|posted on 13-Sep-2002 1:14:47 AM by Anniepoo98|
Yes, I know.... another story. I haven't updated the others yet, but parts to them are almost done... I swear. Keep an eye out for them! I hope that you like this story. Let me know what you think!
Summary: Post Destiny… M/L… CC… When Liz left for Florida, she never came back. Now, after eight years, she has nowhere else to turn. However, the person who returns to Roswell is far different from the one that left. By the way, parts in italics mean a journal entry.
Disclaimer: You know that I don’t own. So, if nobody minds, I’ll just borrow them for a bit and put them back after I’m done.
Five days ago, Liz Parker died. Her car went off a cliff, rolling, bursting into flames just before it reached the waters of the Atlantic. She did it to protect everyone she ever loved, everyone who had ever loved her. And, deep down, she did it for herself. It would have killed her to know someone had suffered because of her. So, she bypassed that step, driving off a cliff….
Liz Parker died that night and Lynn Howard was born.
It never will cease to amaze me how different I look with just a little hair dye and some colored contacts. Strange as it my seem, but it’s the truth. Even thought I was exhausted, the first thing I did after getting to the hotel was reach into my backpack, fishing for the scissors. Then I cut, hacking at my hair until it evened off at my shoulders.
Next came the box of dye. I had chosen a box of dark blond dye. A half an hour later, my hair was almost a golden brown, almost carmel color. I can’t even say how long I looked in the mirror when it had dried. It looked so foreign to me.
Then, everything hit me all at once. What I had given up, the fact that I could never go back, that even after all my planning, I would still be in danger. The last week caught up to me, and completely knock the wind out of my lungs.
I was along. Utterly alone, for the first time in my life. I could feel the tears form in my eyes, and I had no power to fight them back.
The next morning I put in my green colored contacts, got dressed, and I checked out of the hotel… a Howard Johnson. Remembering that there was a little diner up a ways, I walked made my way down the road. I order a cup of coffee as soon I sat down. The waitress brought it to me a couple of minutes later. I looked up, seeing the name on her uniform. Lynn.
My mind mixed… contorting all the things I had encountered in the past 24 hours. Only two of them stood out: Lynn and Howard. So, I became Lynn Howard.
Now, as I sit on this bus, the New Mexico desert flashing by at rapid speeds, I wonder if I am right. It is going back the right thing to do.
Familiar words of one of my favorite books drift through my mind, answering my question….
"Home is where they catch you when you fall."
Billie Lettes, a very smart woman. Watching as the "Welcome to Roswell" sign flashes by, I decide that it is too late to change my mind now. For better or for worse, Lynn Howard had come to Roswell.
Liz stretched was soon as she got off the bus. It had taken nearly two and a half days to travel across the country, most of which she had spent on cramped busses. Her limbs ached as she moved them, walking down the sidewalk, sunglasses and baseball cap covering her face.
This was the ultimate test of her disguise, of her willpower. She was so close to everything that had ever made her feel safe, but she couldn’t touch it. She couldn’t call Maria or Alex to pour out her load of problems on their concerned ears. She couldn’t run into the Crashdown, arms outstretched, calling to her parents. To all them, she was dead.
Liz had become a spectator to the life she use to have. She would watch them, make sure they were safe, but she wouldn’t be a part of them. With each step, it was starting to be more real.
"Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea," Liz whispered to herself. Then, she looked around, finally seeing where her feet had led her.
A sign on the Crashdown door read… "Closed for Memorial."
The air rushed out of her lungs. "The memorial," she gasped. Her memorial.
It was too much. Liz stumbled back, bumping into someone she hadn’t even noticed.
"Are you okay," the voice behind her asked. It was raw and filled with emotion, but Liz would have recognized it anywhere. Slowly, she turned around, facing one of her oldest and dearest friends.
"Are you okay," Alex asked again, his face lined with concern for the stranger in front of him. For a second there he thought she was going to faint on him.
"Yeah," Liz managed to say, surprising herself in the process. "Just not use to the sun, I guess."
"Do you need a drink or something," he questioned, gesturing towards the door of the café. "It’s closed, but I know the owners," he tried to joke. "I don’t think that they would mind."
Liz shook her head. "No. I’m fine. Really." Taking a couple of steps back, she glanced sideways into the window.
What she saw broke her heart even more. There were people whom she had known all her life in the restaurant. Some were walking around, talking to others. A few were gathered over by her parents. Liz had never seen them look so sad in her entire life.
That was when she noticed Maria. She was sitting in their old favorite booth, her head resting on Michael’s shoulder, staring straight ahead. Her eyes were red and puffy, from crying. Michael was trying to comfort her by running his fingers through her hair, but Maria just kept staring.
"This is too much," Liz’s mind screamed. She turned to face Alex again. "Excuse me," she apologized, just before whipping around and practically running in the other direction.
Alex stood there watching her. A moment later, Isabel stuck her head out the door of the café. "Alex," she called gently. "Are you coming in?"
Alex watched Liz for another moment, nodding his answer. "Yeah," he finally whispered. "I’m coming."
He walked over to her and Isabel wrapped her arms around him, offering him their support. "Who was that," she asked softly.
Shrugging his shoulders, Alex stepped into the Crashdown. "I don’t know," he told her, giving Liz retreating form one last look.
Liz hurried down the street as fast as her legs could carry her. "What was I thinking," she scolded herself. "How could I have done this to them?"
She collapsed on a bench on the edge of the park. Her heart ached to rid them of the pain she had put them through.
"But did you have any other choice," her mind reasoned.
In the long run, Liz knew she didn’t. This was her last resort, and she was determined to make it work. She had to protect them no matter what.
Shaking her head, Liz reached down into her pocket, pulling out most of what remained in her pocket. Two hundred dollars There was a little in her backpack, but not a hell of a lot more.
Wiping the tears from her eyes, Liz let out a heavy sigh. "First thing’s first. I have to find a job and a place to stay. I’ll worry about the rest one step at a time."
Okay, okay... don't kill me. This is going to be an angsty fic... just a little warning. And I know you are thinking "why in the hell would Liz do that?" It will make sense, just give it a few parts... it will all come together
[ edited 4 time(s), last at 30-Dec-2002 12:56:51 PM ]
|posted on 12-Oct-2002 2:43:18 PM by Anniepoo98|
Yes, I am finally back with part two. Sorry that it took me so long, but this was a really hard part to write. I hope that you like it. All I have to say is trust me... all will be revealed in due time. Until then, enjoy.
P.S. thanks to Mark... SUPERBETA!
A hotel seemed like the best option at the time, so Liz made her way over to the only one Roswell had: The Intergalactic Inn. It was basically a Motel 6 with an alien theme, but it would do.
After an hour or so, Liz emerged from her newly acquired room, freshened up, and got ready to look for work. It felt so nice to stretch in a room that, for the time being, was hers. It had only been a week since she left, but Liz reminded herself that it was also another lifetime ago.
Sighing inwardly, Liz dwelled for a moment on what she had lost. A future after graduate school, her dream of being a scientist- all gone. Hell, she even felt a twinge of regret for the little things she was going to miss, like talking her mother on the phone and going out to the bar with a few friends on Friday night.
Her tiny apartment, for the first time since leaving Roswell, had started to feel like home. Her cat, the only roommate she had over the past couple of years, kept her company on lonely nights. The times he would jump in her lap while she was studying, demanding that he was more important than the books she was reading… that’s what she’d be giving up.
It was useless. Shaking her head, Liz put a stop to her short trip down memory lane to save her sanity. She had no reason to feel sorry for herself, especially not after seeing the pain she was causing her friends, her family. She had made a decision. Now was the time to stick to it. It was not the time to be selfish. After all, she had a job to do. Even though the people she loved were hurting because of her, Liz was determined it would be the last time.
No one was going to hurt them.
Grabbing her purse, Liz made her way down to the street. "None of the past matters now," she told herself. "I just need to focus on getting a job, making sure that everyone will be okay. That will keep me busy."
Focused on avoiding Main Street at all costs, Liz found herself wandering down Washington Street instead. At the corner of Washington and Sixth, Liz saw an unfamiliar building. The lettering on the front window read, "Ramierz and Associates."
To add to Liz’s luck, there was also a "Help Wanted" sign next to it.
The bells rang to announce her entrance as Liz walked into the office. Sitting behind the desk was a young blonde woman, who couldn’t have been much older than Liz. She was flipping though some paperwork. When the bell rang, she looked up.
"Can I help you," she asked nicely.
Liz approached the desk. "Yes. I’m here about the job."
The woman smiled. "Well, the job is mainly bookkeeping and filing, basic secretarial stuff. Any problems so far?"
"No," Liz said, relaxing just a bit.
"Good," the woman replied, her smile getting a bit bigger. "Just between you and me, we need more help around here desperately, and the only people I’ve seen applying for this job have been completely incompetent fools."
Donning a quizzical expression, Liz searched the woman’s face. "What makes you think I’m different?"
The woman shrugged her shoulders. "I have a sixth sense about these sort of things," she told Liz, pulling a stack of papers out of a drawer. "Here," she said, handing them to Liz. "Fill these out and bring them back to me. I’ll make sure Jesse gets them."
"Jesse," Liz asked.
Laughing, the woman leaned back in her chair a bit. "Mr. Ramierz, the owner. Man, you must be new in town…"
Liz nodded her head. "That I am," she whispered as she smiled and walked over to some chairs. Pulling a pen out of her purse, Liz went to work filling out the papers.
Ten minutes later, the bells on the door rang again, and another woman walked in. Liz glanced up, her heart dropping at who she saw standing by the secretary’s desk.
It was Tess. No, correction, a very pregnant Tess, talking to the woman behind the desk.
"Is he back there Courtney," Tess demanded, sounding irritated as she shifted uncomfortably on her feet.
Courtney nodded. "Yeah, but I don’t think this is a good time Tess," she warned. "He has been a raving lunatic all morning."
"Please," Tess softened. "He shouldn’t be here today. He should be at home or… I don’t know… just not here."
"I know," Courtney conceded. "He’s in his office. Go on back. I’ll keep a hold on his calls."
"Thanks," Tess sighed as she waddled her way down the hall, disappearing from view.
Liz couldn’t breathe. Tess was still around. Hell, Tess was pregnant, probably with Max’s child. Liz had pushed for this, left town for eight years so that Max and Tess could embrace their destiny without her around to complicate things.
However, seeing this in person was a far different thing. Deep down, the realization of it made Liz ache. Her long buried jealously for Tess came rushing forward, compounded with her feelings for Max. And it made the sickness in her stomach grow and churn.
Quickly, Liz got up and made her way to Courtney’s desk. "Here you go," she managed to say, plopping the papers down on the desk. Then, without waiting for Courtney to go through them, Liz turned around and left.
Tess knocked softly on the door, quietly waiting for an answer.
"Go away," Max demanded angrily. "I said no visitors. I have work to get done."
Slowly, Tess pushed the door open, finding herself facing the back of a tall leather chair. "That’s bullshit," she told him, knowing that it was true.
The chair whipped around. Tess stood there in shock at the Max that she found sitting before her. His eyes were hollow and gaunt, showing no emotion, only irritation. The golden tone his skin usually donned was ashen to a sickly yellow. Stubble dotted his chin, completely opposing the normally clean shaven face.
Tess had never seen him look worse. Not even after Liz had left all those years ago. Maybe that was because, deep down, he always hoped she would come back. Now, Liz Parker could never come home.
Tess swallowed hard, trying to choke back the sob that was forming in her throat. The man in front of her wasn’t Max Evans, but rather a shell housing his broken spirit.
"You didn’t come," she whispered, shakily taking another step towards him.
Max slumped back in the chair. "What would be the point," he asked coldly.
"To say goodbye," Tess gasped, staring at him in shock.
Max’s eyes lit up in anger. Pounding one fist on the desk, he quickly stood up, pushing the chair out of the way with the other. "That’s not her," he shouted, pointing out the window. "There is nothing in that grave!"
"Max," Tess started to protest, but Max continued.
"I don’t want to hear about denial or the grieving process. I’ve gotten enough of that crap from Isabel," he seethed, storming towards the bookcase.
"She’s worried about you," Tess yelled at him. "We all are. And we’ll help you, if you let us."
"I don’t deserve it," Max stated simply, leaning on the bookcase. He picked up a book and threw it across the room. The loud bang caused Tess to jump back. Her eyes grew wider as she saw Max fall to his knees.
Covering his face with his hands, Max began to sob uncontrollably. Tentatively, Tess crossed the room, stopping beside him. She knelt down awkwardly next to him, tenderly placing a hand on his shoulder.
"What do you mean, Max," she questioned softly. "Why do you say you don’t deserve our help?"
"I killed her," he cried out.
Tess dropped her hand. "What," she exclaimed. "Max … no you didn’t."
"Liz left because of me," he explained in between sobs. "She left because I had a destiny to follow, and I didn’t stop her. I never went after her. Liz died and I could have stopped it."
"No you couldn’t have," Tess insisted, moving closer. She place a hand on each side of Max’s face, forcing him to look up at her. "Things happen, Max. We all know that and you’re not to blame for it. If anyone’s to blame, its…."
Max wrenched his face from her hands. "Don’t Tess," he ordered, moving to rest against the wall.
Leaning her weight on her calves, Tess looked down at the floor. "It’s my fault. I know you think that, everyone does. If I had never come, she would still be here. If I wasn’t destined to be with you, she would have never left. Please don’t deny it, it’s the truth."
Max shook his head, tears still rolling from his eyes. "You have no idea what you’re talking about."
"I do to," Tess exclaimed in frustration. "We’ve never been close.
Even after you forgave all those years ago, we have never been buddy buddy. It’s not like you didn’t have a reason. That’s why I came here alone. I wanted to give you a chance to put blame where it was due."
Max tried to push his body further against the wall, almost like a hurt animal. "Christ Tess. What did you think I would do… swear at you, tell you to get out of Roswell, attack you in some way. Okay. We were never friends, but I thought you would give me more credit than that."
Slowly, with jerky motions, Tess rose to her feet, placing a hand carelessly across her swollen belly. "I did, until you didn’t come to the service. Till I found you here, wallowing in self-blame and pity. If you are not going to blame me, then put fault somewhere logical. Curse the cliff, or the weather, maybe the car. But do not pull this martyr crap."
Taking more cautious steps, Tess started to walk towards Max again. He looked up at her, his eyes red and puffy with tears that had been shed, while more tears threatened to fall.
"We’re in bad shape Max," Tess told him plainly. "Maria has been catatonic since we heard. Michael hasn’t slept because he is so worried about her and about you. Isabel keeps running around, offering a strong shoulder to everyone, but no one seems to have one for her. Alex seems to be simply lost. And Kyle… he can’t even bring himself to look at me. My own husband won’t come near me."
The sting of familiar tears built up, but Tess kept going. "I know the timing sucks. I know that you more than anyone has the right to fall apart. But you can’t. Please hold it together, please," she pleaded with him.
Bracing himself against the wall, Max pushed himself up, still very unsteady on his feet. "I’m sorry Tess," he said, pulling her into a hug. "Oh God, I am sorry."
It is amazing what people can convince themselves of. Eight years ago, I found myself convinced that Max needed to be with Tess. That she was much better for him than I was. She was his destiny.
However, today I faced the reality. When I saw Tess pregnant, Max’s child growing in her stomach, I felt sick. Sick because everything I had convinced myself of came crashing down in a second.
I still yearn for Max. Now, more than ever, I can’t deny it. After all these years, my soul cries out for his. Still, I will never have him. He belongs to Tess, and I have found myself in a situation of my own creation.
Sitting in that office, I learn another valuable lesson. Liz Parker isn’t really gone. I can walk around as Lynn Howard, create her persona, and allow her to live. Yet, it will still be Liz behind the controls. One glimpse at something from my past and I went running.
How can I possibly keep them safe when hurts so much just to be around them?
With that, Liz close her journal. She fell back on the bed, finally letting the tears she had been holding on to fall. Falling until they lulled her into sleep.
|posted on 12-Oct-2002 5:13:09 PM by Anniepoo98|
|posted on 2-Nov-2002 8:16:41 PM by Anniepoo98|
I'm back. Thanks for all the feedback, and bumps. I love getting bumps. Makes me all happy. Well, I have a new part. You'll get to see a little in to why Liz is doing what she is doing.
I hope that you like the part....
P.S. Bold Italic in this story are Liz's journal entries. Just regular Italics are dreams and thoughts.
Liz found herself standing on the old balcony just outside her bedroom window. This place had always been a place of comfort, but tonight was going to change everything… forever.
She left Max standing in the desert, letting him watch her walk away. And it wasn’t fair to him, to leave things like that. He never asked for a destiny, for a planet that depended on him, a wife that was created just for him.
Now, she was going to give him a chance to walk away from her. To embrace the role that belong to him.
Forcing herself to sit down, Liz felt Max getting closer. There was always a gentle humming in her veins, ever since he had healed her. Anytime he got close, the hum increased causing the blood in her veins to pulse and her heart to race.
Max appeared over the balcony, his eyes instantly meeting with hers. "I’m glad you called," he sighed in relief, moving towards her quickly.
Liz leapt from her seat, moving as far away from Max as she could. She knew that if he managed to touch her, however light or brief, her resolve would dissolve. "We have to talk," she admitted, trying to sound sure.
The hurt in Max’s eyes was apparent. He was determined to make her understand that she was the only one he wanted. Whatever happened back on his home planet was in the past. Hell, it was a lifetime ago, and one that didn’t include her. At the moment, Max wasn’t concerned about a time in his life, past or present, that didn’t include Liz.
"I can’t do this," Liz breathed, breaking the silence that had fallen between them.
Max searched her eyes. "Can’t do what?"
A shiver ran up her spine. "Be with you," she said, even softer. "I don’t want risk my life all the time. I’m only sixteen. I don’t want to die."
Taking a step forward, Max cringed when he saw Liz jump. Running his hands though his hair, he let out a groan of frustration. "If this is something to do with the message…" he started.
Liz cut him off. "You’re not listening, Max. This has to do with me and you. Nothing else."
Max looked at her pleadingly. "Why are you saying this? Where did this come from?"
"I’m saying it because it’s the truth," Liz countered. "I’m afraid of us being together, of what could happen."
"That’s not true," Max retorted, feeling the anger rise. "Less than twenty-four hours ago, you were chased by the FBI, shot at, and jumped off a bridge… all for me. And afterwards, you said you loved me. I believe that, not this."
It tore at her to watch him, emotions running across his face. It was more than she could bear. Turning her back to him, Liz continued to lie. "That’s your problem, not mine. I’m just telling you how I feel."
Max shook his head. It didn’t matter that she couldn’t see it. Everything in his being wanted her to stop acting like this. "No your not."
Liz let out a little laugh, racking her brain from something to say. The words to hurt him enough to forget her. "Of course you don’t believe me. Why should you? You’ve seen me lie to anyone and everyone I’ve ever cared about. That was for you too."
"I love you," Max whispered because her words cut him more deeply than anything ever had. "That’s not a lie. Ever since I first saw you, there’s been this pull. It’s like you have your own gravity. I’ve fought against it, denied it, deprived myself of it to protect you."
He began to move up behind her. Liz could feel the heat off his body, reaching out to her, growing with every step he took. Yet, he never touched her.
"You were just too strong, Liz. I couldn’t fight or deny it, and I sure as hell don’t want to deprive myself anymore. Please Liz, just say the word. Tell me what is really going on. Give into the pull."
She could feel each little puff of air from his mouth brushing down her neck as he said each word. Liz lowered her head to stop him from seeing the tears brimming in her eyes. "It’s not what I want. I don’t want that kind of… obligation," she choked out. "Please, I want you to go."
Max took a step back, giving in for the time being. "This isn’t over," he told her. "I can’t give up Liz. I will come for you."
Liz swallowed down another sob. "I won’t be here."
That stopped Max in his tracks. "What do you mean," he asked desperately. "Where are you going?"
"Away," Liz replied shortly. "I can’t be near you right now, Max. I’m leaving, and I don’t know when I’ll be back."
She heard a wounded cry come from behind her. The pain etched in the sound made her turn quickly. She saw Max standing by the rungs of the latter, leaning on the metal for support. He looked so lost. It took all her willpower to just watch as he lifted his head to face her.
Max was using every ounce of strength not to crumble right then and there. It felt like his world was spinning out of control, off its axis. It was without it’s gravity. "I will come for you," he repeated lowly, then climbed down the latter.
Liz listened to clinks and clatter down the latter as he walked away from her. A sound that was replaced quickly by a phone ringing….
The telephone ripped Liz from her dream. She reached out, her fingers fumbling along the nightstand until she found the receiver. "Hello," she mumbled groggily, having no clue who could possibly be calling her.
"Is this Lynn Howard," the voice on the other end asked.
Rolling over onto her back, Liz pulled the phone with her, resting it on her chest. "Yeah, this is Lynn Howard. May I ask who’s calling?"
"Sorry about that. This is Jesse Ramirez," the voice came again. "You filled out an application a few days ago and I was wondering if you would like to meet for an interview?"
An interview. That immediately grabbed Liz’s attention. "Yes," she replied quickly, shooting up in bed. "An interview would be great. When, what time?"
Jesse couldn’t help but laugh at the enthusiasm in the woman’s voice. "Hmmm… I have to be in court at ten. How about I meet you at the Crashdown at nine. The courthouse is right across the street."
Liz felt the lump of bile crawling up her throat. She had only been in town a week and succeeded in avoiding her parent’s restaurant. Well, ever since the run in with Alex. "Wo… wouldn’t it be better to meet in your office," Liz suggested.
There was a slight pause. "Well, I really wanted to stop by the restaurant anyway. Can you make it there by nine o’clock?"
Letting out a sigh of dread, Liz could tell that it would be no use to argue. Besides, she really needed this job. "Okay. I’ll see you there at nine."
Good," Jesse exclaimed. "See you then." With that, he hung up the phone.
Liz fell back on the bed, contemplating her decision. She could survive an hour in her parents restaurant.
Let me know what you think????
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 3-Nov-2002 1:41:58 PM ]
|posted on 2-Dec-2002 9:40:40 PM by Anniepoo98|
|SORRY SORRY SORRY!!!!! I have just been crazy lately. I didn't mean to leave my stories hanging... I swear. Really, I didn't. Things are starting to even out though... so hopefully that means updates sooner. BUT I do have a part with me now. I hope that everyone likes it!|
Michael knelt down next to booth that was holding the person he cared for most in the world. "Maria," he said softly. "Please Maria. I need you to snap out of this."
Maria kept staring straight ahead. Nothing in particular held her attention. Instead, it was more like she was staring right thought objects, not seeing them.
Bending his head, Michael let out a low groan. Maria hadn’t really spoken in days, not since finding out about Liz. She also hadn’t eaten or slept much. Michael found himself at the point of desperation.
What am I going to do, his mind cried out. There just has to be something?
Michael was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn’t even hear Isabel come up behind him.
Laying a gentle hand on his shoulder, Isabel looked down at him. "No change," she asked softly, glancing over at the eerie figure Maria had become.
Shaking his head, Michael looked up at her. "She’s the same. God Isabel," he cried in frustration. "I’m going crazy."
Isabel sat down across from Maria, who made no inclination that she knew Isabel was even there. "Maybe she just needs time," Isabel commented, fully aware that at this point it wasn’t true.
"I can’t give her much longer," Michael told her. "She hasn’t been eating or sleeping either. If she stays like this much longer, she’s going to wind up in the hospital."
Nodding her head in a silent agreement, Isabel frantically searched her mind for an answer. However, it was Michael who made the suggestion.
"Do you think you can… you know," he questioned.
"I don’t…" Isabel started to say.
"It might be the only way to help her," Michael cut her off.
Isabel sat there in awe. Over the years since she had heard her mother’s message, Isabel would occasionally wonder when destiny would take the upper hand. Every fiber of her being fought against it tooth and nail, but she still expected it to eventually. Until that instant.
Michael was still kneeling on the ground, pleading with her to help Maria. To help the love of his life. In that moment, Isabel finally knew that destiny was dead and she said a quiet prayer of thanks.
"I’ll do it tonight," she told him. "No guarantees, but I’ll see if there is something that will help."
Instantly off the ground, Michael wrapped his arms around Isabel, pulling her into a bear hug. "Thank you so much."
Isabel returned the hug. "It’s so unfair," she stated generally about the situation they found themselves in.
Michael took a step back to look at her. "Have you seen Max since the…"
"Memorial," Isabel finished for him. "No. Tess called me. She said that she went to see him at the office and he was in bad shape. I left messages on his machine, but he hasn’t called back."
Nodding his head in understanding, Michael saw the worry in Isabel’s eyes. "He probably forgot to check it with everything going on. I’ll stop by his apartment today," he reassured her.
"Thank you," she whispered. "But he could still be at the office. I’m going to drop in this morning to see if he’s there, say hi to Jesse."
Involuntarily rolling his eyes, Michael moved to sit down next to Maria as the bells on the door chimed in the background. "Great. How’s Jesse? Pretend I care."
Suddenly Isabel’s features lit up. "Jesse," she said, showing a more enthusiasm then she had in days.
"Who did you think I was talking about," Michael asked. Then, it dawned on him. "He’s right behind me, isn’t he?"
"Hi Michael," Jesse said as Isabel tried to stifle a giggle.
"Hey man," Michael commented.
Jesse glanced at Maria. "She’s still the same," he half questioned, half commented.
"Yeah," Isabel confirmed. "Everything is pretty much the same."
"I gathered," Jesse commented. "He was in bad shape the last time I saw him."
Isabel hung on his words. "When was that," she questioned. "Is he at the office now?"
Jesse shook his head. "I didn’t see him this morning. I was talking about a few days ago, before the memorial."
"Oh God," Isabel gasped. "I have to find him. Can you give me a ride," she asked Jesse.
Looking down at his shoes, guilt fell over him. "I can’t. I have to be in court in an hour."
"But what about now," Isabel questioned desperately. She needed to find her brother.
Flinching at the worry in her voice, Jesse shook his head again. "I’m interviewing somebody for the bookkeeping position here. Where’s your car?"
Isabel’s eyes were wandering around the restaurant. "Alex has it. He said that he had an errand to run and his car is in the shop."
Michael was still caught up on the previous part of the conversation. "Who are you interviewing? I thought that everyone who applied for the job just wasn’t qualified for it."
Jesse smiled slightly. "They weren’t. This is someone new to town. In fact, she should be here any second."
On cue, the bells on the Crashdown doors chimed again.
Liz stood at the door hesitantly. This has got to be the worst idea I have ever had, she told herself. Can I just turn around and go back to my room?
Then, a tall, dark haired man turned to face her, and Liz knew it was too late. Quickly crossing the café towards her, he extended his hand. "You must be Miss Howard."
Liz gently shook his hand, then dropped it. "How did you know," she asked, almost demanded as she felt her defenses rising.
"My secretary gave me a brief description, but there also is the fact that I’ve never seen you around before. We don’t get many tourists this time of year, so really it was a simple deduction."
Liz found herself following him to a nearby booth. Only when she sat down, did Liz fully take a minute to access her surrounds. Glancing around the café, she noticed that nothing had really changed. The trimmings had been repainted, the colors much brighter than the last time she saw them, but that was the only noticeable difference.
Her eyes wandered over the occupants of every booth. None of them stood out either. Blending, Liz thought. Max had always just blended into the crowd, but she had noticed him. There was nothing about him that didn’t stand out in her mind. They way he walked, his quiet demenor, the gentleness in his voice. All of that was what made him special to her. His presence…
"Lynn," Jesse repeated for the third time, trying to get her attention.
Liz blushed with embarrassment. "I’m sorry," she apologized. "I didn’t mean to space out on you."
Jesse gave her a reassuring smile. "It’s no problem. I do it all the time in court. I was just saying that the little aptitude test you filled out was really good. All I need is a recommendation or two…"
"I don’t have any," Liz confessed.
"A previous employer could," Jesse thought aloud, but he saw Liz shaking her head. "So that’s the reason for that part of the application being blank. Okay, Lynn do you have anything that will help me out."
"All I have is social security card," she admitted.
Looking bewildered, Jesse racked his brain for something. "I’m really at a loss here," he told her honestly. "With out something to verify that…"
Liz had a strong feeling where the conversation was going. Standing up, she extended her hand back at Jesse. "I understand. Thank you for meeting with me…"
Jesse took her hand firmly. "Wait a second," he cut her off. "I didn’t say a thing about the meeting being over. I’m just trying to figure out a workable plan."
A feather could have knocked Liz over. "What," she gaped.
"To put it mildly, you seem to be the only applicant who will have any clue about there doing. Besides that, I have a gut feeling that your an honest person, don’t ask me why. But I have a habit of following inclinations, so when can you start?"
"You’re… you’re giving me the job," she stuttered.
Liz fell back in the booth. "I don’t know what to say," she whispered.
"Well, if you’re going to accept the job, you’d say yes," Jesse teased.
"Yes," Liz exclaimed. "I don’t know how to thank you."
"Work hard," Jesse commented. "Listen, I have feeling that there is something that you’re hiding. That’s your business. As long as it doesn’t affect mine, I think that this will be a good arrangement."
Liz nodded her agreement. Excitement filled her veins. Maybe things will take a turn for the better, she hoped.
"Can I get you guys anything," a gruff voice interrupted her thoughts. Even though it had been eight years, Liz would have known that voice. Looking up, she saw Michael glancing down at her.
The second he laid eyes on her, Michael felt a twinge of recognition. She was as familiar to him as his own hand, yet he couldn’t place where he had seen her before. So being Michael, he decided to just ask. "Do I know you?"
Liz stared for a moment. "No," she finally said, getting over the shock. "I’m new in town."
Michael wasn’t convinced. "Okay, you want coffee?"
"No thank you," she replied politely, turning her head from his.
Nodding his head, Michael focused for a moment on Jesse. "What about you?"
Jesse started to say something, when suddenly Isabel came bounding up. "What about when you’re in court," she asked immediately. "Can I take your car?"
"Why can’t you take Michael’s car," Jesse questioned.
Michael began to explain why Isabel couldn’t have the car, but Isabel, herself, beat him to it. "I am not going to leave him and Maria here without any mode of transportation. Who knows what could happen? He might have to take her to the hospital or something."
Liz sat in silence, absorbing everything as Jesse reached into his pocket and fished out a set of keys. "What is the urgency, Isabel," Jesse wondered aloud as he passed her the keys.
Isabel took them quickly. "Jesse, you never met Liz Parker. You’ve never seen Max and Liz together. No one has heard from Max in days. I don’t like what this is adding up to."
Feeling her entire body begin to shake, Liz closed her eyes, taking deep breaths in and out. Oh God, she thought. What have I done? He can’t be that upset, can he? He should have moved on…
"Lynn," Jesse’s voice broke thought again. "Are you feeling okay?"
Without a word, Liz nodded her head. At this point, she definitely didn’t trust her own voice.
"Cause, you’re not looking so swift," Michael voiced his opinion.
Isabel reached over and whacked him on the arm. "Do we have to have another manners discussion?"
"I thought that the last one worked just fine," Michael joked slightly. The truth was that this new girl in town irked him.
"I have to go," Liz whispered, getting up from the table. "I’ll see you in the office tomorrow?"
Jesse nodded his head. "That would be great. I’ll see you then."
"I also have to get going," Isabel told them, moving alongside Liz. "Lynn, right?"
Liz looked up.
"Do you need a ride? Michael may be rude, but has was kinda right. You did get really pale for a moment."
Smiling faintly, Liz shook her head again. "I’m fine, but thank you." With that, Liz started to walk a bit faster. She needed to get out of there, fast. Practically running to the door, Liz almost didn’t see it opening. When she did, she moved aside, barely brushing against the person walking in.
The brief contact, a light touch of elbow against shoulder, skin against skin, ignited her. It was a feeling she had never forgotten. Warmth for a moment, then the crackle of energy like lighting shooting thought her veins. Intense and smooth, it hovered in her mind, making her lightheaded on the sensation.
"MAX," Isabel cried out the second he entered the café. She ran over to him, wrapping her arms around him tight. "I have been sooo worried. Never do that again."
Holding her close for a moment, Max couldn’t help smile at his sister usual reaction, even as guilt weighted down on him. "I’m sorry. I just had to…"
"What," she exclaimed, taking a step back to get a good look at him. "Had to scare me to death. Had to disappear and not tell anyone. That’s just the most…"
"Isabel," Alex interrupted.
She instantly turned to him. "And you," she scolded, pointing her finger at him. "You lied to me. A part for your computer my ass. How did you know where he was?"
"I just had a feeling," Alex said, shrugging his shoulders.
"A feeling," Isabel repeated, sighing. "I don’t know whether to slap you or kiss you senseless."
A grin passed over Alex’s mouth. "Personally, I like the second one better."
"Duh," Michael commented, but his eyes weren’t focused on the touching reunion in front of him. His gaze followed Liz as she quietly slipped out of the restaurant in all the commotion.
|posted on 30-Dec-2002 12:33:00 PM by Anniepoo98|
|Howdy all. Sorry that it keeps taking me so long to post parts. Here I thought I was going to get a break and have so extra time to get ahead on my stories, but boy was I wrong. Gotta love the holidays. I'm hoping that things will slow down in January. After all, I'm going from having three jobs to only having two... what will I do with the extra time|
Anyway, here is the new part. I hope that you like it. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the bumps. God, you all are toooooo good to me. Especially Lizzie_is_a_Dreamer. Four bumps. Gracious of goodness!!!
"Nothing’s changed," Max asked softly as he approached Michael in the kitchen.
Michael shook his head. "She just stares Max, like she’s not even there. Isabel is going to take a peek tonight. See if maybe there is anything in there that could help us bring her out of it, but I’m not so sure."
Max studied the expression on Michael’s face. "You don’t think it will work?"
Shrugging his shoulders, Michael reached across the counter and grabbed a spatula. "I’m praying it will. I know that I really don’t believe in that kind of thing, but if it will bring her back to normal, I’ll kiss the floor of every church I come across."
There was something more that Michael wasn’t saying. Max knew it. "But?"
"But," Michael started. "I think that there is more to it than … well, Liz…"
"Dying," Max finished.
Nodding his head, Michael flipped the burger patty over. "I think Maria blames herself. Not just for Liz dying, but for her leaving in the first place."
"I know how she feels," Max commented.
Michael whipped around. "That’s crap," he yelled. "Why are you guys blaming yourselves? Liz is the one who left, who never came back. That was the choice she made. She was the one behind the wheel when the damn car when off the cliff. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!"
Max lowered his head, not really knowing what to say to make Michael understand. "We didn’t stop her," he finally told his best friend, hoping that it would help him to accept the reasoning behind their feelings. "She might have made the choices, but we did nothing to sway her the other way."
"This is about the day we heard the message," Michael blurted out. "Isn’t it? Damnit Maxwell, if you really need someone to blame for this, then choose me. I’m the one who stopped you from going after her that day. You can scream at me, kick my ass, just stop doing it to yourself."
"That’s not the whole story," Max tried to calm Michael down. It wasn’t going to work.
"Then tell me the whole story, because half of one is sure as hell not doing any good," he yelled.
Max nodded. "I saw Liz, before she left for Florida. She tried to push me away and I told her it wasn’t going to work. Then, I left. God, if I hadn’t been such a fool. I should have stayed. Maybe then I could have gotten her to understand that destiny meant nothing to me."
"And you’re sure it wasn’t an act," Michael asked angrily.
"I know…" Max started, stopping when it hit him. The familiar sting of tears welled up in his eyes. Michael took a step towards him, but Max moved out of the way.
"I knew Liz Parker," Max choked out. "She couldn’t hurt someone just to do it. There was a reason. The guilt would have killed her if there wasn’t."
A realization suddenly hit Michael like a ton of bricks. Guilt. An emotion that carried with it a very familiar expression or even vibe if you will. He could see it, feel it coming off of Max in waves. He remember it hanging on Maria for a moment before she slipped away from them.
And it had oozed from every ounce of being on the new girl that Jesse just hired. There was just something about her that rubbed Michael the wrong way. She was a complete stranger who was quickly coming too close to their group. He didn’t think that it was coincidence that she arrived right after Liz died.
Tossing the spatula on the counter, long forgetting the burger that was burning on the grill, he made his way over to the door.
"Where are you going," Max called out after him.
Michael looked over his shoulder. "I have to run an errand. Can you make sure that Maria gets back to the apartment? Maybe get her to eat something?"
"I’ll do my best," Max promised, happy for a project that might keep his mind occupied for a little bit.
"Thanks," Michael said gratefully, walking out the backdoor of the restaurant.
"Want some lunch," Tess called out, standing over the stove, cooking a can of soup. At this point in the pregnancy, it seemed to be the only thing that didn’t make her stomach upset.
"No," Kyle said, shaking his head to emphasis it. "I need to get to the station. Hanson called in."
Tess whirled around, bumping into the corner of the counter on her way. "Ow," she gasped, placing a hand over her stomach.
Kyle rushed to her side. "Are you okay," he asked, urging her over to a kitchen chair.
"Sure," Tess whined, easing into the seat, hand still rubbing her belly. "I’m eight and half months pregnant, swollen and stiff in places I never knew existed, everything around us is falling apart, and you’re avoiding me. Yeah honey, that’s peachy with a side of keen."
Taking a deep breath, Kyle grabbed a chair and sat down next to her. "Great, hysterics," he muttered. "I thought this stage pregnancy passed like two months ago."
The hand that was covering her belly left its place to start rubbing her head. "I’m not hysterical," she told him calmly. "I’m scared."
Kyle reached up, taking her hand in his. "Baby, everything will be fine. I promise."
"And how is it that you know all that," Tess asked, looking her husband straight in the eye.
Not being able to think of a good answer, or at least one that would make her happy, Kyle just shrugged his shoulders.
"Perfect," Tess puffed out as she hoisted herself back onto her feet. Waddling, she made her way over to the bedroom, Kyle not too far behind.
"What are you doing," he asked, watching as she squatted down to grab an overnight bag.
"Going to Isabel’s," Tess informed him, ripping open a drawer and randomly stuffing things into the bag. "I can’t take it anymore, Kyle. I would love it a lot more if you would yell or get mad me, but you don’t. You," she said pointing at him, "leave."
"I’m going to work," Kyle corrected. "There’s a difference."
"Not when you promised to be here," Tess countered. "You said, and I quote, ‘Oh honey, when it’s about time for the baby to come, I’ll take my vacation. I’ll stay home with you.’ Staying home is not going to work. There’s your difference."
"I’m not avoiding you Tess," Kyle switched gears, and by placing a hand on each of her shoulders, he willed her to believe it. "I’m just as worried as you."
Tess sat on the edge of the bed, taking in deep breaths. After a moment or two, she lifted her head to look at Kyle. "Then stay with me," she pleaded. "I need you to be here so badly. I’m sorry about what happened to Liz. I know it’s my fault, but please Kyle, don’t hate me. I need you so much," she cried.
Kyle watched as his wife broke down in front of him. The strongest woman he had ever known was crumbling before him. To say it was a shock to him was an understatement. Hell, he could count the number of times Tess had cried on one hand. Until now.
Quickly walking over to the bed and taking a seat beside her, Kyle pulled at her, urging her to come closer. Tess no longer had any strength to resist, so she curled into him, resting her head on his shoulder. Kyle leaned over, nuzzling his lips to her temple.
"I could never hate you Tess," he reassured her. "Never. I just love you to much too ever do that."
"But," Tess started to say. However, he reached over with his other hand, gently placing a finger against her lips.
"Never," he repeated. "The rest is just grief. On both our parts. I miss Liz, but what happened to her is not your fault. It’s no ones, and that’s the most frustrating part of all."
"I still could have stopped it," Tess sighed. "I should have given up on Max the first time I saw him and Liz together. After all, I knew how they felt. I knew, but I still…"
"Followed orders," Kyle finished for her, lightly stroking her cheek, when what he really wanted to do was put his fist through the wall. They were quickly turning onto his least favorite subject in the world. Nasado.
"It’s over baby," he whispered to her, deciding that she didn’t need his anger on top of everything else. She was too upset as it was. ""Everything is different now."
Tess nodded her head slightly, agreeing with her husband. "But is it better," she asked, curling closer to him.
"As long as I’m with you, I’ve got no complaints," Kyle shrugged it off.
The sun started to set beyond the desert hills surrounding Roswell, casting off soft tones of purple, pinks, and yellows. The blended together, bouncing off of Liz’s skin as she reached the top steps that lead to her hotel room.
It stuck her then just how much she had missed sunsets in Roswell. The ones in Florida were much more harsh. Brilliant, vibrant colors that would sting the eye. In Boston, the sunsets were too short. One never had enough time to revel in them.
Roswell’s were perfect. The hills shadowed against the setting skyline, and Liz was sure that God must marvel each time he painted this picture. Too bad it took me this long to appreciate what I had right in front of me, she thought, slipping the key into the lock.
However, with the slightest touch, the door swung open. Liz’s eyes widened in fear. "Who’s there," she called into the room.
There was no answer.
Walking in slowly, hand instinctively raised out in front of her, Liz entered the room. "Who’s there," she yelled again. Cautious step after step, she took a quick survey of the room. A few things were out of place, especially her journals, which were strewn across the bed. However, that wasn’t the thing unnerving Liz the most. She could feel the energy humming around her from the person who had been in the room… or still was.
A creak sounded as the door slowly began to close. Liz deliberately turned her head, trying to avoid sudden movements. She caught a shadow lurking over by the door, where he had been hidden just a moment ago.
"Who are you," she demanded, feeling aware of everything around her.
"An old friend," a deep voice echoed.