posted on 17-Aug-2002 1:18:24 AM by Fixius
TITLE: HOLLOW
RATING: R
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Just living vicariously through them.
SUMMARY: M/L,Liz's POV. AU Liz, Maria and Alex are all friends they don't even know the pod squad, but they do meet under some pretty interesting circumstances.
FEEDBACK: I live for feedback so please, make this little girl happy.


**Prologue**

If someone had told me three weeks ago that I would be friends with Max Evans I would have smiled and patted them on the head. If someone had told me three weeks ago that I would be dating Max Evans I would have laughed openly in their face. For a very long time. And if someone would have said to me that I would be in love with Max Evans I would have smacked them smartly upside their head and given them the number to a good doctor.

I am you know, in love with him...desperately. But I don't know that yet. At the moment I don't even know who he is.

I sit in my AP Lit Comp class, like I do everyday. My mind wanders, obviously not intrigued at the current happenings of the class around me. I search the room, glancing at the vacant faces of my peers around me. Even the teacher seems somewhat bored at whatever he seems to be droning on about at the moment. I wonder what they're thinking. What exactly could be going on in the deepest recesses of their minds, in that spot no one else can reach. Are they thinking about school? Or maybe clothes, boys and girls, that new Britney Spears CD they just have to have. Are they as shallow inside as they appear to be out here? Could Pam Troy actually have a soul? The possibilities seem endless.

"Pssst."

I choose to ignore whoever is trying to disturb my reverie. Taking another glance at my peers I concur my decision was the right one, I could have a better conversation with a doughnut than with anyone in here.

"Pssst. Liz? Hey Liz." Unfortunately no one seems to get the clue. I turn my head to see Kyle Valenti waving a note precariously in front of my face, as if it held the meaning of life. And perhaps, to him, it did. I quickly discarded the thought. Kyle Valenti was a popular jock, but he also was the named 'religious guru' of West Roswell. In three weeks time I would be calling Kyle my best friend. But I don't know that yet. Right now I just think he's an idiot.

I sigh in exasperation and reach for the note. He gives me a look telling me I'm obviously not being inconspicuous enough and points vaguely in the teacher's direction. I take the note and take a glimpse towards the chalkboard. Mr. Sortenni seemed too wrapped up in himself and his lesson to care what the rest of the class was doing. I slowly open the note, almost cringing at what I saw written there.

Max Evans is staring at you!

A few thoughts cross my mind. 1) So? 2) Who the hell is Max Evans?

I choose to be more discreet in my response and simply write "And?" I slide the note back over to Kyle and I assume he hands it back to whomever thought this piece of information was important enough to share with me. I look back to the front of the classroom and soon become annoyed with Sortenni's ramblings. I take a quick peek behind me, trying to decipher who in fact had written the note. I quickly find the culprit. Mandy Whitmore, a girl from one of my Advanced Chemistry classes. She opened the note in haste and gasped at it's contents, almost in shock that such an answer was even possible. I laughed slightly, careful not to draw attention to myself. Shaking my head I decide it was imperative to find out who the hell was Max Evans and why in God's name he was staring at me. Not that I really cared. Just for entertainment purposes...of course.


**1**

Have you ever felt hollow? Like no matter what you do to fill that gaping void inside of you, the hole just keeps getting deeper? When your name no longer holds any meaning and simple pleasures are something you remember but can never reach again. That's what Roswell does to you. It sucks you in until you feel so claustrophobic, so trapped, and to afraid to leave at the same time.

After my interesting little interlude in fourth period with Miss Whitmore, I head towards the caf in search of the only two people in the world I can stand to be with. They're like me: sarcastic, cynical, and slightly delusional. As you can imagine we are one big basket of sunshine.

I see Maria sitting where we always sit... the farthest away from everyone else. She sits happily munching away on her sandwich, oblivious to the world. I sit across from her and I doubt she even notices my presence.

"Maria." It's more a statement than a question. You know just in case she ever forgets her name or something. She jumps slightly, and her eyes bug out a little. You would think she would get use to me. This happens nearly every day.

"Oh. It's you." she says, then immediately takes another bite. We don't do pleasantries and that's exactly why I decide to skip the crap and get to the point.

"Who's Max Evans?" Maria falters slightly, then begins choking on her sandwich, coughing uncontrollably. After a few moments of this, she decides to swallow and calms down a bit. I choose that moment to wipe off the bit of turkey from my forehead her previous coughing fit placed there. Eww.

"Max Evans?!? You... you don't know who..." her eyes get all bugged out again. "Max Evans is only the most popular, must lusted after guy in school. You've got to be kidding me."

I shake my head negative. Apparently I broke some unspoken rule because she gasps almost dramatically.
"Well you must have heard someone at least talking about him before." she says. I shake my head again. She of all people should know that I don't listen to people outside of our little group. Sometimes I don't even listen to them. People are so overrated.

"I thought you just had a class with him, Liz." Oh yeah... oops.

"I still have no idea who he is. I've never even heard of him until today."

Maria eyes me carefully, never a good sign. "Well, what made you hear of him today? And why are you so interested?" I smile sheepishly... busted. Maria is one of those people who see right through your bullshit. Sometimes I hate that about her.

"Well, I'm not really interested or anything...it's just... apparently he was like... staring at me or something..." I mumble the last part, almost embarrassed. Why should I care if some jock was checking out my ass? I never have before.

But Maria's not even looking at me. her eyes are glued to the crowd. I follow her line of vision, she's staring at a group of people I've never even seen before, and I begin to wonder, where the hell have I been?

"You mean like he is now." Wait, what? My eyes, now trained on the table across the quad as well, meet a pair of rich hazel eyes. As soon as we make eye contact, his eyes lower to the table immediatley... almost shyly. THAT was Max Evans? THAT was staring at ME? THAT was shy?

"He is so not staring at me." I lie, I know he was, but I couldn't let it get to me. I glance back in his direction and see a blonde girl openly flaunting herself around him. I cringe the minute I see her. Wait, why do I care? He's just some jock loser like the rest of them. Okay, so he's built like a Greek God, but really so was David and you don't see me running down to Italy and jumping him now do you? Alright, so I admit this situation is slightly different, but I don't care, I don't. He was probably thinking about football and just happened to be looking in my direction. Twice. Today. Okay so it seems unlikely but I'm sure that's all it is. And even if it wasn't I don't care, I'm anti-relationship girl.

I look back to Maria and her eyebrows are raised suggestively. I know she doesn't believe me. That makes me edgy.

"Well, if you like him so much why don't you date him?" I ask. I hate myself as soon as I say it. When did we time travel back to the third grade?

"Me and Max Evans?" Maria asks incredulously. "Me and Max Evans are just... we're just two very un-meshy things." Did I mention how insightful Maria is?


**2**

“So what do you think about Michael Guerin?” Maria asks. I think: who?

“Who?”

“Michael Guerin.” I think: which one is Michael Guerin?

I think: this is getting old.
Maria looks at me expectantly, I guess she figures I have to at least know somebody that goes to this school. Still not really knowing which one he is I say “He’s cool.” Her eyes are all squinty, like she’s thinking about something really important. I hope this, what’s his name, actually is cool. “He hangs out with Max you know.” So?
“So?” I guess that means a great deal to everybody that is not me. “I dunno, I was just thinking we could double or something.” She smiles innocently at me and I’m surprised milk isn’t coming out of my nose right now. What is she thinking? This entire school has gone nuts. “Me and Max? No, we’re whatever you call it, we’re non datey type people who are not meshy or whatever.” I hate it that I can’t even get out one sentence that remotely makes sense. Alex walks up and looks down at us in confusion. This is what he sees: Maria in heaps of laughter, and me looking mortified with milk rushing out of my mouth.
“So… whatcha talkin about?” he asks. I take that as my cue to leave.
***********

I walk into the gym and head directly to the bleachers. Sometimes, like today, the jocks like to come in and show off their “manliness.” I look towards them and wonder how the can be described as people, let alone men. The word ape comes to mind.
“Hey.” Someone sits down next to me. If I told you I knew who they were, you know I would be lying. He obviously takes my silence as an invitation and makes himself comfortable by leaning back, resting his elbows on the seats behind us. I glance at him, he’s dressed in black and his hair is sticking in every direction under the sun. Oddly, it works for him. He looks over to me and smiles slightly. Do I know you? What do you want? Is this like ‘bug Liz Parker week’? Did I not get the memo? Go away.
I say, “hey.” Okay, so not the best comeback, but I think it gets my point across don’t you?
“Michael.” I guess that’s supposed to be his name. Wait… this sounds familiar. Ohhhhh.
“Liz.” Take that. I can be mysterious too. He smiles again. I’m beginning to think that’s creepy. “You have Chem now don’t you?” I look over to the clock, class started three minutes ago, woops. “Yeah, I guess I do.” I, Liz Parker, being the rebel that I am, have never, and I mean never, been late to class. I hear the collective gasp already…
Michael and I walk into Chem together. Gasp. Told ya. I look over to Maria and I notice her eyes are all bugged out again. I can’t help but thinking that I’ve been doing that to her a lot lately. I move to sit next to her, and Michael follows. Are we lost little boy? I take my seat next to her, careful that I take the chair near the isle, that way he won’t be able to sit next to me. He sits down on the other side of Maria. Good puppy.
“Today we choose lab partners.” Says the teacher, after this news, the entire class turns into a verbal frenzy. Oh let’s be partners. Hey wanna be partners. “That is I’ll be choosing lab partners.” Ms. Hardy reiterates. The class shuts up at this comment, then immediately groans together in annoyance. Now, you’re probably thinking, oh, this is one of those ‘boy meets girl’ stories, where they get partnered up and fall in love while discussing the periodic table and other romantic shit like that. Uh, no. Not happening here. “Max Evans and Mandy Whitmore.” See told ya. I bet poor Mandy’s having a coronary right about now. “Alex Whitman and Maria DeLuca.” Okay, that’s not fair. I’m gonna be stuck with some freak again. “Liz Parker and Tess Harding.” Wow, look at that, right again.


**3**

Lips. Soft and warm.

“Liz.”

Hands. Strong and gentle. Caressing…soothing my back. Running through my hair.
“Liz.”
Eyes. Those eyes.
“Liz?”
You know that old pick up line, ‘it should be against the law to look that good’? Yeah, well this is a citizen’s arrest Max Evans.
“LIZ?”
Now where did I put those handcuffs? Handcuffs? Handcuffs.
“LIZ PARKER?!!”
“Hmm?” Was that sickenly dreamy, lovelorn voice really mine?
“Could you please take your place next to Miss Harding. If it isn’t too much trouble.” It’s Ms. Hardy, and I am in the middle of class. This is what I see. Right: Maria, trying, and not succeeding mind you,to stop laughing hysterically. Left: Hundreds of eyes staring at me, gaping at me openly, and snickering. So far not so good. Front: Ms. Hardy looking at my disapprovingly, obviously waiting for me to get my ass up and move already. I grab my books and walk towards Tess, head cast down. I don’t even bother to look behind me. He’s back there. I glance at my new lab partner and she looks back at me with a mixture of amusement and disgust. My plan of action: do and say nothing. You’re probably thinking wuss, or something in that general line of thought. My response, screw you, that was humiliating. I just know this is gonna be one of those defining moments in life. The moments you think about when your 88 and on your deathbed. My last word: handcuffs.
*****************

I close my door and flop down onto my bed thankfully. That place is hell, I know it, it’s hell disguised as a high school. That devil, he is one evil genius. I peek at my clock, the neon numbers read 2:56. Great, I’m supposed to meet Maria in four minutes, I’m sure she will just love to rip out every single last shred of dignity I have. Oh, well. I was gonna loose it sooner or later anyway, might as well be by a friend. I walk down the stairs, and on my way to the door I see my mother, sitting in the kitchen reading her newspaper intently.
“I’m going over to Maria’s before work. Okay?”
“Yeah sure. Bye honey.” She doesn’t even look up. Sometimes I don’t get mothers. One minute they have to know every single thing happening in your life, the next they barely know you exist. As long as there are no boys. I’ve learned this, It’s scientifically proven. You could say ‘I’m goin to Mildred’s.’ No problem there, it doesn’t matter who Mildred is, just as long as she’s female. Now say ‘I’m goin to Max’s.’ No, scratch that. ‘I’m goin to Bill’s.’ Beep beep. That’s the mom radar going off. Now all of a sudden they need to know exactly where you're going, when you’ll be back, and every activity that is to be done while you’re gone. See, Mildred=good. Bill=bad. Go on try it. Just as long as there’s no boys it’s just fine. ‘Hey mom, I’m gonna go commit suicide, k?’ Response: ‘Oh okay honey, just do it in the bathroom I don’t want blood on the good carpet. Oh and there aren’t going to be any boys are there?’ Makes you think.

I walk down the path leading to Maria’s door, like I’ve been doing for years. I know Maria’s house like the back of my hand. Front door: blue adorned with sign saying ‘Aliens do exist, check the personals.’ How that ever got on anyone’s door is beyond me. I knock, because that’s the standardary response when faced with a door. Ms. DeLuca opens it looking a little worried.
“Oh hi Liz, I’m sorry Maria’s not here. She just got picked up by some boy.” Uh-oh. Doesn’t Ms. DeLuca know the motherly anti-boy rules? She must have missed that memo too.
“Oh… well that’s okay. I better get back then. Bye.” I turn around, confused. Maria never misses our girl chats. Especially on days like today. I’m kinda sad that I won’t be able to tell her what happened in Chem. Oh, who am I kidding, this is great. I now love boys. Okay, so that’s not true either, but hey if one decides to save me from further humiliation I say more power to him.
************************

When my shift begins, the Crashdown is in full swing hysteria. Yay. Did you catch the sarcasm in that? Here it is again. Yay. I go to the back because that’s where my uniform is. Did I mention I hate my uniform , even more than Full House, and that’s saying a lot. Whoever came up with this crap needs to be shot. They gave me antennae for Christ’s sake.

“Hey, Liz.”
“Hey, Kyle.” Did I mention how much I love Kyle? I didn’t? Good, because I don’t.
“Could I get a Chili Rocket Dog, to go please?”
“Sure, just a sec.” I wonder why people even ask. I’m a waitress. That means it’s my job to bring you greasy alien theme food.
“So how…how are you?” I guess Kyle got that memo too. Has every jock in Roswell been contaminated? I can’t take this crap.
“Fine… you?” what else am I gonna say. ‘Well Kyle, I don’t know, how bout I tell you my deepest darkest secrets, because you know, I don’t even know you or anything.’
“I’m good. It’s just that you kinda of got weird in Chem. I got worried.” Awww. Now where’s that barf bag I keep handy for occasions like this?
“I’m just tired. It’s no big deal I just dozed off for a sec.” Now shut up because I don’t want to be reminded of today anymore.
“It’s just…you were making these weird breathy noises…like you were moaning or something.”
“Snore.”
“What?”
“I snore. It’s weird, every time I go to sleep it’s like the neighbor’s are getting free porno.”
“Oh.”
“Yup.”
I feel a tap on my shoulder. It’s about time, Maria. You got some serious explaining to do, bailing on me like that. I turn around and oh my freakin Buddha.
“So is that true?”
It’s mother freaking Maxwell Evans. My dying words: Handcuffs and free porno.


**4**

Have you ever just woken up and thought, “Man, I just know today’s gonna be great.” You have? Really? What’s that like, because I have no clue. Today is just proof. I know you’re all wondering, “Gee, how’s Liz gonna get herself out of this one.” Well, this isn’t ‘Leave it to Beaver’ and I have no freakin clue. I know, I know, you all think I must have some witty remark for everything, but today… let’s just say today’s my off day.

“So is that true?” he says, like it’s no big deal I’ve made a complete ass of myself, in front of an entire restaurant no less.

I bet you’re all on the edge of your seats right now, just waiting for that next brilliant remark to come out of my mouth. Well try this on for size. ‘Gah?’ Yeah, that’s all I got right about now.

“True?” Maybe I can distract him, get his mind off the fact I’m a complete and utter idiot.

“Yeah, about the moaning thing.”

“Moaning?” Gee Liz, you’re really on role of stating the obvious. Think, think. There HAS to be a way out of this one.

“Mmmhmmm.” He smiles and leans toward me over the counter. Why does he have to be so God damn cute? If only he were ugly, my life would be so much easier right now.

“Well, I have been known to moan on a number of occasions, perhaps you’d like to jog my memory…” Oh…my…God… Was that me? I don’t even know how to flirt.

“Really, well how bout we start with what you were dreaming about.”

Man, he’s good. I bet you he knows, he knows, exactly what I was dreaming about. Wait, what is wrong with me. This is some jock, just an ordinary jock, trying to get in my pants. It’s time to put him in his place. That dream… it was just a fluke, just an ordinary fluke, about an ordinary guy. Well not again mister, nu uh, no one messes with anti-relationship girl.

“Well, it started with you… on this counter.” I lean toward him seductively. “Then I come out through that door..” I point vaguely toward the back entrance, keeping my eyes on his. He’s smirking now and I love myself. This is so good. I begin to play with his shirt buttons. His eyes follow my movements, almost entranced. “Then…” I move my mouth directly over his ear, making sure I’m just barely touching him. “Then…” I smile to myself, “Then I say, ‘not if you were the last man on earth.’ The end.” I lick his ear gently, just so he can barely feel it, and walk away. God, I love me.
*********************************


I bet you’re all disappointed right now, am I right? You either expected something amazing to come out of my mouth, or some big ole lovey dovey type crap. But you weren’t there. YOU weren’t discussing porn with some guy you just met. YOU didn’t have to figure out an explanation for moaning in class in 3.5 seconds. And YOU did not see Max Evan’s face when I walked away, because let me just tell ya, that was priceless.

I walk into my room and begin searching my bookshelf. I know I’m supposed to be working right now, how could I forget? These damn antennae keep knocking me on the head. But I can’t go back down there, not just yet. I find my sophomore year book and begin flipping through the pages. Now who was at that table? I am now a woman on a mission. I am determined to One: figure the hell out who these people are Two: Find anyway I can to destroy Max Evans and Three: find out who that slut was who was all over Max so I can kick her ass. Wait, scratch that.

Okay, Aldis, Algrove, Almend, Billmont, Boyer, Clivedale, Crestent, Dorince, DeLuca, Demillin, Evans, Evans, Everent,…Wait, there are two Evans? Isabel, there’s an Isabel Evans? I wonder if they’re related. Hmm, okay, Forest, Filmont, Guerin… Guerin, Guerin, that sounds familiar. Oh yeah, that’d be Spikey. I wonder what the hell he wanted. Anyway, Gurman, Harding, Helton. Wait, hold the phone, this Harding chick looks familiar. Oh yeah, lab partner.

“LIZ!!!!!!!!!!!” it’s Maria. Like she has any right to be mad I’m late. I trudge down the stairs leading to the back room. I so do not want to go back there. Man, why am I being such a baby? Get over yourself Parker.

“Hey Maria.” I’m not even looking at her. She’s not getting anything out of me, she was out with some boy.

“Don’t hey Maria me. What the hell is going on? First you get all Skinemax on me in Chemistry, now people are asking for you outside.”

Huh? “Huh? Who’s asking for me?”

“Oh, I dunno, Max Evans and the Max Evans posse. They’re getting really weird.” She’s eyeing me carefully again, I think I mentioned that that’s never a good thing. “What did you do?”

I seduced Max Evans then left him high and dry, so sue me. “Nothing.” Do you think that’s believable?

“My ass nothing.” Guess not.

“Liz? Liz, are you hiding back there?” it’s Max, I just know it’s Max. Doesn’t he know stalking is illegal in all fifty states? Apparently not, because he’s coming in anyway. I bet you anything my eyes are about to come out of my head. Did you ever watch those cartoons, where the coyote’s eyes get all huge and pop out of their heads? Well, woof woof.

“There you are. I think we need a moment alone, don’t you? Great… let’s go.” He’s taking me into the bathroom, why am I not doing anything? Say something Liz, say something. I could be fighting... I could just say ‘screw you meathead’ kick him in the groin and be out of here. But I don’t. I don’t do anything and I find myself locked into a bathroom with Max Evans. Alone. And that hollow feeling? It just got a little deeper.



**5**

So here I am, locked into a bathroom with the supposed “hottest guy” in school. And all I can think is: How the hell am I getting myself into these situations? In a couple of weeks I’m gonna think back on today with a smile, even have a good laugh about it. But not right now, right now I’m scared shitless. Which is kind of ironic really, considering I’m in a bathroom.

“Listen Liz, I think we need to talk.” Talk? There are phones for these kinds of things psycho. You just don’t go around pulling people into bathrooms. So what do I do? I nod.

Sometimes, I’m just ruthless.

“A… about what happened today…” Why does he sound so nervous? And why in Buddha’s name is he staring at me like that. Last time I checked I wasn’t on the menu. He takes a step closer, and I take a step back. What is he doing? Who does he think he is? He keeps getting closer and closer, and I find myself pressed against the wall. You can just imagine what I look like right about now. Antennae flapping around, hands clenched into the sides of my uniform, and to top it off, the infamous ‘dear caught in headlights’ look. Oh yes. I must be looking pretty damn sexy right about now.

“I know Liz, I know.” He knows? He knows? What the hell does he know? The meaning of life? How to make spaghetti? What?

“Wha..” I can’t even finish the thought because he’s kissing me. Oh my freakin God he’s kissing me. What am I gonna do? Should I be kissing him back? Should I… oh wait… oh my God, that’s his tongue. Tongue…in my mouth. Wait, tongue is a distraction…

ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyggggggggoooooooodddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd……………………………..

Stop…can’t….kiss….back….must….be….strong. Okay, I am now kissing him back. I didn’t even know I could kiss. How is he doing that? Kissing can’t be this good. Damn, I wonder how he is in b…

OH DEAR LORDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That would be his hand. Hand has now gone under shirt. Hand is niiiicccceee. NO!!!!! Bad Liz. Bad, bad Liz. You have to stop this madness. You have to stop it now… but…but… screw it.

“mmmmm” yup that’s me. That’s me with an actual reason to moan.


KNOCK KNOCK

I know I can hear it. I know I can. But for the love of all things holy find somewhere else to pee.

“Liz honey are you in there?” Oh…my…God.

“Uh, hi mom.” I break the kiss in panic, but Max doesn’t seem at all bothered by the fact my mother is standing right outside the door. I know this because starts smothering my neck with long loving strokes of his mouth and tongue. And I, for one, am not one for complaining.

“Are you okay Lizzie?” Geez, why is everyone asking me that? Probably because everyone seems to be catching me in these compromising positions.

“Oh, yeah I’m fine mom.” Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit. “I’m just having some…uh.. womanly problems, you know…” Oh, this is just great. Max snickers slightly, the bastard.

“Oh, it sounds really bad, why don’t you skip work today, okay sweetie.” Thank you mommy.

“Yeah, that sounds good. I’ll be out in a sec.” Go away, please just go away.

“Alright, I’ll just go tell Maria.” Thank you Jesus. I wait until I can’t hear her footsteps anymore, and that’s when I turn on Max. I start smacking him anywhere I can. In other words, I start smacking his chest because I’m so god damn short.

“TALK MY ASS MAX!!!!!!!!” I hate him. I hate him because he lied to me. I hate him because he dragged me into a bathroom and got away with it. I hate him because he’s so damn cute, and I hate him because I want him to do whatever it is that he did again. Repeatedly.

“Okay, okay I’m sorry… stop.” He holds up his hands in protest, but I’m so damn angry with myself I keep on hitting him. Finally realizing he’s got 50 pounds on me, he grabs my hands and I immediately freeze. I look up at him, and he’s still looking at me like that. You know, like that. How is that even possible? I’ve made a complete ass of myself yet again, and he still… he still…

“I gotta go.” So what do I do? I bolt. Nothing like this has ever happened to me. Ever. I’m miss virginal USA. And now all of a sudden… this is too much.

I run out the door and I don’t stop until I’m safely locked into the haven that is my room. I have a feeling I won’t be getting any sleep tonight.
********************************

Have you ever read a book? No, I know you’ve read books before, I’m not finished. Have you ever read a book where an entire paragraph or more is dedicated to just random detail? How can someone just go on and on about how grass is green? Why do they even bother? The golden mists of heaven shined down on me in unearthly shades of blue. Translation: The sky is blue. Big deal.

It’s about 3 a.m. right about now, and I’m not even close to sleep. I turn on my light and groggily stumble to my computer. I click on the little AOL icon and wait to be connected. I love going into chatrooms in the middle of the night. There are never many people there, but the ones who are, are completely nuts. These are the kind of people who will talk about kangaroos for hours, debating on whether they go ‘hoppity hop’ or ‘bouncy bounce.’ Absolute kooks. But I’m not trying to get down on them. These are my people.

I was right. There are only twelve members on, but the current line of discussion is absolutely ingenious. Line of discussion: Capes. I’m not talking about of Cape of Good Hope. I’m talkin about Batman. Spiderman. The Classics. I guess today wasn’t a complete waste after all.

posted on 17-Aug-2002 1:21:06 AM by Fixius

**6**


Have you ever watched a show and just hated it because of the utter ridiculousness of it? Now, do you still watch that show? I bet half of you do. And I'll tell you why. When you watch this show, all your energy is focused on the hate you have for this stupid, insignificant thing. And for a few precious moments, the hollow feeling dissipates. That's why I'm sitting here at three o'clock in the morning, discussing capes with absolute strangers. Strangers who just happen to be completely insane.

Blip.

"Spacehero47 wishes to send you an instant message. Do you accept?" asks the little computer man. I click 'ok.' It's probably just some psycho who wishes to further our riveting discussion on the best color for capes. No harm there.

Spacehero47: Hey Liz.

Wait... huh? I don't give out my real name. Never. When I do give a name, it's usually something elegant or exotic. Like Antoinette, or Loretta, but never Liz.

Adore17: hey...

Way to speak your mind Lizzie. Who is this anyway? I don't recall knowing any spaceheros in my day.

Spacehero47: This is Michael.

Michael? What the hell do you want? Just because I let you sit by me, it doesn't mean we're best friends now freak.

Adore17: Oh. Hey Michael.

Spacehero47: I'm sorry, it's just that... It's Max. I think he's in trouble.

Max? In trouble? Great. This is just great, I've been making out with an ex-convict.

Adore17: Trouble?

Spacehero47: Yeah, with his grades.

Oh, even better, now I'm involved with a stupid ex-convict.

Adore17: What does this have to do with me?

He couldn't possible want me to... no... he wouldn't...

Spacehero47: I was wondering if maybe you could tutor him..?

He would. He did.

Adore17: Tutor?

Spacehero47: Yeah, just a couple times a week Whenever you're not busy.

Adore17: What does he need help with?

Spacehero47: Oh...uh...English.

English? How do you need help with English. Is he like dyslexic or something?

Adore: Well, what do you need me to do?

Why am I so goddamn nice? I could just say screw you, get a dictionary, but nooooo.

Spacehero47: Well he has this paper due on Monday. Could you go to his house tomorrow?

Yeah, like I really want to spend my Saturday with some jock doing his English assignment.

Adore17: Sure, how about around 2:00?

Spacehero: Yeah, okay. I'll tell him tomorrow. Thanx Liz.
***************************************

So here I am, standing in front of Max Evans's house. Why am I so scared? Get yourself together Parker, this is just business. Just something to put on your college apps. Breathe.

Ding Dong


**7**
Let’s take a moment here to be brutally honest. You up for it? That was a rhetorical question. See, whether you care or not this is now honesty time.

I’m scared out of my mind.

How’s that for honest? This is one of those times where you just can’t keep still. You have to keep moving or the anticipation is likely to kill you. I look down at my feet, making sure I haven’t started to do ‘The Electric Slide’ or something as equally as embarrassing. This may interest you, and it may not. Either way this is really happening. I’m really here, and I really really don’t know what to do. And that makes me bitter. Or couldn’t you tell?

KNOCK KNOCK

I wonder if it really is taking him this long to open the door if it’s just my imagination. Like waiting for the proverbial water to boil…. Okay not even the water takes this long. HELLO??

Maybe I should just leave, I mean he’s a big boy. A jock boy at that. He can just get his sports scholarship and be on his merry way. Why am I even here? I’m leaving.

“Hey Liz.”

Sure, now you come.

“Uh, hey.” Insert awkward silence here. Check.

“Do you….do you wanna come in?” No, I was thinkin you could just yell out the window whenever you need help.

“Oh. Yeah, sure.” Max ushers me in and I take a look around. It’s nice.

“Do you want anything? Something to eat…or or drink maybe?” I shake my head no. I find it hard not to picture Max in a little hostess outfit adorned with a frilly apron. Before I can stop myself I giggle.

“What?” Nothing Mrs. Evans, you have a lovely home. Damn it, I giggle again.

“Nothing.” Since when do I giggle. This is great, now Max thinks I’m some psychopathic giggler on the loose.

His eyebrows knit in confusion, and what is that…amusement? “My room’s this way.” He starts walking down the hall, obviously thinking I’m going to follow him. Waaaiiiiitttt a minute. I know what happened the last time you got me behind closed doors. Nu uh.

“Okay.” And I am now following him into his bedroom. How am I always doing this to myself. I look back towards Max as he closes the door. I eye him carefully, wondering if he’s gonna lock it. Nope, he just turns around at smiles at me. SCHOOL. I’m here about school.

“So what do you need help with exactly.” Might as well get this over with.

“Oh, umm, that essay for Sortenni’s class on Monday.”

“Well do you have like a rough draft or something that I could look at.” Max walks over to his bookbag, but then all of a sudden he stops, as if realizing something.

“My essay is no longer with us.” What the hell is that supposed to mean?

“Oh.” I really need to work on my comebacks.

“How bout I just write one now, and you can just…hang out.” Hang out? In some stranger’s bedroom. A stranger who is a guy’s bedroom. Sure, no problem.

I walk over to the bed to sit down, but decide against it. I take a seat on the floor and open my bag. I take out ‘Franny and Zooey’ by J.D. Salinger one of my very favorite authors. It’s kind of nice really. No, not the book. This. Me and Max, here, just together in a companionable silence, only the sound of the gentle taps of the keyboard permeating the air. I actually feel safe here. Like I belong. But of course all that changes.

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Max looks towards the phone, almost annoyed. You and me brother. He grudgingly gets up and picks up the receiver.

“Hello.” His face drops, and it looses a large amount of color. Who is that?

“I can’t. No. I have company. Ye.. Li…no…I can’t….don’…no…T….DON’T…sto…T….bye?”

That has to be the weirdest conversation I’ve ever eavesdropped. And believe me, there’s been quite a few.

Max looks over to me, and I’m sure my face is all scrunched up in my confused curiosity.

“That was Tess.” He doesn’t seem to excited by the fact. Why am I happy about this?

“What are you thinking?” He asks. What is this? You’re the one with the cryptic phone conversations not me. I feel like I’m under some weird interrogation.

DID YOU OR DID YOU NOT HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH THAT MAN!!!

“YES!!!” Wait…I didn’t just say that out loud…did I?

“Yes what?” Well I guess that answers that question.

“Yes, I was having not so nice thoughts about my lovely lab partner. That’s what you were thinking, right?” Actually I have no clue what the hell he was thinking about. I just can’t let him know what I was thinking about.

“Yeah, actually, I kinda was.” Really? Score.

“So you don’t like her?” I ask, just a little too hopefully for my taste.

“One could say I hate her with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.” Oh, well…that’s…blunt.

I smile, a little too happy with this new information. “Ditto.”

He smiles and sits back at the computer, where the gentle click of the keyboard quickly follows. I smile too, and refocus on my book. And I feel safe again.
************************************

I sit in my AP Lit Comp class, like I do everyday. And my mind wanders, still not intrigues by the current happenings of the class around me. That is, until I hear our new assignment.

“Now that we’re done with ‘Lord of the Flies.’” AKA the worst book known to man. “We’re going to be starting a completely new project, something I just know you’ll love just as much.” Groan. Something as fun as a month of ‘The Lord of the Flies?’ So now we’re gonna be sticking needles in our eyes? What?

“I’m going to be grouping you in pairs and…” I shut the rest out. Pairs? As in two people? Working together? Didn’t I just go through this torment last week? I breathe a sigh of release, at least Tess isn’t in this class.

“Okay, Max Evans and…” Wait, put me with Max. Wait what am I thinking? Don’t put me with Max, oh god, I’m only sixteen and already I’m suffering from a nervous breakdown. “and Alex Whitman.” Well I guess that solves that problem. “Mandy Whitmore and Rose Perkins, Amy Altright and Chris Millens, Liz Parker and Kyle Valenti, Joe…” Wait me and Kyle? I look behind me and he’s waving me over enthusiastically. The guy is way to nice. It’s sick.

“Hey Kyle.”

“Hey Liz. So what Shakespeare play do you want to do, because I’ve never really read..”

“Twelfth Night.” I say. “It’s really good, it’s got comedy and romance and drama.” I look back at Kyle and he’s looking back at me like I’ve grown another head.

“What? I’m not a dork.” He just snickers and shakes his head.

“What?” I ask, a little more firm than I intended.

“Do you even know what dork means?” I just look at him puzzled. He slips his hand under his desk and retrieves a new red Webster’s Dictionary and plops it in front of me.

Okay…flip flip flip…Dork…Ohhhhh

“Oh. Well, then I’m definitely not a dork.”

“Oh really?” he says “Why not?”

“Because you’ve already filled that position.” He just looks at me stunned for a moment and then we both break down in laughter.

“Ms. Parker, Mr. Valenti.” Mr. Sortenni is hunched over us disapprovingly. “Do we have a problem?”

“That’s just the thing Mr. Sortenni.” I say. “We don’t.”



**8**
Have you ever tried to read the future? No, I’m not talking about crystal balls here, I’m talking about the real thing, about trying to figure out your fate before it bites you in the ass. It could be as inconsequential as wondering what you’ll have for dinner, or something huge, like what college will accept you, or a dramatic career change. Now every time you wonder what the future holds, somehow the past always comes out. Think about it. Hmmm, what to have for dinner? Well, I had Chinese yesterday. See, what I mean. And then there are those life altering decisions that you just wish you could see the outcome of. Something so big your palms get sweaty just thinking about it. That’s where I am. Standing at some unknown precipice screaming for answers to this dilemma I currently find myself in. My dilemma?
Should I ask Max to Tolo?
I hope you see the severity of the situation at hand.
"Liz, work?" It’s Maria. What is she thinking? How can I work at a time like this?
I shrug in defeat and begin wiping the counter. The great thing about wiping the counter is that it’s work, yet there’s no real work involved. It’s ingenious really.
"When I said work, I didn’t mean an all expense paid trip to La La Land. Now get table 5." Damn. Maria and her knowing ways. I need to get some stupider friends.
I walk over to the table and am surprised to see Michael there. You would’ve thought Maria would want this table.
"Hey Liz." He looks up from his menu and looks mischievously towards me. I really wish Maria would take this table.
"Hey Michael, what can I get you?" Now order your damn burger so I can hide in a corner and pity myself.
"Actually I think I’m gonna wait." What? That’s not gonna work for me.
"Wait?"
"Yeah, I should be getting some company soon." Oh holy crap. He doesn’t mean…
"Where the hell is Max anyway?" Damn it. Why is Michael always doing this to me? The bastard.
I nod and begin to walk away. The corner is looking more and more appealing every passing minute.
"Hey Liz." Grrrrrr. "If you’re not busy why don’t you sit with me a while." What? Hey buddy, we are not friends. Okay? First you sit by me out of nowhere, then you start harassing me over the Internet, now I’m supposed to keep you company? What next? Are we gonna be shopping partners? What? So, being the risk taker that I am I smile shyly and sit across from him. Go Liz.
"So are you gonna go to Tolo?" And suddenly I have no air. Where’d the air go? It’s now official, I hate Michael. He’s out to get me, I just know it.
"Oh, I don’t know, I gotta ask Maria and…"
"You’re gonna go with Maria?" Michael asks incredulously. Boys just don’t get it. If we all have to go to the bathroom together, don’t you think the same rules apply for dances?
"No, it’s just with girls… we have to stick together… nevermind."
"Gladly. So…who are you gonna ask?"
God. Why is he so nosy all of a sudden? I hear the all too familiar jingle of the front door and nearly gasp in surprise to see who it is. The object of my obsession. I knew he was coming but still I tremble in his presence. He smiles at me and begins his descent towards our table. Before he can reach us though, he is intercepted by a blonde.
"Hey!!!! Max!!!!" Tess giggles and latches herself onto her arm. "Can you come her for a sec, I gotta ask you a question." She drags him to the other side of the restaurant and I begin to have a panic attack. There’s no way in hell I can tell Michael the truth now. Not when I know Max is going with Barbie from hell.
"Kyle. I was thinking of asking Kyle." Michael frowns slightly. What? Was that the wrong answer or something? Are there Q-cards I’m supposed to be reading around here?
"Oh." Oh? OH? What is that supposed to mean? In the corner of my eye I see Max making his way back towards the booth.
"I gotta get back to work…bye now." I get up and scurry behind the counter and immediately begin wiping the counter. I look up at the clock on the far wall, twenty five minutes to go. I guess Maria’s gonna have to take that table after all.
************************************************

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGG
"Hello?"
"What the hell is wrong with you?" It’s Maria. I love it when we can be so subtle with each other.
"Ummm….?" There are so many things wrong with me, I need her to clarify which problem specifically before we can fully start the conversation.
"Your taking Kyle to tolo?" Boy, do I love small towns.

"It’s a long story." In other words I don’t want to talk about it so leave me alone.

"Well it’s a good thing I got time then, huh?" Damn.

"Well, see, I took Michael’s table like you told me too and…"

"Oh Yeah!! Did he ask about me? What did he say." Oh. No. Uhhh. My tactic: avoid questioning.

"So I asked him for his order but he said he wanted to wait for Max and…"

"Uh huh." In Maria land this means, skip the crap.

"So he asked me who I was going to tolo with and I was gonna say Max but then I saw him with Tess and then Kyle just popped out there." Yes, ladies and gentleman I got all that out in one breath. Much skill needed.

"Uh huh." Okay, I skipped the crap, now what do you want from me? "I think you’re gonna need some cedar oil." Maria’s really big with the aroma therapy bit. Usually I humor her, but right now my nerves are in a bundle so big you could call it Rhode Island and no one would know the difference.

"Maria, you’re damn aroma therapy isn’t gonna do shit for me right now, so could you just give me some advice so I can curl up in a ball and die already?"

"Ooookkkkkaaaaayyyyyy. Now I’m starting to think what you really need is some Pamprin."

"Muh Ree Ah."

"Okay okay fine. See what you need to do is make Maxie Boy jealous."

"Jealous?"

"Yeah. Being you and all, you probably haven’t noticed, but every girl in school wants him. Therefore you have to seem just as desirable to really get his attention."

"And just how am I supposed to do that?" I sound incredulous, but I’m actually intrigued. Make Max jealous. Insert evil cackle here.

"You have to go with someone that would make Max go ballistic. Someone even better than Kyle."

"Who?" I know she already has someone picked out, I can tell.

"Michael."

"Michael?"

"Yes." The girl has completely lost it.

"I thought you liked Michael."

"Please. By the end of the night you’ll be all wrapped up in Max’s good loving. I’ll just go solo, and then I’ll take Michael off your hands. It’s a win win situation. Ever one’s happy… that is except Tess. But I mean really, her feelings are expendable." I gotta hand it to her, it’s a good plan, but…

"I dunno Maria…"

"Liz." UH OH.

"Okay. Fine."
*****************************************
Be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on.

Welcome. You’ve got mail.

Okay, find a member online. Spacehero47.

Blip.

Spacehero47 is online and able to receive instant messages. Yes.

Adore17: Hey.

Spacehero47: Hey.

Adore17: You know how we were talking about Tolo?

Spacehero47: Oh. Uh. Yeah.

Adore17: Well, I lied. I really want to go with someone else.

Spacehero47: Really? Who?

Adore17: You.

Insert long pause here.

Adore17: Meet me at the Crash at 8:00. I’m opening.

Spacehero47: Ok.

Adore17: Bye.

**9**

How is it possible to hate someone you don’t even know? Everyone does. You hate that one actress because she has that body to die for, or she’s dating the man of your dreams. Someone you know you’d never be able to touch. You hate anyone and everyone around you, because everyone, no matter how small, has something you want but can never achieve. Jealousy is a powerful thing. And I’m harnessing that power right now, and I’m focusing all that energy on none other than Max Evans.

Show him what he doesn’t have.

Of course if you asked me, outloud I would say it’s because of Maria. Because she persuaded me that this is what’s best. But that’s not true. I’m doing this because I’m so full of love and hate.

I don’t know what to do with myself.

I love Max Evans.

What do I do with that? Do I even know what that is?

I hate Tess Harding.

Before I thought my life goal was to be a world renowned scientist. Head of molecular biology at Harvard University. All that’s changed.

Funny how your entire life can change in just a few days.

I get up from the booth I’ve been sitting in for the last twenty minutes. I wander around the empty restaurant, not really knowing what I should be doing with myself. Am I even doing the right thing? Who even knows what that is? It’s too late now though. What’s done is done, it can’t be changed now. Especially since Michael is now making his way through the front doors.

I look down and take a deep breath. This is it. My gaze drifts upwards and I begin choking uncontrollably.

Why in God’s name is Max Evans here?

Max rushes over to me and begins to rub my back soothingly. Not good. I brush his hand away gently. He can’t be touching me. Not right now. This was not part of the plan.

Okay if this is gonna happen, I better start now.

"Uh, Michael, can I…can I speak to you in the back for a minute?" He worriedly takes a glance at Max and shrugs his approval. I lead him to the back and once we’re behind closed doors I can’t help but realize I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to say.

"So..I…" Okay, that’s all I got.

"So you want to ask me to tolo." Wow, that was remarkably easy.

"Uh, yeah."

"Ok."

"Good."

"Good."

"Great."

"Yeah."

"Okay then."

"Bye."

"Oh..uh…yeah…bye."

Can we say Chemistry….
********************************

"So did you do it?"

"Maria, you act like I just lost my virginity or something."

"Yeah, uh huh, that’s great…so…did you do it?" I love it when we cooperate.

"Yeah Maria, I did it. And it was hard and fast just the way I like it. But you know the best part? I did it five times, in one night. Now there was some fun."

"That was just sick and wrong, Liz."

"Thank you." When you’re me, you learn to take a compliment whenever you can get it. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a compliment. Just take it anyway.

"Oh hey, are you going to UFOnics tonight? You know Alex is playing." Oh shit. I am the scum of the earth. It’s now official. I can’t believe I forgot all about Alex’s big debut. So in order to make up for this horrendous mishap, I’ll do the only thing I can do….

"Of course!! I wouldn’t miss it." Play it off.

"Good. I’ll be there in twenty."

"Yeah, bye."
*******************************

I don’t know why, but I’ve always been sort of leery of clubs. The music the lighting, the infinite throngs of exuberant dancers, it seems so surreal. Like anything could happen, like you don’t know if anything really is happening or if you’re just imagining it. I don’t like that kind of mystery. I don’t like to be out of control.

And I don’t like the fact that someone can slop something in my drink at any given moment.

I look around suspiciously. Seeing more than one horrifyingly ugly face.

Shudder.

I look back to Maria, eager to have any sort of distraction from my current thoughts.

"What the hell are they doing here?" She points, none too discreetly, to a table in the corner. I presume you can guess who’d sitting there.

And these thoughts are not any better than the last ones. Bring on the ugly people.

"This is just ca razy." Maria cries, flailing her arms about, to accentuate her meaning no doubt. Hey…that rhymes.

Anyway, I can’t help but agree with her. Why is he always around? Is this like fate, trying to tell me something, or do I just have a sticker on my ass that says, "Attention Max Evans follow me please."

And there’s that hollow feeling again.


**10**

Hurt by Love.

I look up towards Alex, strumming away.

Same song, new drug.

He looks so natural, so at ease. It’s easy to envy him right about now.

And I don’t, no I don’t

Yeah, I don’t gotta be

Hurt by Love.

The lights dim, and a hush falls over the crowd, immediately followed by an uproar of applause and standing ovations. Everyone is entranced by their loud approval.

That is, except Maria and me.

Self pity can be distracting that way.

Maria sighs dramatically and plops her elbow on the table, resting her cheek in her upturned palm.

"I wish I was in a band." She whines.

"Yeah, me too. You know, it I had any musical talent whatsoever, I would totally rock." Who needs skill anyway?

"That’s what I’m sayin."

"Hey! At least you can sing." Some skill is better than no skill. Unfortunately I happen to be the latter version.

"Yeah…" She doesn’t seem too convinced. "Pizza Pan on Wednesday?"

"Oh yeah." Karaoke night, a night when skill isn’t necessarily necessary. Lucky for me too.

"Hey guys." Alex grabs a chair from a nearby table and plops himself down, looking adorable and sweaty. Stupid talented people.

"You know," Maria says, "Isabel has been checking you out all night." She has?

"Really? Look how vigorously I don’t care." Puuuuuhhhhhllllleeeeaaaaasssee

"Come on Alex, Isabel has to be the prettiest girl at our school."

"In Liz’s prudish little way," HEY! "She means Isabel is hot and on the prowl for some Alex lovin, that’s GOTTA get a reaction out of you."

Alex looks down at his lap in mock study and looks back up to us, smirk in tow.

"Nope, no reaction here."

"Ewww. That was so not necessary." Maria covers her mouth in shock, but I can tell she’s laughing.

"Hey." I look up in shock and see Max standing by our table. How is he always sneaking up on me like that?

"Uh…hey." This is when I realize it: My people skills are seriously lacking. The jukebox starts a new song, replacing the now resting band, and Max looks over towards it with a smile. Holy shit, he’s gonna ask me to dance. Not good. I look towards Maria in panic. She just nods.

"I was wondering…"

"I would love to." Maria jumps from her seat and takes his hand. What the…? Max just looks at their linked hands in confusion. "Really? You like my hair? That’s so sweet. You know I just got this new curling iron…it works wonders."

"I uhhh…"

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Maria tugs at his hand and he follows without complaint. Ha Ha. Now you know how it feels buddy.

"What was that about?" I ask.

"Don’t ask me, I am overflowing with the not knowing." Alex knows all about my little obsession, but when it comes to Maria…well, no one knows what the hell is going on.
*********************************

The next morning at school, I head straight for my locker. I open it, and begin the ten minute search for my Physics book. Being a pig has certain downfalls like these.

"You owe me big chica."

"Why is that?"

"Why? WHY? I had to dance with, ‘Max I’m obsessed with Liz Parker Evans.’"

He is NOT obsessed with me Maria."

"Oh really?" She coughs lightly. "So how’s Liz been? What does Liz think of me? Why is Liz taking Michael to tolo? Does Liz like Michael? What’s her favorite flower. Why does Liz…"

"Okay, okay I get it." Insert happy dance here.

"So, I repeat. You owe me BIG." This can’t be good.

"I want the scoop on Michael." Oh my freaking God.

"You’ve got to be kidding me Maria." Please God, let her be kidding.

"No, I’m not, and you know I’ve got too much dirt on you for you to refuse." Damn it.

"You’re evil."

"Well, we can’t all be as perfect as me." She walks off toward the gym, and I’m left to go searching for Michael.



**11**

Have you ever done something for your best friend? A favor that is so humiliating, so mortifying, you know there has to be some degree of blackmail for you to even consider doing it?

Best friends seem to be just a little too good at this sort of thing.

So, I've spent the last fifteen minutes searching for one Michael Guerin.

Nevermind that I'm spending my precious lunch time on this little escapade. I've searched the gym, cafeteria, office, I've even waited outside a few bathrooms.

I've been to every single "manly" place a school has to offer.

And guess which room I see him coming out of?

Home Ec.

Okay, now I'm pissed.

And he is walking away. What the hell? Get your ass back over here boy.

"Michael."

"Yeah?" Well, let's not get overly pleasant or anything.

"So...uh...I uh...how's it goin?"

"Good."

"Good."

"You?"

"Oh, I'm a...I'm great."

"Good."

"Yeah."

"So...I'm gonna go."

"Uhhh...yeah...bye."

"Bye."

And all I can say is: What the hell is Maria thinking?
****************

"He totally likes you."

After a good ten minutes of mindless wandering, I finally find Maria resting under a tree.

Don't we like...I dunno...have a class right about now?

Oh well, I'll catch the next one.

Man. I am turning into one badass.

Maria's eyes widen in surprise.

"Oh my god. Really?"

"Oh yeah."

"He said that?"

"Oh...yeah." Okay so technically he didn't say..well anything, but come on, it's SO obvious..isn't it?

"Oh my god, we have to go celebrate. You don't work tonight right?"

Tonight? Hmmm...tonight...what's tonight?

Ah crap.

"I can't." I sigh. Tonight's gonna suck.

"What are you doing tonight?" Maria asks, one eyebrow raised. Is she like surprised I actually have a life or something?

"Well first I gotta go do that Chem project with Tess." Okay, so maybe that doesn't constitute as a "life" per say, but at least I have plans, that's at least a start, right?

"Then I have to tutor Max." Oh yeah...that should be fun. That's sarcasm...you really need to catch up. Okay, so you probably have figured out that I'm looking forward to seeing him, but you gotta understand...I'm in this stage..

It's called denial.

"Tutoring Max?" Maria gasps. "Tutoring Max in what?"

"Oh. Um...English." I answer. She just gawks at me. What? Was that like the wrong answer or something?

"Liz, you are so freaking gullible. I mean really, have I taught you nothing?" What's that supposed to mean? "Max is like an A student. Where have you been?" Well excuse me for not remembering the entire school's individual GPA's. Who knew that would ever be relevent?

"Well...God. I'm sorry I don't keep up with the "popular" crowd." Maria narows her eyes at me then chuckles.

"What?" What kind of herbs is this girl taking?

"Liz... you're popular."

"Oh." When did that happen?

"so why exactly are you tutoring Max...huh? Are you sure ya aren't teaching him some anatomy? Huh, huh?" Maria winks and raises her eyebrows suggestively.

"Wow, you're funny. God, I can hardly stop laughing...ha ha." As you can imagine, there is no laughter here.

Maria slaps her hand over her mouth, trying to smother the next giggle that is so obviously ready to erupt. After a few deep breaths, she continues.

"Now really... why are yo tutoring Max?"

"I don't know, Michael said..."

"Michael?" Oh oh. We have a suspicious Maria on the loose.

"Yeah, he a..ohhh..do you think he's trying to hook me and Max up?"

"Either that or Max conned Michael to set this little love connection up. Man, that is so low."

"Huh. Wait..didn't you just con me into..."

"I have no idea what you're talking about." And I thought I couldn't lie.

"Riiiigggghhhhht."

"Anyway..." Maria brushes off the comment with a wave of her hand. "I'm thinking those two are in for some serious payback."

"God Maria, scheme much?"

"What? Come on, it makes life so much more interesting. Besides, you know they totally deserve it."

"Ugh, fine. What do we do?"
************************************

"Okay, 2 sulfur + 1 oxygen."

Chhhhh chhhh

"Disulfuric monoxyde."

Chhhh chhhh

"Tess?"

Chhhh chhhh

"Tess? Are you even paying attention?"


Chhhh chhhh

Okay, if she doesn't put that damned nail file down, there is gonna be hell to pay...really."

"Oh...yeah, sure...uh huh."

"Tess..."

What? Look at you, you're on a roll. I'll be over here. Just..just.." Tess waves her perfectly manicured hand over our assignments. " Do your thing brain girl."

Brain girl? BRAIN GIRL?

"Uh Tess? Hun?" Tess looks up from her hands and gives me an annoyed look. "Yeah, hi. See we're partners that means we work together."

"Neat." Uh, excuse me, hello? Was that sarcasm? Uh, no. I don't think so. That's my deal.

Chhh chhh

ARG.

The bitch is going down.

"Tess, I don't know you, but I already dislike you...immensly. So I don't know what that says about your social life or whatever, but what I do know is that I've been doing all the god damn work here Barbie girl. So what you're gonna do is, you're gonna do assingments four through eight and be done before tomorrow. And you better do it well or I'm kicking your made in China ass. Got it? Great. Buh bye."

And I will forever remember this day as the day I became a woman.

Or at least the day I grew a backbone.
********************************

BRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGG

"Hello?"

"Uh, hey Max...it's Liz."

"Oh!! Oh..hey. What's up?"

Man, this is gonna be hard.

"I jsut called because...because uhhh...I wont be able to make our tutoring session tonight."

"Oh." I never noticed how deep his voice was before. It's kinda nice.

"Yeah. I was kinda hoping I would have a date tonight..."

And there's the bait.

"Really? Do you maybe wanna..."

"Is Michael free tonight?"
********************************

Welcome.

You've Got Mail.

Find a member online: Spacehero47.

Wow, this seems familiar.

Blip.

Spacehero47 is online and able to recieve instant messages.

Well, that's handy.

Adore17: Hey, it's Liz again.

I guess Max was right. Michael is online right now...weird.

Spacehero47: Hey.

Adore17: I need to tell you something Michael.

Damn Maria.

Spacehero47: Oh yeah? What's that?

Adore17: I know I'm not supposed to have these feelings, but you're so...

Annoying? Disgusting? Putrid?

Adore17: sexy...

Spacehero47: I uh... thanx.

Adore17: Yeah.

Spacehero47: I gotta tell you something too Liz.

OH MY GOD

I know this can't be good.

I'm psychic that way.

Adore17: Uh what?

Spacehero47: This is Max.

no no no no no no no no

Holy shit.

Adore17: Uh..

????????????????????????????

Adore17: Bye.

Goodbye.
***********************************

beep

You've reached Liz. This is the part where you leave a message.

beep

"Come on Liz, I know you're there."

Am not.

"Liz...I've already left like 30 messages."

36.

"It's really not a big deal."

Yes it is!

"I know you're probably thinking 'yes it is'.."

Well that's creepy.

"But it's not. I understand. God, you're friends with Maria. I'm friends with Michael. Believe me, I understand.

He has a point...

This is too complicated.

"Liz...pick up. I'm running out of air space here. I..."

"I'm here, Max. I'm here."

posted on 17-Aug-2002 1:23:22 AM by Fixius


**12**
"I'm here Max, I'm here."

"Liz...I..."

click

"Max? Max? Are you on the phone?"

"Isabel? What the hell?"

"Get off the phone, Max. I need it."

"What?" Oh oh, now he's pissed. "No, this is important."

"Important? What's so important? Who are you talking to anyway? Hello? Hello?"

Don't go dragging me into this now.

"Uh...hi, Isabel." I'm such a people person it's amazing.

"Liz? Is that you?"

"Uh..."

"Good. I was just about to call you." God. Do I have like this weird affect on every member of the Evans clan? "Maria and I decided we're in dire need of a girls night and you have to come.

"Oh. Uh...yeah, sure, sounds like fun."

"Great!! Hold on a sec."

"k..."

click

"I'm really sorry about that," Max says, "she's just..."

Are those footsteps?

"Give me the phone."

Guess so.

"Didn't we just get rid of you?"

"GIVE ME THE PHONE."

"No...ow, OW. What are you doing? OW. Damn it Isabel that hurts."

Insert strange rustling sound here.

"Okay, I'm back. So we're all gonna spend the night at my house, so I'll pick you up in like half an hour so you can pack, ok?"

A whole night in Max's house? No no no. I gotta get out of this.

"Okay."

And this is the girl who told Tess off just hours ago.

"Iz..." Max whines. "Can I have the phone now?"

"Oh my God Max, if you don't shut up I won't let you talk to Liz at all tonight. Do you want that? Well? Do you?"

Silence.

"God! I'll see you later Liz."

click

Okay...now I'm scared.
********************************

What the hell am I doing here? I could of just said I was sick or something.

cough cough

Yup, see...better go home.

"My room's this way." Isabel leads me down the hall to her room. Just across from Max's I notice.

Not that that's important or anything.

I step inside and see Maria already sitting on the bed, slurping a double chocolate fudge sundae.

Maria and sugar.

It's gonna be a long night.

4 hours later

Okay, so we've watched "Never Been Kissed" (which I really find offensive, hello? Did we forget the little "bathroom incident"?)

Then we did each other's hair and make-up.

If we move into spin the bottle territory, I'm out of here.

"Alright, I know what we should do," Isabel pauses and looks at each of us in turn, rising the anticipation level. "Truth or Dare."

Maria squeals in approval. I just kinda look around the room uncomfortably.

Isabel scoots closer on the floor, making our little group into a semicircle. "Okay, I'll go first, Liz...Truth or Dare?"

Oh yeah sure, ask me first.

"Oh..uh...truth."

"WIMP!!" Maria laughs.

"Okay, do you like my brother?" Isabel asks, one eyebrow raised in curiosity.

"I..."

"OH PLEASE!!" Maria shrieks. "You say the guy's name and she drools. Watch. Max. Do you see that? Max Max Max. God! Get the girl a Kleenex, are you seeing this?"

Maria throws the Kleenex and it hits me in the head.

Did I mention she threw the entire box?

Ow.

"Gee, I am so glad we're friends, Maria."

"Oh, I know you are." Sometimes I don't know whether Maria doesn't get the sarcasm or just chooses to ignore it. Either way it's annoying as all hell.

"Your turn."

Oh...damn.

"Okay, so Isabel...truth or dare."

"Oh..." she seems so torn. I never knew this game could be so life altering. "truth!"

This might be easier if I actually, you know....knew her.

But what I do know...

"Okay...so uh...?" Do I dare. Okay, what the hell. "does Max like me?"

There's no harm in being too sure.

Isabel snorts.

"Max has been in love with you since third grade. Please, I thought everyone knew that."

Did she say...love?

Wow, I'll put that in my pocket and save it for a rainy day.

Right now I'm too busy with the denial.

"Alright, Maria, your turn. Truth or dare."

"Dare." She raises her chin in the air defiantly. ohhhh so brave.

"Okay... I dare you to make out with Michael in....in the middle of the quad at lunch on Monday."

hee hee.

"Scuse me?"

That's too bad.

"You heard me."

Remind me never to pick dare with these two. Especially with Max across the hall.

"Yeah Maria, I thought you NEVER backed out on a dare."

And straight for the ego.

"I'm doing it."

That's what I thought.
*****************************

"Here, give it to me."

Have you ever just had an amazing dream? That's what I'm having, guess who's in it. Good guess.

"You're not actually gonna do it?.......... Oh my god, you are SO mean."

Ohhhhhhhh Maaaaaaaaax. That feels good. What is he doing? Is that... is that honey? Hey, I'm not about to complain.

"mmmmmm."

"Ewwwwwwwwwww. I think she likes it."

"Give me the shaving cream."

He's kissing my neck and I arch my back giving him better access.

"What the hell is she doing?"

"Maaaax"

"UGH! She's dreaming about my brother!! That's sick!!"

Is that Isabel? What the hell is she doing here? But I'm to distracted to care. Max lowers his head and ...

"Liz!! LIZ!! Get the hell up, you are seriously creeping me out."

I wake up slightly disoriented.

What the hell?

Maria is literally rolling on the floor in laughter, and Isabel is just standing there, looking for the most part scandalized and not a little disgusted. And me? Me, I'm covered in honey and shaving cream.

I guess Max isn't the kinky one in the family.

"Ewwww.." I can't even bring myself to touch myself...I'm all sticky...and not in a good way.

"Don't 'ewww' me. You're not the one who had to listen to you moan MY brother's name."

Oh my god. Please Buddha, don't let Max hear any of this conversation.

Maria just laughs harder.

Traitor.

"I'm just uhhh...I'm just gonna take a shower." I ease myself up, careful not to let myself drip anywhere. God, that just sounds wrong, and scurry into the nearest bathroom.

I close the door behind me thankfully, and glance around at my surroundings. My gaze lands on a cd player, sitting on top of the small shelf of towels.

I press play and continue to get ready for my impending shower.
*******************************

I don't know why, I always just kinda sing when I take a shower. It kinda sucks at times like these. You know when your at the house of your obsession.

knock knock

What the hell....?

I look towards the radio menacingly. The stupid thing is just trying to freak me out.

I wrap a towel securly around me, mostly because of the fact I was too embarrased to think about bringing clothes, and wipe the condensation from the mirror.

What the hell does Max see in me?

"HOLY SHIT!!!!"

What the...? HOLY SHIT!!

Oh wait it's okay...it's just Max.

What? HOLY SHIT!!!

I just kinda stare at him in shock.

He kinda just stares back at me in shock.

We don't say anything, I'm just standing there...dripping. Lovely...

Shouldn't he like...I dunno...leave.

"Uh...Max?"

"Oh my god. I'm so sorry. It's just...It's just I've never had a naked girl in my bathroom before. Well, you know there's been Isabel and my mom, but that was never this exciting."

Really? Well, I would have to get a good look at Mrs. Evans to be really sure about that one.

"That's...that's..." He swallows...hard." That's my towel." He kinda points vaguely at it, not really comprehending what he's saying.

"Oh, I'm sorry... I would take it off," his eyes get wide, "but I don't have any clothes." And his eyes get so wide, I'm actually worried they'll bulge out of his head.

Speaking of bulges....

"I'll ummm...I'll ummm" Well, he's gonna do...something. "I'll go get Isabel....bye."

I don't know if I 've mentioned this before, but I'll just throw this in for some color.

Holy shit.
**13**
Ever since I was little, I always knew I’d make something important of my life. I’m not trying to be a bitch or anything, I mean I AM a bitch, but I’m not trying to be one at this particular time…ANYWAY, the point is I always thought I’d be or do something big. Be that a molecular biologist or what not. And with this greatness comes a responsibility, you have to have amazing last words. So far I have “Handcuffs” and “Free Porno.” Not exactly “Rosebud” now is it?

Now I’m held to one more daunting task. To my already two lovely dying words, should I add “Honey” or “Towel.” Because either way it’s not going to be pretty.

Another thing that has been plaguing my mind is, why does every exciting ‘Max Evans moment’ have to happen in bathrooms? Of all places?

And where the hell is Isabel with my clothes?

KNOCK KNOCK

Man, that is just too convenient.

I walk over to the door purposefully, talking before I even reach the handle.

“It’s about friggin’ time here. You are so…Max.” And why yes he is…so very Max. And so very NOT Isabel.

“I uh…sorry…Isabel said…she told me to give these to you.” Max roughly shoves what can only be considered clothing into my waiting hands. He looks away shyly, but he’s not so shy, that he won’t peek from the corner of his eyes.

Yes Max, I know what peripheral vision is. I know you can see me. In your towel. Oh my god, that’s it. The deciding factor.

Last words: Handcuffs, Free Porno, and Towels.

“So uh…why are you taking a shower in the middle of the night?”

Oh my god. What is with this guy? I thought it was like common knowledge, that if you find a towel clad girl in a bathroom you LEAVE. You know, if I wasn’t so wrapped up in the denial I might actually be flattered right now.

But be that as it may…

“Oh, uh…Isabel and Maria played some pranks on me while I was sleeping.” That’s all you’re getting out of me buddy.

“OH…is this about the free porn they were getting?” WHAT???

“What?” Oh my god, is he like one of those weird gypsy people who can like read dreams?

“Remember…you said when you snore it sounds like porn…” Ohhhh yeeeaaahhhh…

Man, why couldn’t the guy I like have a bad memory or something?

Wait… ‘guy I like’? Oh crap… the denial is wearing off.

Not good.

“Oh yeah…right.” Good save Liz.

“That isn’t true is it?” I do not see good things coming out of this conversation.

“What do you mean?” Way to play it innocent Parker.

“Do you watch “Cops” at all?” He asks. He asks while smirking. Where the hell did all this confidence come from all of a sudden? And why did he ask a stupid question like that? Who watches “Cops” anyway? It’s just a bunch of druggies getting busted. Wait…busted… jail… I see this leading somewhere…. HANDCUFFS!! Yes! Wait NO! Wait, he doesn’t know about the handcuffs…does he?

I hate to do the whole flashback thing but…

Holy shit.

“I ummm… I have to uhh…change. Yeah, I gotta change. I’ll uh, see ya later.” What the hell was that. I breathe a sigh of relief, at least Max is gone…for now anyway. I dress quickly, something is going on, and I intend to find out what the hell that is.

This is payback and I’m a bitch.
*******************************

I open the bathroom door and look around the hall suspiciously. I hear incessant giggling and random banter radiating from Isabel’s room, therefore I go the opposite way. I walk down the stairs looking for any clue of the whereabouts of Mr. ‘bathrooms are fun’ Evans.’ Ah ha! Found you. You…you cereal eater you!

God, I am so glad I don’t say some things out loud.

When did I become such a loser?

That was a rhetorical question thank you very much.

“Hey Max.” I try my best to sound sultry and not fall all over myself. This is quite a feat for someone like me.

He looks up from his Captain Crunch almost terrified. I guess the whole me being clothed thing’s got him down.

“I…uh…” Oh no! Where’d all that confidence go? Huh Max?

“I just thought you might want this…” I hand him his towel, THE towel, and he just stares down at it in confusion.

“I was gonna put in the laundry, but I thought you might like it…you know…as a momento.” What the hell am I doing? I’m supposed to be rebuilding the denial walls, not seducing my obsession with his towel.

Oh my god. When did I become such a loser?

I start to walk away and as I’m just through the doorway, I turn around and answer that question that’s just been bugging everyone.

“And no, I don’t watch “Cops”, but you were so very kind for asking.” HA! Take that. Liz: II , Max: I

“Oh…uh…Liz?” I turn around. He wasn’t supposed to have a comeback, that was not part of the plan. “You may not watch cops, but I’m sure you’re quite accustomed with the job.”

What the hell…? Is the Cap’n like a drug dealer in disguise now?

“Excuse me?”

“Well, it’s just I know you’ve made at least one citizen’s arrest in your day…Officer Parker.”

What? Huh?

?????????????????????????

Damn.

Damn.

Damn.

A witty remark would be good right about now.

Shit.

Shit.

Shit.

“I…uh…Have fun with your towel!” And me, being the calm, collected, rational person that I am…run like hell.



**14**

"Uh...Liz?"

"Yeah, Isabel?"

"You know we have hair dryers for these kinds of things?"

What the hell is she talking about? How is a hairdryer gonna help my obsession with Max, and how is it gonna tell me why the hell he wants to know I watch 'Cops'?

"Huh?"

"Or at least a towel."

"WHAT??!!???" Oh no. She said the dreaded T word. Or should I say one of the dreaded T words.

Tess....

Ick.

"Your hair, I mean look at you, you're soaked."

Ohhhhhhh.

"Oh, yeah...Umm, your bathroom just seemed kinda...crowded."

"Okay..."

"Hey guys."

Thank god for Maria.

"You know," she says, "We never finished that game of truth or dare."

I hate Maria, why did she ever come back?

"You're right!!" Isabel exclaims excitedly. "Who's turn is it anyway?" She looks around the room and is faced with blank stares. "Okay who cares I'm going. So Liz...what's the scoop on Alex?"

Scoop? Like those things that pick up crap?

"Ummm, could ya be a little more specific?"

"Oh my god Liz," Maria sighs disgustedly, "She means does Alex like her, and since my good friend over here is obviously clueless, I'll answer for her." Well...that was rude. "Alex totally likes you."

Okay, Alex never said that. But then again Michael never really said anything either...Man, too many lies to keep up with.

So therefore I smile and nod. The best answer to any situation in my opinion.

"Really? So is he gonna say yes?"

Yes? What the hell is she talking about?

"He'll totally say yes."

Wait...what? Why am I so freaking out of the loop?

Maria looks towards me with a smile, "Liz, honey, I know you're probably confused," she says, pretending I'm some small child. "being locked away in your Max fantasies and all, what Isabel here is trying to say is will Alex say yes to her when she asks him to tolo..."

Oh. Okay. HEY!! I have not been fantasizing about Max...that much.

"I already asked him though."

"He's probably just playing hard to get."

"Really? Okay, well I'll call him."

"Okay, so anyway, since I answered the question, I'll go next. So Liz...truth or dare."

"Tr..."

"You know what? I changed my mind."

Good. Leave me out of this.

"You can only do dare."

WHAT???!!!??

"You can't do that, Maria."

"Watch me. So...I dare you to...."
************************************************

Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god.

Alex is now my only best friend. I have one best friend. That friend is Alex...NOT Maria. Definately not Maria.

I walk into the kitchen, as slow as humanly possible, waiting for that first little glance of Max enjoying a nutritous bowl of Cap'n Crunch.Did you know it's an important part of a complete breakfast? Only he's not eating anymore. He's there, but he's not eating. He's smelling something. Something that oddly looks like a towel...

"Uh, Max?"

Max looks up almost frightened and hurriedly drops the before mentioned cloth from his face.

"I was uhh...Cuz..uh there was a uh...I just...hey."

Yeah...me too.

"I just came in here...to a uh..." make a fool out of myself because Maria is EVIL. "to ask you a question." Yeah, that sounds plausible.

"I uh...okay?" He still seems a little scared and embarrassed that I caught him in such a humiliating....somewhat perverted act. But I'm too nervous to even care. Even if I wasn't nervous I probably wouldn't care. He's just too damn...

ANYWAY

"Okay, so my question was..." damn it. I don't have a question. I walk closer to him, because that's...well that's part of the dare.

"Yeah?" He chokes out. His confidence has obviously been shattered, but it has been known to show up at the most inconvienent moments for me so I'm determined to stay on guard.

I walk until I'm right next to his side, hovering over his upturned face. "I was just wondering..." I swing my leg over his lap and settle myself over him so we're facing each other. So in other words I'm straddling the poor guy. Okay...so what am I supposed to say? Oh yeah...

"I was just wondering..."

I don't even look at him, this is just to mortifying.

Not that I don't like it. It is kinda....

No. This is embarrasing...not erotic. No.

Wow, and I thought there was bulge action in the bathroom.

"I was just wondering....where the blow...." I look into his face, the stunned, shocked, and not a little pleased face of Max Evans. "dryer is?"

"I...it's I um....well you see.....I don't.....I uh.....what?"

"Oh. You don't know? Well that's okay..." I start to lift my leg, kinda dissapointed I have to get off of him.

I didn't say that. That is so off the record. You hear me?

"NO!!!!" Wow, I guess he's feeling it too.

No, not like that.

You guys are such perverts.

Don't ever change.

"Yes Max?"

"It's just a ummm....in the uh....second drawer...in the uhhh...bathroom."

Oh my god, is that sweat? Look. He's sweating. I made a guy sweat.

That is so cool.

"Thanks."

I jump off him and scurry back to Isabel's room, passing the bathroom on my way. Wet hair is just fine with me. There have been way to many bathroom incidents in my day thank you very much.
**********************************************
Tolo.

One little word. I don't even think it means anything.

Tolo

Just one little word that will ultimately change my life. Only I don't know that yet.

Right now I'm just thinking...

Ewww Michael.

I twirl a loose curl in anticipation waiting for Michael to hurry up and get his ass over here. It just figures he would be late.

"Liz!! Honey! Michael is here."

Finally.

"Coming."

I take one last look in the mirror, smoothing out the burgundy dress before making my way down the long corridor into the living room.

"Hey Liz...you look...better."

Better? Wow. Catch me before I swoon.

If you didn't catch the sarcasm in that you have to go. You don't belong here.

"Oh gee thanx. You look somewhat normal. But I don't want to get your hopes up."

"Oh Jeff, aren't they cute."

Like a button.

"Yes dear. Now you kids have fun!!"

Parents are clueless this way.
******************************************

"So...punch?" You? Is that an invitation? Why yes, please.

"Sure."

He nods and heads towards the table but is sidetracked by a very revealed Maria. Way to jump the gun there buddy.

I sigh and plop myself down into the nearest deserted table. Abandoned by some happy let's go dance people no doubt. Stupid bastards.

I barely notice when another body migrates to my table and takes a seat next to me.

"So...where's your date?"

I look over to the solemn face of Kyle Valenti.

"Probably reserving the eraser room with Maria."

"Ouch."

"Yeah." Actually I really don't care. "You?"

"Bugging Max."

Who's bugging Max? That's my job.

"I don't even know why Tess asked me."

Wait...I thought Max was going with Tess? Then who's Max with?

"You would Max's date would have got rid of her by now." I say as nonchalantly as an obsessed person can.

"I don't think he has one."

Huh?

I look back to Kyle and I actually feel sorry for him. I feel sorry for a jock. That is so weird. A nice jock. What's the world coming to?

"Do you wanna dance Kyle?"

He smiles at me. "Yeah, I do." He stands up and takes my hand and we settle into the dance floor, enjoying the slow rhythm of the music.

"So am I still coming over tomorrow?"

"Hmmm?"

"For our English thing?"

"Oh..yeah."

"Can I ask you a personal question?"

Usually I would say no, but for some odd reason I like Kyle.

"Sure."

"What's going on with you and Evans?"

God, do they like broadcast this stuff?

"What do you mean?"

"Well I don't know, he's like giving me death glares and I was just wondering if there was a reason for that."

"Oh. Uh. I don't really know what' s going on with me and Max. So just ignore him."

hee hee. Max is jealous.

Man, I am such a slut.

That is so cool.

The song ends and we smile, happy with our new found friendship.

"Do you want some punch or anything?" I say yes, happy to know I'll actually be recieving punch this time around.

"Man you look hot."

Huh? I turn and come face to face...with some guy. Uhhh...what's his face. You know...the one with the....hair.

"What?"

"I said..."

"No, no. I heard what you said. And I'll admit 'what' was a prenal, cliche, non colorful response, so what I really meant to say was, get the hell away from me."

"Man, I just wanna..."

"She said GET THE HELL AWAY FROM HER." Oh yeah. Little Lizzie Parker has a knight in shining armor. I'll give you one guess at what's freezing over right about now.

"Thanks Max."

Kyle rushes over, obviously outraged at his friend.

"I'm sorry Liz, he's a jerk."

"Oh my god, it's okay. He just said I was hot. And you know, you can't really blame the guy." They both look so worried I can't help but joke at the situation.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Max asks worriedly.

"Yeah."

Kyle looks between us and excuses himself. Well there goes my punch again.

"Can I talk to you Liz?"

"Uh..yeah sure." Max takes me by the arm and leads me away from the growing crowd of jubilant, overdressed teenagers.

Right into a janitors closet.

Not exactly a bathroom....but it'll do.

**15**

In situations like these you always imagine the greatest poetry spurting forth. Maybe even a sonnet. But not here, rest assured not here. But then again what do you really expect from the inside of a janitor's closet?

So the only thing that I need to do now is well...breathe...but other than that I have to figure out what the hell to say.

"So...." Okay think of a topic he's interested in. What is he interested in? "How bout that Laker's game?" Uh...yeah. That works.

"What?" Oh great. Now all I've accomplished is making Max utterly confused.

"What?" Holy crap. Now I'm confused.

"It's not even basketball season, Liz." Wait...there are seasons? How was I not informed? I hate it when my half ass plans are flawed. Those are usually the best ones too.

"What season is it?" I thought there were only four. You know winter, fall, spring, summer. Yeah, those.

"Uh...football."

"Oh. So...how bout them Packers."

"Liz, this is stupid."

"You're right, I never liked the Packers either."

"What? No, this...you know this..." Right...so about those Lakers...

"This?"

"Right."

"Right....So what exactly is 'this' again?"

"Us." Why hello there crushed spirit. "Well not us, but this whole running around thing. When are we ever gonna talk about this Liz?"

Ummm, the next time we find a handy bathroom just lying around?

"We talk." See, when you get denial, the bastard just won't go away.

"I like you Liz. Very much."

"See. Talk talk talk."

"I have, for a really long time."

"Wow, look at you go. You're talkin all over the place."

"In fact, it's even more than that."

Notice the lack of inner monolouge.

"I love you, Liz. I need you to know that. I need to know if there's a chance."

Can't think. Can't think. Can't think. Can't think. Can't think.

"What?"

"I love you." Max moves closer to me, and cups my cheek tenderly. I really think I should be saying something right about now.

".............................." What? If I can't think how the hell am I gonna say something?

He rests his forehead against mine, waiting anxiously for any reply. Unfortunatley I find myself unable to give one. I have no clue what to say, all I know right now is that I must be grinning like a freakin idiot.

He doesn't make a move and I start shaking with anticipation. You know what? Screw it. I'll just act like the horny school girl that I am.

"Wait. Liz. You need to know something first. About me..."

"Yeah?" Whatever it is make it fast and kiss me. I'm in serious withdrawl here. HA!! Stupid denial is gone!!

"I...I'm not exactly well...normal." Well obviously, no normal person looks like that.

"What do you mean?" Did I ever mention how glad I am that I don't say some things out loud?

"I...I'm not from around here."

"You weren't born in Roswell?"

"Well yeah, technically I was."

Huh?

"I..I...huh?"

"Well, for lack of a better word, I'm a..well you see, I have these..."

Carnal urges?

"powers."

"Right. So you're saying that you..."

"That I'm an alien."

"Right." It just figures I have the jones for the crackpot.

"I'm not insane. Look." He turns his palm upwards and a lucid blue light erupts from his fingertips.

OH. MY. GOD.

Denial? Where'd you go boy? You know I love you!!!

"So wow, look at the time. I better go find Michael before...well I don't know just before....bye."

I reach for the door handle but Mr. I'm an alien beats me to it. Oh my god!! He is a spacehero. Fantastic.

"Liz. I told you because I trust you. Because I love you. Please."

"Ummm, Max. You know I like you too. Very much. And yeah some might say love could have a say in all this too, but you make shiney blue things come out of your hand. That requires some alone time."

"I understand, I do. It's just that..."

"I won't say anything."

Gotta go. Gotta go. Gotta go. This isn't happening. Nope, not happening. OH! Denial there you are. I missed you.

"Liz?"

"Yeah?"

"Before...before I said, what I said. Would you have...given us a shot?"

"Yeah."

"And now...you, you won't, right? I mean, I'm this monster, right?"

"No. I mean about the monster thing. And about...about...the other thing...all I can say is....well...."


**15b**

"So what happened in there with Max?" Maria glides towards my slyly, a mischevious gleam in her eye.

"He banged me like a salvation army drum."

"Really?"

"No." One could only wish life could be that easy. But first, you know, I would have to be that easy too.

"That's too bad, so...what REALLY happened?" Maria raises an eyebrow suggestively, softly humming 'bow chicka bow wow' under her breath.

And I will forever wonder why my junior year of high school became a sad excuse for cheap porn.

"Nothing happened." Now I'm edgy. It's weird how when you discover you're in love with in an alien and you get all snappy. Oh wait, that's just me.

"Then why is he leaving with Tess?" WHAT???!!!!???

"WHAT?" I turn my head in a flurry, twisting my neck so it makes that hot stingy sensation when you turn your head to fast. Turns out Tess is standing in a corner with the football team, no Max in sight.

I glare at Maria and rub my neck painfully. "That was mean."

"So what happened, because the boy looks like he's bout to cry." By the tone of her voice I know she's not joking, and for the first time in my life I really really wished she was messing with my head.

"I...I have to go." It seems that bailing is the only solution I have these days. I'm half way out the door when I realize I can't drive. My driver's Ed book still resting peacefully under the atrocity that is my bed.

Kyle.

I run back into the gym, eager for even the smallest distraction. I find Kyle sitting dejectedly at the table I was occupying so shortly ago. When I was so blissfully ignorant.

"Kyle, do you wanna get out of here?...With me, you know...like just go, I know it sounds weird but hey I'm wacky and I need to go. You wanna go? You don't have to go..."

"Liz.."

"I mean it's fine if you don't wanna go cuz you got the dancing here, and you know the punch and the lovely assortment of fruit..."

"Liz."

"Yeah?"

"Let's go."

"It was the fruit wasn't it? I thought it tasted a little freaky." Kyle laughs and takes my elbow and leads me out to his red mustang.

"Wow. You're car is really shiney." Did I ever mention I turn into a complete babbling idiot when I'm nervous? Oh you figured that out did ya?

"You know, I get that a lot." Kyle is not running away. Kyle is staying and Kyle is normal. Kyle is not Max. Kyle is a distraction. Distract boy distract!!!

****

Kyle taps the steering wheel rythmically as we drive down the darkened streets of Roswell. I've always loved riding in a car, a quiet peaceful time to reflect and well pretty much vegetate. You know those damn annoying kids who always say "are we there yet?" Nope, not me. I was the kid who said, "Damn it, we're already here?"

"So...remember that time you feel asleep in chemistry?" Psssh, ugh...no. Uh, yeah, of course not, what the hell are you talking about?

"Umm, yeah?" Yeah so, I'm not the best in sticky situations.

"That was pretty funny." Kyle is weird.

Cool.

"Hey, did you know we went out for like a day in fifth grade?"

"We did not." I never went out with Kyle Valenti...did I? Damn my bad memory.

"Yeah, apparently we did, I found this letter from you."

"Oh gawd, what did it say?"

"Well apparently I tried to kiss you, being the charmer that I am." Oh baby, nothing gets my riled up quite like a prepubescent boy. "But we weren't "dating" or whatever it is that fifth graders do, so you wrote me a letter that said you have to buy the cow before you get the milk." Please god, don't tell me I was that much of a loser.

"I did not write that."

"I'm afraid you did."

"I do not make cow analogies thank you very much."

Kyle smirks and shoves me playfully, "Really? Then why are you so defensive?"

"Oh, well I...because...because of the utter ridiculousness of it."

"Right. I believe you Parker."

Kyle stops in front of the Crashdown and scurries around the car to get my door. We smile, and hug. The day I became friends with Kyle Valenti, I always thought that would be the day I died....

.......


.......

.......

Nope. Still breathing. And maybe life isn't so scary anymore.


**16**

Now that Kyle is gone I find myself distractionless. Never good. Now I have time to actually think about what happened in that closet. Really really not good. Blue light thingies are NOT supposed to shoot out of people's hands, that's a fact. What the hell good is science, my little world is all out of wack. Hello little axis man, let us tilt you until your looking up your own ass. But as freaked out as I am, I can still remember the look in his eyes when he told me. He seemed desperate for my approval. But, he just dropped this on me. Damn it, I feel like a line from that damn Natalie Imbruglia song.

Hell yeah I'm torn.

Did you ever notice that when your sad, 99.9% of the time it has to do with someone of the opposite sex? Or just male species in general. You find yourself watching sappy movies, preferably in black and white, eating ho ho's and cheetos, a somewhat frightening combination if you had the time to actually think about it. But no, stupid boys and their stupidness gotta make you eat nasty food till you get fat and old and do you get happy? No.

But of course this is just an example. That's not what I'm doing.

Currently I'm watching Casablanca.

Ho ho's and ICE CREAM in tow.

Yeah, we were out of cheetos.

I'm crying like an idiot and the crazy thing is I'm barely even paying attention to the movie.

I hate to be out of control like this, so uncertain of my next plan. There's always gotta be a plan. I even plan out my conversations in advance. True, the other party involved seldom replies as I had hoped, but at least I gotta something to go off ya know? Right now I'm clueless, it can't be solved by a lab or my friends or anything. It's all on me and I don't know what to do.

The worst part is I have no one to talk to. I can't tell anyone that Max is an alien, my logical brain knows that's a no no. There's only one person I can talk to. And that's Max.

BBBRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNGGGG

You know he's probably not home. Busy with being an alien and all. I should probably just hang up.

"Hello?" Damn.

"Uh hey Isabel *hiccup* is Max there?" Don't you love when you try to talk after you've just cried? Isn't nice how your so goddamn articulate like that?

"Well...I um...I don't think he...I'll go see." That doesn't sound good. I never even realized he might not want to talk to me. How could I be so selfish, he's the one who just told the biggest secret in the world. Or universe.

"He ummm, he just left but he'll be back soon and I'll be sure to tell him you called okay Liz?" She sounds sympathetic and angry at once.

"Oh well, in that case I'll just come over and wait for him. OKay?"

"Oh Liz, see..."

"Okay, see you in five." click.

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

"So."

"So." So far so good. Isabel taps her foot awkwardly and motions towards the couch for me to sit down.

"So...Max told you." Oh great, I am really off of my game. I never thought that Isabel might know his secret too.

"Told me?"

"Liz, I know. Max told you we're aliens." Wait...we? Holy shit, how long have I been on the bench?

"Umm, yah. He did. And I just want you to know that I won't tell anyone. I promise." I've never seen Isabel scared before, she's always been so calm and collected and sure of herself.

"Thank you."

"Hey Isabel, I got the ice cream and the movies, do you wanna...Liz." Max's eyes meet mine in shock and he drops the bags from his hands.

Apparently guys suffer from old movies and junk food angst as well.

"Hey, Max." This is my big chance. Whatever I do now will ultimately change my life forever. God, way to make myself not nervous. Way to go Liz.

He nods lightly and ushers me into his room. As soon as we enter he thinks better of his decision.

"Oh um, if you don't, if you don't feel comfortable alone in here with me then we can..."

"No, no this is fine." I have so much control over him right now it's heedy and frightening at the same time. "I just umm, I just wanted to apologize. I'm so sorry Max. I should have been more understanding. I know...I know you don't want to hurt me or anything."

Max's eyes soften in relief but there is still tension between us. "It's okay, Liz. I understand. And you're right..I don't, I would never hurt you. And I...I understand that you want to be with Kyle now." His eyes lower to the ground dejected.

"What? No, I just, I needed to get out of there and Kyle, Kyle is just a friend Max. Only a friend." He nods his head but he still seems less than convinced. "Max, this, this will have to get some getting used to, but I'm not afraid of you or us. I mean I'm so crazy it's fitting I would be in love with an alien." Oops. "Well, what I mean is..."

Max's lips curve into a smile and he leans his forehead against mine.

"You really...after everything...?" I nod and meet his penetrating gaze.

"But you need to tell me everthing Max. If this is gonna work you're gonna have to tell me everything." He nods solemnly but doesn't step away.

"May I kiss you?" I feel like I'm in some Disney Channel love story, kinda like Casper. But I don't mind.

"Yes."


**17**

What's my future? I know I've asked before and at the risk of sounding redundant I'll ask it again. What's my future? Who really knows, who can really tell?

It sure as hell ain't Miss Cleo.

I always thought I had it all figured out. Reach for that dream and be adored by millions. But I never imagined being loved by one.

So what's love? Tell me, because I'd really like to know. What's your version of love? Because I don't think I know, I don't think I really know anything anymore.

Max and I are together so what does that mean? That it's all warm and fuzzy inside now? No.

Hollow...remember?

Never changing...not yet.

Max says he loves me and I thought I knew, I really did. But I don't.

"Penny for your thoughts...?" He asks while shifting on the bed beside me, curiosity hinting his features. My nose crinkles in mock confusion.

"Puppies?" His eyebrow raises in amused disbelief.

And fear.

Of course she isn't thinking about puppies. What girl would think about purrpies after she's just lost her virginity.

Wait. You say. You want to know how that happened. You want to know how little Lizzie Parker managed to loose her innocence.

We'll get back to that.

But right now I'm in the arms of the man who says he loves me and I'm still so unsure. Alex says I'm just scared. Scared of opening myself up to someone.

He's good at pointing out the obvious that way.

Maria, she says that she's sure he's in love with me. She can tell. In the way he moves, the way he watches and touches me. And she tells me she knows I love him too.

So why don't I?

He does you know. This is all my version of a well thought out and matured self defense mechanism. But in the end we're in love. Simple as that.

But I don't know that yet.

So now Max holds my hand and strokes my hair and I smile because I should be happy. I'm loved.

So why am I still so hollow?

Always dark and alone, even when the light is so bright I can barely see.

So tell me, please. What's my future? Because the present is still a blur.

**18**

I, Liz Parker, am now carrying a distinct feeling of female pride. Selfish? Why yes. Max is putty. Big, goopy putty in my lil bitty hand. Of course I don't know if I should be pleased by this or slightly disturbed. Either way it's great for the ego boostage.

I'm a horrible person. I know it.

But really, nothing else could have been expected. I'm almost seventeen and until a couple of weeks ago even a french kiss was foreign and now I'm the total vixen.

But of course this is where the big mushy feelings are supposed to come in. Right? And that's exactly why I'm sitting at my computer iming total wackos at three o'clock in the morning. Sound familiar at all?

This one guy, he's convinced we really live on Mars. Yeah, and that we're the aliens, it's all an allusion.

Ironic, ain't it?

I click cancel. Clearly this isn't distracting enough.

blip

ThEwHiTs32 wishes to send you an instant message. Do you accept.

Alex. Alex is good.

ThEwHiTs32: hey love.

Adore17: Do you think I'm closed off? Cold?

ThEwHiTs32: I'm good thanks...you?

Adore17: I'm serious. Am I emotionless?

Obviously Alex isn't much of a distraction either.

ThEwHiTs32: I think you're problem is that you just care too much, Liz. Just let it happen.

Let it happen? What a load of...

ThEwHiTs32: Liz...I really need to talk to you. Not now though. Not now. Can you meet me tomorrow?

Cryptic much?

Adore17: Um..yeah of course.

And now you're gone. Okay. I really should be worrying about that.

What does he mean I care "too much." Can no one ever be helpful?

*************************
"Hey um Liz...we uh..we really didn't have a chance to talk. You know about uhh..." He's really cute when he stutters but I choose to save him anyway.

"Yeah, I know." That was kinda the plan. "Do you need to say something about it?" I'm so fucking nonchalant right now I want to slap myself.

His eyes lower barely, tiny proof that he's nervous. I both revel in his shyness and feel disguted with myself because of it. I'm a horrible person. I'm horrible because I'm still not sure. Of him. Of myself. Maybe I'm just overanalyzing every minute detail, taking everything at face value and adding so much crap that I can barely recognize before I can even process it's real significance. Maybe I do care too much.

Or maybe I'm just a cold blooded bitch.

My bets on the latter.

"Well I..." He looks down again and his shoe taps in frustrated innocence. "It's just that you seemed so uncomfortable..after, and I just wanted to know..did I...did I do something wrong. I know I'm not very experienced with that or girls and...was it me?" He's looking at me now, right at me. Through me. And I wish I could just die at his feet, he thinks it's him. When it's me, I'm the one who's not worthy or experienced. He's the human one. He's the one with a heart and a soul. He's the one that's living, breathing, loving. Maybe I am the alien.

Ironic, ain't it?

"Max, I..." I want to tell him that I'm afraid. That it was never him, that somewhere deep down I know, I really do. But I can't, I'm being pulled away.

I'm literally being pulled away.

"Alex, what is your head trip?" Alex holds my arm forcefully leading me to the...eraser room?

Max follows stubbornly, confused and worried that Alex is taking me away. To the eraser room. Of all places.

Alex pushes me into the small room, turning back to Max before he fully enters himself.

"You're not wanted here, Max." I look at him helplessly, my insides collapsing at the thought of what he might be thinking of me. Max shakes his head in determination, taking a step toward me. Alex stops him with an outward palm and looks at him with a mixture of disgust and fear. I never thought I'd see that look on Alex's face. Never. He closes the door and locks it behind him. I know Max could just open it with his alien powers anyway, and I actually hope that he does. But he doesn't.

"We need to talk Liz."

"Yeah we do. We need to talk about you being a total ass."

"Okay good. But how bout we start off with the fact that Max Evans is an alien and see where we go from there."

Excuse me?

**18b**

Alex knows?? There's no way Alex could know. How the hell would Alex know. Quick think of something witty and piquant.

"Huh?" Perfect.

"A. L. I. E. N. Liz. Little green men that come from outerspace. They even made a movie about it. Perhaps you've heard of it. It's called 'E.T.'

Okay, so maybe Alex is better at this whole witty thing than I am.

"Max Evans? An alien? That's so funny. You've completely lost it you realize this, yes?" I knew this day would come, I knew denial would surely someday be used for good.

"So let me get this straight. You didn't go into a closet with him on tolo. You didn't see him make blue light from his hands. And oh yeah, he didn't tell you he was an alien. Is that what you're saying?"

"Uh...yeah kinda."

"Good, because I was worried there for a minute." Alex crosses his arms and leans against the door in earnest. Apparently my clever lies haven't solved the problem after all.

"Look Alex, I don't know what to tell you. I don't even know how you found out. But Alex, he's a good guy. You must know that or you wouldn't have waited this long to confront me."

His stance slouches slightly, his body language giving away that I was right.

"I didn't know what to do, Liz. I thought it was all some bizarre joke." He's rubbing his temples. He always does this when he's frustrated. "So what are you saying? That he's a good alien and we should just turn our shoulders and go about our merry way? Tra la la."

"No. I'm telling you to run around squawking like a chicken. I'm telling you to dance until you drop, I'm telling you to beat your pillow until only a broken cover is left. I'm telling you to do whatever it takes for you to get over this. I'm telling you that it's okay."

He looks up and his eyes are wide, as if he's realizing something. "What could happen to him Liz, I mean if any one else knew?"

"I don't know Alex. Maybe…I dunno…" My eyes shut painfully. "Maybe he could die."

His head lowers slightly but his eyes are transfixed on mine. "So what did you do?"

"Huh?"

"To get over it. What did you do?"

"I talked about super hero capes to complete strangers for five hours."

"Oh. Cool."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The whole dilemma seems to be over but I just sit here and think about it. I think about Alex knowing and wonder just the hell how he found out. I think about how I felt when I had first found out and how I had reacted. I think about Max and how he told me. I wonder what made him tell me. And I realize this really isn't about me. It's all about Max Evens and I wonder how the hell my life started revolving around Max friggin Evans. I think about what he might be doing right now. How he's feeling. I think about him lying on his bed and just thinking, like I am. I think I should stop thinking so goddamn much.

It's so hard though. Not thinking about it. I mean who wouldn't question the universe when you know little green men do exist.

Then I think: Wow, I wonder if he's really green.

Then I remember I've seen him naked.

Then a whole new kind of thought invades my mind.

Oh my God. I've seen him NAKED. Like in the sense that there were no clothes. Oh my God. He's seen ME naked. No wonder the guy is so screwed up. That could ruin anyone's mentality.

You may have already realized this but hey, give me a break I've been slightly distracted. I had sex. With a boy. Said boy is an alien. Said girl is having mental breakdown only slightly disillusioned by denial.

So here's the thing. I'm not really freaked out about the whole alien thing. I'm more freaked over the lack of virginity ordeal. But at the top of my run and hide list is the whole "love" factor. This is when I start to worry that I'll have to start thinking again.

So love…it's a chemical imbalance. Am I imbalanced? Why, yes. Okay, stand back everyone…I think I have an idea. Have you ever seen that "Friends" episode where Phoebe asks questions really fast and you have to answer the first thing that pops into your head to really figure out how you feel? Does this make any sense? Oh well. I'm trying it anyway.

Would you be sad if he died? Yes.

Would you like to repeat the nookie? Oh yeah.

Are you freaked cuz he's an alien? No.

Are you freaked cuz he loves you? Yes.

Are you sure he's sincere? Yes.

Do you love him? Sure.

SURE?!?!??! Even my subconscious is an idiot.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
RING RING

You know the deal.

RING RING

You pick up the phone. You dial.

RING RING

It rings.

"Hello?"

Someone answers.

"Hey. Is Max there?"

You greet. You ask for someone.

"One moment please."

You wait.

"Hello."

That person answers.

"Hey. This is Liz."

Greeting is repeated.

Now all we need is a conversation started here.

**18c**

So, I wonder if a mental breakdown goes well with my complexion. Strange question? Thought you might notice. See, this is me having a mental breakdown....figured I might as well look for some, if at least minuscule, sign of a benefit. So about five minutes ago I thought talking to Max right now would be the hardest thing I would have to do, you know at least today anyway. Funny thing is I was so off on that assumption it's ridiculous.

"Oh...um hey Liz." He sounds uncomfortable. HE. I thought that was my job.

"Yeah, hey." Oh my god. I'm such a freaking loser. I just said 'hey'. 'Hey' has been established. Let's just get on with it. "We need to talk, can we talk." Oh yeah, even better. Swoon.

"Oh yeah sure, but actually...I kind of have company right now and..." And that's when I hear it. The sound that forever will make my spine shiver, my blood boil and my head spin. Five minutes ago talking to Max was the problem. Now, it seems the reason why he can't is the problem.

That's the moment. I hear IT. HER.

"Max? Are you ready?"

Tess.

"Yeah, hold on. Sorry, Liz. I'll call you, ok?" And then he hangs up. Yeah, Max don't wait for a reply or anything I wouldn't want to cut into your "ugly hoe reach out program."

You could say I'm bitter.

Not that I can blame the guy, I did play the big bad bitch just hours ago. And really, how can I compete with Tess Harding? Her and her blondness and her cleavage. (a trait I seriously and sadly lack)

But what REALLY boils my egg is that I actually had something IMPORTANT to say. Do you realize how rare that is? It's scientifically impossible to calculate. And really, being the geek I am, should know.

Well, hope is not lost. I will seek comfort elsewhere. He did it. I'll do it. So naaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Yes, I am 12.
******************************

"So what's your deal?"

I turn to him, eyebrow raised. "Deal? Like cards?" The smartass. My favorite role.

Kyle takes a sip out of our mutual Blood of Martian Smoothie and smiles sardonically. He leans over the booth secretly and surveys the cafe suspiciously.

"I was actually refering to youir mental stability. Because, between you and me...it wasn't so great to begin with." He leans back, obviously satisfied with himself. His statement was completely accurate, apparently. But he really doesn't need to know that.

"Well, you'll pleased to know that the men in white are coming soon to take me off your hands."

His smile slowly fades and his posture turns sober. "Seriously, Liz. What's going on? I know we've just become friends but you gotta know I care for you. You just seem...off."

"Off? Yeah, that's just what every girl loves to hear."

"Liz..."

"It's just that..." I mix the smoothie concauction nervously with the red straw. "it's no big deal." my ass....

"Max?" What? Huh?

"What about Max?"

"Oh. It's just that I saw him with Tess on my way over and..." He must have seen me flinch at her name because he immediately began to apologize profusely.

"No, no. Don't worry about it."

"Maybe we should worry about it."

"What? Why?"

"No reason. You know....they're just....here."

Let me repeat: WHAT?????

I turn around to see what in the hell he's talking about and sure enough...there they are. Max and Tess in all her bitchy glory.

Time for my acting skills to set in.

Max comes to our table and Tess obediently follows.

I plaster on a big smile and welcome them.

Max's eyes shift uncomfortably. Why yes, I AM sitting with another guy. Take that mister.

"Um, hey. I was just uhh...helping Tess with her history project. Mr. Callahan set it up."

"Yeah, Max is just the biggest help."

"Oh, I'm sure he is. Max is just a doll isn't he? And so popular with the ladies." My eyes burn into his at that statement but I look away quickly. "Well, I better be going. I have rehearsal till nine. Kyle?"

I leave praying Kyle is following. I'm still trying to figure out how Max and I became lovers to verbal sparring partners in a matter of days.

Oh well, drama time.
*****************************
The great thing about drama is that you get to be someone else. It's like becoming a whole new person while the world watches.

It was also great hearing the collective gasp when the school found out that science geek Liz Parker joined theatre. Oh my, what will they think of next?

I lay down on the stage waiting for the rest of the cast to finish changing and begin my silent warm up.

New York is unique. New York is unique. Red leather Yellow leather.

That is, until I felt someone hovering over me. Sure enough someone was.

"Uh...hey."

He just stares back at me silently.

Right...

This is where it turns creepy.

He bends slightly and begins to straddle my waist...never loosing eye contact.

"Uh...Michael? Whatcha doin?" Very insulting I know. Okay...

"Hi, welcome to Liz's personal bubble. Please keep arms and legs inside the cart at all times and enjoy your invasion."

He turns his head to the side and says, "I can see up your nose."

This guy is a conversational genius I tell you.

"Always good to know."

"There are boogers." It's amazing how nonchalantley he says this.

"Good. I say more power to them. I believe they feel at home there."

"I'll email you."

Then he leaves. And I am more confused than ever.


**19**Is it just me or has the world gone mad? I highly doubt it could only be me because nothing can be this weird and not be noticed. Maybe I should go back a little in time to catch you up. First I discover the enigma that is Max, then his little sidekick "wonder hair" Michael follows me around like a deranged puppy. To top it all off Max and I (to put it elequently) do "the nasty", Michael follows me around asking about my infamous bugger problem all the while I'm freaking out and Tess is having a hay day. You could say my world has gone a little loopy lately.

Anyway

I'm now sitting in English desperately avoiding the eyes I can feel burning into my back. I know I have to talk to Max soon but I really don't want to let loose that kind of angst at school. The handcuff fiasco is still all too fresh in my mind. Kyle and I work silently on our Shakespeare project desperate to finish what procrastination had left us with, only one day left until its due date. I hear Tess in the background chatting gaily and I subconciously grind my teeth.

"You okay?" Kyle glances up at me worriedly.

"Swell." I look back down at our colorful display happy to have a useful distraction. When did life get so complicated? Oh yeah, when aliens landed.
********************************

"So you wanted to talk?" Max asks. His eyes stay on the ground, his posture slumped one hand on his back pack strap the other in his pocket all the while shifting his feet awkwardly. When did he begin hating me so much? How could I ever hurt him so much that he can't even bear to look at me?

"Yeah." Here we are standing in the middle of the parking lot. Here we are not looking at each other. This is not exactly the place I had imagined our little heart to heart but most of the kids have already gone home, school being over for at least 15 minutes and at least we can run if we have to. I ponder why exactly he chose this place for this situation. Did he realize this place would be so easily escapable? Had he planned on running?

"Liz?"

"Yeah, sorry...about, about that night."

That night. Well I guess it's about time I told you about that night. You know the night I'm talking about. The one where little Miss Parker became a woman. Or at least a sexually active girl.

So it all started out as a quasi-normal night. You know, other than the fact a boy was coming over. It had been under the rouse that we would discuss his english tutoring, the mystery that was Michael and Maria and the whole wacky romance that ensued and not to mention our own little relationship and all the alieness in between. He of course played it off as more of a "making sure she's okay with the alien thing" to get Michael and Isabel off his back while I chose the "hey, I'm his english tutor" thing to get Alex, Maria and my parents off my back. Luckily, or so I had thought, they were out grocery shopping at the time.

When Max arrived shy and adorable I showed him up to my room (the one I had spent the last hour desperately trying to clean) so we could start our "talk."

Being the good hostess I am asked, "Do you want something to eat or drink or...nibble or something?" I saw Max's head raise at 'nibble' but he merely smiled and politely shook his head no.

So there we were, Max sitting on my bed silent and awkward and me leaning against my desk silent and awkward.

I say, "So...Michael and Maria.."

He says "Yeah, I know..."

He smiles and nods. I smile and nod.

"Yup." I heard a shifting on the bed and my eyes look up from the marvel that is my shoe lace and Max is standing and looking right at me. Have you ever just stared at something, a painting, a flower, the neighbor's pomeranion and just felt a connection? It was like I was staring at a reflection of myself and I was...not beautiful but still less repulsive than I thought I was. It must of been quite the connection because after that not only our EYES were connected, if ya know what I mean. It gets kinda of blury after that, me being in the throes of passion after all.

But I guess you didn't need to know that.

I bet you wanted to know that though....

Pervert.

Anyway, back to the present.

"..about, about that night, I know I seemed kind of well, cold and distant after that but...it wasn't you. Please don't think it was you. The truth is, I was scared and I didn't know what to do and I didn't want to get hurt. But it looks like I hurt both of us and I'm sorry, Max. Please believe that I'm sorry for that. So I guess I understand why you hate me and I guess I would hate me too. And you know Tess is really nice...when on high doses of narcotics...but still...I hope..." Breathe. " I hope she does a better job at making you happy than I did." I look up. There I did it. I poured out my soul so why look down. I've laid out my cards and there's nothing to be ashamed of anymore. I'm ready for rejection, I have plenty of experience with it.

"So that's it?" The thing is Max is looking up now too. Looking into his eyes made my convictions a lot less easier to handle.

"Well...I..."

"So you just want to give up? Is that what you're saying? You figure Tess is there now to take me off your hands?"

"No Max, that's not what I meant...I..."

"Well you're wrong. There's nothing going on with Tess and there aren't enough narcotics in South America to make her the least bit pleasant. And I'm not giving up Liz, not by a long shot. The truth is you make me so nervous, it took me all the courage I could muster to kiss you that day in the bathroom, and you took away all my will power that night in your room. Just one look from you Liz is all it takes for me to sink to my knees, I love you that much. But I've learned, being weak isn't what you need so just know this. I will fight for you..for us. And Kyle? I know you don't love Kyle. I know that..."

"Max. Kyle? The only reason I happened to befriend Kyle is because I was pining over you. " Max looks up at me astonished. "That night left me so confused, I didn't know how you felt about me and I didn't know how I felt about myself. But that day after..when you tried to talk to me I knew you loved me and that left me even more confused because I didn't know what I felt, because I had never felt it before. But now I know that it was love. That it is love. I love you too Max, and the only thing you need to fight for is for tickets to that Coldplay concert because I really want to go." I smile and he smiles back at me. We kiss and rub our noses together like eskimos because, you know, we could be eskimos...if we really wanted.. I feel like I could do anything I wanted.

**20**

So about three days ago, I thought I had the most bizarre, strange and all around shitiest life in the world. Well, at least the Western Hemisphere. At least. Anyway that was three days ago. Today however, I’m rethinking the whole situation and it really isn’t as bad as I had made it out to be. I discovered two minutes ago. Two minutes ago I realized that 1) I live above a restaurant so the idea of hunger or starvation is wiped out. 2) My parents are still together after all these years, as surprising as that notion is and 3) I’m not an alien and nor do I have to deal with all that alien shit. That was two minutes ago. Then about two minutes after that two minutes ago I realized that I’ve been stuck in this claustrophobic little town all of my life and if that was enough I also get to be donned in alien themed grease and garb everyday of my belittling existence. But that’s not it. Oh no. My parents are still together, yeah that’s great it really is. Too bad I don’t even know my parents. And too bad they haven’t the slightest bit of interest in me. As long as baby girl Liz has the GPA up there’s nothing else they need to know. Oh, except for my lifelong celibacy. Oops, a little late for that. Not that they would have even noticed. And last but certainly not least, I DO know aliens. I see them everyday. I converse and learn with them everyday. To make my life just that last stretch of weird I had to go on and fall and fall for one. And he had to fall for me so now there’s no getting around that. And too bad Liz, you DO have to put up with all that alien shit. So four minutes ago I realized my life wasn’t so bad. But two minutes later I figured out that was just a bunch of bullshit.

“Liz, are you going to do the damn problem or not.” I look up at my companion with a blatant sneer. Hold your goddamn horses bitch. You could say I’m tense.

“Yeah hold on.” She smiles sweetly and I would really like to smack it right off her pretty lil face.

“You know….. I could just ask Max for help. He IS my tutor after all.”

“I’m doing the stupid problem Tess. Why don’t you be a good little lab partner and shut your big ugly trap.” She glares but gives no reply. “Thanks so much.”

All right, now all I have to do is stay out of my head for about five more minutes and then I can go back upstairs and go to sleep. Okay so…..sulfur + carbon dioxide =

“Liz…Liz…LIZ???!!”

“What? What the fuck do you want?”

“I want you to be done with the problem already. Some of us have lives.” Yeah some of us do, but that doesn’t explain why she’s complaining.

As revenge I simply scribble down some random answer and hand her the paper. It’s not my assignment so why the hell should I care? I don’t even know why I decided to meet her in the first place.

Oh yeah….because her grade is accounted for my grade as well.
Oh yeah. Because I didn’t want her plastic Matel boobs all over Max.

Oh yeah. I remember now.

“Night Tess.” I smile and leave abruptly, not waiting for her to check the answer so she can confront me about whether it’s right or not. I just want sleep. Is that so much to ask?

“Liz can I see you for a minute?” Guess so.

“Yeah dad?” I can’t to see what kind of mind blowing conversation this will turn out to be.

“Have you been thinking over colleges. Because the clock is a-tickin her kiddo. And you really need to decide on what your major will be. Don’t you want the security of knowing what you want to do with your life? If you don’t decide this stuff now you’re gonna be stuck in some dead end job with a life you hate because you’re stuck flipping burgers everyday. Is that really the pathetic existence you want?”

Tito, our cook, who DOES flip burgers everyday flips my dad off behind him and mouths the words ‘fuck you’ very dramatically indeed. I can’t help but let one small giggle out.

“This isn’t funny Liz.” I can see his frustration building and I just shake my head solemnly.

“Maybe we should discuss this in more detail, sit down.” He points at a stool and I look down at it’s shiny red seat with trepidation.

“You know what dad, that sounds great.” Like hell it does. “But umm…how bout I look up some stuff on the internet first so I can uhhh…be more acquanted with the subject.” Uh…yeah. That sounds plausible.

“Fine. But don’t think you’re out of this.” Urg. Fine. Just leave me alone old man. It’s nappy nap time.

I go through the back doors thankfully and take the stairs two at a time to my apartment. Almost to my room. Almost to my bed. Almost…..

“Liz honey, I’ve got something for you.” Ah, god damnit. What the hell is with my parents? Do they know to only speak to me when it would annoy me the most??

I walk into the living-room much to my chagrin. The last time my mom “got me something” she bought me bunny pajamas with footies. This was two weeks ago. Footies people. Come on now.

“Yeah?”

“It’s in the bag over there.” She points vaguely by the chair in the corner but my mother seems too engrossed in her romance novel to bother to look at me. I walk slowly to the bag horrified at what I might find. I’m about to venture in when she begins speaking to me again.

“You know those rock Zen gardens you were telling me about, Liz?” Oh my god. She did not. She did not buy me the coolest thing she could ever have bought me.

“Well I saw them at the store and I immediately thought of you.” If it turns out that my mom is cool enough to buy me what I think she may have bought me, on her own accord mind you, then my world has tilted off its access much more than I thought it had. “Anyway, I knew that they were pretty much useless and just a running fad and…fad. Do you kids still use that term? Is it still hip?” She doesn’t wait for a reply however. “Anyway, I decided that I’d buy you something more useful instead. I know you’ll see the benefits.” I sigh inwardly, nope my life is the same ole crappy as it was three minutes ago.

Okay here it goes.

I open it up and there is a bright pink floral dress one might see on a six year old flower girl at a wedding.

“Isn’t it precious. You’ll look so becoming in it on your next school social.” First of all, hell no. Secondly, what the hell is a social and why would I be caught dead there?

“uh…Mom?” But she’s not even looking at me. She has yet to lift her eyes from the pages of her seemingly engrossing novel and I take the bag and head back to my room. This time I don’t bother to hurry and walk slowly up the stairs and down the hall into my room and shut the door soundly behind me. Leaning against the wall a single tear falls from my eye and I wipe it away with disdain. It’s one thing to think it and something completely different to encounter it firsthand. My parents don’t know me at all, and they haven’t even bothered to notice it.

***********************************
The next day I felt completely unrefreshed and completely ready to crawl back under the covers and hide. My only comfort is…wait I don’t have one. Oops.

“Hey Liz.” Where the hell did he come from? Was he like waiting for me or something?

“Uh….hey there Max.” And he’s just all smiles like he just got a free lollipop from the dentist. He reaches into his jacket pocket and hands me and envelope proudly. Perhaps he accomplished to face his fear of putting his hands in small, dark confined places. Hell, I’d be proud too.

“What’s this?” But he’s still smiling that goofy smile of his and I open it carefully.

“Ummm…these are tickets to the coldplay concert.” But…huh?

“Yeah I know.” Well duh you know Max, you’re the one who pulled them out of your handy dandy pocket there.

“What are these for?” Why is he giving me tickets? I thought we weren’t on speaking terms. And for another thing, how does he know I like coldplay?

“Well you said you wanted to go and I thought we could….” What? Huh?

“Ummm… when did I say that, Max?” His eyebrows raise but that damn smile is still there.

“Yesterday…” He says it slowly like I’m some retarded kid just getting off the short bus. I guess he’s thinks I’m messing with him. But I just think he’s dillusional.

“I never said that Max. To think of it, I don’t even remember talking to you yesterday.”

And his eyebrows raise more and his smile falters.

“You’re joking right?”

I say, “No.”

He says, “You have to be.”

And I think, Huh? And that’s about all I’m thinking. Huh? Huh? Huh? Just what the hell is goin on here?

I shake my head no very slowly so that maybe he might understand this time.

His smile is almost completely gone now. I wonder what made it go away.

“How can you not remember? I wasn’t dreaming it, I know I wasn’t.” He’s more talking to himself than me. But he turns to me and looks me right smack in the eye and he’s so close I can hear his every breath and I close my eyes and soak it all in and then he’s talking again and he sounds desperate. “Come on, you have to remember. The eskimos, Liz. Remember? We’re gonna be eskimos.”

“umm…Why eskimos?”

“Well…they have many shining qualities. You know, they never get too hot and you know the eskimo patties those are good. And umm….the parkas…And OH eskimo kisses Liz, remember the kisses?”

“Uh yeah, eskimos are great.” But he’s still got that desperation in his eyes and I wish I could take it away I really could but I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

“I…” The bell rings and I look towards my class sadly. “I have to go.”

**************************
So I stand in front of my english class with Kyle droning on about the Twelfth Night and all it’s juicy love affairs and witty comments about life but I’m not really paying attention. That half of my brain is just on cruise. It’s driving around doing 50 and everything else it’s expected to do while the rest of me is sitting at the steering wheel wondering which way to turn.

So I’ve got it down to four possible things that may have happened.

1. I’ve hit my head and have amnesia
2. Max has gone insane
3. Some is playing a freaky ass prank on me OR
4. Either I’ve gone in insane and the world is just going along with it or I’ve just gone insane and all of this is in my head.

I’m betting on four.

I finish my presentation and the class claps lamely as Kyle and I take our seats. I can feel Max’s eyes on me the entire time but I choose to ignore it just now. Oddly this seems all too familiar. After class is over I pick up my things and head to my Chemistry class. Max walks with me the entire way but neither of us speaks. We’re both to busy trying to figure out what the other is thinking and too scared to ask.

As soon as we reach the classroom I nearly sprint to my seat just to get away from the tension. At least for another 55 minutes anyway.

And I'm not giving up Liz, not by a long shot. The truth is you make me so nervous, it took me all the courage I could muster to kiss you that day in the bathroom, and you took away all my will power that night in your room. Just one look from you Liz is all it takes for me to sink to my knees, I love you that much. But I've learned, being weak isn't what you need so just know this. I will fight for you..for us.

“Liz? Liz are you okay?” Huh? Wait, what the hell was that?

“Oh um, yeah I’m fine.” The teacher looks at me expectantly.

“Your assignment Liz. Do you have your assignment?” Oh shit. Okay.

“Yes, hold on let me find it.” At least I think I did it. I did it yesterday…didn’t I? Why does yesterday seem like such a blur? Now where the fuck did I put that stupid assignment? The whole class just watches me as I riffle through my belongings desperately. I can feel Max’s worry for me radiating from the back of the room. Miss perfect Liz Parker NEVER doesn’t do her homework and ALWAYS knows where it is. I find it finally and it to the teacher thankfully.

Wait a minute. Wait just a goddamn minute. I could feel Max’s worry. How the hell did I do that?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~

“Hey Maria.” Maria looks up from her sandwich and her eyes bug out slightly. This happens everyday, you’d think she’d be used to it. I can’t help but smile at the normalcy of it all.

“Soooo….” She smiles wickedly at me as soon as I take my seat across from her. “How’s it fell to be Mrs. Max Evans?” Her smirk becomes even wider if that’s possible and I just feel my comforting bit of normalcy slip through my fingers.

“Excuse me?”

“Oh you don’t have to play innocent with me. I’m happy for you. Max is like so totally hot. Tess is gonna hate you though…”

“Hate me for what?”

And she looks at me like I’m crazy and says, “For going out with Max….” and she starts talking to me like I’m that same retarded kid again.

“I’m not going out with Max.”

Maria shakes her head yes and says, “Yes you are.”

And I shake my head no in retaliation and say, “No, I’m not.”

She’s looking at me like I’m crazy again and says dumbfounded, “You told me what happened yesterday and Max told me too. So what you broke up with him after like two minutes. We’re talking about Max here, what the hell is wrong with you? I thought you got over the whole dumping guys after only two minutes…we’ve talked about this Liz…”

Oh shit. Not one of her rants again. I swear she can be worse than my father. But maybe just a little more insane.

“MARIA!!! I never broke up with Max,” she sighs in relief “But that’s only because I was NEVER going out with him.”

“Man, you slept with him and now you won’t even go out with him. Man, you’re such a whore.” She smiles crookedly at me and I know what she’s doing. She’s trying to joke because that’s what she does when she’s worried and I know she’s worried about me. And I’m starting to be worried about me too.

“Maria?”

“Yeah?”

I look down, suddenly quiet. “Did this…what you’re saying…did it really happen?”

“Yeah.”

“Then what’s wrong with me?”