posted on 23-Oct-2001 7:16:22 PM by Fanatic101
Author: Fanatic101 (Dan)

E-mail: koval1⊕charter.net

Category: A\U, mostly M\L

Summary: This was a challenge from isa881 that I thought I’d run with. Max is part of a band (NOT a boy band, but a rock band like Lifehouse). I don’t want to give anything away, so that’s all the summary you’re going to get.

Disclaimer: I’m a person of limited wealth, so I need to borrow quite often. The characters don’t belong to me, only the storyline does.

fd604d40

I just wanted to give ChrissyP47 a huge THANK YOU for the wonderful banner!

Moment In Time



Part 1

There are events that take place in your life that change you forever; moments in time that effect you whether it be for better or worse. I always used to pride myself for my ability to maintain control over my own life. I always felt balanced no matter what I did, never letting anyone throw me off course.

All that changed in a matter of seconds.

I started a band with my best friend Michael Guerin while we were seniors in high school. I played lead/acoustic guitar while Michael played the drums. We welcomed another of our friends, Alex Whitman, after we told him we were looking for a bass guitar player. Kyle Valenti joined us a short time after Alex, taking over as lead guitar, allowing me to focus on acoustic. The name we decided on for the band was HalfLife.

When we first started out, the four of us played wherever we could. It mostly consisted of college parties and nightclubs, but our big break came along when a producer caught wind of our music. He came out to one of our performances, and two weeks later we signed a contract with Wizard Records.

We first started touring as the opening act for some major rock bands, giving us the exposure we needed. Before long we were headlining the shows, filling the stadiums with screaming fans. It’s still hard to believe how far we’ve come.

Anyway, back to the moment that changed my life. Our manager, Jerry Mahorn, signed me up to do a duet with an up and rising singer/songwriter. We were going to write a song for an upcoming movie by Condor Films. I was skeptical at first, but Jerry convinced me to watch one of her performances before I blew the deal off.

I was a goner the very second I heard her voice.

This is the story about the moment in time that changed my life forever.

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

Max sat on his tour bus, staring intently at the piece of paper in front of him. He tapped the end of his pen against the table top, obviously deep in thought.

“You okay?” Alex asked as he sat across from Max. He glanced down at the paper in front of his friend, nodding in understanding as to why he looked so out of it. “Still having trouble with that song, huh?”

“You know Maxwell,” Michael said as he sat on the couch across the isle from the other two, “since you began writing that song, you’ve started and finished five others. Why is this one taking so long?”

“If I knew the answer to that, I wouldn’t be having a problem with it,” Max said, frustrated.

“Boy…you’re bitchy when you’re pissed,” Kyle said, flipping through a sports magazine as he sat next to Michael on the couch.

“Are you having trouble with the lyrics or the melody?” Alex asked before Max could respond to Kyle’s comment.

“Both,” Max said, running a hand through his hair. “I can hear the melody in my mind, but whenever I try to copy that down onto paper, it never comes out right. The same goes for the lyrics. I know exactly what I want to say, yet I can’t find the right words to express it.”

“Maybe you should take a break,” Michael suggested. “You’ve been trying to write the damn thing for so long, your brain’s probably fried.”

“Maybe I should,” Max said, defeated. “Maybe it’ll come to me when I least expect it to.”

“Screaming fans, nine o’clock,” the bus driver called back to them.

The four band members looked out the window of the bus, smiling amusedly when they saw a convertible full of teenage girls screaming their heads off at the bus. They had pictures of the four of them all over their car, with HalfLife written on the hood of the car.

Alex opened the window of the bus, eliciting more screams from the girls.

“Alex!” Michael said, rushing toward him. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Just wait,” Alex said, keeping Michael at bay with an extended hand. He poked his head slightly out the widow with a smile on his face. “Excuse me,” he called out to the girls. “Do you know where the HalfLife concert is? My friends an I are kind of hoping to get tickets to the show.”

The girls didn’t respond, probably from the shock of not only seeing the band up close, but also from having one of them actually speak to them.

“I guess not,” Alex said as he pulled his head back inside the bus. “God bless our fans,” he said with a smile.

***********

“Five minutes to Showtime!”

Max looked up at the stagehand as the announcement made its way into the dressing room. He took a deep breath as he looked at his reflection in the mirror, mentally preparing himself for the upcoming show.

“Quit staring at yourself,” Michael said as he passed by his friend. “You spend more time in front of the mirror than your sister does.”

Max smiled as he turned and gave Michael a shove, causing his friend to start laughing.

Alex was in the far corner of the room next to Kyle, strumming his bass guitar with his eyes closed when Jerry came into the room.

“Everyone ready?” Jerry asked.

“Of course,” Michael said as he twirled his drumsticks between his fingers.

“Good,” Jerry said as he clapped his hands together. “Let’s go!”

Max took a moment to himself as he said a little prayer, something he did before every show. When he stood up, he followed his fellow band members over to the side of the stage.

The entire stadium went dark a few moments later, indicating to the band that it was time to take the stage. The crowd started cheering as Michael settled himself behind the drums, Alex took his place at the far end of the stage, and Kyle on the near side. Max threw the strap to his guitar around his neck as he took center stage.

The four-member band didn’t make a sound until a huge sign above the stage reading HalfLife lit up. That was the cue for Max to start the first song of the concert. As soon as the first rift of their hit song ‘What It Takes’ burst forth, the lights in the stadium flashed back on, causing the crowd to roar even louder.

Max stepped up to the microphone and began to sing, getting the concert under way. The band went right into the second song after the first one ended, but took a small break after that as Max spoke to the crowd.

“So how is everyone in Charlotte, North Carolina?” The crowd roared its approval, just like Max knew they would. Acknowledging the city they were in always got the crowd going. “We’re going to slow it down a bit now and sing a song that some of you may know. It’s called ‘For You’ and it’s from our second album ‘Main Stream’. How many of you have that album by the way?” he asked, raising his hand in the air.

There was a deafening roar as thousands of hands shot up in the air. Max smiled as he turned to the other three, indicating that is was time to start the song.

Jerry made his way through the crowd that had gathered backstage, walking up to the small group of people he had invited to the concert who were standing off to the side. “I just wanted you to see them perform…you know, just to give you an idea of what they sound like live.”

Sean DeLuca nodded as he kept his eyes on Max. “They definitely get into their music. You can tell that they give their all for each performance.”

“That they do,” Jerry said. “What about you? What do you think?”

“They sound great,” Liz Parker said. “I know they only have two albums out, but I’ve always been a fan of theirs. I absolutely love this song.”

“I wish you could stick around and meet them after the show,” Jerry said.

“So do I,” Liz replied. “But I have a plane to catch.”

“Well, how do you feel about doing a duet with Max?” Jerry asked. “I know Condor Films is looking forward to including it in their upcoming movie.”

“I still can’t believe they wanted me to be on the soundtrack,” Liz said. “I think this will be a great experience for me, working with someone like Max.”

“Great,” Jerry said. “Max doesn’t know yet, but I just know that he’ll be thrilled to work with you.”

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

“Are you crazy!” Max exclaimed. “Why do you want me to do a song for a soundtrack?”

“Because they’re going to pay you to,” Jerry said.

“Jerry, I’m not going to have time,” Max said. “Our tour is still going on for another month and a half. Besides, I don’t even know who this, this…” he looked at his manager, needing to be reminded of who the other singer would be.

“Liz Parker,” Jerry said.

“Right. I don’t even know who Liz Parker is,” Max said. “Is she any good?”

“She’s an upcoming star on the same label you’re on,” Jerry said. “And not only does Wizard Records think she’s great, but so does Condor Films, the producers of the movie.”

Max ran a hand through his hair as he started to pace back and forth.

“Tell you what,” Jerry said, putting both hands on Max’s shoulders, stopping him from pacing. “Just watch one of her performances. If you don’t like what you hear, we’ll figure something else out.”

Max let out a sigh as he rubbed his eyes with his forefinger and thumb. “Fine. But I won’t be able to watch her perform until we’re done with our tour.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Jerry said with a smile. “The band that was going to open for you down in Orlando next month had to cancel. Since I had to find a replacement, I just talked with Liz’s manager and she agreed to fill in.”

“She’s on our tour now?” Max asked. It wasn’t that he objected to the idea of Liz playing at his concert, or that he was annoyed by it, he just didn’t like surprises.

“Max, Max, Max,” Jerry said, walking towards the door. “Relax. You’re acting like she’s going to be the next Britney Spears or something. She’s not the Pop music type, she’s very much into Rock. She has tremendous talent, she writes all her own music, and I know you’ll like what you hear. The Powers That Be at Wizard think she’s going to be bigger than any other female artist out there, including the Pop regime. Just keep an open mind before you watch her perform.”

“Open mind,” Max repeated as Jerry led him out of the dressing room and onto the bus. “Right.”

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

The next month went by rather quickly. The band performed at numerous stadiums, slowly bringing an end to their current tour. When they got to Orlando, they only had two more weeks of shows left to do.

The four members of the band sat around the dressing room at the stadium, along with Isabel Evans, Max’s sister and Alex’s girlfriend, and Tess Harding, Isabel’s best friend and Max’s wannabe girlfriend. They were all talking and laughing, everyone except for Max who was quietly strumming his guitar, when a knock came to the door.

“Max,” Jerry said as he walked into the room. “Let’s go.”

“Go where?” Max asked.

“Liz Parker is performing in a few minutes,” Jerry said.

“Oh…right,” Max said as he put his guitar down and followed his manager out of the room. Over the course of the past month, Max had grown into the idea of doing a song for the soundtrack, especially after he heard a few songs off Liz’s album. She had an incredible voice.

“Who’s Liz Parker?” Tess asked as she watched the door that Max had just walked out of.

“She’s the one opening for us,” Michael said. “Her and Max are going to do a duet for some lame chick flick coming up soon.”

Tess didn’t know who Liz Parker was, but she could already tell that when it came to Max, the girl was a threat.

*********

“How’s that new song coming along?” Jerry asked as he and Max made their way over to the stage.

“It’s not,” Max said. “I’m not sure what the deal is, but I just can’t seem to find the right emotion for the song.”

“It’ll come to you,” Jerry said with confidence as the two men stood side-by-side, waiting for Liz to take the stage. “It always does.”

“Excuse me,” a voice called out from behind Max.

Max turned and found himself staring at a short, petite brunette who looked extremely familiar. He could tell from the look on the girl’s face that she recognized him right away.

“Great!” Jerry said once he noticed who it was. “Max, I’d like you to meet Liz. Liz, this is Max.”

“Liz?” Max asked, finally realizing where he had seen her before – the picture on the front of her album.

“It’s great to meet you,” Liz said, shaking Max’s hand emphatically. “I just wanted to tell you that I really appreciate this opportunity to perform at your concert.”

It took Max a second to regain his bearings. She’s gorgeous! He had seen pictures of her before, but seeing her in person was a whole different experience. “It’s great to meet you,” he finally said. “I’ve listened to your album and I love you.” It took him a second to realize what he had just said, but the look on Liz’s face was priceless. “Your voice!” he quickly amended. “I love your voice.” He cleared his throat, trying to keep from looking like an even bigger idiot. “I…I’m really looking forward to working with you.”

“Thanks, I’m looking forward to working with you too,” Liz said, the look of shock slowly leaving her face, replaced by one of confusion. “Just out of curiosity, what are you doing up here? I thought you’d be backstage getting ready for your concert.”

“I came for you,” Max said, his eyes never once leaving Liz’s. When he saw the same look of shock pass across Liz’s face again, he realized that he had just put his foot in his mouth once more. “To watch you,” he quickly added. “I came out to watch you.” Max noticed for the first time that Jerry was now staring at him strangely as well. “Perform, that is. I came out to watch you perform.”

“You’ll have to excuse him,” Jerry said to Liz, a smile on his face. “He rambles if he doesn’t get enough sleep.”

Liz nodded, not quite sure what to do next. “Do you normally watch the opening act?” she asked Max.

“No,” Max said, shaking his head. “Just yours.”

“Oh,” Liz said. Before she was able to continue her conversation, her manager came up to her.

“Let’s go Liz!” Sean said, gently placing his hand on the small of Liz’s back, leading her over to the edge of the stage. “You’re on in thirty seconds.”

Liz glanced over her shoulder at Max one last time, smiling at him when she saw that he was still watching her. ‘He came to watch me perform! He came to watch me perform!’ a little voice kept repeating in her head. Then the little voiced asked, ‘Why do you care? He’s not interested in you personally, and even if he were, you’re with Sean.’ She shook her head to clear her thoughts before she looked out over the stage.

“Good luck,” Sean said, giving Liz a quick kiss on the lips.

“She’s dating her manager?” Max asked, trying to hide his disappointment.

“Yeah,” Jerry said, watching Max out of the corner of his eye. “You like her.”

Max didn’t answer, partially because Jerry’s statement was true, but also because he was too busy watching Liz as she took a seat at the piano. As soon as she started playing her first song, Max found himself walking closer to the stage to get a better view. Before long, both he and Jerry were standing next to Sean.

“I need to know when a good time is for you to work on that soundtrack song with Liz,” Sean said.

Max didn’t hear him. The only thing he heard was Liz singing. Her voice was so…angelic, floating through the air with such grace that it touched Max’s soul. He could feel a sense of calm wash over him from just listening to her.

“The tour’s over in two weeks,” Jerry answered for Max. “What’s Liz’s schedule like?”

“She’s booked for the next couple of weeks as well, but she’ll be free after that,” Sean said. “At least for a little while.”

“Why don’t we plan on meeting around the twenty-first?” Jerry asked, opening his organizer.

“Where?” Sean asked, opening his organizer as well.

“The last concert for us is on the nineteenth, and we’ll be in Seattle,” Jerry said.

“Liz will be in Houston on the nineteenth,” Sean said, reviewing his schedule. “Why don’t we just meet in L.A.?”

“Sounds like a plan,” Jerry said with a smile, closing his organizer. “Come on Max, let’s get you backstage so they can work on your hair.”

Max felt Jerry pull him backwards, but he refused to turn and walk away on his own accord. He wanted to watch Liz.

“Max,” Jerry whispered, forcing him to turn away from Liz. “Try to keep you admiration for Liz somewhat guarded,” he said, looking over his shoulder at Sean. “Not only did I see it, but so did her manager slash boyfriend.”

Max glanced over his shoulder, noticing that Sean was staring after him with an impartial look on his face. “I can’t help it,” he admitted.

*********

Just before HalfLife took the stage later that night, Max glanced around looking for Liz, but she was nowhere to be found. He took a deep breath and walked out on stage to another roaring crowd.

As the concert wore on, everything went smoothly. They were up to the last song of the night when Max finally found her. She was standing off to the side of the stage, all by herself, her hands clasped behind her back. As soon as their eyes met, she gave him a smile, which he returned ten fold.

“We just wanted to thank you all for coming out,” Max was saying to the crowd as his eyes slowly left the one person he wanted to see the most. “We’re going to finish things off by playing a song that I’m sure most of you have heard. It’s called ‘Never More’.”

Liz watched as Max took a seat on the stool that one of the stagehands brought out for him, his acoustic guitar strapped around his neck. The intro to the song, along with the entire first verse, was just Max and his guitar. Alex, Michael and Kyle didn’t come into play until the chorus came. She marveled at the way he could play the guitar, his fingers gliding from string to string, fret to fret.

Even though Max was facing the crowd, there was only one person there that he was really singing to. It was a young woman who he had just met a few hours ago…a young woman who just so happened to have a boyfriend.

To Be Continued…


[ edited 15time(s), last at 18-Sep-2002 1:31:13 PM ]
posted on 29-Oct-2001 6:25:00 PM by Fanatic101
Authors Note: Thanks for the feedback!

Pandas2001 - I'm clutching my heart right now, trying not to crumble to the floor from the fact that you don't know who Lifehouse is! It saddens me to no end to hear that there are still depraved individuals out there who haven't heard of them. Seriously though, it's hard for me to compare Lifehouse to any other band, but if I had to, I'd compare them to the early Pearl Jam (but better!). They're kind of like Creed, just not as...hard sounding if you know what I mean (at least in my opinion).

Kira - To answer your question, I have written fanfic other that A\U before, but not recently. I like the freedom of coming up with my own storylines instead of playing off the ideas of the writers on the show. With A\U, the only thing I need to borrow are the characters. Does that make sense? I have thought about doing a story along the lines of the show, but I wouldn't have enough time unless I wrote it with someone else.

fd604d40

I just wanted to give ChrissyP47 a huge THANK YOU for the wonderful banner!


Part 2

“Hey guys, listen to this and tell me what you think,” Max said. He was sitting on the couch on the tour bus, his guitar in hand. After everyone had gathered around, he started playing a new song that he had just started working on.

“As I lie here all alone,
Simple movements are all I know,
Your image fixed inside my mind,
Showing love I can no longer find.

I lie here wanting you,
My soul aches through and through,
Calling out in desperate plea,
In your arms is where I long to be."

Max stopped playing and singing as he looked up at the others. “That’s all I have written so far. I’m working on the chorus right now.”

“That’s great Maxwell,” Michael said as sat on the table across from his friend. “But what about the other song? You know, the one you’ve been working on for the past year or so?”

“I thought it would be a good idea if I worked on something else for now,” Max said. “I need to get my mind off it.”

Alex nodded as he looked over the sheet music that Max had logged down for the song so far. “It’s got a nice rhythm to it. It’s tuned down half a step, right?”

“Right,” Max said.

“How long did it take you to write this much?” Kyle asked.

“A couple of hours,” Max replied with a shrug.

Michael started laughing as he shook his head. “I swear, you write songs faster than most people can sing them.”

Before Max could respond, his cell phone started to ring. “Hello?”

“Hey Max.”

“Hey Tess,” Max said with an extreme lack of enthusiasm.

“You guys are playing in Seattle tonight, right?” Tess asked.

“We sure are,” Max replied.

“Great! Isabel and I are flying in to see the show,” Tess said cheerfully.

“Why?” Max asked as he set his guitar aside and rubbed his temples with his free hand. Talking to Tess always gave him a headache.

“To see you, silly,” Tess said. “Why else.”

Max really hated when she talked to him like she was still a little schoolgirl, all sugary and sweet. “But you’ve seen our show before.”

“What can I say…I like to watch you perform,” Tess said.

“I bet,” Max muttered under his breath.

“What was that?” Tess asked innocently.

“Nothing,” Max said. “Listen Tess, I need to go. I need to go over a few things with the guys before I forget.”

“Okay,” Tess said. “I’ll see you tonight hon.”

Max rolled his eyes as he hung up his phone.

“Tess?” Michael asked, getting a nod from Max in return. “I swear…that chick does not take hints too well.”

“I really hate the sugary tone she has when she talks to me,” Max said. “I could actually hear her smiling just now.”

“Max my friend,” Alex said, slapping him on the shoulder, “we could all hear her smiling.”

“What really gets to me is her laugh,” Kyle added, shivering to emphasize his point. “I wouldn’t be surprised if every dog in a five mile radius went deaf from it.”

Max chuckled as he placed his phone down. “Let’s go over the play list for tonight,” he said, changing the subject. “If we keep talking about Tess, I just know that I’ll have nightmares tonight…again.”

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

“You said that she’s in Houston right now?” Max asked Jerry.

“Yeah…why?” Jerry asked, not liking the way that Max was asking about Liz.

“Do you have her cell number?” Max asked, ignoring Jerry’s question.

“I do,” Jerry said with a smile. “But I’m not giving it to you.”

“Why not?” Max asked, getting annoyed.

“Tell me why you want it,” Jerry said.

“I just want to make sure that she knows where to meet me in L.A.,” Max said.

“Don’t try to pull that crap on me,” Jerry said with a smile. “You know damn well that her manager will make sure she gets there.”

“Just give me her number!” Max said, a little louder than he wanted to.

“Alright, alright,” Jerry said, glancing around to see if Max had drawn any attention to them. “But keep it brief. You still have a show to do in less than a half an hour.”

Max quickly grabbed the number from his manager and hurried off to a secluded part of the stadium. He dialed Liz’s cell phone and waited for her to answer.

“Hello?”

“Hey…Liz?” Max asked, wanting to make sure that he wasn’t talking to one of her friends or something.

“The one and only,” Liz replied. “Who’s this?”

“Its…its Max. Remember, we met a couple of weeks ago?”

“Of course I remember who you are,” Liz said with a laugh. “Did you think I’d actually forget?”

“Well, no,” Max replied, realizing that his question was completely and utterly stupid.

“So what’s up?” Liz asked.

“I was…I just wanted to make sure that you and I were still meeting in L.A. to work on that song,” Max said, hoping that Liz wouldn’t see through his lame excuse for calling her. “After you’re done in Houston, that is.”

“Well I’m not in Houston, actually,” Liz said.

“Really?” Max asked, confused. “My manager said you were.”

“I was scheduled to perform there, but Bobby Ross, the lead singer for Omega, was hit with strep throat,” Liz said. “That kind of cancelled the concert, since Omega was headlining.”

“Oh,” Max said, not knowing what to say next. “So where are you?”

“Actually,” Liz said with a laugh, “I’m walking into the Seattle Coliseum as we speak. My friend told me that this really great band called HalfLife was playing here, so we both decided to come in the hopes of getting a glimpse of them.”

Max was frozen.

“Max?” Liz asked. “You still there?”

“Huh?” Max asked, snapping back to reality.

“I said I came to watch your concert,” Liz said. “My friend wanted to meet you guys, especially Michael. She thinks he’s the best thing since sliced bread.”

“You live in Seattle?” Max asked.

“No,” Liz replied. “I live in Santa Barbara, but they have this wonderful invention called the airplane. You see, all you have to do is sit in one of the seats and the pilot takes you wherever you want to go.”

“Do I sense sarcasm?” Max asked, loosening up a bit.

“That would be correct,” Liz said.

“Watch yourself, Liz,” Max warned.

“Or what?” Liz asked.

Max smiled into the phone. He could tell that not only was Liz smiling, but she was also enjoying the light banter and flirtation that was taking place between them. “Or you won’t get to come backstage and see us.”

“Ohhh,” Liz whined. “Fine, you win.”

“Where exactly are you?” Max asked.

“We’re standing in front of the concession stand by the front doors,” Liz replied.

“Okay, stay there and I’ll send someone to get you,” Max said.

“My hero,” Liz said affectionately.

“Oh please,” Max said, rolling his eyes. “You’re probably batting your eyelashes right now, aren’t you?” he asked with a smile.

Liz’s laugh filtered through the phone, making Max smile even brighter. “Honestly…yeah I was. How did you know?”

“I’m not sure,” Max said truthfully. “I just knew. Anyway, just sit tight and someone will be by in a few minutes to get you.”

“Alright,” Liz said. “I’ll see you in a bit.”

“Okay,” Max said. “Bye.” He hung up the phone and smiled as he slowly started to make his way back to the dressing room. He got about halfway back when he was suddenly confronted by a group of five teenagers who were clearly lost. They all had backstage passes, but their passes still limited them to certain areas of the arena. How they got back to where they were now was beyond Max.

“OH MY GOD!!” One of the girls yelled as soon as she saw Max.

Max just smiled as the three girls and two boys quickly made their way over to him. “Lost?”

“Yeah,” one of the girls replied, staring up at him with a dreamy expression on her face.

“You guys could get into big trouble if security catches you,” Max said. “How did you guys get back here, anyway?”

“I have no idea,” one of the boys answered. “We were just walking, and this is where we ended up.”

Max nodded, smiling again. “Follow me and I’ll make sure that security doesn’t pull your passes.” He led the group up to the front, where two security guards quickly approached them. “I just finished giving them a tour of what life is like backstage, so could you two make sure that they find their seats before the show starts?” Max asked the security guards.

“Uh…yeah, sure,” one of the guards said, confused. He was told that nobody was allowed past him unless they had they proper I.D., and he could tell by looking at the backstage passes that the five kids had that they weren’t supposed to be back there.

“Thanks,” Max said before he turned to the kids. “Enjoy the show.”

“Could I get your autograph before you go?” one of the girls asked, her eyes filling with tears from the shear joy of meeting her idol.

“Sure,” Max said with a smile, turning to a security guard for a pen. After he signed an autograph and took a picture with each of them, he handed the pen back to the guard and started to walk back to the dressing room.

“Thanks again,” one of the girls called after him.

Max turned and waved, shaking his head slightly when he saw the girls jump up and down from the excitement of actually meeting him. He couldn’t help but smile. It didn’t matter how many times he saw it, it still blew him away every time someone started to cry when they met him. That was something he would never get used to.

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

“Excuse me,” Tess said when she saw two unknown girls walk into the dressing room. “This room is for family and friends only.”

“That’s why Max told me to bring them here,” the security guard who was escorting Liz and Maria said before he walked out.

Tess eyed the two girls wearily, realizing that she recognized Liz. “You’re Liz, right?”

Liz nodded, walking up and extending her hand to Tess.

Tess looked at her hand in disgust before she turned to Isabel. “They let anyone back here these days.”

“And they started with you,” Alex said as he walked up to Liz. “Alex Whitman.”

“Liz Parker,” Liz said, gladly shaking hands with him.

“So you’re going to do the movie song with Max, huh?” Alex asked.

“Yep,” Liz replied. “We’re going to start working on it in a couple of days.”

Alex nodded, his eyes shifting to Maria.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Liz said, suddenly remembering that Maria was with her. “This is my best friend, Maria DeLuca.”

“Nice to meet you,” Alex replied. “Let me introduce you to everyone. You’ve already had the displeasure of meeting Tess, but this is Isabel Evans, Max’s sister, Kyle Valenti, lead guitar, and Michael Guerin, drums.”

After everyone shook hands, Maria immediately starting talking with Michael. Everyone else was quiet until Max came through the door, his eyes lighting up as soon as he saw Liz standing there.

“Hey Max,” Tess said with a smile as she stood up.

Max nodded at her as he walked up to Liz. “Sorry I wasn’t here when they brought you back. I got held up by a group of teenagers.”

“Say what?” Michael asked, interrupting his conversation with Maria.

“A group of teenagers somehow got back here,” Max said with a smile.

“Security is going to pull their passes when they find out,” Kyle said.

“Nah, they won’t,” Max said. “I took care of it. So…” he said, turning to Liz. “You flew all the way up here to watch the concert, huh?”

“It’s the last performance on your tour,” Liz said with a shrug. “I promised Maria that I’d take her.”

“So the only reason you came is because of your friend?” Max asked, raising his eyebrows.

“Of course,” Liz said, enjoying the way that her and Max were interacting, especially when it came to teasing. “Why else would I fly all the way up here?”

“Ouch,” Max said, covering his heart with both hands.

“You guys are on in ten!” one of the stagehands called into the room.

“I guess that’s my cue,” Max said with a shrug. “Where are you guys going to be sitting?”

“I think we’re going to watch from the side of the stage, aren’t we Maria?” Liz asked, checking with her friend.

“Yeah,” Maria answered, pausing her conversation with Michael. “It’s a lot less crowded than being out with all the other fans.”

“So I guess I’ll see you out on stage then,” Liz said as she backpedaled out of the door.

“I hope so,” Max replied with a smile.

The entire time that Max and Liz were talking, Tess was sulking. She had been glaring at Liz ever since she walked in, but nobody noticed. It wasn’t until she got up to leave the room that Max remembered she was there. “Good luck,” she said, rubbing his arm before she left.

Max didn’t reply, his eyes were still glued to the door that Liz had just walked out of.

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

The concert was going full swing as HalfLife played in front of a packed house. Every once in a while Max would look over at Liz and smile, and every time he did, Liz would smile back.

“How would you guys like to hear a new song?” Max asked the audience as he switched guitars. Everyone roared in response as Max took a quick drink of water. “Okay, this one is called ‘Wanting’.”

“He’s good,” Maria said into Liz’s ear.

“What?” Liz asked, leaning closer to her friend.

“I said he’s good,” Maria repeated, a little louder.

“Who, Max?” Liz asked, her eyes never leaving Max as he performed on stage.

“Yeah Max,” Maria said with a smile. “And just so you know, I saw the way you two were flirting backstage.”

“We were not flirting,” Liz said, finally turning to look at her friend. “Besides, I’m dating your cousin.”

“Yeah, and what a winner he is,” Maria said sarcastically. “I feel compelled to tell you that I wouldn’t mind one bit if you left my low-life cousin for Max,” Maria said.

“Maria!” Liz said with a laugh, surprised that her friend actually said that out loud.

“What?” Maria asked with a shrug. “Okay, granted…Sean has gotten better over the years, but he’s still a delinquent.”

“No, he was a delinquent,” Liz corrected.

“He still is,” Maria said. “Hey, I can’t help it if the guy makes it impossible for me to like him.”

“Anyway,” Liz said, wanting to change the subject.

“Oh, right…back to Max,” Maria said with a smile. “Don’t you dare stand there and tell me that you haven’t at least thought about the idea of you two together.”

“Well,” Liz said, smiling.

“Ha!” Maria said, pointing a finger at Liz. “I knew it. You like him.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Liz said. “I don’t even know him.”

“So?” Maria asked. “Look, I know what I saw backstage. There was definitely flirtation going on.”

Liz just shook her head, her eyes transfixed on Max. There was just something about him out there on stage with his guitar that appealed to Liz. Especially when he was jamming with Alex or Kyle. He had a certain presence that he brought to the stage, making it literally impossible for her to look away from him.

***********

“Great show guys,” Jerry said as the band gathered their things in the dressing room. “I’ll see you all on the bus…well, everyone except for Max.”

“Come again,” Max said, turning to his manager in confusion.

“Oh, didn’t I tell you?” Jerry asked innocently. “You and Liz are flying down to L.A. tonight. The rest of us will meet you down there in a day or so.”

“What about Maria?” Liz asked.

“I’m going with Isabel,” Maria said before she leaned in closer to Liz so she could whisper in her ear. “Which means that I get to ride on the tour bus during the day.”

Liz laughed as her friend bounced away, excited about the bus ride ahead of her.

“Sean and I just wanted to make sure that the two of you got down to L.A. on time,” Jerry said. “You two have an appointment in the studio bright and early the day after tomorrow, so we wanted to make sure that you had a day to relax.”

“Well what about you?” Max asked. “Aren’t you going to be there?”

“Of course,” Jerry said. “I just have a few things to take care of before I head down.”

“So when does the flight leave?” Max asked.

“As soon as you’re ready,” Jerry said. “You’ll be taking the private plane that Isabel and Tess came in on.”

“You don’t actually expect me to ride on the tour bus, do you?” Tess asked.

“Tell you what Tess,” Alex said. “I’d be more than happy to pay for your plane ticket if it meant that I wouldn’t have to listen to your shrilly voice all day.”

“Alex,” Isabel said, nudging him in the side. “Play nice.”

“Why can’t I just fly down with Max?” Tess asked.

“Because you have no reason to go to L.A.,” Michael said. “Why don’t you just take a commercial plane back to New York?”

Tess had no desire to ride on the tour bus, or even in a rental car that followed the tour bus, but that was the only way she would get to hang around. “Fine…I’ll just go with Isabel.”

“Okay then,” Jerry said with a smile. “Max, Liz…whenever you’re ready.”

Max smiled at Liz as he motioned for her to head out of the door in front of him. “After you.”

“Why thank you,” Liz said with a smile of her own.

“I’ll see you guys in a day or two,” Max said to the others before he left the room. This flight would be the perfect opportunity to get to know Liz a little better, and Max was determined to take full advantage of the time.

To Be Continued…


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 20-Aug-2002 6:11:56 PM ]
posted on 2-Nov-2001 6:37:09 PM by Fanatic101
Authors Note: Okay, I just wanted to post one thing really quick. In this part, I used a brand new song by Lifehouse, and unless you've recently seen them live (like I did, hehe), you probably haven't heard the song before. It's called 'Take Me Away' and I found a site that you can download the MP3 from. Its at:

http://www.gluedsboots.cjb.net/audio

There are two recordings you can choose from, but I recommend the first one (dated Oct. 2nd, 2001). Now keep in mind that this song isn't going to be released until they come out with a new album, so it's not a studio quality recording. Its a live version that a fan recorded at a concert, but its surprisingly clear nonetheless.

fd604d40

I just wanted to give ChrissyP47 a huge THANK YOU for the wonderful banner!

Part 3

“So…” Max said as he gently rocked back and forth on the couch on the airplane. He was sitting next to Liz, who didn’t look nearly as nervous as he did.

“So tell me about yourself,” Liz said, sitting on her hands.

“What did you want to know?” Max asked.

“Everything,” Liz said with a smile.

“Okay,” Max said with a nod. “I was born in Roswell, New Mexico, where my parents still live by the way. That’s where I went to high school and met Michael, Alex and Kyle—”

“I read all that on the Internet,” Liz said, interrupting him. “Tell me something that nobody else knows.”

“You’re moving a little fast, aren’t you?” Max teased. “I mean, we haven’t even been out on a date yet, and you already what to know my deepest, darkest secrets.”

Liz rolled her eyes as she shook her head. “Who’s your favorite band?”

“Lifehouse,” Max said without hesitation.

“Good one,” Liz said, nodding her approval. “What’s your favorite song…that you didn’t write?”

“Good question,” Max said, scratching the side of his head as he thought about it. “I don’t really have a favorite, but I do have to say that I just heard a brand new song by Lifehouse that I really like. It’s too bad it’s not published yet.”

“If it’s not published yet, how did you hear it?” Liz asked.

“Well,” Max said, getting more comfortable on the couch. “Me, Michael, Alex and Kyle were all in Atlanta, wrapping up the last promotion show for our latest album when we heard that Lifehouse would be playing there the following night. We decided to stay over so we could catch the show, and hopefully meet the guys. Jerry took care of everything, easily getting us backstage so we could hang with them before their show. They were awesome, by the way. Anyway, I remember I was standing off to the side of the stage with Alex when they played this new song out of the blue. As soon as I heard the intro, I was hooked. Then when I listened to the lyrics, I turned to Alex and told him that I wish I had written that song.”

“What’s the name of it?” Liz asked.

“Take Me Away,” Max said.

“Huh,” Liz said, tucking her hair behind her ears. “I’ve never heard it.”

“Well, the only place you can hear it is at their concert, at least until they come out with a new album,” Max said.

“That’s too bad,” Liz said, frowning slightly. “I’d like to hear it.”

“Well you’re in luck then,” Max said as he stood up.

“Huh?” Liz asked, clearly confused.

“I just so happen to know how to play it,” Max said as he grabbed his guitar case. “Jerry knows the bands manager, so he pulled a few strings and got me the sheet music to the song.”

“Oh, my own private concert,” Liz said with a smile, getting more comfortable on the couch as Max got his guitar ready.

“Now the song sounds a lot better when they play it,” Max said. “But at least this will give you some idea of what it sounds like.” He played a few chords on his guitar, making sure that everything was in tune before he began to play the song.

“This time, what I want is you,
There is no one else,
Who can take your place,
This time, you burn me with your eyes,
You see past all the lies,
You take it all away.

I’ve seen it all,
It was never enough,
It keeps leaving me needing you.

Take me away,
Take me away,
I’ve got nothing left to say,
Just take me away.

I try, to make my way to you,
But still I feel so lost,
I don’t know what else I can do.

Cause I’ve seen it all,
It was never enough,
It keeps leaving me needing you.

Take me away,
Take me away,
I’ve got nothing left to say,
Just take me away.

Don’t give up on me yet,
Don’t forget who I am,
I know I’m not there yet,
But don’t let me stay here alone.

I’ve seen it all,
And it’s never enough,
It keeps leaving me needing you,
I’ve seen it all,
And it’s never enough,
It keeps leaving me needing you.

Take me away,
Take me away,
I’ve got nothing left to say,
Just take me away.

Take me away,
Take me away.”

Max finished playing, gently setting his guitar aside as Liz clapped.

“That was awesome,” Liz said with a smile. “It sounds a lot like a song you would write.”

There was a brief pause before Max decided to turn the tables. “All right, my turn,” he said, leaning forward on the couch. “Who’s your favorite band?”

“Band or artist?” Liz asked.

Max smiled as he thought about it. “Let’s just say musical performer.”

“I’d have to say that the one person who influenced me the most was Sarah McLachlan,” Liz replied. “She’s incredibly talented at the piano, and I think she writes the most beautiful songs.”

Max nodded. “Favorite song written by someone else?”

“Oh boy,” Liz said, looking up at the ceiling as she thought about it. “That’s a tough one. As far as slow songs go, I’d have to say either John Hyatt’s ‘Angel Eyes’ or Sarah McLachlan’s ‘I Love You’. But fast songs, anything by the Dave Mathews Band.”

Max and Liz continued to share stories about their past throughout the flight, only stopping when they finally reached the airport. They were walking over to the limo that was waiting to take them to their different hotels when Max decided to make a bold move.

“You hungry?” he asked.

“A little,” Liz replied as she climbed into the back of the limo, followed by Max. “But I should probably just head over to my hotel room.”

“Oh,” Max said, trying to hide his disappointment. “Are you sure? Because I know a great place on the way.”

Liz smiled, wanting nothing more than to go out with Max, but knowing that Sean would be waiting for her at the hotel. “I really shouldn’t,” she said apologetically.

Max sensed her unease about the situation, instantly knowing that it had something to do with her manager/boyfriend. “I promise it’s not a date,” he said with a smile. “It’s just that we’re both hungry and I know a great place to eat that’s on the way to your hotel. Just a good meal with good company, that’s all.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to, because believe me, I really do,” Liz said, hoping that she could convince him of that fact. “But Sean…well, I think he’s waiting for me.”

“Oh,” Max said, his face falling as his gaze shifted to his lap.

Liz saw every movement and emotion that passed across Max’s face out of the corner of her eye. She felt like kicking herself for making him feel that way. “But maybe we could go out to lunch tomorrow or something,” she offered, hoping to rectify the situation somewhat.

“Uh…yeah, yeah,” Max said as he tried to give Liz a genuine smile. “Just, uh, give me a call and let me know.”

The rest of the drive went by in silence. Once they pulled up to Liz’s hotel, she smiled as Max climbed out of the limo, clearly intent on walking her up to her room. Nobody had ever done that for her before, including Sean. The only thing that bothered her was that he wasn’t talking anymore.

They soon found themselves standing in front of Liz’s room, neither sure what to do next.

“Well,” Max said, his eyes looking everywhere but at Liz. “I…I should probably get going,” he said, motioning over his shoulder to the elevator.

“Yeah,” Liz said, nervously tucking her hair behind her ears. “I’ll…I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Sure,” Max said, trying to sound cheerful. In reality, he was all torn up inside. The one thing he wanted the most was the one thing he couldn’t have. He wanted to be with someone who was already taken, and it was killing him. “I’ll just talk to you tomorrow then,” he said as he started to backpedal towards the elevator, giving Liz a tight smile before he turned away from her.

Liz watched as Max shoved his hands into his pockets, his shoulders slumping as he climbed onto the elevator and disappeared. She leaned her head against the wall as she continued to watch the silver doors that had just taken Max out of her view. It was then she realized that she wasn’t as sure about her relationship with Sean as she thought she was. She had just barely gotten to know Max, but she could tell that with them working together, her confusion was bound to grow. She took a couple of deep breaths before she unlocked her hotel room door and walked in.

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

“Ready?” the limo driver asked as soon as Max came out of the hotel.

Max glanced up at the hotel, his eyes shifting from window to window, wondering which one was hiding Liz. “I think I’m going to walk,” he said as he looked back at the limo driver.

“At this time of night?” the limo driver asked in shock. “I don’t think so.”

Max couldn’t help but smile at the old man. He glanced back up at the hotel one more time before he sighed and climbed into the limo.

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

When Max walked into his hotel room, the first thing he did was lay out on the bed, just staring at the ceiling, trying to clear his mind. His thoughts kept looping back to Liz, back to the one person he didn’t want to think about. He let out a growl of frustration as he abruptly sat up, his eyes slowly scanning the room. When they landed on his guitar, he got up and grabbed it, clumsily strumming the strings as quietly as he could so as not to disturb anyone staying in the rooms next to his. He glanced over at the bedside clock, realizing for the first time that it was a little after one o’clock in the morning. He took a deep breath as he reached for the remote to the TV, hoping that he could find some boring show to watch to help him fall asleep. When he found a station that was showing infomercials, he shrugged, tossing the remote over his shoulder.

He grabbed his bag so he could brush him teeth, silently cursing to himself when he realized that he didn’t have his toothbrush with him. He must have left it in Seattle. He grabbed his coat and a key, praying that he could find a store nearby that was still open at that time of night. He didn’t even bother to turn off the TV as he walked over and opened the door to his hotel room.

He jumped back a little, covering his heart with his hand when he saw someone standing right in front of his room. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath as his heart rate slowly returned to normal. “Liz?”

“Hi,” Liz said, nervously tucking her hair behind her ears. “Sorry I startled you.”

“That’s all right…don’t worry about it,” Max said with a smile. “Are you okay?” he asked with concern, looking down the hallway to see if anyone else was around.

“Oh, I’m fine,” Liz said, rubbing her palms together. “Were you going somewhere?”

“Yeah,” Max said with a laugh. “Apparently I misplaced my toothbrush.”

“Oh,” Liz said with a smile. “Well, I passed a supermarket that was still open on my way over here. Come on…I’ll show you where it’s at.”

“You didn’t walk here, did you?” Max asked as he crossed his arms over his chest, his eyes narrowing slightly.

“No,” Liz said, a guilty look on her face.

“Uh huh,” Max said before he tilted his head to the side slightly. “Come to think of it, how did you know what hotel I was staying at, and how did you find my room number?”

“Well, I found out about the hotel from the limo driver when we first got into the car back at the airport,” Liz said. “I overheard him telling his dispatcher. As for your room number, I just told the guy working at the front desk that I was your sister and that I was here to surprise you.”

“And he gave you my room number that easily?” Max asked, not sure whether he was glad that Liz went to all that trouble just to see him, or to be pissed that hotel personnel apparently handed out his room number to anyone who walked up.

“Well, not exactly,” Liz said with a smile. “I had to…persuade him a little.”

“Do I want to know what you mean by that?” Max teased, a slight smile on his face.

“Probably not,” Liz said, momentarily scrunching up her nose.

Max laughed before another question popped into his head. “Hey, I thought you said that Sean was waiting for you back at your hotel.”

“Come on,” Liz said, pulling Max out of his room. “I’ll explain on the way to the store.”

Once they were out on the sidewalk, Max turned to Liz. “Okay…spill,” he said as he shoved his hands into his pockets.

“After you left,” Liz said, glancing up at Max briefly, “I went into my hotel room and found a note on my bed. It was from Sean, and it said that he had to fly down to San Diego and that he wouldn’t be back until late tomorrow night.”

“And this caused you to come and knock on my door at one in the morning?” Max asked with a smile.

“Well,” Liz said with a shrug, “I wasn’t tired, so I decided to take you up on your offer for dinner. If the offer still stands, that is.”

“To be honest, I never realized what time it was when I asked you back in the limo,” Max said. “I think we’d have a hard time finding a restaurant that was still open.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right,” Liz said with a nod.

“But, if you wanted, we could get something at the supermarket,” Max said. “The only problem is that it would have to be something we could cook in the microwave, because that’s all I’ve got in my room.”

“Yeah, me to,” Liz said with a smile.

When they walked into the market, they headed straight for the dental care isle. Once Max grabbed a toothbrush, they made their way down a few other isles, trying to find something that looked appetizing. When they found something, they checked out and started to make their way back to Max’s hotel room.

“Mac and Cheese along with Top Romin,” Liz said with a laugh as she glanced into the grocery sack.

“Hey, don’t forget about the two dollar bottle of wine,” Max said with a smirk.

Liz gave Max a playful shove, her laugh causing his smile to widen. “It wasn’t that cheap.”

Max shrugged as he glanced up at the sky. “It’s too bad we can’t see the stars,” he said, referring to the smog over the city that blanketed them from view.

“That’s one thing I’ve always hated about the city,” Liz said. “I grew up in a small town in Arizona, so I could always see the stars. I even had a telescope out on my porch.”

“I know what you mean,” Max said. “That was one of the very few perks about growing up in Roswell. It was a short drive out into the dessert where everything was crystal clear.”

A smile came to Liz’s lips as she glanced over at Max.

“What?” Max asked, noticing the look that Liz was giving him.

“I know this may sound a little crazy, but I know this perfect spot just outside of town,” Liz said. “It’s far enough away that the smog doesn’t cloud over the sky, yet close enough to drive…if we had a car that is.”

“That’s not a problem,” Max said with a smile, willing to do anything to spend more time with Liz. “That’s the advantage of knowing the right people. But what about the food?”

“Let’s make it at your hotel room and take it with us,” Liz said. “It’ll only take a minute to heat.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Max said. “But what about sleep? It’s pretty late.”

“Or extremely early, depending on how you look at it,” Liz said, glancing at her watch.

“So I take it you’re not tired?” Max asked, wanting to make sure.

“There’s no way I can sleep right now,” Liz said. “What about you?”

“Hey, I’ve got all day tomorrow to sleep,” Max said. “Unless we’re still on for lunch.”

“I hope so,” Liz said. “Otherwise it’s going to be a pretty boring day for me.”

Max smiled as he and Liz walked into the hotel lobby and made their way to his room.

“I just need to go talk to someone about the car,” Max said, watching as Liz set the grocery sack down on the table next to his dresser.

“Okay, go ahead,” Liz said, giving him a smile before she started to unpack everything. “I’ll just get the food ready while you’re gone.”

Max nodded before he backed out of the room. The night was turning out to be a hell of a lot better than he had thought it would.

To Be Continued…


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 20-Aug-2002 6:19:08 PM ]
posted on 3-Dec-2001 3:46:18 PM by Fanatic101
Authors Note: As always, I'm sorry it took so long to get this part out.

When I see you smile
by Sheriff

Sometimes I wonder if I’d ever make it through
Through this world without having you
I just wouldn’t have a clue
Cause sometimes it seems like this worlds closing in on me
And there’s no way of breaking free
And then I see you reach for me

Sometimes I wanna give up, wanna give in
I wanna quit the fight
And then I see you baby
And everything’s all right
Everything’s all right

When I see you smile
I can face the world
Oh, you know I can do anything
When I see you smile
I see a ray of light
Oh, I see you shining right through the rain
When I see you smile
Baby when I see you smile at me

Baby there’s nothing in this world that could ever do
What the touch of your hand can do
It’s like nothing that I ever knew
And when the rain is falling
I can feel it, cause you’re here with me now
And one look at you baby
Is all I’ll ever need
It’s all I’ll ever need

Chorus

Sometimes I wanna give up
I wanna give in
I wanna quit the fight
Then one look at you baby
And everything’s all right
Everything’s all right
So right

Chorus

When I see you smile
I can face the world
You know I can do anything now
When I see you smile
Oh yeah, when I see you smile

Smile at me

fd604d40

I just wanted to give ChrissyP47 a huge THANK YOU for the wonderful banner!

Part 4

“Your chariot awaits, my lady,” Max said with a bow as soon as he walked back into the room. When he stood back up, his breath caught in his throat at the sight in front of him. Liz was packing up all the food, but she had taken off her jacket, revealing what she was wearing underneath. Apparently she had changed before she came over to his hotel room because instead of the sweatshirt she had on before, she was now wearing a tight-fitting t-shirt that stopped a few inches below her breasts, revealing her stomach.

“Just give me a second,” Liz said, oblivious to Max’s intense stare. She finished packing all the food and then brushed her hair out of her face before she put her jacket back on. “Okay,” she said with a smile, looking at Max.

Max grabbed the food, remembering to turn off the TV before he followed Liz out of the room and down to the lobby.

“Where did you find a car?” Liz asked as she walked outside.

“A friend of a friend,” Max said, pointing to the car parked on the curb.

Liz stopped walking when she noticed what kind of car it was, looking up at Max in shock. “This is a Mercedes.”

“You noticed that too, huh?” Max said, looking at Liz with a serious face. “It’s a 2002 Mercedes SLK230 Kompressor. As you can see it’s their sports line, seating two people comfortably. It’s also a convertible, making it a lot easier to look at the stars,” he said, mimicking a sales pitch.

“And someone trusts you enough to take it out?” Liz asked.

“Hey, I’ll have you know that I’m a very good driver,” Max said, opening the car door for her.

“You know what I mean,” Liz said, giving Max a look before she climbed into the car.

Max put the food in the trunk, knowing that there wouldn’t be any room up front for it. He climbed in and started the car, pulling out onto the street after fastening his seatbelt.

“So this is a convertible, huh?” Liz asked, looking up at the roof of the car.

“Yep,” Max said as he pulled up to a stoplight. “Watch this.” He pushed a button and in a matter of seconds the roof had retracted into part of the trunk.

“Impressive,” Liz said. “I’ll have to buy my dad one of these some day.”

They were on their way out of town, listening to the radio, when one of HalfLife’s songs came on.

“You wrote this song, didn’t you?” Liz asked.

“Yeah,” Max said, briefly glancing down at the radio.

“Is there a story behind it?” Liz asked. “I read that you normally base your songs around personal experiences.”

“You read a lot about me, didn’t you?” Max asked as he glanced over at Liz, a smirk on his face.

Liz just shrugged as she looked out the windshield. “What can I say? I’m a fan. So…is there a story?”

“Yeah, there is,” Max said, suddenly getting serious.

“Is it something you don’t want to talk about?” Liz asked, clearly sensing Max’s hesitation.

“No, it’s not that,” Max said before he shrugged. “I wrote this song when I was in high school. It’s about a friend of mine who got pregnant towards the end of her junior year, and it tells about how everyone treated her. Her boyfriend broke up with her and refused to talk to her; her parents practically disowned her, telling her that she was on a direct path to hell. The only people who were giving her support were her closest friends. By the time her parents finally came around and accepted the pregnancy, it was too late. All the stress that she was forced to deal with took it’s toll…and she had a miscarriage.”

“Oh…wow,” was all Liz could think to say.

“This song tells about my anger and frustration for her,” Max continued. “I was mad about how people were treating her, and that’s what I wrote about…my feelings as a person who was caught looking on at a situation I had no control over.”

“And you were a junior when you wrote it?” Liz asked.

“When I wrote the lyrics, yeah,” Max said. “I didn’t write the music until I was nineteen.”

“When I was a junior, the only thing I had to worry about were my grades,” Liz said “I can’t even image what it would feel like to be pregnant at that age.”

“Didn’t you say I’m supposed to turn around here somewhere?” Max asked, changing the subject as he looked for a cross street.

“Keep going a ways,” Liz said. After driving for a few more miles, she pointed to a side street. “Take that road.”

Max made a left hand turn, following Liz’s directions as she led them through a forested area. They turned onto a dirt road and drove until they came up to a clearing filled with grass and surrounded by trees.

“This is it,” Liz said.

Max parked the car and looked up at the sky, smiling when he saw it filled with millions of sparkling stars. “How did you know about this place?” he asked, turning to look at Liz.

“I come up here all the time,” Liz said, a smile on her face as she looked from the stars to Max. “It always helps me clear my head. I’ve actually written a lot of songs out here.”

“And when do I get to hear them?” Max asked.

“Later,” Liz replied, now looking at him out of the corner of her eye.

“Tomorrow?” Max asked, leaning forward in an attempt to get her to look at him fully.

“Maybe,” Liz replied with a shrug, a smile slowly lighting up her face. “But you’ve already listened to my album so you’ve heard most of them.”

“But I’m sure you have a couple I haven’t heard before, right?” Max asked.

“Maybe,” Liz replied again, a full-blown smile on her face as she finally turned to face him.

The two of them just stared at each other for a minute before Liz snapped out of her trance. “Lets eat,” she said, climbing out of the car.

Max popped the trunk before he got out and grabbed a blanket, laying it out on the grass in front of the car. Liz grabbed the food, placing it down on the blanket before she sat down and divided it onto two paper plates. Max opened the bottle of wine and poured some into two paper cups before he sat next to Liz and handed her one.

They both ate in silence as they stared up at the stars, just enjoying each other’s company. Once they were done eating, they gathered all the trash and left over food and put it back in the trunk before they laid out on the blanket with the rest of the wine. They were lying next to each other, the side of their heads touching slightly as they looked up at the darkened sky.

“I’m not sure you should drink any more,” Liz commented with a smile.

“But that would ruin my plan for tonight,” Max joked.

“And what plan do you have conjured up?” Liz asked, raising an eyebrow.

“My plan is to get really, really drunk so you can take advantage of me,” Max said in a serious tone.

Liz glanced over at him briefly before she burst out into laughter.

“You think that’s funny, huh?” Max asked, a smile on his face.

“Max,” Liz said, turning on her side to face him. “Are you saying that you wouldn’t let me take advantage of you unless you were drunk?”

“Well,” Max said, turning on his side as well, “I wouldn’t let just anyone manipulate me for their own personal pleasure.”

“Oh…so I’m special, huh?” Liz asked.

“On second thought, you’d have to get me drunk first,” Max said with a laugh.

Liz gasped in shock, then swatted Max on the arm as he continued to laugh. “Just so you know, I wouldn’t take advantage of you even if I could,” she said stubbornly, lying on her back again.

“Oh come on,” Max said, lying down next to her. “You know I was just kidding. I’d let you have your way with me if you wanted to.”

“Thanks,” Liz said with a laugh. “I think.”

They laid there in silence, staring at the stars for several minutes until Max peeked over and noticed that Liz had a tiny smile on her face. “What are you smiling about?” he asked in a serious tone, turning on his side again.

“I’m not sure,” Liz said before she turned her head to look at him. “I guess it’s just that…I’ve never done this before.”

“Done what?” Max asked.

“Just laid out, staring at the stars with someone,” Liz said, looking out at the vastness of space in front of her.

Max smiled himself as he continued to look at Liz. His eyes ran over every inch of her face, amazed at how the moonlight lit up every single feature.

“What?” Liz asked, noticing out of the corner of her eye that Max was staring at her.

“Huh?” Max asked, not even realizing that he had zoned out.

“Why are you staring at me?” Liz asked.

“Oh…” Max said, lying on his back, slightly embarrassed. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry,” Liz said, turning her head to look at him. “Why were you staring at me?”

“No reason,” Max said with a shrug.

Liz just eyed Max for a few seconds before she let it go. When she turned back to look at the stars, she had a hard time getting comfortable again. She wanted a pillow, but since there weren’t any around, she decided to improvise. She maneuvered herself around and laid her head on Max’s stomach, smiling when it gave her neck the comfort she was looking for.

Max stopped breathing for a few seconds at her move, surprised but deliriously happy at what she did. Once he started to breath again, he reached down and began to run his fingers through her hair, as if out of habit.

“Do you ever get lonely?” Liz asked out of nowhere, closing her eyes briefly as she let herself enjoy the feel of Max’s hand in her hair.

“Sure,” Max replied, looking down at her. “Why do you ask?”

Liz shrugged. “That’s what I hate most about going out on tour…being alone.”

“But I thought Sean went with you on all your tours,” Max said, mentally kicking himself for bringing her boyfriend into the conversation. The last thing he wanted was to remind Liz that she was involved with someone, resulting in her pulling away from him. But much to his surprise, she stayed where she was.

“He goes, but I hardly see him,” Liz said. “He’s always got a meeting or a dinner conference or something that ties him up. And it’s just gotten worse lately. Like tonight for example. He had to rush off to San Diego for some reason, but I can’t figure out what would be so important that it couldn’t wait until morning. I mean, he left around eight o’clock at night. What could he possibly do that late?”

Max didn’t have an answer for her. What he couldn’t figure out was what could be more important than Liz. How could anyone have a bigger priority than her? “Does it bug you?”

“You know,” Liz said, turning her head to look at him, “it did at first. But lately, even when he’s around it feels like he’s not. I guess I’ve just gotten used to it.”

“That’s not something you should get used to,” Max said. “I don’t want to overstep my boundaries here, but why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t make you their number one priority?”

Liz looked down at her hands, unsure of her answer. “I don’t know. It was different at first. He used to pay attention to me. It’s just that he’s so busy—“

“Liz,” Max said, interrupting her, “he’s not as busy as you are, yet you still find time for a personal life. If he doesn’t give you what you need, why are you still with him?”

“I don’t know,” Liz said. “Could…could we talk about something else? Please?”

“Sure,” Max said with a smile.

They stayed out, talking under the stars for a couple of hours, enjoying the fact that they could get to know each other better. By the time they got back to Liz’s hotel room, it was nearly four in the morning.

“Well…good night,” Max said after he walked Liz up to her room.

“Or good morning,” Liz replied.

“Right,” Max said with a smile. “Call me when you wake up so we can have lunch.”

“I will,” Liz promised with a smile. “Bye.”

“Bye,” Max said, waiting until she closed her door before walking back down to the car and driving to his own hotel. As he was walking through the lobby, a goofy grin on his face, he saw someone he recognized walking off the elevators. He groaned to himself when he realized who it was, letting out a sigh when the guy spotted him and made his way over.

“Hey Max,” Greg Norman, a reporter, said.

“Greg,” Max said in a monotone voice as he walked past him, hoping against hope that the guy would just leave him alone. “It’s going to be light out soon, don’t vampires usually shy away from that?”

“Funny as always,” Greg replied with a smile. “Word has it that you and Liz Parker were together all night,” he said as he followed Max onto the elevator.

“Huh,” Max replied, not saying anything else.

“So is it true?” Greg asked.

“Come on Greg,” Max said. “Since when do you care whether or not I have a girlfriend?”

“Normally I don’t,” Greg said. “But Liz Parker is going to hit it big here soon, even bigger than you. The one thing that really catches my eyes is that she’s also dating her manager, someone who has a lot of pull in the music industry, more than most people recognize.”

“Liz and I are working on a song together,” Max said as the elevator doors opened and he stepped out onto his floor. “That’s nothing new, and if you try to dig up any dirt on this story, you’re going to find yourself striking a concrete slab. There’s nothing personal going on between us.”

“Really?” Greg asked as he watched Max take out his key and open his door. “So you’re little trip tonight was all business, huh?”

Max stopped and turned to look at Greg. “Our ‘little trip’ tonight was all business. But if you want to embarrass yourself, by all means, print something about it in the newspaper tomorrow.” He stepped into his room and shut the door before Greg could respond. He shook his head as he threw his keys on the dresser, plopping down on the bed with a sigh. That guy just wouldn’t stop harassing him.

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

Max woke up the next morning to the phone ringing. He was lying on his stomach, his face buried in his pillow when he came around. He blindly reached over and grabbed the phone, moving his head to the side just enough to talk into the receiver. “Hello,” he said in a groggy, slightly mumbled voice, his eyes still closed.

“Well it sounds like someone slept in,” Liz said, a smile in her voice.

“Huh?” Max asked in confusion. “What time is it?”

“Almost noon,” Liz said.

Max lifted his head and looked at the clock before he plopped back down on the pillow. “Oops.”

“How much time do you need to get ready?” Liz asked with a laugh.

“I don’t know,” Max replied, still sleepy. “Twenty minutes?”

“Alright,” Liz said. “I’ll be other there in twenty minutes then.”

Before Max could say anything else, Liz hung up the phone. He clumsily put his own phone back into place before he let out a groan and climbed out of bed.

He jumped in the shower, but apparently lost track of time. As he was drying himself off, there was a knock at his door. He quickly wrapped the towel around his waist as he hurried over to the door, throwing it open without caution.

Liz’s eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets when she saw Max standing in front of her, wearing nothing but a towel around his waist, his hair and skin still damp from the shower.

“Liz,” Max said, giving her a nervous smile. “Hi.”

“Hey,” Liz said, unable to stop her eyes from roaming up and down Max’s body. “Did you want me to wait for you down in the lobby?”

“Huh?” Max asked, momentarily confused by her question. When Liz nodded towards his body, he looked down and suddenly remembered that he wasn’t wearing any cloths. “Oh…nah, it’ll only take me a second to get dressed,” he said, trying to hide his embarrassment. He stepped to the side and motioned for Liz to enter, which she did with a smile.

Max quickly grabbed some cloths before he headed into the bathroom to change. “So where did you want to eat?” he asked through the door.

“Oh…I don’t care,” Liz said as she sat on Max’s bed. She noticed the shirt that he wore the day before lying next to her and she couldn’t help but pick it up and bring it to her nose, inhaling his unique scent. She closed her eyes and smiled as she remembered the night before when she had been lying on his stomach under the stars. The exact same scent surrounded her then, and she couldn’t get enough of it.

“How about that place down the street?” Max asked as he came out of the bathroom, fully dressed. “What’s it called, Wilson’s?”

Liz quickly dropped his shirt and stood up before he caught her sniffing his cloths. “Sounds good,” she said with a smile as Max came into view.

“Great,” Max replied with a smile of his own, completely oblivious to what she had just been doing. After he put on his shoes and grabbed his jacket, he and Liz headed out for the restaurant.

“So we have an entire day to kill, huh?” Max asked as they waited for the elevator to take them down to the lobby.

“Yep,” Liz replied. “But don’t worry. I have it all planned out.”

“Oh do you?” Max asked with a smile, amused. “And just what are we going to do?”

“You’ll see,” Liz said with a teasing smile, looking at him out of the corner of her eye.

Before Max could respond, the elevator doors opened and Liz stepped out. He quickly caught up to her before he causally glanced around the lobby, noticing that it wasn’t that busy. “Oh shit,” he mumbled when his eyes landed on the chair by the front doors.

“What?” Liz asked, trying to find what he was looking at.

“Greg Norman,” Max said, nodding towards the offending reporter.

“Who’s Greg Norman?” Liz asked.

“Reporter,” Max answered. “And a vulture.”

“Max,” Greg said with a smile as he stood up and extended his hand. When Max crossed his arms in front of his chest and raised and eyebrow, Greg turned his attention to Liz. “Greg Norman.”

“Liz Parker,” Liz said, cautiously shaking the man’s hand.

“So were are you two love birds off to?” Greg asked.

Max shook his head and rolled his eyes before he grabbed Liz’s hand and led her out the doors.

“What was that all about?” Liz asked as she and Max climbed into the sedan that had been waiting for them.

“Where to, Mr. Evans, Ms. Parker?” the driver asked.

“Wilson’s restaurant,” Max replied before he turned his attention to Liz. “That guy’s been hounding me for months. I ran into him last night, or rather this morning, and he’s trying to dig up some dirt on the two of us.”

“Why us?” Liz asked, confused.

“He thinks we’re having an affair,” Max said. “He’s trying to get proof.”

“Oh,” Liz said, nodding in understanding. “And by us staying out late last night and going out today, we probably didn’t help the situation, huh?”

“Probably not,” Max said. “And me grabbing you hand back there definitely didn’t help.”

“Huh,” Liz said as though she didn’t have a care in the world.

“Aren’t you worried that he going to tell Sean?” Max asked.

“What’s he going to tell him?” Liz asked. “That we spent the day together? Sean already knows we’re here. Besides, I doubt Greg will get the chance to talk to him. Sean doesn’t care much for reporters, especially ones who try to wreak havoc. I say let the guy dig.” After a brief pause, her eyes suddenly lit up. “Hey, maybe we could take some pictures while we’re out tonight and give them to Greg. Who knows, we might end up in the newspapers,” she said with a smile.

“You’re way too relaxed about this,” Max said with a smile of his own. “But I like it.”

To Be Continued…


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 20-Aug-2002 6:18:28 PM ]
posted on 7-Mar-2002 6:00:20 PM by Fanatic101
Okay. Explanation time.

There are a couple of reasons why I haven't updated in over three months.

1. I initially lost my desire to write fanfic. I don't know why, but for a good month and a half I just didn't feel like writing anything.

2. I'm in the middle of moving, so a lot of my time is spent packing all my belongings.

3. And the most important reason of all...I accidentally deleted the story. I'm in the process of copying what I had written already, but I completely lost part 5 (the next part), which I was almost done writing. So now I have to try and remember what I had written (those of you who have accidentally deleted a part of your story know how frustrating that came be).

So alas, all I can tell you is that I'm trying to re-write what I had before this disaster began. Hopefully the wait won't last too long.

Dani
posted on 31-May-2002 2:29:32 PM by Fanatic101
I've had a few people ask me if I've given up on this fic.

No, I haven't.

In fact, I almost have the next part written, so I'll be updating shortly. I know it's taken several months for me to finally write a new part, but I am going to continue with it.

Dan
posted on 6-Jun-2002 12:53:12 PM by Fanatic101
Just bumping in preparation for a REALLY long part coming up.
posted on 6-Jun-2002 7:47:44 PM by Fanatic101
No my friends, your eyes do not deceive you. 6 months, 3 days and 1 hour after I posted part 4, I am finally posting part 5. I promise it won't take me that long to get part 6 out.

Thank you so much for your patience, even though I didn't leave you much choice. I did try to make this part as long as I could to make up for my lack of updates though.

fd604d40

I just wanted to give ChrissyP47 a huge THANK YOU for the wonderful banner!

Part 5

After having lunch at Wilson’s restaurant, Max and Liz climbed back into the car and headed out for a round of miniature golf. Nobody there seemed to recognize them, or if someone did, they chose to leave them alone. Golfing was something that Max had never really done before, so not only did he lose, but he lost badly.

“So that was your idea of fun?” Max asked as they walked in to return their golf clubs.

“What, beating the pants off you?” Liz asked with a smile. “Of course it’s fun.”

“Well, now that I’ve graciously taken my beating, you owe me one,” Max said.

“Oh do I now?” Liz asked. “And just what did you have in mind?”

“Hmm,” Max said as he scratched his chin. “How about a little one on one?”

“In what?” Liz asked cautiously. “Basketball?”

“Yep,” Max said with a nod.

“I don’t think so,” Liz replied with a laugh.

“Why not?” Max asked as the two of them headed out the front door and climbed back into their car. “Chicken?”

“I…I’m not wearing the right clothes,” Liz said, desperate for an excuse not to play. It wasn’t that she hated the game or hated to play it, she just wasn’t very good so she didn’t want Max to laugh at her.

“I’m not either,” Max replied with a smile. “I guess we’ll just have to stop by our hotels before we play.”

“I…I don’t think I feel up to it,” Liz said, trying a different approach.

“Oh come on,” Max said. “I never played miniature golf before but I tried it anyway, even though I looked like a complete idiot.”

When Liz glanced over and saw the puppy dog look that Max was giving her, she realized right then and there that she’d do anything he asked her to. “Fine,” she replied with a sigh. “Just promise me you won’t laugh when you see me play.”

Upon hearing her plea, Max tilted his head to the side slightly when he heard a hint of vulnerability in her voice. “Why would I laugh?” he asked sincerely.

“Because I’m not very good,” Liz replied as she tucked her hair behind her ears.

“So?” Max said with a shrug. “I’m no Michael Jordan myself.”

“Yeah, but I really suck,” Liz said with a small laugh.

“Oh please,” Max said with a wave of his hand. “There’s not a soul on this planet who could be worse than Alex Whitman. Besides, we’re just barely starting to become friends, so I don’t really care what we do as long as we hang out together.”

Liz just smiled over at him as she gave him a nod. “Alright, let’s go.”

“Let’s stop by my hotel room first so I can grab some clothes, then we’ll head over to yours,” Max said. “I know there’s a park right next to where you’re staying, so we can just walk over.”

After they had grabbed a change of clothes and bought a basketball from a local sporting goods store, Max and Liz headed over to the nearest park for a little one on one.

“Alright,” Max said as he handed Liz the ball and got ready to play defense. “Show me what you got.” He was trying desperately not to let himself get distracted by what she was wearing, but that turned out to be impossible. His eyes always managed to shift down to her sports bra and spandex shorts, even after he coached himself not to.

As they started to play back and forth, Liz found that she was having a really good time. It only took her a minute to relax and really start to enjoy herself, and it was all due to Max and his lighthearted attitude towards the game. She could tell that, for him, it wasn’t about winning or losing, but about spending some time together. In the end she knew that she lost, even though Max claimed he wasn’t keeping score and declared it a draw. When they were done, Max followed Liz back over to her hotel room so he could grab the change of clothes that he had left over there.

“I haven’t had that much fun in a long time,” Liz said with a laugh as she and Max made their way up to her hotel room.

“Me neither,” Max agreed as he followed Liz into her room and shut the door behind him. “So, are we done for today?”

“Are you kidding me?” Liz asked in disbelief after she glanced at the clock. “It’s only six o’clock. The night’s just begun.”

“But I thought Sean was coming back tonight,” Max said in confusion.

“Yeah, so?” Liz replied. “He took off for San Diego and left me alone for an entire day. Let him wait.”

“You’re the boss,” Max said with a smile. “But what are we going to do now?”

“Now we’re going to cut loose for a while,” Liz replied with a smile of her own as she walked past Max on her way to the bathroom. “I’ll only be a minute then the shower’s all yours.”

“Wait…huh?” Max asked in confusion.

“You do want to shower before we go out again, don’t you?” Liz asked.

“Well, yeah but…here?” Max asked, looking around the room.

“Why not?” Liz asked back. “You have a change of clothes right there. Is something wrong with my hotel room?”

“Uh…no, no…it’s just that…well…me and you…showering here…” he stumbled.

“Relax,” Liz said with a smile. “It’s not like we’re going to be showering together or anything. Besides, this will save us some time.”

“Oh…right,” Max agreed with a nod. “Then I’ll just wait out here until you’re done.”

“Okay,” Liz said with a laugh before she disappeared into the bathroom.

Max took a deep breath as he walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. His eyes wandered around the spacious hotel room until they landed on a pair of men’s jeans, Sean’s jeans, and he couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. He couldn’t figure that guy out for the life of him. Here was a man who had the most gorgeous, generous, unbelievably talented woman whom he could call his own, yet he treated her as if she were some cheap piece of yard sale furniture that he could really care less about. He acted as though Liz were lucky to have him, not the other way around, and that pissed Max off to no end.

“You okay?”

“Huh?” Max asked as he swung his head around to see Liz standing in the doorway to the bathroom, a towel wrapped around her body, her hair still wet from the shower. Apparently he had been lost in his own thoughts for quite a while because Liz had already finished taking her shower.

“Are you okay?” Liz asked again, her eyebrows rising slightly in concern.

“Yeah…yeah, I’m fine,” Max replied with a smile as he stood up from the bed, trying his hardest not to stare at her in only a skimpy towel.

“Alright,” Liz said skeptically, eyeing Max for a few seconds before she moved to the side. “The shower’s all yours.”

“Thanks,” Max said as he moved past her, careful not to ‘accidentally’ bump her as he did so. He let out a silent sigh as he realized that a shower was just what he needed…a very, very cold one.

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

“So where are you dragging me now?” Max asked as he followed Liz out to the car.

“Don’t sound so excited,” Liz said with a laugh as she reached out and gave Max a shove before she climbed into the car.

“You know I didn’t mean it like that,” Max replied as he climbed in next to her. “It’s just that I have this overwhelming feeling that you’re going to make me do something I completely suck at…like miniature golf.”

“On the contrary, my paranoid little friend,” Liz said. “We’re off to do something you’re exceptionally good at.”

“And that would be?” Max asked, his curiosity now peaked.

“Karaoke,” Liz replied with a smile as she wiggled her eyebrows up and down.

“Karaoke?” Max asked with a smile of his own.

“That’s right,” Liz said. “There’s a club across town that has Karaoke twice a week, and tonight just so happens to be one of those nights.”

“You do realize that once someone recognizes us we’ll be mobbed, don’t you?” Max asked.

“It’s not that type of club,” Liz replied. “Everyone’s pretty low key, so the most we’ll have to do is sign a few autographs. Besides, I know the owner so she can have one of her bouncers follow us around just in case you can’t manhandle everyone.”

“Nah, I think I can handle it,” Max said as he puffed his chest out a little.

After a short ride in the car, they pulled up to the back of the club and climbed out. The owner, a girl named Courtney, met them there and let them inside.

“It’s been too long, Liz,” Courtney said as she pulled her friend in for a brief hug. “And I see you brought one of your superstar friends with you,” she said, extending her hand towards Max.

“Max Evans,” Max said with a smile as he shook her hand.

“Yeah, I know,” Courtney replied with a smile of her own. “I’m Courtney. It’s nice to meet you. So…are you two ready to give us a live performance?”

Max let out a nervous laugh as he reached up and scratched behind his ear.

Liz couldn’t help but notice how absolutely adorable he looked when he was flustered.

“We’re not performing brain surgery here,” Courtney joked when she noticed Max’s hesitation. “Besides, what are you so nervous about? You do this for a living.”

“I’m not nervous about going out there to sing,” Max replied. “I am a little nervous about finding out which songs I’m going to be forced to sing, though.”

“Lighten up,” Liz whispered as she gave him a nudge. “This is supposed to be fun, remember?”

“Right,” Max said as he took a deep breath, letting out a laugh when realized how stupid he was being.

“That’s better,” Liz said with a smile. “Just follow my lead.”

Courtney smiled at the two of them before she led them up to the karaoke stage. She had Max and Liz wait off to the side as she jumped up in front of the microphone to get everyone’s attention. “So how is everyone?” she asked, causing the crowd to cheer. “Boy do I have a treat for you guys. A very good friend of mine decided to stop by and hang out with us for the night, and she even brought one of her superstar friends with her. From Wizard Records, please give it up for recording artist’s Liz Parker, and from the band HalfLife, lead singer Max Evans.”

Everyone roared their approval as Max and Liz made their way onto the stage. As Max turned to wave at the crowd, he couldn’t help but notice the star struck looks on some of the faces. He could remember looking at celebrities like that when he was younger, so for people to actually look at him that way was unreal.

“Hi,” Liz said with a smile as she took the microphone from Courtney.

Max was given a microphone as well, which confused him for a second. He was under the impression that he and Liz would take turns singing some old disco songs for the entire night, which turned out to be as far from the truth as possible.

Liz winked at Max before she nodded towards the guy working the karaoke machine.

Max brought the microphone away from his mouth and leaned over so he could whisper in Liz’s ear. “What song are we singing?”

“I have no idea,” Liz whispered back. “Just go with the flow.”

They waited for a few seconds before the opening of AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ started to play. Max let out a laugh, finding it ironic that the first song he was going to sing was one of Michael’s favorites.

“Ready?” Liz asked with a smile as she wiggled her eyebrows.

Both he and Liz started to sing the first verse, and by the time they reached the chorus, Max had loosened up considerably. He was now moving around the stage dancing with Liz as they both sung together. After the second verse, when the chorus came back up, both of them held their microphones out to the crowd as everyone sung along with them. During the bridge of the song, Max had been standing off to the side when he looked over at Liz. She was staring right back at him and had started to sway her hips a little. But what really surprised him was when she motioned him over with her finger, mouthing the words “Come here.”

Max raised his eyebrows suggestively as he hopped his way over, keeping in beat with the rhythm of the song. When he reached her, Liz placed her hand on his chest to stop him before she slowly started to circle him. She ran her hand across his chest and then his back as she went, a mischievous grin plastered on her face the entire time. By the time she had maneuvered herself back in front of him, the chorus had started up again. They finished singing the song face to face, and when the final note rang out, there was a thunderous applause from the crowd.

Both Max and Liz took a little bow before Liz grabbed the microphone away from Max and leaned in so she could whisper in his ear. “Have a seat. I’m flying solo on this one.”

“You’re the boss,” Max said with a shrug as he hopped off to the side of the stage and sat in a chair at a nearby table.

Liz put Max’s microphone down before she nodded to Courtney. She then turned back to Max again and kept her eyes on him as she began to sing the next song acappella.

“At first I was afraid, I was petrified.”

Max threw his head back in laughter when he realized what song it was that Liz was singing.

“Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side.”

Liz walked up to the edge of the stage, and when the chorus came, the music started up. She gently hopped off and slowly made her way over to Max, swaying her hips the entire time. When she finally reached him, she pushed his arms off his lap and straddled his legs, standing above him for a second before she sat on his lap, singing the entire time.

Max swallowed hard as Liz leaned in so close that he could actually feel the microphone against his own lips. He realized at that moment that he couldn’t move at all. He was staring into Liz’s eyes, which at first were filled with playfulness. But when she saw the look of desire reflecting in Max’s amber pools, her emotions changes. Max saw a hint of passion enter her eyes as she lowered her gaze briefly to his lips.

Liz didn’t realize it right away, but apparently she had lost herself in Max’s eyes and had missed an entire line of lyrics. She quickly recovered and slowly removed herself from his lap, giving Max a wide toothy grin as she backpedaled towards the stage.

When the song was done, Liz took another bow and put the microphone down before she walked over to join Max, knowing that some of the people in the crowd would probably want to jump up there and embarrass themselves a little.

“That was…wow,” Max said, motioning towards the stage after Liz sat in the seat next to him.

“Yeah, it was good for me to,” Liz replied as she slowly raked her eyes over Max’s body, seductively running her tongue along her lips in the process.

Max couldn’t help but let out a laugh, even though he had mixed feelings about the way Liz was acting around him. He liked that she was being extremely flirty, but on the other hand, she did have a boyfriend. It just felt wrong somehow to flirt back with her knowing that Sean was still in the picture.

“Am I making you uncomfortable?” Liz asked, noticing the hesitation in Max’s eyes.

“Sorry, what was that?” Max asked as he shook his head slightly to clear his thoughts.

“Am I making you uncomfortable?” Liz asked again.

“No, of course not,” Max said as convincingly as he could. “Why would you think that?”

“I don’t know,” Liz replied with a shrug. “From the look you were giving me just a second ago.”

“What look?” Max asked.

“You just looked uncomfortable,” Liz said as her gaze shifted to the tabletop. “Like you’d rather be somewhere else.”

“Liz,” Max said gently as he reached over and placed his hand on her forearm. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be than right here with you.”

“Are you sure?” Liz asked as she looked up at him again.

“Okay, I’ll admit that your spontaneous outburst of flirting surprised me, but please don’t think that I don’t want to be here,” Max said sincerely.

“So you’d rather that I didn’t flirt then?” Liz asked.

Max let his head fall forward as he let out a defeated sigh. “I just can’t win, can I?”

“What?” Liz asked, confused.

“Liz,” Max said as he lifted his head to look at her again, “I love the way you’re acting. I can tell that you’re having a good time, and that’s exactly what I want. Besides, I’d be an absolute fool to complain that you were flirting with me too much. In my opinion, the more flirting you do the better, so long as you only flirt with me.”

“Is that so?” Liz asked with a smile as she raised an eyebrow at him. “So you’re saying that you might get a little jealous if I decided to flirt with that cute blonde standing over at the bar?”

Max turned his head to look at the guy Liz was talking about, and although he wouldn’t admit it out loud, he did feel a little jealous already. “Probably not,” he replied as he turned back to face Liz. “I’d just go hit on the hot little blonde girl standing next to him.”

Now it was Liz’s turn to look over at the girl Max was talking about. This chick was wearing a tight mini-skirt and skimpy top, and had far too much makeup on. One word instantly came to Liz’s mind when she saw her…tramp. Liz started taking note of everything she didn’t like about the girl, trying to convince herself that she wasn’t jealous because Max had noticed her. “I never knew you went for that type,” she said, a hint of disgust evident in her voice.

“I could say the same thing about you and Boy George over there,” Max said with a smile.

When Liz looked into Max’s eyes again, she saw the playfulness clear as day. “You’re trying to make me jealous!” she accused.

“Hey, you started it,” Max said defensively. “Besides, why would you be jealous of someone I hit on? You already have a significant other…I don’t.” He hadn’t meant to say that last part, but the words had tumbled out of his mouth before he could stop them. When he saw Liz’s face fall, he felt like kicking himself. He watched as her gaze shifted away from his face and down to her lap, where she was nervously rubbing her hands together. “I’m sorry. That came out sounding a lot harsher than I intended.”

“No need to apologize,” Liz said with a forced smile as she briefly looked up at him again. “Besides, you’re right.”

Max was at a loss for what to do next when an idea suddenly popped into his head. “I’ll be right back,” he said before he bounced out of his chair and walked over to the person who was manning the karaoke machine.

Liz watched with interest as the guy Max was talking to started to nod his head. She was completely surprised when Max jumped up on stage and grabbed the microphone before he walked back over and stood right in front of her.

“Can I have this dance?” he asked with a smile as he held out his hand to her.

Liz smiled in return as she tucked her hair behind her ears, nodding as she placed her hand in his and allowed him to lead her up on stage in front of everyone. “I’ve never been serenaded before,” she whispered.

“Well I’ve never serenaded anyone before so this will be a first for both of us,” Max whispered back. “I’m still trying to figure out exactly how we’re going to dance since I only have one free arm though.”

“We’ll make due,” Liz said with a smile as she wrapped both arms around his neck.

Max smiled back as he wrapped one arm around her waist and held the microphone up to his lips with the other. He stared at Liz for a couple of seconds before he turned to nod at the guy he had just talked to. The guy nodded back and before long the music to Richard Marx’s ‘Right Here Waiting’ started to play.

Liz looked up at Max in surprise, wondering if he chose this song because he knew that it was the first one she had learned how to play on the piano.

Max gave her a wink before he started to sing.

“Oceans apart day after day
And I slowly go insane
I hear your voice on the line
But it doesn’t stop the pain

If I see you next to never
How can we say forever

Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you

I took for granted, all the times
That it thought would last somehow
I hear the laughter, I taste the tears
But I can’t get near you now

Oh, can’t you see it baby
You’ve got me goin’ crazy

Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you

I wonder how we can survive
This romance
But in the end if I’m with you
I’ll take the chance

Oh, can’t you see it baby
You’ve got me goin’ crazy

Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you

Waiting for you.”

Throughout the song, as Liz looked into Max’s eyes, she realized that he had chosen that particular song for a reason. It was as if he wasn’t just singing the lyrics, but he was actually speaking those exact words directly to her. Every time he sang the chorus, ‘wherever you go, whatever you do, I will be right here waiting for you’, she could tell that he actually meant it. She didn’t know how she knew, but somehow she did. ‘Whatever it takes, or how my heart breaks, I will be right here waiting for you’. Those words affected Liz the most.

Then, towards the end of the song when Max sang ‘I wonder how we can survive, this romance, but in the end if I’m with you, I’ll take the chance’, Liz nearly burst into tears. She felt as though she didn’t deserve this; she didn’t deserve him treating her so sweetly.

After the song ended, Max gave Liz an adoring smile as they stopped dancing. Liz smiled back, tears in her eyes, before they slowly made their way over to the table they were sitting at before.

They enjoyed the rest of the night together, and after singing one last song together up on stage, they decided to call it a night. Courtney escorted them over to the back door again just as the driver of their car pulled up. They said their goodbyes to the club owner before they drove off.

They were both silent for a few minutes before Liz finally turned to Max.

“Why did you pick that song?” she asked.

“What song?” Max asked back.

“Right Here Waiting.”

Max nodded in understanding before he gave her a half smile. “Well, I’ve always liked the lyrics…and I heard that it was the first song you learned how to play on the piano.”

So she was right after all. “And just how did you know that little tidbit?”

“I…uh…read it on your website,” Max replied with a slight blush.

Liz smiled from ear to ear as she continued to look over at him. “So you’ve really never serenaded anyone before?”

“Not before tonight,” Max replied. “Why do you find that so hard to believe?”

“Well it’s just that you have an incredible singing voice so I figured that you’d use it to your advantage,” Liz teased. “You know women love a man who can sing.”

“Well I guess I was just waiting for the right woman to come along,” Max said seriously.

And for the first time in her entire life, Liz Parker was speechless. She had no idea how to respond to that, so all she could do was stare at him.

The rest of the car ride went by in silence, but it was a comfortable silence. Liz kept her eyes glued to Max the entire time, not caring that he knew she was staring at him. Max would glance over at her occasionally, and every time their eyes would meet, they would both smile.

When they finally pulled up to Liz’s hotel, they both just sat there for a minute looking at each other. Liz finally made the first move when she slowly leaned over and placed a soft kiss on Max’s cheek, smiling sweetly at him as she pulled back.

“What was that for?” Max asked as a smile lit up his face.

“Just for being you,” Liz replied with another smile before she climbed out of the car and made her way into the hotel.

Max watched her leave and waited until she was out of sight before he told the driver to take him to his hotel. He looked out the window as the car pulled back onto the street, wishing for the millionth time since he met Liz that he could be the one who held her that night. That pleasure belonged to another man, and it killed him inside to know that.

To Be Continued…


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 20-Aug-2002 6:17:40 PM ]
posted on 21-Jun-2002 7:33:03 PM by Fanatic101
Thanks for the feedback! I know that all of you asked quite a few questions and I’ll answer most of them in the next two parts.

The reason I listed the lyrics for Faithfully by Journey is because I thought the words fit in really well with the overall premise of the story, and especially this part in particular. (A special thanks to my cousin for suggesting the song!)

Faithfully by Journey

Highway run
Into the midnight sun
Wheels go round and round
You’re on my mind
Restless hearts
Sleep alone tonight
Sending all my love
Along the wire

They say that the road
Ain’t no place to start a family
Right down the line
It’s been you and me
And loving a music man
Ain’t always what it’s supposed to be
Oh girl, you stand by me
I’m forever yours…faithfully

Circus life
Under the big top world
We all need the clowns
To make us smile
Through space and time
Always another show
Wondering where I am
Lost without you

And being apart ain’t easy
On this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again
I get the joy
Of rediscovering you
Oh girl, you stand by me
I’m forever yours…faithfully

Oh, oh, oh, oh
Faithfully, I’m still yours
I’m forever yours
Ever yours…faithfully

fd604d40

I just wanted to give ChrissyP47 a huge THANK YOU for the wonderful banner!

Part 6

The next morning Max found that he was awake before his alarm even went off. Truth be told, he had never really gone to sleep. He tried, but he just couldn’t get Liz’s image out of his mind. No matter what he did, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stop thinking about her.

He finally climbed out of bed and took a shower, getting himself ready for what was sure to be a long day. The good news was that he was going to see Liz again, but the bad news was that she would be with Sean. When he was finally ready to leave he glanced at the clock and noticed that he was running a little late. He didn’t care though. He was in no rush to see Liz with Sean. That was something he wished he could avoid altogether, but since he couldn’t, he figured that he’d limit his exposure to it.

He made his way down to the lobby and out the front doors of the hotel, sighing before he climbed into the car that Jerry had sent for him.

“How are you this morning, Mr. Evans?” he driver asked.

“Just fine thanks,” Max replied with a smile. “How about yourself?”

“Well I’m doing well, thank you for asking,” the driver said. He was surprised that Max even cared enough to ask, seeing as how most of the celebrities he drove around ignored him completely.

The short drive over to the studio was filled with small talk, mostly from the driver who told Max about everything he could think of. Max contributed to the conversation whenever he could, thankful that he at least had something to take his mind off Liz, even if it was only for a few minutes. When they finally pulled up to the studio, Max groaned inwardly when he saw that the tour bus was parked out front. That meant that Tess was lurking nearby.

“Thank you for the ride,” Max said before he climbed out. He shoved his hands in his pockets as he headed for the front door, hoping that he wouldn’t run into Liz until the last possible minute. That hope died quickly because as soon as he walked into the building, he saw her standing in the lobby, obviously waiting for him.

“Hey, you finally made it,” Liz said with a smile as she walked up to Max.

“Yeah,” Max said with a slight shrug. “Sorry I’m late. I kind of slept in.”

“You seem to do that a lot,” Liz joked. “I’ll have to get you a better alarm clock.”

“Max!” Jerry said as he walked into the room with none other than Sean Deluca. “So nice of you to come. I hope we’re not inconveniencing you too much,” he joked.

“Ha, ha,” Max said with a glare before he turned to Sean. “Sean.”

“Max,” Sean replied in nothing short of a rude tone. He addressed Max with such harshness that even Liz looked over at him in surprise. “You know, I’d really appreciate it if you actually showed up on time. I’ve got better things to do than sit around waiting for some self centered superstar to grace us with his presence.”

“Sean,” Liz said in an incredulous tone. “What’s gotten into you?”

Sean threw a hard look in Liz’s direction before he glared at Max once more and walked out of the room.

“I’m so sorry about that,” Liz said as she looked up at Max. “I have no idea what that was about.”

“Don’t apologize for him Liz,” Max said gently, giving her a tiny smile before he walked off to find his fellow band members. Since the studio wasn’t all that big, it didn’t take him long. They were all gathered in the sound room, chatting amongst themselves while they waited for him.

“Maxwell!” Michael said when he noticed his friend walk in. “What he hell happened to you? You look like you haven’t slept in days.”

Max let out a bitter laugh, realizing that Michael was right. The last two nights that he spent with Liz he had stayed up until the wee hours of the morning. Before he could answer though, he heard a high-pitched voice calling out his name from behind him. He closed his eyes and took a calming breath before he turned to face Tess.

“Maxie!” Tess said as she bounced up and threw her arms around his neck.

“Tess, please don’t call me that,” Max said as he stood perfectly still, not even bothering to raise his arms to hug her back.

“I missed you,” Tess said as she pulled back. “Did you miss me?”

Since Max was already in a crappy mood, he was about to give her an honest answer when Jerry came in and interrupted.

“Let’s get this show on the road. Max, I figured that you and Liz could work in there,” he said, pointing through the window to the adjacent room. “The instruments are all hooked up so we can start recording whenever you’re ready.”

“Well since we haven’t even started writing the song yet, I figure it may be a while until we reach that stage,” Max said before he opened the door and walked into the soundproof room that he and Liz were going to be working in.

“What crawled up his ass?” Maria asked as she turned to Liz.

Liz just shook her head as she followed Max into the room and shut the door. She was thankful that the room was soundproof because that meant she could hold a private conversation with Max without anyone else overhearing them. “Alright…what’s going on?” she asked as she folded her arms across her chest.

“What are you talking about?” Max asked, not even bothering to look up at her as he started to get everything situated.

“I mean that you’ve been acting all pissy ever since you got here,” Liz said.

“I’m just having a bad day, okay?” Max said as he finally looked up to meet her gaze.

“Well then maybe we should do the song writing another day,” Liz said. “I don’t know about you but I don’t think it’s a great idea to try and write a love song when you’re pissed.”

Max closed his eyes as he sat down in a nearby chair, bringing his thumbs up to lightly massage his temples as he took a deep breath. “I’m sorry about the way I’ve been acting, but I’ll be fine…really.”

“I’m just worried about you,” Liz said gently as she walked over and sat next to him.

“Don’t be,” Max said as he turned his head to look at her, giving her a smile. “Seriously…I’m fine.”

“Okay,” Liz said with a nod, returning his smile. “Then lets get to work.”

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

Max and Liz had been working in the studio for a few hours before Max finally started to snap. The cause of his irritation had nothing to do with Liz or the room they were working in. It was from a certain somebody in the other room. Throughout the entire time he and Liz had been working together, he could constantly feel someone’s eyes on him. Every time he glanced up, he would see Sean staring right back at him. It had gotten to the point where he couldn’t concentrate on anything except for that prick watching his every move.

He knew exactly why Sean was keeping such a close eye on him too; he didn’t trust Liz. He wanted to keep watch on the two of them just to make sure nothing happened. Besides thinking that it was extremely pathetic, Max also thought it was very immature. They were in a professional building for cripes sake. Sure he and Liz had been working in close proximity to each other, but that was because they were trying to lay down a rhythm for the song. They couldn’t do that and not be close to each other.

At the present moment Max and Liz were working separately. Liz was working on a melody for the piano while Max did the same for the guitar. Max had been able to concentrate for a little while, but after looking up and seeing Sean’s eyes on him yet again, he lost it.

“That’s it!” Max said as he stood up and set his guitar aside. “I can’t take this anymore.”

“What are you talking about?” Liz asked as she too stood up and walked over to stand next to him.

“I can’t take him looking at he all the time,” Max said, emphasizing the word ‘him’ so Liz would know who he was talking about without having to point.

“Who, Sean?” Liz asked, wanting to make sure.

“He keeps staring at me like…like he’s waiting for me to grow a second head or something,” Max said as he ran a frustrated hand through his hair.

“Okay,” Liz said calmly as she tucked her hair behind her ears. “What did you want to do?”

“Get the hell out of here!” Max said without thinking.

It was then that Liz realized they weren’t going to get any more work done on the song, at least not for the rest of the day. “Where’d you want to go?”

“Anywhere,” Max said with an exaggerated shrug.

“Alright, let’s go,” Liz said before she walked over and opened the door, surprising everyone.

“Done already?” Jerry asked.

“Not quite,” Liz said with a smile. “Does anyone have a car we could borrow?”

“Sure,” one of the production workers said as he reached into pocket and threw Liz his keys. “It’s the dark green Acura Integra parked out front.”

“Thank you,” Liz said with a smile before she started walking toward the front of the building with Max in tow.

“Uh…Liz?” Sean asked as he rushed over and grabbed her arm. “Could I talk to you for a second?” He didn’t even wait for her to answer before he pulled her off to the side. “Just what do you think you’re doing?”

“Max and I are going for a drive to clear our minds,” Liz said calmly.

“Uh, no, I don’t think so,” Sean said with a laugh.

“Uh, yes, I do think so,” Liz bit back.

“Liz, you are not going anywhere,” Sean said with authority. “Especially with him. End of discussion.”

“End of discussion?” Liz asked in disbelief, her tone laced with anger. “Well, dad, I promise to be back by curfew.” With that she pulled her arm free from his grasp and walked over to Max, grabbing a fistful of his shirt before she literally dragged him out of the building behind her.

They both climbed into to the car before Liz started the engine and threw it in gear, pealing out of the parking lot. She glanced in the rearview mirror just in time to see Sean running out of the studio after her.

“What a bastard,” Liz muttered. “Can you believe he actually had the nerve to tell me what to do? Where does he get off thinking he can control my life? Just because he’s my manager doesn’t give him the right to boss me around.”

“Liz, that’s a cop up ahead, you might want to slow down,” Max said calmly.

Liz eased her foot off the gas pedal and let out a sigh of relief when she watched the cop pass her by without a second glance. “Maybe you should drive.”

“Let’s pull into that mini-mart over there,” Max said, pointing to the side of the road. “I’m kind of thirsty anyway.”

Liz nodded as she pulled the car into the parking lot. She shut off the engine and took a deep breath before she and Max climbed out and made their way inside the store. They both got something to drink and as they were waiting to pay for their stuff, Liz glanced down at the headlines in one of the newspapers. Her eyes widened as she quickly reached out and grabbed a copy, paying for it along with their drinks.

Max didn’t think anything of it until Liz handed him the keys and he climbed behind the wheel. When he glanced over at her in the passenger seat, he noticed that she had paled slightly as she continued to read the newspaper. “What’s wrong?”

Liz looked over at him briefly before she handed him the newspaper. Max took the cap off his drink before he took the paper from her, and had just started to take a swig when he suddenly spit it out all over the dashboard. He shook his head slightly to make sure he wasn’t seeing things, and when he still saw the same picture staring back at him, he knew he wasn’t hallucinating. Right there, in living color, was a picture of he and Liz up on the stage at the karaoke club slow dancing. Then to top it off, the caption read: ‘Rock star Max Evans from the band HalfLife sings to up and rising singer/songwriter Liz Parker as the two share an intimate moment on stage.’

“Read the first paragraph,” Liz said softly as she stared out the windshield.

Max glanced over at her briefly before he started to read.

"Love at first sight? It appears so for HalfLife’s Max Evans and singer/songwriter Liz Parker. After a late night rendezvous the previous night, the two spent the entire day together in Los Angeles. After eating lunch at Wilson’s restaurant, playing miniature golf at the local Magic Carpet and playing a little one on one in basketball at a local park, the two decided to end the night doing what they both do best: singing and dancing. The two embraced on stage at the nightclub Swenson’s…”

Max stopped reading after that and quickly looked up to find out who wrote the article. “Son of a bitch,” he muttered when he saw the name ‘Greg Norman’ staring back at him.

“That’s probably why Sean was acting the way he was,” Liz said distractedly.

When Max glanced over at her, he could tell that she was really bothered by the article. “Hey, are you okay?”

“Could you just…drive,” Liz pleaded. “I need to get away from here.”

“Yeah,” Max replied before he started up the car and headed down the road with no particular destination in mind.

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

The two of them drove around for a few hours before they finally headed back to the studio. Liz didn’t say much and Max didn’t push her to. They just fell into a compatible silence as they both tried to figure out the best way to deal with the newfound dilemma.

Liz didn’t know if Sean had seen the article or not, but she was willing to bet that he had. That would explain his rude attitude toward Max, but what really bugged her was that if he had seen the article, he never confronted her about it. He never asked her what the picture meant or gave her the chance to explain what had really happened. She never thought he’d just jump to conclusions without asking her first.

Max, on the other hand, kept glancing over at Liz to see if he could gauge her emotions. He wasn’t worried about how the article would affect him but rather what it would do to her. She didn’t deserve that kind of publicity. She had done nothing wrong.

When the two finally pulled up to the studio, a sight they both wished they could avoid at that particular moment greeted them. There were news vans everywhere.

As soon as Max parked the car and climbed out with Liz, they were mobbed. There were at least a dozen microphones shoved in their faces as every reporter there started to rattle off questions, each of them trying to talk over the others. Max wrapped his arm around Liz’s waist as he pushed his way through the crowd, thankful when he saw Jerry and a few staff members from the recording studio push their way through to give them more room. Once inside, Liz ran a hand through her hair before she walked off in search of Sean. She had a few things she wanted to straighten out with him.

Max just stood there and watched her leave, finally turning his head when he felt someone wrap their arm around his shoulder and lead him into a deserted room. “What’s up Michael?” he asked once the two of them were alone.

“That’s what I was going to ask you,” Michael replied.

“What’re you talking about?”

“Liz Parker,” Michael said. “What’s up with you two?”

“Nothing,” Max replied dejectedly.

“Max,” Michael said as he sat down in a chair and motioned for his friend to do the same. “Whatever it is that you and Liz have going, it isn’t healthy. Not only is she attached to someone else, but she’s also a musician.”

“So are we,” Max replied with a laugh. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“You really don’t see the problem, do you?” Michael asked. He saw that Max was confused, so he tried to explain himself better. “You and her are both musicians, which means that you both travel around performing. If the two of you actually got involved with each other, how would it ever work out? Considering how hectic both your schedules are, chances are you would only see each other for maybe two weeks out of the entire year. You can’t have a healthy relationship when the person you’re involved with is constantly halfway across the planet. I mean, you’d spend more time on the phone than you would in person.”

Max let out a sigh as he rubbed at his eyes. He knew that Michael was right, but he couldn’t just turn off his feelings for Liz no matter how hard he tried. “I know, I know,” he said quietly.

“Now I don’t want to say this any more than you want to do it but…you need to stay away from her,” Michael said, patting his friend on the back before he walked out and left Max alone.

To Be Continued…

Okay, okay...don't blast me just yet. Having Michael tell Max to stay away from Liz was part of the challenge...I swear!!


[ edited 3 time(s), last at 20-Aug-2002 6:16:01 PM ]
posted on 7-Jul-2002 4:32:34 PM by Fanatic101
Look at this...it only took me a couple weeks to get this part out. Now if only I updated my other story quicker...

fd604d40

I just wanted to give ChrissyP47 a huge THANK YOU for the wonderful banner!

Part 7

Later that night, as Max sat on the bed in his hotel room, he couldn’t help but think back to everything that had happened. He hadn’t seen Liz for the rest of the day, even though he went out of his way to see if he could find her. He finally concluded that she and Sean had probably made up and were back in their hotel room…making up. The thought left him feeling sick to his stomach, which in turn caused him to lose his appetite. He hadn’t eaten anything all day. He tried, but every time he took a bite of something he could feel it coming right back up.

With his shoulders slumped and his head hanging low he got up off the bed and walked over to the window. He gently leaned his shoulder against the glass as he looked out over the city, resting his forehead against the cool surface as he closed his eyes. He had just allowed himself to wallow in self-pity when there was a soft knock on his door. He remembered that Michael said he would stop by later to see how he was doing, even though Max had said that he wanted to be alone. Michael never listened to him anyway.

He considered not answering it for a second, but after the third knock he let out a frustrated sigh and walked over to open the door.

“What took you so long?” Michael asked as he pushed past Max and into the room.

“Come on in,” Max muttered as he shut the door.

“Well…get ready, we’re going out,” Michael said.

“I already told you,” Max said in frustration. “I feel like crap.”

“Oh come on,” Michael said. “Alex and Kyle are waiting downstairs and they told me not to go back without you.”

“Michael…please,” Max said, giving his friend a pleading look.

Michael let out a sigh in response before he reluctantly nodded. “Try not to let her effect you like this. You can’t change the way things are so don’t worry over nothing.”

“Easier said than done,” Max replied quietly.

“I know,” Michael said as he walked over and gave Max a pat on the back. “Just relax and take it easy tonight. I’ll be back tomorrow morning to pick you up.”

“Michael, I think I can find my own way to the recording studio,” Max said with a grin.

“Oh I know you can, but Jerry doesn’t want you to sleep in again,” Michael replied with a sarcastic smirk. “See you tomorrow.”

Max watched Michael leave before he threw himself down on his bed. He laid there for a good ten minutes before he heard another knock on his door. He groaned in annoyance as he climbed to his feet, realizing that it was probably Alex and Kyle. He threw the door open and started talking before he even saw who it was. “Would you guys give it a…” He stopped mid-sentence when his eyes landed on a very upset Liz standing in front of him. She was hugging herself tightly and when her eyes rose to meet his, he could feel his heart break into a thousand pieces. She was crying. Her eyes were red and swollen and she had tear tracks all the way down her cheeks. “Liz? What’s wrong?” he asked as he reached out and placed his hands on her shoulders.

“I’m…I’m sorry to just…show up…here,” Liz said between hiccupping breaths. “Can…I just…I need you…Max.”

Max felt like crying himself when he saw her brow furrow together as she tried to fight off a new wave of tears. “Yeah, come on in,” he said as he stepped to the side and led her into his room, quickly looking out into the hall to see if anyone else was around. He was relieved to see that the hallway was empty. He quickly closed the door and walked over to stand in front of Liz again. “Are you alright?” he asked as he placed both hands on her shoulders again.

Liz shook her head as she looked up into his eyes, afraid that if she tried to speak, she’d break down.

“What happened?” Max asked softly. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Liz shook her head again as her brow furrowed together even more. A few new tears started to make their way down her cheeks but she made no attempt to stop them. She kept her gaze locked on Max’s, knowing that all it would take to calm her down was one look from his gentle, soulful amber eyes. She just knew somehow that she’d find the comfort she desperately needed by simply looking at him.

Max gave her a tiny smile before he reached up and cupped her cheeks in his hands, tenderly wiping away her tears with his thumbs. “I’m here whenever you’re ready.”

“I know,” Liz whispered, staring at him for another second before she reached out and grabbed his shirt, pulling him into a fierce hug. She wrapped her arms around his waist with every ounce of energy she had and buried her cheek snugly into his chest.

Max immediately returned her hug and reached up with one hand to thread his fingers through her hair. “It’s alright,” he whispered into her hair, placing a gentle kiss on the top of her head. “It’s alright.”

They stayed in their embrace for several minutes until Liz finally felt she had herself under control. She pulled back slowly and wiped at her eyes, noticing that Max’s shirt was now wet from her tears. “Sorry,” she said as she ran her hand over his chest, trying to dry it the best she could. Her intentions were purely innocent, but she couldn’t help but notice how firm his muscles were under his shirt. She knew that he worked out whenever he could, but she had no idea he was so toned.

“Don’t be,” Max said gently, “I didn’t like this shirt anyway.”

Liz couldn’t help but laugh at his lame joke.

Neither said anything for a few minutes as they stood in the middle of the room, arms still wrapped around each other, both trying to decide what to do next.

“Did…did you need a place to stay?” Max finally asked.

“Uh, yeah,” Liz replied with a nod. “I think I’ll just head down to the lobby and check myself into a room.”

“Are you sure?” Max asked, trying to think of something – anything - to keep her from leaving. “I mean, there’s really no point of going through the hassle of paying for another room when you could just stay here. I’m probably not going to sleep that much tonight anyway so you could take the bed if you want.”

“That’s okay,” Liz replied with a smile. “I don’t want to burden you…”

“Burden me?” Max asked in disbelieve, cutting her off. “Why would you be a burden?”

“Well I did just kind of show up all teary eyed,” Liz said with a laugh. “I’m sure you have things to do…”

“Liz, please,” Max said softly, interrupting her again. He gave her a smile as he reached up and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear, then wrapped his hand gently around the back of her neck where he began to give her a light massage. “I want you to stay here.”

Liz closed her eyes and let her head fall forward a little, giving Max better access to her neck. Having his hands on her was the best feeling in the world, but to have him give her a massage was just…heavenly. “If you’re sure…” she said in a dreamy, distracted voice.

“Your muscles are really tense,” Max said as he began to concentrate on Liz’s neck. “Why don’t you take off your coat and lie down on the bed.”

Liz’s eyes snapped open at his suggestion. “Huh?”

“Why don’t you take off your coat and lie down,” Max said again, this time with a smile on his face. “That way I can give you a better massage.”

“Oh, right,” Liz said, trying to sound casual. A massage. That wasn’t exactly what she had been thinking about when he made the suggestion. She had a more vivid, X-rated image in mind. She did as Max instructed, taking off her coat before lying down on the bed. She moved her hair over her shoulder and off her back so it wouldn’t get in the way, then tucked her hands under her chin and closed her eyes in anticipation.

Max straddled her waist, positioning himself over the top of her before he placed his hands on her lower back and ran them up the length of her spine. He heard her moan and sigh as he neared the top and was unable to keep from staring at her beautiful face. Her eyes were still closed but she now had a tiny smile on her face. He continued to watch her as he began to knead his fingers into her muscles, trying his best to rub out the knots without hurting her. He could tell when he hit a sore spot because her face would grimace slightly, so he paid extra special attention to those areas.

“I could really get used to this,” Liz moaned.

“What, the massage?” Max asked with a smile.

“No,” Liz replied, turning over on her back so she could look at Max. He had stopped his movements when she began to move, but he continued to straddle her waist, even after she had turned to face him. “I could really get used to spending time with you,” she said with a soft smile

“Yeah, me too,” Max replied with a smile of his own. When he felt himself being pulled farther and farther into her eyes, he quickly looked down at his hands. That’s when he noticed that he was still sitting on top of her. He slowly moved off to the side and helped her as she sat up next to him. “Are you hungry?”

“Actually, yeah I am,” Liz said. “I just realized that I haven’t eaten anything all day.”

“Me neither,” Max admitted. “Come on,” he said, moving off the bed and extending his hand to her. “The restaurant downstairs has a private patio set up outside. I don’t know about you but I’m sick of room service and I could really use some fresh air.”

“Yeah,” Liz agreed as she threaded her fingers through his. “Some fresh air sounds really good right about now.”

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

“Michael, this place bites,” Kyle said as he slouched down on his bar stool. Michael had dragged both he and Alex out to a trendy nightclub that seemed to play non-stop Britney Spears all night long.

“You know, I love Britney just as much as the next horny white guy, but this is seriously too much,” Alex added.

“Alright, we’ll hit the next club,” Michael said as he led the way toward the front door. He was pushing his way through the crowd when he spotted Sean walk in. He was about to nod his head in greeting when he realized that Sean had walked in with a female friend…a female friend who wasn’t Liz Parker. He suddenly reached back and grabbed a hold of Kyle and Alex, dragging them off to the side before Sean spotted them.

“Hey, what gives?” Kyle asked as he looked at Michael in irritation.

Michael just pointed to where Sean and his ‘friend’ had just sat down at the bar.

“Please tell me that isn’t who I think it is,” Alex said as he watched Sean lean over and whisper something to the girl with him before he placed a kiss on her neck.

“Okay, that is definitely not Liz,” Kyle said in disbelief.

“Son of a bitch. Come on,” Michael said, heading toward the front door again. “I need to talk to Max.”

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

Max and Liz sat out in the cool night air, both waiting for their food to arrive. They weren’t in a hurry, both just enjoying the calm atmosphere that seemed to contradict the way their lives normally were.

“I’ve been thinking about the song,” Liz suddenly said, instantly grabbing Max’s attention.

“What about it?” Max asked.

“I think it would be a lot easier for us to work if we were alone,” Liz said. “No friends, no studio workers…no managers.”

“Sounds good to me,” Max said. “But how would we swing that one?”

“I have a friend who has a make shift studio set up at his cabin at Tahoe,” Liz said. “I’m sure he wouldn’t have a problem letting us use it.”

“Just you and me…at a cabin…at Lake Tahoe?” Max asked with a smile, the idea sounding very appealing to him.

“Yeah,” Liz replied. “That way we could get away from everyone, especially the media. Since we have to work on this song together, I’d feel more comfortable doing it without having to worry about someone writing another article filled with lies.”

“Right,” Max said, his smile fading. It was obvious she had suggested the cabin for a completely different reason that he had hoped. He knew he was dreaming, thinking that she wanted to head off into the horizon - or in this case Tahoe - with him, but he couldn’t help but wish that it would happen.

“I think we would be more productive that way,” Liz said, breaking into Max’s thoughts. “The last thing either of us needs right now is for more reporters to go poking around looking for a story.”

“Yeah…I agree,” Max said with a forced smile.

“Alright then,” Liz said with a smile of her own. “I’ll set everything up tomorrow morning when we wake up.”

They went back into a mutual silence after that as their food had arrived and they both began to eat. When they were done they made small talk for a while before they decided to talk a walk. It was a nice night out. The sky was clear, except for the smog, and the air was cool but not cold.

“So how are you holding up?” Max asked. “You know, from the whole newspaper thing.”

Liz glanced up at him for a second before she answered. “Truthfully…not very well. I’ve never had someone lie about me like that before. That’s also the reason I was a little hesitant about coming over to your hotel tonight. I didn’t want to give them anything else to print.”

“I can understand,” Max said. “But for what it’s worth, I’m glad you did. Come over, that is.”

“So am I,” Liz said with a smile. “You know, now that I think about it, it may be a good idea for us to check me into a separate hotel room for tonight. Can you imagine what people would write if they found out I actually stayed in your room?”

“Yeah,” Max said reluctantly. Although he didn’t want to admit it, she was right.

“So I figured we could check me into a room just to make it look like I’m by myself,” Liz said.

Max looked over at her a little confused. “So you still want to stay with me?”

“If that’s alright,” Liz said. “I don’t really want to be alone tonight. But if you’d rather I…”

“No, no!” Max said quickly. “I’d really like it if you stayed with me. You know, that way I could keep an eye on you.”

“Keep an eye on me, huh?” Liz asked jokingly.

“You know what I mean,” Max said with a grin.

Liz nodded before they fell into a silence again.

“I also think it would be a good idea for us to travel up to Tahoe separately,” Liz said, breaking the silence. “We don’t need that reporter thinking we’re going up there for a romantic retreat or anything.”

“Right,” Max said, trying not to let her words affect him. Deep down he knew that a romantic retreat was the farthest thing from what they were really going to be doing, but he couldn’t help but wish it were.

They continued to talk as they made their way back to Max’s hotel. When they walked into the lobby, they both saw Michael, Kyle and Alex waiting, rather impatiently, on the couch near the front desk. When the three of them spotted Max with Liz, they were momentarily stunned. Michael quickly shook it off and hurried over to them.

“Maxwell, we need to talk,” Michael said, trying to convey that he wanted to talk alone.

Max nodded, his brow furrowed slightly as he turned to Liz.

“I need to go check myself in anyway,” Liz said, offering him and Michael a smile before she walked over to the front desk.

“What’s up?” Max asked after Kyle and Alex had joined them.

“Remember what I told you about staying away from Liz?” Michael asked.

Max shook his head in annoyance before he reached up and rubbed his temples with his thumbs. “Michael, look, I know you mean well, but please, stay out of…”

“Forget I ever said it,” Michael said, interrupting him.

Max glanced over at him, then over at Kyle and Alex who were both nodding vigorously. “Come again?”

“Sean is a low down, no good, two timing son of a whore,” Alex said.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Max said holding up his hand. “Can we back up here please? What are you talking about?”

“We saw him tonight,” Kyle said.

“So?” Max asked, looking back and forth between his three friends.

“We saw him at the club with someone else,” Michael said. “That someone else obviously wasn’t Liz.”

“What was he doing?” Max asked.

“He was checking out the field to see if he could play, if you know what I mean,” Alex said. “He had himself a player and he was trying to figure out what positions she could adapt to.”

“He’s cheating on Liz?” Max asked in disbelief.

“Uh huh,” Michael said. “And from the looks of it, I’d guess he’s been doing it for quite a while now.”

“That son of a bitch,” Max muttered.

“Those were my thoughts exactly,” Michael said.

“So what are you guys talking about?” Liz asked as she walked up to the group.

All four guys shared a look before Max turned and gave her a smile. “They just wanted to tell me something about the club they went to tonight,” he said. It was the truth, it just wasn’t the whole truth.

“Oh, what club?” Liz asked.

“It was that trendy pop club across town,” Kyle said.

“You guys went to a pop club?” Liz asked, trying not to laugh at the image.

“For about five minutes, yeah,” Michael said. “I thought that Max would get a kick out of it.”

“But now they have to go,” Max said, giving them all a stern look.

“Yes we do,” Alex said with a smile, wrapping his arms around Kyle and Michael’s shoulders as he started to back away. “We’ll catch you tomorrow.”

Max and Liz watched them leave, and once they were out of sight, Liz turned to Max. “You didn’t tell them about Tahoe?”

Max shook his head. “I figure it’d be best to wait until tomorrow.”

“Good idea,” Liz said with a nod before she turned and climbed on an elevator with Max following. “Well, I’m all check in.”

“Good,” Max said. “Listen, are you sure you feel comfortable with this?”

“What, staying in your room for the night?” Liz asked, watching as Max nodded in response. “Truthfully, I’d feel a lot more comfortable spending the night knowing that you were nearby as opposed to spending it alone.”

“Okay,” Max said with a grin. “I just wanted to make sure.”

They both got off the elevator and made their way down to Max’s room, checking to make sure nobody was watching before they both walked in and closed the door. They went about their normal routines of getting ready for bed, moving around each other in the limited space of the bathroom as if they had done it for years.

When the time came to actually to go sleep, they both stood on either side of the bed, unsure of what to do next.

“This is kind of funny,” Liz said with a light laugh. “Why are we acting so nervous?”

“I don’t know,” Max said with a shrug. “Because we are nervous?”

“Yeah, that could be it,” Liz said with a nod, sharing a look with Max before they both started to laugh. “How about we just climb in?”

“Sounds good to me,” Max said, walking over to turn out the light as Liz slipped under the covers. When he made his way back to the bed, Liz had already pulled the covers down for him.

Once they were both situated, both on their own sides of the bed lying on their backs, Max turned to look at Liz.

Liz felt his eyes on her right away so she turned to look back at him. “What?”

Max lowered his eyes for a second before he looked back up at her. “I know you said you didn’t want to talk about it but…I’d really like to know what happened tonight.”

Liz nodded as she glanced up at the ceiling. “Sean and I…well, we kind of got into a fight, as you probably already guessed. As it turns out he did see the newspaper article this morning, but instead of confronting me about it, he chose to deal with it through jealously. To make a long story short, I told him that he was acting immature, that he should have asked me about it instead of jumping to conclusions, and that’s when he said that none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been ‘tramping’ myself around like a cheap hooker.”

Max’s eyes widened. “He actually called you a hooker?”

“That’s the exact same reaction I had,” Liz said with a short laugh. “That’s when he said he never actually called me a hooker. He was simply saying that I was acting like one.”

“I don’t care if he directly called you one or not,” Max said in disbelief. “He never should have even made the comparison in the first place.”

“That’s why I walked out,” Liz admitted.

“Liz,” Max said, taking a deep breath, “I need to tell you something. You won’t want to hear it, but I think you need to.” He paused briefly before he pushed on. “Michael, Kyle and Alex saw Sean tonight. He…he was at the club…with someone else.”

Liz just looked at him for a second before her gaze shifted back to the ceiling. “I know,” she said softly. “That’s the other thing I found out tonight. That’s the other reason I walked out.”

“You know, I realize I may be stepping over the line here, but why are you still with him?” Max asked in confusion.

Liz looked back over at him for several seconds, as if trying to read something through his eyes, before she finally answered, “I’m not.”

To Be Continued…




[ edited 3 time(s), last at 20-Aug-2002 6:14:00 PM ]
posted on 15-Aug-2002 11:51:42 AM by Fanatic101
Okay, first off, let me just say that if it wasn't for my beta Lisa, this part probably wouldn't be out for another week or two. She kept IM-ing me, pestering me for a new part. So this just goes to show that nagging the author does work.

Thanks for the feedback...it's interesting to read what you guys want to happen. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.

fd604d40

I just wanted to give ChrissyP47 a huge THANK YOU for the wonderful banner!

Part 8

Liz woke up the next morning to the best feeling in the world…Max Evans’ arms wrapped around her. She wasn’t quite sure exactly how they ended up in each other’s arms, but she didn’t really care much. They were both lying on their sides, the front of Max’s body flush with her back. She smiled as she shifted over so she could look at his face. Her stirring caused him to wake, and he gave her a sleepy smile as soon as he opened his eyes.

“Morning,” Liz said softly.

“Morning,” Max replied with a yawn before he rolled onto his back and stretched.

“Ready for a brand new day, forcing us to see someone we’d rather not see?” Liz asked.

Max looked over at her before he answered, “Not really. You think we could just skip that part?”

“Believe me, I’d love to,” Liz said with a laugh. “All we need to do is pull Jerry off to the side and tell him we’re heading to Tahoe.”

“What about Sean?” Max asked.

“Well, technically he is still my manager,” Liz said, “but I’ll have to remedy that. At least that’s one good thing about seeing him today…I’ll get to fire his ass.”

“Are you under contract?” Max asked.

“Yeah,” Liz said with a sigh. “So I already know I’m going to take a big hit financially, but it’ll be worth it to get him out of my life.”

“Maybe you won’t have to take as big of a hit as you think,” Max said. “Can you get a hold of your contract?”

“Yeah,” Liz said, confused. “It’ll take a day or two. Why do you ask?”

“Well, my dad’s an attorney,” Max said. “I’ll have him take a look at the contract to see if there’s an ‘out’ clause.”

“He’d do that for me?” Liz asked, surprised.

“If I asked him to, of course,” Max said with a smile. “He wouldn’t refuse his only son. But you need to realize that you probably will get stuck paying out some kind of settlement.”

“I know. Thanks, Max,” Liz said sincerely.

“It’s the least I can do to get Sean out of your life for good,” Max said.

“Not just for that,” Liz said with a smile. “Thanks for everything.”

“My pleasure,” Max replied with a smile of his own. He stared at her for a couple of seconds before he tried to lighten the mood. “Besides, I couldn’t very well make my move on you with Sean still in the picture.”

Liz laughed. She knew he meant it as a joke, but she was also smart enough to catch the hidden meaning behind it. “We better get going,” she said after glancing at the bedside clock. “We wouldn’t want Jerry to come bursting through your door because you’re late again, would we?”

“Heaven forbid,” Max mumbled as he threw the covers off his body and climbed out of bed. “Why don’t you take the shower first.”

“Are you sure?” Liz asked. “It is your room after all.”

“Hey, mi casa es su casa,” Max said with a smile.

“Oh, so now you speak Spanish?” Liz asked, returning his smile.

“Kind of,” Max said with a shrug. “The only other thing I really know how to say is ‘there’s a cat in my pants’.”

Liz couldn’t help but laugh at that. “And where did you learn that?”

“The movie Blue Streak,” Max said. “Kyle loves all those Martin Lawrence flicks.”

“I won’t take long,” Liz said, still smiling as she walked into the bathroom.

Max just stood there, staring at the closed bathroom door for several seconds. Maybe this trip to Tahoe was just what he needed to get up the courage to tell her how he really felt. Maybe it would allow him to open up and express just how much he wanted to be with her. Maybe, just maybe, he could hold her in his arms again just like he had done last night.

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

When they were both ready to leave the hotel, they decided to have Max walk down to the lobby by himself. They did this for two reasons. One, they wanted to make sure the lobby was clear of reporters, and two, they didn’t want it to look like they had just spent the night together, even though it was completely innocent.

So Max walked down first and made sure the coast was clear before he pulled out his cell phone and relayed the news to Liz. They both climbed into a waiting car and were taken to the recording studio, where they noticed that Sean’s car was parked out front.

“Please don’t kill him,” Liz said before they climbed out of the car. “I really don’t want to have to bail you out of jail.”

“I’ll try to restrain myself,” Max said. He could already feel his blood start to boil just thinking about the jackass.

Liz nodded before she opened the door and led the way into the studio, with Max close behind. As soon as they walked into the lobby, they saw Michael, Maria, Alex and Kyle all sitting around waiting for them, while Jerry and Sean talked against the back wall.

Max really thought he could control himself, but as soon as he saw Sean turn and glare at Liz as though she were about to be punished, he lost his composure. He casually walked over, acting as if he were just going to ask Jerry something. But as soon as he was standing next to his manager, he offered him a smile before he turned to Sean, reached back and socked him in the face, causing him to fall flat on his ass. Michael, Alex and Kyle all jumped up from the couch and pulled Max back, preventing him from attacking Sean any farther.

“If you ever so much as look at her again, I’ll break your legs off and hand them to you!” Max yelled as his friends hauled him into another room.

Liz was more than a little shocked, and even though she normally hated violence, she couldn’t help but smile inwardly at the fact that Max wanted to protect her.

“What a psycho!” Sean said as he climbed off the floor and wiped at his bloody lip with the back of his hand. “He’ll be lucky if I decide not to press charges against his ass.”

“Sean,” Liz said calmly as she walked up to him with a smile on her face. “There’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you.”

“Yeah? What’s that?” Sean asked, acting as though everything were cozier between the two of them.

“You’re fired,” Liz said, her smile widening before she turned to walk away.

“You can’t just fire me, Liz,” Sean said with a laugh. “You’re under contract so if you play that card, I won’t hesitate to sue you.”

“Go ahead then,” Liz said as she turned around and held her arms out. “I’ve already hired myself an attorney so he’ll be in touch.”

Sean was momentarily speechless. Sure, he had expected her to be nasty toward him, but he never thought she’d actually go so far as to fire him. “Then I’ll have the lawsuit filed this afternoon,” he said with a smile, regaining his composure before he walked out the front doors.

Liz shook her head in disgust before she walked off in search of Max. She found him sitting in a chair in one of the side rooms, with Michael trying to calm him down while Alex and Kyle watched the door to make sure he wouldn’t do something stupid…like run out and attack Sean again.

Max stood up as soon as he saw Liz walk in, and he couldn’t help but feel a little uncertain about how she’d react to what he had just done. He had just punched out her ex-boyfriend/manager, and to be perfectly honest, he had acted like a complete lunatic. “Liz…”

“Could you guys give us a minute?” Liz asked, her eyes locked on Max.

Michael, Kyle and Alex all nodded as they made their way out, leaving the two of them alone.

“Liz, I swear I didn’t come here with the intention of hitting him,” Max began to apologize. “I have no idea what came over…”

“Max,” Liz said as she reached out and placed her index finger against his lips, effectively silencing him. “Thank you. It’s been a long time since someone has stood up for me. You have no idea how much it means to me.”

Max couldn’t help the smile that broke out across his face.

“You smacked him pretty good there,” Liz said, returning his smile.

“Yeah, well, I don’t go to the gym for nothing,” Max joked, puffing out his chest.

“Alright!” Jerry said as he barged into the room. “I obviously missed something very monumental last night. Could someone please tell me what the hell just happened out there?”

Max and Liz both spent the next several minutes explaining everything to Jerry. By this time, everyone – including Maria, Isabel and Tess – had joined the party.

“So you just fired your manager?” Isabel asked with a laugh.

“Yeah,” Liz said with a shrug. “But he said he’d have a lawsuit filed against me this afternoon.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Max said as he grabbed his cell phone. “I’ll have my dad take care of everything.”

Liz turned to the others as Max walked off to talk to his dad. “I guess this would be a good time to tell you that Max and I are heading up to Tahoe to finish writing the song.”

“What!?” Tess shrieked. “The two of you are going up there alone? I don’t know who you think you are, but you can’t just haul my boyfriend around wherever you go.”

At that, Michael, Alex and Kyle all burst out laughing.

“You…you think Max is your boyfriend?” Kyle asked between laughs.

“Oh, that was too funny,” Alex said as he wiped at the tears in his eyes. “Say it again.”

Tess glared at all of them as she placed her hands on her hips. “Out of everyone involved, we all know that I’m the closest to being his girlfriend.”

That sent all three boys into another fit of laughter.

“Oh, that was even funnier the second time around,” Alex said.

Jerry gently grabbed Liz by the arm and walked her to the far end of the room so they could talk alone. “Are you sure this is the best idea? I understand you’re having a difficult time handling the media and this would only give them more to write about.”

“I’m sure,” Liz said with a smile. “I really need to get away or this song will never happen. Besides, I’m sick of rearranging my schedule just to avoid the media.”

Jerry just nodded as he glanced over at Max, who was walking up to join them.

“Everything okay?” Max asked as he looked back and forth between Liz and Jerry.

“Yeah,” Jerry replied. “I was just about to ask if you needed transportation up to Tahoe.”

Max looked at Liz, who shrugged in response.

“Well, we were going to head up separately,” Max said as he turned to Jerry.

“No we’re not,” Liz cut in.

“Are you sure?” Max asked in confusion. “You said last night that…”

“I know,” Liz interrupted. “But I changed my mind.”

“Works for me,” Max said. “It’s about an eight to ten hour drive up there, isn’t it?”

“Around there, yeah,” Liz replied. “But it’s only a couple of hours by plane.”

“I think we’ll be needing the plane then,” Max said as he turned to Jerry again.

“I’ll get everything set up for you,” Jerry said before he walked out.

Liz glanced over at the group of people on the far end of the room and she couldn’t help but laugh at the death glare that Tess was giving her. “Did you hear what Tess said just a second ago?”

“Nuh uh,” Max replied with a shake of his head.

“She completely flipped out about the two of us heading up to Tahoe,” Liz said. “She even called you her boyfriend.”

Max groaned as he rolled his eyes. “What did I do to deserve this? Honestly, I’d like to know why I have the devil’s offspring chasing me around.”

Liz laughed as she linked her arm through his and walked him right past a still glaring Tess and out the door. “I’ll make you a deal. While we’re up at Tahoe, absolutely no outside distractions; no phones, no TV, no nothing.”

“That won’t be a problem,” Max said with a grin.

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

After packing their bags and checking out of their hotel rooms, Max and Liz climbed onto HalfLife’s private plane and headed north. The short flight from Los Angeles to Reno was very uneventful, as they spent the entire time making small talk. Once they arrived in Nevada, they jumped into a rental car and drove up to the cabin in Tahoe.

“Wow,” Max said as soon as he walked through the front door of the cabin, carrying both his and Liz’s bags. He dropped the luggage and walked over to stand in front of the huge window that overlooked the entire area.

The cabin was located in a very secluded spot right on the lake, in the small town of Incline Village. Since it was just barely approaching the winter season, there wasn’t a whole lot of snow on the ground – at least not by Tahoe standards - but there was still nearly enough for all the ski resorts around the lake to open. The sight of the lake, surrounded by trees with a white blanket of snow over the top, was truly a sight to see.

“That was my response when I first came up here,” Liz said as she walked over and stood next to Max by the huge widow at the back of the house. “I think it’s so peaceful and relaxing.”

“Yeah,” Max agreed as he continued to take it all in. He then started talking, saying anything and everything that popped into his head without thought of how it would sound to Liz. “Having a fire going in the living room, relaxing on the floor or couch with someone special in your arms…no TV, no radio, no phone…absolutely no distractions. Just you and the love of your life. I can’t think of anything better.”

“Me neither,” Liz said reverently as she looked up at him. He was still focusing on the scenery outside with a slight grin on his face, so she let her eyes linger on him a little longer than she normally would. He already looked more relaxed and comfortable than he had ever since she met him. “Come on,” she said as she nudged him with her elbow. “Let’s get unpacked.”

It didn’t take them long to hang their things in the closets in their separate rooms, but when Max was finished, he walked over to Liz’s room to help her. They spent the rest of the afternoon talking about their childhoods, what their families were like, basically any topic that would give them a chance to learn about each other.

When dinner came, they were forced to hop into the car and drive around until they found a grocery store. Nobody had lived in the cabin for several months, so there was hardly any food to be found. Since a lot of celebrities often went up to the lake for various reasons, the residents of Incline Village left them alone for the most part. The only ones who bothered them were teenagers who wanted an autograph.

When they got back to the cabin, they both cooked dinner side-by-side, the conversation between them never once hitting a lull. They ate dinner and cleaned up after their mess, then headed into the living room so they could continue to talk on the couch.

It was around eight at night when Max decided to take advantage of the fireplace. “Where do they keep the firewood?”

“Uh…just outside the front door on the porch,” Liz replied.

“I’ll be right back,” Max said with a smile before he headed for the door. He grabbed several pieces of wood in his arms and as soon as he started walking back into the house, he heard a cell phone start to ring. When he got back to the living room, he saw Liz on her phone, apparently talking to Maria. He dropped the firewood next to the fireplace and walked over to stand in front of Liz before he grabbed the phone out of her hands.

“Max!” Liz said with a laugh as she looked up at him in surprise.

“Maria?” Max asked, waiting until he heard Maria answer him before he went on. “I’m sorry to tell you this, but Liz and I made a deal that there wouldn’t be any distractions while we’re up here working, so you won’t be able to get in touch with her until we’re done.” He didn’t wait for her to respond before he hung up the phone and turned it off. “I think I’ll just hang onto this for you,” he said with a smile as he put her phone into his shirt pocket.

Liz let out a short laugh, unsure what else to do. “That was very Alpha Max of you.”

“Hey, you’re the one who came up with the deal, remember?” Max asked as he walked back over and crouched down to work on the fire.

“So does that mean I get to keep a hold of your phone so you can’t call anyone?” Liz asked as she stood up, folded her arms across her chest and walked over to stand next to him.

“I didn’t bring mine,” Max said as he looked up at her with a grin.

“Well…that’s not fair,” Liz said.

“Tell you what,” Max said as stood up and placed his hands on her shoulders. “I’ll go make you a pretend cell phone out of cardboard. That way you can carry a phone around just like me. Would you like that?” he asked sarcastically, speaking as if he were talking to a little girl.

“Oh shove it,” Liz said as she pushed him away and stormed over to sit on the couch. She folded her arms across her chest again and crossed her legs as she stared straight ahead of her with a scowl on her face.

“Liz, I was just messing around,” Max said as he walked over and sat next to her. When he got no response, he leaned over into her line of sight, but she shifted her gaze away from him. “Are you not going to talk to me now?” After he got no response again, he let out a sigh. “I’m sorry. I was just teasing you. Can you forgive me?”

“I can,” Liz said, still not looking at him. “The question is, will I?”

“What can I do to convince you to forgive me?” Max asked, draping his arm across the back of the couch as he leaned in closer to her. “I’ll do anything.”

Liz glanced back in his direction for a second as she though about his proposal. “Anything?”

“Anything,” Max confirmed.

“Well,” Liz said with a grin. “For starters, after you get the fire going, I guess you could finish that massage you started giving me down in L.A.”

“Done,” Max said with a smile.

It didn’t take long for the glow of a fire to brighten the room, making the atmosphere more comfortable. Liz went into her bedroom and changed into some sweatpants and a tank top before she grabbed some pillows and blankets to lie out on the floor near the fireplace. When she walked back into the living room, she went around and turned off all the lights, leaving the cabin completely dark except for the fire.

Max stretched one of the blankets out before he went to change into some shorts and a t-shirt. When he walked back out into the living room, the sight that greeted him nearly caused him to stumble and fall flat on his face. Liz was sitting on one of the blankets, obviously waiting for him. Some where between the time he left and the time he got back she had taken off her tank top and was now holding the other blanket up to cover her chest. But her entire back was completely bare for his eyes, her dark hair being the only thing covering the soft skin of her shoulders.

Liz turned her head and looked at him, her entire face lighting up as soon as their eyes met. “You ready to give me my massage?”

Needless to say, Max’s voice wasn’t working at the moment, so he simply nodded as he tried to swallow past the lump in his throat. He knew he was openly staring at her, but he couldn’t help it. It was almost as if he had to look at her. He slowly walked over to where she was and watched as she laid down on her stomach. He had to coach himself to breathe as he knelt down and straddled her hips, tentatively reaching out to touch her bare back that was totally exposed to him.

At first contact of hands on back, both of them let out an audible gasp. Liz had to refrain from moaning as Max began to rub her muscles, and Max in turn had to bite down on his lip to keep from groaning at how soft her skin was.

After a few minutes of moving around her back, watching as the light from the fire reflected off her skin, giving it an almost ethereal glow, he finally decided to give in to his feelings. It was no secret he was attracted to her. Hell, he’d been attracted to her ever since he first saw her. At first he knew exactly why he was standoffish around her…Sean Deluca. But now that he was out of the picture, there was absolutely no reason he couldn’t…

Out of nowhere there was a sudden knock on the door, making both of them jump. Max mumbled an obscenity before he climbed to his feet and walked over to the door. While he was on his way over, Liz wrapped the blanket around her body again and climbed to her feet, hiding in the hallway to make sure that whoever was at the door wouldn’t be able to see her half naked.

Max glanced back to make sure Liz was out of sight before he looked through the peephole on the door. “Oh you’ve got to be kidding me.” He rolled his eyes and reached for the doorknob, opening the door just a crack.

“Max Evans! I’m Jenny Bowden, reporter for the Lake Tahoe Bonanza newspaper.”

“You know, I don’t want to sound rude, but don’t you have a home life?” Max asked. He noticed that the girl was young, so he was probably the first celebrity she had the chance to interview.

“My newspaper really wants me to get this story,” Jenny replied with a smile.

“And what story is that?” Max asked.

“Well, you and Liz Parker of course,” Jenny replied, a little confused. “You two are staying here together, aren’t you?”

“You know, it’s really late,” Max said, trying to be as polite as he could. “I’m sure you understand, and can respect, that I like my privacy. Tell you what, why don’t we meet some time tomorrow?”

“Really?” Jenny asked in disbelief.

“Yeah,” Max said. “How’s noon?”

“Noon would be great,” Jenny said. “Do you know the Wildflower Café?”

“I’m sure I can find it,” Max said with a smile. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” Jenny said with a wave. “Goodnight.”

Max closed the door and lightly banged his forehead against it a couple of times before he turned around, walked back into the living room and sat on the couch.

“It’s amazing how they can find us so quickly,” Liz said as she walked over and sat next to him, now fully dressed again.

“Yeah,” Max replied as he stretched his arms above his head and rubbed at his eyes. “I promised we’d meet her at noon tomorrow just to get her to leave.”

“That’s fine,” Liz said as she scooted closer to him and leaned over to rest her head against his shoulder.

Max opened his eyes, a little surprised by her move, but thrilled nonetheless. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and gave her a light squeeze before he shifted on the couch, moving until he was lying down the length of it. He pulled Liz in close to his side so she could rest her head against his chest. He then closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

Before long, they were both sound asleep.

To Be Continued…


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 20-Aug-2002 6:12:35 PM ]
posted on 31-Aug-2002 5:16:58 PM by Fanatic101
Hey guys,

I am just letting you know that I will be on vacation for a little bit and away from my computer. I will be back soon with a new part though. Sorry guys.

Dan
posted on 12-Sep-2002 5:36:39 PM by Fanatic101
Hey everyone. I am back and am working on the next part. Sorry to keep you waiting.

Dan
posted on 18-Sep-2002 1:28:56 PM by Fanatic101
fd604d40

I just wanted to thank everyone for the feedback and the bumps...especially Mandy and Amy. Sorry it took so long to get this out.

Part 9

When Max woke up the next morning, the first thing he noticed was that Liz was no longer lying next to him. He slowly stretched before he climbed into a sitting position and then got to his feet. He could hear music coming from downstairs so he followed the sound until he found himself standing in the small recording studio that was set up on the lover level of the house. He saw Liz sitting at the piano, her back to him, playing a song that nearly every person on the face of the planet knew.

He slowly walked up behind her, and when she reached the beginning of the chorus, he began to sing softly.

“You’re the meaning in my life
You’re the inspiration
You bring feeling to my life
You’re the inspiration
Wanna have you near me
I wanna have you hear me saying
No one needs you more than I need you.”

Liz smiled when she heard his sweet voice behind her, but she didn’t stop playing. She wanted to listen to him sing.

Max continued to sing, hoping that it would get Liz to continue playing. He loved listening to her play the piano. He walked up and stood behind her, just over her right shoulder, so he could watch her fingers glide across the keys.

Once the song was over, Liz glanced up at him and gave him a thousand watt smile, which he eagerly returned.

“You know,” Max said as he sat on the bench next to her, “I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the piano.”

“You don’t know how?” Liz asked, a little shocked.

“Why do you sound so surprised?” Max asked back with a laugh.

“Well I just figured that someone as musically talented as you would know how to play anything,” Liz said, nudging him playfully in the side.

“Yeah, I wish,” Max mumbled as he looked at the piano keys.

“Want a lesson?” Liz asked, hoping he’d say yes.

“From you?” Max asked eagerly. “Of course.”

“Okay,” Liz said as she slid down the bench so Max could sit in the middle. “Since you already know how to read music, I’ll just show you the notes. This is middle C,” she said, showing Max the key. “The easiest way I found to learn the piano is to break it down into sections. Going up from middle C you have D, E, F, G, A, B, then you start over with C again. So if you break it up into different sections, from C to B, what you have are the same notes just played at different octaves. Does that make any sense?”

“Yeah it does,” Max said as he looked at the keys again. “In fact, that’s the simplest explanation I’ve heard yet.”

“Here, I’ll teach you how to play a song,” Liz said as she reached over and grabbed his hands, gently placing them on the piano. She slid her hands over his, glancing at him out of the corner of her eye to see if their touching was affecting him as much as it was her. Who was she trying to kid? At that moment she didn’t want to show him where to put his hands and fingers in regards to playing the piano. Instead of showing him how to stroke a piano key, she wanted to show him how to stroke…

“Like this?” Max asked, breaking into her thoughts.

Liz shook her head mentally as she tried to refocus. She was so out of it that she completely missed just how badly Max was struggling himself. He kept glancing at her, wanting so badly to just lean over and kiss the living daylights out of her.

“Um, yeah,” Liz said, her voice cracking slightly. She moved their hands into place, her small fingers resting on top of his large ones, before they started to play. Liz gently pressed down on Max’s fingers, one at a time, telling him which keys to hit. Since she also had to move his hands up and down the piano for him, they ended up playing the song about ten times slower than it was supposed to be played.

Max smiled when he realized that they were actually playing a song that he had written a couple of years ago. It was HalfLife’s first hit when the band first started out. He watched as Liz guided his hands to where they needed to go, allowing her to do as she pleased. Half the time he wasn’t even looking at his hands, but rather her face.

When the song was over, Liz slowly slid her hands off of his and shyly looked up into his eyes.

“When did you learn how to play that?” Max asked, all giddy inside that she took time out of her busy life to learn something he had written.

“Well, I actually learned that one a couple of months after it started playing on the radio,” Liz admitted.

Max’s eyebrows raised slightly in surprise. She had been a fan since the beginning? He smiled softly at her and would have spent the rest of the day just staring in her eyes had it not been for the meeting they had to go to with the local reporter.

“Uh…we should probably start getting ready,” Liz said softly. “I’ll use the shower on the third floor. You can use the one on the main level.”

Max nodded as he watched Liz climb to her feet and walk out of the room. Just before she disappeared up the stairs, she looked over her shoulder and gave him another breathtaking smile.

Max just sat there for a few more minutes, taking a couple of deep breaths before he slowly stood up to get ready for the day.

*~*~*~*~*

When noontime rolled around, Max and Liz found themselves sitting at a table in the Wildflower Café, talking with the reporter. They were both a little apprehensive about the interview, seeing as how the tabloid article was still fresh in their minds. But they couldn’t just shun the media because of something that a tabloid published. Besides, this reporter worked for an actual newspaper.

“Thanks for doing this,” Jenny, the reporter, said to open the interview. “First off, are there any topics that are strictly out of bounds?”

Just as Max was about to tell her to stay away from the topic of he and Liz, Liz spoke up.

“Nope,” Liz said with a smile. “Not that I can think of. But if you hit a sensitive spot we’ll let you know.”

Max had to mentally applaud her answer. She didn’t volunteer that the tabloid article had rattled her, which said a lot about her knowledge of public relations and her ability to handle the press.

“Fair enough,” Jenny said as she took out her notepad and opened it to a blank page. “Now, word is you two are up here to work on a song together. Is that true?”

They spent the better part of an hour talking with Jenny, and the topics of conversation varied greatly. They talked about music, bands, tours, and eventually their personal lives.

Max was a little surprised when Jenny finished the interview, mostly because she never even mentioned the tabloid article about he and Liz being the hot new item.

After they both signed an autograph for Jenny, the three made their way out to their cars. It wasn’t until Jenny climbed into her car that Max approached her window and had her roll it down.

“There’s something I’ve gotta ask you…off the record,” Max said. “Why didn’t you ask us about the tabloid article?”

Jenny just smiled as she thought about her answer. “When was the last time a tabloid actually printed the truth? Had there been any validity to the story at all, I’m sure it would have been picked up by an actual newspaper.”

Max nodded and offered her a grin. “If you need anything else for the story, don’t hesitate to contact me.”

Jenny was a little surprised by the statement because most celebrities never offered to do a follow up interview unless they were forced to. “I will,” she said with a smile. “Thanks.”

Max nodded again before he walked over and climbed into the rental car that Liz was driving. After he was situated he glanced over at Liz, who just sitting there, staring back at him. “What?”

“I’m just curious what you asked her,” Liz said.

“I just asked, off the record, why she never mentioned the tabloid,” Max said. “She basically told me that it was obvious the story was a bunch of crap and that she didn’t feel it deserved to be mentioned.”

“Huh,” Liz said with a nod before she started the car and drove back to the cabin.

*~*~*~*~*

Max and Liz spent the next two weeks working on the song, and before they knew it, everything was done. During those two weeks, the two of them did grow closer and closer together, but they never stepped foot over the threshold of friendship. They were both cautious with each other, neither wanting, nor willing, to take the chance of ruing their newfound friendship just yet.

But that didn’t mean the thought of getting together hadn’t crossed their minds. In fact, Max thought about it all the time. He wondered what Liz would do if he just walked over, cupped her face in his hands and laid one on her. He honestly thought she wouldn’t mind one bit and would kiss him back with just as much hunger as he would, but every time he found himself walking toward her for that very reason, he’d chicken out at the last second. He wasn’t used to making the first move, so actually mustering up the courage was a big step for him.

“So I guess we should get a hold of Jerry,” Liz said as she and Max sat at the dinner table, eating for what was going to be their last night at the cabin.

“Yeah,” Max agreed, staring at the cell phone on the table. He picked it up, turned it on and dialed his manager’s number. After holding a brief conversation with Jerry, Max hung up and turned to Liz. “Everything’s set so we’ll be flying out tomorrow afternoon.”

Liz nodded, suddenly feeling very depressed that she wouldn’t be able to spend any more time with Max alone.

“He also said that they want to shoot the video while we both have time off from touring,” Max said. “They’re talking about flying us down to the Caribbean in a couple of days for the shoot.”

“The Caribbean?” Liz asked excitedly. She could definitely handle spending a few days in a tropical location with Max.

“Yeah,” Max said with a nod, smiling at how excited Liz was. “It’ll be a lot of fun.”

“Yeah it will,” Liz agreed as she set her fork down. “So, what are we going to do on our last night here?”

“I was thinking,” Max said as he too set his fork down, “gambling.”

“Gambling?” Liz asked.

“Yeah…we are in the only state where gambling is legal,” Max said with a smile.

“When do we leave?” Liz asked.

“As soon as you’re ready,” Max said as he stood up and grabbed both his and Liz’s plates before he walked into the kitchen to clean up.

Liz followed him over to the sink and watched as he rinsed off the plates and put them into the dishwater. “Give me ten minutes,” she said with a smile before she went to get herself ready for the evening.

*~*~*~*~*

As soon as the two of them stepped foot into the casino later that night, Liz was approached by a security guard who asked to see some ID. Max had to cover his mouth with his hand to hide his smile as he watched Liz fish for her license. The guard did turn to Max during all this, but he simply asked how he was doing before he turned his attention back to Liz.

Liz flashed her license, offering the guard a huge, toothy smile in an effort to mask the sarcasm that she felt like spewing his way. The guard thanked her before he went back to his post.

When Liz looked up at Max and saw that he was laughing behind his hand, she pointed her finger into his chest. “Don’t say a word,” she warned. “It’s because I’m short.”

Max let out a cough to hide his laughter before he pointed to the gaming floor. “After you.”

They stayed in the casino for a few hours, playing cards, craps, roulette…anything they could get their hands on. But by the time they were ready to go, Liz had downed a few too many margaritas. Max wisely took the car keys from her and drove them to the cabin, with Liz singing at the top of her lungs the entire way there. He parked the car and helped her inside. He walked her to her room, where she promptly stumbled and fell to the floor, dragging him down with her. Liz immediately burst into laughter, and Max found that he himself was unable to keep from laughing along with her.

He climbed to his feet before he literally picked Liz up off the floor and placed her on her bed. “I think it’s time for someone to go nighty night,” he said as he sat down next to her.

“But I’m not tired,” Liz whined, giving Max her best puppy dog eyes look. She stuck her lower lip out and batted her eyelashes, unaware in her drunken state just how much of an effect that would have on Max.

Max wanted nothing more than to suck that bottom lip into his mouth and nibble lightly on it. He was about to do just that when he realized he could never take advantage of Liz when she was drunk. Making the first move to kiss her when she was sober was one thing, but to try and do it when she was drunk…that just felt wrong. The last thing he wanted was for her to wake up in the morning and think that he was only trying to get down her pants.

“Do you like me?” Liz asked out of nowhere, reaching up and wrapping her arms around Max’s neck. “’Cause I like you.”

“Yes, I like you,” Max said with a smile.

“Good,” Liz said with an emphatic nod. “Then lets get naked.”

At first Max thought she was joking, but when she started to undo her pants, his eyes widened as he reached down to stop her movements. “Liz, you’re drunk.”

Liz thought for a second before she looked Max in the eyes. “Yes I am.” She then went back to undoing her pants, causing Max to stop her again.

“Liz,” Max said with a small laugh, unsure what else to say, “I think you should get some sleep.”

“You don’t want me?” Liz asked, her brow creasing slightly.

“NO, NO!” Max said quickly. “It’s not that…I just don’t want to take advantage of you while your drunk.”

“Awwwwww,” Liz said as an adoring look came to her face. She reached up and cupped his cheek in her palm. “That’s so sweet.”

Max let out another small laugh before he reached down and brushed some of Liz’s hair away from her face. “Can I get you anything? Water? Food? Advil for later?”

“Hmmm,” Liz said, her eyes closing as she thought about his offer. But before she could answer, she fell sound asleep.

“Liz?” Max said softly, getting no response. He shook his head slightly before he stood up and pulled the blankets down on the bed. Since Liz was lying on top of them, the task was rather difficult, but he finally managed to pull them down under her body without waking her. He untied her shoes and put them neatly on the floor by the foot of her bed before he tucked her in. He sat down next to her again and ran the back of his hand along her cheek a few times before he finally stood up and walked out of the room, turning the light off on his way out.

*~*~*~*~*

The next morning Max was awake well before Liz was. He took a shower and had just finished brewing some coffee when Liz waddled into the kitchen.

“Morning,” Liz said quietly as she sat down on one of the barstools and gently placed her head down on the cool countertop.

“Morning,” Max replied with a smile. He poured Liz a cup of coffee and placed it down in front of her, along with a couple of Advil’s.

“Thanks,” Liz said with a smile as she lifted her head and began to sip her coffee. After she had taken the pills, she looked up at Max, who was leaning back against the fridge.

“You okay?” Max asked.

“Yeah, I’ll live,” Liz replied. “My head doesn’t really hurt all that much.” She then started to run her finger along the rim of her mug before she spoke again. “You know, after we left the casino last night, I hardly remember anything. I remember you helping me to bed, which I wanted to thank you for by the way, and that’s about it.” She hesitated for a second before she went on. “I tend to get a little crazy when I’m drunk. I…I didn’t do or…or say anything embarrassing that I should know about, did I?”

Max had two choices at the moment. First, he could tell Liz the truth about the previous night, including her suggestion that the two of them get naked together, which would definitely embarrass her. But since he wanted to avoid that, he decided to go with the second choice. “No,” he said with a slight shake of his head, offering her a reassuring smile to go along with it.

“Good,” Liz said with a sigh of relief. She then took a closer look at Max and narrowed her eyes slightly. “You aren’t lying to me, are you?”

“Of course not,” Max said. “Why would I lie? There was nothing you did or said last night that you should be embarrassed about.” Well that was the truth…from his point of view.

“Okay,” Liz said as she took another sip of her coffee. “When do we leave for L.A.?”

“We should probably head down to the airport in about an hour or so,” Max replied after looking at the clock.

“Then I should get ready,” Liz said before she started making her way back to the bathroom.

“I’ll start packing the car,” Max said, watching as Liz left the room. He shook his head and smiled before he cleaned up the kitchen and set about getting everything ready for their trip back to L.A.

To Be Continued…


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 18-Sep-2002 1:29:51 PM ]