Picking Up the Pieces (ff)/UC but Dreamer moments, AN 1/2/03
posted on 20-Sep-2002 9:34:51 AM by littleroswell
This was written right after "Cry Your Name" when Alex died. Keep in mind that it is that old when you read it. Enjoy!
Picking Up The Pieces
Rating: PG to PG-13
Category: UC (Mi/L, I/Brody, K/M, and Serena/Sean)
Summary: The war is over and the group from Roswell has won, but at what price?
Author’s Note: I’ve never done a UC fic before as I am a total dreamer through and through but this fic came to me and I thought I’d see what everyone’s reaction would be. Let me know what you think.
The rain hits my umbrella but I don’t hear it. Jim Valenti delivers the eulogy, but I don’t hear him either. I don’t see or hear anything but the casket being lowered into the ground. That’s what I focus on, the closed casket. Why that? I can only think that because it’s closed, the person that everyone says is in that casket isn’t. It can’t really be that we are burying him. He was so alive and so ready to win this war. Well, we won, but at what cost?
Alex was only the first in a long list of casualties in this war. Tess was next to go, killed by Larek by reason of treason. My parents, the Evans, Amy Valenti, so many humans and aliens, Larek and Ava, they were all gone. Dear Ava who had come to complete the four-square so that we’d have a chance in this terrible war. Lastly, they had killed him, and then we had killed Khavar.
I hear a sniff coming from beside me. I look down at the small figure holding so tightly to my hand. He says nothing, doesn’t even let a whimper out, but those crystal blue eyes were full of tears. He is so brave, never letting fear get in the way of what has to be done. He looks up at me, feeling my eyes upon his face and buries his face in my skirt.
Absently, I pat his hand and his head and let him cry. Poor thing thinks that HE really is gone but he can’t be. He’ll be waiting for me when I get home. It’s not really him in that casket. Several roses hit the top of the casket and, unable to watch, I look at everyone’s faces.
Jim, we don’t call him Sheriff anymore, his face is etched with pain like all of us, pain for the wife that he had lost. Kyle, holding onto Maria, is looking down with that helpless expression on his face. Inside, I know he’s trying to find the balance in the universe brought with this loss. Maria, dear Maria, who had long since found out that Michael would let her rant and rave for as long as she wanted to, but he didn’t care or listen, but on the other hand, Kyle listened and comforted or scolded, whichever the occasion called for. They had only been married a year but that had been a long year. I look at Isabel, standing with Brody. Her face is like stone, but her eyes tell me that she no more believes who is in the casket than I do. Brody throws the flower he is holding and puts his arm back around Isabel. They made an unusual couple, I admit I hadn’t seen it coming, but Isabel had been good for Brody and visa versa. Sydney had adored Isabel and was delighted when she found out they were to be married, delighted until she too was killed in this war. Isabel and Brody had put off the wedding; it didn’t seem right to be happy in the midst of all this pain. Serena, standing with Maria’s cousin Sean, was watching me carefully out of the corner of her eyes. They made a good match, I had decided.
Finally, I look at Michael. Michael, standing like a stone wall but looking older than his 23 years. I have never seen him cry before, not even when Maria broke his heart. He had said he understood, but there were tears in his eyes now.
He looks up at me, and I quickly look away. Instead, I look down at my left hand sitting on top of the small boy’s head. His face is still buried in my skirt, but I know that his tears have slowed due to the decrease of his shaking. I pat his head again.
“Liz,” Jim says, getting my attention.
I look at him and realize that it’s my turn to throw my flowers and to say goodbye. I know this but apparently, my body refuses to obey. I cannot seem to will myself to move. Flowers aren’t the only things I brought to put in that grave. I slowly take my left hand off of the boy’s head and put it in my bag. I pull out a small book that is full of memories recorded by my hand. Seeing what I have, Maria comes over to me, as does Isabel, and she takes it from my hands.
“Liz, you can’t bury this with him. This is a way you can keep all the memories you shared alive,” Maria tells me.
“Because he isn’t?” I throw at her.
Isabel and Maria cringe at this. “Liz, he’s gone. I think Maria’s right. If you bury that with him, you might regret it later,” Isabel tells me.
“I have all our memories in my heart. He isn’t really gone anyway. He’ll help me remember and also make new memories. He isn’t dead,” I whisper.
“Are you sure?” Maria asks after a minute, meaning the small book.
I nod, unable to answer her. She takes the book over to Jim and whispers something to him. He nods and looks in my direction before kneeling before the grave. He opens the top to the coffin, and I cry out and almost drop to my knees. He is in there! He is really gone! He’s not waiting for me at home and never will be again! Everyone rushes to my side except Michael and Jim. The small boy looks up at me, over to where I am looking and starts to cry all over again at the sight before him. I drop my umbrella and his hand and cover my face. No! It can’t be real!
However, when I feel people’s arms around me, I shrug them off and watch as Jim places my journal in the casket in his hands and closes the lid back over him. Someone’s hands replace my umbrella in my hand, and I pitch the white roses in my hand onto the casket. I stand there shaking. I can’t cry; I can’t get rid of this lump in my throat and this hole where my heart used to be.
I look over at Isabel. I hadn’t realized that she had scooped the small boy into her arms. She was crying like all the others. Why couldn’t I cry? I loved him more than all the rest. Why couldn’t I get rid of this pain by crying it all out? It wasn’t fair that they could get relief in tears but I couldn’t.
“Maria, get Liz out of here,” I hear Jim tell her. “She shouldn’t hear the sound of the earth hitting the top of the casket.”
Before Maria can move toward me, I say shortly, “I will stay.”
“Liz,” Kyle starts to protest.
“I said, I’ll stay!” I snap at him.
Jim nods and the two nameless men with shovels start dumping dirt on top of the coffin. I can’t take it anymore. I drop the umbrella yet again and rush to the edge of the grave. Someone’s hands go around me, stopping me from jumping into the grave where I belong. I try to break free of them but they are strong. I look to see who has hold of me, and I am surprised to find that it is Michael.
“Let me go! I belong with him! I’m dead anyway! Let me go with him!” I cry. That was what it took to break the barrier to my tears. I suddenly let the flood out. I cry until I can’t breathe and still I cry.
“Liz, I’m not letting go of you. You can’t go with him. You have responsibilities here. What about Jeffrey Maxwell? Who will take care of him?” he asks me in a low voice.
I look over at the small figure in Isabel’s arms, terror in his eyes. I go limp in Michael’s arms, and he brings me away from the edge of the grave. He takes the umbrella that I had dropped from Maria’s extended hand and holds it over the both of us. He nods to the two men for them to continue. He doesn’t let go of me. We all watch the dirt hit the top of the casket until the whole top is completely covered.
Kyle and Maria come up to me and hug me. I don’t hug back or move at all. As they leave, Jim comes up and gives me a reassuring look and pats my shoulder before following in their direction. Brody and Isabel come up. Isabel carefully turns over the now sleeping figure of the small boy to Brody and hugs me and just holds me.
“It hurts, I know, but time will help heal you little by little,” she tells me.
“I don’t want to heal. I want him back,” I say harshly.
Isabel starts to say something; looking into my face, though, she changes her mind. Brody gives her a look that tells her that it won’t do any good. “Liz, we’ll take Jeffrey with us for now, just until you’re ready for him again,” he says to me.
I simply nod. Yes, just take away the one thing I have left. The ironic thing is that he isn’t even mine. I stop Brody before he heads away from us to look at the sleeping figure. He looks just like him. No, not just like him. He has his mother’s blue eyes, and while the coloring of his hair is his father’s, it has waves of loose curls like his mother. Thank god we were able to save him.
I take his small hand in mine and look into his face. I wrap his coat more tightly around him and kiss the top of his head. I look back at Brody and nod. He heads toward his car. Isabel hugs me one last time and follows after him. I watch them drive off and turn back to look at the grave one last time. I notice that Michael has loosened his grip on me but not let go.
“Let me take you home, Liz,” he says, letting go of my waist and taking hold of my hand.
I snatch my hand away and look at the ring on it; the ring that HE had placed there. It was so beautiful once, but now it looked cold and like it was mocking me. It knew that he was gone. I start to cry again, my sobs shaking my whole frame. Michael takes hold of me again and leads me to his car. He gently guides me into the car and closes the door. He goes around to the other side and climbs in, starting the car. As he pulls away, I look back through blurry tears at the two men still shoveling dirt into the grave. When I can no longer see them, I cry all the harder and bury my face in my hands until no more tears will come.
Michael drives slowly, fitting for a rainy, sad day. As the rain hits the car and my window, I shiver. All that’s left of my tears are the hiccups. The rain and my cry helped somewhat, not much but enough to make me sleepy. I sigh and yawn, still staring out the window. I remember nothing after that until I woke up the next morning on top of my bed, still in my dress from the day before.
I get up slowly and go into the small bathroom. I take off my dress and leave it in the floor with my slip and pantyhose. I take off my bra and stare at myself in the mirror for a long time, looking for the latest loss to appear in my face. I return to the bedroom and put on one of his shirts. I then go down and across the hall into my old room, which is now Jeffrey’s room, and look around. I go over to the window and look out onto the balcony where we had spent so many hours. I refuse to see the destroyed building next door. I pull the curtain closed and go back across the hall and climb back into bed. I look around the room and over at the nightstand where there are three pictures with one picture standing upright. It is our wedding picture and I turn it face down too. The other pictures are of my parents and the Evans, turned face down long ago.
I notice that I have a message on my answering machine. I press the play button and Michael’s voice fills the quiet room. “Liz, I know that now isn’t a good time but we need to have a meeting. We’ll meet in the café at 8 o’clock tonight. Plan on being there as it involves you as well as Jeffrey. If you need anything, anything at all . . .” but I don’t let it finish. The machine called out the date and time of the call. He had called at 9 this morning. It was now 11. The ringer on the phone must be turned off.
I climb back in bed and stay there until I go back to sleep. I wake up two more times but don’t open my eyes, willing myself to go back to sleep each time. Finally, I hear some commotion coming from downstairs, and instinctively, I get up cautiously. I put on a bathrobe and open the door to the bedroom silently. I go to the stairs with my arm stretched out in front of me. I move quieter than a cat down the stairs and almost run right into Maria.
My heart skips a beat as she startles me. “God, Maria! You about scared me to death,” I tell her.
“I’m sorry. It’s awful dark in here, Liz. What have you been doing all day?” she asked.
All day? I look at the clock on the wall. 7:50 pm. I sigh and head back up the stairs. Maria calls up to me. “Where are you going?” she asks.
“To change my clothes,” I answer shortly. I disappear into the bedroom and close the door.
I put on my comfy gray sweat pants and leave the shirt on that HE used to wear. I go into the bathroom and sweep my hair up into a loose ponytail. I study my face critically. I’m pale and drawn and look like I haven’t slept in years. My eyes are still red and puffy from my crying earlier. I turn out the light and go to my dresser to pull out some socks. I put them on and go back down the stairs.
As I enter the café, I notice that everyone is there except Jeffrey. I start to panic until I hear the toilet flush in the men’s room and he comes padding out. He comes over to me and throws his arms around my waist. I bend down to hug him and lead him to a chair where I sit and hold him. Isabel sets a mug in front of me and pours me a cup of coffee.
I reach for the cream and sugar and Jeffrey stops me. He gives me half a smile as he puts his hand over the mug. When he takes his hand away again, the coffee is lighter. I taste it and it is just the way I like it. I smile encouragingly at him and he is pleased. I don’t discourage the use of his powers. Powers are what keep us alive and besides, there was no reason to hide them. Humans were more than well aware of the presence of extraterrestrials on their planet. They were just starting to pick up the pieces of their lives and their homes after the 6 years of war. Many had been killed but they had died in battle or for one side or the other. Earth would never be the same.
Michael cleared his throat. “I hate to bring up this subject at a time like this but the council says it is imperative to get this matter settled before we can really start reconstruction on either planet. The matter at hand is who is to rule. Liz is our queen by marriage. Isabel has blood ties to the throne. I have always been second in command. Jeffrey is the heir apparent. The council has told me that the people of both planets are eager to embrace a new leader for the future. Any of us will do but they want an answer. No matter who is chosen, we all are in this. It’s just that there has to be one person to serve as a spokesperson,” he said.
Isabel spoke first. “I don’t want that position. Obviously, Jeffrey is too young to assume the throne. Therefore, I suggest either you or Liz take charge,” she said.
There were nods and sounds of agreement heard around the room. I put Jeffrey down and stood up. “I am not the person for this job. The people were angry enough when I was crowned queen after we were married. Yes, they got used to me and now they seem to adore me but this isn’t the role I was born to. Genetically altered now or not, I was born human and they will not accept a human queen without questions. Michael, as second in command, you are now first,” I say.
I walk over to him, and he kneels before me. I close my eyes and place my hands on his shoulders. “I declare you our new king. King Maxwell Xan is dead,” I squeak. I clear my throat and continue. “Long live King Michael Rath,” I whisper.
A glow forms around Michael and I and there is a crown of light above his head as he stands. Tears form in my eyes again as I hear the words go around the room, “Long live the King.” That was the first time I had said aloud that Max was dead.
[ edited 24time(s), last at 2-Jan-2003 1:36:21 PM ]
posted on 20-Sep-2002 12:21:47 PM by littleroswell
I will have another part out by the end of the day. I hope you will enjoy this fic!
posted on 20-Sep-2002 12:56:29 PM by littleroswell
The phone rings, but I pull the covers over my head and put the pillow that HE used to sleep on on top of that to block out the sound. I’ve been in bed a total of three days now. I don’t really have any intention of ever getting out of it. I look over at my stereo and press play, wondering which song will come up. I’ve had a loop of several songs that we used to listen to or songs that remind me of HIM playing. As the machine finally picked up the phone, I turn the volume on the stereo up so that I can’t hear who’s calling.
My love has gone. His boots are no longer by my door.
He left at dawn, and as I slept I felt him go.
Returns no more.
I will not watch the ocean.
My love has gone. No earthly ships will ever bring him home again.
Bring him home again.
My love has gone. I know that kiss will be my last.
No more his song. The tune upon his lips has past.
I say hello, why do I watch the ocean?
My love has gone. No earthly ships will ever bring him home again.
Bring him home again.
My love has gone. His boots are no longer by my door.
He left at dawn, and as I slept I felt him go.
Returns no more.
I will not watch the ocean.
My love has gone. No earthly ships will ever bring him home again.
Bring him home again.
I hear the machine beep, signaling the end of the message. I reach over and hit the play button to listen to who called. The machine beeps as Jeffrey’s voice fills the silent room. My conscience pricks me. I haven’t seen Jeffrey in 3 days. I haven’t even called him to see how he’s doing. I had promised Max I would take care of him if anything ever happened to him. Was I already falling down on the job? I tried to ease my conscience by telling myself that I needed time to heal, and having Max’s son around would not help that process. My conscience tells me that I know better.
“Mommy? It’s me, Jeffey. Aunt Isabel said I could call you to see how you are. Are you ok? I know you miss daddy. I miss him too. I just wanted to know when I can come home. I miss you, mommy. Oh, Aunt Isabel says to tell you that Uncle Michael said he’s going to open the diner on Monday with or without you. Does that mean that we’ll be feeding people downstairs again? I hope so. I like having all those people around. Well, I guess I’ll say goodbye. I luv you, mommy. You can call me back if you want to,” Jeffrey’s voice says.
I sit up, letting the tears fall down my face. He calls me mommy because he doesn’t know. HE had decided that he didn’t want his son to know that his mother was a traitor. We would raise him as if he were mine. At first, I had a hard time accepting this tiny infant. This baby was the product of what I considered to be Max cheating on me with that thing that killed Alex. However, I found after a while that I enjoyed this tiny creature. He was adorable and fun to play with and he was half HIS. It hurt to look into those Siamese cat eyes of blue but when they smiled for me, it became easier. Max changed his name to Jeffrey Maxwell after my father’s death, and it helped that this child carried a name that I loved. As Ava proved herself to us, this also helped ease the fact that he was not mine. The final clincher had been when Max had had all of us, Maria, Kyle, Serena, Sean, Brody, and I, genetically altered so that we would be part alien too. I was the guinea pig in this new experiment, and as such there were complications, one of which was the fact that I would never have children of my own now. I was told that I was fortunate to be alive, but that was no comfort when I thought that I could never carry Max’s child. Therefore, after a time of mourning for the children I would never have, I had fully accepted Jeffrey as my own son.
I went into the bathroom, stripped and got into the shower. I stayed in there until the water that ran over me was freezing and I started shivering. Then I turned the water off and dried myself off. I put on some deodorant and fresh clothes and started to leave the bathroom. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and stopped. I was so thin from lack of food. My stomach growled at that. I can’t be hungry though; HE’S gone so I can’t do mundane things like eat. I didn’t want the world to go on with HIM gone.
I pull my hair into a ponytail and start to head downstairs when I hear someone in the basement below. Knowing that it is probably Michael, I am a little more relaxed as I head for the basement stairs, but only a little. That is what this war had done to us; made us paranoid, cautious beings like hunted animals. I open the basement door, and it squeaks a little. It’s enough for the movement below to stop.
“Liz? Is that you?” Michael’s voice filters up to me.
I let out a breath that I hadn’t realized I was holding. “Yes, Michael, it’s me,” I answer, heading down the stairs. I round the post at the bottom of the stairs and see him with clipboard in hand looking through the shelves. “What are you doing here?” I ask.
“Going over our stock,” he replied as if I should realize that.
“Michael, I’m not sure I’m ready to open the café yet,” I tell him.
He stops and turns to look at me. “That’s why I’m going to open it on Monday morning.”
Getting angry I tell him, “You don’t own this café, I do, and I say we aren’t ready to open yet. He won’t even have been buried a whole week on Monday. I think we need to show some respect.”
“How do you propose we do that, Liz, stay in bed for the rest of our lives? There are people who depend on us, who look to us for direction, and I can’t let them down. For one thing, I need something that resembles a kind of routine to get through this and this café is the only thing I can think of that is semi-normal,” he yells at me.
My eyes involuntarily fill with tears again. Michael softens at this and reaches a hand out to me. Hurt, though, I pull away from him. “No, Michael, if this is what you think the people need, then by all means open this stupid little café. I’m going back to bed,” I say, heading for the stairs.
“Liz, what about Jeffrey?” he asks, stopping me in my tracks.
I turn around and look at him hard. “What about Jeffrey?” I ask.
“He’s already lost a father that he worshiped. Is he going to lose the only mother he’s ever known too? He misses you and he’s scared. He wants to come home,” Michael says.
“I’ll get him when I’m ready. I don’t think it’s any of your business,” I throw at him.
“You’re wrong, Liz. I promised Max at the beginning of this war that if anything were to happen to him that I would take care of you and Jeffrey. I don’t go back on my promises. You are going to keep on living, Liz. You have to for Jeffrey, for Max’s memory,” he says quietly. I cringe at his words. He looks at me. “Yes, Liz, I said his name. I know that it’s painful for you, but you have to accept that Max is dead. He died and he’s not coming back. But, Liz, he died knowing that his son was alive and well and safe. He died knowing that he was married to the woman he loved and who loved him too. He died knowing that we were going to win even with him gone. Now, for your sake I want you to say it out loud. Say that Max is dead and that you love him and miss him,” he tells me.
“Go to hell, Michael!” I scream at him, fleeing upstairs. I slam the door to the bedroom shut and throw myself on the bed. I thought that I was all cried out but the tears came from someplace inside of me. I cried myself to sleep.
The dream came to me the same as it always did. I find myself in the basement with the baby, screams coming from above us. I want to cry out for Max but fear paralyzes me and I am silent. The small child is wide-eyed but quiet. I sit in the dark, waiting. I hear someone come down the stairs. Terrified, I put my hand out in front of me to blow away any enemy that might show his face. Relief floods me as I realize it’s my mother. She cries my name and comes over to where we are. There is blood all over her and she collapses at my feet. I scream and back away from her. She is still and quiet.
I sat up in the bed screaming for Max. I look around and realize that it was the dream again, but this time, Max isn’t there to ward off the demons that are chasing me. I cry and cry, not only for Max, but for all those we lost in the war. When I can’t cry anymore, I go into the bathroom and wash my face. I redo my hair and quietly open the door to the bedroom and peek out. It’s dark so I turn on the hall light. There is a tray of food outside of my door with water to drink. I’m suddenly ravenous and sit down on the floor beside the tray and begin to devour it.
After a couple of bites, I start to feel sick. I hadn’t eaten in almost a week and my body was protesting the starvation and devouring that I was forcing it through. I stopped and drank some of the water. Then I started eating again, slower this time. After I had my fill, I went back into the bedroom and turned on the light. I opened up the closet and looked at HIS clothes. I buried my face in them, drinking in the smell of him.
The phone rings and for the first time, I consider answering it. I don’t move, however, and the machine picks it up. “Liz? Are you there? Please pick up the phone. You have us all worried sick about you,” Maria’s voice says.
For some reason, I go over to the phone and pick up the receiver. “Hello, Maria,” I say into it.
“Oh, Liz, thank god you’re ok! Michael was worried that he had pushed too hard too soon and you would do something rash,” Maria said.
“I’m not ok, Maria. I have been through 6 years of war. I have been genetically altered so that I could fight that war, and in so doing, am unable to have children. I have had to deal with the fact that my husband’s ex-wife betrayed and killed one of my best friends. I have watched my parents killed. I have watched someone who was once a traitor prove herself loyal to us and then be blown away by the enemy. I have watched countless numbers of people killed in unspeakable ways. Last, but never least, I have lost my husband and king to the enemy, and I didn’t even get to say goodbye,” I yell into the phone. Then, I suddenly realize what I have said. “Oh god, Maria, Max is dead! He really is dead,” I cry. I let go of the receiver and drop to the floor, hugging my knees to my chest and rocking back and forth to try to rock this aching out of me. Somewhere in the back of my mind I hear Maria screaming for me to pick up the phone but I can’t move. Then I hear her scream for me not to move, they’ll be right over.
No, I don’t move. I don’t know how much time goes by, but I stay right there on the floor hugging my knees and rocking. Vaguely, I hear the door open downstairs and several voices. Somebody is running up the stairs; I hope it’s someone coming to kill me. I can’t live without Max, he’s my whole world and my life, my reason for living and going through this hell we call war. The person who pushes open the door to the bedroom isn’t going to kill me; it’s Maria with Serena and Isabel.
“Oh god, look at her!” one of them says. I think it’s Isabel.
“Michael, get up here!” Maria yells.
“Let’s get her onto the bed,” Serena says.
“I don’t think those sheets have been changed or washed in over a week, let’s put her in Jeffrey’s bed for now,” Isabel says.
“No!” I scream. “You can’t wash the sheets! Max slept on these sheets!”
Michael enters the room and asks what’s going on. Serena whispers some things to him and he nods. He comes over and kneels in front of me. “Liz? Can you hear me?” he says.
“I can hear you; I’m not deaf, Michael,” I answer calmly.
“Liz, we’re going to get things cleaned up around here ok? When was the last time you had a shower?” he asks me.
“I took one today,” I answer.
Michael smells my hair to see if I’m lying to him. He turns back to Maria, Isabel, and Serena. “Did she eat the food on that tray outside?” he asks. Serena looks outside the door and nods at him. “Good. She’s on her way. She’s just in shock right now. Let’s get her to Jeffrey’s bed.”
I can’t fight him as he lifts me up and carries me into my son’s room. Michael lays me on the bed and pulls the covers over me. He leaves and Isabel walks in and sits on the bed. “Liz, we’re going to change the sheets because it isn’t sanitary to leave them dirty. Max’s clothes still smell like him for now and you can sleep in those if it will help,” she tells me.
I sob hysterically. “Isabel, he’s really gone. Max is dead and I didn’t get to say goodbye! Why? Why did he have to die? He was a good king, a good father, a good husband, and everyone loved him except Khavar. Now he’s dead,” I manage to get out.
“I know, Liz, I know it hurts. I remember how much it hurt when Alex died . . .or was killed by that thing. I can only imagine how much it has to hurt to lose someone you’ve lived with for 6 years. But, Liz, he tried to prepare you in case this happened. I know that he talked to you and told you everyday how much he loved you because he never wanted you to think he hadn’t. He left Jeffrey for you to take care of and to take care of you. You still have us and we aren’t going anywhere for a long time. We need you, Liz; Jeffrey needs you. He’s downstairs and he’s terrified that he’s going to lose you too. Please try, Liz, for his sake,” Isabel pleads with me.
“He has his Aunt Isabel and Uncle Michael and he’ll be just fine,” I say. I roll over and pull the covers over my head.
Isabel gets off the bed and leaves after a minute. I stay under the covers and listen to all the noise outside the room and downstairs. Then I hear something not far from the bed. I peek out of the covers to see Jeffrey standing beside the bed and looking at me.
“Mommy?” he whispers.
I take the covers off of my head and look at him. He’s so small and yet, he’s been through so much already in his 6 years. He doesn’t move and the only thing I can figure out is that he is scared of me. I hold my arms out to him, and he runs into them. I hold him close and tight and he cries into my hair.
Isabel appears in the doorway and looks like she’s about to say something to Jeffrey but I hold up my hand to stop her. She looks at us for a minute and then walks away. I hold my son and realize that he needs to heal too, but he can never forget his father. I hug him to me and make a decision not to let him ever forget.
posted on 20-Sep-2002 9:52:26 PM by littleroswell
I'm glad you two are enjoying it. I'm wondering if I should have labeled it as a UC fic yet. It sometimes scares people off. I may change that.
posted on 23-Sep-2002 8:25:23 AM by littleroswell
Picking Up The Pieces
I sit down on the bed that I used to share with HIM and start going through the boxes I have set in front of me. These boxes are full of memories, some bad, some good. All of them are a part of me now, however, and as hard as I might try, the worst ones will probably always be the most vivid.
I open the first box and pull out another box, smaller, that is full of pictures. I have been promising to put these in albums for years but have yet to get to it. They will ruin if I don’t do something with them soon. I even bought albums for them a while ago and put them in the box too. I pull those out too, determined to fill them right then and there.
Looking at the pictures brings back so many memories; I just close my eyes and let them wash over me. I still remember the beginnings of this war, this war that killed my husband and my soul mate. It all started with Alex. I had known something wasn’t right with his death. At first, we thought that it had to be the truck driver’s fault, but every shred of evidence pointed to it being Alex’s fault. The driver swore that Alex had swerved into his path on purpose. Max and the others didn’t want to believe me when I said that I knew in my heart that it had to be alien related. The only one who stood by me was Maria. Michael had finally listened to all the evidence we presented and agreed that it might be possible for it to be alien related.
Then we had actually proven that Tess had killed him. Kyle had unwittingly helped to cover it up, but she had been the one that killed him. That creature that I had never come to like even a little bit had killed my best friend, slept with my boyfriend and threatened to kill his son. I guess she got what she deserved when she whipped back to Antar. Khavar was waiting for her and had taken her away until Jeffrey had been born. Khavar’s first plan was to kill this child of the king, but then he decided that this could be a bigger claim to the throne for him if he played his cards right. So he decided to raise this boy by himself. His plan almost worked. He made one mistake, though; he had left Tess with Max’s son to go plan his attack. Larek had been watching his every move with spies in his household. He took advantage of Khavar’s absence to kill Tess where she stood. Larek told us later that she had died trying to kill Jeffrey so that we wouldn’t get him back. It always scared Max to think of how close he came to losing his son before he even knew him. We found Jeffrey at the cave where Tess had left and where the pods were when we went there to discuss how to get him back for the tenth time.
Brody had appeared at the cave to our dismay with Larek having taken over him again to deliver the message of Khavar’s plans and Tess’s death. Larek for some reason had lost contact with Brody, and Brody had awakened frightened in the cave and we had decided to tell him what had been happening to him. He had taken it well and said that it explained a lot. Then he was a part of it, that alien spiral of doom.
Looking back, I can see how naïve we were. We all secretly thought that it was over now. We had won! We had Max’s son back and we would be fine now. Tess was dead; everything would be fine. Unfortunately, that’s what the Hollywood version of war is. You fight a couple of battles, a couple of people on either side dies, and it’s all over in about two hours.
Soon after getting Jeffrey back, however, we found out differently. Real war goes on much longer than two hours and is a living hell. More and more skins showed up and other types of aliens, ones like Nesedo, also came to attack us and bring us down. So many humans were disappearing and dying and being killed that Max had decided that it would be better to come clean with who we all really were. The government wasn’t our worst enemy, as we found out when the President had been killed. Congress had decreed that this was an act of war by the other side on our planet. They had granted us all citizenship to earth and then to the United States. Not long after that Khavar’s forces attacked Washington D.C. and destroyed most of it, and along with it the entire government as we knew it.
The rest of the world quickly realized that it was in the middle of a civil war in which it wanted no part but was forced to choose sides. The United Nations was renamed the United Representatives of the Planet Earth. Max was brought in along with the rest of us to brief the members, which now included all nations around the globe, of exactly what was happening and what they were up against. Most nations sided with us, but a handful decided that they sided with Khavar. Now the earth too was at war. Those that sided with Khavar withdrew from the organization, and those who sided with us decided that they needed a leader. Max was quickly made this leader and the title of king was kept for him. All of this took place in six months. I felt I was in a whirlwind.
Max and I were quickly married after that. Isabel found love in Brody and Brody worshiped Isabel. They were engaged not long after we got married. Maria and Michael broke up, and Jim and Amy were married three weeks after Max and I. It wasn’t long after that that we got the bad news.
Word came back that Max and Isabel’s mother had been killed, and Max decided that we needed to go to Antar. So off we went, all of us, the Royal Three, Kyle, Maria, Brody, Sean, Serena, and me. We stayed just long enough to get the army together and to bring some of them back with us. Kyle, Maria, Sean, Serena, and I were changed so that we too would be able to have the parts of our brain that allows us to have the same type of powers that they had on Antar working. I learned so much from that time fighting on Antar and adjusting to my newly found powers. It was discovered that the basics of humans and Antarians were the same. There were definite differences but when you get down to the essentials we were a lot alike. Unfortunately, I was the first one they had changed the DNA of and they had made a mistake. I didn’t really understand what had gone wrong but I had gone to sleep, and then when I woke up it was two weeks later and I was told I was fortunate to be alive but that I would never have children of my own.
We came back to earth and another 7 months had passed. That’s when the war started going full force. Khavar thought that we would try to hide in a big city and decided that it would be easier to just wipe them out. Los Angeles was a mess along with Phoenix, Albuquerque and every other major city in the Southwestern United States. Finally, he sent his troops back to Roswell, although he never thought we would go back there.
I was in the Crashdown with Jeffrey and my parents, serving customers with Michael at his usual post at the grill and Maria taking orders. Max was out with Isabel and the others looking for trouble coming. They must have missed something because the next thing we knew, there was a tremendous explosion a few blocks away. I found out later that it was the UFO Museum. Several people screamed. Maria reacted first, screaming for Michael to get out of the kitchen and heading for the door with him quickly following. I started to follow Michael out the door but he stopped me.
“Liz, you’ve got to stay here and take care of the baby. He has to have someone watch him that can protect him. The rest of us will handle it out there. For now I want you to go to the basement and use your mind warp to hide the door to it and keep quiet,” Michael ordered me.
I started to protest, but my parents took the baby and I and pushed us to the basement. I went down and did as Michael had told me, disguising the door to the basement. It was hard to concentrate with all the noise upstairs. There were blood curdling screams and breaking glass and overturning tables and chairs. The baby was quiet, thank goodness, but I resented this small creature that was keeping me from seeing what was happening and from helping to fight this battle.
Finally, everything was quiet. I stood up and listened hard for anything coming from upstairs. I heard someone coming down the stairs. In my fright I had forgotten to keep the mind warp going. I put up my outstretched hand to blow away whatever came down those stairs, my heart about to leap out of my chest. I heard my mother call my name and let out a breath I wasn’t aware I was holding. Then she came closer and I saw that she was covered in blood. She collapsed at my feet and I screamed. She didn’t move again.
I just stood there screaming and staring at her for a moment or two. Then I ran up the stairs to the café, what was left of it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The front doors were completely gone, along with all the glass in every window. Tables and chairs were scattered everywhere. Everything was covered in food and blood, and there were bodies everywhere. I stood there frozen in place, thinking that this couldn’t really have happened. Then I remembered my father. I sat Max’s son in a car seat that I had kept behind the counter and ran to the kitchen. Jeff Parker, my father, lay in a pool of blood, his face badly burned along with his hands. I collapsed on the floor and threw up. I just sat there shaking, unable to move even when I heard people coming and the baby crying. I was paralyzed.
I heard the kitchen door open but I still couldn’t move. I heard Maria and Serena say at the same time, “Oh my god!”
Max was suddenly in front of me. “Liz, can you hear me? Are you ok? Are you hurt?” he asked in a panic.
I couldn’t seem to answer him. I heard Michael say, “She’s in shock. We’ve got to keep her warm. She should have never seen this.”
“Maria, Serena, Isabel, get her upstairs and in bed, now. Michael, can you get my son and get him quieted down?” I heard Max ask.
That was all I heard because I suddenly felt arms taking me up the stairs to my parents’ bedroom. I didn’t struggle or help and I didn’t say anything. I felt someone pull my shoes off and my headband. I was placed on the bed, and even though my eyes were open, I didn’t see anything but fog. I was wrapped in the covers and I felt tears fall down my face. I heard them all leave except one.
“Liz, can you hear me?” Maria’s voice asks. “Liz, please say something. I’m terribly worried about you and you’re scaring Max too.”
I lie there for I don’t know how long until I suddenly see Max’s face in front of mine, worry lines all over his forehead. I don’t want him to worry about me. I love him and I don’t want him to worry about anything. I try to tell him this.
What came out was barely a whisper. “They killed them. They killed my parents.”
Max cried and held me to him and suddenly my paralysis left. I shook with the force of my tears and my anger. “They killed my parents, Max. They tortured my father before they killed him. Why? Why did they torture him?”
Max’s voice was sad and soft. “To get information about us from him. They probably wanted him to tell them where you were with the baby. My parents were tortured and killed too. The whole town was turned upside down. Liz, honey, you’re ok though and so are the rest of us. We’re all ok and we’re going to get through this,” he told me.
I pulled away from him and look into his face to see if he is telling the truth about the town and his parents. I look over at Isabel in the doorway, crying on Brody and I realize it’s true. “Oh, Max, Isabel, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize they had gone through the whole town,” I cried.
Isabel rushed to me and hugged me and we both cried together. After I couldn’t cry anymore, I pulled out of her embrace and started to get up. “I’ve got to go downstairs and start cleaning up,” I say.
Max shook his head. “We’ll handle it. For now I want you to stay up here and rest. Take a nap or a bath or read. Isabel, you should stay up here with Liz. We’ve all been through a lot today and I don’t know if it’s over yet.” He handed me the young boy. “Here, take care of Jeffrey Maxwell,” he says gently.
I look at him questioningly. “I just changed it. There is no need for another Maxwell Evans in the world and we can call him Jeffrey after your father,” he answers my unspoken question.
“Thank you, Max,” I whisper and hug him.
Over the next two years, Serena and Sean were married, Ava came to Roswell to help us, and we lost Amy. Maria was hit hard and was numb at her funeral and I knew how she felt. This war was making all of us numb. Jim was widowed too soon. I had never seen a grown man cry as much for someone who had died as he did for Amy. He told me later that he felt that he had wasted so many years that he could have spent with her.
“You and Max are lucky that you found each other while you were young; you might have a long time together. But nothing is certain during a war, Liz. If something happens to either of you, I want you to remember that if you find love again, grab hold of it and treasure it,” Jim Valenti told me a year later.
“Mommy? Are you ok? Are you sleeping?” I hear Jeffrey ask me. His voice brings me out of the memories.
“No, sweetie, I’m remembering some things,” I answer quietly.
Jeffrey climbs up onto the bed next to me and looks at the pictures in front of me. He points to one of the group of us taken before our Junior Prom so long ago. He points to Alex and Tess. “Who are they?” he asks.
Tears form in my eyes as I answer him. “The man was a friend of mommy’s that died at the beginning of the war. His name was Alex Whitman and he and mommy and Aunt Maria were best friends since we were your age.”
“Who’s the lady?” he asks, persistent.
“Her name was Tess. She was killed not long after Alex,” I answer flatly.
“She was pretty. She looks like Aunt Ava,” Jeffrey says.
“Yes, she did, they were kind of like clones of the same person,” I tell him. I’m always as open as I can be with him.
He studies the picture a long time before speaking again. “You were so pretty in this picture, mommy. Daddy told me a lot that you were even more pretty because he loved you,” he tells me. “He did love you a lot you know.”
Tears form in my eyes and an ache forms in my stomach again. “Yes, he did, and I loved him very much,” I whisper. I shut out the memory that threatens to surface.
Jeffrey speaks again. “Mommy, my middle name is Maxwell right?” he asks me.
“Yes, Jeffrey it is. You have your father’s name for your middle name,” I answer him.
“Can I be called Max like daddy? I want to grow up to be just like him,” he says, tears forming in his crystal blue eyes. “I want to remember him.”
I sniff before I can answer him. “I think that would be nice, Max. I want you to remember your daddy too because he was special and he loved you too,” I whisper. I pull him into my arms and hold him tight. This was Max’s son but he was also my son, and I couldn’t have loved him more at that moment.
posted on 23-Sep-2002 8:34:55 AM by littleroswell
Picking Up The Pieces
“Can I take your order?” I ask politely but not enthusiastically. I don’t look at the customer.
“Yeah, I’ll take a Will Smith with a side of Saturn’s rings,” the customer says.
I absently take the menu and take the order back to Michael. The café had been open for 3 weeks now, and I found that Michael had been right; working helped to take my mind off of HIM somewhat and gave my life some purpose. I post the order in the clip and ring the bell. Michael places two plates at the window and rings the bell. I pick up the plates but before I can carry them away, Michael grabs my arm.
“Liz, you haven’t had a break all day and you’ve been working since we opened this morning. At the very least, I want you to stop and eat something. You’re getting too thin,” he tells me.
“I’ll take a break as soon as Isabel gets here with Jeff . . . er, Max,” I tell him and walk away. I know he’s just trying to keep his promise to Max, but sometimes I wish he were less protective.
I set the plates on the table where they belonged. The Crashdown was packed, mostly with customers that wanted to see the pitiful widowed queen and the new king working as a waitress and short order cook. The doorbells jingled and I don’t look to see who it is anymore. I don’t care.
“Mommy! Look at what Aunt Isabel got me!” Little Max’s voice says. I whip around with a smile plastered to my face. He’s holding up a small kitten that is trying with all its might to stay glued to his hand.
I look at Isabel. “Where did you get it?” I ask. I hadn’t seen a kitten in a long time. I took the kitten from my son’s hand and look at its little face.
“I found a whole litter under the house. I also found the mother on the highway. They all need homes. There were four kittens total. I could only keep two of them. Maria begged for one, and Jeffrey asked for the other one. I told him he’d have to ask you first, but as far as I’m concerned he can have it,” Isabel said.
“My name is Max,” Little Max tells Isabel. Then he turns to me with hope in his blue eyes. “Can I keep him, mommy?” he begs.
I look at him and then at the tiny kitten. The kitten mews and I hand it back to him. “Yes, you may keep the kitten but this kitten is a girl kitty. Do you know what you’re going to name her?” I ask.
Max looks at me and smiles. “Yes, her name is Sydney for Uncle Brody’s daughter. She was my friend.”
Isabel gets tears in her eyes. I smile at my son, proud of him. “I think Brody will like that. Now take the kitten to the kitchen and show Uncle Michael, and ask him to get some food for Sydney.”
Max walks to the kitchen, carrying the still crying kitten carefully. I look back at Isabel and let the smile drop. “Thank you for the kitten, Isa. Do you want something to eat while you’re here?” I ask.
“Actually, I can’t stay. I’m helping rebuild the retirement home over on Pride Street. There are just so many things that need doing to get earth back in order. I know starting here in Roswell seems funny with all those major cities such a mess, but this is home to me and if we get this in order, I feel like we can get the rest of the world in some kind of order too. Oh, I also wanted to tell you and Michael that both planets have called a summit meeting at the United Reps Building for next month to discuss a plan of action for reconstruction and also to discuss this issue of new leadership. I don’t remember the exact date and time so I’ll have to get back to you. I just got the email on it so you might have it on your email too,” Isabel said.
“I might have. I haven’t checked my email in over two weeks because of all the condolence mail. I just couldn’t go through all that. I’ll check for that email though. Oh, I want to talk to you later about a few things. It’s nothing really urgent but it is important,” I tell her.
“Ok, how about we get together tomorrow?” she suggests.
“Sounds good,” I answer as she heads for the door. “I’ll see you later. Tell Brody hello for me.”
“I will. Oh, and Liz? You need to take better care of yourself, like eating better, you look like death warmed over,” she says as she leaves.
I walk back to the kitchen and through the door. Max is holding the kitten up to Michael, wanting him to hold it. “Jeffrey Maxwell, I told you, I can’t hold the kitten right now because I’m working with people’s food. Yes, she is cute but you need to take her away from the grill,” Michael tells him, exasperated.
“Max, why don’t you take Sydney out on the back porch and play with her. Be careful with her and I’ll bring out some food for you to give to her,” I tell him.
He goes out the back door and I turn to Michael. “What is wrong with you? He just wanted to show you his new pet,” I yell at him.
Michael looks at me with surprise on his face. “Liz, he had the kitten over here by this hot grill, and I’m trying to get these orders out. I don’t think I was out of line here. He or the kitten could have gotten hurt and then what would you think about me for allowing him to play near the grill?” he asks.
I sigh. “You’re right, Michael. I’m sorry. I guess I’ve been a little short with you lately, at least ever since . . . but I’ll try to be nicer to you. Isabel said there’s a summit meeting at the United Reps Building next month to discuss reconstruction plans and your new leadership. She said she just received the email about it today and to check our emails for it,” I tell him.
“Ok, I’ll make the arrangements and get signs made up to warn our customers of our being closed. Speaking of which, Maria is here and serving customers as we speak so that means you are taking your break like you promised. Here, take this and eat it,” Michael tells me, shoving a burger plate at me.
I take it and go out to tell Maria that I’m on break. After delivering the food for the kitten to Max like I promised, I sit down in one of the empty booths. I hear the bells above the door jingle, and a guy with a camera and micro-recorder comes in the door. I tense up at the sight of this reporter knowing why he’s here. He spots me and smiles. I ignore the smile and continue eating although my stomach protests. Suddenly, he’s sitting at the table across from me.
“I’m Chris Sharp with the Chicago Chronicle, Your Majesty, and I’d like to talk to you about the king’s death and everything if that’s ok,” he says like he’s asking to buy me lunch.
I give him a look that could freeze most people’s blood in their veins, but not a reporter’s. They were some of the worse human beings on the planet, in my opinion. I understood that the public had a right to know some things, but this Chris Sharp’s approach offended me. He wasn’t talking about my loosing a pet dog here. My husband had been killed and had sacrificed himself for the good of two planets.
“Actually, Mr. Sharp, I do mind. I don’t want to talk about that right now with anybody but especially the press. Now I’ll have to ask you to move to another table or the counter for I’d like to be left alone,” I tell him icily.
“Surely, you must know that your people, your subjects on both planets, have a right to know what is going on in their beloved queen’s life and in the life of their future king Jeffrey Maxwell Evans,” he said.
I looked at him incredulously. So he was going to pull that one out of his hat of tricks was he? I had heard that line so many times! I was so tired of my life being one huge open book. I felt like a wing of a museum with every detail of my life written on those little tags. I could hear the tour guide telling the people now, “And in this case, we have the wedding gown worn by Queen Elizabeth Parker-Evans in her hasty war wedding. Most of you probably know the tragic story of how she lost her husband the King Maxwell in the war between our two planets.”
I shook my head. “I’m sorry but I’m not ready to discuss this with the public just yet,” I answer as politely as I can.
Before I can do or say anything else, Max comes over to me carrying Sydney. He puts her in my lap. “Here, mommy, she wanted to see you. She likes you, you know,” he tells me matter-of-factly.
“What a great picture!” Mr. Sharp says and suddenly there is a flash from a camera.
“Hey, just what the hell do you think you’re doing?” I yell at him.
“Ooh, mommy said a bad word!” Max said, delighted.
“I want that film, Mr. Sharp and I will ask you to leave now before I lose my temper, and believe me I’m close,” I tell him through gritted teeth.
“Come now, Your Majesty, it’s a great picture and if you won’t give me an interview, I could at least publish the pictures I take,” he says.
Before I could react, Mr. Sharp was being hoisted out of the booth and carried to the door. He had dropped his camera and Maria picked it up and ripped the film out of it. She then proceeded to hurl the camera out the door, where Mr. Sharp picked up the pieces to it. Michael stood in the doorway and yelled at the man.
“And don’t come back here, you as … jerk!” Michael yelled, straightening his apron.
He picked up Max who had come over to the door to watch the excitement and carried him over to me. He set him down and I realized that he had stopped himself from really doing that guy harm or cussing at him for Max’s sake. I gave the kitten back to Max and told him to go up to his room and play.
“Are you alright? That guy didn’t go too far before I could stop him, did he?” Michael asked me.
“Yeah, I’m fine, thanks. He’ll probably write some story of what cruel leaders we all are for not wanting to tell the public what’s going on,” I answer, forcing a chuckle.
“So what if he does? With everything we’ve been through, I’m sure people won’t believe it or at the very least care. Now finish that burger and those fries so you can get back to work. If that guy comes in here again, let me know and I’ll handle him,” he says and heads back to the kitchen.
I finish the burger and think about what happened. I guess that’s one thing that will be discussed at the summit meeting, what to tell the public. In a way, Chris Sharp was right, the people had a right to know how their king was killed and maybe even some of the details about it, but how much was the question.
A mewing at my side interrupts my thoughts. I look over to find Max staring at his kitten and looking back at me. “I thought I told you to go upstairs and play. What are you doing back down here?” I ask him in that mom tone.
“I wanted to talk to you, mommy. Can’t I stay down here for a little while more?” he begs.
“I suppose so. What did you want to talk to me about?” I ask him.
Max gets a very serious look in his young eyes and sits down opposite me. He puts Sydney on his shoulder where she curls into a ball. “Mommy, will you tell me how daddy died?” he asks seriously.
I swallow hard. How much should I tell him? I had already told him that Max had died saving earth and Antar so he obviously wanted more of an answer than that. Should I tell him anything else right now? I was debating the situation when Maria came over to me.
“Hey, you done? I could really use some help here if you are,” she asks.
I smile at her gratefully. “Max, go upstairs now, mommy has to go back to work,” I tell him.
“Will you tell me later?” he asks.
I look into his crystal blue eyes and say, “Yes, Max, I’ll tell you tonight how your father died.”
Satisfied, he plucks the half-sleeping kitten from his shoulder and goes upstairs. Maria watches him and chuckles. “He really loves that kitten already doesn’t he?” she asks.
“Yeah, he does. I’ll get these customers,” I say as three people walk up to the cash register.
posted on 23-Sep-2002 11:43:56 AM by littleroswell
I'm working on getting the next few parts out soon. I'm currently editing them. Thanks for your patience.
posted on 24-Sep-2002 11:08:50 AM by littleroswell
This is going to seem silly but I'm bumping my own fic. I have to be able to find it so that I can post more parts.
posted on 24-Sep-2002 1:59:39 PM by littleroswell
Disclaimer: The songs used belong to the artist or record company, not me. The song quoted in this part is from Air Supply.
I go into the kitchen as Maria finishes locking the doors and cleaning the last couple of tables. Michael is finishing loading the dishes back in their proper places. I take off my apron and pour myself a glass of water. I know Michael knows I’m there, but somehow I can’t say anything first.
“Everyone gone?” he asks, not looking at me.
I smile at him gratefully anyway and answer with a heavy sigh. “Yes, thank God. I am so beat!”
“Yeah, I know exactly how you feel,” he says, giving me a reassuring smile. He puts the last dish away and starts wiping down the grill and work counters.
Maria pops in, wiping her forehead with the back of her hand. “Ok, everything’s set up front. Liz, I don’t want to see you down here for opening tomorrow. You worked like a dog all day and only took that one break. I don’t want to see your face down here until at least ten o’clock, do you hear me?” she tells me.
I smile at her. “I won’t be down before noon, I promise. I plan on spending some time with Jeff . . . er, Max. I’ll see you tomorrow. Go home and spend some time with Kyle before you crash. Oh, I forgot, I’ll be having lunch with Isabel tomorrow. I guess I won’t be in before 2.”
“That’s just fine. I’ll be leaving around 3 for a doctor’s appointment so that should work out ok. I’m leaving now. Bye, Michael,” she says quickly before heading for the door.
Michael just grunts for an answer, and Maria flees out the back door. Even two years after their breakup and a year after Maria and Kyle’s wedding, things were still really awkward between them. Maria told me that she had tried to talk to Michael to smooth things out, but he had quickly said he understood and cut her off. She hadn’t had the nerve to try again and frankly didn’t see a need. In her opinion, time was the only thing that would help them to become friends again.
After hearing her car drive off, I clear my throat, trying to figure out how to ask Michael what I want to ask. He looks at me expectantly. “Was there something you needed to talk about?” he asks quietly.
“Actually, yes. Max begged me to tell him how his father died. I promised I’d tell him, and I think he has a right to know, but I don’t know how much to tell him or how,” I answer in a gush.
Michael stops in his tracks and looks at me for a moment. Then he cocks his head to one side and looks up at the ceiling as if thinking about how he should answer. Looking back at me, he slowly answers, “Liz, I agree that you should tell him something, but you don’t even know exactly what happened. You only know the part I told you and that you saw. Max and I are the only two people that know exactly what happened and he’s gone so that just leaves me. I’ve been thinking that I should show you exactly what happened so you would understand completely what a hero your husband was. Would you like to see?”
I stare at him for a few minutes. Michael is serious, and I’ve never seen him so calm about anything that I know he cares for so passionately. I see the anger and pain in his eyes. After a few minutes, I’ve made up my mind. “Yes, Michael, I want to see it. First, though, let me put Little Max to bed and tell him that I’ll talk with him tomorrow morning.”
As I head for the stairs, Michael stops me with a question. “Liz, can I come up with you to say goodnight to him?” he asks.
I turn around and smile at him. I nod and he follows me. As I come to Max’s door, I hear him digging around in his closet. “Max, what are you doing?” I ask curiously.
He pokes his head out and sees me and Michael and smiles. “I’m just putting my dirty clothes in the hamper,” he says proudly.
I try not to laugh at his obvious pride in that he did something that he was supposed to and that I was constantly after him for. “Thank you, Max. That really helps mommy out. Now it’s time for bed,” I tell him.
At this, Max’s smile drops. “You promised to tell me what happened to daddy,” he says.
I pick him up, no easy task at six years old. Michael sees that I am struggling with him and takes him from me and carries him over to his bed. I come and sit beside him while Michael stands awkwardly next to the bed. “Max, I have never lied to you and I’m not now, but I don’t really know exactly how he died and I need to find out before I can tell you. I only know part of the story. Uncle Michael said he will tell me tonight and then you and I can talk about it tomorrow morning because I don’t have to be at work until two. So you and I can talk in the morning, and then we’ll have lunch with Aunt Isabel. How does that sound?” I ask him.
Max looks into my eyes for a moment and then smiles at me. “Ok, mommy, we can talk tomorrow. Before I go to bed, will you tell me a story?” he asks.
I nod and smile at him. “What story do you want to hear?” I ask him.
“The story of how daddy saved your life here at the Crashdown,” he answers quickly.
“Max, you must have heard that story a million times already. You already know it by heart, why do you want to hear it again?” I ask. Truthfully, I just don’t want to tell that story right now because it is so painful.
“Please,” he pleads.
I tell the story as I lived the day all over again, and by the time I was finished there were tears streaming down my face. Michael had absently sat on the bed, as enraptured by the story as Max. I felt like an old woman of 85, not a young woman of 23. It wasn’t possible that that day had happened almost 8 years ago. It seemed to have happened over 100 years ago. That was how it felt.
I looked down at my son and saw my Max in his face, and I quickly kissed him goodnight and fled the room. I rushed down the stairs and went to the cabinet that was locked, but I had the key. I opened it and pulled out a bottle of vodka and took it to the kitchen. I had just finished one screwdriver and was in the middle of stirring another one when Michael came down. He looked at me with raised eyebrows but said nothing.
“Want a drink?” I asked bluntly. “If you don’t like screwdrivers there’s other stuff in the cabinet.”
“Liz, you shouldn’t drink you know. You haven’t eaten anything since that burger plate at lunch, and we don’t know how alcohol will affect all of you that were genetically altered, especially you,” Michael tells me.
“I know, but I don’t care. I hope it kills me,” I say.
“Are you sure you want to know what happened tonight?” he asks quietly.
“Yes, let me finish this, and we can go in the back room here and you can show me,” I say as I down the second screwdriver.
Michael flinches at this swift move and I want to laugh. Yes, Liz Parker Evans knows how to drink. Yes, I have thought of suicide more than once. The only thing stopping me from doing myself in is in the bed upstairs, sleeping. I rinse out the glass and leave it in the sink and move to the back room. Michael follows me and we sit on the couch facing each other.
“I can’t show you without some kind of physical contact. Here, take my hands,” he says, holding his hands out to me.
I slowly place my hands in his and as he closes his over mine, the flashes come. At first, I saw Maria and felt an overwhelming pain and then peace. Those images and feelings were quickly pushed away from me, and I realized that Michael had not intended for me to see that. I don’t push but let him guide me to the images he wants me to see.
It didn’t take me but a minute to realize that I was seeing things through Michael’s eyes. He and Max were standing in front of the caves that had harbored us sometimes, and where the granolith had been sent back to us. Max and Michael had decided that as a security for the entrance to where the granolith was there had to be two of us at any given time to open it. Max and Michael put their hands up to the rock and Max turns to Michael.
“Do you want to keep watch out here or do you want to come in with me while I contact Antar?” he asks.
“Go ahead and contact Antar and see what the urgent message is, and I’ll keep an eye out for trouble out here. The others should be here any time now if they haven’t run into any trouble. Liz was coming with Kyle, Maria, and Ava. Isabel, Brody, Serena, and Sean are coming in Brody’s car. Jim has Jeffrey and he’s safe,” I hear Michael’s voice say. I never actually see Michael’s face because I’m looking through it.
Max nods and walks into the opening in the rock. The direction I, as Michael, am looking in changes to the horizon where a car is coming. Michael walks over to where it parks and I see Maria, Kyle, Ava, and myself emerge from the car. I hear myself ask where Max is and Michael answers in the cave. Brody’s car appears in the distance and is hurrying toward us when we all hear an unnatural scream come from the cave. Michael and Kyle reach the cave first, but someone on the inside has closed the door. Michael and Kyle place their hands on the rock and the door opens but not all the way and suddenly starts to close again, rapidly. Before anyone could stop him or say anything, Michael had dived into the cave just before the door slammed shut.
Before continuing with the vision, I feel Michael silently asking to see what took place on our side of the door. I allow the flashes to flow, and suddenly I am myself again and the feeling of helplessness washes over me yet again. I cry to Isabel, Brody, Serena, and Sean what has happened and they rush over. Maria and I place our hands on the rock but to no avail, it won’t open. Kyle tries with us, but still nothing happens. I am screaming to Michael and Max on the inside to tell us what’s going on and to open the door, but we hear nothing from the inside. Finally, after all of us trying without success to open the door, Isabel suggests we blast through the door.
No one wants to do this because it risks damaging the granolith, Max, and Michael. However, with no other options we agree that it has to be done. We all stand back and Isabel and Kyle call a warning inside to Max and Michael, praying that they hear us. We all raise our hands and suddenly there is a blast as the rock that disguises the cave is blown to bits. We start to rush in, but we have to wait for the smoke to clear.
Through the smoke, I see a sight that I can’t believe. Max is lying on the floor of the cave and not moving. Someone is standing over him, and even though I’ve never seen Khavar or even know that he’d taken human form, I recognized him right away. I scream and hold up my right hand, as do the others, and suddenly, Khavar screams and then is blown away. The others stand stunned, but I rush to get to Max’s side. Michael catches me before I can get close but winces from a wound in his right arm.
“Let me go, I have to help Max,” I scream.
Michael hangs his head and says quietly, “No one can help him now, Liz. He’s gone. Khavar killed him.”
“No! No, it can’t be!” I scream. I pull free of him and push him to the floor so that he can’t stop me again. I rush to my husband’s crumpled figure and collapse beside him.
Max is lying in a ball on his side facing away from me. I roll him over and see that he has several wounds to his chest, arms, and legs. It looks like Khavar tortured him before finally killing him. I put my shaking hand to Max’s face and cry out to him. I pull his head onto my lap and stroke his hair and forehead like I would Jeffrey and ask him over and over to wake up. He doesn’t move, he doesn’t open his eyes, his chest doesn’t move from breathing.
Kyle and Brody try to pull me away, but I scream at them and fight them off like a wild animal. Michael tells them to leave me alone, and everyone leaves the cave to give me some time alone with Max. I cry and sing to Max’s body our song, but when I get to the chorus I can’t continue. My tears choke me and blind me and I can’t go on. Then I hear a voice behind me, clear and sweet, pick up where I left off. It’s Maria. Then another voice joins in and another. I look up to see all of our friends in the cave, singing “I Shall Believe” for me so that it can be finished.
I can’t sing with them so I hug Max to me, and I notice that all of them have tears in their eyes too. Michael looks away from us but still he sings. Isabel collapses beside me and picks up her brother’s hand and holds it to her heart. I know she’s hurting too. I take her other hand in mine and we cry together.
I know Michael feels all the emotions that I was going through on that day. His hands were warm and clammy and clutched mine tighter. I felt him wince from the pain that radiated through both of us. Then there is a flash of light and suddenly, I’m looking through his eyes again and I am back in the cave.
As he looks up from his position on the floor from diving into the cave, he sees a flash of light come his way and rolls out of the way just in time. He hides on the other side of the granolith and tries to peek around the corner to see what’s going on. I felt his immediate dismissal that it is Max shooting this destructive energy at him.
“Michael, get out of here! It’s Khavar. Get the others so we can defeat . . .” and then there was a howl from Max. Michael looked around the corner to see his friend and brother on the floor with a wound on either arm.
“Silence, oh Great King! Your pitiful war has come to an end, and you have lost. Surrender to me and I might let you live,” a man’s voice spits at Max.
Michael steps around from the granolith, arm raised, ready to blow away Khavar. He didn’t know the power Khavar possessed as another bolt of energy was thrown at him and hit his arm and knocked him against the wall. He hit the wall and then dropped to the ground with a thud.
“I have no need of a second-in-command,” Khavar said as he raised his hand to send the last deadly bolt of energy at Michael.
“No!” Max cried, throwing himself between Khavar and Michael. He took the bolt squarely in the chest and fell to the ground in a heap.
Khavar moved to Max’s body to see if he was really dead and Michael stood up. Just then, there was a loud explosion and one of the walls of the cave was gone. In the midst of the smoke, I saw myself and the others, and I heard myself scream out. I saw all of us once again bring Khavar to an end. I also saw myself through Michael’s eyes as I went over to my husband’s body and held him and cried.
What surprised me in this flash of feelings and visions was the guilt I felt coming from Michael. I then realized that he blamed himself for Max’s death and felt that he should have died instead. I open my eyes and look at Michael, who quickly drops my hands and walks away from me a few feet. He stares out the window. I go over to him and around him so that I can see his face. He has tears running freely.
“Michael, it’s not your fault that Max was killed,” I tell him.
“Liz, he died saving my life. I should have been the one to die. I didn’t have a wife and a son. I wasn’t the king that governed two planets. Max should have let Khavar kill me,” he said to the floor. Then he looks up at me and my heart breaks with the pain I see in his eyes. “Oh, Liz, I’m so sorry. How can you ever forgive me for doing that to your husband, your soul-mate?” he asks pitifully.
I am crying harder now too. “Michael, it is NOT your fault. You have been so good to Max and I since it happened. If you want to do something for me, just keep being there like you have been,” I tell him.
He hugs me and for the first time, I feel truly close to Michael Guerrin. He just holds onto me in that hug that tells me more than his words that he is truly sorry. When he lets go, he’s back to the old Michael. “It’s late and you should get to bed and so should I. Kyle said he’ll be here to open tomorrow so you’ll have a cook and I won’t have to function on just a couple hours of sleep.”
I smile reassuringly at him. “Good night, Michael.”
He doesn’t really return the smile but heads for the door. “Good night, Liz.”
I yawn as I lock the door behind him. I turn out the lights in the front and in the kitchen and head upstairs. I check on Max one last time before heading for bed. I put on the radio, low to try to relax. The song that comes on is sad and fitting for my mood and circumstances.
Here I Am,
Playing with those memories again,
And just when I thought time had set me free,
Those thoughts of you keep taunting me.
A feeling I never outgrew.
Though each and every part of me has tried,
Only you can fill that space inside
So there’s no sense pretending,
My heart is not mending
Just when I thought I was over you,
Just when I thought I could stand on my own,
Oh baby, those memories come crashing through,
And I just can’t go on without you
On my own,
I’ve tried to make the best of it alone.
I’ve done everything I can to ease the pain,
But only you can stop the rain.
I just can’t live without you,
I miss everything about you.
Just when I thought I was over you,
Just when I thought I could stand on my own,
Oh, baby, those memories come crashing through,
And I just can’t go on without,
It’s just no good without, you.
posted on 24-Sep-2002 2:04:04 PM by littleroswell
Little Max wipes the crumbs from his mouth and smiles at me. I had made us breakfast and we were eating it in bed and watching cartoons. I smiled at him and started to kiss his cheek but he dodges me. He studies me to see if I’m hurt by this move, but I smile and pat his head. I knew this was a stage he would go through, but I didn’t realize it would start this soon.
“I’ll get you yet, Jeffery Maxwell,” I tell him.
He sets down his bowl of cereal and gets a really serious look on his face. “So tell me about daddy. I want to know,” he tells me.
I sigh and turn off the TV. I’ve been dreading this discussion all night. I start off slowly, choosing my words carefully. I tell him the story of that terrible day, making his father a hero in his young eyes and heart. When I’m finished, Max’s eyes are shining with worship for his dead father.
“Max, your father was a great king whose people loved him and who had many friends. He died saving his best friend’s life. Uncle Michael feels like it’s his fault your dad died, and he feels like he should have been the one to die instead,” I explain to him, hoping for a certain reaction.
“But it’s not Uncle Michael’s fault! Khavar is the one who killed him. He could have killed Uncle Michael too if it weren’t for you and Aunt Maria and Uncle Kyle and the rest of you,” Max answered upset.
I hadn’t thought of it like that. In an effort to teach my son a lesson, he had inadvertently taught me something at the same time. He saw me as a hero too, as he did the rest of our little group. We had almost lost Michael too. What would we have done if we had lost them both? Where would I have been the last few weeks? Who would be leading everyone?
“When will I be king?” Max asked me, breaking through my thoughts.
“When you are old enough to handle the responsibility and have gone through some training. It will be a while. For now, Michael is Acting King or Temporary King,” I answer.
Max sighs and rests his head on my shoulder. “I’m glad. I’m not ready to be king, and Uncle Michael will be a good king.”
I lay there holding Max’s son and wish it were Max or that he would walk in and find us and come sit with us. I miss him so much. I kiss the top of Little Max’s head and start to get up. “Come on. We need to clean this stuff up and get some things done before we go to Aunt Isabel’s for lunch. Will you help me wash the dishes?”
“Mom, are Aunt Isabel and Brody ever going to get married?” he asks, climbing off the bed.
“That’s one of the things that Mommy wants to talk to Aunt Isabel about,” I tell him.
“Are you ever going to get married again?” he asks.
I stop and look at him as I am startled by the question. I want to answer, “No, never!” but something holds me back from saying that. It makes me feel guilty and disloyal to Max’s memory. Why couldn’t I just say no, that I would never find anyone like Max?
I finally manage to say, “I don’t know, Max. I haven’t really thought about it. Now let’s go and get you dressed.”
* * * * * * * * * * *
Isabel opens the door to the home she once shared with her parents and her brother but now occupied alone. She took one look at her nephew and burst into laughter. I grinned and chuckled with her. Max had insisted on bringing Sydney with him, and the kitten had climbed up and over his shoulder and was halfway down his back, clinging to him, just out of his reach. He was trying to stretch his arms behind him to reach her without success.
“Hey there, cutie, need some help?” Isabel asks him. When he nods, she plucks the kitten from the back of his shirt and hands her to him. “Come on in,” she tells us, opening the door wider and moving aside so we can enter.
We go inside and I hug Isabel before moving to the kitchen. I tell Max to take Sydney outside and play until we get lunch ready. Then I ask where Brody is today and help Isabel by washing and cutting up some tomatoes for the salad. She smiles at the question and there is no doubt in my mind that they are crazy about each other.
“He’s over at Roswell High helping to repair the damages there. I’m so proud of him. He’s been out helping with clean up and repair work all week without complaining even a little bit although there are cuts and bruises all over him. I’ve offered to help heal some of them but he said those bruises were small compared to some of the ones that people carried inside. He’s such a kind person,” Isabel said.
“Remember when he held us in the Crashdown because all of Larek’s memories were getting mixed up with his? I thought he had completely lost his mind. He certainly turned out alright in the end,” I answered with a smile. “Isabel, I want you guys to go ahead and set a date to get married. Don’t wait on my account because it will be a very long time before I’m over Max’s death. I want you guys to be happy. Hell, I want everyone that can find any trace of happiness left in all this destruction to grab onto it and not let go. We’ve mourned enough without a break, and we need to find something to be happy about and we could all use a good celebration like a wedding. I’m not trying to pressure you into deciding; I’m just saying that you guys should seriously consider setting a date,” I tell her.
Isabel throws her arms around my neck and hugs me so tight I can’t breathe. “Oh, Liz, thank you so much! It’s funny that you should bring that up because we have set a date and we wanted to tell everyone, but I wanted to see how you were about it first. You are the closest thing I have to a sister, and I want you in the wedding as my matron of honor.”
I hug her back. “I’m so happy for you guys but, Isabel, you would be asking too much of me right now to stand up in a wedding. I’ll be fine at the wedding and will just get by with tears but to stand up next to you would be too much I’m afraid. I’m sorry, please don’t be offended.”
She smiles at me and brushes some hair away from her eyes. “Of course I’m not offended, and I completely understand. However, if I can’t have you as my matron of honor we just won’t have bridesmaids and groomsmen. It’ll make things simpler anyway.”
We finished fixing the lunch and Isabel told me all of the wedding plans she had so far. There weren’t many that she had really decided on. They would live on earth of course but she was trying to decide if they should be married on Antar. She decided she would bring it up at the meeting if there was time at the United Reps Building. She was also trying to decide who should conduct the ceremony. Jim was the obvious choice but she was wondering if Michael shouldn’t do it as the new king. I smiled and told her that it would be completely up to her.
As we placed the salad and sandwiches on the table, I went to the back door to call Max to lunch. I watched him play with the kitten that he so loved and I had mixed feelings. I loved this little boy with all my heart, but I’d be damned if I’d let him grow up and end up like his birth mother. I prayed that Max and I, along with all of our friends, had helped to weed out the damaging part of his personality; the less of Tess in him the better. At the same time, I saw the boy that Max was, loving, sweet, caring, smart, brave, and self-sacrificing when he really needed to be, just like his father.
All of a sudden, he disappeared. I couldn’t believe it! One moment I was watching him, and the next he was gone. Suddenly I shook my head and rubbed my eyes and he was standing at the door, laughing at my face and pointing at me. He opened the door and grinned at me. Max set the kitten on the floor and went over to the sink.
“Mommy, you looked funny! You should have seen your face! Pretty good trick huh?” he said still laughing while washing his hand.
I was confused as was Isabel, by the look on her face. I grabbed Max by the arm and turned him to face me directly. “What do you mean that was a good trick?” I asked him harshly.
“I just used my mind to make you see that I wasn’t there anymore and then I snuck up on you,” he answered, clearly uncomfortable.
“Jeffery Maxwell, you scared the hell out of me! Don’t you ever do that again!” I yelled at him. Then seeing that tears were forming in his young eyes, I softened and let go of his arm. “Max, I’m sorry but you really scared me. I thought something had happened to you and I had missed it. I love you so much that it would really hurt me if something were to happen to you.”
He threw his arms around my neck and sobbed into my hair. “I’m sorry, momma, I didn’t mean to scare you. I won’t do it again, I promise.”
I patted his back and said into his ear, “It’s ok. I didn’t even know you knew how to mind warp someone, Max. It is a power that is useful to have, but you have to use it properly, and you can’t use it on the same person over and over again because it hurts them after a while. Promise me that you won’t use it on us again unless we’re telling you to ok?”
He pulled away and smiled at me, wiping his nose on the back of his hand. “I promise.”
“Good! Now I’m hungry so how about we eat?” I asked with a smile. He smiled back and agreed with me.
Isabel sat down at the table and I heard her in my head. “He’s not Tess, Liz. He’s just trying out his new powers. Be careful you don’t forget that he’s also Max’s son and that he is being raised right. He’s a good boy and doesn’t do anything wrong deliberately.”
I looked at her and at the boy with Max’s hair and ears and Tess’s eyes. “I know that, Isabel, but I’m so scared that something of his mother’s will come through, and I don’t want it to be the wrong thing. I won’t allow him to go in that direction,” I thought back at her.
Isabel kicked me under the table. “HE HAS TO BE ALLOWED TO MAKE HIS OWN MISTAKES, LIZ! You can’t make him perfect. He’s not Max, he’s not Tess, and he’s not you. Let him discover who he is on his own and then you can learn who he is. Guide him, but don’t push him,” she transmitted to me.
I nodded at Isabel and pushed her out of my head. I thought seriously about what she had said and studied the boy that I was left to raise. I slowly admitted to myself that Isabel had been right. I was too much like the type of mother that I hated. I watched everything Max did so carefully, so afraid he’d make a mistake like Tess or even one like Max or me, that I jumped to stop every action too quickly and didn’t let him make his own mistakes. I promised myself that I would work on that.
* * * * * * * * * * *
“Oh, good you’re here!” Maria tells me, tearing off her apron. “I’ve got to get to the doctor’s office.”
“I’m sorry we’re late, but Sydney got under the couch and we had the hardest time getting that little kitten out. Go and I’ll pick up where you left off,” I tell her.
“And if Kyle asks, tell him I’ve already left. Thanks!” she said, sailing toward the door. She passed Max playing cards on the table by the door. “See ya later, kiddo!” she called to him.
“Bye, Aunt Maria!” he called happily.
I was busy with customers the rest of the afternoon and before I knew it, it was dinnertime. Kyle stuck his head out of the kitchen door and called me over to him. I excused myself from the customers I was with and went over to see what he wanted. He looked strange, with a kind of blissfully happy look on his face.
“What’s up, Kyle?” I asked him.
“Listen, is there anyway we can close a few minutes early tonight? Maria’s coming over and wants to talk to all of our little group about something,” he said in a low voice.
“Why are you almost whispering? I suppose we can close a little early, maybe half an hour. Will that be enough?” I answered.
“Yeah, that’d be great. I’ll tell her; I’ve got her on the phone right now,” he said, disappearing into the kitchen again.
Later, as we were cleaning up, the group filed in, Serena and Sean, Brody and Isabel, Michael, Kyle came in from the kitchen, and Max came down the stairs in his pajamas and sat in Michael’s lap. Maria walked in the door and went directly over to Kyle who took her hand and kissed her. I went over to the counter and sat on a stool.
“Liz, why are you sitting way over there? Come join the group,” Isabel told me.
I slowly got up and went over to sit next to Michael and Max. Maria smiled at everyone and looked at Kyle. “Everyone, we wanted to tell you all the good news together. Kyle and I are pregnant! Or rather I’m pregnant and Kyle is going to be a father. I got the confirmation today at the doctor’s office,” Maria announced bluntly.
I sat stunned for a moment. Isabel and Serena squealed and jumped up and hugged Maria. Sean and Brody slapped Kyle on the back and shook his hand in congratulations. Michael said nothing and Max looked confused. Michael stood up and set Max in my lap, walked to the door, opened it, and walked out it without saying a word to anyone. Maria looked hurt, as did Kyle, who also looked angry.
“That son-of-a . . . would it kill him to have been just a little bit happy for us?” he yelled