Category: Max and Liz
His Father’s Arms…
Liz stood in the doorway of the darkened room watching Max. He was sitting in the rocker framed by the big window that flooded moonlight across his face. She could feel his contentment. His natural stillness was accentuated by the silence that enveloped him and his son. She knew he sat like this for hours sometimes just looking down at Mathew or up at the stars. It didn’t frighten her – not anymore – when Max looked up at the stars. He was hers – totally and always – they had fought and won their right to be together and neither would willingly let it go. But sometimes, while he watched Mathew, Liz almost believed that he and his son were talking! Mathew was connected to both of them – she knew that even before he was born – but somehow Mathew responded differently with Max. If he were crying and Liz didn’t know what else to do she would call Max and ask him to come home and more often than not she found he was already on his way. He would stride through the door, smile lovingly, kiss her forehead sweetly, then take Mathew into his strong arms – and instantly Mathew would quiet and their eyes would meet. ‘What is it Mathew’ he would whisper. Then he would listen and once again Liz would swear that they were communicating in a way more complex more intimate than just father to infant son – Soon a small smile would spread across Max’s quiet face and Mathew would be asleep – content in his father’s arms
This night as Max rocked his son quietly, the strength of their connection seemed even stronger to Liz as she reflected on the days leading up to Mathew’s birth. .
It was always so dark in the caves. But it was safe – or it had been until now. Somehow their brief respite from the struggle – a respite that had given them enough hope to conceive this baby – had ended with Michael rushing in to their small oasis away from the outside world, yelling that they had been found and only had minutes to escape through the prearranged maze of tunnels. Michael had been adamant about finding other avenues of exit and Max had listened as he had learned to do – and now the time had come for their use. Breathing was difficult for Liz as she reached for her shoes at the same time picking up a small bag filled with what she would need for the birth of their child. Somehow she knew the child she carried was a son but hadn’t mentioned it. Max and she just marveled that they should be having any child together and decided to wait to know. But as she struggled to tie her shoe she felt HIM move; heard HIM speak to her ‘Mama it’s ok, I’m safe with you.’ It took even more of her breath away but she didn’t have time to reflect long before Max was helping her to her feet for their flight to where she had no idea. But then, she never did.
Liz needed to rest. They had been moving quietly through tunnel after tunnel for a long time – when would it end she wondered – how would it end? But she couldn’t disguise her distress any longer. She stumbled, then fell.
‘Michael’ Max whispered loudly toward Michael who was ahead of them ‘we have to stop. Now.’ Max pulled Liz into his arms and held her to him protectively. ‘I’m sorry Liz. I wish things were different. But I promise, somehow we’ll get out of this – and the running will stop!’ She felt his strength and resolve and his love and it gave her strength. ‘We can move again now Max. I can keep going.’
‘No my love – we rest. Our son needs you.’
Michael heard Max’s words as he reached them. ‘Max – we aren’t that far ahead of them!’ But he saw the same resolve in Max’s eyes that Liz had felt from his words and said no more. ‘I’ll go back – see if there are any signs they found our trail’ and he was gone.
It was then that Liz realized that Max had said ‘our son’. ‘Max you know our baby is a boy?’ She raised her eyes to his.
‘Yes, I’ve known for a while.’ He found a smile for her and brushed his hand through her hair just like he did when they were still relatively normal teens in Roswell, before knowledge of their presence had created a panic and an ‘alien hunt’. Their parents worked tirelessly to stem the panic – to find people in government who would fight to protect their children instead of looking the other way while others sought to kill or capture them. Philip in particular was building a campaign for their ‘rights’ as citizens because they had been ‘born’ in the United States – perhaps not like everyone else but they should be treated with respect; the same respect that we would treat any new species of life. But even those who professed their respect for endangered wildlife somehow found real aliens something to be feared not respected and accepted. So Max and Liz hid and on occasion while they waited for the fear of them to subside, they even helped the very same people who feared them.
Until some wealthy sycophant put a price on their bodies and every madman and not so mad men started hunting them out in the open. They weren’t hiding from secret government agencies anymore but from self-righteous bounty hunters fueled by greed. The running had to stop – their son was near his birth and they couldn’t run and hide with a child – Max didn’t want his son to live like that. But so far he hadn’t found a way for them not to. It was his harshest reality – the worst of his guilt – that he had gone ahead and made this child in a moment of hope and love.
It was also the one subject Max and Liz disagreed on. Liz no matter what – no matter how they lived – was overjoyed and not the least bit regretful that she had seduced Max that night – seduced him into letting go of his reserve and his caution and entranced him with her love and her desire into making their son. Their lovemaking had always been their one constant joy. No matter where they were – the touch of the other brought them exquisite release as their souls merged and their bodies exploded. But the night Mathew was created had been more than passionate embraces and intimate kisses – their love with Liz’s enticing urging had been suffused with hope and with faith enough in their future that Max gave way to their greatest wish and they made Mathew. She knew that under the guilt and fear Max never regretted this child within her – but he couldn’t let himself say it out loud for fear that his worst fears would come to pass – that in the end he wouldn’t be able to protect Liz or his son.
Michael gave them 20 minutes and then found his way back. ‘We need to go – they haven’t tracked us yet – but we should take advantage of the lead’ He looked down at the two of them encircled in each other’s arms – silent but loving – gathering strength for what lay ahead. ‘Max.’ he said again.
‘OK Michael we’re ready.’ Liz answered him and started to rise. He reached out to help her to her feet as Max rose behind her picking up her bag and adding it to his already heavy load.
He smiled at her. ‘Let’s go.’ And so they moved on again – the three of them – Liz in between the two men who would give their lives for her and their baby – their hope.
Once again the tunnels became endless and Liz was afraid she couldn’t go much further when she saw some faint light ahead. ‘Max have we reached the end?’ She turned to hear his answer when her body contracted so violently she couldn’t stand and couldn’t help herself from crying out as she fell to the ground! Max raced to her side. She saw the terror in his eyes just as she passed out.
The sound of Max moving in the rocker jolted Liz from her reverie. He so seldom stirred a muscle that Liz heard his slightest movement. She was certain he had gently raised his hand to brush the tiny wisps of dark brown hair from Mathew’s beautiful face. Max’s head slightly bent toward his son – as if in conversation and the stillness once again enveloped them all. Liz returned to her memories – memories that were far from this beautiful silent calm.
Another contraction jolted Liz to consciousness. She had to shield her eyes from the light. Max dabbed a wet clothe to her lips and then her forehead. ‘Where are we?’ Her throat was so dry. ‘How long’ she coughed.
‘Not long.’ Max answered. ‘We can’t go any further. It looks like Mathew will be born here.’ Max looked around. ‘As birth places go – its no so bad.’ He tried to smile. ‘We have some soft grass – fresh air…’ he let his words hang in the air as a tear slid down his cheek. ‘Oh my love.’
Liz wiped at it weakly. ‘Don’t cry. I know for a fact that our son isn’t the least bit afraid. He told me so!’
Max tried to smile at her brave words. He was frightened nearly to immobility. It was fortunate that immobility was his only choice at the moment. Maybe Michael could hold them off long enough … but if they came from both directions how could he?
Michael touched his shoulder. ‘Come on Maxwell – let me do my job – and you do yours – take care of Liz and the baby. They need you. I don’t.’ And he walked back to his post.
‘Liz – I don’t know how ….’ He stammered.
‘Somehow I think our son will manage to do whatever is necessary….’ Liz swallowed a moan as another contraction overcame her. She knew she must be as quiet as possible to avoid bringing them straight here. It was too late. She heard them. It sounded like there were hundreds of them. But there couldn’t be that many could there? There was no time to calculate the numbers of those who hunted her as another contraction over came her. Their son was on his way. Max worked to remove Liz’s lower clothing. He had already laid his own jacket under her. There was a chill in the air but he had only his shirt to cover her with. He put the knapsack under her head. She was lying on an incline so maybe gravity would help he thought helplessly, trying to believe that this would be simple – no complications – just his son taking his first breathe - in this hostile place. Liz couldn’t help the screech that slipped through her lips as a long contraction over took her and she felt her son start his journey into life – she gulped for air even as she felt Max’s hand on her lower abdomen. She felt a tingle and some heat – and then the sound of their son’s whimper. He didn’t cry out – but Liz was frightened only for a moment – for then she witnessed the first time the silent connection between father and son. Max held him gently – his huge hands supporting this incredible little new life - his chest heaving with the emotion – umbilical cord still uncut. And it was the first time she had that feeling that they were somehow talking.
‘You are definitely our gift from God.’ Max spoke through his tears. ‘For your beautiful Mother and I your name could only be Mathew. But I wonder if that name will suit you.’ Mathew wiggled and struggled to open his eyes. Max soothed him with his voice. ‘You must be quiet now OK?’ The first barrage of gunshots rang out. Liz shuddered as Max laid Mathew in her arms. ‘We will get out of this. I promise’ he spoke softly as another shot rang out. Max rose slowly and walked over to Michael. That’s when Liz noticed the blood soaking through the back of Max’s tee shirt. His straight and tall stance belied what must have been great pain. He raised a heavy hand to Michaels’ shoulder – ‘See if you can reach my Dad on that phone again.’ Then he walked out into the open and headed down the hill leaving a trail of blood. Seeing this alien unexpectedly appear, the startled hunters abruptly stopped their gunfire.
‘Please. Please stop shooting. We’ll come with you.’ Another pop of gunfire and Max was hit in the shoulder. He struggled to stay standing. ‘We have a baby and a mother here who need medical attention. Please take her to a hospital.’ He couldn’t heal Liz now. He had already used some of his strength to ease the birth but it hadn’t been enough. Now with the wounds he had sustained he knew he didn’t have enough left to heal the bleeding. His only chance was to make them stop. To make them listen. Maybe they could kill him – but Liz? She was human! ‘My wife is human just like you.’ He could feel his life draining from him. ‘She won’t hurt anyone. We don’t want to hurt anyone,‘ he pleaded and fell to one knee – ‘kill me if you must, but please, please…’ his voice faded.
Michael rushed to Max’s side – blowing up a rock near the hunters on his way. He wasn’t very good at restraint but he knew if he hurt even one of them all would be lost. He’d keep them away and alive as along as he could. Then he heard the sirens. ‘God let that be someone who won’t shoot us on sight’ he prayed. The men who had been approaching ready to fire again backed down when they heard the sirens too.
They waited. All of them. Liz trying to keep her son warm and herself conscious, called out to Michael. ‘Michael, bring Mathew to his father!’
Michael shouted back to her. ‘Are you both nuts? You want me to leave Max unprotected?’
Liz needed to make him understand what she hardly did. ‘Yes. They won’t shoot with whomever it is getting closer. I just know that you need to bring Mathew to Max. Don’t argue with me!’ She burst out just as Michael arrived at her side. ‘But first you need to cut the umbilical cord.’
Michael’s face was priceless but this wasn’t the time to comment. To her surprise he swiftly whipped out his jackknife and clipped the cord – tied it roughly and picked up Mathew now wrapped in Max’s shirt. But then placed him back in Liz’s arms. She looked at him quizzically before seeing him remove his jacket. He put it over Liz and then retreated with Mathew. Max was behrly breathing when Michael returned. He laid the baby stomach down on Max’s chest and pulled Max’s arm up to lie across him. Michael kept one hand on Mathew’s back. They were both so quiet. Michael tried not to panic. He tried to remain calm. He tried to have faith. But there were times even knowing all about being alien he too marveled at what it was to be alien. He put his other hand up again hoping to scare those gun happy hoods from shooting. Somebody might get itchy – take that last shot before they couldn’t anymore. He couldn’t promise himself he wouldn’t take out the whole lot of them if Max or Liz or Mathew died. He kept his eyes on Max and Mathew and his hand raised. The baby cooed. He was so still but Michael knew he was breathing. It seemed like hours but it could only have been minutes before Max opened his eyes and sighed ‘Mathew’.
Michael felt the strength return to Max’s arm as he held the baby on his own. Michael relaxed. They might all be captured but at least they would be alive. For how long might be another question.
‘Did you get a hold of my father?’
Michael’s hope was short lived. ‘No Max, but the police are here.’ Several officers rushed up the hill past the bounty hunters – guns drawn and aimed at Michael.
‘Don’t Michael’ Max warned. Michael was too tired to protest. ‘And help me up.’ The three of them stood – a little unsteady – but standing as those whose job it was to serve and protect arrived.
‘Don’t move again.’ The one closest yelled.
At that Mathew began to wail. Louder and louder just like any normal human baby. Max almost laughed at how loud he was announcing himself and at his son’s perfect timing! But the crying had done its job. He raised his eyes and watched each face soften to the sound of a child in need. Even one they weren’t sure was human. Max spoke quietly. ’His mother is back there about 10 feet. She needs help. Please, we’ll go with you but please Mathew needs his mother and they both need medical attention.’
The cop who had spoken turned to another officer. ‘Radio the medics to come forward – and have them bring Philip Evans.’
Minutes later Philip Evans was holding his son – keeping him on his feet as they walked along side the stretcher with Max’s wife and son down the mountain to the ambulance. He spoke gently and proudly – ‘you’ll be ok son – all of you. No one is going to imprison you. I have a court order prohibiting anyone from harming you. It’s going to be ok.’ His own tears were flowing freely. Perhaps the struggle really was over – or at least slowed to a point where his children could at least live in the safety of his home and perhaps one day anywhere they chose.
Liz felt her own tears come again with the memories so she focused back on the scene before her. Max had saved his son - Mathew had saved his father – and Max’s father had saved his son. In his father’s arms she heard Mathew whimper and Max whisper, ‘Son, that’s one thing you’ll need your mother for. Liz?’
She shouldn’t be surprised, he always knew she was near but sometimes it still startled her. ‘I’m coming. It’s nice to know that Mathew needs me for something’ she exclaimed.
‘Ah my love, we both will always need you, but there is something… ‘
Liz took Mathew up in her arms and realized Max had become quite serious. ‘What is it Max?’
Max rose from the rocker pulled her into his arms ‘we will have to let him go some day Liz – I had always thought it was I who was destined to unite our people but it seems it’s our Mathew who is the one who will unite not only our people – but our people with humanity. Mathew may be our gift from God – but he will also take the name Kalen Gish. It’s Antarian for’ keeper of the peace.’ And you know he has already started on that journey.’
Liz looked up at her husband wide eyed ‘How?’
‘Well, I think you’ll find Mathew will be quite the precocious child’ and he smiled. Truly smiled. ‘Our only role was to survive and make a place for him to safely flourish.‘
Liz arched an eyebrow. “Only survive? Only?’ She repeated in mock surprise. A spontaneous uncharacteristic laugh erupted from her husband and it was the most beautiful music to her ears. It was then she was sure of his happiness, his contentment, and for now – here in his arms – nothing else mattered.
[ edited 2 time(s), last at 16-Jul-2002 6:06:34 PM ]