posted on 13-Aug-2002 2:15:28 PM by LilyFrancesca
Title: Silk & Steel
Author:LilyFrancesca aka Krys
Rating: NC-17
Cat:AU Challange
Disclaimer: I own nothing, you know who does. No infringment intended.
Summary: This was a challange posted by Lillie and based on the Steven King novel 'The Stand' and here it is-

Earth was very much like Antar, and the royal family sent down their unborn children to live on Earth when they found out that Antar was going to die in a few years --- Max, Michael and Isabel are their children.

The bad aliens from Antar, who left the planet since it was dying or whatever, sent a virus on a Earth, which killed people. (Like in The Stand.) When the aliens sent the virus out, it was like six years before the story starts.

The bad aliens are also looking for the royals, for whatever reason. Make it up.

Liz Parker lives on her families ranch in Texas with her five year old daughter, Natalie. She is friends with Alex Whitman and Jim and Kyle Valenti, who live in town with her.

Six years before, before the aliens came to Earth. Liz was 22 and a student at the University of Texas at Austin, and became friendly with a guy named Max Evans(who watched her from afar*wink* ). One night when they were stargazing, they made love. But than a few weeks later, Liz went home because her mother was sick(from the virus). Max doesn't know about Natalie. Make it up, how Max finds Liz and Natalie.

Michael and Maria are together in this story. She knows he's an alien, too. Maria is a few months pregnant with her and Michael's second child. Their first child died shortly after he was born.

I've changed a few things but that sums up the background. Oh and Silk & Steel is the title from one of Giuffria's albums...no infring. intended.



Part 1

“Mommy, how long we gotta wait?” whined five year old Natalie Parker. “My tummy hurts.”

Liz brushed the sweat soaked sable hair off her daughter’s brow and answered, “It should be any minute now, sweetie.”

Laying her had back on her mother’s lap, she groaned and hugged her arms around her middle. Liz looked around the waiting room and cursed the Virus for the millionth time. Because of it, there was shortage of qualified doctors and no such thing as organized health care.

When the Virus had first hit, it had been isolated to small pockets around the country. But with access to planes and human carriers, it spread rapidly and soon had killed a quarter of the population. Liz’s mother included.

She had been studying at the University of Texas in Austin and was one semester away from getting her degree, when Jim Valenti called her to tell her that Mom was in the hospital. The last set of classes had yet to start, so she drove the 40 miles back to Spicewood, to be at her mother’s bedside.

Her mother had been one of the lucky ones, only lasting twelve days before succumbing to what would become known as only the Virus. Many others weren’t given that blessing and lingered for weeks before ending the same way. Liz had first hand knowledge to that fact, for when she was found as not be susceptible, she had been put to work in the quarantine unit and watched as her friends and neighbors died a grueling death.

At the end, only her and a hand full of people walked out of the local hospital alive. She found out later that she was pregnant and it might have been the reason she didn’t contract the Virus. The next eight months were a blur and not only for her community, but for the world.

The funny thing about the whole thing was that as fast as it struck the Virus was defeated by a little plant called cannabis. The discovery was purely accidental, but it changed the existence of the world. A chemical in pot called THC could kill the virus even if you had become sick. So the governments of the world massed produced a synthetic reproduction and the virus was destroyed, thus proving that marijuana was not a bad as was believed.

“What is wrong with her?” asked the woman sitting across from Liz and her daughter.

Coming back to the present, Liz smiled as the obviously pregnant girl and replied, “Oh, she decided to try some of her pet bunny’s pellets and they seemed not to be agreeing with her. I normally would have kept her home, but my friend Alex insisted I bring her in, ‘just in case’.”

The woman laughed nervously and Liz asked, “When are you due?”

“Thirteen days, “ the blonde replied rubbing her bulging stomach. “Thirteen long and agonizing days.”

Laughing at the tiredness in her tone, she said, “Well, you couldn’t have picked a better place to give birth. Dr. Widmer delivered Nat here and me for that matter. Your in good hands.”

The woman smiled and burst into tears. Liz eased her daughter’s head off her leg and moved to the chair next to the weeping girl. Putting her arm around her shoulder she said, “There, there. It’s going to be okay.”

“You don’t understand,” she wailed.

“Tell me. It’ll make you feel better.”

Fishing for a hanky in the pocket of her flowered dress, she dabbed at her eyes and blew her nose noisily. Giving Liz a sheepish glance, she apologized. “I sorry about that. I’ll be so happy when these hormones are gone.”

“I know what you mean. I was a leaky faucet for nine months.”

“I’m Maria,” she said holding out her hand. Liz looked at it and Maria quickly removed the soiled hanky and wiped her hand on her leg before extending it again.

Liz took it and replied, “I’m Liz Parker. Nice to meet you.”

“You too. I bet your husband was as helpless as mine when it happened, huh?’

“Oh, I’m not married,” Liz replied, trying to sound okay about the situation.

“Uh, sorry.”

“Don’t be. Anyway, tell me what the problem is and I’ll see if I can help.”

Maria shook her head and let out a bitter laugh. It had been so long since she could talk to another woman without worrying if she had ulterior motives. Her and Michael had been on the run so long, it would be nice to have a friend again.

She told Liz how, since the Virus, Michael and she had moved from place to place looking for work, but had no luck. People we suspicious of strangers and they were made to move along when they had earned enough at odd jobs for supplies.

It had gotten worse when she became pregnant and the communities where they had stopped didn’t want three more mouths to feed, so they had made there way here.

“What do you and your husband do?” asked Liz when she was finished.

“It’s Michael mostly,” she replied. “He has a knack for fixing things. I help as much as I can.”

“Does know anything about farm equipment?” Liz asked hopefully.

“If it has an engine, Michael can fix it,” Maria boasted.

“Where are you staying now?”

She pointed to a beat up station wagon thru the front window. “It’s cheaper than renting a place,” she replied, seeing Liz’s surprised expression.

“I guess it would be,” Liz said, making up her mind quickly. She turned back to Maria and asked, “Do you think Michael would be interested on coming out to my ranch and looking at my machines? The pay will suck, but you’ll have a real bed to sleep in and the food’s not half bad.”

Tears welled up in Maria’s eyes as a smiled pulled up the corners of her mouth. “Are you serious?”

“Definitely.”

Maria attempted to give her a hug, but her huge belly made it awkward. The women laughed and settled for holding each others hands. “Gurien? Maria Gurien?” called the nurse from the doorway.

“Oh that’s me!” Maria called and Liz helped her lever her bulk out of the molded plastic chairs. “You’ll be here when I’m finished?” she asked anxiously.

“Yes Mrs. Gurien, I’ll be here.”

Maria flashed her a smile and waddled off after the nurse.

###


A few minutes later Natalie was called and as Liz had expected, Dr. Widmer told her the cramps would pass and Nat would be fine. “Liz, I would have thought you would have known that,” chided the doctor.

“I figured as much, but Alex was freaking out as usual and insisted I come,” she said, opening a lollipop for Natalie. They were few and far between, but she had been a good girl during the wait and she deserved it.
“That Alex Whitman,” Dr. W scoffed. “You would think he was the girl’s father.”

“Next best thing,” Liz said, looking down into the whiskey colored eyes of her child. She had her father’s eyes.

“Yes, anyway,” the doctor said, realizing his blunder. “Tell Alex to trust you next time. Sometimes I think you know more about medicine that I do.”

Smiling at the only person to have known her all her life, she said, “Not the practical use, but if you need me to analyze organisms for you, I’m your girl.”

“Take her home and give her some soup and fluids.Every thing should pass by tomorrow.”

Liz gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and grabbing hold of Natalie’s free hand, walked back out into the waiting room. She saw Maria talking to a ruggedly handsome man and walked over to them.

His gaze made Liz feel as if he was taking her apart piece by piece and somehow she felt lacking. “So your Liz Parker?” he asked.

“Don’t make it sound like a bad thing,” she replied. “I happen to like my name.”

Maria slapped his arm and whispered, “Behave, she’s nice.”

“Tell me,” he said ignoring his wife, “why do you want to help us?”

Liz could understand his wariness. Most people now a days didn’t do something without expecting something in return. Looking at Maria she smiled and said, “I have broken machines. Your lovely wife said you could fix them. Nothing more, nothing less.” Looking out at the car across the street she continued, “Do you really want her to give birth in the back of a station wagon?”

Looking down at his wife, his expression softened and Liz felt a twinge of jealously. ‘He use to look at me like that.....’

“Fine, but I only expect as much in return, for what I give, nothing more,” he barked, never taking his eyes off Maria.

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” she said knowing it for the lie it was. She understood male pride and if it got them to the ranch, she would tell him anything he wanted to hear. “Let’s go.”


###

“Your really don’t expect us to stay here, do you?” Maria asked, spinning slowly.

“If you want to stay in the barn, there are a few stalls free, but I did promise you a real bed,” Liz teased, enjoying the awed expression on Maria’s face. She had decided to put them in her Mom’s old room, which was on the first floor, because she didn’t think Maria could squeeze up the narrow stair in her present condition.

“Noooo this will be fine,” she said and sat gingerly on the edge of the bed.

“If you say so. Lay down and I’ll take your husband out to meet my foreman and show him our sad collections of machines.”

Maria slipped off her sandals, and with a sigh, swung her legs onto the bed. “If your sure,” she groaned, her eyes fluttering closed.

Liz walked quietly out of the room and down the hall to the waiting Michael, who was standing by the back door. “Shall we, Mr. Gurien?” she asked and he held the door open for her.

Walking out into the afternoon sunshine, she headed for one of the three out buildings. “My foreman Alex has tried his best to keep the equipment up and running, but before he came to work here, he was a musician and computer whiz,” she told the silently stalking man beside her.

Not getting a response she turned and stopped him with a glare. “Listen. Let’s get one thing straight, I am a nice person. I saw your wife and I remembered what it felt like to be pregnant and worrying about your future, so please believe me when I tell you that we truly need your help. Just last night, Alex said we should get someone out here to look at the equipment and he’s right, it’s a mess. Also, it will be nice to have another woman to talk to. My Mom died of the Virus and well, you know how that goes.”

He didn’t know why she added that last part, but it was what finally convinced him that she was genuine. “I’m sorry, Mz. Parker, it just that I’m not used to having people do something nice, without expecting something in return,” he said gruffly.

“It’s Liz okay, and I did this as much for me as for you and Maria. Alex sucks when it comes to anything mechanical. Meeting you is a God send.”

He gave her a small smile and gestured for her to lead on.

###

“So you see, I have no problem taking them apart,” Alex concluded, “but putting them back together with out having parts left over had proved a challenge.” He rattled a box of parts and gave Michael a lopsided smile.
Michael looked at the wiry man and couldn’t help thinking, ‘Is this guy for real? It’s like I’ve entered another dimension.’ He hadn’t met anyone who had been nice to him and his wife in months, and here he had run into two, in less than three hours.

“I think I can take care of it,” he replied and was astonished to see relief spread across the other man’s features.

“Fantastic! I was afraid Liz was going to throw my sorry ass out, if I didn’t get these up and running again.”

“She’d do that?”

“Hell no. She’s not the type. Besides, her daughter adores her Uncle Alex and would throw a fit if I left,” he joked.

Michael shook his head and started believing he really was in a different world than he was use to.

###

The sun was setting and Liz and Alex were giving the horses their evening feed. “So what do you think?” she asked coming out of one of the stalls and handing him the bucket.

“He’s a bit rough around the edges, but he knows his shit,” he replied, re-filling the now empty bucket with grain from the wheelbarrow.

“Maria is sweet. She tried to help with dinner, but her poor belly kept getting in the way. Finally, I had her sit at the table and peel the potatoes, just so I’d stop bumping into her."

“What do you think they’re running from?” he asked perceptively.

“I’m not sure, but what ever it is, it though no fault of their own. I hope they will stay a while. I’m getting sick of only having you to talk to.”

“Thanks a lot!” he laughed. “And here I was under the impression you loved me.”

Walking back over to him, she gave him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. “I do love you, silly. Your like a brother, how could I not?”

###

Michael pulled Maria closer and inhaled the clean sent of her hair. She snuggled as close as she could and sighed. Michael hated that they has always had to be on the move, but after what happened in Montana, it wasn’t safe to stay in one place for too long.
He agreed to take that Parker woman’s offer, ‘No her name is Liz,’ he reminded himself, but only for a few days. Maria was so much larger with this baby than with the last. However he couldn’t risk her having the baby here. If Liz and Alex really knew what he was, they would turn them in for sure, no matter how nice they were.

It had been almost two years since Maria had given birth to their first child, Joshua. The pregnancy had gone well and they had had Isabel there when her time came. During the labor, it had progress as any human one, but when Maria’s water broke, a silvery liquid was mixed in with the amniotic fluid. The midwife was puzzled, but the baby came so fast, she forgot to fuss. It was only when Maria had expelled the afterbirth, that the woman screamed and ran out of the house.

On examination, they found the placenta was glowing with a slight phosphorescence. Three hours later, the midwife brought back the authorities, but the three had vanished, heading for a cabin once owned by Isabel’s adoptive parents.

Michael wasn’t sure if it was the forced move or if Joshua couldn’t survive in Earth’s atmosphere, but it was moot because he died five days later. He’s buried over looking a mountain stream and his grave is marked by a cross lovingly created by his father’s hand.

Maria had taken Joshua’s death hard, but with Isabel’s help and her natural positive spirit, she found solace in the five glorious days they had with their son. If it wasn’t for the need for food, they would still be residing in the quaint little cabin in the woods.

Maria moved in her sleep and Michael began kneading a spot on he back right above her butt. She sighed in pleasure and he knew he had gotten ‘the spot’. He continued to rub it knowing it relieved some of the pain she suffered because of him.

It was his fault she became pregnant again. He had found a box of condoms in an abandoned drugstore and being the selfish prick he was, he didn’t pull out as he usually did, wanting to experience his release fully engulfed in her. Now she was carrying his daughter and the fear of loosing another child was reflected sometimes in her eyes, when he caught them unguarded.

He cured himself for doing this to her and wished Isabel was there. His eyes closed of there own accord and he drifted off to sleep.


###

“Hello Michael,” she said coming up to him.

“Iz. I was just thinking about you,” he replied, giving her a hug.

“I know, I heard you,” she said with a smile. “How’s Maria doing?”

“She’s tired and ready to pop.”

“Ever the elegant Michael,” she laughed. “Where are you guys?”

“Texas. About fifty miles outside of Austin. A town called Spicewood.”

“Did you go to the University like we discussed? Any sign of him?”

“Nothing. The campus was deserted and when I went to the Admin. office, it was trashed. Sorry.”

“It’s not your fault. I think we have to face the fact that he might really be gone for good.”

“Don’t say that! Until I see his lifeless body, I refuse to believe that.”

“I wish I had your confidence.” Giving him the once over she said, “You look tired. I’ll let you get some rest.”

“Wait!” he called stopping her retreat.

“What is it?”

“Can you come here? To Texas? Maria is almost ready and I’m scared of loosing them both this time. We have a place to stay for now, with some good people, but when the time comes...”

“I should be able to be there in a week,” she said doing some mental calculations. “Do I have enough time?”

“Yes, thanks Iz.”

“Bye Michael.”

“Bye Isabel.”


###

“She’s going to come here?” Maria asked in disbelief. “When?”

“About three more days,” he replied, wiping the grease off his tools and putting them in the box.

“I hate that she can dreamwalk you and not me,” she pouted.

“I’m sorry honey. After the baby is born, she’ll be able to again,” he reassured her.

“I know, but I miss her. What are we going to tell Liz?”

“I don’t know. I thought that as soon as she got here, we could make up some excuse and leave. I won’t put you in danger again.”

“Leave? Oh Michael, I can’t, “she cried bursting into tears, yet again.

Pulling her into his arms, he asked, “What other choice do we have?”


[ edited 7 time(s), last at 15-Aug-2002 6:52:15 PM ]
posted on 13-Aug-2002 8:34:50 PM by LilyFrancesca
Part 2

“Do you have another appointment with Dr. W?” Liz asked Maria. “It’s been almost a week since the last one.”

“Uh no,” she replied nervously. She had been having contractions since early this morning, but she was afraid if she told Liz, she would insist on bringing her into town.

“Do you want me to send him a note? I’m sure I could get you in today.”

“No! No Liz, thanks. I’ll have Michael drive me in the morning. Okay?”

Liz was dubious but nodded her head. “If your sure.”

Maria knew if stayed in the kitchen any longer, Liz would see her having contractions. So she got up from the chair and cried out when she felt warmth spread down her legs. Looking down, she saw the familiar tinge of silver in the fluid and felt her heart stop in
fright.

“Maria! Are you okay?” Liz asked and almost fell when she slipped on the wet floor. “I thought so,” she said, catching herself on the table. “Why didn’t you tell me you were having contractions?”

“I uh, OH GOD!” she screamed and clutched at her abdomen.

When the pain receded, Liz asked, “Can you walk back to your room, or do you want me to get Michael to carry you?”

“No, I’m okay,” she replied rising slowly. “I’ll go get him.”

“Are you crazy? You’re going to march yourself to your room and get undressed. I’ll go get him,” she commanded.

“Mommy what’s goin’ on?” Natalie asked, coming in from the porch where she had been playing with Peaches, her bunny.

“Nat, sweetie, could you run down and bring Mr. Gurien back? Tell him Maria’s water broke.”

“What water?”

Stifling a laugh, she said, “Just get him.”

“Okay. I’ll be right back.”

“I hope my daughter is as darling as yours,” Maria said as Liz helped her down the hall to the bedroom.

“Your having a girl? That’s wonderful!”

“Yeah, Michael told me,” she said, then bit her lip as a another contraction hit.

Liz held onto her shoulders and rocked Maria from side to side, to help ease her pain. The contractions were coming about every two minutes, so she began a mental list of things she was going to need for a home birth. There was no way they could get her to the clinic in time and she really didn’t want Maria to give birth in the back of a car.

“Maria!” cried Michael as he slammed thru the screen door. He saw the silvery fluid on the floor and cursed.

“We’re back here,” Liz called and finished wrapping up Maria’s wet clothing. Opening the chest next to the dresser, she pulled out some towels and layered them under Maria’s bent legs.

“What do you think your doing?” Michael snapped, freezing at the sight of his wife naked on the bed.

“Oh, in about a half hour or so, I’m going to help your wife bring your daughter into the world. Wanna help?”


###

It actually took about forty-five minutes, but at 3:40 p.m. on July 17, Brenna Elizabeth Gurien was born. Michael had sat by his wife’s side and encouraged her as best he could. He kept stealing glances at Liz, waiting for her to realize that this wasn’t a normal birth, but she was efficient and never said a word.

“Well Mom, what do you think?” Liz asked Maria, when she had finished cleaning up the afterbirth and removing the soiled linen. “Perfect would be my guess.”

Maria stared down at her child and felt tears slide down her cheeks. She looked so much like her mother, it broke her heart.

“Hey now, don’t go and get her all wet, I just dried her off,” Liz teased. She put a clean hanky in Maria’s hand with a smile. “I’ll leave the three of you to get aquatinted. Call me if you need anything.”

“Liz,” Michael said before she could walk out of the room. She turned and he whispered, “Thank you.”

She smiled and closed the door softly behind her.

###

“How are they?” Alex asked Liz when she walked into the kitchen.

“Mom and baby are fine. Michael survived too,” she laughed.

“Mommy, do Mr. and Mrs. Gurien have a new baby?” Natalie asked.

Kissing the top of her head, she replied, “”Yes sweetie. They have a brand new little girl.”

“What’s her name?”

“You know, I didn’t ask.”

“It’s Brenna,” Michael said from behind her. “Brenna Elizabeth Gurien.”

“Elizabeth is Mommy’s name,” squealed Natalie.

“That’s right,” Michael said squatting down in front of her. “but Brenna’s going to share it. That all right with you?”

“ ‘Kay, Mr. Gurien.”

Standing back up, he asked, “Liz can I talk to you, in private?”

“Let’s go check on the horses,” she suggested.


###

They walked toward the barn and Michael asked, “I take it you saw?”

Confused, she asked, “Saw what?”

“Don’t play stupid with me, Liz,” he snapped. “The placenta was glowing.”

“Oh that!” she said relieved. “That happened to me too.”

“What!” he yelled and spun her to look at him.

“Michael, it’s okay. Dr. Widmer, thought it might have been because of the Virus and the synthetic THC.”

“Maria never took the THC. She didn’t need it.”

A puzzled expression came over her face and she replied, “Now that you mention it, I never did either. But if that’s true, why did we have the same kind of placenta?”

“Who’s Natalie’s father?”

Her face contracted in pain and she spat, “That’s none of you damn business,” and she broke from his grasp.

“Liz, wait!” he called, but she ran into the barn. Running a hand thru his hair, he reluctantly followed her.

Entering the building, he made his way over to Kestra’s stall. Liz was leaning against her neck and absently playing with her mane. “Liz?”

“Michael, wh-what’s going on?” she whispered. “If it’s not because of the THC, then what and will Natalie be okay?”

“Liz, I gotta know the name of Nat’s father,” he asked again. He had a feeling he might know already.

“Max. Max Evans,” she replied and buried her face against Kestra’s neck.

“Max,” he said quietly. Could it be the same Max he spent the last four years looking for?

“Do you know him?”

“I grew up with a Max Evans.” he replied. “Do you know where he is?”

“The last time I saw him was at the University of Texas, in Austin. We were only together once. Then Mom got sick and I came back here.”

“You never saw him again?”

“I was pregnant and the world as we knew it, ended with the Virus. I thought about going to look for him, but I had a new baby and the ranch wouldn’t take care of it’s self.”

“It’s okay, I understand. He never new about the baby?” She shook her head in sorrow. “Stupid question. Max would have never let you go, if he knew.”

“We have more in common now than daughters, don’t we?” she asked, wiping her eyes. “Are they going to be okay? Do you know what caused the glowing?”

“It’s because they are half alien,” he replied, looking her dead in the face.

“Yeah right,” she scoffed. When he didn’t respond, the grin fell from her face. “Your not kidding.”

“I wish to God I was. It would make my life a hellavlot easier.”

“I don’t understand? How is this possible?”

“We’re not entirely sure ourselves. All we know is that our planet was dying, so our family sent us here to save us.”

“Like Superman?”

“You could say that, but minus the ex-ray vision and flying part,” he tried to joke, but it fell flat.

“Do you have any powers? Will Nat and Brenna have any?”

“I do,” he replied, not going into detail. “The girls, well that’s to be seen. Max never said anything to you about this?”

“No. We only went out a few times before we made love. I saw him a couple of times after that, then I came home. I always thought there was something special about him, guess I was right.”

Michael rubbed Kestra’s nose for a few minutes in silence. His thoughts went back to the last time he saw Max.

“You have to meet her Michael, she’s amazing,” Max had said as they shared a couple of beers. “I didn’t get a chance to see her before she left, but I know she’ll go back there looking for me.”

“Geez Max. Don’t tell me you’ve fallen in love with her?” Michael asked mockingly. He had yet to meet Maria and didn’t know what it was like to want someone so bad you were willing to die for them. “It could never work.”

“You don’t know her. She’ll understand. She won’t care,” he beamed and Michael groaned.

“Can you trust her?”

“With my life,” he reassured him.


“He wanted to tell you,” Michael said breaking the silence. “He told me he was in love with you.”

“What? When?” she demanded, stepping up to the door.

“I saw him about eight months after you left. They closed the school because of the Virus and he came back to Roswell for a visit.”

“You really grew up in Roswell?” she laughed. “I always thought he was pulling my leg.”

“Nope, that’s where we lived.” he replied matter-of-factly. “Anyway, he told me about this girl he met and how she blew him away. He said he was going to tell you as soon as he saw you again.”

“I never made it back,” she said solemnly.

“He did, or at least that was where he was heading. Isabel, that’s our sister, kept in contact with him up until four years ago. We haven’t heard from him since.”

“Do you think the Virus could have ki-killed him?”

“No,” he said confidently. “Isabel and I weren’t affected, so it stands to reason he wouldn’t be either.”

“What can I do to help? Alex is a great uncle to Natalie, but she needs her father. Especially now, knowing what he is and what she might become.”

Michael smiled and now knew what Max had seen in Liz Parker. No wonder he fell in love.

###

“Hey! Someone’s coming!” yelled Natalie, running across the front yard and onto the porch. Liz stepped out and watched as a late model SUV pulled up in front of the house. A tall and quite breath-taking blonde climbed out from behind the wheel and looked around. The smell of manure hit her and she wrinkled her nose in distaste.

‘Better get use to it,’ Liz thought with humor. ‘Everything you own is going to end up smelling like it.’

“Are you Liz Parker?” Isabel asked walking over to the porch.

Natalie poked her head out from behind her mother’s legs and Isabel drew in a quick breath. “She looks just like my brother,” she exclaimed.

“I agree. She has his eyes,” Liz replied resting her hand on top of her daughter’s head. “Your Isabel?”

Nodding, Isabel climbed the steps and held her hand out to Liz. Liz took it and said, “Nice to meet you. Won’t you come in?”

Isabel followed the petite brunette into the house. “I’m sure you’ll want to see the baby, first,” Liz said over her shoulder. “Their room is right down here.”

Stopping in front of their door, Liz knocked lightly. “Come in,” called Maria’s muffled voice.

Opening the door, Liz motioned for Isabel to enter and closed it quietly behind her. Natalie pulled at her dress and asked, “Is that pretty lady, Papa’s sister?”

“Yes sweetie, that was your Aunt Isabel.”

###


Isabel heard the child’s question and still reeled from the mother’s answer. ‘Max has a daughter!’ her brain shouted in joy.

“Hi Izzy Lizard,” Michael called from the chair next to the bed. “Come here and meet my daughter.”

“Hey! Don’t forget where you got her from, bucko,” Maria laughed, while she finished buttoning her blouse. Liz had found some of her nursing tops and gave them to Maria to use.

Isabel bent and gave Maria a hung and kiss before turning her attention to the cooing bundle Michael was holding. “Maria, she looks like your mother,” she said extracting Brenna from her father’s grasp.

“I think so too, but Michael says she looks like him.”

“How can you possible look like your Daddy when your so cute?” she asked the sleepy baby.

“She’s half mine, ya know,” protested Michael.

Smiling at her brother she said, “I’m so glad to see you.” Looking back at Maria she continued, “Both of you. It’s been so long.”

As tears slid down her cheeks, Isabel Evans, who was thought to have a heart of solid ice, wept silently while rocking her niece to sleep.


###

An hour or so later, Alex came up from the shed and spied the blue Durango parked out front. Washing up at the pump and giving his boots a scrape, he entered the kitchen. “When did we get company?”

At the sound of his voice, Isabel turned and was captured by the most brilliant blue eyes she had ever seen. He, also was stunned by the gorgeous creature sitting across from his best friend.

Liz watched the pair continue to stare at one another and tried not to laugh. Clearing her throat three times, Alex finally blinked and looked at her. “Alex,” she said, “I would like you to meet Isabel Evans. Isabel, this is my foreman, Alex Whitman.”

Wiping his hand on his pant leg to make sure it was dry, he extended it out to the goddess called Isabel. She took it and was pleasantly surprised when he bowed over it and kissed her knuckles. “A pleasure, Milady,” he said.

“Oh give me a break,” Liz muttered loudly.

Alex had the grace to blush, but flashed Isabel a grin and replied, “She’s just jealous.”

Isabel’s throaty laugh filled the air and Alex’s ears turned scarlet at the exotic sound. “Evans you say?” he asked pulling out a chair. “Same as Max Evans?”

Liz nodded. “Yes, she’s Max’s sister. Michael’s too.”

“Your kidding?”

“No it’s true. Kinda freaky, huh?”

“You can say that again. Michael and Maria have been her ten days and who would have thought.”

“Alex, there’s more,” Liz said softly. He looked at her serious expression and felt his heart sink.

“You haven’t told him?” Isabel asked, incredulous. “Michael told me he was your best friend.”

“We are, but I didn’t know how to break it to him.,” she admitted shamefully.

“Would you two stop talking in circles and tell me already!” he screeched.

“Max, Michael and Isabel are aliens,” Liz blurted out. “Nat and Brenna are half.”

He looked back and forth between the two woman and laughed. “Next your going to tell me they’re from Roswell and the ‘47 crash!”

“I told you he was smart,” Liz said to Isabel. “He catches on quick.”

“Holy shit, your serious!”

“Very,” Isabel said coldly and he shivered.

“Liz, what’s going on?” he implored.

Taking pity on him, she grabbed his hand and began, “It all started when Isabel’s family found out their world was dying....”



When Liz had finished, Alex stood and walked out of the house in a daze. “Is he going to be okay?” Isabel asked when he rounded the corner of the bunkhouse.

“Yeah, he’ll be fine,” Liz answered. “Alex has one of those brains that takes in info and then shuts down until it can process it. It’s what made him a computer genius and a great musician.”

“He’s a musician?”

“Yeah. Him and his band were in Detroit playing a big gig when the Virus struck. He was the only one to come back alive. When he found his parents were gone, he came to stay with us. He was a big part in getting the ranch running again.”

“He seems like a remarkable man.”

“He’s that and so much more.”


###

Liz showed Isabel where she could sleep, then went to put Natalie to bed. She found her sitting on the bed with Maria, playing with the baby. Liz watched from the doorway as the cousins bonded.

Maria looked up and caught the wistful expression on her face. “Missing him?” she asked.

“Sometimes. I wish he could be here to see Natalie. She’s growing up so fast, and I want him here to share it with me.”

“Liz, I only knew Max from school, but I do know, if he could be here, he would.”

She smiled sadly and said to Natalie, “Come on Sweetie, time for bed. Give Auntie ‘Ria a kiss goodnight.”

“Can’t I sleep in here with Brenna?” she begged.

“I don’t think Uncle Michael would appreciate that. He’s not getting a lot of sleep as it is,” Liz laughed, and picked up her yawning child. Leaning down, Natalie placed a kiss on Maria’s cheek and said, “’Night Auntie. ‘Night Brenna.”

“Do you need anything before I go upstairs?’ Liz asked.

“I’m all set, thanks,” Maria replied stifling a yawn of her own.

###

Liz lay in her bed with only a light sheet over her naked body. He mind wouldn’t stop thinking about that one glorious night she had shared with Max.

“How about here?” Max asked, pointing to a spot on the ground, next to the brick wall.

“Looks good to me,” she replied and helped him spread out the blanket. “The meteor shower should be staring soon.”

When they were done, he grabbed her hand and pulled her down so they were leaning against the wall. “You like watching the stars?” he asked, rubbing the back of her hand with his thumb.

“Yeah. My Dad and I would take our telescope out to the hill behind the barn and stay up all night gazing at the heavens.”

He turned her face so he could look into her eyes and before she could stop him, he lowered his lips to hers. They were soft and warm and the feather light kisses he gave her, sent chills down her spine.

His tongue darted out and licked her bottom lip delicately. Her gasp gave him all the invitation he needed and he plunged into her mouth. His gentle exploration started a slow fire burning below her belly. Threading her hand through his hair, she grabbed a
handful to hold him in place.

He groaned at her touch and slowly lowered her to the ground. His hand came up slowly to cup her face and she felt the fire burn hotter.

Leaving her lips, he caused her to moan in disappointment until she felt his mouth blazing a trail down her neck. Releasing his hair, her hands sought out his shoulders and thrilled in the muscles rippling under his shirt.

“Liz,” he whispered. “My beautiful Liz.” Max was thunderstruck by the emotions coursing thru his body. Not in his wildest dreams did he ever imagine he would find himself with the object of his desire.

From the first moment he saw her running across the quad, he had known he had to have her. He found out all he could about her and made every effort to be everywhere she was. It went on like that for months, him watching from the shadows as she frolicked in the light.

It had been pure chance, when she accidentally knocked into him two weeks ago. He had vowed to stay away from her for a few days and concentrate on the real reason he was at school, to learn. He had been leaving the library, running late for class, when she slammed into him, sending both of their books flying.

After sorting out what belonged to whom, she had told him she wanted to make it up to him and asked if he would join her for drinks later that night. Now they were on their tenth date and he couldn’t keep his hands off her.

“Max,” she groaned in his ear. “You make me feel so good. Don’t stoooop.”

His cock jumped at her words and he felt ready to explode. Rubbing his bulge along her thigh, he relished the sensation of his boxers rubbing against the head of his sex.

Unbuttoning her shirt, he palmed one of her breasts thru her bra and rubbed his thumb over the hardening peak. She shuddered as he placed his mouth over her nipple, nibbling on it thru the lace.

Pulling the back of his shirt free from his jeans, she rubbed her hands along his rock hard fresh. She tugged at the front and forced him to remove his mouth long enough to pull it over his head.

Not to be out done, Max slipped the silky blouse of Liz’s shoulders and released the clasp of her bra with his teeth. The cool night air on her breasts made her already taunt nipples stand erect and she squealed in delight.

The pale moonlight reflected off the pert mounds and Max felt himself start to salivate. Burying his face between their plumpness, he breathed in her sent.

Arching to his touch, Liz felt the stubble on his chin graze her skin and couldn’t stop the goosebumps covering her body or the sudden flair in the fire between her legs. “Oh Max, please,” she begged, not know what she wanted, but hoping he would give it to her.

Hearing her plea, he had to hold himself from ripping the clothes from her body. Pushing away from her, he helped her remove her oh so carefully chosen outfit and then peeled off his jeans.

As he lay back down, he could feel the heat emanating from her in waves. Starting with her lips, he worked his way back down to her breasts, with licks , bites and soft kisses. He worshipped her globes until she wantonly thrust her hips up at him. Not willing to waste such a blatant invitation, her trailed his tongue over her ribs and across her taunt belly.

Her mound was beautifully manicured and he was surprised by the small heart tattooed just above the bikini line. Placing a kiss upon it, his fingers brushed against her swollen lips and was rewarded with deep groan.

Spreading the petals of her womanhood, he rubbed her nub with a finger to each side while his thumb nail grazed the front. Her hips instantly started to buck and he could feel the muscles in her thighs tighten as she reached her climax.

Not giving her a chance to recover and not wanting to waste a drop of her dew, he placed his mouth over her lips and drank up her sweetness.

“Oh God, God. Your mouth Max, it’s so hot! Your burning me. I’m on fire!”

The passion in her words broke the chains on his restraint and getting to his knees, he spread her legs with his hands. The tip of his cock rested against her pulsating entrance and he looked down into her eyes for permission to enter. What he saw there made him
grow longer, if it was possible, and joining his mouth with hers, he slowly pushed his way into her heat.

The barrier was a surprise and he was about to back out, when her hips jerked upward and she impaled herself on his shaft.

His world began to spin as he thrust harder and faster in to her. The nail marks he would bear for days afterward, only encouraged him further. Crying out her name, he embedded himself to the hilt and felt the universe explode. Resting his forehead on hers, he let the incredulous pleasure engulf him.


Liz was writhing on her bed with remembrance. Cupping a hand over her mound, she flicked the aching bud and sent herself into the stars she loved gazing at so much.
posted on 14-Aug-2002 8:18:13 AM by LilyFrancesca
Thanks for all the feed back! When I read Lillie's challange, this story flew with a mind of it's own and only a trip to the beach could stop it from taking over my life *big*. I loved The Stand and Steven King, but no one could do horror like him, so let's make this more of a mystery,'kay?

Part 3

“Alex! Michael! Breakfast!” Liz yelled from the back porch. The men had decided to get an early start before the heat of the day and had been working on the combine since sunrise.

“Liz,” Isabel said, before placing her mug on the table, “what kind of ranch is this anyway?”

“Actually, it’s a little bit of everything,” she said, placing heaping plates of scrambled eggs, bacon and toast on the trestle table. “When I was little, it was a cattle ranch. After the Virus, we sold off as much of the stock as we could, plowed and planted some of the pastures and prayed we could become self sufficient.”

“Apparently it’s working.”

“Now!” she laughed. “The first few years were tough. The corn crop failed and we didn’t know how we were going to feed the animals, let alone ourselves. If it hadn’t been for Jim Valenti and his son Kyle, we would have never made it.”

“How so?”

“Jim and Kyle had come to Texas three years before and had purchased the Dancing Deuce. Everybody thought it quite funny for two city boys to try their hands at ranching, but they were determined. Did really well to, until the Virus killed off all their hands. When Jim found out about our trouble, and me being pregnant at the time, him and Kyle hauled over all their feed and gave it to us. He said he couldn’t run his place without help and the novelty had worn off anyway.”

“That was generous of him,” Maria said coming into the kitchen cradling baby Brenna.

“Should you be up?” Isabel asked with concern.

“Iz, I’ve had a baby, not an organ transplant. I was up and moving hours after having Joshua.”

Liz saw pain flicker thru Isabel’s eyes and wondered about Joshua. ‘If they wanted you to know, they would tell you,’ she chided herself, so let it pass unquestioned.

Taking a seat, Maria handed Brenna over to her Aunt and said, “I was sick of being in bed and this smelled so great, I had to come out. Liz finish up what your were saying before I interrupted.”

Opening her mouth, she snapped it shut when the men came stomping into the room. With a look promising to finish later, Liz plated up meals for them all.

###

“Here ends another fine breakfast,” exclaimed Alex, rising to his feet. “Well partner, that combine isn’t going to fix itself.”

Michael sighed and handed his daughter back to his wife. “I guess I gotta earn this breakfast somehow,” he replied and bent to kiss his wife’s cheek.

“Hey Nat, why don’t me and Uncle Michael help you feed those rascally rabbits before we go?”

“Thanks Uncle Alex! You know I have a hard time getting the lid off the pellet barrel,” she said and grabbing her uncle’s hand, pulled him out the door with Michael close
behind.

Isabel and Liz cleared the table and set the dishes to soak, while Maria nursed Brenna. When they were done, the coffee mugs were refilled, with water for Maria, and they returned to their seats at the table.

“Why did you stop when the guys came in?” Maria asked.

“Alex. He and Kyle don’t like each other very much. Something that happened while I was at school and neither one will tell me, so I try to avoid talking about each in front of the other.”

“Smart,” Isabel said. “You know how touchy guys can be.”

“True. So as I was saying, Kyle and Jim ended up moving in with me and the hands I had left. And for two years, they busted their butts to make this place work.”

“So why aren’t they here now?”

“Well Jim had been a layer before moving to Texas and some of the towns people got together and asked if he would magistrate some of the disputes in the area. He agreed and when the people found out how fair he was in his decisions, he started to go around to some of the other towns in the county. You know, like the circuit judges from the 1800’s out west.

In the mean time, Alex had come home and with his family gone, came to stay with me. Jim saw the building tension between his son and Alex, so he broadened his route and brought Kyle with him to serve as his clerk. He’s back every six weeks or so and stays here while he is in town,” she finished, taking a long pull off her coffee to rewet her throat.

“Amazing,” Maria said. “I could never have imagined people could be like this.”

“Well it’s obvious,” smiled Liz, “you’ve never lived in Texas before!”


###

Maria went back to take a quick nap while Brenna slept and Liz decided to give Isabel a tour. “Do you ride?” she asked her.

“Ride what?” Isabel asked warily.

“Horses silly! Do you know how to ride a horse?”

“Oh, that. Yes, but I haven’t for a long time.”

“Good, change into something a bit less stylish,” Liz said taking in the Dior outfit Isabel was sporting,” and meet me out at the barn.”

“Okay, I guess.”

###

Alex took a break from Michael and his constant muttering to help Liz saddle up Kestra and his own mount Deanna. Isabel meet them in front of the barn and he helped her mount. While adjusting the stirrups for her, he review some of the things Deanna was
likely to try and get away with. Smiling down at him, she thanked him for his help and rode off with Liz.

“It seems Alex has accepted everything we told him last night,” Liz commented when they were out of ear shot.

Isabel turned to wave at the man still watching them and said, “Yeah, I think so too.”

“I knew he’d come around,” Liz smirked. “He loves Natalie too much.”

They rode in silence as Liz lead the way to her favorite spot on the spread. Up a small rise and into a corps of oaks, the riders came to a small clearing. Nestled in the dappled sunlight were two headstones. Dismounting, Liz pulled out a bunch of wild flowers Natalie had picked for her and laid an equal amount in front of each stone. “From your Granddaughter,” she whispered to her parents.

Isabel rode to the far side of the glen to give Liz a moment of privacy. Liz was lucky that she had a place to visit with her parents, unlike Isabel. Diane and Philip had died in a plane crash eight years ago while flying over the Indian Ocean. They had been coming back from a second honeymoon.

Coming up behind her, Liz apologized, “Sorry about that. I haven’t been here for a while.”

Looking over at her, Isabel wiped away a tear and said, “No, it’s okay. Your lucky to have such a beautiful place for them.”

“Max told me about your parents. At the time I had thought it romantic that they were lucky enough to go together. I saw how my Mom was after Papa died and thought it might have been better if they had both died.” Shaking her head, she continued. “I know better now. I wouldn’t trade the extra years I had with her for anything. My only regret is that she didn’t live to see Nat.”

“You know, I never thought of it that way,” Isabel said, as slow smile spreading across her face. “If given a choice, they both would have wanted it that way. They lived for one another.”

“Hey, follow me,” Liz said, breaking out of her melancholy. She nudged Kestra, and slowly picked her way thru the trees. As the last one fell behind, Isabel sucked in her breath.

“Oh Liz, it’s beautiful,” she whispered and stared in awe. The hill fell away and a raging river wound it’s way to the southeast. The sun sparkled of the ripples and caused a spectacular rainbow effect.

“Its called Sycamore Creek, but at this time of year, it is flooded with runoff. I remember being about Natalie’s age the first time Papa brought me here and no mater how many times I’ve been here since, I still takes my breath away.”

“That I can believe.”

“I always wanted to share this with Max, but your just as good.”

Isabel smiled and took it for the compliment it was. Releasing it, she said, “We’ve been looking for him, you know.”

“Michael told me. He said you haven’t had contact in four years.”

“Yes. The last time I spoke with him, he told me that he was almost to Texas and he hoped to find you or at least some information about you at the collage. We tried to tell him you wouldn’t be there, but he wouldn’t listen. He said you would meet him there.”

“I did tell him that,” Liz gasped. “I didn’t have a chance to see him before I left, so I gave a note to my roommate to give him. It said that I would meet him on the hill when I got back. Oh God, what did I do?”

###

Liz and Isabel rode back to the main house in silence, immersed in their own thoughts. It wasn’t until Natalie came pelting out of the house screaming, did they react.

“Mommy! Mommy!” she cried, coming to a skidding halt ten feet from the horses.

Isabel had to hang on as Deanna reared slightly before she could regain control.

“Natalie Diane Parker,” her mother said thru gritted teeth. “What have I told you about running up to the horses? Do you want to get yourself killed?”

Nat kicked at the ground with the toe of her sneaker and said, “No. But Mommy, Uncle Jim is here and he brought someone to meet you.”

“Go back inside and tell Uncle Jim I’ll be in as soon as I take care of the horses,” she told her, dismounting.

“He said they could wait. Auntie ‘Ria is crying and Uncle Mike looks funny.”

Liz took the reins from Isabel and tied both mounts to the hitching post. Following her bouncing daughter up the stairs and into the house, she saw Jim and asked, “What’s all the commotion?”

Jim turned to a figure sitting on the sofa. Liz cried, “Max!” and slid to the floor in a faint.

###

A little while later, Liz woke up to see Alex leaning over her with concern on his face. “What happened?” she asked.

“Why little lady,” he replied in a horrendous western drawl, “ya fainted.”

At his words, the image of seeing Max sitting in her living room came rushing back to her. “Max! He’s here!”

Holding onto her shoulders, Alex prevented her from rushing off the bed. “Wait a minute Liz. Wait!” he commanded.

She stopped struggling and looked up in confusion. “What’s the matter? He hasn’t gone yet, has he?”

“No he still here. Michael and Isabel are talking to him right now.”

“So why won’t you let me see him?”

Taking a deep breath and letting it back out slowly, he tried to make sense of everything he had been told in the last half hour. “Jim showed up about a half hour ago. He said he had found someone named Max Evans in Paint Rock and he brought him here to see if it was the same man.”

“It’s him,” she interrupted.

“There’s more,” he said. “The problem was that this man denies he knows a Liz Parker. Kyle asked him if he ever went to the university, he said he couldn’t remember.”

“He couldn’t remember? What do you mean?” she asked, slowly removing his hands from her arms and sitting up on the bed. She was in Maria and Michael’s room.

“Jim told me that he and Kyle were out for a walk four nights ago and saw this man sitting in an alley rocking back and forth, talking to himself. They went over to him, but he got spooked and took off down the ally. He must have slipped on something and fell hitting his head on a brick. When he woke up, he had no idea who he was.”

Liz was shocked. After six agonizing years, Max had returned to her life and he had no idea who she was and what they shared together. Tears coursed down her face in self pity. Even thought she had been resigned to the fact that she might never see him again, she hoped he would always remember the magical night they had shared and cherish it as much as she did.

Suddenly a thought struck her. “Does he know what he is? And poor Isabel and Michael!” Wiping the tears away, she stood and said, “I have to make sure their okay.” Marching out of the room, she headed for the sound of voices in the kitchen.

Her steps slowed as she neared the doorway and she had to hold back a gasp of surprise. Max was sitting at the table with Natalie on his lap. They were putting together a puzzle Jim must have given her.

A fresh stream of tears slid down her face at the sight of father and child, who shared the same whiskey colored eyes and soft sable hair, work together easily to complete the picture.

Max looked up and saw the beautiful woman from before. He had been concerned when she called out the name they told him was his, then fainted. That guy Alex told them he would take care of her and lifted her into his arms.

A twinge of jealousy had formed in his stomach and he couldn't fathom why it was there. Watching him carry her out of the room, mad him angry. That anger was diffused instantly when the angelic little girl climbed up into his lap and gave him a hug. “Don’t worry about Mommy,” she said. “Uncle Alex will take good care of her. He loves her like he loves me.”

He smiled at the precocious girl, but her words didn’t reassure him, only made him angry again.

Taking the child, Natalie her name was, from his arms, Jim said he would go make some coffee so he and the others could talk. He looked at the woman by the door and thought she was beautiful. Not as beautiful as the brunette, but quite stunning.

Walking toward him, she had asked, “Max, don’t your recognize me? It’s Isabel.”

“It’s no use,” Michael growled. “He doesn’t remember.”

“But how.....what happened?” she stuttered, dropping into a chair by the fireplace.

“Jim thinks it’s amnesia,” sniffed Maria. “He hurt his head and when he woke up, he didn’t know who he was.”

“You don’t remember anything?” she cried and at the shake of his head, she buried her face in her hands.


Max had felt helpless and wanted to be the person they thought, but the only thing he knew for sure was that he looked like the guy in the picture on the ID he found in his wallet. It claimed he was Max Evans, a student at the University of Texas, Austin. Besides that, there had been a few slips of paper with some numbers and addresses, but that was that was all.

Unable to watched the woman crying any longer, he stood and followed the path Jim and the little girl had taken minutes before. He found them sitting at a table in the kitchen and Max watched as she ripped the paper off the present he had given her.

“Oh Uncle Jim, it’s wonderful,” she squealed. Catching sight of him out of the corner of her eye, she came and grabbed his hand. Leading to a chair, she pushed him into it and clamored up onto his lap and asked his help in putting the puzzle together.

###

Jim looked to where Max was staring and gave Liz a sad smile. Standing up, he offered her his chair, then went to the stove to check on the coffee. She sat and watched Max and Natalie complete the puzzle.

“Yeah, we did it!” Nat yelled, throwing her hands up in triumph. “Your a great puzzle maker, mister.”

His name is Max, sweetie,” Liz said. “Max Evans.”

“You want to do it again, Mr. Evans?” she asked looking up into his face.

Max glanced away from the woman staring intently at him from across the table, and into the trusting eyes of the child. Noting their color, he looked at Liz to see if she had the same ones. “Will you do it again?” Natalie asked again.

“Why don’t you go ask Uncle Alex if he will help you make the puzzle again,” Liz suggested. “He should be in the dining room.”

“Okay,” she replied, sweeping the pieces into the box and skipping out of the room.

“She’s sweet,” Max said tracing a knot in the table surface.

“Thank you,” she replied, watching his fingers move and remembering how they felt against her skin.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t get your name.”

“Sorry,” she replied, shaken. “I’m Liz Parker.”

“Your the one Jim and Kyle asked me about, right?”

“Yes, that’s me.”

“Did I know you before?”

Liz felt a lump rise in her throat and she had to look away from his handsome face. “Yes, we went to school together in Austin.”

“I don’t remember,” he said softly and knew his words were hurting her. He hated that he was causing her so much sorrow.

Standing up so suddenly that her chair tipped over backward, Liz walked out of the house before she burst into tears. Having him less that three feet away and not knowing who she was or what they had felt for one another was tearing her heart in two.

Max spun in his chair and watched Liz flee from her won house, all because of him. He should be the one to leave. He was the cause of all the unhappiness and banged his hand on the table in frustration. When the tray of mugs Jim placed on the table disintegrated
into dust, he began to shake.

###

Isabel had regained her composure, but sat unmoving in her chair. Max’s amnesia could explain why she hadn’t been able to connect with him, but according to Jim, it was only a recent occurrence. So what had stopped her from finding him thru his dreams for the last four years?

A large bang came from the kitchen, followed by a blast of power she felt all the way to her toes. Michael had felt it too, and made a bee line to the back of the house.

The scene that followed would have been comical, if it weren’t so serious. Jim Valenti had seen what happened to the mugs and realized Max was the cause. Instinctively, he had backed himself into the corner and was holding up the steaming coffee pot in defense.

Max was shaking in terror at the table, while staring at the destroyed pottery. “W-what’s ha-happening t-to m-me?” he stuttered.

Iz went around the table and tried to put her arm around him, but he flinched , so she let her it drop. Maria had Brenna over one shoulder and was reaching for the pot from Jim, saying, “It’s okay, Mr. Valenti. He won’t hurt you.”

He relinquished his weapon and skirting the group, dashed for the dining room. Natalie squeaked as he grabbed her around the middle and ran for the front door. “Hey!” yelled Alex at Jim’s retreating back. Getting up, he went into the kitchen to see what caused Jim
to take Nat.

Brenna began crying and the sound broke the terror’s hold over Max. His trembling receded and he lowered his head with a groan.

Michael picked up the fallen chair and sat with a bang. Looking at the two women he love most in the in the world, he motioned Maria to take Brenna out and pointed to a chair for Isabel.

“Max,”’ he said and waited for his brother to look up. When he didn’t, he snapped, “Maxwell!”

Max looked up into a stranger’s face. No matter what they said, he could never accept what he was: a freak. “I don’t like that name,” he said.

A grin broke thru the storm clouds crossing Michael’s face. “You never did. Why do you think I still call you that?’

“To make me crazy,” he replied knowing it was the truth.

“Max, what happened here,” he said pointing to the remnants of the mugs, “is part of what you are. What we are.”

“So, we’re all freaks?” he spat.

“No!” cried Isabel. “We’re a family. One that loves and trusts one another. Michael and I have been searching for your for four years.”

“But what are we? We’re not human, that’s for sure.”

“We are Antarians,” Michael replied. “The last of a race of people who’s planet was dying. The children of parents who sacrificed everything so we could live.”

“That can’t be possible!”

“Yes Max, it is.” Isabel stated. “ They sent us to Earth and we grew up in a little town in New Mexico called Roswell.”

“No that’s not what I meant,” he interrupted. “I don’t think were the only ones of our.....” his hand flew to his forehead and he squeezed his eyes in pain. A scene played out behind his eyelids.

He was walking down the street, when three men in suits rounded the corner and approached him. Getting a funny feeling they were up to no good, he turned and took off between two buildings. He had only gotten about twelve steps, when he felt himself become suspended off the ground. Looking back over his shoulder, he could see the three men holding their hands out at him.......

“God, I don’t know what to believe anymore.”

posted on 14-Aug-2002 3:49:56 PM by LilyFrancesca
Part 4



With a squirming Natalie in his arms, Jim ran across the front yard and around the side of the house. Looking to the back door, he made sure the coast was clear, before making a run for the bunkhouse. He had seen Liz entering it when she left and hope she was still
there. He found her lying on one of the beds, curled in on her self. Slowing to a walk, he said breathlessly, “Liz we have got to get out of here! Those people up at the house are freaks. Max just destroyed a tray of mugs without laying a finger on ‘em.”

Sitting up, she held out her arms for her daughter. Placing her on her lap, she absently began stroking her hair. “I know all about them, Jim.”

“Liz honey,” he said slumping to the bunk next to her. “what the hell is going on?”

“It’s a long story.”

“It seems I got nothin’ but time.”


###

“.....and Max is her father,” Liz finished.

Jim leaned back and tried to comprehend all she had told him. “But aliens Liz? This sounds like something from a movie.”

“No, it’s real. I only found out about it a few days ago,” she replied, turning to watch Natalie run up and down the aisle. “I have no choice but to believe. Natalie’s father is an alien.”

“What about the girl, Maria? Does she know what her husband is?”

“Yes, he told her way before they got married. She told me she had never been more happier than the day he asked her to be his wife. They aren’t all that different from us, you know.”

“Not different? He pulverized those mugs. He could kill you or Natalie.”

“True, but so could you. You carry a gun, what’s the difference? They are not here to hurt anyone. They are that last of a dead race, who want to blend and lead normal lives. We should let them.”

He stood to ease the ache in his cramped legs. Watching little Natalie dace among the sunbeams, he knew deep in his heart, he could never hate her. So what if her father came from a another planet. He was raised human and hopefully he would recall who he had
been before. That could be a man he would be honored to call friend. “Okay, Liz,” he said after a few minutes. “I’ll keep their secret, if only for Nat’s sake.”

###

Alex listened from the doorway and his heart went out to Isabel. To have finally found her brother and have him not recognize you, but be afraid of what you were, must be devastating. All he wanted to do was take her in his arms and make it all go away.

Sensing his eyes on her, She looked his way and their gazes locked. She motioned for him to come in and take a seat. When he was settled, she asked, “Alex, are you afraid of us?”

He was taken a back by her blunt question. “No,” he answered honestly.

“Why?” Max asked.

“Because of Natalie.”

Totally confused, Max said, “What about her.”

“She’s your daughter and half alien. Someone that innocent couldn’t be harmful,” he replied and realized they hadn’t told him about her. “Um, sorry,” he said lamely.

“My daughter? She’s my daughter!” he yelled. His anger manifested by making the pots over the stove rattle and shake.

“Control Max, control,” Michael warned, “If you get angry, you could hurt somebody.”

“You preach to me about control,” he spat, “but how can I get control when my life is spinning out of it!” Turning to Alex, he asked, “Is Liz my wife?”

“No, you never married her,” he said calmly.

Rising to his feet he laughed bitterly. “Got her pregnant and left her, did I? If that was the kind of person I was, maybe it’s a good thing I’m not him anymore.”

“It wasn’t like that,” Liz said coming into the room. Walking over to Alex, she asked, “She’s wiped out. Could you bring her upstairs?”

He took the limp child from her arms and giving Isabel one last look, he carried her to the front stairs. “I’ll help him,” Isabel offered and fled.

At the sound of Liz’s voice, the shaking cookware ceased moving and the flame that burning in his eyes, went out. “I didn’t get you pregnant? She looks just like me.”

“Oh you most certainly did that,” she said with a grin. “That’s one night I’ll never forget, but you weren’t the one to leave. I did.”

“Why?”

“My mother got sick. I never intended to stay here for good., but the Virus hit and I had no choice.”

At the mention of the Virus, Max once again saw images of the men who captured him. Hadn’t they told him about the Virus? he could see they were upset that the humans had survived it and they were planning something else to kill them off, but what?

The vision disappeared and he staggered. Liz caught him before he could slam into the stove. “Max are you okay?”

With her touch, he recalled her laying naked on a blanket with the moonlight caressing her cures along with his hands. Pulling away from her violently, he stumbled back to his chair and slumped into it. Folding his arms onto the table top, he lay his head atop them
and closed his eyes.

“Why don’t we let him rest for a while?” Liz suggested to Michael and together they left him to his confusion.

###

Isabel helped Alex strip Natalie to her underclothes and wrestle her into a night gown. Tucking her securely into bed, Alex kissed her cheek and led Isabel from the room. In the hallway, she looked down at their entwined fingers and felt a chill go thru her.

Alex felt it also. He placed his fingers under her chin and raise her gaze to his. Her breath became shallow, and she parted her lips to try to get more air in her lungs.
Tracing them with his thumb, he caused her to shiver again, He slowly lowered his face toward hers, but instead of kissing her as she expected, he licked her bottom lip and blew on it gently.

A moan escaped her and he smiled triumphantly. Taking both her hands in his, he lead her down the stair and out the front door. Caressing her palms with the tips of his fingers, he lead her out to the bunkhouse and slid the bolt home after they entered.

Butterflies were dancing in Isabel’s stomach in anticipation for what was to come. In her twenty eight years, she had kissed plenty of men, but none had made her feel as sensuous as Alex did.

Standing her at the foot of his bed, he slowly waked around her, letting his eyes roam her magnificent form. The tight T-shirt accentuated her impressive breasts and her jeans defined her curves to perfection. When he had finished his third rotation, she asked nervously, “What are you doing?”

Stopping directly in front of her he told her quite seriously, “Debating on which part of you to devour first.”
“An have you chosen?” she asked breathlessly.

“Your hands, I think,” he replied and lifted one to his mouth. Placing a kiss on the back of it, he slid his tongue out to the tip of her index finger. Once there, he bit the fleshy pad and she jumped. Looking at her thru heavily lidded eyes, he asked, “Do you want me to
stop?”

“No, she groaned, closing her eyes against the heat in his gaze.

Smiling, Alex treated the rest of her fingers the same way. When he switched hands, he could see beads of perspiration glistening on her forehead. She mewed as he sucked on her thumb and her thighs trembled.

Dropping her hand, he walked behind her and lifted the heavy weight of her hair over her left shoulder, giving him access to her neck. He trail wet kisses down it’s length.

Isabel had never thought that mere kissing and caresses could be so erotic. She could feel the flesh between her leg become moist with desire and longing. As his lips nibbled on her ear, she spun out of his grasp and face him, panting heavily.

“Isabel, I’m sorry,” he began, but she placed a finger over his lips to silence him. A sinister smile curved her lips and she turned the tables on him. Unbuttoning his shirt, she licked the skin of his chest as it became exposed. At the last button, she slipped the fabric off his shoulders, and slid it down his arms, capturing them and rendering them useless. Her attention then focused on the five buttons holding his fly together. She was on the third button, when he freed his arms and stopped her.

“Oh no you don’t” he growled and pulled her against him. Forcing his tongue between her lips, he ravaged her mouth in desperation. His hands reached down and grabbing her hips, forced her tighter against his bulging desire.

She let her head fall back to give him access to her throat. He obliged without hesitation, biting his way to the neck of her shirt. Growling when it impeded his way, he grabbed the neckline, yanked it quickly, and freed her breasts from their prison. With a devious smile, he returned to his chosen path.

Isabel’s hands hadn’t remained idle either. His fly was completely unbuttoned now and she was busy forcing the denim off his hips. When they slid free and pooled at his feet, she began attacking his briefs.

Massaging her bosom thru her bra, he growled when the clasp wouldn’t open. Deciding the yank and see what happens tactic worked before, his hand was poised to repeat the maneuver when she waved her hand and the confining article fell to the floor.

“Very cool,” he mumbled, then went back to worshipping her goddess body.

“Alex?” she moaned.

“Hmm?” he said, his mouth full.

“This is taking to long.”

“Hmmmm?”

“This. Is. Taking. Too. Long.” she enunciated each word crisply. Touching her leg, the rest of her clothes dropped to the floor. Reaching out to him, he became suddenly naked, and with a slight push, she sent him falling back onto the bunk. Laying down next to him, she whispered, “Now isn’t this better?”

He grinned and pulled her on top of him. Straddling his hips, Isabel could feel his prick rubbing against her mound. Rising up on her knees, she positioned herself and slammed down on his throbbing shaft.

“Oh God,” he yelled and began bucking madly.

Grabbing onto his shoulders, she tried to keep her balance while sparks shot along every nerve. She could feel the waves building and when they finally crashed down over her, she felt him join her in rapture.

###

Max sat unmoving for hours. He couldn’t shake the feeling that Liz could be the key to open up his mind and finding out what the images were telling him.

‘The only way that’s going to happen is if you let her near you,’ he thought not unpleasantly. ‘But do I really want to know?’

Looking around the room, he could see traces of her every where he looked. The fresh flowers on the counter, an apron hanging next to the stove, a drawing lovingly framed and hanging in a place of honor in the center of the wall.

The words ‘Natalie’s first drawing’ were written on the bottom. Natalie, Liz’s daughter. His daughter.

“Max you make me feel so good. Don’t stooop.” Her words rang in his ears and he could feel the heat under his fingers. “Liz,” he moaned.

“I’m here,” she whispered.

His gaze rose and she was there. Draped in nothing more than a thin piece of muslin, her tousled hair adding to her beauty. “I felt you call to me,” she said softly.

“But I didn’t,” he denied helplessly.

“Your heart did.”

His mouth went dry. Her simple statement was enough to stir his cock and it strained to be free. “Do you really want someone from another world? Someone who could kill you in an instant?” he asked hoarsely.

Taking a few steps closer, she answered, “You knew what you were before, when we were together. You didn’t hurt me then.”

“I’m not that man anymore,” he yelled.

Undeterred, she moved closer. “He’s in there, but if he never surfaced, we still have a daughter together and she needs her father.”

The anger left as quickly as it had come and he slumped in his chair. “What if I’m not good enough for her? For you? I don’t even know my own self, how can you?”

Kneeling in front of him, she took his hands into her own. Placing one over his heart and on over hers, she whispered, “Feel them. They beat to the same rhythm.”

The gentle swell under his palm was heaving slightly harder now s she picked up on his desire, In an act of trust, she untied the strings holding up her gown and it slid to reveal her right breast to his gaze.

“You don’t know what your asking,” he groaned.

“Yes I do. I want you to take me to the stars.”

###

Sweeping her off the floor, his mouth crushed her roughly. She moaned from the back of her throat at his assault, but only clung tighter to him. Walking into the dining room, he slammed the door with his foot. Setting her down on the table, he stood between her spread legs, his mouth never leaving hers.

Liz felt as if she was shooting thru space at the speed of light. All her problems fell behind her and all that was left were her and Max. Pulling back from him, she gazed into his eyes, looking for what, she didn’t know, but hoping he was feeling what she was.

“Do you want to change your mind?” he asked harshly. “Am I different from him ?” Shaking her head, she undid his pants and released his manhood into her work roughened hands. Running her fingers along it’s length, she watched the doubt fade from his eyes.

He enjoyed her ministrations until he was about to erupt. Extracting her hands, he shoved the hem of her gown above her hips and slid her body closer to the edge of the table.

Grinning, she let her head fall back in anticipation. Crying out, she accepted his length joyfully. His thrusts were hard and fast and she had to wrap her legs around him to keep from sliding across the table from the force of his movements.

Freeing a hand from her waist, he rubbed her clit with determination, wanting her to jump into the abyss with him.

“Ahhh!” she cried, and with one last thrust, he hit the tip of her womb and released his seed explosively.


###


Max was floating in a sea of warmth. He opened his eyes and in the sky above him, were what looked like scenes from a movie.

A man sat alone in a dim room with his arms and legs duct taped to a metal chair. He was yelling, “Where the hell am I? Who the fuck are you people and what do you want with me?”

Not getting an answer, he tried to free his himself from the binding, but to no avail. “Son-of-a-bitch!” he bellowed and let his head drop in desperation.

:FAST FORWARD:

The man in the chair, who looked like Max, grunted as the tape was ripped off his face by Brown Suit. “What so you want from me?” he asked again.

Back handing him, Black Suit sneered, “Shut up! We’re the ones asking the questions here.”

Max tried to lick the trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth, but it stung. This interrogation had been going on for three days now and he still didn’t understand what these men where up to.

Did they think he would call to his siblings for help? In fact, he had done the opposite. He had disconnected himself from their bond, so to block Isabel from trying to locate him and try a rescue. She was the one these three really wanted and he would be damned before he let them get their hands on her.

Actually, the barrier had worked better than he planed. Before he put it up, he had felt them trying to probe his mind with out knowing, now they just kept hitting a wall that absorbed anything they threw at him.

Smiling, he spit in the face of the third man, Blue Suit, and laughed until they knocked him unconscious.

:FAST FORWARD:

The man laying on the bed looked gaunt and unkempt. Or at least that’s what he hoped anyone who saw him thought. For three years, eleven months, and twenty seven days, he had been questioned, beaten, let to recover, then was put though it all over again in a relentless cycle.

Only now, he had enough power to fight back. The barrier he had erected to shield his mind from their probes had an unusual side effect. It was able to collect and funnel off the power these beings had thrown at him over the years. Under his cell, he had been
able to make a cistern to collect the run off and when he had enough , he planned on unleashing it and getting even with the bastards holding him.

He had learned during his imprisonment, that these people were refuges from the same planet as his family and that they were responsible for the Virus that wiped out a quarter of earth’s population. They had left Antar a few weeks after the shuttle carrying himself,
Michael and Isabel, but they suffered a multitude of malfunctions on the trip, so instead of taking six light years, as it did for the children, it had taken them sixteen years to reach Earth.

When they landed, the Virus was released and they had sat back and watched with glee as the inferior humans perished. Alas, their plan was foiled by an indigenous plant that had been in controversy for almost fifty years.

Max had laughed himself silly when he over heard Black suit reading from a newspaper to Brown Suit, about the low percentages of deaths. Now almost six years later, they were ready once again to annihilate humanity. Max wasn’t going to let that happen.


:FAST FORWARD:


Max found himself looking up at the night sky. Raising a hand to his head, he felt blood clotted on his skull. Levering himself to s sitting position, he looked around. Everything was black. Touching the ground, he saw that it was charred almost to the point of being fused. Something glinted on the ground in front of him, and reaching out, brought it up to his face for inspection. It was a picture of himself, Isabel and Michael as children,
encased in a piece of crystal.

Slipping it into the pocket of his prisoner garb, he rose to his feet, unsteadily. Checkingout the alignment of the stars, he headed toward the south, aiming for his original
destination, Austin.



Blinking, Max slowly closed his eyes and let sleep engulf him. If everything he saw was true, he now knew where he had been and why, but he had no clue as to how he survived the explosion he must have set off to cause such destruction. Maybe Liz could help him figure it out..........

posted on 15-Aug-2002 8:13:59 AM by LilyFrancesca
Part 5

Alex groaned in his sleep and tried to roll over. Something was in his way. Coming fully awake, he looked down and couldn’t believe his eyes. Closing them and taking a deep breath, he peeked out of his right eye, praying she would still be there.

“Good morning,” she said, watching him re-open his eyes. “Sleep well?”

“God, your real,” he whispered.

“Does this fell real to you?” she asked and he felt her hand snake up and grab his crotch.

“Yeah, yeah, that’s real all right!” he yelped, placing his hand over hers.

“At least your body believes I’m here,” she laughed as he began to grow in her hand. “Let me prove it to your mind.”

###

“Max? Max wake up,” Liz said into his ear.

Groaning, he snuggled deeper into her arms and resumed his slow breathing. “Max, we can’t spend the day on the floor of the dining room. Natalie is going to want her
breakfast soon.”

His eyes flew open and a creamy piece of skin filled his view. “Where?” he croaked and she laughed gently.

“The dining room floor. I think we slid here after....” she said, a blush rising to her cheeks.

“Really? Are you hurt?” he asked, sitting up and checking her over for bruises.

No, I’m fine. I think you broke my fall.”

He moved his legs and the blood came rushing back into them. “I think your right.”

Helping him to stand, she went over and sorted thru their clothes. Handing him his pants, she shimmed into her night dress. “Why don’t you go and clean up, and I’ll make you breakfast.”

“Sounds good,” he replied. Grabbing his shirt, he put his hand on the knob when everything came back to him in a rush. Sliding to the floor, he grabbed his head and let
out a howl.


###

Michael was sound asleep when the inhuman cry filled the room and he bolted upright. Maria sat up with him and they both looked to the cradle at the end of the bed. Brenna slept blissfully unaware of the commotion coming from down the hall. Jumping out of bed, Michael burst out the bedroom door and ran down the hall, skidding to a stop in front of the dining room door.

Trying the handle, he pushed open the door and saw Liz cradling Max on the floor. “What the hell is going on?” he called over Max’s keening.

“I don’t know!” she yelled back. “He was going to get cleaned up.......”

Max’s voice cut off abruptly and he passed out. Looking helplessly up at Michael she asked, “What are we going to do?”

###

Jim Valenti’s truck bounced down the dirt road to the Flying Lily ranch. After Liz explained to him what was going on, he decided that he would forgo staying on the
spread and headed back into town to bunk with Kyle. His son sat next to him and kept glaring at his father from the corner of his eye. “It’s only for the day,’ he said for the hundredth time.

“Why couldn’t Liz and Natalie come and see me like always? You know I can’t stand the Whitman dick, but you insisted and here I am. Don’t expect me to like it.” Kyle said staring out the side window.

Jim shook his head at his son’s attitude, but he knew that he was playing with fire, bringing him out to the Parker Ranch. His hope was that Kyle and Alex might put their differences behind them for the greater good of everybody. It would go a long way to make Liz’s life easier. She juggled her relationship with the two men and tried not to step on any toes. She was good girl and didn’t deserve everything she had been dealt in life.

“All I want you to do is be nice,” Jim said. “Liz has some people staying with her and I wanted to get your take on them, so act like this is a normal visit, okay?”

“Sure Dad, what ever you say.”

###

“So he didn’t say anything before he started screaming?” Isabel asked, adjusting the sheet over Max’s body.

“No,” Liz replied. “He said he was going to change and have some breakfast.”

“What were you two doing in the dining room?” Alex asked.

“Same as you and Isabel, I guess,” Maria said, sticking up for her friend. She didn’t like the way everyone was seemingly blaming Liz for something she had no part in.

Isabel and Alex blushed simultaneously and Isabel shot her sister-in-law a sharp look.

“Well, it really is none of your business,” Maria retorted. Michael came and put his arm around his wife and whispered in her ear. “No I will not,” she replied loudly to his request. “She didn’t do anything.”

Liz stood and looked at those gathered in the room. “I’m going to make sure Natalie is okay. I’ll be downstairs if you want to question me further.”

“See what you did,” accused Maria. “She loves him, you know. This is hurting her too.”

Rubbing her eyes, Isabel sunk into the chair Liz had vacated and said, “I know, I know. I shouldn’t take it out on her, but she was there when it happened. Maybe there is something she’s forgetting.”

“Liz wouldn’t leave anything out,” Alex said insistently. “She wants the old Max back as much as anyone.”

Hearing Brenna cry out, Maria walked to the door and before exiting though it she said, “But she’s willing to accept the new one. Are you?”

###

Bang! Liz slammed the fry pan down on the stove in anger. How dare they think she would do something to put Max in danger. Granted, they were his family, but so wasn’t she. “Here I am, offering them a place to stay and they treat me like this,” she hissed. Going to the wood box, she grabbed a couple of logs and threw them on the fire. “And look at me,” she scoffed. “I’m making them breakfast!”


“Hello! Any one home?” Kyle called from the front door and Liz couldn’t help the smile that spread across her face.

“In the kitchen!” she called out and spun to wait for him to come to her. When he walked thru the door, she threw herself into his arms and hugged him tightly. “Kyle, what a surprise!”

“Well, Dad said you had guests and I thought you might not be able to come into town to see me, so I saved you the trip,” he beamed, truly happy to see her.

Eight years ago, he had fallen madly in love with Miss Elizabeth Parker and had tried any way he could think of to get her to love him back, to no avail. When she came home from school pregnant, he even offered to marry her and become a father to the baby. She turned him down as gently as she could and told him, that even thought she loved him, she was not in love with him and he deserved to have a woman who would devote herself
to him, not pine away for someone who she might never see again.

Resigned to the fact that it was hopeless, he became her friend and now knew that it would have never worked between them. He like the life he had with his father. Traveling around and helping people suited him and the thought of being stuck in one place your entire life, horrified him.

“Natalie will be thrilled to see you,” she said. “Is your Dad with you?’

“So do I get a hug like that?” Jim asked following in his son’s footsteps.

“Of course,” she said and wrapped her arms around him. “How’s this?”

“Perfect, darlin’. Just perfect.” Letting her go he asked, “How are the ......house guests?”

“Something happened last night,” she said softly, looking at Kyle from the corner of her eye. Raising one eyebrow she asked the silent question, ‘Does he know?’

Shaking he head, he replied, “It wasn’t my tale to tell.”

“Later,” she decided. “Let’s have breakfast.”

Kyle watched the exchange between Liz and his father and wanted to ask what was going on when he heard a baby cry. Going into the downstairs bedroom, he saw a little girl lying in the cradle he had made for Natalie. “Liz,” he called, “When did we get another baby?”

“She’s mine,” Maria said, coming in and picking Brenna up. “And you are?”

“Sorry, Ma’am,” he said, removing his hat. “Kyle Valenti, at your service.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Michael said from behind him, and Kyle spun quickly.

Holding out his hand he said politely, “Kyle Valenti.”

Michael looked the man over and decided he was harmless. “Michael Gurien. My wife Maria and daughter Brenna,” he said taking the offered appendage.

“Nice to meet you. You must be the house guests my father mentioned.”

Michael looked down at his wife and shrugged. “That must be us.”

“Liz is getting breakfast. When your ready, come in and join us,” Kyle replied and beat a hasty retreat. He didn’t like the look Michael was giving him, it made him nervous.

Walking back into the kitchen, a small ball of fury threw itself at his legs. Grunting, Kyle had to catch himself on the door frame to stop from falling over backward. “Uncle Kyle! Uncle Kyle! Uncle Kyle!” chanted Natalie, griping his legs and bouncing at the same
time.

Swinging her up into the air, he said, “Nat, the brat, cute as a rat.”

“Hey!” she protested, then giggled. “I’ve missed you.”

“Me too, Bunny. Me too.”

Okay, let’s sit down and have something to eat,” Liz said, and put a bowl of cereal on the table for her daughter. “Look what your Uncles have brought Nat. Lucky Charms.”

“Really? I haven’t had cereal in ages,” she cried and struggled to be put down.

Kyle released her and she climbed eagerly up into her chair. Diving into her breakfast, Natalie blocked the grownups out and concentrated her whole being on the sugar rush in the bowl in front of her.

“You know,” Liz commented, “she going to expect something every time you show up.”

“So?” Kyle replied. “Nothing but the best for rat, I mean brat, no um Nat, yeah that’s right.”

Rolling her eyes, Liz flipped the French toast on the griddle and knew it was hopeless. Her daughter had everyone she knew wrapped around that cute baby pinkie of hers and she knew it.


AN: Only one part left. I was up late re-writing it and I hope to post it this afternoon.. Bye~krys

posted on 15-Aug-2002 12:26:17 PM by LilyFrancesca
Who said anything about a sequel????? My husband almost left when I was writing this one!!!!!!! We'll have to see about that, but I don't know....I have the sequel to Never Meant to Be? to finish first. Thanks for all the support and I'm thrilled you liked this so much!
posted on 15-Aug-2002 6:40:49 PM by LilyFrancesca
Okay here it is.....the last part. I hope I answered everyone's questions (I think I did) but if not, let me know! With out further ado........

Part 6

Upstairs, Isabel stared into the face of her brother. He looked older than the last time she saw him, and wondered what could have aged him so much in four years. The loss of her connection with him had been one of the scariest times in her life.

She had always been reassured that even when separated by miles, she only had to close her eyes and she could be where he or Michael were. Then Maria had joined their family and when Michael denied access to her, Isabel could always find out what was happening
by connecting with her. Accept during the pregnancy, that is. Somehow, the growing baby or maybe the hormones, blocked Isabel from finding her in the Dream-Plane.

The space Max had once filled in her had been empty now for four long years and she ached to have it re-filled. She had been thrilled to see him sitting on the sofa yesterday, but then Liz fainted and the gap labeled ‘Max’ in her heart had remained barren, she
knew something was wrong.

Laying her head against the back of the chair, Isabel relaxed and let herself drift off to the Dream-Plane. Opening her eyes, she could see what looked like soap bubbles floating all around her. Pursing her lips, she whistled out a long, low tone into the silence. Slowly, a
bubble approached, but unlike the others around her, it was pulsating an angry red, not the pearlescent white normally associated with people’s dreams.

Standing very still, Isabel waited for the bubble to get close enough for her to peer into it. Max was there, but he wasn’t serene like the figure on the bed, he was screaming. Taking a deep breath, she stepped into a living hell.

All around her were individuals causing intense pain, and flashes of herself and Michael being tormented beyond their endurance. Covering her face with her hands, she silently told herself, “It’s only a dream, they can’t hurt you, it’s only a dream,” over and over.
Slowly, the fear and anxiety receded and she peeked cautiously thru her fingers.

The beings and the images were still there, but she had successfully detached herself from the intense emotion. Now she could look about and try to figure out why Max was stuck in this hell. Leaving the room, she walked down a brightly lit corridor. Coming to a door, she turned the knob and it swung open soundlessly.

Inside was a bank of monitors and the one on the right showed Max in a green room. It dawned on her that the images bombarding him were fictitious and the fear and pain she had felt had been coming from Max entirely. The green walls were acting like giant screens, like the ones used for special effects on TV or in the movies.

On the screen next to Max’s, she could see three men watching his reactions thru what appeared to be a two way mirror. They were laughing at his agony and she felt bile rise in her throat. If this was any indication of what Max had been thru the last four years, it became apparent that Max might have severed the connection he shared with his siblings to prevent them from experiencing what he was being put thru.

“Oh Max,” she groaned and backed out of the room. Coming down the hall toward her were two of the men from the monitor. They were chatting. “So, do you think this will bring the girl?” the guy in a tacky brown suit asked.

“I hope so,” replied the pig in blue. “I’m getting sick of playing with him; it’s boring.”

“I know. If the Elders would let us kill him, we could focus more time and energy on finding his sister. She is the one we want any way.”


Isabel turned cold at his word and everything clicked into place. She was the reason for Max’s torture. Closing her eyes, she brought herself back to reality and when she opened her them, tears spilled down her face. Putting her hand over her brothers, she wept silently for all the things he had gone thru for her sake.

###

“The horses are all set,” Alex called from the back porch. Opening the screen door, he took two steps into the room and stopped dead. Kyle looked up from his plate and
scowled at the man standing in the doorway. “Great,” Alex mumbled.

“Nice to see you, too,” Kyle sneered and got a kick in the shin from his father. Shifting his gaze from Alex, he gave his father a mock expression of shock.

“Sorry,” Alex apologized, for Liz’s benefit and took a seat at the table.

She flashed him a smile and continued her conversation with the Valenti men. “So you think things might actually be getting back to normal?” she asked, plating up some
French Toast and sausage for Alex.

“I wouldn’t go that far, but yeah, things are looking better,” Jim replied. He had finished his circuit the day before he found Max and he had seen some interesting things over the past few weeks. People were starting to believe in themselves again and he had a feeling
that his services might become unnecessary. Not that he minded. He liked judging over cases, but the travailing was getting to him. His long held dream was to find a nice woman and maybe settle down in one place.

“Like what?” Michael asked, walking into the room carrying his daughter. He never got tired of looking at her and Maria usually had to pry Brenna out of his grasp.

“Oh I don’t know,” Jim replied, trying not to show any kind of reaction to be talking with an alien. “Marble Falls has elected a new mayor and city council, for one and the local populace have begun to take interest in more than just themselves.”

“That’s sounds wonderful,” Liz said and placed a plate gently in front of Michael. She was still upset about his reaction to Max and her, but he was her guest and she would treat him as such.

Michael’s smile came out as more of a grimace, but Liz took it as what it was suppose to be and forgave his accusations. She understood that he would do anything to protect his family and if she got in the way, to bad. Taking Brenna from his arms, she sat down next to him and cooed softly to the baby.

“Yeah, I guess so,” commented Kyle, watching Liz with the baby. A twinge of regret blossomed in his stomach, but he ignored it. The image of her holding his child that way faded and he asked, “So how is Max? Has he remembered anything?”

Liz’s face lost it’s smile and Michael looked like he was going to choke. Michael turned to Liz and gave her a guarded look. The shaking of her head told him she hadn’t told Kyle their secret. “We think he might have remembered something this morning, but he blacked out,” supplied Michael. “He’s upstairs with my sister.”

“Oh,” Kyle said bewildered by the fright he saw on Liz’s face. Glancing over at Alex, he was shocked to see his sorrow also. Something was going on here and apparently he and his father had no idea what it was. “Liz?”

Liz stood and refusing to look at her friend, walked out of the room. Calling over her shoulder she said, “I’m going to check on Max.”

“What was that all about?” Kyle asked.

“You don’t want to know,” Alex said watching Liz leave. “Believe me.”


###

Liz put Brenna back in her cradle and adjusted the shall Maria had thrown over herself. She was still trying to catch up on sleep, so Liz shut the door quietly behind her. Going up the stairs, she took a deep breath before entering Max’s room. She saw that Isabel had fallen asleep while holding her brother’s hand and tears still glittered wetly on her cheeks.

Kneeling next to the bed, she took up his other hand and got a jolt. She felt herself being dragged into a whirlpool of darkness and she couldn’t catch her breath, When she surfaced, she was no longer in her house, but kneeling next to Max, who was lying a small cell.

His face was swollen with bruises and cuts and he was having a nightmare. Placing her hand on his forehead, she whispered, “It’s okay Max, I’m hear, I’m here.”

The sound of her voice stopped his restlessness and he moaned her name. “That’s right, It’s Liz. I won’t let them hurt you.”

His eyes fluttered open and she saw recognition in them. “Liz!” he hissed. “Are you really here, or is this another trick?”

“I don’t know how to answer that,” she said and he smile.

“Yeah, it’s you. You shouldn’t be here, Liz. This place is bad.”

“Where are we Max? How did you get here?”

“It’s a long story. I only want to know that your okay. I need to know your okay,” he pleaded.

“I’m fine Max, we all are. Michael, Maria and Isabel are with me, at my ranch. We are waiting for you to come back to us.”

“Your all together? Oh God, I must be dreaming!” he cried.

“No, your with us. Your safe. All you have to do is come back with me. Leave this behind and come back to me.”

“But the things...... The things that I have done are horrible, Liz. If you knew what I’ve done, you’ll hate me forever. I can’t risk you hating me.”

“Max, the night we spent together, was the most important time in my life. We’re connected and we have......we have a daughter.”

“A daughter? Oh Liz, I’m so sorry.”

“No! Don’t ever say that! Natalie was the only thing I had that was apart of you and because of her, I had a reason to go on when things were dark. I need you come back and meet her, see how wonderful she is. She’s going to need you if she starts showing powers....”

“You know,” he said, embarrassed. “I was going to tell you,” he began, but she stopped him.

“I know. Michael told me. It’s okay Max. I love you and that’s all that matters. Please come back with me. Let’s begin the life we were meant to have.”

Reaching up, he cupped her cheek with his hand and whispered, “If I could only believe this was real.”

Leaning down, Liz placed her lips on is swollen ones and willed him to believe.........

###

Kyle and Alex kept glaring daggers at each other for the next few minutes until Jim had had enough. “That’s it!” he yelled getting to his feet. “The two of you, follow me,” he ordered and walked out the door.

The men looked at each other then at Michael. “Don’t look at me,” he said. “This is between the two of you.”

“Boys!” came a shout form the barnyard and knowing that if they didn’t come when called, Jim was liable to come back and drag them outside. Standing, Alex, put his plate in the sink and shuffled outside reluctantly. Kyle followed suit and Michael let out a laugh.

When they were standing in front of him, Jim said, “This has gone on long enough. It’s been six years, when are the two of you going to grow up.”

“Dad, this is none of your business,’ Kyle said.

“Well I’m making it my business,” he snapped back. “I don’t care how you do it, but the next time you walk though that door,” he pointed to the back of the house, “you will be friends again. Understood?”

Giving them each a hard look, he turned and went back into the house. Refilling his coffee mug, Jim slumped into his chair with a grunt. “That’s not going to be pretty,”
Michael commented.

“I know, but it will be over once and for all.”


###

“So, “ Alex said, breaking the silence. He respected James Valenti and in fact, this whole feud was grating on his nerves.

“What do you mean by that?” barked Kyle, spinning to look at him. “It was your fault this all started in the first place.”

“Me? You were the one who slept with my fiancé!”

“I didn’t know that at the time,” Kyle replied lamely.

“The diamond ring on her finger didn’t give you a hint?”

“She wasn’t wearing a ring! I was three towns away, how was I to know she was your girlfriend.”

“Kyle, you were my best friend! I told you all about her.”

“You said she was from Smithwick, I was in Marble Falls.”

Closing his eyes, Alex shook his head. He knew Kyle wasn’t to blame for his fiancé cheating on him. He had found out later she was under the impression he came from money and when she found out that he was as poor as a church mouse, she went back out on the hunt. Kyle was only one of the many she had been with during their short time together.

When Tess found out that Kyle was Alex’s best friend, she took great pleasure in relaying the details of her and Kyle’s one night of lust. After that, she left and Kyle happened to be the first person he saw, and he took his anger out on him.

It had been a brawl in the center of town and the beginning of a long and terrible relationship. “I’m sorry,” Alex apologized, holding out his hand.

Kyle stared at it for a few minutes and let out a sigh. “Me too,” he replied, taking his friend’s hand. “Why have we let this go on for so long?”

“Stupidity? Testosterone? Shit for brains?” Alex suggested.

Kyle laughed. “Women! That’s usually a good enough reason to screw up a friendship.”

“To true, to true.” Alex agreed and smiled. He had missed Kyle’s sense of humor.

“Shall we go and tell Dad we’re friends again? I’m sure he’s waiting for the fists to start flying again.”

“Naw, I got some Black Velvet stashed in the barn. Let’s go have a drink.”

“Sounds good to me.” Kyle agreed and the two men disappeared into the dim interior of the barn.


###

Max could feel Liz’s lips pressed to his and he enjoyed the sensation for as long as he could, knowing it would disappear like it always had in the past. When he felt her breath brush against his cheek, he cautiously opened his eyes and saw not his cell, but a brightly light bedroom.

Laying next to him on the bed was Liz. Her face was snuggled into the cook of his neck and her parted lips were mere inches from his ear. Trying to move his right hand, he felt it gripped tightly and he turned his head to see what was holding it captive.

Isabel was staring at him with frightened eyes. She blinked and he gave her a smile. She jumped and his hand slipped from hers. “M-Max?”

“Iz?” he replied.

“You know who I am?”

“Why wouldn’t I?” he asked, when the events of the last few days came rushing back to him. Jim and Kyle spotting him in the alley and chasing him. Him waking up and not knowing who he was. Coming to Liz’s home and her reaction after six years. Their incredible love making on the dining room table. Everything. “No wait. I know why.”

“Why Max? Why didn’t you let us help you? We could have been there in hours,” she pleaded.

“That’s why,” he replied, slipping his arm out from under Liz’s body. “You were the one they wanted. I couldn’t let them get you.”

“Who were they? Why did they want me?”

“Max,” Liz whispered, her eyes opening.

Caressing her cheek he smiled down at the love of his life. She had been the only reason he was still alive after he took out his tormentors. His need to be with her had somehow gave him the strength to stay alive. “Liz.”

Sitting up, she threw her arms around him and cried into his shoulder. Looking at his sister, he asked, “Where’s Michael?”

“I’ll get him,” Isabel said seeing that Max needed a few minutes with Liz. “He has someone he wants you to meet.”

###

Max was thrilled to meet his niece and relished the few minutes Natalie had spent with him when she heard he was awake. Jim had come in and offered to take her for a ride while they talked and Liz gave him a hug in appreciation. When she asked where Alex and Kyle were, he said they were burying the hatchet, and they would come back when they were done.

Liz was skeptical, but trusted Jim to make sure they were only talking and not killing each other. Settling down next to Max on the bed, she along with the others waited to hear what had transpired while he was gone those four years. Liz knew the next few minutes would be hard for him and she sent a pulse of love thru the bond they shared.

Smiling at Liz, Max began. He told of his capture and his questioning. He regretfully explained that the reason they wanted Isabel was that all their women had become barren during their extended trip in space and she was the only way they could reproduce pure
Antarian offspring. Her eggs were the only hope they had to repopulate the planet, when they re-released the altered Virus.

Liz was shocked to find out that these people were refugees from his home planet and were the ones responsible for the Virus. Their plans for Isabel revolted her and she was glad Max had been able to stop them from succeding.

He faltered when he told them about blowing up the plant he was being held in and how everything and everyone in a twenty mile radius had been destroyed. When Jim and Kyle found him, he had been in shock over his actions and he figured, when he fell, it was his brain escaping from the horror he caused.

“That’s about it,” he said, finishing. “I’m not proud of killing those people, but I couldn’t let them do what they planned. I’m surprised you didn’t hear about the explosion.”

“Jim told me about a waste depot blowing a week or so ago, but no one thought much about it,” Liz said, hoping to reassure him. "It had been abandoned for years and the locals thought that there might have been a build up of methane or something.”

“There weren’t houses and people around the plant?” he asked in disbelief.

“Not that Jim heard.” she said. “It was out in the middle of nowhere.”

Max hung his head and a few tears slipped from his closed eyes. The remorse that he had felt about killing innocent people was for nothing. He only took out those responsible for hurting Liz’s people. Looking up at his family he smiled sadly. “I guess I did the right thing then, huh?”

Liz threw her arms around him and with a chorus of agreement from his family, Max let the horrors he faced slip from his mind and looked toward the future with Liz and his daughter.




AN: So what did ya think??? Let me know pleeeze! K

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Aug-2002 6:53:05 PM ]
posted on 16-Aug-2002 5:05:47 AM by LilyFrancesca
Heyla Eveyone! I have a very bad feeling that this story is so not over! I went to bed with a bad head cold and plot twists kept dancing thru my mind. No rest for the wicked! I'm thinking at least and epilouge, if not more. Tess should rear her ugly head again, I think and maybe Jim needs a love intrest. Amy perhaps. Just some ideas, what do ya'll think?

posted on 21-Aug-2002 10:15:28 PM by LilyFrancesca
Hello All! I just wanted you know that yes there well be a sequel and I think the name is going to be Angel in Disguise. It might be a while before I get it up and posted, cuz I'm going to try and write it all first, so I can post a part everyday or so like I've been doing with Never Meant To Be?. I want to thank all you guys for leaving feedback, it really helps when at 3am, your re-reading what you spent 4 hours typing, from saying screw this and hitting the delete key*tongue*.