather him in her arms and tell him it was just a dream….just a horrible nightmare in which he would soon awake. He had read somewhere that senses could somehow be used to coax a patient out of a coma. That a certain smell, a certain sound…even a certain touch could snap them right out of it.

If only it were that easy.

A few minutes later Max gave up and brushed his thumb in a circle around her clammy hand. Another pang wrenched his heart at the sight of her naked finger. The finger that only one-week prior had been bound with a promise—had been encircled with his mother’s wedding ring. The ring that had held so much sentimentality in his family, so much love…so much promise for a chance at tomorrow…

Max gave another frustrated sigh. The ring SHOULD be on her finger right now, not buried in his front jean pocket. The doctors had taken it off of her when she had been emitted to ER. And they obstinately refused to let him put it back where it belonged. Some insane hospital protocol or rule of sorts. Inane for sure. And completely heartrending. He did not WANT it anymore. It needed to be on her, HE needed her, wanted her, and she needed to wake up right NOW.

Ten more minutes passed by and Max shoved his large strong hand (the one not broken) through his tousled ebony mane. He had no idea what was going to happen now. All he knew was that he was not giving up. He would be coming for Liz day after day – without giving up. Now all he could do was hope and pray that one of those days she would be up and ready, waiting for him with open arms.


[ edited 14time(s), last at 15-Feb-2003 10:15:09 PM ]
posted on 14-Jul-2002 2:15:31 PM by Kitcat26
Authors Note~

Hey guys! I know some of you are about ready to lynch me for not updating in a while, and um, I have some news regarding that. See, this past week has been crazy with RL (I’ll spare you the details) and today I’m leaving to go over to my uncle’s across the state to help him with his business (Family owned bakery…yumm….) and I am going to be gone until the next Sunday. And although I wont have Internet access, I will be writing while I’m there, so expect updates on next Monday at the earliest. I thank you all for the fantastic FB and bumpage. Makes me feel guilty, but anyhoo…

Arabian Nights-Roswell Style~ The reason I haven’t written the last part is because I selfishly don’t want it to end yet. But that’s my top priority; so expect the last part when I get back. It’ll be long again, yay! Thanks guys for your (not so) patience!!

Sometimes Ignorance Rings True~ Thanks for the FB and the bumpage folks! I’ll be writing up movie night part when I’m gone.

Steps of Faith~ Fooey. I wanted to get a new part out for Saymi before we both left. I’ll work on it for an hour, but if it’s not up by three thirty, then expect an update when I get back.

Risk of Burning~ How mean was it of me to get one part out and then leave for a week? Expect new parts Monday. Sorry guys!! This one will be my top priority so I can have it finished when I get back. Yay! Thanks again Mystical Light ML 4ever for the challenge! And thank you for the FB!


**Edited because Holy Bezesus, I'm leaving for a WEEK, not a month. Whoops**

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Jul-2002 2:42:11 PM ]
posted on 30-Jul-2002 6:52:38 PM by Kitcat26
Poor Ernie. Having a Cath fic fetish. He couldnt possibly get any sadder. *happy* I kid. I love Ernie, and my fics, really I do. Cept when they piss me off.

AH! Stupid stupid me! I forgot to post the whole part of part one!

Ah!

Uh, whoopsie?

**sheepish grin** Um, here's the couple paragraphs I forgot to post two weeks ago to tie you over til later on when I finish up part two. I'll post it below and edit the title page.

**Wanders off to slap herself**

((remember, this is after the flashback to how Liz and Max met. We are back in the hospital.))

------------------------------------

Back to the present time…

It was here that he stopped talking, his voice breaking and his emotions in turmoil.

Taking in a deep and ragged breath Max allowed himself to search her face, desperately looking for any sign that she had heard him speak of their past months together, any indication that she was coming out of it and when she did she would rush up to him and gather him in her arms and tell him it was just a dream….just a horrible nightmare in which he would soon awake. He had read somewhere that senses could somehow be used to coax a patient out of a coma. That a certain smell, a certain sound…even a certain touch could snap them right out of it.

If only it were that easy.

A few minutes later Max gave up and brushed his thumb in a circle around her clammy hand. Another pang wrenched his heart at the sight of her naked finger. The finger that only one-week prior had been bound with a promise—had been encircled with his mother’s wedding ring. The ring that had held so much sentimentality in his family, so much love…so much promise for a chance at tomorrow…

Max gave another frustrated sigh. The ring SHOULD be on her finger right now, not buried in his front jean pocket. The doctors had taken it off of her when she had been emitted to ER. And they obstinately refused to let him put it back where it belonged. Some insane hospital protocol or rule of sorts. Inane for sure. And completely heartrending. He did not WANT it anymore. It needed to be on her, HE needed her, wanted her, and she needed to wake up right NOW.

Ten more minutes passed by and Max shoved his large strong hand (the one not broken) through his tousled ebony mane. He had no idea what was going to happen now. All he knew was that he was not giving up. He would be coming for Liz day after day – without giving up. Now all he could do was hope and pray that one of those days she would be up and ready, waiting for him with open arms.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 30-Jul-2002 6:54:16 PM ]
posted on 5-Aug-2002 8:48:23 PM by Kitcat26
Whoa...I come back to lotta fb! Whoo! Thanks everyone! And I come bearing tissues. *big*

But sadly no new part. Poor Tiki. I feel for her, I really do. I'm almost done with the next part, I swear, but I desperately need to work on the conclusion for AN, then its RoB time.

And Meag, alas, more net problems. I dont think it ever really got fixed. Cross your fingers that its fixed for good this time. And *pouts* RL's trying to grasp on to me, but fear not, I have a handy dandy whip.

But Ooo! I have a spectacular, awe inspiring, gorgeous, beautiful, fantastic, lovely banner from talena! All bow to her, she rocks. I love it so very much and need to share this masterpiece with you all. I'll post it below and on the title page.

New parts coming. I swear this time!

1-3-2

[ edited 8 time(s), last at 5-Aug-2002 9:08:32 PM ]
posted on 8-Aug-2002 10:39:15 PM by Kitcat26
You all MUST check out the gorgeous banner talena made me for this fic. I'm so honored, and definitely tickled pink! Its posted in the above post and on page one. I would reply to you all, except you all probably just want me to get on with it...so...

Part Two

Maria Deluca punched her index finger on the large orange button and stared down at the steaming brown liquid that was trickling vociferously into the white Styrofoam cup. She wrinkled her pert nose and raised the freshly filled cup to her pink hued lips. Gagging after the first sip, her olive eyes crinkled as she grimaced.

“Just once,” she muttered to herself, “Just once I would like to find ONE thing in this hospital that could be even remotely considered edible.” She sighed loudly and spun back around towards the dimly lit hallway, grumbling randomly as she went and nursing the grotesque liquid occasionally.

“Honestly, is it like some sort of LAW that no hospital can produce even just ONE semi normal cup of coffee? I mean yea, sure, I can understand that they can’t always help it if the daily special is ruined but coffee? It’s really not that hard, you just add water and then - ”

Someone behind her grabbed her arm. “Maria,”

Screaming, she whirled around, arms and coffee failing, both of which landed on poor, unwitting…

“Michael!” Maria shrieked. “God! What are you doing, sneaking up on me like that?!” She promptly smacked him again.

Michael Guerin sighed in exasperation and scrubbed fruitlessly at the large brown stain seeping into his shirt. Finally realizing that it was hopeless, he rolled his eyes and met Maria’s expectant and irritated gaze. “I didn’t sneak up on you,” he grunted simply.

Maria sputtered and crossed her arms in a ‘yea-right-go-on-you-tell-such-amusing-stories’ type of way.

Michael arched an eyebrow at her and went on. “I called your name way back there but you were too busy babbling to yourself to notice.”

“I wasn’t babbling, I was lamenting the day I ever set foot in this hellhole where they ironically try and save you only to try and poison you later with coffee that could unclog a hairy drain!” She was babbling. She knew it. But she had to fill up space with SOMETHING, otherwise she would be left alone with her troubled thoughts. And that wasn’t something she was prepared to confront right now. Maybe not ever. Because is she thought about how Liz might never wake up, then she didn’t know what she would do with herself. She would be lost, bewildered, and…

The spasm of pain that flitted across Maria’s face did not go unnoticed by Michael. He tentatively touched her arm again. “Hey,” he said softly. “You okay?”

Dragging in a shaky breath, Maria nodded. “It’s just…” she paused, struggling for the right words, “It’s just so damn HARD.”

Michael’s brow furrowed. “What’s so hard? Life? Classes? Your job? ….This?” He gestured to the hallway.

Maria flipped her blonde locks over her shoulder. “Yea. This…. It’s so arduous going in to see her now.” She stopped and gave a hollow laugh, devoid of any mirth. “Well, it’s always hard to go in there not knowing whether or not…” She broke off and perused the discolored white-ish walls as if they were the most interesting things since indoor pluming. She hoped Michael did not notice the sheen of unshed tears that were beginning to well up in her eyes. She hated crying. Hated feeling WEAK, hated feeling helpless to do anything. And whenever she set foot in here she felt like all three.

“I know.” Michael squeezed her arm, his dark eyes sympathetic and understanding. “I know.”

Maria lugged in another shuddering breath of air. “And now…now its WORSE, knowing what Max told us his ‘news,’” She seemed incapable of even speaking it aloud, as if not saying it would make it less real. “It seems like now that’s it. Like now that Max has finally given up and moved on that its never going to happen. Like I should just stop holding on and stop HOPING like some pathetic…”

“Hey,” Michael cut in, his voice rough. “You are NOT pathetic, and there is nothing wrong with hoping. Anything’s possible. I mean, hell, WE ended up together and pretty much STAYED together, so that’s full proof of it,” he joked, trying to lighten the mood.

Maria’s face softened and she gave a choked laugh. He was right, fundamentally of course, but what he said was true. They had pulled together through the bumpy, twisting ride. And it had been mostly thanks to Liz. She was the one who was there giving Maria the boost of confidence and determination to tackle Michael’s stonewall, and she had been the one to give Michael little helpful hints as to make it up to Maria. And it had been Max himself who had helped Maria aid Michael become emancipated during the time when the truth came out about Michael’s abusive foster father. Maria grimaced at the memory of that god-awful man. But then, she have to thank Hank for one thing. It had been that horrid night when Michael finally allowed himself to open up to Maria, in every possible, in every way that he had been frightened of his whole life. Their relationship had been considerably strong afterwards, but it wasn’t until the accident that Michael really proved what a dependable person he could be. He had held her hand throughout the entire poignant, angst ridden time, yet done so without smothering her. What would she have done without Michael? It was a rhetorical question she asked herself everyday, knowing fully well the answer – she wouldn’t have.

She smiled up at him. “Wow. Look at you all mature all of a sudden. Have you been watching Oprah or something?”

Michael smirked. “Keeps me in touch with my feminine side.”

“Riiiiight,” Maria drawled, her green eyes glittering with amusement before getting serious. “I mean, you didn’t even BLINK when Max told us his news this morning…” Her voice drifted off as she watched a flash of guilt run through Michael’s features. “Michael?” Her tone carried a bit of an edge now, suspicious edge.

“Uhh, yea…?” Michael asked innocuously.

Maria’s only response was to narrow her eyes to slits.

Michael shot a hasty glance down the hallway. “Um, we should, you know, get going before, uh, visiting hours are ov-”

“MICHAEL.” The sound of his name being spoken with such demanding fervor caused him to jump slightly.

“This morning wasn’t the first time you heard Max’s ‘news,’” she said slowly and deliberately, throwing up air quotes, “Was it.”

Michael gulped. Busted. “He uh, he told me, uhm, sometime last week.”

He winced as her rage fell expectantly upon him. “He WHAT? And you didn’t TELL me? Argh! God, Michael! Is there a reason you kept this from me? I thought we were past the whole secrecy thing and forward on the motto that ‘secrets secrets are no fun unless you share with everyone,’ but obviously not. Honestly, why do you do this to me? Do you know how it felt when he just…”

Michael heaved a sigh and gnashed his fingers into his scalp. “Maria please. Let’s not do this here. Let’s just go see Liz.”

She clapped her mouth shut but glowered at her significant other (definitely NOT her better half), seeing through his means to thwart her anger until another time when it had simmered for a while. Eventually she softened, her anger melting into sorrow at the thought of her former best friend.

Former. Oh, God, now she was thinking of her in the past tense. Tears itched her eyes at the thought, which she jerked away from. No. She would not go there. Would not go as far as Max had, to a point of no return, a point of dashed, derelict hope.

The two made their way to the room in silence, their echoing footsteps resounding through the spacious hall, the noise following them like a shadow. Once they reached the desired destination, Maria’s hand shot out to grip Michael’s, which had been reaching for the doorknob.

“Wait.”

Michael dropped his hand and turned it over to lace his with her fingers. He merely looked at her bemusedly, complying to her request, neither questioning, nor commenting on it. He just simply waited.

“I just…” Maria blew a puff of air upwards, effectively tossing a wayward strand of gold up from her forehead. “I just need a minute.” What she was steeling herself for, she didn’t know. All she knew was that she needed a moment to process her thoughts, to contemplate Max’s decision and what it meant for Liz. She needed to have a clear head when she went in there. Liz didn’t need a blubbering, feeble Maria in there, no matter the state of her unconsciousness. No, Maria needed to be strong, needed to be pushing her to wake…but most of all Maria needed to be like Liz herself would be in such a situation.

A minute ran its course, and Maria lessened her tight clutch on Michael’s hand. She was ready, or as ready as she would ever be.

“Okay.” She told him, and he opened the door.

Apparently Maria should have taken another minute to ready herself, as the sight that they were met with took away all though, all rationale, all tranquility, and Maria Deluca screamed aloud.

“Oh My God!”

The startled russet hues of Liz Parker’s eyes snapped to the doorway, the piercing depths charged with confusion, trepidation, and…vitality. She was awake. And that set off a whole new world of complications and complexities.

--------------------------

Michael stopped cold at the sight of Liz Parker’s wide open eyes. Now there was something he hadn’t been sure he would ever see again. But there they were. It was LIZ after all. Pulling through as always, and as Michael often suspected she would. It was about friggin time too. Max was definitely going to…

Oh God. Max. Tess. The whole warped thing.

Suddenly Michael’s head hurt and pounded with the mother of all headaches. How the hell were they supposed to push through that mess? Silently Michael fumed at Max. This was going to kill Liz, and Maria was going to kill Max. That is if Alex didn’t beat her to it.

Alex. Isabel. They were going to freak out. Michael could still hear Alex’s grim voice as he asked Max what the hell he was thinking, and Isabel downcast eyes when Max had told them this morning. And it certainly hadn’t helped that Maria had managed to convert Alex to her blind hatred of Liz’s replacement (or as Tess was more fondly referred as). Michael didn’t see what Maria’s problem was. Sure, she was moving in on where Liz used to stand, but other than that, she seemed like a nice enough girl. To him at least. To Maria, she was a skanky manipulative chipmunk (direct quote by the way, not his).

Technically it was all Michael’s fault. He shouldn’t have allowed Max to even consider it. He should have reminded Max constently of Liz’s inert form lying on a hospital bed when Max had first pondered aloud the very idea some weeks ago and confided in him.

Sick dread and unfathomable compunction twisted his insides as Michael imagined the looks upon everyone’s faces. As he imagined the look that was most likely etched upon his own face.

But then, what else was Max supposed to do, considering the circumstances? Wait around for something that might never happen? Why should Max have to suffer alone, grasping onto what ifs and intangible maybes? Did he really do anything wrong?

Michael’s eyes fluttered shut. This was too much. A brain overload of confusion, misconceptions and speculations. Too much.

On that note though, why did Michael CARE so much? It theoretically wasn’t his problem. Why was he getting all knotted up about it?

The truth of the matter was that he DID care. And for good reason. These people were his friends – the only family, the only compassion he had ever known. It would be callous of him not to feel anxiety about it. For although he had only really known Liz Parker for seven months those years ago, he was certain that she would have done the same for any of them. And the fact that without her, their tight knit group – their close family of friends – fell apart gave Michael all the more reason to stand by her, to allow his emotions to be invested in this.

For he was. And he would continue to be a part of this mini drama – no matter how insignificant his role – until it was resolved somewhat.

And right now it was far from that.

Michael snapped out of his musing to witness Maria break off from the bone crushing hug in which she had just incarcerated Liz in after crying out and brushing away joyous tears.

“Oh Lizzie! I can’t tell you how glad I am that you’re awake! You can't imagine how much we’ve missed you!”

Immediately, Michael felt extremely foolish and irritated with himself. Here he was fretting about the imminent future and not acknowledging the phenomenon in front of him. That was what always choked him in the past. He had always been so focused in getting away from Hank, in fighting impatiently for the future that he never stopped to enjoy the present. It had almost cost him Maria, and he firmly refused to let that age-old flaw inhibit this moment.

Striding over to Liz’s pale form, he gently laid a kiss on her cheek. “Hey,” was all he said, but his tone conveyed so much more.

Liz’s face with stamped with bemusement. “Uh, hey,” she croaked, her voice scratchy and thick from disuse. “What’s going on? Why am I in the hospital?” Liz attempted to shift her body out of the bed, and her face scrunched up with panic. “Oh my God! Maria! Why cant I move my legs!?”

Maria winced, thinking back to the doctors warning that, if she pulled out of the coma at all, Liz would be faced with several liabilities, including paralysis. She also remembered the doctors forewarning that Liz would most likely not remember much from that day. Well, that is that’s what the doctors thought in the beginning. After Liz hit the two-week mark, still trapped inside her mind, the doctors had had little hope that this day would ever come. But the Parker’s had refused to pull the plug, and only wavered slightly afterward.

Michael knew that Maria had also clung onto the fact that Liz would fight it, and break through. It was in Parker’s nature after-all. And now…now it looked like they got their miracle after all.

“Do you remember anything before this…about the accident?” Maria decided to go a round about way of answering Liz’s questions, trying to determine how much the frail girl knew before she dumped everything on Liz at once.

Liz’s face screwed in contemplation. “Max was taking me out for our anniversary, we ate, we…ah…” At this Liz blushed slightly. Michael’s animosity positively burned in his stomach now. Max and Liz had… And then Max went off and did what he did. Granted sufficient enough amount of time had gone by but still… This just kept getting better and better didn’t they.

Liz cleared her throat. “Ah, anyways. Then he drove me home and…” She gasped, the sharp sound of the air sucking in her voice caused Michael’s heart to lurch. Liz turned her wide, tan eyes to the two of them.

“Oh my God! The car! Max!” Liz shoved away her covers as if to bolt up for the door, only to fall back on her pillow, tears of anger streaking her lovely face when she remembered her current state. She moved her imploring face towards Michael. “Where is he?” She whispered, almost afraid to speak any louder, fearing the worst. “Oh God. He’s all right, right?”

Michael huffed. “Oh, believe me Liz. Maxwell is fine and dandy.”

Maria shot Michael with a dirty look, one that reeked of caveat, and tried to coax Liz’s attention away from that particular subject. Michael noted though, that her teeth were clenched, as they always were when she was angry.

“So you remember the accident?” Maria instantly cringed once the question was out of her mouth. Like Liz really needed to be reminded of it.

Liz nodded. “I guess I didn’t get off so easy,” she reflected, glancing ruefully at her stationary legs and the feeding tube in her arm. Her gaze fell upon a strange looking contraption to the side of her bed. “What’s that?”

Again Maria flinched, and Michael knew why. She hated that thing and the fact that Liz couldn’t do it alone. Maria despised coming in to visit Liz to find her sprawled on her stomach. She complained that it made her look inhuman…like a doll that fell over. Michael had to agree.

“It’s um, a machine that flips you from your back to your stomach and then back again,” Maria clarified. “So you don’t…get bed sores from laying in one spot for too long.”

Michael held his breath, wondering if Liz would decode that statement and realize just how serious the ramifications of the accident had been on her.

“What do you mean,” Liz asked slowly, dubiously. “I can’t have been knocked out for that long…could I?”

Michael sighed and glanced at Maria. She was biting her lip, apparently trying hard not to cry. “Lizzie,” She answered. “Right now its August.”

Liz scoffed. “So? It was August when the accident happened.”

Maria shook her head, her green eyes glittering. “No. Liz,” she hesitated. “Liz, it’s August…August 2005.”

For a moment, the room was dead silent, nothing but a dull buzzing wafted faintly through their ears. Then Liz spoke. “Wha-What?” Her breathing picked up, as did the monitor supervising her heart rate. Her eyes widened with awareness “But that would mean…”

Maria nodded. “You’ve been in a coma for three years.” Even though Maria had accepted it, saying the words aloud still felt like a knife sliding out of her throat.

Liz covered her face in her hands and she gave a strangled cry. After composing herself somewhat she jerked her head forward with such vehemence that Michael balked. Subsequently, she inquired the exact information that Michael had been dreading to tell her. And the funny thing was that she looked straight at Michael the entire time.

“Where’s Max? Why isn’t he here? Were you lying when you said he was all right?” Her voice glinted with steel and bit the room’s atmosphere.

Michael gulped and refused to meet Liz’s gaze. Maybe it would be best if they didn’t tell her. Not yet. Not while she was obviously still in shock and reeling from the aforementioned news.

But then, if it were him, he would want to know. It wouldn’t be fair to Liz to keep this from her, especially when she asked him straight out. So it was with candid unwavering directness that Michael locked eyes with Liz and told her.

“Max is engaged, Liz.”

Maria gasped and reached over to smack Michael upside the head. “I cant believe you just did that!” she hissed.

Michael glowered at her, massaging his scalp, and hissed back, “She had to find out sometime! Why prolong it when it would just hurt more in the end?” It was like a band-aid. You had to rip it off fast and deal with the pain all at once. Everyone knew it was much worse to tug it off little by little, bit by bit, protracting the hurt.

But as Michael took in Liz’s shocked and stricken expression, he had a feeling that this particular band-aid wasn’t going to be as easy as discarding, even though it had been torn off with astonishingly rapid speed.

---------------------------

Max Evans picked up the larger of the two cardboard boxes and manipulated the protruding flaps so that they effectively closed shut. He ambled over to the closet and lifted his arms up to place the box carefully on the top shelf…

And stopped.

Could he really just pack everything away, to bury deep all the memories and move on? It wasn’t like he would ever be able to forget…

But he had to. For Tess’s sake.

Ah, Tess. The reason for moving on. He had met her at one of his father’s work parties, her being the daughter of some prominent lawyer at a similar firm, and Phillip had eagerly pushed the two together. It had been a year and a half after the accident, and Max had finally begun to do things other than wallow in despair, locked inside his room. He had even forced himself to go through the motions of attending a semester of classes at Stanford, his father urging him not to waste another semester on “personal leave.”

As it turned out, Tess attended Stanford as well, and she sought him out numerous times after their first meeting. He hadn’t been looking for a relationship at all, not even friendship, so at first he was a bit cold to Tess. But she kept coming back, speaking words of encouragement and support in his ear, saying she would always be there for him, in whatever way he wanted her to be. Adding that with Phillips coaxing Max to give Tess a shot, Max found himself seeking solitude in her presence, telling her everything he had kept bottled up since the accident, about how much he loved Liz, how guilty and stricken he felt, and finally, about his growing despair that she would never wake up.

He remembered the day when he lost it. He had been sitting by Liz’s side, watching her sit motionless, her face preserved in severe beauty. Max remembered thinking that this was all wrong. That Liz had never looked so serious in life. In life she had been happy, smiling, gazing at him with love and levity…

And that’s when it hit him. IN LIFE She wasn’t alive, and yet she wasn’t dead. And without her, neither was Max. They were both stuck, trapped in a horrifying limbo, with no light to lead them out…

Phillip had come to the hospital that day, which had been most surprising. One, being that Phillip hated hospitals (Diane having died in one), and two, being that he and Liz had never gotten along. Phillip had never really approved of Max and Liz’s relationship, for reasons beyond Max’s comprehension.

Max’s father had touched him gently on the shoulder, and told Max that he couldn’t keep wasting his life waiting around for the past to come back. That it was what Liz would have wanted… That he had to move on for his own sake, and sanity.

At first Max had been extremely furious with Phillip, outraged that he would talk as if Liz were dead, and even suggest that he move on. But over the next year and a half, he found his hope ebbing away, along with his devotion. Just barely a year had passed since Max consented to Tess’s hints that they take their friendship to something more, and a couple of days ago, after having another ‘seize the moment, don’t live in the past’ talks with his father, and mentioning the idea to Michael, Max proposed to Tess.

Max sighed and the box above his head quivered in sync with his body.

For his own sake, and sanity. His father was right. He couldn’t keep living like this. Stuck in the past. Waiting for something that would just never happen.

Yet, he found his arms still motionless in the air, the box full of Liz memorabilia hanging in the balance. He let his arms sag, and he dropped back onto the bed in the room of his childhood, being that he spent his summers at home, working at his father’s firm. He let his index finger gently trace the top, and a torrent of nostalgia crushed his body.

True, Tess could never be Liz. But at this point, she was as close as he was ever going to be to happy again. He had to do it. He had to let go.

But as he stood up to finish the job of packing away the boxes, Max hesitated one last time. Before he even thought about what he was doing, he tore the smaller of the two open and rummaged around. After finding the object of his investigation, Max pulled it out and perused it for a few moments, allowing himself to remember better times…the best times.

The shrill ring of the telephone downstairs jolted Max back to the present and he hastily slammed the object under his pillow and placed the two boxes in his closet. Bounding down the stairs and into the living room, Max swung up the receiver on the last ring, catching it before the machine. He nodded at Tess, who just walked in the door from running an errand for Phillp. She sat on the coach and nodded back at Max her greeting.

“Hello?”

“Max?”

Max frowned. Something in Michael’s voice was a bit…strained.

“Michael? What’s going on?”

Max heard Michael heave a loud sigh, and felt a chill inch down his spine, as if someone with cold fingers made a trail up and down his back.

“Liz is awake.”

The phone slipped from Max’s grasp and tumbled to the ground. The sentence resonated through Max’s mind, ringing with such intensity that he didn’t register the fact that Tess was hovering above him asking him what was wrong.

Liz was awake…

----------------------------

Once Tess was out of the house, and safely out of sight, she dug into her purse for her cell phone. After tersely punching in speed dial number one, she slammed it to her ear and awaited the voice on the other line to pick up.

When they did, she didn’t even bother with a salutation. “It’s me. And I’ve got a sort of situation here. Max’s comatose old flame woke up.”

The person on the other end paused before rasping out. “What of that is significant to our plan?”

Tess sighed impatiently. “Look, you don’t know the way he felt about her. I had to hear about it for three years, remember? She is a definite threat, especially if we want everything to keep going accordingly and this smoothly.”

Another pause, and then the deep voice held a wry smile to it. “I’m sure if it proves to be a notable impediment, you’ll think of something.”

The phone went dead and the voice was replaced with the irritating hum of the dial tone. Tess tossed the thing disgustedly back into her purse. Sometimes he just really pissed her off.











I really have no idea where some of this soap oprea stuff is coming from...but its proving to add some definite suspense here. *wink* Sorry this was so delayed. And excuse grammatical errors, in which I will fix tomorrow. Too tired. I was up til four finishing my first ever fanfic (*coughArabianNights-RoswellStylecough*) last night.

[ edited 3 time(s), last at 9-Aug-2002 4:38:44 PM ]
posted on 25-Aug-2002 1:37:02 PM by Kitcat26
quote:
Moonlit Jade originally wrote:
Hey wonderful part! I hope your still writing this, it's a really neat story! Please post again soon!*angel*


Of COURSE I'm still writing this! Eek! I apologize profusely if my *cough* abscence on this thread lead you to believe otherwise.

I had a standard long list of legitimate excuses, those of which are highly boring and will likely cause me to cringe at the reminder of them, so I'll just say again - sorry!

I'm working on the next part though, and it should be up either tonight, and if not then, definitely by Tuesday night.

Thanks again so much for the fantastic FB (Christian, LOL...Passions) and bumpage. You are all way too kind to me with the compliments, and I *blush*.

Hey Christina~
quote:
One question, did Max ever stop visiting Liz while she was in the coma and he was with Tess?


Erm, I know I wasnt real clear on that...see, Max kept on visiting Liz up until more recently, when he had that "talk" with his father in the hospital, and starting seeing Tess more romantically (gag me with a spoon). Does that answer your question? It's all vague, I know, but I am cramming this story into eight parts or less. So. Woo ambiguity.

Oh, and Rach...

quote:
The whole Tess thing, better than I imagined. I didn't think she'd be THIS evil, but I love it!


Heh, uhm, I didn't know she would be this scandelous either. It just came out. *happy* Anyhoo, so glad, of course, you approve.


Again, I thank you all for your patience and kind words.
Cath

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 25-Aug-2002 2:00:36 PM ]
posted on 27-Aug-2002 11:18:54 PM by Kitcat26
Uhm, did I say Tuesday night? You sure? I'm almost positive I said Wednesday night. Right?

*big*

Before you chuck things at the screen, I apologize repeatedly. See, this is why I shouldnt make promises. The minute I do, RL decides to swoop in and make sure I dont make good on said promises.

New part is 3/4ths of the way done. It will probably be up tomorrow. Notice I'm not being definite, as RL would screw that over too.

Sigh. Just thought I'd let you know. Again, I'm so sorry.

Forgive me?

You know you will, when you read the next part. But until then feel free to get all angry like with me.

Cath

PS Meagz, random reader? LOL As if, Miss Hound-Cath-For-Spoilers. *big*
posted on 31-Aug-2002 1:11:40 AM by Kitcat26
LOL Christina. I should learn that by now, but what can I say. I'm a dumb ass. *big*



Title: Risk of Burning.
Author: Cath AKA Kitcat26
Summary: Can love find a second chance, even when it seems all odds are against them?
Disclaimer: Characters are not mine. You know the drill. I dont own the lyrics by Mariah Carey or Michelle Branch
Ratings/Pairings: R. M/L



1-3-2

Beautiful banner by the masterful talena!


NOTE: Hey everyone. Look outside. Did hell freeze over? Cuz guess what! Cath wrote! Woo! *and the crowd goes wild* Or maybe not. But still, exciting stuff. If all goes well I MIGHT have the new SoF part up tomorrow as well. YAY! So here’s your new part. Be gentle. It was like pulling teeth. Sorta. Anyhoo, hope you enjoy. OH! But first, after you read and enjoy this, I HIGHLY recommend that you check out Meagzie’s new story Made To Be Broken
Its some seriously awesome writing, and I KNOW all of you are Meagzie fans, so…check it out. Thank you. You may read now.*wink*




I don't know whose side I'm takin'
But I'm not takin' things too well
I can see inside you're achin'
But is it still too early for me to tell?

I try to help you out through the hardest of times
Your heart is in your throat and I'm speaking my mind
Though it looks as if it's over
I'm still not over you

'Cause I still love you like I did before
I know for sure that you still feel the same way I do
If only she knew
Whoa, if only she knew, oh

I try to let it go but I don't know if I can take it
'Cause the way you looked at me
Made me see that I can't really fake it

I try to help you out through the hardest of times
Your heart is in your throat and I'm speaking my mind
Though it looks as if it's over
I'm still not over you

'Cause I still love you like I did before
I know for sure that you still feel the same way I do
If only she knew
Whoa

I know she loves you and I can't interfere
So I'll just have to sit back and watch my world disappear
Whoa

I try to help you out through the hardest of times
Your heart is in your throat and I'm speaking my mind
Though it looks as if it's over
I'm still not over you
Oh, I'm still not over you

'Cause I still love you like I did before
I know for sure that you still feel the same way I do
Whoa
'Cause I will never ever walk away
I'll find a way
She could never love you like I do
If only she knew


If Only She Knew – Michelle Branch

Part Three

Alexander Whitman squeezed his fiancés hand tightly. Isabel looked over at him with worried concern in her wide cerulean eyes.

“I don’t know if I can do it Alex,” she said softly, staring at the ground. “What if she doesn’t remember me? Or worse, what if she hates me because of Max?” Her teeth came crashing down mercilessly upon her cherry lips.

It was a few days after Alex and Isabel had received the news that Liz was awake. They had both been away visiting Alex’s parents in Arizona, and had just today driven back, their journey ending in silent agreement at the hospital. Isabel had been moody and distant ever since she had found out about their friend, and it had baffled Alex to no end. However, he had not pushed her about it, for one because he too was sorting out his whirling emotions and thoughts, and for another that he knew pushing Isabel to say or do something that she wasn’t ready to was the first step to loosing her.

Ironically, it had been Liz herself who had shared that little insight with him. And he had referred to it definitely more than once.

But now, at Isabel’s words, everything jumped out at him clearly, and his love for his lovely goddess increased tenfold. How was it possible for his love to keep growing? There were days when his heart was just bursting with ardor, and then the next he would find his heart expanding with excess affection. Alex felt a familiar flash of awe that she was actually his – and would be for the rest of his unworthy life. He decided to give up another prayer of thanks to the heavens for her.

It was amazing really, how much Isabel had changed once she had allowed Alex in her life as something more than a friend. Maria often told him that he balanced her, made her whole, and brought out the best in Isabel, Ex-Ice-Queen Extraordinaire. Alex, however, disagreed. He had KNOWN Isabel, even before he had approached her. From the moment he met her, he saw a strangled, grieving girl struggling to hold up a protective façade. He had basically given that girl a helpful nudge and allowed her to shine through.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” He told her affectionately, kissing the hand he held. “First of all, Liz could never forget you, or me. I wouldn’t allow it,” he teased in his usual manner, trying to hide his raw emotion. “And second of all, what’s between her and Max is just that. Between her and Max. It has nothing to do with you – with any of us.” Alex gritted his teeth through the last statement, lying effectively. Because undeniably, it DID have to do with Alex. Anything that had to do with Liz’s care had to do with him. It was just his way.

Isabel took a deep breath and let the shaky air out slowly. “I know, I know. I’m just so…so…I don’t know. I just am, you know?”

He nodded grimly at her. “Yea. I know.” And the sad thing was that he did, he truly did.

The couple took a moment in silent reverie, the faint echoes of the hospital looming behind him, reminding them forever of why they were here.

When they finally pushed open the door, they were met with a confusing, heart wrenching sight.

Two nurses were helping – make that practically carrying – Liz out of the tiny hospital bed and placing her carefully into a wheelchair. Alex turned his head slightly and noticed that Isabel’s face had gone pale and she was fighting a sheen of tears.

Oh, and why exactly is it that you’ve noticed Isabel’s tears there Alex? he asked himself sarcastically. Is it possibly because you are looking at Isabel to avoid looking at Liz. Suck it up and be the dorky goofball Liz knows and loves!

After having that little talk with himself, Alex straightened up and bestowed Liz with one of his infamous grins. “Lizzie! Uhm, nice to see you out and about!” Alex cringed at what came out of his mouth. Okay, so he overdid the dorky part and underemphasized the
goofball part.

Liz’s face darkened as she looked down pointedly at the chair. “Don’t you mean down and about?”

Alex faltered for a minute, unsure of how to proceed. He knew of Liz’s current condition via Maria and her hysterics, but it was hard to actually adjust to fact that Liz- vibrant, vivacious Liz – was confined to a wheelchair. Isabel shifted uncomfortably next to him, the air suddenly felt congested with tension.

In the end though, he ended up doing what he always did. Break the ice with another corny line. He cleared his throat and the two nurses took there leave.

“Whatcha doing? Breaking out of this joint already?”

He saw out the corner of his eye, Isabel rolling her eyes, yet letting her shoulder sag with relief from the departure of the building tension.

Liz also rolled her eyes, but he detected a faint, memorable smile curve at the corner of her lips. “No. My parents were just here. They agreed with the doctor that it’s time for me to go home. I’ll be leaving in an hour or so.”

“Well thank God. I myself was getting bloated from all that cafeteria food.”

Isabel groaned, but Liz actually laughed outright – granted it was short, but it was still SOMETHING – and she beckoned Alex to her. “I love you Alex,” She said simply.

Alex needed no further invitation than that and with two steps he had Liz crushed in the biggest hug she could fathom. “Not that I’m not tickled pink, but is there any reason why you chose to express your love and adoration for little ole me at this time?” He teased.

They broke apart, and he was met with Liz’s shining eyes – beautiful brown orbs that he had had begun to believe he might never see again. Oh, how jubilant was he to see them again.

“You can always manage to make me laugh, even when things seem depressingly low.”

Alex winced at her heartfelt statement, and he felt a burning rage begin to grip his insides.

Liz however, was thankfully unaware of this new development, as she was looking past Alex towards Isabel, who was hovering uncertainly near the door.

“Aren’t you going to come over here Isabel?” Liz asked her friend, a hint of teasing evident in her tone. Isabel smiled and made her way over to envelop the petite brunette in warm arms.

“Oh Liz,” Isabel said softly, her eyes still shining. “I can’t tell you how much we’ve missed you.” Liz smiled her thanks and reached to grasp the taller girls hand. Dread twisted his stomach at the exact moment Liz’s face scrunched in perplexity. She rotated Isabel’s hand so it was palm down and stared at the sparkling diamond on Isabel’s ring finger.

Alex was also aware of the exact moment when Isabel realized just what had happened, for she jerked away her hand as if she had been burned.

Liz met their eyes silently. It was a moment of quiet, and then, “You guys are engaged?” Her breath hitched on the last word and Alex’s heart bled for her. It also cursed their stupidity. They should have taken it off, they shouldn’t have just brandished it in front of her, reminding her…

“Stop.”

Alex’s raven head jerked upwards in surprise at Liz’s tone.

Her face crumpled. “Stop blaming yourself. I can see it written on your faces, don’t deny it,” She warned just as Alex opened his mouth. “You shouldn’t feel as though you need to protect me, as if you need to…I mean, I KNOW what Max did. And I’m dealing with it. The whole stupid thing shouldn’t interfere with your happiness and make you feel guilty for wearing a goddamn ring!” During her little oration, Liz’s voice had grown higher and higher until the last word was a piercing shriek. Her voice caught, and a helpless, wrenching sound came out of Liz’s throat – a wail so primal, so full of PAIN that it sent Alex’s blood boiling, threatening to overspill like scalding water onto its cooking captor.

Liz buried her face into her hands for a few moments, and Alex and Isabel shared a few powerless glances. What could they do?

Her compose sought out and put back in place, Liz drew in a shuddering breath and smiled feebly at them. “Sorry. For a minute there I just…” Her eyes watered and their expression made Alex want to find Max Evans and grind him into a bloody pulp. “Sorry,” she whispered.

“Liz,” Alex started, “You have absolutely…”

Liz shook her head, willing him into quiet submission. “No. That’s not what we should be talking about right now.” She smiled genuinely up at Isabel, her eyes shining in a proverbial fashion, shining in a way that let Alex know that their Liz was still in there. “Now. Details, Izzy, details. I want to know EVERYTHING about the wedding.”

Isabel’s face lit up despite herself, and she launched into a meticulous description of everything down to the last napkin at Table 31. Alex allowed himself to calm down and just simply ENJOY being back in the lively presence of his best friend. But deep inside, he was still seething.

--------------------------

Alex breathed deeply as he led the way out of Liz’s hospital room. Once the door was safely shut behind them he let out the longest sigh of exasperation.

Isabel leaned her head on his shoulder, her blonde mane tickling his neck. Together they slowly made their way down the hallway.

“Well that was…intense,” Alex commented, trying but failing to locate the right word to describe out it felt to see Liz in such a state – physically and emotionally.

Isabel made a mummer of agreement. “I know. Its just killing me to see her so…” She trailed off uncertainly when Alex suddenly went rigid. “Alex?”

He couldn’t answer her. He was literally seeing red. He hadn’t felt this violent since the time he had witnessed that jock come on (unwontedly) to Isabel and attempt to feel her up.

For there, just in front of them, was an oncoming Max Evans.

Without even thinking, Alex strode towards the man in question, steely purpose set in his eyes.

Max’s own eyes had brightened in recognition at finally noticing him. “Oh, hey Alex. Isn’t that Liz’s…”

His words were cut off when Alex’s tightly coiled fingers slammed into his jaw, effectively sending Max flying directly into the wall behind him. The nasty crunching noise combined with the flashing pain that rippled from his fist up his arm caused Alex to grimace. But his eyes still blazed steadily as he used them to deliver another striking blow to Max, this one not physical but nevertheless, it was the one that rang more true.

“Alex!” Isabel shrieked. He ignored her, breathing hard and fuming as his nostrils flared. When Max just sat there in a daze, Alex’s rage once again got the best of him.

“Don’t you have ANYTHING to say for yourself?” He demanded, this time managing not to yell, and also managing to keep his fist clenched at his side.

“Well, for one thing, I’m damn glad we’re in a hospital,” Max said ruefully, massaging the place where Alex’s furious swipe had connected, and shaking his head as if to shoo away the stars dancing in front of his eyes.

Alex’s eyes rounded to twice their normal size, giving his usually placid, open face a maddeningly irate look to it. He merely expelled tuffs of hot air, clearly too appalled to even speak. His vision was blurring. He didn’t think he had EVER been so angry.

But then, he didn’t think he would ever see Lizzie so hurt. The thought sent him off once again.

If there was one thing to know about Alexander Whitman it was this. He was deadly passionate about those he loved. No one EVER hurt his kin and got away without answering to him. And Liz was his kin. His friend, his SISTER, his ying to his yang. The third addition to the trio, consisting also of him and Maria.

And furthermore, it was LIZ. It was supremely implausible that anyone would even consider harming her – physically or emotionally. She was just that kind of person. Beautiful in every way, inside and out. Kind, compassionate, nurturing, smart…the best and brightest of them all. Additionally, if you had asked Alex who he thought was the one person you could trust to never hurt Liz, he would have told you without a moments hesitation or doubt that that person was Max Evans.

Which was why, most likely, that this whole situation seemed to be getting worse and worse by the minute. Because it WAS inconceivable, it WAS disconcerting…It WAS almost as if the world had spun off its axis.

Max groaned and straightened himself up. Instantly his eyes shone with tears, remorse…and unfathomable GUILT. Alex glared back, willing himself not to waver in his mind. But damn, if Evans didn’t look as bad…

Well, really, as bad as Liz.

This only furthered Alex’s thought that things couldn’t be more screwed up if they tried.

------------------------


Elizabeth Parker stared incessantly at the linoleum floor of her hospital room. It was funny, in a non-comical manner. The way this room seemed like that of a stranger’s, when in all actuality, she had spent three years of her life in here.

Wasted, She thought unceremoniously. The word isn’t spent; it’s wasted. Three years that you’ll never get back, no matter how hard you try. Just like you’ll never walk again, no matter how hard you try….

She resolutely ordered herself to stop being so pessimistic. She wanted the old Liz back, the ‘everything’s got a silver lining to it, sunshine on a happy day’ Liz. But she was gone. Lost forever, slipping away slowly once the bad news had been revealed…

Its replacement was a numb, shell of a person. Someone bitter. And dejected.

Max is engaged. And not to you.

The very thought was like drinking your own bile. Her very soul felt raw, beaten. How could he?

However, it wasn’t as if they could have picked up where they left off had he waited for her. She was crippled now. Confined to a hateful wheelchair, incarcerated within her own body. It was supremely frustrating when she wanted to get up, NEEDED to get up – and all she could do was lie there like some worthless sack until someone helped her.

Liz Parker didn’t need HELP. Liz Parker was independent. Liz Parker thrived on control.

Liz Parker was dead. At least that version of her was.

Because really, did she honestly think that things would have worked out for her and Max had he waited? She was a goddamn paraplegic for Pity’s Sake. Helpless, dependent, and truly lacking control of anything these days. She didn’t even want to be around herself. Unfortunately, she had the inauspicious quandary of, well, being herself. She couldn’t escape it - it being that kind of hindered lifestyle.

But Max could. Perhaps it was best this way.

Or perhaps not.

As if materialized from her thoughts, Max Evans appeared in her doorway. Her breath sucked sharply in at the sight of him – a quirk that had obviously not diminished in when she had been in her comatose state. For the briefest of minutes, time stood blissfully still, and all Liz did was drink in the sight of the man she loved.

It was then that she remembered that he had apparently not loved her back in the same fervor. Her expression hardened, especially when she remembered her current (although now it looked to be permanent) condition. She willed her face not to enflame. Her insecurities about the God-forsaken chair rushed forward again with a vengeance.

“Hello Liz.” How was it that his voice had not changed even one decibel, one syllable?

“Max.” Her emotions were in a tide of confusion, lapping at the shore, just out of her reach. She had yet to wrap them around her mind in a meticulous, comprehensible manner.

“What are you doing here Max?”

Now why had she asked that? She knew perfectly well from Isabel’s earlier visit that Max was planning to stop by. She KNEW he was coming. And yet, the whole ordeal seemed…odd. Out of place. Like if he was going to come see her, he should have done so earlier or not at all.

He winced, but then his gaze was true. And damn him if it didn’t still turn her insides into quivering fish upon a frying skillet: sparking, popping, fiery. He cleared his throat nervously, yet his voice rang steady and heartfelt. Almost as if the next words out of his mouth were ones he was born to say.

“I wanted to see you.”

Liz held her breath in one exultant moment. Hope flooded through her, rushing in her ears. There was something about his voice…something that hinted at a possibly chance for…

She immediately clamped down upon the idea. Her eyes turned steely. “Was that before or after you proposed to another women?”

Again, Max visibly cringed. “Liz…I…”

Suddenly, his presence was extremely painful. Hot bursts of hurt exploded within her body, and she could feel the tears starting to sting – the tears being the ramifications of a brain overload. Everything was coming at her with full force, and his being here was too much right now…

Her heart bled at the thought that at one time, his presence had never been quite enough…

“Maybe you should just go,” Liz muttered quietly, not permitting her voice to go any higher. She didn’t trust it to not exemplify all of her feelings, knowing that if she spoke above a whisper, everything would be laid out in front of him, more blatantly than cards in the last round of a poker game.

Max stood there for a minute, his expression entirely indecipherable. Which hurt her in some irrational way. The fact that she could no longer read him stung her, stung her more than the offensive tubes in her arms had.

“Is that what you want?” He asked finally, sounding crestfallen. A ripple of hollow disbelief and irritation flew through her. He was the one who seemed dejected. How unbelievably wrong and stupid was that?

Bitterness washed over her as she took in his words with such a force that she could almost taste the awful flavor on her tongue. How DARE he. She tutted a hot puff of air outward, freeing all of her animosity.

Max’s eyes, his beautiful, moving damn eyes, widened in concern. “What?” He implored gently. His tone however, had the opposite of the intended affect, and succeeded in only encouraging her anger.

What I want…” She mocked darkly. Her eyes flashed with perilous fire, and she noted Max’s sudden swallow of apprehension. “What I want? It should be quite obvious what I want, shouldn’t it Max?” She suddenly laughed, the empty, mirthless sound filling the room, and chilling the walls. When the awful sound subsided, her voice was replaced by something hard, tight, and cruel. Something completely NOT Liz Parker.

“What I want is to walk out of this damn chair! What I want is to wake up and find out that this was all just some horrible recurring nightmare! What I want is for you to just…”

She broke off abruptly. No. She wouldn’t go there, COULDN’T go there. For if she spoke her illicit thoughts, her hopes and dreams that it might still be possible for them to…No. It would make things so much more awkward. And more awkward moments were the absolute LAST thing they needed right now. As it was, they had suffered through enough of those to last a lifetime.

Max seemed at a complete loss for words. He worked his jaw uncertainly several times, before finally croaking out, “I-Liz…I didn’t mean…” He expelled a turbulent breath of air and some of his frustrations absconded out with it. “I’m sorry.”

Liz felt the hysterical, wretched laughter bubble up within her again, but she firmly compressed down on it. “Oh.” She bit out. “He’s sorry,. Gosh, everything just seems so much better now, doesn’t it. Freaking perfect now, I thank you ever so much Mr. Evans.”

Max flinched at her pointed, stinging words. Liz knew she had made a direct hit. Calling him Mr. Evans, the same title she had used for his father, the same tone she had used for the one who had never been her favorite person. The fact that she was associating him with his father must have caused him a frission of pain. Or rather, it would have for the Max Evans she had known. But now, in this moment – actually, ever since she had awoke to the painful news – she couldn’t tell if that boy and this man were the same being.

Max’s eyes had squeezed shut, and he seemed to be trying to maintain an unyielding hold on his emotions. Despite herself, Liz felt an unfathomable surge of compunction. It wasn’t right. Taking out all of her frustrations, poignancies, and hurt on him was wrong, and she knew it. A small part of her felt that he deserved it, that if he hadn’t moved on without her, none of this would have happened. But she couldn’t allow that illogical side to rule her. This was still MAX, and hurting him would always feel like hurting herself. She opened her mouth to say something along those lines, but Max interrupted her.

His next words caused her guilt to increase ten-fold. “I deserved that,” he said painfully, his voice cracking. “If you want take a swing at me like Alex did, I would welcome that too. It would be completely justified under the…” He searched for the words to describe the place they were at now, “ circumstances.”

“Alex did WHAT?” Liz exclaimed. She knew that Alex had some major issues with Max, and how he had handled the aftermath of the accident (Maria too for that matter), but Alex? Sweet, passive Alex? Taking to VIOLENCE? The world HAD gone crazy. And the proof of which just kept piling on, load after load.

“Yea. I guess he was trying to knock some sense into me – literally.” Max rubbed his jaw ruefully.

Liz gave a short laugh, and then smiled. For one instant, time seemed to mercifully rotate backwards, and as Liz meet Max’s warm, infinitely familiar gaze, it was almost as if nothing had changed. It was almost like Liz knew, just KNEW that she would never be able to turn away.

Blinking abruptly, Liz forced herself to get back on topic. For these kinds of thoughts…they were dangerous. Nothing good would come of them. Not at this point and time. Not when Max was…

She cleared her throat roughly, effectively breaking the mood. Max’s eyes clouded over once more.

“So uhm, what I meant to say before was,” Liz tore her eyes from his face, and forced herself to look at the floor of the room. Her gaze momentarily caught upon the wheels of the damn chair she was sitting in, and rage clouded her mind, swirling in its murky depths. She took a deep breath and coerced herself to push it aside and continue. “The thing is Max, you DON’T deserve this – any of this. I shouldn’t have lashed out at you.” It was then that she allowed herself the brief luxury of becoming lost in his tawny gaze. It took a moment before she remembered with a pang, that that luxury was no longer hers to own.

Max dug his fingers into his scalp, and coated his face with his palms. “Liz,” he choked out in a strangled voice. “You have no idea…you don’t know how much…how much I just wish…” Liz leaned unconsciously forward, intent on catching his every word, thinking that maybe, just maybe he would…

His yearning words were cut off by the door squeaking open. Both pairs of brown eyes jerked to the disturbance to reveal…

“Tess?” Max blurted out before he could stop himself.

Liz was frozen. Albeit reluctantly, she forced herself to take a look at the woman who had glided into Liz’s treasured place – Max’s heart. She felt her breath hitch when she locked eyes with a sheen of icy hardened blue. Something about the look Tess pierced her with sent a frigid wave down her spine. It reeked of an admonition.

But really, Liz could not blame her. Heaven knew what was going through the poor girl’s mind; her fiancé’s ex-fiancé coming back from the dead – or at least that’s what it felt like to Liz. Yet, Liz couldn’t find it in her to like the girl. It seemed that Liz was an expert in the field of irrationality these days. To Liz, Tess was the blockade, the one thing preventing her from her old life, her perfectly imperfect life with Max. It was all she wanted, all she had ever wanted. But Tess…now she wanted it too. And that made an emotion so foreign to rise inside of Liz Parker. Hate tumbled through her veins like wild fire spiraling down a hill.

Who was to say which girl was rightfully Max’s? Only Max. And he wasn’t being real verbal about his decision as of now.

Liz held Tess’s gaze for a moment, and then was shocked to discover something else flicker in the blonde’s eyes. Something almost like…

No. It couldn’t be. Liz must just be projecting her own wishful thinking into the situation. There was no way. It wasn’t even POSSIBLE.

Because for a moment, Liz had thought she had seen a glimmer of regret in Tess’s eyes. And it disconcerted Liz more than anything else she had learned in the past few days.

-------------------------

Max could only gape at the figure in the doorway, unmistakable dread filling his soul.

Now really, was this the way one was supposed to act when his fiancé appeared in the doorway?

Max didn’t know. He didn’t know much of anything these days, except for the fact that life had taken an all too CONFUSING turn. He couldn’t sleep anymore. Instead, he tossed and he turned, wondering vaguely what they had all done in their past lives to deserve such turmoil.

But when he had walked into the room today, and seen Liz’s beautiful, blissfully expressive face swing towards him (if there was one thing he had ached for during the time when she was comatose, it was the way her face always spoke volumes to him), things had momentarily seemed so clear, so set out, that he had forgotten entirely about Tess.

The moment had been short-lived, however, at Liz’s bone gnashing anger. But oh, how his heart had reached out for her when he first caught a glimpse at her lovely face. How his body had simply hummed for her…how his soul cried out with its every being just to hold her, brush back her hair…

The insatiable need for her had dimmed at the sight of her anger…and the sight of her condition. Once again, he squirmed with guilt. HE had put her there, it was HIS fault she was in that chair, HIS fault she was so upset…HIS fault he was so confused and in such a bind. If only he hadn’t been as stupid as to run into that car (no matter what the police report said about how it had been the other driver’s fault, he still believed otherwise), or furthermore, if he hadn’t been as stupid as to involve her in his inane life, then maybe she was still have hers, in an untarnished fashion.

It was then that he realized just WHY he had stopped coming to see her some time ago and gotten involved with Tess. The guilt he had harbored everyday, of seeing her just LIE there, and knowing that it was entirely his fault…

It had slowly killed him. Crushed him with the knowledge that she would have been better off without him, and that maybe, just maybe if he left her alone, nothing else worse would happen to her.

He had heard Michael’s quiet anger over the phone when he had called with the news. He had felt Alex’s burning rage this afternoon…he KNEW everyone was joining in on his blame parade.

What’s more, is that he KNEW he should just stay away from her, let her rebuild her life, a life away from his own so he couldn’t hurt her again….

But he was weak.

He had spoken the truth when he said he had wanted to see her. But what he omitted was that he HAD to see her. His body would have eaten at him, his impatience and anxiety over whether she was truly all right was more insistent than his guilt. He had wanted one more touch, one more look…

However, after seeing her, after feeling everything rush back into place and out of the dark boxes in his mind (and consequently, his closet as well), and he knew. One more moment was never going to be enough. His entire soul craved more, ravenous and greedy for more Liz-time (as his teenage self had referred it as).

He had even almost admitted aloud to her how much he craved they could go back, even for just a second…

Tess’s untimely arrival, however, gave him a shocking bolt to the present.

Had he not moved on? Wasn’t he supposed to be marrying TESS?

Weren’t you supposed to be marrying LIZ A voice mocked in his head. He waved it away.

His mind was about to implode with all the uncertainty and wishy-washy thoughts floating around. Right now he needed to eliminate one of the two, to lessen the tension and confusion in his mind – and consequently in the room as well.

“Tess.” He stated flatly. “Can you wait outside for me please?”

Her face darkened considerably, and Max knew he would pay for this later. She pouted for a minute, but then turned to go, throwing out over her shoulder, “All right, see you later…honey,” her voice was pointed, poised for a direct hit.

Max winced and dared a look in Liz’s direction. She scowled, but not before Max viewed a wave of pain flit across her features. He swallowed as the guilt and anger dived down his throat again. This was unacceptable. He should NOT be causing her MORE pain. There mere thought was like a knife to the core of his soul.

“Liz,” he started, not sure what he was saying but knowing it desperately needed to be said. “Liz, I-”

Yet again, his words were interrupted by a figure striding through the door. A formidable looking doctor straightened his glasses. “Elizabeth Parker?”

Liz snapped towards him, her eyes questioning. “Yes?”

The doctor ambled over to the bed and sat down neatly, perching himself carefully on the edge. Max wanted to scream at the lull. The doctor obviously had something to announce of sorts, and dragging it out was like someone was tugging out his hair – strand by strand.

The doctor cleared his throat and finally spoke. “I have a proposal for you, Elizabeth. One that could very well conclude with you retaining the use of your legs.”

Max could literally feel Liz perk up at the words. He frowned at the doctor’s grave tone however, and pursed his lips, waiting for it.

“It involves a experimental surgery and rehabilitation technique, one that deals with the nerves and leg muscle. The surgery itself a relatively new concept and approach, but it has had an eighty percent chance at success.”

Max heard Liz’s distinctive sharp intake of excited breath, but he was more concerned about the numbers.

“And what of the other twenty percent…?” Max queried.

The doctor hesitated, straightening his crisp white coat. “There is always, for sure, a slight chance that something may go wrong in surgery…”

“And?” Max prompted, his nostrils flaring.

“And more paralysis may result…and in few cases fatality is a result.”

Max felt his heart stop for a few terrifying moments, and trepidation crawled along his spine. His first coherent thought was a big, large NO

“I’m doing it,” Liz said with concrete certainty.

While his heart had stopped before, now it sped up with frightening speed. He felt as if he was spirling out of control, loosing a vital part of himself. That if he watched her put herself directly into more danger, if he lost her AGAIN…

He would simply cease to exist.

“Liz, I really don’t think that you should…”

It seemed as though today was the day of interruptions. Liz cut him off brusquely, her eyes glittering angrily.

“It’s MY decision Max, and really, it’s not your problem anymore.” Her tone was flat and steely, aloof, but Max could hear the undertones of anguish in her voice, and he longed to just gather her up in his arms, and aching when he knew he could not.

But what he heard, saw and felt toady only furthered his next thought.

Although it really WASN’T his decision it for sure was still his problem. He was still irrevocably involved in this; his guilt, and…feelings still far too attached and melded with the strong, obstinate women in front of him. And he would see it through until it was resolved, wherever it took him, whenever it called.


[ edited 4 time(s), last at 31-Aug-2002 1:19:13 AM ]
posted on 11-Sep-2002 8:41:54 PM by Kitcat26
Hey all. This is just a chance for me to get out my thoughts on Sept. 11. This is part of the thing Sansu started up on the fanfic discuss forum.

Sharmeen left a comment on my other thread, saying something about how some people lashed out last year after the attacks towards those of Arab and/or Muslim desent. These are my thougts and they stem from there.

Hey all. This is just a chance for me to get out my thoughts on Sept. 11. This is part of the thing Sansu started up on the fanfic discuss forum.

Sharmeen left a comment on my other thread, saying something about how some people lashed out last year after the attacks towards those of Arab and/or Muslim desent. These are my thougts and they stem from there.

Sharmeen, I must comment on what you said about it, and thank you for your thoughts. Feel free to mistake this for your diary, for I find that I best express myself through writing...and isn't that why we're all here? For writing in some form, may it be actually penning your thoughts and ideas or reading and giving off your feedback for the author (and of course, the ever popular mixture of both).

Anyways, about the hatred directed towards those who practice the Islamic/Muslim religion. I completely agree with you. It stuns me when people lash out at them or those of Arab desent. The terrorists were NOT apart of ANY religion. How could they be? There is no way God would ever condone or permit any kind of massacre or monstracity such as the terrible acts of September 11. It's so sad that people feel the need to strike out and take their anger out upon those who most certainly do NOT deserve it. It is reminiscent of another tragic event - the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Some people lashed out at Japanese Americans, simply because of thier heritage and race. Those poor people had NOTHING to do with that attack, just as most Arab Americans had NOTHING to do with Sept.11. Placing the blame upon them is wrong, and it disgusts me. If we do participate in such an act, we are playing straight into the terroists hands. They WANT us divided, to have us fight amongst ourselves - weakiingening us far more so then if another plane crashed into a building, God Forbid. We are only as good as we are united, and as weak as we are divided.

We must look to our neighboring, and distant countries to help us through such a time and place. For this attack...it wasn't just against America. It was against the world, the nation as a whole. It threatened the symbol of everything we hold dear to us - safety, security, a sense of faith and trust in the world, and human life. But we also lost our ignorance, and our rose colored glasses. And in that, we can become stronger, can be ready to rise to the occasion to fight against this type of thing, have it occur again (God Forbid). I firmly believe that if we come together as a whole, then we can win...no doubt about it.

I send my deepest condolances and support to those affected by the attacks one year ago (can you believe it? I most certainly cannot. I will never forget how I felt that day...I could even recount step by step everything that happened on that day. That's how vivid it is still in my mind). However minutely, distantly, or close and personal your loss was, I offer my love, and rambling words of not quite so wisdom. You may agree or disagree with me, but this is just how I feel, how I am chosing to cope.

Not to say however, that I believe sitting around and wallowing will help. I quote Tom Daschle, "As we reflect on those events, we are reminded to treat every day as precious, to cherish our many blessings, and live lives worthy of the sacrifices of those we lost."

Below I am just going to post a little banner I found. It links to a Remembrance site that I found. http://remember.worldatwar.org

irc-small-banner-6

poppybanner-1

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 11-Sep-2002 10:27:01 PM ]
posted on 15-Feb-2003 10:14:22 PM by Kitcat26
Hey guys!

*cough* Whoa. It's been a few months, eh? This story sort of flew to the back burner, and for that I apologize. This DOES have an end and an update in sight! *really* I haven't forgetten this, but I am lacking time lately. So bear with me.

Wow, I was rereading the feedback on this because it won't be carried over with the switch to the new board, and I was just blown away. You guys ROCK.

frenchkiss70, I don't know where I'd be with out your bumps.

Eccentric One, I loved your emotion charged response. *happy* It's always nice to know that I evoked a response out of my readers. Have no fear, for even though I may not seem like it now, I am a dreamer.

flomac, thank you for seeing Max's side on this. I loved how you got his perspective. ;)

Meagz, I love you. You know this. *grin* Like Christian said, your feedback cracked me up. *hugs*

Christian, I remember falling off my chair laughing after reading your feedback.
quote:
I keep seeing that one scene in Steel Magnolias when
Sally Fields says she just wants to hit something and Olympia Dukakis pushes Weeza in front of her and says "Hit this!"

If only someone had pushed Tess in front of Alex when he had felt the desire to swing a punch. I'd buy tickets for that!


I LOVE that scene in that movie. I watched it with my mother, and we were literally dyying with guffaws. *snort* That is possibly one of the greatest orchastrated scene in a movie. Hee!

All the rest of my readers, thank you, thank you. I can't stress it enough how much your comments mean. I'm most definitely saving your feedback.

Love, hugs and all the rest,
Cath

P.S. FYI, I will still be updating here at RF, but I'll mostly be posting now at this new site called Outer Haven. www.pub13.ezboard.com/bouterhaven45775

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Feb-2003 10:17:18 PM ]