posted on 7-Oct-2002 8:49:36 PM by Kath7
Title: Homecoming

1-1-5

Authors: IslandGirls and Kath7

Category: M/L, K/T

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Roswell, Max, Liz etc. don't belong to us. We're just borrowing them with thanks.

Summary: From a challenge by Emotions23. Sweet Home Alabama with a Roswellian spin. Don't worry! No real spoilers of the movie. This picks up post-Skin & Bones (basically with Nasedo's death).

Author's Note: We'll be writing this one together. It may be a while between parts because of the teamwork involved, but we're doing this mainly for fun. Hopefully you'll enjoy coming along for the ride.

Part 1

"Girl, if Sean Devereaux doesn't declare his undying love to you tonight, I'll declare it for him. That dress is hot!" Serena Taggert told her best friend.

Liz looked over her shoulder and smiled back at her friend. "Serena, we don't even know for sure."

"Liz." Serena paused a moment, then got up off of her bed to lean on the mirror in front of which Liz was standing. "Sean promised you a surprise. He told you to wear something elegant, he's been weird all week, and he's acting like a little kid with a secret. It's been a year since the boy started following you around like a lovesick puppy dog. I'm telling you, tonight is the night."

Liz rolled her eyes, but grinned mischievously. "The night for what?"

"He's going to propose. And you, my dear, will be an engaged woman by this time tomorrow night."

Liz's smile faltered for a moment. "Deciding to get married takes time Rena. It took longer than this for me and-"

Serena spun Liz around and clamped her hand over her mouth. "Absolutely not Liz. You will not even say his name. That was the past. This is the present. Besides, you said were over him."

"I am," Liz replied. "It was a long time ago. I'm definitely over him. It's just that, sometimes, I'm afraid I’m not over the hurt."

Serena nodded, hugging her friend quickly. "Listen Liz, tonight is a happy night. We won't let him ruin it. There will be no mention of destiny and there will be no alien funny business in sight. Comprende?"
Liz looked at the girl who had become like her sister and couldn't help but feel the excitement in the air. She smiled, nodding slightly.

"Now then," Serena said, turning Liz towards the mirror. "We need to figure out how we are going to do your hair."

"I was just going to pull it up in a twist."

Serena clutched her hand to her heart and stumbled backwards. "Liz, if you just "pull it up in a twist, " Serena said. "I think I'll have a heart attack. I'll do it."

Liz giggled. "I was hoping you'd say that."

This time it was Serena who rolled her eyes. "Well, what can I say? I'm a good best friend."

"That you are," Liz agreed, as she settled in to let Serena fix her hair. "Thank you Rena." Serena smiled at her in the mirror and as she went to work on Liz's hair, Liz closed her eyes and thought about how she and Serena had met.

Four years ago, Liz had gotten off of a subway train and stepped onto the streets of New York City. Scared, alone, and heartbroken Liz didn't know where she was going or what she was going to do. She had left the only home she'd ever known and had gone to the only other place she'd ever wanted to live. For hours Liz wandered the streets with nothing but a small suitcase. Besides a couple hundred dollars, she'd brought nothing else but a few changes of clothes and some precious mementos she couldn't do without.

Crossing the street to a hotel she had meant to stay at for the night, she was almost run down by a young, impatient female in a hurry to get home. The girl jumped out of the cab to make sure Liz was okay, and ever since then Liz and Serena have been inseparable. Liz knew that if it weren't for Serena, she wouldn't have made it through the past four years. Serena had comforted her when she needed comforting, and had listened to her when she needed to talk. Liz had grown to trust Serena completely, and had confided everything to her - about her life in Roswell, her relationships with everyone there - both human and otherwise - and about her hopes for the future.

"MMMMUAh!" Serena exclaimed now, blowing a kiss into the air. "Magnifique, my dear. Now, for the makeup."

Twenty minutes later, Liz was dressed and sitting quietly in the living room of the apartment she shared with Serena, waiting to be picked up.

"Liz, hun, tonight, your life is going to change."

"How can you be so sure?" Liz asked.

Serena grinned as she picked up her purse and squeezed Liz’s shoulders. "I can feel it Liz. And you deserve every bit of happiness that you're going to get."

Liz saw Serena out the front door on a date of her own, then sat back down to wait for her ride. She didn't have any idea where she was going but if she knew Sean, it was going to be wonderful. Her heart started to thump in anticipation at the thought that she was going to seen him soon.

Sean Devereaux was one of New York's most eligible bachelors. He was the son of a business tycoon and heir to a multimillion-dollar fortune. The first time Liz met him, she was turned off, thinking he was nothing but an arrogant, spoiled, rich boy. But Sean hadn't given up easily. He had been entranced by Liz's deep brown eyes and long dark hair and had pursued her relentlessly. He had no luck until he happened upon her, on the side of the road with a car that had given up.

He invited Liz into his limo to wait for a tow truck. She sat down with him and what had been anticipated as a thirty-minute wait turned into two hours. The rest, as they say, was history. Liz and Sean had been a couple ever since.

Which brought them to tonight. Sean had been very secretive and her anticipation was all but driving Liz crazy. He had told her he had a surprise for her and had given her a credit card to buy something elegant and classy for the occasion. She had spent hours getting ready and now all she had left to do was wait.

Hearing a soft knock on the door, Liz jumped up and took one last look at her reflection in the mirror.

She was wearing a deep burgundy cocktail dress, with a low scoop neck, a fitted bodice, and a flared skirt. Serena had pulled her hair up in a bundle at the back of her head, and there were loose, curly tendrils hanging down to frame her delicate features, which had been highlighted by Serena's neutral earth toned makeup.

She had never looked better. Well, except for the day she and Max...

Liz scowled at her reflection, pushed the thought away. Now was certainly not the time to be thinking about him. Serena was right. It was the past and Sean Deveraux was her future.

Forcing a smile, Liz pumped a few sprays of her strawberry scented perfume onto her wrists, and opened the door.

"Good evening Miss," the chauffeur said as he swept off his hat and handed Liz a small black box.

Liz looked at the box suspiciously, but eventually pulled off the top, revealing a note, and a piece of black silk fabric.

Put this on, and trust Marcus to bring you to me. I'll be waiting when you get here. Love Sean.

Liz sighed, smiled affectionately to herself, but tied the blindfold around her eyes and let Marcus lead her outside to a waiting limo.

Despite the fact that there was a cover tied securely around her head, Liz kept her eyes closed tightly all through the car ride. She was nervously wringing her hands in her lap and she kept crossing and uncrossing her ankles. Her heart was beating quickly, and she was shaking slightly with excitement. There was a smile plastered across her features, in anticipation of the surprise she had been promised.

She felt the limo pull to a stop, and the car door opened seconds later. She took the hand offered her, and let herself be led out of the car, and into what she assumed was a building. Slowly, but steadily, she followed the person leading her into an elevator, down a hallway, and into what felt like a large room.

When the blindfold was finally pulled off, Liz sucked in her breath.

The room, although somewhat familiar to her, had been transformed into a dazzling wonderland. It sparkled with the reflection of the bright white lights off of the glass countertops. Diamond rings in all shapes and sizes had been laid out on the glass shelves, and the lights reflected off crystal stones in every color imaginable. The familiar blue boxes in different sizes were placed at intervals in between the precious gems. The mirrored walls reflected the light and colors from every crevice, and in the reflection staring back at her, Elizabeth Evans saw something she had never thought she'd see again.

She saw the reflection of a woman in love.

Seeing a flash of movement out of the corner of her eye, Liz turned to see the blue eyes she had come to adore staring back at her. When he dropped to one knee, her hand flew to her mouth to choke back a sob.

"Elizabeth Evans, will you marry me?"

Liz was surprised, to say the least.

"Liz?" Sean asked gently. "Are you going to answer me?"

Her eyes full of tears, Liz realized that this was why she was in New York. To start a new life. To make a new beginning, new memories. She smiled through her tears and nodded her head emphatically.

"Yes, yes, I'll marry you," she said.

Sean stood up and took Liz in his arms, twirling her through the air, a laugh erupting from deep inside him. He set her back on her feet, kissed her, and turned her towards the jewelry counters.
"Pick one. Any one you want."

Liz was taken aback as she let Sean lead her to counter after counter of glistening diamonds.

Finally, Liz settled on an one carat, simple marquis cut diamond. The next few hours were spent celebrating her engagement. They went to Liz's favorite restaurant, then dancing, and finally decided to call it a night. The entire evening was purely magical.

"Serena!" Liz hollered as she walked in the door of the apartment. She took the wrap from around her shoulders and hung it on the hook beside the door, throwing her keys and her purse onto the table. Checking the living room, and finding it empty, she ran down the hallway and threw open Serena's bedroom door.

"Rena! Wake up! C'mon, get up!" Liz hollered, jumping on Serena's bed and pulling the covers from her friend's face.

"Liz! It's three in the morning!" Serena moaned groggily, doing her best to hide her eyes from the light.

"I know, but c'mon, Serena! You were right! I'm getting married!"

Serena sat straight up in bed and tried to rub the sleep from her eyes. "You're what?"

Liz flung her hand out and squealed in excitement when Serena grabbed her hand and yelped.

"Oh my gosh! Liz!" Serena exclaimed, hugging her quickly. "We have so much to do."

"Yeah," Liz said, her voice turning serious. "But first, I have to book a flight to go back to Roswell. Sean doesn't want to wait long."

"Sooooo?" Serena questioned, her eyes narrowing. "What's in Roswell?"

Liz looked Serena in the eye. "Not what, who. My husband is who. I'm getting married. But first, I have to get a divorce."

To be continued...



[ edited 19time(s), last at 16-Feb-2003 9:14:29 PM ]
posted on 15-Oct-2002 1:44:46 PM by Kath7
Author's Note: Hello all! Christian and I are thrilled that you like this so far. Don't worry though (Carol!). It is a M/L story. We just get to have fun first! All that happened between Max and Liz to break them up will be explained in time.

Part 2

Roswell, New Mexico – Two Days Later

“Max? Max, I know you’re in here! Will you please answer me?”

Tess Harding marched down the steps into the UFO Center, stopped abruptly as she reached the bottom, Max still nowhere in sight. She set her hands on her slender hips and looked around the large area, a frown marring her pretty face. “Max! Where are you?”

“I’m up here!”

Tess turned her head toward the muffled sound of Max Evans’s voice. She narrowed her eyes, tilted her head back and felt her mouth fall open at the sight that greeted her. Max was up in the rafters of the building, almost completely covered by a gigantic, deflated alien balloon. Tess rolled her eyes. “What are you doing up there? Maria said she guessed that you might actually be contemplating suicide, but I thought she was kidding!” She could feel her heart beating rapidly as she watched Max’s feet – the only part of him that was at all visible – inching their way along the causeway above.

She grimaced and flinched as an abrupt movement seemed to herald Max’s impending doom. Tess jumped as the balloon began to inflate abruptly and then floated down gently so that it hung from the rafters by a thin rope. She glared up at Max, whose calm face had suddenly popped into view with the descent of the balloon. “Get down from there! Are you crazy?”

“Someone has to do these things,” Max replied, inching his way back to the ladder Tess now noticed was leaning against the wall far to their right. “I can’t exactly ask my employees to risk their necks Tess. I don’t have enough insurance.”

“Right. Because a giant alien balloon is really necessary,” Tess complained as she strode towards the spot where Max would momentarily alight. “Are you sure this isn’t some death wish after all?”

Max turned from the ladder, rubbed his hands together thoughtfully and then frowned slightly. “It’s really dusty up there. I think I better go back up with a broom…”

“Don’t move buster!” Tess exclaimed, grabbing him by the arm. “You – high places. No more today.”

Max eyed her, one eyebrow raised. It was only then that she noticed his twinkling eyes. “Why Tess, one might actually think you were worried about me!”

She slapped him lightly with the newspaper that she had pulled out of her large handbag. “I shouldn’t be when this is what I get up to this morning?”
Tess held up the front page of The Roswell Daily Record and watched Max carefully as he nonchalantly read the headline. When his face remained expressionless, Tess knew for certain that he had already seen it. He had been practicing that stone face for hours. Tess just knew it.

“So, this isn’t affecting you at all, huh?” She demanded when the silence stretched out beyond what otherwise might have been normal.

Max tilted his head. “It should?”

“I would think that the fact that your ex-wife is apparently engaged to someone else might be expected to affect you, yes,” Tess replied, feeling like she was talking to a three year old.

He had already turned around by the time she was finished speaking, carefully avoiding her eyes. He headed towards the admissions desk, started fiddling with the cash register before he finally looked up and said, “Well, I can’t say that I’m surprised. I knew she was dating him. It was bound to happen sometime.”

“Max!”

“Tess!” He retorted, grinning slightly. Tess was not fooled though. She had seen the flash of pain in his eyes before he had quickly lowered them again.

“Max, please, you can’t lie to me about this. I know you’re hurting. Talk to me.”

He raised his head abruptly, his eyes flashing. “You don’t know anything about me and Liz Tess. You never did. Which is probably why you don’t see that you’re the last person I can talk to about this.”

She took an involuntary step backward, felt her heart plummet into her shoes. “Whoa. Where did that come from?”

Max sighed, moved around from behind the counter, his hand outstretched. “I’m sorry. Really.” She could tell that he was. While he hadn’t seemed at all upset by the headline, he clearly was by the fact that he had snapped at her. Typical Max. She wasn’t even really upset though. At least, for once, he had let what he was truly feelings out. She just hadn’t known that Max still blamed her for what had happened with Liz. Even though she knew that intellectually he knew that none of it had been her fault, somewhere within him, he still held her responsible.

It didn’t upset her. Really. Because she blamed herself too. And the absolute worst part of it all was that she had never done anything to fix it. She had always been a coward. She knew it. He knew it. He had always just been too polite to say so.

They both knew that she could have fixed this years ago. But she had been frightened and so she hadn’t. Because the fear that had always existed within her that Liz Parker would take her place in his life…she had never been able to see past it enough to do what she knew in her heart was right. She had convinced herself that soon she would go to New York and set everything straight, that she would make Liz come back, would make her return and clean up the mess she had left behind when she had run off.

But tomorrow had always seemed soon enough. Tess had had her own life to straighten out before she could start dealing with Max and Liz’s. Once again she had put herself first and now her best friend had lost any chance of ever being with the only person he had ever – would ever – love forever.

Tess felt a lump enter her throat as she turned the newspaper and gazed at the headline again. Tears filled her eyes, her heart ready to weep for Max, even if he wouldn’t do it for himself.

Local Success Story to Marry Wall Street Wizard’s Heir

“Max, how can she do this to you?” Tess demanded, swiping angrily at her eyes. “How?”

“She’s not doing anything to me Tess,” Max replied quietly, moving back behind the counter and pulling out a box of tissues. He used one to gently wipe the tears off her cheeks. “I did it to myself. I could have told her the truth but I chickened out. What else was Liz supposed to do? She had to get on with her life.”

“But Max, it’s not too late!” Tess exclaimed, taking his hand and pressing it firmly. “You can still go there! You can still stop her. Until she says I do, you still have a chance.”

He had to fix this. He just had to. Because if he didn’t, she was never going to be able to live with herself. She would never be able to forgive herself that while she was having every single one of her dreams come true, all Max had ever wanted was floating completely beyond his reach.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Max replied firmly, turning away again and returning to the daily routine of getting the Museum ready for its first customers.

“Max! If you don’t go, I will! Liz has the right to know the truth.”

“Liz could have found out the truth anytime she wanted to,” Max told her, his voice cold. “I haven’t gone anywhere. Maria hasn’t. Alex hasn’t either. She chose to shut us all out.”

“Max!”

Max’s expression softened slightly. “Tess, you don’t know Liz like I do. This is what’s best for her. We never belonged together. She belongs in the world. I’ll always be stuck in this small town. She left and she never looked back and she pursued the destiny that she was always meant to have.”

“Don’t say that word!” Tess pleaded. “I hate that word!”

Destiny. It was what had caused all this heartache in the first place. She wished sometimes that Nasedo had never told her anything about it. Because if he hadn’t, she might never have returned to Roswell, might never have finally accepted that she had to face hers.

Liz never would have left Roswell if it wasn’t for destiny.

“I know. It’s not my favorite either.” Max’s tone was wry. “But, unfortunately, no one can run from what’s meant to be Tess. You found your destiny here. So did I. Liz found hers in New York. That’s just the way things are.” He turned away and started to add up some receipts from the day before. “I’ll talk to you later,” he told her dismissively, not turning back. The fact that he was being rude only showed her once again how upset he really was and how hard he was trying to pretend he wasn’t.

Tess could feel tears fill her eyes again as she stared at his back. She absolutely hated when Max got like this – all stoic and accepting. It was enough to make her want to force him to drink a pint of bourbon. At least when he was drunk he took matters into his own hands. Or so Kyle had told her once anyway.

Well, she wasn’t willing to just accept it! She wasn’t willing to watch her best friend throw away the woman he loved without a fight. If she had to fight for him, she would do it, if only so that she could know that she had done everything in her power to fix this.

Tess didn’t even try and say good-bye as she turned to leave. What Max didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him. At least not yet. If nothing came of trying to finally get a hold of Liz, then he would never need to know any of it.

“Tess!”

She jumped guiltily as Max’s voice caught her before she was halfway up the stairs. She turned. “Yeah?”

“Don’t go to New York.”

“I wasn’t…” She began, trailed off as her eyes met his. His expression was affectionate but knowing.

He really did know her too well. Damnit!

“Max, please! Let me do this for you!” Tess pleaded.

“Tess, it’s really okay. It’s not necessary.”

“How can it not be necessary?” She flared, suddenly angry with him. She wondered if shaking him would do any good. A good shaking always made Kyle do what she wanted him to. Well, a good bed-shaking that was. But since she wasn’t prepared to rip off her clothes to convince Max to allow her to get his wife back for him, that wouldn’t work.

Besides, it was Liz thinking that Tess wanted to rip off her clothes for Max that had gotten them all into this mess in the first place. She almost snickered. She was clearly losing her mind. Obviously her guilt was driving her bananas on top of everything else.

Yet another reason she had to be allowed to fix this. Damnit! Why did he know she was planning to go to New York?

What he said next though shocked her so completely though, all thoughts of guilt and anger fled instantly.

“Because Liz is coming here.”

“What?” She demanded, dumbfounded. “You talked to her?”

“No,” Max said, a slight grin on his face. “But I know she is.”

“How?” Tess felt her eyes widen. “Did you connect with her?”

“Nope.”

“Max!” Tess exclaimed, frustrated beyond belief again. “How do you know?” He sounded so sure. Had he convinced himself somehow that Liz would never really marry someone else? Was that why he was taking this whole thing so calmly?

She never expected the real reason. Not in a million years.

“Because we’re still married. If my wife intends to marry someone else, then she’s going to have to divorce me first.”

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

Liz leaned her forehead against the cool glass of the window. Thank God for air-conditionning! She had forgotten how warm it could still be in New Mexico at this time of year. It was already early fall in New York, but the sweater she was wearing was too heavy for Roswell in October. She’d have to change when she reached the Crashdown…

“It’s really the desert here, isn’t it?”

Liz moved her head, glanced at Serena, who was behind the wheel. “Do you want me to drive so you can look around?” Liz asked as she felt another rush of affection for her best friend. Liz had been so thrilled that Serena had wanted to accompany her to Roswell. She really didn’t know if she would have been strong enough without her. This was going to be hard – facing everyone she had run away from four years ago. Because with every mile the car drove, Liz remembered the faces of all the people she had left behind when she had run away.

It had never been just about she and Max after all. In the end, that’s what she had made it. She had been forced to give up her entire life when she had left him, but she could not regret it. They had been all wrong for each other, despite all the attempts they had made to pretend otherwise.

It had hurt that Maria had ended up siding with Max, but at least she had Serena now. And because she hadn’t wanted to make him choose between them, Liz had made the choice for Alex herself. She hadn’t talked to him since she had left either.

While her parents had visited her in New York, they had understood that she didn’t want to talk about anything going on in Roswell. They were still confused by exactly what had gone down between she and Max, but because they had never been thrilled by the fact that she had married so young anyway, Liz knew that deep down they had been willing to support her with whatever she had decided.

She had decided to leave it all behind when she left Max. And it wasn’t until this very moment that she realized how very much she had missed Maria and Alex. While she knew she had done the right thing for herself, she couldn’t help but wonder if she could have somehow maintained the connection with the two of them.

But, as they passed the mile marker on the highway that once upon a time she had known as the spot to turn to head for the pod chamber, she knew that there had never been any way that she could have gotten over Max while still maintaining ties in Roswell. To hear about he and Tess…It would have been impossible. And because both Maria and Alex were still lost in the alien abyss the last time she had heard, she knew that she would have heard about them, if only by accident. Maria couldn’t help herself sometimes and even Alex would have found it difficult to not talk about the Czechoslovakians at all.

She had made the right decision.

Liz ignored the fact that her eyes were scanning the horizon, hoping to catch a glimpse of the rocks where, for one precious moment, she had truly believed that all of her dreams were coming true…

Dark eyes, filled with love and desire, seemed to appear in the hazy late-afternoon sky over the spot where she knew the pod chamber lay.

“Liz, I once told you that whether I did tomorrow or fifty years from now, my destiny is the same – it’s you. It’s always been you Liz. There could never be anyone else. I love you. We belong together. I know that we’re too young and I know it’s crazy, but I just don’t see the point in waiting. I want our official life together to have started yesterday. Say you’ll be my wife. Please, marry me Liz.”

“Liz?”

Liz blinked, shook her head as Serena’s voice cut through the sound of Max’s soft voice.

What was that? Had that been a flash? She realized that her heart was beating, hard. She felt a tremor of fear descend her spine. Suddenly she knew without a shadow of a doubt that this was not going to be anywhere as easy as she had envisioned.

He was haunting her already. Just being back near Roswell was bringing it all back. All of it – the joy, the pain, the highs, the lows…

She realized that the car was stopped. She stared blankly at Serena.

“You said you’d drive? I am kind of tired.”

“Oh. Right.” Liz ignored the concerned look on her best friend’s face as she opened her door and switched sides with her.

“Liz?” Serena’s quiet concern came only moments after they had pulled back onto the highway. “You don’t have to do this. I can take him the papers. And I guarantee you, I will make him sign them.”

Liz laughed slightly. “I’m okay, really. I need to do this Rena. I need to exorcise him once and for all.”

Serena did not look entirely convinced, but they settled into comfortable silence again as Liz followed the all too familiar highway into Roswell. 285 North. Of course. Because everything had to remind her of Max.

It was why she had had to leave Roswell. There was no way she ever could have survived any of it by staying here. Running into him would have been bad enough, but Max knew how to make himself scarce when he wanted to. No. It would have been the memories she wouldn’t have been able to escape. She had needed to get as far away as possible.

But, as she pulled the rental car to a stop in front of the Crashdown, Liz couldn’t help be feel slightly sorry. This was her hometown. Good and bad memories be damned. She loved it. She grinned slightly at the blinking sign of her parent’s restaurant. Could anything be more quintessentially Roswell than the Crashdown?

Well, except maybe the UFO Museum, she reflected wryly as she gazed across the street at Max’s former place of employment.

“Is this really where your parents live?” Serena was asking, sounding amazed as she stared up at the space ship crashing through the front wall of the Café.

“Yup,” Liz nodded, grinning. “But that’s not the best part. Look what’s across…” She was raising her hand to bring the Museum to Rena’s attention when she suddenly felt her blood run cold. Later, she wondered if it had been a premonition that her past was about to smack her right in the face, no preparation allowed. Because the doors of the UFO Centre were opening as she pointed and as Liz watched in horror, she abruptly found herself staring across the street at the blonde nightmare she had hoped never to have to lay eyes on again.

To be continued…

posted on 29-Oct-2002 6:54:51 PM by Kath7
Author's Note: Hey guys! Sorry it's been so long between parts, but we're taking our time with this one. Hope you enjoy! Thanks for your patience.

Part 3

With a perplexed look, Serena turned to look at Liz, who had stopped talking mid-sentence. She turned in her seat, and saw Liz wearing a horrified expression, mouth hanging open in a round ‘O’ shape, her finger hanging in mid-air.

“What’s the best part?” She asked curiously.

Liz shook her head, and brought her hand down to the steering wheel. She gripped it so tightly, her knuckles turned white. “It’s just a mirage. I’m not used to this hot weather anymore. That’s all,” she said to herself softly. She took a deep breath, and closed her eyes, then opened them, in an effort to make the vision crossing the street disappear.

“Liz, what’s wrong?” Serena asked.

“I can’t believe this is happening!”
Serena turned to look at the UFO center, wondering what it was that had gotten Liz so upset. She scanned the area and saw nothing unusual. In fact, she saw nothing at all, except for a petite blonde girl walking across the street. Still looking up and down the main drag, Serena spoke to Liz without turning her head. “I still don’t see anything unusual, just some girl-”

This time, it was Serena who stopped in the middle of a thought as a realization dawned on her. They were in front of the place where Max worked. Across from the building where Liz had grown up. And the girl walking across the street was the exact image of the blonde-haired midget Liz had described so many times before.

Serena turned, wide eyed, to Liz, back to the girl, and back to Liz again.

“Well, don’t just sit here,” she whispered as if the blonde midget could hear her. “Go!”

Not waiting another second, Liz turned the key in the ignition, and stepped on the gas pedal. But just as soon as the car started to move, she slammed her foot onto the brakes. The car screeched to a halt. Liz inhaled sharply, and stared out of the windshield again, her face frozen into a panicked expression.

Staring back at her were equally panicked crystal blue eyes, wide with fright at having narrowly missed what could have been a fatal car accident. Taking a long breath, and exhaling deeply, Tess Harding pulled her sunglasses off of her eyes and stared back at the windshield of the bright red sedan that had almost run her over. She put her hands on her hips, and narrowed her eyes, waiting for the driver of the car to step out so she could let them have a piece of her mind.

But as the door slowly opened and a familiar form stepped slowly out of the car, Tess’s expression changed from one of angry excitement to one of pure disbelief. Not ten minutes earlier, she had been itching to jump on a plane and head out to New York to fix what she should have fixed years ago. Her mind had been swimming with the words she would say, words that should have been spoken so long ago, before hearts had been broken and lives had been ruined. But as she came face to face with the one person that had caused pain in the lives of everyone she loved, Tess’s mind went blank.

“Liz?” Tess whispered softly, almost afraid of the answer, hoping against hope that it was she, but also wishing with some part deep inside of her that it wasn’t. She wasn’t ready for this.

Liz stepped closer to the front of the car and stood awkwardly against the bumper, shifting from foot to foot as she fought down the lump forming in her throat. “Tess,” she said flatly. “Are you okay?”

Tess shook her head mutely, still unsure of what to say to the person she’d had endless conversations with in her head over the past four years. Tess took a minute to look at the woman standing before her. Gone was the naïve girl who had been brought to life on a cold restaurant floor by a boy who had loved her from afar. Gone was the girl who had rushed into marriage at a young age, only to walk out on her vows as quickly as she had agreed to take them. Gone was the girl with long dark hair, and features that overflowed with youth and innocence. In her place, stood a woman with the look of experience and maturity in her deep brown eyes. Her straight hair was wavy now, but still as long and dark as it had ever been. Her skin was a bit darker, bronzed and shining from summers spent on the East Coast. She was taller, and had filled out, becoming the woman she was always meant to be.

Narrowing her eyes, Tess looked closely at Liz, taking in her appearance from head to toe. Liz looked good. She had been well taken care of and she had made a good life for herself, far from the people who cared about her the most. Nowhere was there any visible sign that the person standing in the middle of the street had wreaked havoc on what had been a very tight knit group of friends when she had left them with no explanation four years ago. Tess wondered briefly if she had even felt a fraction of the hurt she had left behind.

“Liz, h-how have you been?” Tess asked with forced friendliness. She was amazed that her rage at this woman should have stayed buried for so long. But, now, only moments after watching her best friend trying to hide how heartbroken he still was – even after four years – it all just wanted to burst out of her.

From the corner of her eye, Liz saw Serena step out of the car and shut her door. Seeing her friend standing there, watching the two woman with curiosity gave Liz the courage she would need to make it safely through the next few minutes. She was a grown up now. The Liz Parker that had left Roswell was gone, and in her place was a strong, mature woman. She could do this. “Fine, Tess. I’m fine. You?”

“I’ve been great,” Tess said. “I was just heading over to see Maria,” she said, pointing at the Crashdown. “She’s managing now. She’s working and we always have lunch together on Friday’s,” she said. Then, almost as an afterthought, she added, “The seven of us.”

Liz quickly counted in her mind who the seven people would be. Maria, for one, and unless something drastic had happened, she assumed Michael wouldn’t be far behind. Where Maria was, Alex was, and she couldn’t help but think Isabel and Kyle would be there as well. Tess made six, and that left the last spot for one person alone.

Max.

She could picture the seven of them sitting at the corner booth, squeezed into the benches, a couple chairs pulled up to the end, as they had done so many times before. Except this time, the picture was different. This time, instead of her being at the table at Max’s side, it was Tess. And the picture in her mind was enough to make her nauseous.
Liz looked down at her feet, then back up to Tess. “How is everyone?” Liz asked softly. She had wondered, over and over, during the past years, how the people who were once her best friends were getting along in life. Not once had her parents told her the news from Roswell. They had known that leaving had been painful for her, and with her best interests at heart, they decided never to tell her unless she asked. Which she had never been courageous enough to do. Part of her was scared to hear how the people she left behind were doing, but part of her had been ashamed. Ashamed to find out how they had reacted after she walked out on them all.

Tess put her hand up to shield her eyes from the sun, and gave a weak smile. “Good. Despite everything, well, you know,” she said, glancing sideways at Serena. “We’re all fine.”

Liz nodded, and forced back the tears threatening to break out. She had gone over this moment time and time again on the plane. What she would say. How she would act. What she would do, when she came face to face with her past. But she hadn’t expected it to be Tess she saw first. And now, she didn’t know what to do.

“Maria? And Alex?” Liz asked cautiously. Suddenly, she wasn’t sure if staying was a good idea. Maybe she could find out how everyone was, let her parents hand Max the divorce papers and convince him to sign, and leave town before she saw anyone else. It sure would be a lot easier.

“Maria’s married. She and Michael got married a year ago. Alex and Isabel are planning their wedding right now. It’ll be in the spring.”

Liz looked up, started to speak, but ended up swallowing her words instead. As Tess’s hand moved slightly over her eyes, the sun caught the sparkle of a shining diamond on the third finger of her left hand. And that could only mean one thing. Tess had wasted no time. When she had gone to New York, Tess had taken her place as the woman at Max’s side. Liz felt her stomach tighten, and suppressed the urge to grab her abdomen, refusing to let herself get visibly upset over someone she no longer loved. She wouldn’t give Tess the satisfaction.

“I’ve missed them,” Liz said softly, her voice faltering slightly. She fidgeted with her hands, wringing her fingers together in an attempt to hide her emotions from Tess.

Tess frowned slightly and shook her head. “They’ve missed you too, Liz. It was hard for them at first. It took them a long time to get over….well, you know.”

Once more, Liz felt her chest tighten. She did know. She had never bothered to pick up a phone, or write a letter, or make a visit back home to let the two people she had spent her childhood with know why she had left them behind. But she had always known deep down how much pain her leaving must have caused them. The three of them had been everything to each other at the worst of times and when she hit rock bottom, she hadn’t trusted them enough to depend on them for comfort. She was scared to death that she would see one of them and that they would let her know how much they hated her.
As she blinked, and kicked at a pebble on the ground, Liz was hit with another memory. Of the last time she had seen Maria.

“Don’t Liz. You can’t just run out. You love Max. Max loves you. And I know you don’t give up on the people you love. Stay here Liz. Fight for him. You’ve fought this long for him. You can’t give up now.”

“You’re right, Maria,” Liz said, throwing her hands up in the air. “I did fight for Max. I fought harder for him than I ever have for anything. And I got him. But it wasn’t right, Maria. I know that now. He’s not mine to fight for anymore. It’s time for me to give up.”

“Why Liz? Huh? Because you saw something? Heard something? What? Why are you giving up now? Tell me!”

“I can’t Maria. But trust me, it’s time for me to go. I can’t go on like this. I’ve done nothing but fight lately. And I simply don’t have anymore left in me. That’s it. I have to leave. There’s no other option.”


Maria had done her best that day to keep Liz from leaving but it had been to no avail. As soon as Maria had turned her head, Liz had run, and had yet to look back. She hasn’t spoken to anyone from Roswell since.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured, more to herself than to anyone.

Tess chose to reply anyway. “You should tell them that.”

Liz snapped her head up and narrowed her eyes. Tess Harding was giving her advice. How dare she! “Don’t even try to-”

“I won’t,” Tess said, interrupting Liz. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”

Liz nodded and looked back to Serena. “I guess we need to go now. I have a few things I need to do.”

Tess took one more look at Liz and started to turn towards the Crashdown. “Liz?” She asked tentatively, turning back briefly. “They’d really love to see you,” she said. “They need to see you, Liz. It would do them good.”

Liz turned back to the car as Tess walked away, and as a thought hit her, she whirled back around and called Tess’s name. “Tess!” Liz called after the girl. She waited for Tess to turn around. “Can you not…I mean could we just keep this….”

“I won’t tell them you’re back, Liz. It’s not my place.”

“Thank you,” Liz said reluctantly. What a hard thing for her to do. Say thank you to the one person in her life that had taken away everything she had ever wanted. But right now, Liz didn’t want to face anyone. She wasn’t yet prepared to face Maria or Alex. Or even Kyle, Isabel, or Michael. And she wasn’t even sure she was ready to face Max. It seemed everywhere she looked she saw something that reminded her of someone from her past. And she needed time to collect herself.

“Hey, I think I’ll drive from here,” Serena said, coming around to Liz’s side of the car and prying the keys from her shaking hands.

Liz nodded, and walked silently to the passenger side, opened the door, and sat down limply.

Serena got in, started the car, and drove towards the motel they had passed on their way into town, so that they could get a room to stay in for the week. She glanced worriedly at Liz every minute or so, but Liz sat motionless in the passenger seat, staring straight ahead as they made their way to the outskirts of town. It seemed that everywhere she looked, she saw her memories being played out, like a movie of her past. And at every corner, she heard voices from her youth.

Turning the corner near Senor Chow’s, she saw a dark haired girl and an amber eyed teenage boy with eyes for no one but each other.

The thing about Czechoslovakians that you sorta have to factor in, is they have these incredibly soulful eyes.

Passing West Roswell High, scenes from the first few days after her life had been changed by an otherworldly experience flashed through her mind in a blurry haze.

The Eraser Room does two things: cleans erasers and takes our innocence. Do you know what I mean by "takes our innocence," Liz? The Eraser Room has taken some of the best of us.

Liz took a deep breath and closed her eyes, letting her head fall against the cool glass of the passenger side window. It was inevitable now. She was home. And as much as she wanted to, she knew she wouldn’t leave Roswell again without making things right with her friends.

As they drove further away from her old haunts, Liz realized one thing that she hadn’t been prepared for. She thought she was stronger. She thought she could fight it.

But, little by little, and as hard as she was fighting to stay out, Liz Evans was being pulled back into the alien abyss.
“Liz, are you okay?” Serena asked as she pulled the car to a stop outside the motel.

“They’re getting married.”

“What? Who?” Serena asked.

Liz turned in her seat and faced Serena, her eyes a swirling vortex of pain, remorse, and disbelief.

“Max and Tess. They’re getting married.”

“She told you that?” Serena asked, angrily. “She had the audacity to tell you she was marrying him?”

“She didn’t have to. I saw the ring. On her finger. It’s almost the same exact one he gave me.”

“Liz, just because you saw a ring doesn’t mean that it was Max who gave it to her.”

“Of course it does Serena. Tess came here to stake her claim to Max. She came to Roswell to retrieve what belonged to her before I even existed. She did it. She got what she came for. Max.”

Serena looked at her friend, and could sense the inner turmoil she was going through. “I thought you were over him,” she whispered softly.

“I am,” Liz answered without hesitation. “I am over him.” Liz said it again, as much to convince herself as to convince Serena.

“Right,” Serena said reluctantly. “Then the fact that he’s getting married doesn’t bother you all. He’s moved on, you’ve moved on, you’re happy. I mean, you’re okay with it. Right?”

Liz turned without answering, and opened her car door. “I’ll go check us in.” She put on her sunglasses, and stepped out of the car.

Serena was right. She had everything. She had a great life waiting for her back in New York. There was a job that had made her rich and famous. A loft apartment that would make most people jealous. A fiancé who loved her and wanted to spend his life with her.

This would be a short trip. They’d stay the night, in the morning she would go talk to Maria and Alex, and then she would find Max and get him to sign the divorce papers. It shouldn’t be a problem, getting his signature.

Because he was getting married too.

And it didn’t bother her one little bit.

To be continued…



posted on 6-Nov-2002 12:20:19 AM by Kath7
Part 4

Early the next morning, Liz stared at herself in the
rear-view mirror, running a brush nervously through
her hair for what felt like the twelfth time in as
many minutes. She wasn’t sure why she cared so much
what she looked like. It wasn’t like it should matter
what Max thought, but she wanted to look more put
together than she felt. It amazed her still that
something as simple as coming home could turn her back
into the insecure little girl she had been when she
left. This was all turning out to be much harder than
she had thought it would be.

Thank God she had brought Serena with her. Her best
friend was helping to remind her of the new life she
had made for herself in New York, that as much as she
was beginning to regret cutting all of her ties to
Roswell, in the end, she didn’t need any of these
people. All she really needed was Max’s signature on
the divorce papers and she could go back to the life
she now belonged in. While she was going to try and
make amends with Maria and Alex, if they rejected her,
she would get over it.

She didn’t need any of them anymore. She had
Sean, she had Serena, she had a job she loved and
lived in a city where she felt at home. No, she
didn’t need a history or people who had known her for
her entire life. Because, in the end, they had never
really known her at all. With them she had always
felt insecure, unsure of herself - or at least she had
after Tess appeared in Roswell to change everything.
And, for Liz, Roswell and Tess were now so
intermingled in her mind, she barely remembered a time
when the blonde hadn’t been there, haunting her.

Now Tess had taken her place, likely what had been
meant to be all along. She didn’t even mind, couldn’t
hate the other woman anymore because Liz had built a new
life for herself that she would not trade in a million
years. In New York she knew exactly who she was and
where she belonged.

And, yet, Liz was still nervous. Being in Roswell,
the memories were inescapable. She had forgotten in
New York, after the devastation that had driven her
from her hometown, that it hadn’t all been bad. She
knew that seeing Max again was going to affect her. He
was her first love after all. He would always hold
that place in her heart. In spite of everything - her
love for Sean, his new life with Tess - they would
always have that special bond between them. It was
scary and, yet, kind of reassuring at the same time.

Max had only ever tried to make her happy. He would
sign the papers and he wouldn't make it difficult for
her. It wasn’t his style. Besides, he was bound to
want their legal ties eradicated just as much as she
did, what with Tess being his fiancée and all. Liz
had most likely just beaten him to the punch.

This thought gave Liz the courage she needed to open
the car door, to walk up the front path of the small
split-level in front of her (she had looked up his
address in the phone book, not wanting to alert her
parents to her presence in town until the dirty work
was done) and to ring the doorbell.

It was only then, when she forced herself to focus on
what she doing, that she heard the racket coming from
within the house. A dog was barking, a T.V. was
blaring, a phone was ringing and…oh Lord, Liz’s knees
became weak at this…a baby was crying.

"Just a minute!" Liz heard a voice yell from behind
the door. She swallowed, recognizing it immediately
as Max. Even raised in that slightly panicky way it, it still sounded exactly the same. He was really
only just a few feet away. She heard the T.V. click
off and heard him say something firmly to someone,
likely the dog because it stopped barking. Liz forced
herself to take a deep breath and bit her lip, managed
to keep a business-like expression on her face.

She still wasn’t prepared. Because when the door
opened, it was worse than she expected.

Liz’s eyes widened. How on Earth could he have not
changed a bit? Sure, he looked older, but he was
still the most beautiful thing she had ever laid eyes
on. His dark hair was a bit longer, as though he
hadn’t recently found time to have it cut - or to use
his powers on it anyway. Her heart started to beat
erratically in her chest as her gaze met his. She
watched in fascination as his golden eyes widened in
surprise, then narrowed, as though maybe he wasn’t so
shocked after all. Those eyes…

Damn him. They were still as soulful as ever, but now
with a new maturity that made them even sexier than
they had been before. And the reason for that
maturity was what she found herself staring at in
horrified fascination. He was holding a screaming baby
in his arms, patting it lightly on the back. She
almost couldn’t believe it, but here was the proof
right in front of her. They weren’t married yet, but
Max and Tess had actually made an even bigger
commitment to each other than he and Liz had ever
done. They had a child.

For one split second, all her girlhood fantasies about
him holding their own baby came flashing through her
mind. She barely managed to control the tears that
suddenly wanted to burst from within her.

Oh why hadn’t she spoken to her parents first? They
could have told her this, could have prepared her.

"Well, I can’t say that I’m surprised to see you
here." Max’s wry tone made Liz snap her gaze back to
his.

"You’re not?" Liz returned, knowing that her voice was
reflecting the shock that she felt.

"I do read the newspaper Liz," Max told her quietly.
"I just didn’t expect to see you so soon." He turned
away, rubbing the baby gently on the back as it
finally settled against his neck, no longer screaming
as if the world was ending. Liz blinked, guessed that
he meant her to follow him. They passed through a neat
living room, where a dog was sprawled on the floor,
looking guilty, and into a sunny kitchen, where the
toaster was just popping as Liz entered.

"So Tess didn’t tell you I was in town?" Liz
was surprised that the blonde had kept her word. She
had been half-expecting someone - anyone - to come
confront her at the hotel all last evening, but when
no one had, it only reinforced to her that she had
probably truly burnt all of her bridges in Roswell.
It had never once crossed her mind that Tess really
hadn’t told anyone she was back.

Max didn’t answer right away, was in the process of
gently laying the baby in the basket waiting for it on
the kitchen table. Liz forced herself to watch, made
herself examine the child more closely. Its small
hands were now fisted in sleep. It was younger than
Liz had first realized, maybe only a couple of months
old. And it really was cute. It’s long eyelashes
brushed its smooth cheeks as its eyes fluttered closed
and it settled into slumber. Liz still couldn’t tell
if it was a boy or a girl, but she was beginning to
think a girl. Not that she really knew. She had no
experience with babies at all. In her crowd in New
York, children existed, but they weren’t generally
seen. She knew, for example, that Sean’s older
brother had two, but she didn’t even know their names.

Liz frowned, realized for the first time that this
fact was really, really weird.

She forced herself to push the inane thought away as
Max straightened and moved to the toaster, throwing
the two pieces of toast onto a plate. He opened the
fridge, took out some strawberry jam and ran it over
the bread before reaching around the basket on the
table to grab the Tabasco sauce sitting there. Liz
smiled slightly despite herself.

Well, some things apparently hadn’t changed. It
somehow made her feel better.

"Tess knew you were here?" Max asked, ending the
comfortable silence that Liz hadn’t even realized it
was until it was broken. She frowned slightly.

"I ran into her yesterday," Liz replied, trying not to
grimace at how literally true the statement was.

She frowned again when Max rolled his eyes and
muttered, "I’m going to kill her."

"Where is Tess?" Liz asked quickly, hoping
against hope that the blonde would not suddenly appear
in the kitchen. While she had accepted how things now
stood, it didn’t mean that she wanted to be confronted
head-on by their happy little family. The baby was
bad enough. As Liz lowered herself into a chair near
the basket, she stared at it, wondered why Max had not
sought her out long before, why he hadn’t wanted to
make sure that he and Tess were married before the little
one’s arrival.

"Is it a boy or a girl?" She asked, knowing that she
sounded stupid, but not caring. She was tired of
thinking of it as an ‘it’. She wanted to think of it
as a person. It existed. She was going to have to
accept it.

"Her name is Eliza," Max said, making Liz’s eyes snap
up in shock.

"What?"

"Maria insisted."

Liz stared at him, dumbfounded. "What does Maria have
to do with it?"

"A lot." Max suddenly grinned at her, startling Liz
even more. "She is her mother after all."

Liz knew her mouth was hanging open, but couldn’t seem
to force it shut. "You…you knew!" She finally
spluttered. "Max! You knew I thought she was yours."

"I did?" He asked innocently. "She’s not mine Liz.
She’s Michael and Maria’s. It’s why they got married,
because she was on the way." He paused, then said
quietly. "They both thought they were still too
young, but…" He shrugged. "I guess fate made up their
minds. It’s my day off so I’m babysitting. She gets
passed around a lot. We all fight over who gets to
take care of her." He glanced at the clock. "Isabel should be arriving at any moment to tell me
I’m doing it all wrong. But Ellie and I understand
each other." He reached into the basket, gently
touched Eliza. Her small hand opened in her sleep and
the little girl wrapped her fingers around Max’s
larger one. A lump entered Liz’s throat as she
watched him.

They were too young.

His earlier words sank in and she understood that he was not just talking about Michael
and Maria. Liz stared at him, met his eyes as he
raised them again, couldn’t for the life of her figure
out what he was thinking. It was strange. She had
always known before, but those golden depths were
shuttered against her now.

"I thought…you and Tess…" She knew she sounded like a
fool, but couldn’t seem to connect words into a
coherent whole at the moment. "Since you’re engaged
and all…"

Max raised an eyebrow, looked momentarily taken aback,
but replied, "Like I said, she’s not mine." He sat
back, started eating his toast, never taking his
eyes off Liz.

"You know why I’m here?" She asked as the silence
stretched out between them again, no longer
comfortable.

"You want a divorce," Max acknowledged, after he
finished chewing.

"I’m engaged to a really wonderful guy…"

"Hmmmm," Max sounded disinterested as he threw the
crusts back on his plate. Liz watched this, felt like
smiling again. He had always hated eating the crusts
It had brought on one of their first fights after they
were married. It annoyed her that he wasted them,
being as they were so broke, any food they managed to
afford was generally treated like gold. But he never
would eat those damn crusts. She wondered why she
found it funny now when it had irritated her so much
before. "He’s rich huh?"

Liz blinked. It was so not what she was expecting him
to say, it momentarily threw her off balance. She had
expected him to say, "Well, I’m glad you’re happy
Liz. Tess and I are both thrilled for you…"
or
some such inanity. Because that’s what the Max she
remembered would have said. Well, maybe not the part
about Tess. That would have been a bit like rubbing
her face in it.

"What does that have to do with anything?" She
demanded, wondered why she felt a bit defensive.

"Nothing." He wasn’t smirking at her, was he? Max Evans never smirked. "Good for you."

"I’m not marrying him because he’s rich!" Liz flared,
suddenly annoyed. Why was he being so infuriating?
This wasn’t the Max she remembered. If she was not
mistaken, he was being deliberately confrontational.

"Okay." Max shrugged, started munching on his second
piece of toast, apparently unconcerned. "So, you want
me to sign something?"

Liz started, felt a wave of relief run through her.
Thank goodness. Whatever little demon he had
momentarily been victim to was apparently gone. She
pulled her bag forward from where it was draped across
the back of her chair and pulled out the blue legal
papers. She even had a pen.

Standing, she moved closer to him, ignored the fact
that she could now smell the clean scent of his soap.
She tried to ignore it anyway, but couldn’t help but
reflect that he still smelt exactly the same. Liz
moved the plate in front of him aside, set down the
papers and handed him the pen.

He picked up the document, leaned back and began to
scan it. Liz’s eyes narrowed suspiciously as she
watched his eyes move with careful precision. Somehow
she just knew that he was still trying to get
to her. What on Earth was the matter with him?
Shouldn’t he want this as much as she did? He was
engaged for God’s sake!

"So when’s the wedding?" Liz asked through gritted
teeth, trying to remind him that his behavior was
inappropriate.

Max didn’t look up. "Why are you asking me? It’s your
wedding."

Liz sighed, prayed for strength. She wondered if Max
had been drinking this morning. The only other time
she had found him completely beyond her comprehension
was that time Kyle had gotten him drunk. But she knew
that he hadn’t been. He was babysitting and it was
nine o’clock in the morning. No, this was all Max. "I
meant your wedding to Tess."

Max was quiet for a moment, finally looked up, then
said, "What makes you think that Tess and I are
getting married Liz? That’s the second time you’ve
implied it."

"Max." She was suddenly inexplicably weary. "I told
you I saw Tess yesterday. She was wearing an
engagement ring."

"And you just naturally assumed that it was me
she’s marrying?" Max demanded.

"Isn’t it?" Liz snapped back.

"Liz, I’m still married to you," Max replied, his
voice abruptly gentle.

She blinked, so surprised she didn’t know what to say.
For one split second, the way he looked at her…But
his next words changed all that. "I’m not the kind of
person who gets engaged without getting divorced first."

Liz stared at him, then jumped to her feet. "Just
sign the papers Max."

He leaned back again, threw the pen down on the table.
"I think I’d like to have my dad go over them first."
He looked up at her, his dark eyes gleaming
strangely.

"Max!"

"Liz," he returned mildly. "I think it’s the least you
can do. You’ve waited this long. What’s another day?"

She glared at him for a long moment, then couldn’t
resist asking, "If you’re not engaged to Tess, than
who is?"

Max narrowed his eyes at her. "You really haven’t
spoken to anyone, have you?"

Liz felt a mild flash of guilt. "I wanted to see you
first," she replied lamely. "I wanted to get the hard
part over with."

"So it is hard then?" Max snorted. "You could
have fooled me."

"Of course it’s hard!" She knew that her voice was far
too loud, but didn’t care. "Do you think I wanted to
come back here?"

Max looked away. "I’m sure you didn’t. You’ve built
quite the life for yourself in New York." He sounded
disdainful.

"Not that it’s any of your business but, yes, I have,"
Liz snapped. "I hoped that you would be happy for
me…"

Max looked back at her, his eyes unreadable. "I am
glad Liz. You did what you always wanted to do. You
escaped the alien abyss, as you and Maria once so kindly
dubbed knowing us." He picked up the papers, stood and moved
towards her. Liz took an involuntary step back. She
wondered if she imagined the way he momentarily looked hurt by that, but she didn’t imagine the deliberate
way he picked up her bag and tucked the divorce papers
back into it.

"What are you doing?" Liz screeched, rushing forward
and grabbing the bag away from him. "You said you
were going to let your dad read them!"

"Don’t need to," Max replied easily, casually
thrusting his hands into the pockets of his worn
jeans. "I’m not signing them."

"What?!?" Liz wondered if she had ever felt so
outraged before. She was almost positive she hadn’t.
"Why not?"

There was a long pause, then Max said carefully,
repeating his earlier words, "So your fiancé is rich
huh?"

Liz stared at him in disbelief. "You want me to pay
you off?" Her mouth fell open for the second time in
the past half an hour. What on Earth had happened to
Max Evans since she had left here?

"You make it sound so mercenary Liz." He grinned at
her, only maddening her more. "It’s not like he’ll
miss it and I could use the money." He paused. "There
haven’t been many tourists this year and the UFO
Center is suffering," he elaborated. "Let’s just say
that a silent investor would be really helpful
right about now."

"You still work at the Museum?" Liz demanded in
disbelief. "But you went to college Max!"

"You make it sound like a death sentence." Max shook
his head, sounding disgusted with her, even though
he was the one blackmailing her. "You really
couldn’t wait to get out of this town, could you?"

"If this is how you turned out, I’m really glad I
did," Liz shot back. "You’ve changed Max and not for
the better!"

"Ditto." He still didn’t seem particularly upset
though as he continued, "Liz, a settlement when a
marriage ends is not unnatural. I just want what’s
coming to me."

"It’s not my money you want," Liz reminded him,
still completely disbelieving that he would have the
gall to ask such a thing of her. "I’ll give you some
of my money if that’s what you really want. I have
lots," she elaborated, wanting to make him feel worse.
She knew it was wrong, knew that she shouldn’t feel
smug that she was a far greater success than he, but
he deserved it, the jerk.

"It’s not," Max told her firmly, apparently not upset.
Her anger increased.

"Why not?"

"Because I don’t think your fiancé even knows I exist
and I don’t think that’s fair," Max told her, shaking
his head in mock concern. "This way I know
you’ll have to tell him."

Liz could feel her blood literally boiling. "It’s
none of your business what he knows!" She
shrieked, so loudly the baby started to cry. She felt
instant remorse but it was too late to take it back.

Max sighed, moved to pick up Eliza. "Now look what
you’ve done," he reprimanded her. "And all because I
just asked for my due." He grinned at her again, but
it faded as the baby started to screech louder, as
though sensing his strange mood. "You should just
leave Liz and think about what I’ve asked for. I don’t
think it’s much, compared with your complete
liberation from me."

"I’m going, but don’t think I won’t be back! And don’t
think it will be with money," Liz snapped, no longer
sorry. Let Max deal with a screaming baby. God was
punishing him, and rightfully too!

With that, she stormed out of the house.







[ edited 1 time(s), last at 6-Nov-2002 12:27:11 AM ]
posted on 16-Nov-2002 12:48:51 AM by Kath7
Part 5

Slamming the car door for the fourth time in ten minutes, Liz turned around, took a deep breath, and started up the walkway to the front door of the quaint, modest two story home. She’d made up - then changed - her mind three different times about ringing the doorbell. The second time she’d even had her finger on the little glowing button, but at the last minute had turned and run down the driveway, practically jumping in the driver’s side window without bothering to open the door.

"This is it, Liz," she said to herself forcefully. "It’s now or never. No more room to change your mind." Taking a deep breath, Liz started up the walkway.

Taking a look around, she noticed that the surroundings hadn’t changed that much. The oak tree with the tire swing where she got her first broken bone was still in the front yard. The cement slab in the sidewalk where she, Alex, and Maria had left their hand-prints in the sixth grade still lay at the bottom of the porch steps. And just visible above the roof was the top of the old oak tree where she’d had her first camp-out. It had been the summer after they saw E.T. and the three of them had been fascinated. They wanted to ride floating bicycles and see glowing fingers first hand. Liz had convinced Maria they could find their own aliens and Alex had come along for the fun.

"Here, put some more over there," Alex said, handing the bag of Reese’s pieces to Maria.

"What if no one comes? What if the aliens’ don’t see them?" Maria asked.

"They’re like bait," Liz said. "You know, when you fish. They’ll like smell them or something, then they’ll come for them, and we’ll kidnap him."

"But what if no alien comes? What if they don’t smell them?" Maria asked, wide-eyed.

"Well, then," Alex said, putting one arm around Maria’s shoulder, and the other around Liz’s. "We’ll always have each other."


Liz chuckled to herself as the memory came and went. They never got their floating bicycles. And they hadn’t always had each other.

But they had definitely gotten their aliens.

Shaking her head slightly, and regaining her composure, she settled back to the task at hand.

When she had come home from Max’s Liz had been furious. Her eyes were red and her face tear-streaked and her hair was a tangled mess from having driven with the windows down in an effort to dry her face. She’d stomped into the hotel room, grumbling under her breath, and had only calmed down when Serena threatened to throw her into the bathtub under a freezing cold shower.

While she had been angry at Max, she’d been even more mad at herself for letting him get to her. She’d had herself convinced that talking to Max was going to be easy. She’d misconceived the feelings and anxiety she’d felt before going to see the man to whom she was still married. And, as a result, she had come out of his home with a barrage of feelings welling up inside her. He’d pushed all the right buttons and had succeeded in making what should have been an in and out meeting into something much more complicated. As a result, Liz’s emotions had hit the roof the minute she was out of Max’s sight.

She’d walked around the corner from his house, gotten into her car, and had laid her head over the steering wheel, crying for several minutes. When the blurriness subsided, she started the car and drove to the hotel. The entire ride was spent replaying her meeting with Max over and over in her mind. It was only then that she thought of things she should have said. Once she got there, she cried again, this time because she was angry that she’d let herself cry over Max in the first place.

She’d gone in and Serena had cornered her, making her spill the whole story. Only after a long heart to heart with her best friend had Liz started to feel better. Then Serena had headed out to the pool and Liz had looked up Alex and Maria’s addresses and headed out to see her former best friends. She was a bit surprised to see that Alex still lived at home.

This time though, she was fully prepared. There were no misconceptions. She knew without a doubt that this wasn’t going to be easy. She’d deserted Alex and Maria. They’d been the two people she knew and loved the most in her life until Max came around. They knew her better than her parents. The three of them had been through some of life’s greatest joys and some of its most painful sorrows together. They’d formed a unique bond that they had promised each other would always be strong. But Liz had broken her promise when she’d left Roswell. She’d deserted the two people in the world who had been firmly by her side since elementary school. And she knew there would definitely be tears and pain at this meeting.

Reaching the top step yet again, Liz held out her finger to the glowing button of the doorbell, and only let herself hesitate a minute before pressing the button firmly. She’d gone to Alex’s first, since she already knew where he was living. She stood, shifting her weight from side to side, waiting for him to answer his door.

After what seemed like an eternity, Liz reached out and rang the doorbell again. This time, she heard a slight thump from somewhere in the house, and the unmistakable sound of footsteps coming towards the door. She plastered a smile on her face, and waited for the door to be answered.

"What’s wrong, Isabel, did you forget…."

Liz watched as Alex trailed off, mid-sentence, his eyes a mixture of shock, surprise and, then, confusion. She waited for him to say something, but when he just stood there, Liz tried to think of something to say to the person she had called her best friend for most of her life.

The only thing that came out was, "Hi Alex."

Alex shook his head, blinked his eyes and continued to stare at her.

Liz offered a shaky smile, but it quickly faded when the disbelieving look didn’t leave Alex’s face.

"Alex, it’s me, Liz."

"I know perfectly well who you are."

Liz bit her lip and looked down at her feet. She stared at the ground as Alex looked at her.

"I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come," she finally said, after the silence had become painful. She made a move to turn back towards the street.

"Do you want to come in?"

Liz took a deep breath, and turned around just as Alex stepped aside wordlessly so she could enter. Slowly Liz walked back to the door and stepped inside the home that had once been like her own.

"I got in yesterday. I’ll be here for a few days," Liz said.

Alex nodded, continuing to study Liz carefully.

"I just, I mean, I wanted to come by here. I needed to see you. And Maria. I want to apologize."

"You talked to Maria?" Alex asked.

Liz shook her head. "Not yet."

"She should be here for this. I’ll call her."

Alex walked into the next room, where Liz knew there was a telephone hanging on the kitchen wall. She walked in to the living room and set her purse on the end table. She looked around as she heard Alex’s hushed voice wafting through the silent house.

Liz walked to the mantel, and looked at the pictures gathered there. The first one she recognized. It was a picture of she, Alex, and Maria taken the summer before tenth grade. It was the next year their lives had been changed forever. The next was one of Isabel and Alex, standing outside the Crashdown with smiles on their faces and their arms around each other. She saw pictures of Alex’s family, and more of he and Isabel. When she got to the last frame, she reached out and touched it gingerly. It was a framed picture taken at Maria and Michael’s wedding. Maria was standing in the middle of the photo, her head thrown back in laughter, her finger pointing to her slightly bulging belly. Michael was standing next to her, his hand on Maria’s tummy, a smirk on his face. Alex was on the other side, a surprised look on his face, and Isabel and Tess standing behind her, each of them with their mouths open, having been in the midst of saying something. Off to the right, Kyle and Max were watching with grins as their friends focused on Maria’s belly. Liz dropped her finger and sighed sadly. She had missed out on so much with her friends. These were moments she’d never get back.

"It was at the reception. Maria felt Eliza move for the first time and we were all around to see her reaction. Your dad took the picture."

Liz turned around and saw Alex leaning against the door-frame, watching her intently.

Her parents hadn’t told her that they kept in touch with her friends. It never crossed her mind that they would see her friends regularly, but now she wondered why it hadn’t. After all, they were friends with Amy Deluca, The Evans’ and Sheriff Valenti.

"You all look very happy," Liz said.

"You should have been there Liz."

Liz looked up at Alex as she felt the tears rush to the surface. "I know. I’m sorry, Alex, I just-"

Alex held up a hand and motioned for Liz to stop. "Maria’s coming. She should hear what you have to say."

Liz nodded quietly and walked to the couch, sitting down to wait for Maria’s arrival. Alex left the room, making Liz flinch. Apparently he couldn’t even stand to make casual conversation with her.

Ten minutes later, when Liz heard a car door slam and a key being inserted into the door, she stood up as Alex walked in from the next room.

"Alex Whitman! What is the deal? Being all secretive and stuff? It better be good to call me out and not tell my why I’m coming over here. And who’s car is that in the driveway? You didn’t tell me you were getting a new one. Alex! Where are-"

Maria stopped short as she walked into the living room and saw Liz standing near the fireplace. Her mouth fell open. It only took her a moment to regain her composure however. "This is a joke, right?" She demanded, her eyes narrowed. Liz could feel her heart pounding the tattoo of impending doom in her chest.

They were not going to forgive her. While she had pretended to accept it, had pretended she was ready, the fact that she was now actually experiencing rejection from Alex and Maria…She wanted to cry.

"Afraid not, she’s here. In the flesh." Alex sounded annoyed.

"So what," Maria said, throwing her purse and keys onto the arm-chair to the right. "Finally figure we were worth talking to? You know, being all famous and stuff. Finally decide to come down and talk to us middle-class schlubs?" Maria inquired sharply.

"Maria," Alex warned softly.

"Don’t Maria me, mister! She left us!" Maria reminded him angrily, pointing at her former best friend. "When she left Max, she left us all. Me and you included. No card, no letter, no phone call. She deserted the people who loved her most!"

"She came to apologize," Alex said.

"Well, it’s too little too late Liz. We’ve moved on without you," Maria told her.

"I’m sorry," Liz said. "Out of all the things I’ve done in the past four years, the only thing I regret is leaving you two."

Liz watched as Maria’s grimace faltered, and she could have sworn she saw a sad look cross her face. But just as quickly as it was there, it was gone, the angry look back in her features.

"You didn’t even let us know you were okay. One minute I’m talking to you about Max, and the next minute you’re gone. You could have been dead for heaven’s sake! And how did we find out you weren’t? We had to read it in the paper. The paper, Liz! You couldn’t even call to say you were okay, and we found out when your picture was in the paper! Just like everyone else. We deserved more!" Maria said, her voice shaking with anger.

Liz looked down at her hands and played with the ring on her left finger.

"I was hurt. Heartbroken. My world had just collapsed around me. I couldn’t handle it. That’s no excuse, I know, but I just didn’t know what to do. So I ran. And I didn’t look back. I couldn’t…" She trailed off as Alex walked across the room to put his arm on Maria’s shoulders, apparently demonstrating a united front. She took a deep breath and plunged on. "I know it was wrong. And I know I hurt you, but all I can do is apologize."

"And you expect that to be it? You say you’re sorry, and then everything’s okay?" Alex asked.

Finally, letting the tears fall from her eyes, Liz looked at Maria and Alex. "You two were the most important people in my life. And I left you. Because I was wrong. But I was young and naïve. I’m different now. I’ve changed. And I realize how wrong I was. And how much I miss you - both of you. I want to be part of your life. I want you to be a part of mine. I know it will take time," Liz said. "But I need you." She added the last part, whispering it softly.
"How could you do it, Liz? How could you just leave us like that. You could have come to us. We would have helped," Alex told her quietly.

"I can’t change the past. What I did was wrong. I know that now. I want to make it up to you. I want to start our friendship all over. All I can do is apologize. I’m sorry."

Liz watched as Maria’s lip started to quiver. She stood with her arms crossed, her eyes fixed on Liz. Alex simply stared at his feet, and squeezed Maria’s shoulder.

After what seemed like an eternity, Liz realized that neither of them was going to say anything. She waited another minute, as memories from their friendship danced through her mind.

Their first school dance. When Maria had dragged Alex and Liz into doing her own rendition of the ‘Funky Chicken’.

Their first day of Middle School, when Maria had cried because she had to sit next to Vicky Delaney in three classes and had then gotten mad at Liz for laughing..

The night of Alex’s 15th birthday party when Maria had slugged Pam Troy for trying to crash.

The night she ran after Maria after telling her the truth about Max.

The night she’d spent in jail with Alex and the rift it had almost caused in their friendship.

She was scared that Alex and Maria wouldn’t be able to forgive her, and that those memories would be all she’d have left of her friendship with them.

Figuring they needed some time to think, she picked up her purse and eased past them to the door. "I’m sorry. I better go." She tried not to let her resignation sound in her voice, but she knew it was there.

They were not going to forgive her. It was horrible, but it was true. And it was no less than she deserved.

Just as Liz reached the door and put her hand on the knob, she heard Maria’s voice. "I have a baby, you know. She’s named after you. We had to have at least a piece of you here…if you couldn’t be." Liz turned around, and watched as Maria moved towards her slowly, raising her now tear streaked face to look her in the eyes. "You should meet her."

Liz dropped her purse abruptly and she closed the distance, grabbing Maria in a fierce hug. "I’m so sorry, Maria. I’m so sorry. But I love you, and I’ve missed you so much," Liz said through her tears.

She felt Maria shake her head as she squeezed her back. "I’ve missed you too, Lizzie. More than you could know."

As Liz and Maria stood in a firm embrace, crying softly, Alex walked up to them. "Well," he said, placing one arm on Maria’s back, the other on Liz’s. "Got room for one more?"

Liz smiled, despite her tears, and reached out to grab Alex. "I love you too, Alex."

"We never stopped missing you," he said.

Liz nodded. "And I never stopped missing you. Either of you."

"C’mon," Maria said, pulling Liz towards the kitchen. "We have a lot to catch up on."

Liz followed Maria and Alex into the kitchen, smiled as Alex reached into the freezer for some ice cream and Maria grabbed three spoons from the drawer. Some things never change, she thought. She scowled as an image of Max smirking at her appeared abruptly before her.

Well, that wasn’t strictly true. Someone had changed and not for the better.

She almost forcibly thrust Max Evans out of her head. He had no right to be here. It was because of him that she had almost lost her best friends. She wasn’t going to let him interfere again.

Two hours later, still talking and reminiscing, Maria screeched abruptly, looked at her watch and then jumped to her feet. "Oh my goodness! We’re supposed to meet everyone at Senor Chow’s in 15 minutes!"

Alex slapped the counter. "I almost forgot. It’s Kyle’s birthday!"

"Isabel has been planning this for weeks. She’ll kill us if we’re late," Maria told Liz, grimacing, obviously reluctant to leave.

"That’s my cue," Liz said.

"Come with us!" Alex suggested. "Kyle’d love to see you."

Liz shook her head. "I don’t think that’s a good idea." She wasn’t ready to face the whole group just yet. She watched as Alex and Maria exchange looks. They had been very careful to leave Max out of their conversation, nor had she told them she’d already been to see him.

"You sure?" Maria asked.

Liz nodded.

"Well, we still have a lot to catch up on," Alex said.

"And I have a lot to tell you. I want to tell you why I’m here."

"And you will," Maria said. "But right now, we have got to go. He’ll probably hold Eliza hostage if I’m late." She walked around the counter, and grabbed Liz in a quick hug. "I’m glad you’re back, Liz."

"Me too," Liz said.

"Well, that makes three of us," Alex added.

"Tonight. Will you come back by here?" Alex asked.

"What about your parents?" Liz asked.

Alex shook his head. "Moved out last year. Got an apartment in Albuquerque. I live here now. And Isabel will too this time next month."

"Okay, then. You’ll be here too?" she asked Maria.

"You bet your butt," Maria said, smiling. "I have someone you should meet."

Liz nodded, and walked outside, watching as Alex and Maria climbed into Maria’s car and sped off down the street.
Sighing, she got in her car and headed to the hotel to pick Serena up so she could go see her parents.

***

"Relax, Isabel, they’ll be here," Tess said. She had a pretty good idea why Alex and Maria were late, but she didn’t want to tell anyone. After all, it wasn’t her place. She was pretty sure that Max already knew. He’d come in to the restaurant, and had given her a piercing look.

"You and me, later," he’d said, sounding extremely annoyed.

She had groaned, sensing that Max had run into his erstwhile wife and that he wanted to blast her for not telling him that he had been right. That Liz would come back. He’d sat next to her, brooding quietly since he’d shown up and hadn’t involved himself in the conversation.

"I swear. If they don’t show up soon, I’m going to send Alex down the aisle by himself."

"You will not!" Kyle said, calling Isabel’s bluff. "You’ve done too much planning for that wedding. It’ll screw up the pictures to have him standing there alone." He quirked a grin at Isabel, making her scowl at him.

"Fine, I won’t," Isabel said. "But I’ll be very upset!"

"Hold your horses Izzy, here they come," Michael said. He was holding Eliza, feeding her with the bottle in his hand.

"It’s about time!" Isabel replied huffily.

Maria and Alex walked up to the table and Alex took his seat next to Isabel, across from Max. Maria leaned over and kissed Eliza on the forehead, kissed Michael quickly on the lips and sat down between him and Alex.

"Where have you been?" Isabel demanded. "You were supposed to be here twenty minutes ago."

"We were held up," Alex replied.

"Held up by what?" Michael asked, not sounding like he really cared but just trying to keep the conversation going so that Isabel wouldn’t start screeching. If anyone knew how to handle his almost sister, it was Michael, Tess reflected gratefully. It wasn’t a good idea to let Isabel get started…not a good idea at all.

Tess watched Maria and Alex, knowing what was going to come next. She wondered how they were going to explain this one.

Apparently head-on.

Maria took a deep breath. "It’s Liz. She’s back in town." She held up her hands as she heard her friends gasp. Tess turned her head and watched Max closely. The fact that not even a spasm of emotion crossed his face confirmed to her that he had seen her. She was dead. She still wasn’t quite sure why she hadn’t told him about Liz’s arrival. Maybe it was the fact that she still felt like she owed Liz Parker something, but it didn’t excuse it. Max was her best friend. He had a right to be pissed off at her.

"Now before anyone says anything…" Maria continued hurriedly, "She wants to talk to everyone. She wants to apologize. She knows what she did is wrong and she came back to tell us that. She feels bad and she misses us. She wants to tell us all about her fame and fortune, and all about her new life. And she wants to hear about us, and what she’s missed. Oh yeah, and she knows about Isabel and Alex’s wedding, and he invited her, and she’s going to come, if everyone agrees, and she wants to see Eliza, and-"

Michael reached a hand over his sleeping daughter and clamped it over Maria’s mouth. "Wait a second, Maria. You’re talking faster than my brain can process. Did you just say Liz was back?"

"You talked to her what did she say? What does she look like?" Isabel demanded, apparently in spite of herself, because she quickly snapped her mouth shut and glanced at Max worriedly.

"Did she say why she left us high and dry?" Kyle asked.

Alex looked around at his friends and answered their questions. "Yes, she’s back, We did talk to her and she said a lot and she looks great. We still don’t really know why she left." Tess frowned, wondered why she felt that Alex was trying too hard not to look at she or Max as he said that. "Any more questions?"

Maria leaned over the table and narrowed her eyes at Tess and Max. "You two don’t have any questions?"

Tess shook her head and Max muttered a brief, "No".

"Why not?" Maria asked suspiciously.

"Everyone’s already asked what we wanted to know," Tess replied carefully.

"You knew!" Maria said, pointing at Max and Tess. "You two knew she was here and didn’t tell us!"

Tess let out a deep breath. Liz had asked her not to tell. Although Tess’s loyalty lay with her friends, she hadn’t told them that she’d seen Liz. And now she’d have to explain why. She could only hope they’d understand. "I saw her briefly yesterday. But she asked me not to tell anyone she was here."

"Tess! I can’t believe you didn’t tell us. Liz has been gone for four years. Why should you do what she asked?" Michael said. "And you knew too, Maxwell?"

"Not until this morning. When she came to see me." Max looked away, his face still expressionless. Tess saw Michael stare at his best friend a moment longer and then exchange a glance with Isabel, who was beginning to look ready to spit nails. If there was anyone who wasn’t going to forgive Liz for abandoning Max, it was Izzy.

But, then, she didn’t know why Liz left. No one did. Except for Tess…and Max of course. Tess hadn’t even told Kyle, mainly because Max had asked her not to after getting back from New York.

She had been so sure that Max following Liz to New York would fix things, that once he explained it all, Liz would come back and all would be right with the world. But when he had returned alone, Tess had decided that they would play the whole thing any way he wanted to. It was his marriage after all and his wife. And he hadn’t wanted anyone to know.

Maria and Alex had tried to find out for a while. Maria in particular had known that something seriously awful had happened, but when Max refused to talk about it and when the Parkers continued to refuse to tell any of them where Liz had gone, even she had finally given up.

"You saw her and you’ve been sitting here this whole time and didn’t say a thing?" Kyle asked now, leaning around Tess to address Max.

"I’m sorry. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know if she’d want to see anyone." Tess looked at him frowning. She wondered why he didn’t tell them why Liz was really back. That she was here for a divorce. But they all had to know. Even Michael read the paper…well, sometimes anyway.

"Tess, why didn’t you tell us? For goodness sake, we could have used some warning!" Maria exclaimed, apparently not willing to get mad at Max.

She took a deep breath. "I know," Tess said. "But Liz is an adult. She can handle her own problems and she asked me not to tell anyone and I didn’t. Let her explain for herself! Besides she didn’t tell me why she was back. I’m obviously the last person she’d tell." She paused, then muttered, "I barely know her." This seemed to satisfy Maria, although Isabel continued to look suspicious.

Alex took a deep breath. "Well, she’s here and now we all know it," he said with false cheer. "We’ll all see her eventually. Can we eat?"

Slowly, after a few more angry huffs and some whispered words, conversation at the table livened up as the seven friends celebrated the special occasion. Looking around the table, at everyone she loved, Tess stopped at Max and saw the sad look in his eyes, even though he was trying to hide it as he laughed at something Alex said.

He couldn’t hide from Tess though. Liz Parker was back in town. And their lives were surely going to change - again.









posted on 24-Nov-2002 9:21:37 PM by Kath7
Hey folks! Just a short note to let you know that I'm working on the next part of this as I write this. I'm hoping to have it up in a couple of days. Just have to pass it on to Christian for her input and then it will go up. In the meantime, go and admire the lovely new banner Anniepoo made for us (it's on page 1). We didn't even ask! Isn't she awesome??? I love it!

Kath

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Nov-2002 9:23:52 PM ]
posted on 28-Nov-2002 11:36:02 PM by Kath7
Author's Note: Thanks for the bumpage folks. Thanks again to Anniepoo for the banner! We love it, although for some reason it doesn't seem to be on Page 1 anymore! Sigh. Checking into that. And good news! Part 7 is already underway. More soon!

1-1-5

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans out there!

Part 6

"You’re awfully quiet babe."

Tess, who had been staring out the window without seeing a thing, turned her head and smiled weakly at Kyle. "Just tired I guess. It’s been a long day." And it’s not over yet, she reflected, wrinkling her nose. Somehow she just knew that she had a lengthy telephone conversation with Max in her future. She had managed to evade him at the restaurant, but she knew that he was going to want an explanation for why she hadn’t told him about Liz.

She didn’t even really know why. How was she supposed to explain it to him? But she had just felt like she owed Liz something because of the fact that it had been her mistake that had driven Liz out of town. And the worse part was, once she had found out she was wrong, she hadn’t done anything about it. Sure Max had followed Liz to New York, but it had been before they knew the real truth. Maybe if he had gone back again…

Max had been absolutely adamant though, after they found out that Maria was pregnant, that he was going to leave Liz alone. Tess wondered now why she hadn’t pushed him about it, but she wished she had. Maybe if he had gone back when they first learned about Maria’s baby, everything still could have been different.

But now it was too late. Liz was engaged to someone else and from the whispered conversation Tess had shared with Maria in the ladies’ room, both of them quickly shutting up when Isabel joined them, it was apparent that she was madly in love with her fiancé as well. Liz had not pined for Max, it was quite obvious. Tess absolutely could not bear that Max was going to be hurt again, but she knew almost certainly that he was going to be. He still loved Liz, in spite of everything. He didn’t blame her for anything.

Rightfully too. It was all Tess’s fault after all. She was just grateful that Max didn’t hold it against her, that he knew that she had been just as duped as any of them, that she had truly believed what she’d told them when she’d returned to Roswell. If only she hadn’t gotten it into her head to translate that damned destiny book…

"So, are you ever going to tell me?" Kyle asked now, quietly, not sounding angry, just sad. "Why Liz left I mean. You told me when we got together that you’d tell me someday Tess and I haven’t pushed you. But I think the time has just about arrived."

"It’s not my…"

"I know, I know," Kyle interrupted. "It’s not your story to tell. But I think it is Tess. I think you had a bigger role in what happened between Max and Liz than either you or his royal alienness have ever admitted."

Tess felt the lump of fear forming in her throat. It was always there whenever she considered telling Kyle the truth. He was going to hate her - not because of what had happened when Liz had left, but because of the fact that Tess had never fixed it.

Kyle and Liz had not been particularly close before she left, but if there was one thing Kyle couldn’t stand, it was a coward. He had always thought that of Liz for running out on her marriage vows the way she had. He had been particularly annoyed, considering the fact that she had thrown so much caution to the wind - not to mention had dumped him - to be with Max in the first place. And then, suddenly, she was scared? It had never made sense to Kyle. But if Tess told him, he would know the real truth. That it wasn’t Liz who was a coward, but she, Tess.

"I don’t want you to hate me," Tess admitted, disliking that her voice broke. She hated feeling weak. But when it came to Kyle, it was unavoidable. She couldn’t bear the thought of losing him. He was the one person who had given her life meaning after she had learned that everything Nasedo had raised her to be was complete hogwash. Kyle loved her for herself and she still couldn’t quite grasp that it was really true. What if he changed his mind when he heard the reality of what she had let Liz believe? It didn’t matter that she had believed it herself. She couldn’t let that fact matter.

This was all her fault and she was finally facing up to it.

She was so lost in her self-pity, it took her a moment to realize that Kyle had pulled off the road. She blinked, frowned slightly. "What are you doing?"

"I want you to tell me," Kyle said firmly. "The sheer lunacy of the fact that you just said that you thought I could ever hate you means that you have to tell me."

"Why?" Tess stared at him in confusion, then lowered her eyes fearfully, hating the certain expression on his face. The expression that told her that he was sure that he knew everything there was to know about her.

But he didn’t. He didn’t know how scared she was - all the time.

"So that I can prove you wrong." Kyle reached out and gently raised her chin with his fore-finger. He was smiling at her. "I mean, are you really such an idiot? I almost want to bet on it. It’s such easy money."

Tess closed her eyes, allowed herself to enjoy the feel of Kyle’s fingers against her cheek. "Okay. Okay, I’ll tell you. But I’m warning you. It’s not pretty."

"Let me decide that," Kyle ordered gently. "Besides, I’d rather hear it from you Tess. Because I really think it’s going to come out anyway. Liz is here and I’m guessing this is going to get a lot harder before it gets easier. For all of us."

Tess snorted. "You can say that again," she muttered. "Especially when Liz realizes what Eliza’s birth really means." She wasn’t looking forward to Liz’s wrath when she got a hold of her. Because hadn’t Maria told them all that Liz knew about the baby? She was going to freak out.

Of course, that was only if she cared at all anymore. Tess sort of hoped, actually, that Liz did wail on her. For Max’s sake. Because it would mean that Liz did still care. If only a little.

"What does Ellie have to do with any of this?" Kyle asked, perplexed.

"Let’s just say that her existence means that the main reason Liz left town doesn’t even make sense anymore."

"Huh?"

"I’m going to have to go way back Kyle. This stretches back long before I came back to Roswell. In fact, it starts right before I left." She licked her lips, felt again the flash of grief that claimed her whenever she thought of that time. "Do you remember when that was?"

"Right after Nasedo died," Kyle replied. "You ruthlessly moved in with me and my dad for a week, made me all crazy and then left without a single word." His voice was sad.

"I’m still sorry about that Kyle." And she was. Because if she could only have seen past her own narrow vision of what her life was supposed to be - what Nasedo had told her it was supposed to be - she might have found happiness with Kyle so much sooner. Not only that, but Max and Liz never would have been torn apart when she returned.

"You’re here now."

She smiled at him. "Forever." She allowed herself to enjoy the light kiss he placed on her lips. "Anyway, you know something about why I left, but you don’t really know why I came back."

Kyle frowned. "I guess I don’t," he admitted.

"Well, let’s just say that, when I returned, I truly believed that if Max and I didn’t get together, it meant that the entire world was going to end. And I’m not talking in a symbolic way. I thought it in the literal sense. And I wasn’t going to let it happen."

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

Spring 2003

Tess stared at the apartment door, her heart in her throat. She set the back-pack she was carrying down and raised her hand to knock. Her knuckle paused in mid-air.

What if Liz answered? What was she going to say if Liz Parker…No, make that Liz
Evans…answered the door? She knew that Max would at least listen to her, but Liz had never trusted her. The fact that all Tess now knew meant that Liz’s marriage might not be able to continue…Well, that was certainly not going to improve the situation. And Tess knew that she had to say it all right away or it might not come out. What if she had to wait with Liz for Max to return? How uncomfortable was that going to be - Tess knowing that her news was going to end Liz’s happiness and Liz having absolutely no idea? Liz might even try and make inane small talk! How on Earth would Tess deal with that?

God. What would she do if Liz answered?

It had not come as a surprise when Tess had learned through carefully placed sources in Roswell - keeping in touch with that annoying Pam Troy for the close to three years she was gone
had served a purpose after all - that Max and Liz had gotten married. She still remembered the look of determination on Max’s face when he stood up in the Crashdown and told Liz in front of everyone that he wasn’t going to give up on her, that he wascoming for her. After all, it was what had made Tess finally decide once and for all to leave Roswell. Nasedo’s death had caused the first yearnings for a life beyond destiny, but finally seeing right smack in front of her face that Max would never love her…It had been the final impetus. Because, even she couldn’t deny it any longer. If any two people were meant to be together, they were Max and Liz. It had taken that moment of absolute crystal clarity - that in spite of everything, Max loved Liz and that he would never love Tess - for her to come to the conclusion that she couldn’t stay any longer.

Even Tess had been a bit shocked at how quickly they had taken the plunge following graduation though and even more so about the fact that neither of them had gone away to school. Pam had been unable to tell her why Liz and Max had stayed in Roswell. Tess had even been a little disappointed that Liz hadn’t gone on to her brilliant career in science or some such field, Max cheering her on, staying quietly hidden in the background, as was his way. At one time it would have annoyed Tess, that aspect of Max’s character. It wasn’t king-like in her estimation, but she was long past caring about that. No, really, it was Liz who had disappointed her. Because it was the perfect Liz Parker who had won Max from the moment he had first laid eyes on her. The fact that she had given up her dream for him…It had tarnished Liz’s perfection in Tess’s eyes. At least when Liz was perfect, there was an excuse for why Tess had never had a chance with Max.

And now Liz was maybe going to lose the person she had given up everything for. How could Tess do it to her?

There’s no choice! Tess reminded herself firmly. You know what the destiny book says now!

Oh did she know.

Sighing, Tess raised her hand and knocked firmly. There was no help for it. She had to tell Max and let him make the decision himself. He
had to be told that if he didn’t father a child, the world was destined to end.

When the door opened and she met his eyes - those gorgeous eyes that she still sometimes wished had just once looked at her the way they looked at Liz - she knew that it wasn’t going to be the hard part, telling him that.

She watched his eyes widen in shock at the sight of her, glanced over his shoulder, her eyes lighting on the framed wedding picture of Max and Liz hanging on the wall behind him. Her heart sank. Could they possibly look any happier? Did she
really have to see that right before she broke his heart?

No, telling him that he had to father a child was not the problem. The problem was that he was going to have to be told that there was no way - absolutely no way at all - that he would ever be able to father a child with his wife.


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

Roswell - Present Day

"Oh my God! You’re kidding!" Maria’s spoon hung in mid-air as she stared at Liz in complete shock, the ice cream she had brought over when she had invaded Liz’s hotel room completely forgotten. "Lizzie! That’s terrible!"

"I wish I was," Liz shrugged. She tried to ignore the dull ache in her heart - the one that always returned when she allowed herself to think about it. "I’ve dealt with it Maria. I’m just glad that I have Eliza to spoil rotten now."

"But Liz! Not having kids…" Maria’s blue eyes were filling with tears. "I’m so sorry chica."

Liz smiled weakly. "It’s really okay. I can’t imagine having a child fit into my lifestyle anyway," she admitted. "No one we know has kids, I doubt I’d be good with them anyway and, well…" She trailed off. "I’ve just accepted it. We can’t change destiny."

Maria was hugging Liz, her pain for her so palpable that Liz abruptly knew just how much Eliza meant to her mother. "I so would not have brought it up if I’d known."

"I know. Maria, really, let’s just drop it okay? You had no way of knowing. It was a natural question. People ask it sometimes when they find out someone’s engaged. Are you going to have kids? I mean, you really could not have known." Liz disentangled herself, cleared her throat. "Sean doesn’t want them anyway."

Maria stepped back, stared at her. "He doesn’t? Why not?"

"He’s just not the fatherly type," Liz replied, laughing slightly. "I think he’d recite stock prices as a bed-time story. I mean, I love the man, but I know him. I just don’t see him as daddy material."

Maria snorted, brushing a hand under her eyes, obviously intending to return to the cheerfulness of their conversation before the subject of children came up. Because if Liz was going to do it, then she would. It was one of the things that Liz had always loved about Maria - the fact that she knew when Liz wanted to talk about something and when she didn’t. Liz had forgotten how good it felt to be around someone who just knew you like that.

"I didn’t think Michael would be a good dad either, but he’s certainly proven me wrong," Maria said, shaking her head. "I’m lucky if I even get to change a diaper. The man is obsessed."

Liz giggled. "I so cannot see Michael as Mr. Mom."

"Liz, it’s ridiculous. That child has him wrapped around her little finger. I wanted to bring her tonight but he wouldn’t let me - said it was his "turn." I swear to God, it’s always his turn. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when she can actually talk," Maria groaned. "If she asks for the moon, I think he might fire up the granolith and try and get it for her."

Liz frowned slightly. "The granolith? What do you mean?"

Maria’s eyes widened. "Oh I forgot! You don’t know that it’s a spaceship. It was in the destiny book Tess brought back wit her. We found out after you left…" She stopped speaking abruptly.

There was a long pause as the two women stared at each other, Liz knowing exactly what was going through her oldest friend’s mind. Finally Maria sighed, "God Liz. I know you tried to explain before, but something still doesn’t sound right to me. I mean, you had to know that Max would in no way ever turn to Tess. Why did you leave? What you told me and Alex before…that you just knew it was going to happen and that you wanted to make the choice before Max made it for you…it just does not make sense."

Liz looked away, a lump in her throat. "I can’t believe they didn’t get together," she finally said, knowing that she wasn’t in any way answering Maria’s question, but wanting to hear Maria’s take on the Max situation. She was still in shock over how much he had changed. Had it all been a result of her having run out on him? Was she really to blame for that?

"Liz, Max has only ever loved one person," Maria said firmly. "You know that. You’ve always known it. Why you thought Tess coming back would change anything…"

"Maria, I told you already that I saw him," Liz shot back, abruptly annoyed. It was not her fault! He could have come after her if had really wanted her so badly! What was she supposed to have thought?

You can’t really blame him for that, a small voice in the back of her mind reminded her. It made it easier on you that he didn’t come. You would have just had to turn him away again anyway.

Liz knew it was true and, yet, a small part of her couldn’t help but still feel slightly resentful that he hadn’t ever come looking for her. And, so, she continued her mini-rant against Max. "He’s holding my divorce ransom for God’s sake! There is no way that man still loves me."

Maria just shook her head sadly, dipping her spoon back into the ice cream and bringing it to her mouth and chewing noisily.

"What?" Liz demanded. "Why are you looking like that?"

"You are so blind chica," Maria sighed. "It’s sad really."

"What are you talking about?"

"Max doesn’t want to divorce you silly! Of course he’s not going to sign the stupid papers!"

Liz folded her arms over her chest, scowling. "It doesn’t matter what he wants. I have a right to a divorce if I want one. I may just go the Sheriff and complain. Maybe a night in jail will remind him that he can’t play games with me."

Maria’s eyes were narrowed. Liz tried to ignore the troubled expression on her friend’s face. Why did Maria look so disapproving? She was only stating the truth. Max Evans did not run Liz’s life - not any longer - and he could not control her. Whatever his reasons for extortion, she was not going to let him win. When Maria finally spoke, all she said was, "I don’t think the Sheriff’s going to throw Max in prison because he won’t sign your papers."

Liz stared at Maria for a stunned moment and then started to giggle. Their eyes met and they both broke up into gales of laughter. "I…I guess he won’t." Liz finally managed to say through her tears of amusement. Being back in Roswell obviously was driving her crazy! She wasn’t even thinking straight any longer.

Which only reinforced to her how vital it was that she get this divorce finalized as quickly as possible. She needed to get back to New York, her fiancé and her real life as soon as possible. Not to mention her sanity.

The two young women fell back against the pillows on the bed, their heads close together, just like they had done so many times in both of their bedrooms in their teens. Maria picked up Liz’s hand, twining her fingers through hers. "So, tell me. You said that you knew what the destiny book said," Liz reminded Maria quietly, staring up at the ceiling, no longer feeling any urge to laugh.

"Some of it," Maria agreed. "Does it have something to do with why you left?"

"Yes," Liz sighed. "Tess thought that it said that humans couldn’t have babies with aliens. That’s what those pictures meant. I knew that Max wanted kids and I knew that the only way he was going to have them was with Tess. So I left."
She hoped Maria would believe her. She could not go into the real reason.

"And that’s why you left? Because of that?" Maria sat up abruptly. "Wait a minute! Does Max know it’s why you left?"

"Yes."

"Are you telling me that Max didn’t want to stay married to you if you couldn’t have kids?" Maria demanded, sounding horrified.

There was a long pause before Liz answered. Could she really have Maria think so poorly of Max? She swallowed, refused to think about the expression on his face when he had told her that he didn’t care one bit if they couldn’t have children.

You mean everything to me Liz. If we have children, a child, it will be a gift, but just being with you has made my life complete. I don’t need anything else.

He was haunting her. There was now no question about it. Not the Max who had demanded money from her, nor the Max who had been slightly rude and highly disapproving of her. No, her Max - the one who had saved her life in the Crashdown - just being in Roswell was bringing all the memories back. And they were wonderful. In spite of everything that had come after - in spite of the secret she would take to her grave - she could no longer pretend that she had not loved being married to Max. That if what had happened had not happened, she would still be married to him and likely blissfully happy. Childless, yes, but they would have been complete anyway.

But it just was not meant to be.

She opened her mouth to make the final break, to betray Max completely by lying to Maria, by telling her friend that "No, Max did not want me because I couldn’t have kids with him," when the door slammed open, making her sit up quickly.

"Rena!" Liz stared at Serena, managed to compose herself quickly. "Where have you been?"

"Out," Serena replied, advancing, her eyes speculative on Maria. Liz grimaced. Uh oh. This did not bode well. "Gathering information."

"About what?" Liz asked weakly. She could feel Maria tensing beside her. Please. Oh please let them like each other!

"Oh, this and that," Serena said airily, waving her hand in the air. "Like on the fact that the blonde midget is indeed engaged to one Deputy Kyle Valenti. That Max Evans is single and owns the UFO Centre."

Liz started, turned to Maria. "He owns it?"

"Yes," Maria replied, distracted. She was still staring at Serena. "Liz, are you going to introduce us?"

"Er, yes," Liz said, feeling grimly confident that this was not going to go well at all. Maria’s expression was stony now, had hardened with every word Serena had said about the others. Maria was going to defend them all until her dying breath. And if Serena couldn’t keep her mouth shut about her antipathy towards them all - all on Liz’s behalf of course - well…

It was going to be bad.

Play nice, Liz pleaded silently, looking from one to the other. She wondered if she had time to go hide before this conversation began.










[ edited 4 time(s), last at 29-Nov-2002 11:34:26 AM ]
posted on 9-Dec-2002 6:18:41 PM by Kath7
Author's Note: Sorry about the delay folks! Christian sent this to me almost a week ago but it never arrived. Stupid email! Anyway, here is part 7. Enjoy!

Part 7

"Serena Taggert, my best friend, Maria Deluca," Liz said, motioning between the two girls. "Maria Deluca, my best friend, Serena Taggert."

Liz felt her heart speed up, anticipating the meeting between the two best friends she had in the world, besides Alex, but he would be here soon enough. The thought was enough to send a shiver down Liz’s spine as she hoped things weren’t going to go from bad to worse with his arrival.

Serena paused briefly while Maria was introduced to her, then went on with what she had to say. "So, anyway, while I was gathering my information, I also found out that-"

"Excuse me, Christina," Maria interrupted, sitting up and narrowing her eyes at the girl who had burst into the room and, thus, into their conversation. "This was a two way discussion."

Liz let out a deep sigh as she sat, knowing that this had to happen sooner or later. She had hoped it would be later, but she supposed she couldn’t stop it now.

Maria had been there for most of the major events in her life and had stuck by her through the rough patches. She knew Liz’s deepest childhood fears and greatest childhood dreams. She was there when Liz had fallen in love with an amber-eyed teenager, and was there when she pledged her life to the same boy. And she had been there when things had fallen apart, although she had never really known what had happened. The feelings the two girls harbored for each other were enough to overcome the wrongs committed in the past. Because Maria was still there. And, even now, she still knew Liz inside and out.

But she was a different person now too. She had lived through things that had changed her and molded her into the woman she was today. Serena had been her lifeline for the past four years. She was the only person Liz had confided in for so long. She’d trusted Serena with her life, and eventually the lives of the people she’d left behind when she told the girl her secrets, and why she’d run away from home. Serena hadn’t criticized her or ridiculed her for her decision, she had just offered her support, no questions asked. And as a result, an unbreakable bond had formed between the two girls.
But, now, seeing two of her closest friends locked in a heated staring match, both looking ready to pounce, it became painfully obvious why both women had claimed a part of Liz’s heart and why she loved them both dearly. Because, deep down, she supposed that one girl eerily reminded her of the other.

"It’s S-e-r-e-n-a," Serena said slowly, accenting each syllable, in an exaggerated attempt to let Maria know her name. "And was is they key word." Turning back to Liz, Serena continued. "So, anyway, Liz, I found out that-"

"Yeah, Serena," Maria intervened again, more hotly this time. "I’ll have you know that those people you are out spying on happen to be my family. I’d pick my words carefully, if I were you."

"Is that a threat?" Serena asked, putting on hand on her hip, and tilting her head cockily to one side. "Because I was born and raised in New York and we don’t take lightly to people threatening us."

Maria got up off the bed and walked over to Serena, standing inches from her face, her fists clenched at her sides. "I don’t care if you freaking own New York. When Maria Deluca makes a threat, she knows how to back it up."

Serena scoffed at the green eyes staring back at her but Liz could see that she was gritting her teeth. "Yeah, well-"

"Hey, guys, can we just take a breather for a minute?" Liz asked, stepping between her two friends. "Why don’t we just put away the death glares and play nice for now?"

"If I play with her, you can bet it won’t be nice!" Serena snapped angrily.

"Bring it on!" Maria retorted, as she and Serena took a step toward each other.

Liz put her arms out as far as they would go, one on Serena’s chest, and one on Maria’s, and pushed them as far apart as she could reach. "Guys, hold on. You two are my best friends, okay! Can’t we just talk for a minute?" Liz demanded, her voice edgy with anxiety. This was getting bad. Fast. She could feel the tension rising in the room and wanted so badly to erase it. "I want you two to like each other!" She added, exasperated.

"Liz! You can’t be serious! This-this girl, just burst in here, spouting off at the mouth about information concerning the very people in this world you know could be in danger if certain knowledge comes to light! She has no right!"

"Cool your panties, Deluca," Serena snapped. "I know all about how your friends are a little ‘green around the gills’, and I haven’t spilled to anyone, and I’m not planning on it. My loyalties lie with Liz."

Liz cringed, and closed her eyes, waiting for the onslaught of ‘How could you’s’ that she knew were coming.

All those years ago, when she’d sworn Maria to secrecy and told her about Max’s alien status, she’d taken every precaution necessary to keep anyone else from overhearing. The only other person she’d told was Alex. Jim Valenti had been brought in after Max was captured and taken to the White Room and he had proven a worthy ally many times in dealing with the government. Kyle had been let in on the secret when he had been shot by Pierce and Max had healed his wound and saved his life, much like he believed Kyle’s father had saved his by helping rescue him from the clutches of the Special Unit. But, soon after, they had all made an agreement. Liz, along with Max, Maria, Michael, Isabel, Alex, Kyle, Tess, and the Sheriff had agreed that no one else would ever know. They had decided that it would be safer, for them and for anyone else, if the secret stayed between the nine of them and had promised they would never tell. And that was just one more promise Liz had broken when she’d left. She’d let Serena in.

Maria’s mouth opened in a wide ‘O’ shape, turned with shock to stare at Liz, but before giving Liz a chance to defend herself, she turned back to Serena. "And ‘my loyalties lie with Liz? What is that supposed to mean?"

"C’mon, guys, stop it!" Liz pleaded, but knew that her cries were unheard.

Serena leaned around Liz to look at Maria. "It means that Liz is my best friend. I love Liz, and I don’t go around becoming friends with traitorous former alien queens who run her out of town! I have morals!" Serena snapped, raising her voice even more.

"Why you little…" Maria’s voice trailed off as she jumped at Serena and barely had time to notice that Serena had jumped at her too before both girls froze and turned abruptly when the mirror above the bed and the one hanging by the front door shattered into a thousand tiny pieces, both crashing to the floor. Maria and Serena themselves were pushed backwards by invisible hands. Both girls looked at Liz, and found themselves staring in shock.

Liz was standing a few feet from them, glaring from Maria to Serena and back, her hands at her sides, palms outspread. And they were gleaming. Tiny green sparks were coming from her palms and the worst part to both of the rivals was that this didn’t seem to be fazing Liz one bit.

Maria glanced away when she heard Serena’s sharp intake of breath, only to see that the expression on the other girl’s face mirrored the one on her own.

"Liz, what was that?" Maria asked incredulously.

Liz, looking incredibly annoyed, and a bit frustrated, shrugged her shoulders slightly. "Surprise!" She whispered.

"Liz, if that is what I think it is, you have some explaining to do," Serena ground out.

"I forgot to tell you I had powers?" Liz asked, hoping she’d get out of a long explanation.

"Elizabeth Anne Parker Evans!" Maria cried.

Liz rolled her eyes. Now she was in for it. She’d told Maria everything big in her life (well except for that small detail about the end of the world but that wasn’t her secret to tell) and she had promised that nothing significant was being left out. But she had still failed to tell her that shortly after arriving in New York, her powers had made their first appearance.

Liz had been extremely frustrated after a fruitless day of job searching and had come home, only to find Serena gone, and her stomach growling. She went for something to eat and found nothing in the fridge. Going to her purse for her wallet so she could order a pizza, she found it gone. Throwing the purse against the opposite wall and retreating to the bathroom for a hot bubble bath, she found the bottle of bath salts empty. Frustrated and feeling like the world was working against her, she had raised her hands to hit the hamper and found the mirror on the wall shattering to pieces instead.

She had been shocked at first, but once she realized what was happening, she found it amusing. She’d left Max and everything concerning him behind, but she’d managed to bring something of him with her. Some might call it a gift, some a curse, but there was no question that Max Evans was responsible. Every time she got the chance since then, she’d practiced using her powers, and she’d gotten good at controlling them. She could do things that all of the Czechoslovakians could do, like change colors and make objects fly across the room. She could also heal small cuts and bruises, but nothing major. She had deduced that since Max had healed her, she had inherited powers from him, thus explaining the healing. She’d gotten good at hiding them too, but sometimes, when she got stressed our or her emotions were running rampant, her powers slipped. This was one of those times. And despite the fact that it had been a little less than four years since they’d developed, Liz had never told anyone about her powers.

Now, it seemed, she had no choice.

"So, I have powers," Liz stated matter-of-factly. "Sometimes, when my emotions are high, I can’t control them.

Serena raised her arms. "So I have powers? That’s all you have to say! How could you keep this a secret, Liz?"

"And you said you told me everything!" Maria said.

"I’m sorry. I didn’t tell anyone. I don’t know why, I just…I wanted to keep it a secret."

"I thought you were through telling lies, Liz! You promised!"

"Well, this wasn’t a lie, Maria. I just didn’t tell you, that’s all. I would have told you eventually."

"Why didn’t you tell me? We’ve lived together for the past four years, for goodness sake!" Serena exclaimed, "Those… those things," she said, pointing at Liz’s hands, "They could be dangerous!"

"Serena, they’re not dangerous! You should have seen Michael when-"

"I can’t believe you didn’t tell me," Maria said quietly. "I need to go."

"Maria," Liz pleaded. "Please don’t leave mad! I’m sorry."

"And I can’t believe you lied to me. Of all people, you lied to me," Serena said quietly. She glanced over towards the door, and back at Liz. "I’m going too. With her," she added, pointing at Maria’s retreating form.

"Serena, no, wait!" Liz called, but Serena turned and walked out the door, just as Alex was coming in.

"Hey, I’m Alex. Okay, bye to you too," he finished, perplexed, before turning to look questioningly at Liz.

"Who’s that, and what’s wrong with Maria? I just passed her and she seems pretty mad," he said, stepping across the room to stand in front of Liz.

"Oh, Alex, I messed up, again!" Liz wailed.

Alex smiled, putting his arm around Liz’s shoulders. "C’mon, Lizzibean. Tell Uncle Alex all about it."

Liz couldn’t help but smile as she heard Alex’s childhood nickname for her. She sighed deeply and let him lead her to the side of the bed to sit down.

Some time later, when Liz had told Alex everything, pausing only to answer his questions, she and Alex settled across the bed to watch a movie and wait for Serena. Or Maria. Or both. Liz hoped that after they had a chance to cool down, they would both return.

"You aren’t mad at me too?" Liz asked Alex again, just to make sure.

Alex shrugged his shoulders. "I’m furious with you. But if I forgive you now, I can use it as ammunition later," he said with smirk.

Liz found herself giggling, and covered her mouth in surprise. "Thanks, Alex. You always did know how to make me feel better."

"That’s me," Alex replied, raising up and puffing out his chest. "Alex Whitman, The Make Liz Feel Better Guy."

Liz smiled again, but it was short lived. "What will the other’s say?" Liz asked tentatively, her expression clouded with worry. "They must hate me," she added quietly.

Liz knew it was true. It had been rough for her and Isabel in the beginning as it was. Isabel didn’t easily let people in, and she had not made it easy for Liz in the beginning But with time, Max’s sister had opened up and had let in the girl who would eventually become her sister-in-law, only to have her run out on her husband and leave a trail of heartbreak and confusion in her wake. Liz knew it wasn’t going to be easy getting Isabel to forgive her.

Michael had been the same way, although he had been easier on her after he had stolen her journal that time. That same incident had taught Liz an eternal truth about Michael Guerin - that deep down, he was scared to death of getting hurt. And that was the reason he didn’t let people in. But he had trusted Liz, just as Isabel had. Liz knew that her leaving had to have hurt Michael too. And she knew that it would be just as hard to get him to forgive her as it would be convincing Isabel.

"I don’t know Lizzie," Alex said now. "That’s something you’ll have to find out for yourself."

"I know, Alex," she sighed. "I’m just…I’m afraid, that’s all. I didn’t realize how much I missed everyone else while I was gone too. Until I came back."

Alex reached over and kissed Liz on the forehead. "They love you too Liz. It might take a while, but they’ll forgive you eventually."

Liz was about to say something when she heard a tentative knock at the door. She glanced at Alex questioningly and got up to answer it. She looked through the peephole. Confused at what she saw, she turned back to Alex, shrugged her shoulders and opened the door to see if the peephole had been lying.

But it had not been. Standing on the other side were Maria and Serena. And they were smiling!

*~*~*~*~*~*~

Closing the door behind her, and after throwing her stuff on the floor near the bottom of the steps, Tess leaned against the banister.

She’d been with Kyle all day and had managed to get some things explained to him. But, seeing how upset she was getting, Kyle had told her that she could finish at another time. And Tess was only too happy to oblige.

She’d worn herself out after all, playing over and over in her head what she would say to Max. She just needed to take a few more minutes and then she would know exactly what she was going to say. She’d go to him before he confronted her and get the whole thing straightened out.

But as Tess picked up her packages and walked towards the kitchen, she heard the doorbell ring and groaned inwardly. She took a deep breath as every single thought of the speech she’d so carefully rehearsed flew from her mind. She already knew who it was. He did live right across the street, after all, and he must have been waiting for her. She stepped to the door and looked through the peephole. He was staring right at it, his face expressionless, as if he knew she would look out first. She turned the knob and opened the door wide, motioning for him to come him.

"Max, I know why you’re here," she began quickly. "I don’t know what to say."

Tess watched as Max walked into her house and went straight to the living room. She shut the door behind him, clicked the lock into place. She’d tried to be ready for this moment, but all her self preparation had done her no good. She wasn’t the least bit ready. She let out a deep breath, then headed to the living room. She stopped at the edge of the couch, and waited for Max to speak, knowing good and well he would when he was ready.

"How could you Tess? You knew she was here, and you didn’t even tell me," Max asked, not sounding angry exactly, just extremely tired.

"When I left the UFO Center the other day, I met her in the street. We talked for a minute, and she asked me not to tell anyone she was here. I told her I wouldn’t."

"But Tess, I’m not just anyone! I’m her husband, and your best friend," he reminded her softly. He looked up at Tess and she felt her heart go out to him.

Max was good at hiding his feelings. He still loved Liz. In spite of everything, Tess knew it was true. He hadn’t said it out loud since she’d left him, but they all knew. He still loved her and he always would. He was Max and she was Liz and it was all there was to it. Tess was pretty sure that it had never even crossed Max’s mind that he should try to stop.

Each of the people she’d left behind had their own feelings for Liz, whether it was anger, pain or disappointment, but they’d all respected Max enough not to mention her when he was around. Whenever her name did slip into a conversation, Max would pretend he didn’t notice, but it was always only Tess that could see through his disguise. This time he made no effort to hide his pain. For the first time in four years, Max Evans was letting his guard down.

Tess could see the tension in his movements. The pain and despair pooling in his dark eyes was enough to make her want to break down herself. She could see the heartbreak practically beating in his chest.

"I’m sorry, Max. But it wasn’t my place." She knew the words sounded lame even as she said them, but it was the truth.

"You could have told me, Tess! You know how I feel and that I knew she was coming. You could have given me fair warning. You chose her over me!"

"I didn’t choose her over you Max. I’ve already done enough damage where you and Liz are concerned. I don’t need to get involved this time," Tess said gently, but firmly, upset that he was hurt, but knowing she was right.

Max looked at his friend, nodded his head, then turned to look back out the window. "It hurts," he said finally, looking down at his left hand where his wedding ring still wrapped around his finger. He had been playing with it unconsciously, as he often did. "I might seem angry. But that’s to hide the hurt. I act like I’m strong. Like it doesn’t bother me. But it does Tess. It does more than you can know."

"Because you love her, Max," Tess said quietly. "It will always hurt. I’m sorry."

Max nodded wearily. "How can I let her go? She wants her freedom and I know I should give it to her, but how can I let the other half of my soul go? "

"I don’t know what to tell you Max. But if you really do truly love her, you’ll know what to do when the time comes."

"The problem is Tess, the time’s right now. I can’t sign those papers. She wants me to and she despises me because I told her no. I’m not strong enough. With all my powers, I’m not strong enough to sign away the most important person in my life. But as much as I can’t bear to see it happen, she wants to start a new life. How can I deny her that?" Max asked, his tortured eyes pleading with Tess for an answer.

Seeing a lone tear roll down Max’s cheek, Tess felt her own eyes get misty. "This is something I can’t help you with, Max. I can’t show you or tell you what to do. I can’t, Michael can’t, Isabel can’t. You have to make this decision on your own. But I can tell you this," Tess said, crossing the room to grab Max’s hand in her own. "If it’s meant to be, then it will be. You told me once that if you ever had the chance, you’d fight to the death for Liz. This is your chance. Don’t let her leave here without knowing how you feel. If you do, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. And if I know Liz, she’ll regret for the rest of hers."

"What do you mean?" Max demanded. "She’ll regret it? She wants to marry someone else Tess!"

Tess shook her head, offering Max a weak smile. She wondered briefly if she should continue, whether she was giving him false hope, but she couldn’t bear to see the expression of despair on his face any longer. "Liz Evans is one of the richest people in New York. She has tons of resources at her fingertips. She could have easily paid someone to bring these papers to you. But she didn’t. She came. She hopped on a plane and flew all the way across the country. And it wasn’t just because she needed the divorce papers signed."

"Well, then, why was it?" Max asked, his eyes narrowing thoughtfully, although he seemed to understand the direction in which Tess was headed.

"I don’t know, Max. That’s for you to find out. Just ask her."

Liz Evans had a lot of pain and regret floating around behind those eyes of hers, even if she didn’t realize it. Tess had seen that much the day before when she had met Liz in the middle of the street. And Tess was sure that somewhere, deep down inside Liz, some of those feelings were directed towards the man whose last name she still shared. She supposed that was part of the reason Liz had come herself, back to Roswell, after wanting so badly to leave it behind.

"I don’t know what to say to her," he whispered.

Tess pulled Max into a hug. "You love her, Max. Your heart will tell you what to do."

Tess smiled as she felt Max’s arms tentatively wrap around her shoulders. She felt him relax, as his grip tightened briefly, then she let him go and stepped back.

"Thanks, Tess," he said.

"Hey, what are best friends for?" she said, shrugging her shoulders.

"I guess I’ll go," Max said, looking at his watch. "I’m supposed to be watching the game with Michael tonight. Maria has some big restaurant convention thingy to go to, so we get to keep Ellie."
"Convention thingy?" Tess asked, grinning in spite of herself.

Max shrugged. "Her words, not mine."

"Well, have fun," Tess said as she walked Max to the door.

Opening it, Max turned around and kissed Tess quickly on the cheek. "You always know how to make me feel better," he said. When Tess smiled smugly and shrugged her shoulders once again, Max pointed his finger at her. "But I’m still mad at you for not telling me she was here, so don’t forget that!"

"Bye, Max," Tess said, giggling.

But, after she shut the door, the smile faded from her features.

She had just done the last thing in the world that she could do for her friend. She’d offered him hope. She’d planted a small glimmer of what he’d been looking for. She just hoped it wasn’t steering him straight for another heartbreak.



posted on 9-Dec-2002 8:00:23 PM by Kath7
Quick author's note in reply to ScifiNut -

Max THINKS he knows why Liz left. He doesn't. Not really. Tess thinks the same thing as Max. While Tess was not innocent, she's not REALLY to blame either.
posted on 16-Dec-2002 8:35:13 PM by Kath7
Next part is ALMOST done. It's in Christian's hands right now. I'm just waiting for her to send it back to me with any editing that is necessary.

Thanks for your patience!

Kath
posted on 21-Dec-2002 10:20:02 AM by Kath7
Author's note: In case we don't post anything new before Christmas, happy holidays to all!

Part 8

"Why are you both looking at me like that?" Liz demanded nervously, backing up and almost giving into the urge to cower behind Alex.

"How are we looking at you Liz?" Maria asked pleasantly, still smiling, although there was a wicked gleam in her blue eyes.

"Like you’re about to gang up on me."

"We’re your best friends Liz," Serena said. "We would never so such a thing! And what do we have to gang up on your about anyway?"

Liz grimaced. This was worse than she had expected. While she was glad that Serena and Maria seemed to now be on the same team, it had never once occurred to her that their team might turn on her.

"I don’t know," Liz replied weakly.

"Other than the fact that you’ve lied to your best friends that is," Maria continued, narrowing her eyes. "It’s funny how being hurt like that can bond people."

"She told me the truth right away," Alex inserted. Liz glanced at him, could see that he looked just as worried as she did. Liz smiled at him gratefully, although she knew that nothing he said was going to save her from the wrath about to rain down on her head.

"I really am sorry about that," Liz began. And she was. It was just that all of her lies and half-truths stemmed from one huge secret - one that no one else could ever find out about. Because, if they did, all she had done to save them all would have been in vain. And as long as that secret had to stay buried, she knew that she was never going to be able to truly be honest with her friends. "I should have told you I had powers." She looked at Serena in particular when she said this. "It’s one of the reasons I told you about the alien-status of the others in the first place. So that if something weird happened you’d understand, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to tell you I’m a little green around the gills too."

Serena was staring at her, her expression softening. "What I want to know is why Liz. Why couldn’t you tell me?"

Liz swallowed. "I…"

"I’ll tell you the conclusion Maria and I reached. We think it’s because the fact that you have powers means that you’re still connected to Max."

Liz blinked. "What?" She didn’t understand what Serena was getting at. While it was true that her new gifts did indeed mean that she would forever be marked by Max Evans, she certainly in no way wanted to be. She had chosen to leave him behind because she had been asked to and she had also decided that the only way to really do it was to allow herself to forget him. It was why she had found herself falling in love with Sean after all. She had made herself allow it to happen.

She had made herself forget Max.

The fact that she was still connected to him in such a fundamental way was a nuisance more than anything. Sure it was fun to have powers, but she tried to forget where she’d gotten them.

Didn’t she?

The expression on both Serena and Maria’s faces seemed to indicate they didn’t believe it.

"You wanted something of him to keep for yourself," Maria said firmly. "Which means that you still love him." She narrowed her eyes at Liz. "Max did not tell you he didn’t want to stay married to you if you couldn’t have kids. I know he didn’t. Max was adopted Liz. He wouldn’t care. He would have wanted you anyway and he would have suggested adoption."

Liz’s blood ran cold. Maria really did know Max now. Because, of course, that was exactly what he had told her.

It’s you who is irreplaceable Liz. We can adopt someday because I know better than anyone how many kids out there need to be loved. But when it comes to my wife, there is no one else. You’re it. You’re the only one. You have always been the only one. You always will be.

And the fact that he had not gotten together with Tess when she left only confirmed that if Max Evans was anything, he wasn’t a liar.

Liz closed her eyes and collapsed onto the bed.

There was a long silence. Liz buried her face in her hands and didn’t look up, even after she felt Alex sit beside her, his strong hand on her back in support. She couldn’t bear to see the expression of censure on Maria’s face. Because Maria had somehow figured out that Liz had actually been on the verge of telling her the biggest lie of all. That Max had rejected her.

Why? Why couldn’t it have happened that way? Why did he have to make it so difficult? She had made her choice. There was no other to have been made. But he wouldn’t let go of her. It was supremely ironic that it was Max who was holding on so tightly, considering why she had left in the first place. It also wasn’t fair.

How strong was she expected to be?

"Liz, babe, you need to tell us." Maria’s voice was not confrontational, but sympathetic. "How can we help you if you won’t tell us?"

"I can’t," Liz whispered. "I cannot tell you. I’m sorry. Just know that you’re right about Max. He is not to blame." She glanced at Serena and said firmly, "Neither is Tess. I know she blames herself, but neither of them really knows what happened. They think they do, but they don’t." She paused. "If you want to help me Maria, then fine. I need my divorce." Liz raised her chin, stared right into Maria’s eyes. "Maria, I need this."

She knew this was true now more than ever. Because even if there was no Sean, Max had to move on. He had to.

The fate of the world depended on it.

Liz watched Maria’s gaze meet Alex’s. She felt Alex shrug helplessly beside her.

Maria closed her eyes, sighing. "Okay, Liz. Okay. I’ll talk to Max. I think he’s at my house right now. He and Michael are watching the game. I was supposed to go to a restaurant thingie but I’ll skip it. I’ll get him to sign those papers."

Liz almost collapsed in relief. She just knew that she could not face Max again. It was too hard, especially after seeing how bitter he had become. Which was just another thing to add to the guilt complex she had been living with for five years. "Thank you," she said quietly.

She stood, went to her bag and pulled out the blue legal document, then handed it to Maria. "I really wish I could tell you Maria. I do. Thank you for trusting me."

Maria pressed her lips together. "I once told you I’d always have your back Liz and I meant it. Michael is my husband and Max, Isabel and Tess are my friends, but without you I wouldn’t know any of them. I’ll stand with you on this. You have a right to make your own decisions."

Liz flinched at the mention of Michael. "This isn’t going to screw things up between you and Michael is it?" She asked warily.

"Nah." Maria waved her hand in the air dismissively. "He’ll support me. Michael wants Max to move on more than anyone. The constant angst really tires him out."

Liz felt a pang of regret at that. "I guess he and Isabel really hate me huh?"

Maria sighed. "Can you really blame them Liz? They don’t know anything. Max never told us what happened, even after he came back."

"Came back?" Liz asked wearily. "Came back from where?"

"From New York," Maria replied, looking at Liz strangely.

"What do you mean Max came to New York?" Liz shared an astonished look with Serena.

"You didn’t know?" Maria demanded. "He went when we finally found out where you’d gone. Your first collection was all over the local news Liz. Of course Max went." She paused. "We never asked him what happened, just assumed that it was really over when he didn’t want to talk about it." She shook her head in disbelief. "Are you telling me he never saw you?"

"I swear Maria. Max nevercame to New York," Liz replied, frowning. Why had Max come to New York if he hadn’t intended to see her? Or had he just told everyone he had? "When was this?" Liz asked, trying to understand how this could have happened.

"About three years ago," Alex offered helpfully.

Liz brought her hands up and rubbed her temples wearily. "I can’t believe he did that."

"Liz, of course he did it," Maria said, sounding tired. "Seriously. If anyone should know how much Max loved you, it’s you." She sighed again. "But if he didn’t see you, I don’t know what the heck he was doing up there."

"God," Serena said, sounding stupefied. "Liz, this changes everything."

Liz wished she could agree. Only five minutes ago, the absolute last thing that she had ever wanted to do was face Max again. Now the only thing she wanted to do was confront him.

He had come after her. And she had never known. While it did not change things - she still couldn’t be with him - it did mean that she had absolutely no right to feel like an injured party.

Max was the only victim here.

So much for letting go of the guilt.

Liz forced herself to sit down on the bed. As much as she wanted to find out why Max had gone to New York and why she had not seen him, she needed the divorce over with. She could not see him again. Because if he actually told her, if she actually heard him tell her that he wouldn’t sign the papers because he did not want to let her go, she might waver.

She could not waver.

"It doesn’t change anything," Liz said quietly, hoping that they believed her. She did not look up to see Maria and Serena exchange surprised glances.

Maria’s voice was disappointed as she said, "Fine. I really wish I knew what was going on with you Liz, but I told you I would do this and I will. Let me just state for the record though, I think you’re making a mistake."

"I love Sean now," Liz replied stubbornly. "When you meet him, you’ll understand. Right Rena?"

Serena did not sound convinced when she said a perfunctory, "Right."

Maria turned to go. "Wait!" Serena continued, looking thoughtful.

"What?" Maria asked.

"Can I come with you?"

"Serena!" Liz exclaimed.

"I’m sorry Liz, but I need to meet this Max. It’s the only way I’m going to really be able to understand this."

Liz stared after her two girlfriends in consternation as they whirled out of the room for the second time in less than an hour.

"Well, I guess it’s just the two of us," Alex said, obviously trying to mask how upset he was. Liz didn’t blame him. She had flat-out admitted to them all that she was going to continue lying to them. It was going to affect all of their relationships. She was just lucky that her friends loved her enough to continue to try with her. She knew she didn’t deserve it. "Wanna go for a midnight snack?"

Liz closed her eyes, decided she would play along. "Where?"

"How ‘bout Senor Chow’s?" Alex asked. "It’s either there or the Crashdown. We don’t have New York choices Lizziebean."

"Fine. Senor Chow’s is fine," Liz replied. There were memories associated with that particular restaurant of course, but there were memories everywhere in Roswell. At least the Mexican/Chinese restaurant had good memories. She needed out of this hotel room. She felt like she was about to suffocate.

Maria had gone to get Max to sign the divorce papers. Max had come to New York. Serena was going to meet Max.

It was just too much. Was it wrong that she just wanted to forget about all of it for a while?

"Let’s go get drunk," Liz said, following Alex out the door.

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

"Michael, I can’t believe you’re bringing your baby daughter into a bar," Max said. Tess saw him shaking his head as they followed their friend into Senor Chow’s. "Maria is going to kill you."

"What ‘Ria doesn’t know won’t hurt her," Michael replied. "Besides, it’s not my fault the satellite went out. I’m not missing this game. Not to mention, we had her in the restaurant earlier. What’s the difference?"

Only about fifty smokers, give or take a few drunken bums, Tess reflected. "Okay," she shrugged. "But don’t say we didn’t warn you."

Tess had hurried over to Michael and Maria’s when Max had called her, inviting her along because they had decided to go out instead. It had never once occurred to her that they intended to bring Eliza into a bar however. She should have known, although it was unlike Michael. He rarely, if ever, did anything to jeopardize his daughter’s health.

They settled themselves at a table in the bar section of the Mexican/Chinese restaurant. Michael glared over his shoulder at an old coot sitting at the bar who was puffing on a cigarette. "Excuse me," he said. "I don’t appreciate you smoking around my kid."

"Here we go," Max whispered, sounding amused. Tess was glad that Michael’s antics were taking his mind off of Liz. If anyone needed a night out, it was Max.

"Then take your kid out of here," the old coot grumbled.

Michael’s expression was fierce as he started to rise.

Tess sighed, closed her eyes and mindwarped the guy into compliance. When she opened them he was staring at his cigarette in horror. "Jeez, sorry man. I don’t even smoke." He hurriedly stubbed it out.

Michael sat back down. "Thanks man."

Max and Tess exchanged glances, Max rolling his eyes. Trust Michael to expect the entire world to march to his drummer.

"Thanks Tess," Michael said, settling back in this chair, Eliza on his shoulder. The baby was sound asleep.

"No problem."

They ordered cherry colas all around and settled in to watch the game, Max and Michael groaning every few minutes because the Cardinals were playing like "crap" as Michael termed it.

Tess felt her attention drifting as she lazily dumped more sugar into her second soda. While she was forced to watch football on a regular basis thanks to her fiancé, it still wasn’t her favorite past-time. But since Kyle had been on duty tonight and she hadn’t wanted to sit at home alone worrying about Max or wondering if she should go talk to Liz, she had jumped at the chance to join the guys.

She knew she should talk to Liz. She just hadn’t worked up the nerve to do it yet. She would though. Really.

Of course, thinking that way tempted fate. It was just Tess’s luck that as her eyes passed the door they came into direct contact with Liz’s.

She watched the other woman’s gaze widen in horror, drift to the right and take in Max, who was still unaware of her presence.

Liz whirled abruptly, slamming into Alex, who was following her and causing their friend to exclaim in surprise. He saw Tess, Max and Michael, grimaced, but raised his hand in greeting, then gently turned Liz around and led her towards the bar.

The commotion had caught Max’s attention. Tess felt her friend tense up instantly.

The relaxed mood was gone as simply as that. "Well, well," Max muttered under his breath. "If it isn’t my prodigal wife."

"Max…"

Max stood. He looked down at Tess, his expression blank. "I’m just going to have a word Tess. Isn’t that what you told me to do?"

"In a bar?" Tess demanded, standing as well. "Without thinking about it first? I don’t think this is a good idea Max." She looked towards Alex and Liz, who were now at the bar. Alex was facing them, looking uncertain as to what he was supposed to be doing - whether he should ignore them as Liz now seemed intent on doing, or whether he should come and say hello. Liz was ordering with a very intent look on her pretty face. "Liz doesn’t look like she’s in the mood to talk."

That was an understatement. Max’s wife was evidently in the mood to drink. Liz had lined up three shots on the bar and was downing them in quick succession. As Tess and Max watched, she handed a fourth to Alex, picked up another one and clinked it with his before throwing back her head and slamming it.

"Well, I’m in the mood," Max snapped, shaking Tess’s hand off his arm.

Tess sank back into her chair and met Michael’s eyes, shaking her head sorrowfully.

This was going to be all bad.

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

The fourth shot almost took the edge off, Liz reflected. Almost. "I’ll have another one," she practically barked at the bartender.

"Liz, I don’t think this is such a good…" Alex was saying from behind her. "Oh man," he muttered abruptly, as though something had distracted him. Liz didn’t turn but her friend’s next words more than explained it. "Hi Max."

"Hi Alex."

Liz grimaced, closed her eyes for a moment. She knew the instant she had seen Tess and Max that they should have gone somewhere else. It was too late now though.

She turned, scowling. "So, have you come to sign my divorce papers?" Liz demanded, deciding that she better be confrontational right off the bat. Otherwise she might start to cry. She should not have downed all that tequila. How could she have forgotten how getting so intoxicated so fast always resulted in her crying at the slightest provocation?

And looking at Max now, remembering Maria’s words, If anyone should know how much Max loved you, it’s you, she wanted to cry. She really did.

Damn. She had known that those words were going to haunt her.

Even though the expression of disapproval on Max’s face now more than indicated that any love he had for her was strictly past tense. It was enough to make her want to start bawling.

So much for drowning her sorrows.

"Have you brought my money?" Max shot back, his eyes narrowed.

"Oh man," Alex muttered again. "Max, don’t do this."

"Don’t do what? Be mean?" Liz interrupted, turning her head and glaring at Alex. "Because Max isn’t mean, is he? He would never stoop to my level. Is that what you want to say Alex?"

"Liz, I’m going to take you back to the hotel," Alex told her firmly, ignoring her confrontational tone. He sounded upset. It was enough to make Liz want to start crying again.

Her friend’s face was starting to swim in front of her eyes.

"I’m sorry Alex. I love you. You know that right?"

"Of course I know Lizzie," Alex soothed, bringing his arm around her shoulder. "Max, I’m taking her back."

"Fine," Max said. "But I have a few things to say first."

"Well I don’t want to hear them," Liz told him, sticking her nose in the air. "You said enough this afternoon."

"I didn’t say what I really wanted to say," Max replied softly. Liz tried to focus on his face, to see if he was mocking her. He sounded entirely too gentle. That was not right. He was supposed to be mean so that she could feel perfectly justified in demanding her divorce. He wasn’t supposed to remind her of before…Of all the other times she had heard that gentle tone when he was addressing her.

Liz, I think that what I'm afraid of isn't that we try this and it works out really badly. What I'm afraid of is we try it and it works out really well. I'm afraid of feeling everything that I know I would feel. Because I know it's not meant to be. And somewhere down the line, we're going to get hurt. I can live with that. I just couldn't bear to hurt you.

Liz shook her head firmly, trying to force his voice out of her mind.

The main thing is...I didn't just see what you saw. I felt...what you felt...when you saw me. And I never thought anyone could really...ever feel that way about me.

She closed her eyes, barely resisted raising her hands to push him out of her head.

Whether I die tomorrow or fifty years from now, my destiny is the same. It’s you. I want to be with you Liz. I love you.

She could not stay here any longer. She needed her divorce and she needed it now. She had to get back to New York and Sean or everything she had fought for over the past four years would go down the tubes.

She had to get out of Roswell. Tonight. Divorced.

He was getting to her and the longer she stayed here the more likely she was to give in.

She could not give in. She could not do it.

There was only one thing to do. It was dirty pool - literally - but she had no choice.

Liz’s eyes snapped open and she stared at Max. He looked concerned. "We don’t always get what we want Max."

"What?" His confusion was evident.

"We both want something. We can’t both have what we want."

He narrowed his eyes again. "Your point being?"

"I’ll play you for it." Liz turned her head and stared at the pool table meaningfully.

"For what?" His confusion was evident.

"If I win, you sign my papers."

Max’s face became a blank mask as he realized what she was doing. "And if I win?" He almost whispered, sounding a little scared.

"I tell you the real reason why I left."

To be continued…



posted on 23-Dec-2002 12:34:07 PM by Kath7
Author's Note: Well, apparently we're on fire this week. Here's part nine. Might I just add that this one is Christian's and it is AMAZING. I teared up several times and I KNEW what was coming. LOL

Part 9

"You want to play me for it?" Max asked, his eyebrows raised in slight irritation.

"That’s what I said Max," Liz replied, nodding her head shortly to emphasize her point.

She was trying not to, but she could still remember the first time she and Max had ever played pool. It had been on their first date. Right in this exact spot. It had been a magical evening to say the least. She closed her eyes as voices from the past echoed once more in her mind

"Ok, this is my favorite part. It says, ‘This is the best night of your life.’"

"Is that really what it says?"

"Well, it's better than ‘A broken clock is still right twice a day.’"

"You're right. I like yours better."


Shaking her head in a, by now, useless attempt to force Max’s voice from her head, Liz leaned against the pool table as she felt her body waver slightly.

"Liz?" Max asked, concerned, his hands shooting out to steady her.

As he came into contact with Liz’s arm, she was hit with another image. But this time it was different. This one was a flash.

Of the last time they had played pool together.

Mr. Parker had put the pool table in the back room of the Crashdown as a surprise for Liz, for she and her friends to use. Liz had become quite fond of the game, and the table had been a present to her. She and Max had played many a game at the same table, and on this particular night, they had played quite a bit. Of course, it hadn’t been just the brightly colored balls that ended up rolling around on the table that night.

"Is this how I do it?" Liz asked, feigning innocence they both knew was false, being as she was the one who had first taught him how to play.

"I can show you, but I’d have to put my arms around you," Max replied, a hint of a wicked smile turning up the corners of his mouth.

"Well, as long as you promise to behave," Liz shot back coyly, batting her eyelashes wildly.

"Sure thing," he said innocently.

Max stepped behind Liz and put his arms out, letting them slide from her shoulders all the way down to her wrists. His grip on her hands tightened as he felt her relax against him. With purely innocent intentions, he placed a small kiss on the back of her neck, and the pool game was suddenly unimportant.


Blinking her eyes, Liz jerked her arm from Max’s grasp.

"I can stand on my own," she snapped. "Don’t touch me."

Looking into his eyes, Liz saw hurt flicker across his face, at her having pulled away from him, as if she was afraid of him touching her. But just as fast as it had come, it was gone.

"Liz, I’m sorry….I…didn’t mean to," he said softly, so only she could hear.

Liz looked at him and knew he had seen the flash too. He must have been thinking about it, and reaching out so fast to grab her, he had caused her to have a flash.

The more she looked at Max, the more she wanted to blurt out the truth. To help ease the hurt that he could no longer hide from her. She couldn’t quite believe she had bought his act earlier in the day. Maria was totally right. He had not changed one bit.

More than anything, she wanted to explain things. Maybe even attempt to be friends…with the boy who had been her first love. Her realization earlier that day that Max had been nothing but a victim had haunted her thoughts.
She could only imagine the heartbreak Max must have experienced at coming to New York to find her, but leaving without ever having made his presence known. Maria had told her that it had been three years ago when Max had come after her. That meant it had been a year after she had gotten to New York. And right around the time she had met Sean. Had Max seen them together? Had he seen them and assumed she’d forgotten her life in Roswell?

If only he’d known. At that point in time, she was still trying to forget all about Max. She’d cut all ties with her former life, but Max had stayed in her thoughts constantly. Meeting Sean had been the final push she needed to forget Max.

But it was turning out that she hadn’t forgotten him at all, wasn’t it?

Since finding out Max had come after her, Liz had been plagued with one question over and over in her mind.
Had this changed anything like Serena said? Max hadn’t given up on her. What would have happened had he confronted her in New York? It had been the hardest thing she’d ever done, walking away from a life that had made her happy, despite the reason why, despite knowing that she was doing the right thing. But if Max had come to her one last time, professed his love for her, begged her to come with him, would she have still been strong enough to resist? The question had rolled around in her mind, and she still hadn’t been able to come up with an answer.

And that made her angry.

Why did this have to happen to her? She had a life she was happy with. Back in New York. Waiting for her return. A life which was the only reason she had come back to Roswell - so she could take the next step and make her new life permanent. But why was being back here, and back in touch with her friends, suddenly making her second guess herself? She had been prepared to come, to talk to Maria and Alex, demand Max sign the papers, and leave. She hadn’t been prepared for the myriad of emotions churning within her since the moment she’d passed Mile Marker 285. And it frustrated the heck out of her.

Right then, staring Max down over a grungy pool table amidst the smell of stale beer and cigarette smoke, Liz decided that the only thing that ever got her anywhere was attitude. And she was going to use it.

"So, you game for this, Mr. Evans?" Liz asked sarcastically. "Or are you afraid you might actually have to sign those papers?" she demanded, casting him an angry look.

She wondered if Max would play against her after what had just happened, after the emotions she had sensed in his soft voice. Had his anger suddenly disappeared? Would he be up to fighting her?

"Of course not. Let’s get this show on the road, Mrs. Evans," he replied, turning Liz’s own attempt at spiteful words back on her.

Fifteen minutes later, the only ball left on the table was the eight ball. It had been the only ball for the last five minutes, but neither Liz nor Max seemed able to sink it, even with seemingly easy shots.

Taking her shot and missing yet again, Liz sighed loudly. Then an idea came to her. Powers! How come it hadn’t occurred to her before? She wasn’t thinking clearly. Obviously the alcohol was affecting her, even if it hadn’t affected the ease with which she played the game. Could she us her powers to swerve the ball in the right direction? Could she do it without Max seeing her, without him knowing?

He would neversuspect. He didn’t even know she had inherited some of his gifts. It was the perfect plan.

It would provide her with an easy out. She could win the game, get her divorce papers, and leave town. But there would still be Maria, Alex and Serena. They would hound her until she broke down and told her secret anyway. And she knew with those three teaming up, it wouldn’t be long until her defenses crumbled.

Sneaking a look at Max, she saw him poised, ready to take his shot. Silently, he closed his eyes, as if he were asking for help.

He sighed, opened his eyes, and sunk the eight ball with a clean shot in the corner pocket he had called.

Standing up straight, Max stared at the pool table for a moment, then turned slowly, and Liz saw him raise his eyes to meet hers.

She’d lost. She’d made a bet with Max, and she’d lost. She never lost at pool! Sean had bought her a pool table for her studio and she was as good as a pro at the game now. She thought betting on a game of pool would be safe for her.

She wasn’t ready for this. Telling Max her secret would no doubt open up all the emotions she had shut up inside herself four years ago when she’d made her agonizing decision. She couldn’t handle those emotions right now.

Looking anywhere but at Max, Liz saw faces from her past staring back at her. They looked just as anxious as Max did to learn the secret she’d withheld from them for so long.

Michael was staring - no wait, glaring - at her, daring her to tell Max what she’d promised him if he won.

Tess was fidgeting nervously in her seat, wringing her hands together, and switching looks between Liz and Max every few seconds. When her eyes locked with Liz’s for a moment, Liz almost thought she recognized sympathy in her greatest rival’s gaze.

And Alex was staring at Liz with a deer in the headlights look, stuck somewhere between being as anxious as his friends to hear the secret, and being loyal to Liz and wanting to offer her comfort for the obvious distress she was feeling.

Making a split minute decision, Liz turned on her heel and ran for the door, passing a very befuddled and surprised Maria and Serena on the way out.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Blinking her eyes, Tess watched as Liz ran from the smoky bar. She saw Michael get up to go after her, but Max held out his arm to stop him.

"What are you doing, Max? She promised! She owes you an explanation!" Michael said, his voice raising in anger. "Let me go!" He hollered as Max gripped his forearm.

"Don’t Michael," Max said warningly. "This is none of your business."

Tess got up from her stool and put one hand on Max’s arm, one on Michael’s.

"She’ll be back Michael," Tess said quietly.

"How do you know Tess? It won’t be the first promise she’s broken!"

"Don’t ask me how I know. I just do," Tess replied. "Liz won’t break this promise."

"Max!" Michael said, turning to his friend.

"She’ll be back," Max said in a monotone voice, echoing Tess’s words.

Michael let out a breath and glared, then turned to the bar, picked up Ellie’s seat, and walked out the door.

Tess saw him pass Maria and stop briefly at the door, then walk to his car.

She noticed another girl walking with Maria. She was certain she wasn’t one of Maria’s friends. She knew all of Maria’s friends. But the girl did look very familiar.

Then she remembered. This was the girl with Liz yesterday in front of the UFO Center. This must be one of Liz’s friends from New York.

She groaned inwardly as Maria pointed a finger at her, all the time not missing a step in making her way to where she and Max were standing.

"You, missy, I will talk to later. I can’t believe you would let these two bring my baby here! To a bar! I thought you were the sensible one," she complained.

She pointed next at Max, without waiting for Tess to defend herself.

"Max, Serena. Serena, Max," she said.

Serena. So that was her name, Tess thought. Serena must have come to Roswell with Liz. She obviously knew why Liz was here. And somewhere deep down, Tess understood that Serena knew a lot more too. The fact that she would come all the way across the country with someone so she could get a divorce from her first husband in order to marry her second seemed to indicate as much. She knew Liz must have told her about her past in Roswell. And the way the girl seemed to be sizing Max up, Tess supposed Liz had told her everything.

But, oddly enough, it wasn’t upsetting to Tess. She wondered why she instinctively trusted this girl, guessed it was how Liz had felt when she’d first met her too. It just made Tess more curious about the person who had stepped into Liz’s life when she’d left her friends behind.

"Here," Maria said, handing Max the envelope she had brought with her.

"What’s this?" Max asked, still somewhat distracted by the fact that Liz had run out on him.

"The divorce papers Max. Sign them."

Tess felt her heart drop as Max turned and looked at her, a hurt expression clearly evident in his face. She shrugged her shoulders slightly when Max seemed to be asking her what to do.

Max turned around and Tess could tell by the heavy rise and fall of his shoulders that he was taking a deep breath.

"Well, I’m sorry, Maria," Max said, thrusting the envelope back at her. "But I’m not signing these. I want to talk to Liz."

"Oh, for crying out loud, Max," Serena said, raising her hands in the air. "How long are you going to drag this out? Can’t you see how it’s upsetting everyone?"

"I don’t even know you. What right do you have to tell me what to do?" Max demanded, clenching his teeth.
Tess could see that he was starting to lose his cool. She didn’t blame him. He was being asked to deal with an awful lot.

"I have every right in the world," Serena replied, not backing down from Max’s menacing stare. "Liz is my best friend. I came here to support her and that is exactly what I intend to do. She needs those papers signed Max."

"I’m not signing them. I told Liz my conditions. She made me a bet tonight. And lost. I’m not signing those papers until I get what I was promised."

"Look Max," Serena said, her voice softening just a bit. "If you’re refusing to sign those papers because you still love her, then do her a favor. Sign them. Make her happy. She needs them to move on with her life and she can’t do that without your signature."

Tess looked back and forth from Serena to Max. She was able to see where each of them was coming from.
Serena was Liz’s best friend. She loved Liz. She had been there for Liz when she had no one else and now all she could see was that her friend was suffering. The only answer she could see to that problem started with a pen and piece of paper and ended with a broken marriage.

But just the fact that Serena was arguing for a divorce, on Liz’s behalf, told Tess that maybe Serena didn’t know exactly what it was she was fighting against. She hadn’t been there from the beginning to witness any part of the magic that had once been Max and Liz. Even Tess, while she had thought that with Max was where she wanted to be, wasn’t able to deny the unearthly connection between Max and Liz the first time she had laid eyes on them together. Serena hadn’t been around when Max and Liz had fought so hard to stay together and she hadn’t been there when the fairy tale had come to an abrupt end.

Max, on the other hand, thought that he knew what was best for his wife. He thought the love he felt for her was enough to keep her loving him. He couldn’t find it within himself to sign away all rights he had to the only girl he’d ever wanted. He was more than willing to put up a strong argument for her. In his mind, he couldn’t accept the fact that maybe Liz was happy. With her new life and her new love. Without him. He’d been nothing but heartbroken since she’d left and he wasn’t able to see how she could be any less hurt by their broken relationship.

Tess saw Max turn slightly to face Maria.

"How could you do this? How could you ask me this? You know how I feel about her. I thought you were my friend!" he asked angrily.

"I am your friend Max," Maria said, taking a step toward him. She reached her hand out in attempt to lay it on his arm, but Max flinched and jerked away from her. "Look Max, I care about you. You know I do. I care about Liz too though. With things like they are right now, you two will stay stuck where you are forever. Neither one of you is willing to budge. But I know you Max. And I do know how much you love her. That’s why I know you’ll sign these papers. If you love her enough, you’ll let her go," Maria said softly, compassion flowing with her words.

Tess stepped up to stand even with Max and she offered her hand on his shoulder in a show of support. Because she could see that Maria’s words were getting to him. He was actually considering it.

"I can’t, Maria, I just, I…"

"Look, Max," Serena said, her voice gentler than it had been before. "Liz is through with the part of her life that includes you. She’s engaged to someone else. She loves him. She doesn’t want to be married to you anymore. She doesn’t love you," Serena said.

Tess looked at the girl, with wide eyes, at her having so bluntly told Max the truth she had been trying to prepare him for. That if Liz ever came back, she might not want to pick things up where she had left them.

Max turned to Tess and she could see his golden eyes pooling with hurt. Anger. Frustration. Realization. She saw his eyes water with unshed tears as he finally accepted the fact that love of his life didn’t love him back.

He bowed his head, but not before Tess saw that he had accepted that it was really over. He had lost her.

Tess squeezed Max’s arm in support as he took the envelope from Maria, opened it, and took a pen out of his pocket.

With a heavy heart, she watched as her best friend lifted a shaking hand and signed the papers that would make his wife a free woman.

After he’d put his signature on the dotted line, Max stared at it for a second, then laid the pen down and stormed out of the bar.

"Aren’t you going after him?"

Tess looked at Serena in surprise. The expression on the other woman’s face was full of disdain.

"He needs to be alone," Tess replied simply. "There’s nothing I can do for him right now." Tess turned to Maria, anger that she felt so helpless at the moment igniting within her. "How could you do this, Maria? You know how hurt he was when she left. Why didn’t you leave it up to her to get these papers signed?" She demanded.

"Because I had a long talk with Liz. She needs this Tess." Tess could see that Maria still felt guilty though. She had tears in her blue eyes too.

"But why couldn’t she get them? Max trusts you. You’re practically his sister-in-law! How could you just turn your back on his pain and ask him to do this?"

"Because," Serena said, interjecting. "Liz isn’t strong enough to argue back."

"Excuse me?" Alex asked, speaking for the first time.

"I’ve seen a different side to Liz since we’ve been in Roswell. It’s not the same Liz I’ve spent the last four years getting to know. And the Liz that I know now isn’t strong enough to fight for what she came for."

Tess nodded, understanding. She glanced down at the papers, wished that she could burn them up with her alien death ray eyes - if she had them of course. She blinked as her gaze came in contact with the legal document though. She couldn’t help it as the corners of her mouth turned up into a small smile. "Well then," she said. "Max still has hope. If Liz isn’t strong enough to fight him, then there’s something there she isn’t telling you."

"What do you mean?" Alex asked.

"Did any of you actually look at the papers?" Tess asked.

Maria, Alex, and Serena all shook their heads, matching looks of confusion on their faces.

"I saw Max sign them," Tess said. "But the line next to his signature is blank. Liz hasn’t signed her own divorce papers."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Sitting in the shadows of the alleyway outside the Crashdown, Liz was lost deep in thought. She had promised Max she’d tell him why she left if he beat her at pool And he had done just that. The fact that she’d run out on him didn’t change her promise. She knew she needed to tell Max the truth. He deserved that much, at least. Then maybe, just maybe, he’d stop putting up a fight, and he’d sign the divorce papers she so desperately wanted signed.

But the swirling whirl of emotions she felt rumbling inside of her was begging her to run and leave again, never to look back. She hadn’t been prepared for anything she’d felt since coming back to Roswell. Least of all, she hadn’t been prepared for the way Max had haunted her every thought. With every street, or building, or corner she passed, she was assaulted with memories of a happier time. When she and Max were hopelessly in love and still believed in happily ever after. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t get away from him. As long as she was in Roswell, Liz was surrounded by Max Evans.

She wondered if guilt was part of it. Maybe if she went to Max and told him everything and answered his questions, then she too could rid herself of the guilt she felt at having left them without even so much as a good-bye. As hard as she knew it would be for her, she knew that she had to do it. Even if facing Max would bring to the surface emotions she had fought hard to keep under control. If she didn’t, she’d never be able to truly forget Roswell.

Or Max, for that matter.

Hearing a noise across the street, she looked up to see Max unlocking the door of the UFO center. She watched him walk inside.

She continued staring for a minute and when she didn’t see any lights come on and no one else follow him, she knew this was as good a time as any. Fate was intervening. She was supposed to talk to him.

Liz stood up, smoothed her rumpled jeans, and walked across the street.

Trying the door first and finding it locked, Liz knocked softly. After she got no answer, she looked around to make sure the street was empty, put her hand on the doorknob and concentrated until she heard the click of the lock on the other side of the door.

Walking into the lobby, she stopped and inhaled the familiar scent. It was intoxicating, just like the smell of old grease and coffee that always emanated from the Crashdown. They were smells that she was sick of and couldn’t stand as a child growing up, having had to be around them everyday. But now, she realized that it was the little things, like the smell of plastic and disinfectant and old books that was the UFO Center reminded her of one thing.

That she was home. In spite of all attempts she had made to forget it, Roswell was in her blood. This would always be her home.

Stepping into the lobby, Liz called softly for Max, and got no answer. When she walked into the main exhibit hall, she gasped in surprise, then held back the urge to giggle at a large alien head balloon hanging from the rafters, its features in shadow.

Stepping around the main display, Liz’s eyes came to rest on a small replica of the crash site, complete with an alien space ship embedded into the ground to resemble the famous event. She and Max had sat on the fake desert floor the night they had decided to get married, talking and reminiscing about their past, how they’d come to be together, and what their future might hold.

They had talked about everything and Liz had laughed when Max told her that he had once used mud as a distraction to keep himself from thinking of her. He told her how during the Convention the year their lives had become connected, Michael had convinced him that thinking of mud would keep Liz far from his thoughts. But how, no matter what, every time he thought of mud, it reminded him of her.

"I still think of mud every time I pass that display."

Still smiling slightly at the memory, Liz turned around when she heard Max’s voice from the doorway behind her. She saw him leaning against the door-frame, the light from the next room illuminating him from behind, hiding her view of his face.

But Liz heard the underlying meaning.

I still think of you every time I pass that display.

"I saw you come in." Liz explained quickly. "I’m sorry, I knocked, but no one came. I let myself in."

"I locked the door," he said.

"I unlocked it."

Liz saw Max’s confused expression, as he had taken a step towards her and his face was not completely visible, but when he started to speak, she cut him off. She knew that he'd have questions about her powers. But they could wait.

"I came here to pay you off for winning the bet, Max. I want to tell you why I left Roswell. And you."

To be continued




[ edited 1 time(s), last at 23-Dec-2002 12:39:19 PM ]
posted on 23-Dec-2002 6:39:21 PM by Kath7
Just a quick reminder that the reason Max didn't go after Liz was because he had NO idea where she was. It was only after he saw an article in the paper about her collection that he knew. He would have gone sooner had he been able.

As for Liz, neither Christian and I are making excuses for her, but I hope that when people know WHY she made the choices she did, things will be a little more clear.

Thanks for reading and caring!

Kath
posted on 9-Jan-2003 11:14:43 PM by Kath7
Author's Note: Hello all! Thanks for all the wonderful feedback. Sorry it's been a couple of weeks, but Christian and I were working through some of the backstory and we now have it done I think, which should speed things up. We're having a lot of fun though! LOL

You get some answers here, but things still aren't quite as they seem. Miscommunication is the name of the game here.

Don't be too hard on Maria. She just loves them both and REALLY wants Max to move on, for his own good. Liz has convinced her she wants this and she's helping. I mean, why would she want Max to keep fighting for something that's only going to hurt him more in the end?

Part 10

"Kyle are you home?" Tess shut the door behind her and turned the lock, calling out for her fiancé. His shift ended at midnight, so he had to be there somewhere.

"In the bedroom babe!"

She found him flipping channels on the T.V. at the end of their bed. "What’re you doing?" She asked, sitting down beside him.

"Looking for the highlights," he said, his eyes shifting from the screen to her face. "What’s wrong?" He demanded, hitting the power button. Silence fell over the room.

"Cardinals lost," she said quietly, pulling off her boots and crawling up the bed to flop down beside him.

"Somehow I don’t think that’s what has you so glum," Kyle replied, tossing the remote aside and turning on his side to face her. He reached out and pushed a stray blonde curl off her face where it had escaped from her braid.

"Max signed the divorce papers," Tess admitted, sighing. "It doesn’t look good Kyle. I think this might actually be it."

Kyle frowned. "Well, that sucks for Evans, but it’s gotta be a good thing that they’re both going to move on." He stared at her for a long moment. "Isn’t it?"

"It’s not," Tess replied firmly. "Because I’m beginning to think that Liz doesn’t want to move on. She hasn’t signed them yet…"

There was another long pause. "And you want to tell her the truth," Kyle finally finished for her. "Do you really think it’s going to make a difference Tess? She must have figured it out on her own by now."

Tess sat up, stared straight ahead, biting her lip, voicing the thoughts that had been swirling in her head the whole drive home. "I just don’t get it Kyle. Something’s off with this whole thing. Because you’re right. I mean, I can’t believe that Liz hasn’t confronted me about Eliza. Her existence basically proves that everything she told…" Tess stopped, grimaced, wondered if Kyle had noticed the slip. "Er - everything I thought the destiny book said was a lie."

"You think there’s more to it?" Kyle asked. He didn’t sound suspicious, just curious.

"There just has to be." She paused. "Kyle, I’ve been thinking about what happened when Liz left town. With how she’s been behaving, I think that I was wrong about why she left. I don’t think it had anything to do with me at all. I mean, I know Max told her about it, but I just can’t believe that he told her it meant they couldn’t be together. He told me then that he didn’t buy it and I’m sure he said the same thing to her."

"You don’t know for sure? I thought Max told you everything."

Tess was perplexed. "I thought he did too."

"But why would he keep it a secret?"

"He wouldn’t," Tess replied firmly. "Which means that something weird is going on."

Kyle groaned. "And which also means you’re going to find out, doesn’t it?"

Tess scowled at him. "What is that supposed to mean? Of course I’m going to find out!"

"Tess, you’ve spent the last four years feeling guilty about something that might not even be your fault. I think you should just stay out of it!’’

"It was my fault," Tess argued. "More than you can possibly know. And I do owe Liz an apology, no matter what the real reason was for why she left."

"Why can’t you just leave well enough alone?" Kyle demanded. "I really don’t think this is a good idea."

"Kyle, you just don’t understand," Tess exclaimed, jumping to her feet and starting to pace. She could feel his eyes following her, could feel his concern, like he was really worried that she was losing it.

She was losing it. She wanted to tell him the absolute truth. Finally, this was what was driving her so insane. She wanted him to know.

But how could she tell him when it was going to change everything he had ever believed about her? Because, she was finally beginning to realize that who she was today was in no way who she had the potential to be. He was the only thing that kept her from turning into who she was beginning to suspect she might have been.

Well, he and Max. The two most important people in her life. And neither of them knew the absolute truth. She had tried to put it out of her mind, had tried to forget how she had finally managed to translate the destiny book. But she had started to suspect when Maria got pregnant that the source of her translation wasn’t the most reliable person in the world. At first she had believed that the translator had just made a mistake, that it could all be explained easily.

But, now…She was really beginning to wonder if she had actually been lied to. By the one person she should have been able to trust above all others.

"Tess, tell me what the hell you’re thinking!" Kyle was beginning to sound impatient and not a little mad.

She swallowed, turned her head and looked at Kyle, who was definitely suspicious now. He could read her better than anyone these days. It was one of the things she most loved about him - how well he knew her. But it was at times like this that it could be frustrating too. She sometimes forgot how much of herself she had given to him when they had fallen in love. She couldn’t hide from him like she used to be able to hide from everyone. When she had first met them all, the first time she had come to Roswell, they had all believed her to be one thing - a manipulative witch whose only goal was to drive a wedge between their close-knit group. While she freely admitted that she had not taken the best route towards making them trust her that first time, she hadn’t really known any better at the time. And they hadn’t known her at all. Not really. She was simply Nasedo’s creation that first time.

It was only when she came back to Roswell and she learned what true friendship meant that she was able to see that Nasedo’s way was the wrong way. But it had taken a while even then. She could not deny that she had been secretly thrilled when Liz had so precipitously left town after her return. And, in the end, when she started to care so much about the others, she had started to think that Liz didn’t deserve any of them anyway. Because if she did, wouldn’t she have stayed to fight?

But the Liz Parker Evans who had returned to Roswell was not entirely what Tess had expected. She was so desperate for her divorce and yet she forgot to sign the divorce papers herself? She wanted to be done with Max and, yet, she made a reckless bet with him whereby she might have to tell him why she left? And the weirdest part of all was that, as far as Tess knew, Liz hadn’t even reacted to the news that Maria had a baby fathered by Michael! It was the reason she had left Roswell in the first place - because she couldn’t bear Max’s child and according to the destiny book, he absolutely needed to be a father.

Absolutely none of it made sense. It was like Liz was teetering on the edge of some kind of mania and Tess couldn’t believe it had taken her this long to see it.

Liz wanted them all to know the truth about why she had left. And, yet, she was also clearly doing everything in her power to make it so that none of them would ask - or care - because of her strange behavior.

What did it mean?

The answer that was starting to dawn on Tess was so scary, she didn’t even know if she would be able to deal with it if it was true. Because, while she did, to a certain extent blame herself for Liz’s departure, until this minute she had never felt that she had done it with evil intentions. She had truly believed that Max needed to father a child and that she was the only one capable of providing him with one.

Yet, she had developed a close friendship with Max, not a romance. Sure she hadn’t allowed anything to go forward with Kyle until they had known about Maria’s pregnancy, until it became clear that Max could actually have a child with a human. And this was where most of her guilt stemmed from after all. From the fact that she hadn’t gone to New York to tell Liz the truth about the destiny book. But, then, Max had gone after Liz that first time, had come back alone and he hadn’t even wanted to talk about it then. This was even before they found out for sure that humans and aliens could have kids together.

What exactly had gone down between Max and Liz during that New York trip? As close as they were, Max had never told her. Which was why Tess had been so shocked a couple of days ago when Max had told her that he and Liz weren’t divorced. She had just naturally assumed that they had done it when Max had gone north three years before.

If they hadn’t, what had happened?

Tess looked at Kyle, who was by now openly glaring at her. She wrinkled her nose. "Um…"

"Okay woman, out with it," Kyle growled. "You are clearly having some very deep thoughts in that pretty head of yours and I want in on them."

Tess ran a hand wearily through her hair. She absolutely needed someone to talk to about this. She had already given Kyle the short version of the story. Maybe she should tell him. Maybe he could work out this puzzle better than she could. Because with every minute that passed since Tess had noticed that Liz hadn’t signed her own divorce papers, the more Tess knew that she just wasn’t going to be able to let matters rest the way they were.

She knew that Max was going to be furious at her. But she just could not remain inactive any longer. She had to do something. And telling Kyle was the first step.

"Kyle, did you think it was kind of weird that I never told you how I finally got the destiny book translated?" Tess blurted, before she could talk herself out of it again.

Kyle stared at her like he was a little shocked at the complete change of subject, since he seemed aware that she had been ruminating about Max and Liz. "A little. I didn’t think you were done telling me everything though. You implied that Liz left because you told her that aliens and humans don’t mix, baby wise."

"And I implied that it was why I felt totally guilty about why Liz left," Tess interrupted, thinking aloud now. "Because it wasn’t true, as we know now because of Maria." She paused, collected her thoughts. "But here’s the thing Kyle. I’ve felt guilty all along. How does that make any sense if I truly believed that Max and I had to be together? Shouldn’t I have only started feeling bad about it after you and I got together and Maria got pregnant? Because I’ve always just assumed that my guilty feelings were because I was wrong."

Kyle was frowning, obviously confused. "Well, maybe you felt bad because Max was so devastated? I mean, you did care about him a lot. Even before you really knew him."

It was the same conclusion Tess had reached, but it still didn’t make sense. "That’s what I thought. But I’m beginning to think that’s not it either. Because Liz is just acting so peculiar. There has to be more to why she left than just the baby. I think I know what it is. And it also explains why I have always felt so guilty. Because I was responsible for her leaving - but just not how I thought."

"Okay, what?" Kyle asked. He collapsed onto the bed, totally bewildered. "I have no idea what you’re talking about."

Tess grimaced, knew that this was going to get even more convoluted before it started to make any sort of sense. He was going to think she was the one who had gone absolutely bonkers before she was finished with him. But she knew now that she had no choice but to tell. First Kyle and then Max.

While she had promised she would never tell, that had been before it had started to cross her mind that the translator of the destiny book might not be completely trustworthy. The whole problem with that line of thinking was that it made Tess even more guilty. Was it truly possible that she had turned out so horribly that she had come back to lie to herself to achieve her own ends? And was it possible that she wasn’t the only one who had met the translator? Had Liz been approached too?

The sheer irony in the whole thing was that, if what Tess was beginning to suspect was true, why on Earth had Liz of all people ever believed it? She should have been the last person who believed it. Why would Liz Evans ever have believed Tess Harding on anything that had to do with Max, even if it was a Tess from the future?

Tess sat down beside Kyle, sighing heavily. She couldn’t even begin to unravel this herself. She needed him. And if he ended up hating her because of it, well, there was no help for it.

Because she could no longer live with hating herself.

She had to tell him.

Well, if she was going to do it, then she might as well do it fast, before she lost her nerve.

"There was a very specific reason I didn’t tell you who translated the destiny book," Tess began, her hands clenched in her lap, her heart beating a mile a minute. "I didn’t think you’d believe me."

"Why not?"

"Well, I did it myself Kyle."

"Oh. You think it sounds bad. Like maybe I’d think you made it up? The translation I mean?" Kyle sounded like he finally understood, like her guilt was beginning to make sense.

"Not exactly," Tess replied. "I pretty much know now that I did make it up. But here’s the really weird part. I didn’t. I mean, me me."

"What?"

Tess sighed again, smiled wanly. "So Kyle, tell me what you know about time travel."

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

Liz watched Max move past her. He was still staring at the crash display, his expression unreadable.

"Did you hear me Max? I’m here to tell you the truth," Liz said quietly. She could see the tension in his back, wondered what he was thinking. She wondered if he already knew that she only intended to tell him part of the story, that she couldn’t tell him everything. She couldn’t be sure that it was what he was thinking though. This was the worst part about being back here. She hated how distant they were from each other, how quickly it had all come flooding back - how connected they used to be and how, now, they just weren’t.

She knew a lot of it was her fault. Most of it in fact. And if she could get a little absolution from him tonight, she might actually be able to look back on what they had shared with something approaching fondness, rather than the gut-wrenching, throat-closing pain she felt now. She hated that this was what their magical relationship had been reduced to - snapping at each other and making stupid bets and getting drunk so that they could exchange two civil words.

They were not meant to be together - she knew that - but it didn’t mean that she didn’t want to be able to maintain some semblance of a relationship between them.

"I know why you left," Max finally said, bringing Liz back to the situation at hand. "You thought that we couldn’t have a baby together." He turned his head, looked at her, his eyes calm. "And I told you it was ridiculous, that we could adopt. So if that’s the line you’re going to feed me again, I don’t want to hear it."

"Max, you know there was more to it than that!" Liz exclaimed, getting riled in spite of herself. "You need to have a child of your blood. The whole world depends on it. I just can’t believe that you and Tess aren’t together! What happened?"

"I don’t love Tess like that Liz," Max snapped. "Not that it’s any of your business what I do in my love-life. Because clearly it’s none of mine what you do, although one would think that a husband should be informed when his wife decides to get engaged. I mean, I might have wanted to send a present!"

Liz closed her eyes, sighing. She wasn’t going to let him get to her this time. She wasn’t. He was trying to piss her off. She knew he was. He seemed to be as erratic as she felt - one minute sweet and gentle, the next just plain mean. She couldn’t handle it anymore. "Max, please."

"I’m sorry." Her eyes snapped open and she stared at him. He was still looking at the display, his hands now buried in the pockets of his khakis. "I didn’t mean that," he sighed. "This is just really difficult Liz."

"I know." There was a long pause. "Can I ask you something?" Liz finally inquired tentatively.

Max snorted. "I thought I was the one who was supposed to ask the questions." Liz could hear an underlying note of amusement though. He really seemed ready to try and have a civil conversation. "Fine, go ahead."

"Did you really come to New York three years ago?"

There was another long silence. "So you heard about that, huh?" He sounded sheepish.

Liz looked at him in surprise. "You did come? I don’t understand. Why didn’t you try and see me?"

Max rubbed a hand across his face wearily. "I did see you. You just didn’t see me."

"What?" Her heart started to pound as she frantically tried to understand why he hadn’t spoken to her. What had he seen that had stopped him?

"I was waiting for you outside your building and you came home with that girl you brought with you here…" Max began quietly.

"Serena," Liz inserted, frowning, wondering where he was going with this.

"And with him."

Liz felt her eyes widen with horror. "You saw me with Sean?"

"Yeah." He shrugged, sounding pained. "I…You just looked really happy." He snorted again. "I was really surprised to see how happy you looked. I think I was shocked actually. I couldn’t talk to you. I mean, it’s not that I wanted you to be miserable Liz, but when I saw you…" He shook his head. "At that point, I felt like I was never going to laugh again. And there you were, having a grand old time, and it made me really mad. I just knew that I couldn’t talk to you when I felt that way."

"Max…"

"So I came home," he finished. "Because I didn’t like feeling that way. It was the worst thing in the world Liz, feeling like you had forgotten me so easily. It even made me hate you a bit."

Liz knew that her mouth was hanging open in dismay. To think that he had seen that! She felt terrible about it. And the sheer irony was that three years ago she had still been as miserable as she had been the day she left Roswell. How he happened to come across the one time she might have allowed herself to feel anything but completely devastated…What were the odds?

She didn’t even know what to say to make it better. She was angry too thinking about it. How could he so easily misinterpret her? Hadn’t he known her at all? How could he not know that leaving him had been the hardest thing she had ever had to do? That moving on was the hardest thing she had ever done? That she had known she had no choice because until she did, she absolutely knew that he wouldn’t?

And he still hadn’t! So clearly she had been right! She was just lucky that she had found someone as wonderful as Sean. She didn’t think that she deserved to be unhappy for her whole life after all. She wasn’t an evil person. She was just a person who had made the choice to let herself fall for someone else because she couldn’t be with the one she knew was her soul mate.

She wouldn’t feel guilty about doing what she knew had to be and making the best of it.

"Max, why do you have to make this so hard?" Liz whimpered. She shook her head, shocked that it had come out so pathetically. Strong! She was strong dammit! She cleared her throat, made her voice obey her. "Don’t you know how hard it was to leave you? Whatever you saw, I wasn’t really happy. But I’m glad you saw it. Because if you’d come to me then, I would have gone home with you. And it just can’t be." She grabbed his arm, hoping to shake some sense into him. He looked at her in surprise, then stared down at her hand.

A shot of electricity shot up her fingers, through her hand and up her arm, causing her heart to pound crazily in her chest. She quickly moved away again. God. How could he do that to her just by touching him? What was this between them?

"So you came to tell me why you left," Max said in a monotone, still staring down at his arm. "I think you just realized why I haven’t been able to move on. How can I move on when no one will ever make me feel the way you do?" He sighed again. "Just tell me if you have to. I’ll give you whatever forgiveness you need and you can go back to New York and I can try and get on with my life."

"Max, I can’t have children." She blurted it out, just wanted it over with. It wasn’t supposed to hurt this much. She was supposed to be over him!

"Liz, I don’t know why you’re still harping on this," Max said impatiently. "I told you I don’t care. And it’s not even true anyway. Look at Michael and Maria!"

"You don’t understand," she whispered. "I mean, I can’t have kids with anyone. It’s a physical impossibility. The doctors have told me so."

That was a lie. No doctor had ever said such a thing. She had been told that she was perfectly normal and, yet, she knew inherently that she would not bear children.

She felt his shock, although she didn’t look at him. She had forgotten how much it hurt to think about this. And here she was, talking about it twice already today. Most days she avoided thinking about it altogether. She swallowed, continued before she totally froze. "My body…it just won’t carry a child to term. Any child."

She wouldn’t tell him the whole truth - that Max had completely changed her when he had healed her, not only giving her powers, but also making it so that she wasn’t entirely human.

She wasn’t wholly alien, but she wasn’t human anymore either. And, so, she couldn’t procreate with either species.

"God…Liz." She felt his hand touch her lightly on the small of her back. "I’m sorry."

"I’ve accepted it." Liz tossed her head, lifted her chin. "Sean doesn’t want kids anyway."

There was a long pause. "Well, that’s good…I guess."

She turned and looked at him. "Max, please. You have to move on. You have to have kids."

Max stared at her. "So that really is why you left. You really believed Tess? That the world would end if we didn’t have a kid? Liz, Tess doesn’t even believe that anymore! It was a ploy for God’s sake!"

Liz sighed. "Obviously, if she’s moving on with Kyle." She had to make him understand, but still couldn’t tell him the whole truth. She just couldn’t. He would never believe her anyway and things were messed up enough as it was. But she had to get him to accept his destiny somehow. He had to be a father. "Max, have you ever just known something is completely true? It makes no sense, but you just know it?"

Max grimaced, nodded. "I knew that you and I were meant to be together." He laughed shortly, bitterly.

Liz frowned. "Max, you have to listen to me. I don’t care what you believe and I don’t care what Tess thinks now. You have to move on. You must father a child. I just know this is true." She paused, then went for broke. "If you can’t sign my divorce papers for me, then do it for yourself. You have to do this."

Max was staring at her again. "You really believe this stuff Liz? Really?" He paused, his eyes narrowed. "Does this have anything to do with how you got in here? That door was locked."

Liz gaped at him. Trust Max to zero in on something she had forgotten about completely. It was why it was always so difficult to hide things from him. He could read her more easily and more quickly than anyone. "What do you mean?"

"Liz, how did you get in here?"

"I unlocked the door," Liz admitted quietly. "With my powers."

Max pressed his lips together. He didn’t even seem surprised. "And is this how you know that we can’t be together? That I have to father this child, for some weird reason? A child that I don’t want if you’re not the mother?"

Liz blinked. "Yes."

In the end, the truth came out as simply as that. Liz Parker Evans knew that the world was going to end if Max didn’t have a child. She knew this because she had seen it.

To be continued…




posted on 15-Jan-2003 3:48:55 PM by Kath7
Part 11 is almost ready for posting. We're just revising it now. It will be up either later today or tomorrow.

Thanks for the bumpage.

Kath and Christian
posted on 15-Jan-2003 5:15:08 PM by Kath7
Part 11

"Well, I know that you need a really awesome machine to do it. Which, the traveler usually builds himself,might I add, and that when you do travel, you can’t come in contact with yourself because…"

Tess couldn’t help the giggle that escaped from her lips. She hadn’t meant for Kyle to actually answer the question. It had been a hopeless attempt on her part to stall the impending conversation, and gain some sort of composure over herself. Because she was quickly losing it. But Kyle had taken the question literally. It was one of the reasons she loved him so much. He could always see the humor in any situation, but at this exact moment, that perk in his personality was more of a flaw. All she wanted him to do was be quiet and listen to what she had to say.

"Kyle, I didn’t mean for you to actually answer the question," she said.

Kyle’s mouth formed an ‘O’ shape, and he quickly let his sentence fade out. "Good, because time travel isn’t really possible."

Tess looked at Kyle, with a warning glare, silently willing him to be quiet. He must have gotten her message when he threw his hands up in defeat. "Oookay. Then just tell me what you wanted to say."

Tess took a deep breath, and put her head in her hands. This was it. Her moment of truth. What she
was about to reveal could make or break her. She could only hope it wasn’t the latter.

"Time travel is possible, Kyle. I know it for a fact."

"Well, it wouldn’t be the first impossible thing we’ve discovered to be possible, would it?" Kyle asked with a shrug of his shoulders.

Shaking her head, as if she hadn’t heard him, Tess stood up and stepped in front of Kyle. "I know this, because I did it."

"You traveled through time?" Kyle asked, raising an eyebrow at her.

Tess shook her head, realizing what she’d said hadn’t come out how she’d meant it. "I mean, I didn’t
do it, as in me me, but I did do it, as in another me. Well, not another me, the same me, but a different version of me. A version of me from another time line. Another timeline’s future, to be exact." Tess stopped talking, and turned to look at Kyle. He was obviously very confused.

"I don’t understand, Tess."

"Kyle, before I came back to Roswell, I had a visitor. From the future. She told me things. How things turned out. What happened. And she told me how to stop them from happening. That’s why I came back."

Kyle shook his head, still not fully understanding. "You came back here because someone from the future told you to? Why would you believe someone you don’t know, Tess? How could you believe someone you don’t even know? What if it was an enemy? A shapeshifter. What if it had been a trick?" Kyle asked, his voice edgy with emotion.

"But that’s just it, Kyle. I did know her. It was me. A future version of myself. From 14 years in the future. I came - I mean, she came back to tell me what I had to do to save the world. That’s how I know time travel is possible."

"You saw…you saw yourself?" Kyle asked, his eyes wide with curiosity.

Tess shook her head, and looked down at the floor. Had she seen herself? She had thought so at once.
That the person who had come to her had been herself, from 14 years in the future. But now, she was almost
positive that the person hadn’t been her. Sure, it was a version of her. But the more she thought about it, the more she realized that it had been the Tess that she had been. The Tess raised by Nasedo and left to fend for herself after his death. The Tess who had wanted nothing more in life than to be with Max and rule at his side as the Queen of Antar. It
wasn’t the Tess she was now. She now had people she loved and cared about, had people who called her family.

The other Tess had never experienced such a thing. No, she was not the same Tess.

Ultimately, the person she was now was obviously a lot smarter than the person who had visited from the future. Because, now, she was beginning to see the holes in the story. The things that didn’t click. The loose threads that kept everything from coming together.

She was beginning to see in fact that she had been lied to. And, right then, Tess Harding wanted nothing more than to throw herself across the bed and cry. Not for herself, but for the Tess Harding that had come to visit her four years ago. She wanted to cry for the way life had treated her. How could fate have been so undeniably cruel to someone that they would eventually turn on themselves in a vain attempt to make sure things turned out differently? Letting her
guard down for just a moment, Tess forgot what it was she was trying to do, felt her eyes filled with tears.

"I’m a terrible person," Tess said, sighing heavily, talking to herself more than anything. Because if what she was suspecting was true - if she had come back from the future to lie to herself - she was worse than terrible. She was also crazy.

"Hey," Kyle said soothingly, reaching up and grabbing Tess’s hands from her head, gently pushing back the loose wisps of hair around her eyes. He pulled her down to sit next to him. "Don’t say that. I’m sure there’s an explanation. Whatever’s upsetting you, you can tell me. You know that, right?"

Tess looked at Kyle, and couldn’t help the single tear that ran down her cheek. She looked down at her fingers, toyed with ring on her left hand. Could she tell him? Could she tell him and still trust him to trust her?

"Tess," he said, tipping her chin "I love you. Whatever it is that’s got you so upset, you can tell me. It won’t change what I feel for you." Tess felt her heart speed up as Kyle took her left hand and lifted it to her eye level. "This," he said, fingering the ring that she had been toying with only seconds ago, "is forever."

Once again, he was reading her. She’d said nothing of her fears that if she told him the truth, he’d stop loving her. But he knew exactly what she was thinking.

Tess leaned in to Kyle’s embrace and looked up into his eyes, offering him a small smile. She could see it in
his gaze. She could see what was always there, could see why she loved him so much. Acceptance. Faith. And, unmistakably, unconditional love. It was then, at that instant, that she knew she could tell Kyle. Because he would
love her regardless. She never once believed that someone would love her that way. But Kyle did. Her heart swelled with love for the man that she would spend the rest of her life with. At least, if everyone else hated her, she would still have Kyle. She reached up quickly, giving him a tender kiss, then took a deep breath and leaned her head on hi shoulder.

"At the time, I was renting a room at a boarding house. I came home, from going to get something to eat, and she was there. Waiting for me."

Tess sucked in a deep breath, and watched as the scene played out before her eyes.

Early Spring 2003

Turning the key in the door, Tess opened it and stepped inside. She kicked off her shoes at the doorway that separated the bedroom from the main room, the only other part of the small space she now called home.

Life had been hard for her since she’d left Roswell, and she hadn’t been happy in what seemed like forever. She knew that her depression showed in her posture, her features and in her personality but she couldn’t help it. She’d become
something of a mystery to the other boarders, all of them wondering what brought so much sadness to the pretty blonde girl in 4A.

Pulling off her jacket, Tess dropped it on the small card table in the corner and walked into the bedroom, heading for the bath.

"Well now, is that any face to wear when greeting a visitor?"

Tess stopped and jerked her head towards the chair in the corner.

What she saw made her mouth open wide in shock.

The woman sitting in the chair looked so much like her, it made her skin crawl. She had long, wavy hair, which hung loosely down her back. Her eyes were icy blue and her skin a pale, flawless white. Her long slender legs were thrown up on the bed in casual disdain, and were only emphasized by black leather pants that clung to every curve and were tucked inside black knee boots. There was a black trench coat slung over the bed, which had obviously once covered the red halter top she was sporting - the colour of which matched the blood red fingernails she was presently filing with a lack of concern.

Tess immediately threw her hand up in a defensive stance. "Who are you? How did you get in here?" She asked forcefully, hoping her voice did not betray her fear. This had to be a shapeshifter. What did she want from her? Didn’t she know that she had left everything she was meant to be back in Roswell, when she had told Max Evans to go screw himself? Of course, the fact that he had been screwing Liz Parker at the time immediately crossed her mind and just made her want to puke. She hastily pushed the thought away.

"Who am I? Tess, darling, do you really have to ask?" The woman chuckled slightly, and rose up, pulling her feet from the bed to the floor. "Isn’t it obvious?"

Tess blinked her eyes, before narrowing them slightly at the woman seated before her. "I’ll ask you again. Who-are-you?" She paused between her words to emphasize that she wanted an answer.

"Tess, I’m you."

Tess felt the floor spin beneath her and she fought to stay upright. "No, you’re not. That’s not possible."

"Oh, but it is. You made it possible yourself. Well, actually, me, but it will be you. But if I have my way, it won’t."

"What are you talking about?" Tess demanded, taking deep breaths to steady herself. She could barely hear the woman, was listening through the blood rushing in her head.

"The granolith. I modified it. Learned how to make it into a time machine of sorts."

"Why?" Tess asked, lowering her hand, but still not letting her guard completely down.

The woman reached into the pocket of her trench coat, pulling out a small silver book. She threw it on the foot of the bed, within Tess’s reach.

Tess gasped. She’d seen that book before. It was the Destiny Book.

"Because the world was ending silly. I had to do something to save it. So I found a way to come back to you and bring you this. I have some things I need to tell you."

"Why? I don’t even know how to read this." Tess could feel her panic doubling, tripling. The end of the world? What was this woman talking about?

"Here’s the thing sweetheart." The woman’s voice was kinder than it had been before, like she was remembering who Tess was at this time. Like she felt compassion for her. It made Tess feel strange, accepting that this was
really her. "You can read it. You’ve just forgotten how. I decoded it myself and I’m here to show you what it says."

"I don’t understand," Tess said, confused. "What did you come here to tell me?"

"It’s your destiny, Tess. I’m going to show you how you can save the world."

Tess felt her heart speed up. Had the book really been decoded? If so, this could be what she’d been waiting for since leaving Roswell. Real proof of her destiny. Did this mean she could finally be with Max? Were all her dreams about to come true? All the hatred she had allowed to build up in her heart, the better to pretend she really didn’t care anymore about Max, it faded away as though it had never existed.

He could still be hers. Hell, he
was hers. Who the heck cared if he had married Liz? Liz, perfect Liz, who had given up all her dreams to become Max’s wife, if Pam Troy was to be believed. Liz, who had stolen Tess’s place and had never deserved Max anyway.

Tess reached out and fingered the small silver book. She let her fingers trace the royal symbol found on the front, and placed her hand over the cover, feeling the cool metal all but tingle beneath her palm. "What does it say?" She breathed, her hope overwhelming her caution.

She never looked up to see the wicked gleam in the other woman’s eye.


"What did she say?" Kyle asked, softly.

"She told me that she’d come from the future. And that before she’d left, Earth had been taken over. She said that everyone was dead. You, Alex, Isabel, Michael, Max, Liz - everyone. Our enemies were too strong."

"Why would she come back to tell you that?" Kyle asked.

"Because, she said I was the only one who could stop it."

"Stop it how?" Kyle asked.

Tess knew him well enough to know that he was still confused. "She said that she came back to her past to change the future. Kyle, she had the destiny book. She decoded it. She knew what it said. She came back to tell me what was in it, and how I could prevent the deaths of millions of innocent people." And how Max could finally belong to me, Tess reflected guiltily. And that was really why I came.

Kyle nodded, still trying to process so much information at one time. Tess watched the slight movement of his head, and went on.

"She said that the reason the world ended was because of a prophecy that had never been fulfilled."

"What does that have to do with you? Were you the prophecy?"

"No, not exactly," Tess answered hesitantly. "The prophecy said that only a child born of royal Antarian blood would save the world from total destruction. It said that the child had to be fathered by the King of Antar."

"Yeah, so, Max needed to have a kid. What was the problem?"

"The problem was, he was married to Liz, and she can’t have his children."

"Wow," Kyle said softly. "That’s terrible. Is Liz sterile?"

"No," Tess answered softly. "She, I mean, the other me, told me Liz can’t have his child because she’s not a hybrid. She told me that hybrids can’t have children with humans, only with other hybrids. She told me I was the only one who could help Max fulfill the prophecy. That’s why I came back."

Tess heard Kyle’s shocked gasp, turned to see the hurt, anger, and uncertainty flash through Kyle’s eyes as he pulled his hands from her grasp.

"You came back to Roswell to have a baby with Max Evans?"

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"Powers. I should have known. I mean, Kyle has some. It didn’t even cross my mind to think that you’d have developed them as well." Max sounded more annoyed than anything, but Liz could tell it was at himself, not at her.

"They were awkward at first because I didn’t know how to control them. But I practiced, and I’m really good now. Except when I’m stressed out. Then they sometimes…act on their own." Liz grimaced. "I’m sort of like Michael that way."

Max snorted slightly. "What can you do?" He asked stonily.

Liz shrugged her shoulders. "Same things you can do. Change molecular structures, move things - little things. And I can heal small cuts and bruises too, but nothing more. I suppose that comes from you."

"We all have one power unique to us. Even Kyle. What’s yours?"

"I see things, Max. Things that haven’t happened yet." Oh could she see things, Liz reflected bitterly. Horrible things.

"So, what, you can tell the future?" Max asked.

"No," Liz answered, shaking her head. "When I touch certain things, or talk to certain people, sometimes I get flashes of things that haven’t happened yet. I can’t control when or how, or why I get them. I just…get them. The first time it ever happened was the night I left Roswell."

"What did you see, Liz?"

Liz started to speak, but stopped abruptly when her mind was assaulted with images she’d long ago locked away.

Spring 2003 - Roswell, New Mexico

Liz Evans opened the door to the small, yet cozy apartment she’d lived in since she’d married Max. It wasn’t much, but the memories she and her husband had made there made it home.

She put the groceries on the table and stopped long enough to sniff of the single white rose she found in the vase on the corner of the kitchen cabinet. He was always doing small things for her, always giving her a reason to smile.

She began to hum to herself as she made her way down the hall to grab a clip from their bedroom to put her hair up so she could start on dinner. She smiled to herself, imagining Max coming home, felt his hands on her neck as he loosened her hair, kissed her neck. He always did that. Every single time. It was why she put it up in the first place…so he could take it down.

As Liz passed the open door to the spare room, she froze, catching a glimpse of someone standing in front of the window. She stepped backwards, without bothering to turn around and narrowed her eyes at the back of the figure staring out of the window.

"Who are you, and how did you get in here?" Liz demanded, then immediately cursed herself. What was she doing? She should have run straight for the door! Max was going to kill her when he found out she had just confronted a burgler. This could be more than a burgler too! They hadn’t had any problems with the Skins since their enemies seemed to realize that Max was in no way going to pursue his throne, but maybe they had just been biding their time…

She could hear him already.
Liz! You take too many chances! Don’t you know what it would do to me to lose you?

"Well, I think that’s kind of obvious, don’t you?" Max flew from her mind as she recognized the voice.

Oh God. Not again.

Liz backed up against the wall in the hallway across from the door as it became clear to her who was standing before her. Those blue eyes. That white-blond hair. The unmistakable milky skin.

"No, you are not Tess. You’re a shapeshifter. Max is going to be home any minute! You can’t get away with this." She was babbling. She
knew she was babbling. But her worst nightmare was back and she just regretted she hadn’t run. Why hadn’t she run?

Liz watched, confused, as the woman threw back her head and laughed at her. "I’m no shapeshifter, Liz. I’m exactly who you think I am. Only, I’m not the Tess you know. I’m here from the future."

"That’t not possible," Liz said, stepping away from the wall to get a closer look at the other woman, her curiousity getting the better of her.

"Oh, it isn’t now. But it is 14 years into the future. With the granolith."

"Why?" Liz demanded, anger beginning to replace her fear.

"Well, because I modified it. I gave it capabilities to-"

"No," Liz snapped. " I mean, why are you here?"

"Because I have something very important to tell you. Something that the future of Earth is depending on."

"What?" Liz asked, her eyes wide with curiousity.

"Here," Tess said, holding out her hand for Liz to take. "It’ll be easier if I show you."


Liz shook her head and crossed her arms over her chest, as she unconsciously paced back and forth in front of Max. The things she had seen that night had rocked her to the very core. They had been images of unspeakable horror, unimaginable heartbreak, and unfathomable pain. She had seen them once, and once only. That same night, she’d blocked the images from her mind, and hadn’t been able to bring herself to deal with them since.

She’d only thought of them once more, and that was the night she’d told Serena what had happened. And Serena had been kind enough not to ask Liz the real reason she’d believed Tess.

It had been the only reason she’d believed the one person in her life she had never trusted before. Because Tess had not only told her of the things to come. She’d shown them to her. Liz had reached out her hand and allowed a connection to form with the woman that had given her the news that shook her world.

It was her fault. Her fault that millions of innocent people died, fighting a war that wasn’t theirs to begin with. Her fault that everyone she’d ever loved had become a casualty in the war for Earth’s freedom. Her fault that their tight knit group of friends had been destroyed by the events that eventually led to the destruction of
everything they’d worked so hard for.

Because she couldn’t bear the child spoken of in the prophecy. Her body wouldn’t carry Max’s hybrid seed, and the child that was foreseen to save the world was never created. Simply because Max loved her and had chosen her over his destiny.

That was why she’d left Roswell. And Max. So that he could move on with Tess, and produce the life of the person that would prevent the horror she’d glimpsed in the future from ever becoming a reality.

"I won’t tell you, Max. I promised I wouldn’t ever tell anyone what I’d seen," Liz said softly.

"You promised? Who did you promise? What happened that night, Liz? What made you leave what we had behind?" As Liz looked over at Max, she could feel the heartbreak in his words. She could see the pain in the defeated slump of his shoulders. She could hear the pain in the gentle timbre of his voice. "We had it all, what people spend a lifetime looking for. What would make you give that up?"

"I found out that I could never have your kids, Max. I found out that because I couldn’t have your children, our worst nightmare ended being a horrible, cruel reality that even we weren’t strong enough to prevent."

This time, it was Max who shook his head, and looked at Liz in confusion. "But that’s wrong, Liz. You
know it is. You’ve seen proof. You’ve seen Ellie. She’s part human and part hybrid. She blows your reasons out of the water."

"That’s not the reason, Max. Not because we couldn’t have kids. It was because I couldn’t have kids. Not just your kids. Any kids. Period," Liz said, a hint of sadness in her voice.

"But I told you, Liz. That didn’t matter to me, you did," Max said, pleadingly. "We could have found a way."

"But that’s just it, Max," Liz said, throwing her arms out to her sides. "Can’t you see? We couldn’t have found a way. Without the chosen baby, the one of your blood that would fulfill the prophecy to save the world, no one could have found a way."

Liz knew she was raising her voice, but it was a defense mechanism. She could feel the dam holding back her tears, crumbling and cracking. Everything was tumbling down on her, and everything she had thought she’d long ago accepted was falling down at her feet. Forcing herself to be angry was the only way she knew how to cover up her hurt.

"We were the only hope, Max. You and your child were the only hope. The prophecy was never fulfilled, and the one person, the one life that could have saved millions was never created. Because you chose to ignore your destiny."

"Because I chose you," Max said defiantly.

Liz sighed deeply. Max was blatantly ignoring the fact that she’d just blasted him for choosing not to follow the path
that his life had been predetermined to take. He’d always told her that they make their own destiny. And he believed
he had made his own destiny the day he healed the bullet wound in Liz’s stomach. Max had never accepted the fact that some choices had been made for him and had instead insisted on living his life the way he wanted. He would allow no one to tell him how his life was supposed to end up.

And here he was four years later, still exactly the same, still unwilling to bend, still unable to grasp his own importance. How could she ever have thought he had changed?

"Fine, whatever," Liz said, knowing that her frustration was evident in her voice. "But that doesn’t change the fact that you need to have a child. Things can’t happen the way they did the last time, Max. I know what will happen if that baby in the prophecy is never born. Things can’t turn out like that again. They can’t! Trust me, Max. I’ve sent the what if. And I won’t let it happen again! I won’t!" Liz almost screamed, her eyes watering with unshed tears, her fists clenched at her sides.

Max took a few steps and stopped just inches away from Liz’s shaking form. "Tell me what you saw, Liz. Please, I need to know."

"I’m sorry," Liz sobbed. Why she felt so much loyalty to the person she hated most in the world - Tess - she could not say, but she just knew that she could not tell him. Even if it would convince him, she could not. "I can’t."

Max held his hand out to Liz, and motioned for her to take it. "Well, then," he said, his tone urgent yet gentle, pleading, yet demanding. "Show me."

She blinked at him. "How?"

Max gently placed both of his hands on her face, lowered his head and stared straight into her eyes. "You know how."

And, then, he kissed her.

To be continued…




posted on 29-Jan-2003 1:16:49 AM by Kath7
Author's Note: Sorry for the delay folks.


Part 12

There was nothing else for her to do. Tess had to be honest. "Yes," she whispered, lowering her eyes. "That’s why I came back.

Kyle stood up, started pacing. "Okay, I’m calm. I am not going to throw a fit. I promised I wouldn’t, so I won’t." He was obviously talking to himself, not to her.

"Kyle…"

"Be quiet Tess. I need to focus here. I’m having minor issues at the moment. Just let me deal with them."

"Okay," she squeaked, her heart beating rapidly in her chest.

He stopped pacing, stared at her. "I can’t believe you’ve never told me this before! I just cannot believe it!"

Tess grimaced. "I’m sorry," she said in a small voice. "I…I didn’t really think it was that important."

"Not important? On what planet?" Kyle threw his hands into the air to stop her from answering. "Wait! Forget I said that! Being an alien is no excuse for not thinking I didn’t need to know about this! A future version of yourself came back to tell you that you have to have a kid with another guy and you somehow don’t think this is important?"

"Well, clearly it didn’t happen," Tess flared. She wrinkled her nose. "Actually the thought of it kind of makes me ill. Maybe I just wanted to forget. I don’t like thinking about the fact that I once actually thought I had to sleep with someone who is like my brother."

"Hello? Earth to Tess!" Kyle smacked the side of his head, as though trying to clear his ears. "Am I hearing you correctly? You decided to just screw saving the world because you had a problem with screwing Evans?"

"Kyle!"

"Well, I’m just saying…"

Tess narrowed her eyes at him. "Are you saying that you don’t actually have a problem with the fact that I came back to have a kid with Max? That you actually have a problem with the fact that I didn’t?"

Kyle glared at her. "I just don’t get it Tess. The end of the world seems like a pretty damn good reason to take one for the team."

Tess jumped to her feet. "I cannot believe this! Are you insane? I fell in love with you! I wasn’t going to sleep with someone else!" She stormed past him and into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her. Bracing her hands on both sides of the sink, she stared at herself in the mirror.

This was the worst possible reaction she could have imagined. Kyle wasn’t upset because she’d come back for Max. He was upset because they hadn’t ended up together. What the hell? Why was she marrying someone who clearly didn’t give a rat’s ass about her? She wrenched the engagement ring off her finger, held it poised over the toilet.

Dammit! Why was she crying? He did not deserve her tears. He was a complete jerk! He was supposed to be relieved, honoured that she chose him over her destiny. What the hell was wrong with him?

Tess turned and scowled at the door when a soft knock came a moment late. "Er, babe…" She shoved the ring back on her finger and plopped herself down on the edge of the tub. She didn’t answer, just pressed her lips together.

"Tess, I may have let…"

"Go away!" She screamed at the door. "I’m not kidding Kyle. I’ll use my alien death ray eyes on you if you don’t! I will! I swear to God!" Tess took several deep breaths, forcing herself to calm down. He was the only one who had ever been able to get her riled like this. She usually gave Isabel a run for her ice queen money, which was why the fact that she had melted so completely for Kyle had been such a huge deal for her.

And he didn’t even care.

There was a long pause. Finally she heard him moving away from the door. "I’m going out!" He yelled.

"Fine!" She replied. "Go!"

Tess pressed her ear up against the door, listened for the sound of the front door slamming. She waited another five minutes for good measure, then cracked open the bathroom door. A thin thread of light appeared, which was instantly blocked when a hand thrust its way past her and wrenched the door open.

She stood staring at Kyle in dumbfounded shock. "What…where did you come from?"

Kyle raised an eyebrow at her. "You really thought I was going to leave after being such an asshole?"

"I heard you go!"

"I’m a cop. I can be stealthy you know!" She stared at him in disbelief. "I can!"

There was another long silence as they continued to stare at each other. Tess finally couldn’t take it any longer. "Why? Why would you say such a horrible thing to me?"

Kyle reached out, touched her cheek. "I’m an ass."

"Well, I know that. I want to know why," Tess insisted. "Kyle, do you understand that there was no way I could have made another choice? It would have been wrong for Max and I to have a child together. We don’t love each other - at least not like that."

He sighed. "I know that. I just…I think I was just so shocked. I mean, I can’t believe it almost."

"Believe what?" She asked, confused. Kyle abruptly sounded vulnerable, like this was about a lot more than the end of the world.

"You actually chose me over him. Someone actually chose me."

Tess blinked. "I don’t understand. Kyle, of course I chose you over him. I’m engaged to you."

"Well…" He looked so ashamed, Tess actually felt sorry for him.

"Kyle, what? Tell me!"

"Tess, I always thought that the only reason you chose me was because you couldn’t have him. I mean, he is still so hung up on Liz, I thought you just gave up and went with the next best thing."

Tess’s mouth had fallen open at the end of his first sentence. "Are you crazy?" She asked in dismay. "That’s what this is about? It took this for you to actually understand that it’s you I love?"

Kyle grinned slightly, his charming smile, trying to smooth things over. "I’m thinking the fact that you are risking the end of the world to be with me has convinced me."

Tess continued to glare at him. "This is not funny! I cannot believe you!"

Kyle stopped smiling. "I know it’s not funny. And I’m sorry."

She brought her arms up, wrapping them around her, suddenly cold. "Kyle, I don’t know…I mean, do you know what this means? It means that you don’t really believe in me at all!"

"Tess, I am so sorry. Please. You have to forgive me. I was completely shocked and I think it just all came back to me. It just came out. I mean, I haven’t really felt like that in a long time - I love you so much and I’m so happy! - but it’s a dirty little secret of my own. One I think I needed to just let go. And it happened that way." His tone was pleading but Tess could feel her heart breaking anyway.

He had thought that he was second best. He had truly believed that she was an awful enough person to get engaged to him because she couldn’t have who she really wanted! How could he have thought that about her? He didn’t know her at all!

You don’t know yourself at all, a small voice in the back of her head reminded her. And you’re only just beginning to get that. How can you expect Kyle to get it?

It was the whole truth. The fact that she was beginning to understand that the future version of herself, the one who had told her the lie about the prophecy and Liz’s capability to fulfil it, had lied to her…How could she understand a person - herself! - who had turned out that way? Who had come back and lied about something as horrible as the end of the world in order to get what she wanted. Which in the end, hadn’t been what she had wanted or needed at all.

Kyle was what she needed and somehow, in some way, she had failed him. Because he hadn’t really believed it until he thought she had risked the end of the world to be with him.

"Can I just ask you a question?" Kyle said quietly, after the silence began to feel uncomfortable. She was relieved that he said something, because she had no words. She had absolutely no words. For the first time since they had met, she had no idea what to say to him.

"Okay." Tess knew she sounded shell-shocked, but she forced herself to listen.

"What…I mean, how did you figure out that Max wasn’t for you?"

Tess closed her eyes, swallowed, but decided she could at least give him that much. Since she obviously hadn’t been giving him what he needed for their entire relationship. "It was at the Crashdown one night, hanging out with Isabel, but we weren’t really friends. You and I hadn’t even gone on a date yet. I had only been back for a few months then and Max was just being so difficult. He still wouldn’t even talk to me."

"So, you gave up?"

"No, that’s not what happened. I was so unhappy." Tess recalled it like it was yesterday. "I was beginning to feel like maybe that future version of me had been wrong. I mean, if it was meant to be, it shouldn’t be so hard, you know?"

"I know."

"So you came in and you came and sat with us and you just started cracking jokes. Even Isabel was laughing, which is saying a lot. I don’t even know what you were talking about. I just remember laughing so much too. And then Max came in and I realized that he hadn’t even crossed my mind in like half an hour. You had preoccupied me so much, I had stopped thinking about him. Which never happened then. I was so focused on what I thought had to be…"

Tess raised her head, looked Kyle directly in the eyes. "I realized that I had never once laughed in Max Evans’s company. That he was never going to unbend enough with me for it to happen. That I didn’t feel comfortable enough with him to make him comfortable enough."

"So because Max isn’t a laugh-riot, you feel in love with me?"

"I fell in love with you because I was comfortable with you. You made me happy. He just didn’t. I didn’t love him."

Kyle sat down on the edge of the bed, a truly perplexed expression on his face. Tess moved to join him, sat carefully, making sure not to touch him. She couldn’t touch him. She still felt too raw, too hurt.

"But, really Tess…the end of the world?"

"Kyle, I just knew that it wasn’t going to happen. That something that felt so right - being with you - couldn’t be wrong," Tess said firmly. "I finally understood what Max felt for Liz because I had found it myself." She paused, then admitted, "Which is why I can’t believe I didn’t go to New York to fix things between them before it was too late. This is all my fault."

Kyle reached out, took her hand and squeezed. "Well, there’s no doubt you played a part in it, but I don’t think it’s your fault babe."

"Kyle! That future me had to have talked to Liz! There’s no other explanation for why she ran off like she did. I know for a fact that Max told Liz flat-out after I first came back that he didn’t care about what the book said - that I was lying. And she believed him at first. And then she left. There had to have been a reason." Tess shook her head, her despair and guilt beginning to overtake her again. "It was my fault. She might not have been me exactly, but it was still a Tess. I have to take responsibility for who I might have become."

"Okay, now that just makes nosense," Kyle snapped. "Tess, it really doesn’t. You don’t even know for sure that Liz met up with Future You." He frowned. "And I’m still not convinced that it wasn’t a shapeshifter. I mean, here we are, engaged, no hybrid baby on the way and I still feel pretty damn safe. I don’t feel like the end of the world is nigh."

Tess stood up, kept her back to him. "Kyle, I don’t know if I can do this." She couldn’t believe that the words were coming out of her mouth, but she knew in her heart it was true. "You don’t really think I love you."

"What?" She heard Kyle jump to his feet. "Tess, I’m an idiot. Forget everything I said before. I know you love me!"

"Yeah, now!" Tess flared, whirling. "But you didn’t half an hour ago. Half an hour ago, deep down, you thought that you were my second choice." She pulled at her braid, letting her blonde hair fall around her shoulders so that she could run her hands through it more easily in her frustration. "Kyle, how am I supposed to get past that? The fact that you didn’t believe in me?"

"Tess!"

She stared at him, could see from the look on his face that he really couldn’t believe that she was making such a big deal out of it. "I need to be alone for a while," she said, amazed that she sounded so calm. Her heart was screaming at her to stop being an idiot, but her head needed a little distance. She needed to think this through. "I’m going over to Isabel’s. She’ll let me sleep on her couch tonight."

"Tess, don’t do this! Let’s talk about this!" Kyle insisted, following her through the darkened apartment.

"Don’t you get it?" She softened her voice, stopped and touched his face. "I can’t talk about it right now because I haven’t quite grasped what it even means at the moment. I know I love you. I’ve always known that. And I know that I’ll get over this. But I need a few hours. Do you understand?"

Kyle sighed. "I guess I can deal with that. But please Tess! You have to remember that none of it really means anything. I love you. I was willing to be second best. I didn’t care. At all."

Tess smiled slightly. "Kyle, I get that. But, see, I don’t want you to settle for being second best. About anything. And it kind of hurts me that you were willing to allow it. You should have confronted me or talked to me about it…or something. I just feel like there was this white elephant hanging around that I never even saw and that hurts. I need to know that you’re always completely honest with me about how you feel."

She leaned up, kissed him lightly on the lips. "I’ll be back Buddha Boy. I just need a little space and some girl talk."

Kyle shook his head. "Okay, but call me when you get there."

"I will." Tess moved towards the door. "By the way, I’m going to go talk to Max tomorrow morning - tell him what I think happened with Liz. Maybe he can confront her about it."

"What about Liz?" Kyle asked carefully. "Are you going to try and talk to her?"

Tess closed her eyes again, briefly. "I’m scared to."

"You don’t want to know for sure that you would be capable of doing something like that?" Kyle guessed, sounding upset on her behalf.

"I guess not," Tess replied. "But I’m beginning to realize that sometimes it’s just better to know the unpleasant things up-front. Because secrets only hurt people."

Kyle flinched slightly, seeming to think there was a double meaning in her words, but she hadn’t meant it that way. She felt a pang of guilt, but just really didn’t have the energy to deal with any of it at the moment. "I’ll call you later."

And, with that, she left him standing in the darkened hallway alone.

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

Liz gasped against Max’s lips. For one split second, she almost melted against him. But she had been ready for him to try something like this. The air between them had been fully charged for a long while now. It was only a matter of time. She had been tempting fate by staying to talk to him at all.

She slammed down on her emotions instantly, not allowing him access, and then wrenched away from him.

Liz had done a lot of things she was not proud of to make sure that he never had to go through the hell she had with those visions. She never wanted him to know what their once fairy-tale love had been capable of creating. "Max! What are you doing?" She screeched, deciding that anger was the best path, as always. She needed to keep him at a distance.

He was not for her. And allowing him to even kiss her once would make him think that she might bend, that she might let him convince her to try again.

It could not be.

Liz managed to raise her eyes. He was staring down at her, his own expression shuttered. There was nothing there at all. She couldn’t tell if he was trying to hide hurt, disappointment or anger.

For one split second, she wondered if he had seen anything. Maybe he was in shock. Maybe he was trying to hide how in-shock he was so that she couldn’t use it against him, couldn’t say "I told you so! We don’t belong together!"

Because if there was one thing Liz had learned from Max tonight, it was that he was not ready to let her go. Not by a long-shot. Four years later and although she had broken his heart, he was just as devoted to her as ever. He was angry and, in some ways, hated her. But he still loved her too.

And, God help her, she still loved him. In spite of Sean, in spite of the fact that he made her happy and that she loved him too, there was no question that she was still in love with Max. What other explanation could there be for the fact that it had taken her four years to even approach him to get a divorce? Why would she have come herself if not to find out that he still loved her too?

"I’m sorry," he said quietly. "That was out of line. It won’t happen again."

Liz frowned slightly. He sounded kind of weird. "I better go." She didn’t move. Her feet seemed frozen to the ground.

"I guess so," Max replied.

"Will you think about what I said? Will you think about trying to move on?" Liz implored, not turning, still unable to leave his presence.

"Liz, if you won’t let me in, if you won’t show me why you think this is so important, I can’t promise you anything," Max answered, his tone even. "But I promise I won’t try again to convince you to give me another chance. That I will promise you."

Liz closed her eyes briefly. "Thank you." Even to her own ears, her tone sounded hurt. How could she be hurt because he was giving her what she wanted?

"Maria has your papers." Liz’s eyes snapped open and she stared at him. His gaze was still steady on her face. "I signed them." She watched in dazed fascination as he reached out and gently pushed a strand of her hair behind her ear. "Be happy Liz. That’s all I want for you. If this is really what you want, then be happy."

There was nothing else to do but turn and leave. She felt like she was walking to her death, but she did it. She actually left him standing there.

Liz pushed her way into the Crashdown, tears brimming. She blinked at the sight that greeted her. "Maria! It’s two-thirty in the morning!" When she saw Serena sitting in a booth, she remembered that she wasn’t even staying at her parents’, that she should have gone back to the motel.

"Chica, Serena called me when you didn’t show up," Maria said, jumping to her feet from the stool on which she sat. "We just knew where you went." She glanced over her shoulder. "Liz, we need to tell you something…"

But Liz couldn’t hear anymore bad news. Not right now. Liz collapsed against Maria. "God. I can’t believe this still hurts so much," she sobbed. "How can it still hurt so much after so much time?"

Maria stroked her hair comfortingly. "I’m sorry sweetie. But it’s over now. He signed the papers."

Liz barely heard her though. "How can he still love me after everything? I just don’t understand it. Why does he think I’m so special? I’m such an awful person Maria! Why can’t he just let go?"

"Because he’s Max," Maria whispered. "Liz, if you want to move on with your life, that’s fine sweetie. But you’re going to have to deal with the fact that he just won’t. He never will Liz. He has never loved anyone other than you and he never will." She pulled back, put her hands on both sides of Liz’s face. "Lizzie, you need to listen to me now though. You need to pull yourself together."

Serena was standing nearby now, a pained expression on her face. "Liz, really, you need to know something."

Liz blinked, her vision blurry. "Why?" She demanded. "I can’t take anything more! Not tonight. I just can’t." And, yet, the looks of desperation crossing the faces of her two best friends made her heart start to thump in dismay. "What?" She asked quietly. "What is it?"

She glanced past her oldest friend when she realized that the door into the back room was opening. Liz took a hurried step backward, her mouth falling open in shock. "Oh my God!" Liz gasped, her hand flying to her mouth. She collapsed onto one of the stools.

"Well, that wasn’t the greeting I was expecting. I thought it would be a surprise but I didn’t expect you to keel over in shock." He sounded flabbergasted, if not a little hurt. Liz had never expected that there would come a day where she would not be happy to see him, but it had actually happened.

Because standing in front of her was the one person in the world who could make this situation worse.

It was her fiancé.







posted on 16-Feb-2003 9:13:57 PM by Kath7
Author's Note: Hey guys! Thanks for all the bumping. Sorry it's been so long, but Christian had some real trouble with this part. We figure it must be unlucky 13 LOL. She actually had it totally done and then her purse got stolen with the disk in it and she had to reconstruct from scratch. I am simply amazed that she came up with something so amazing under those circumstances.

Anyway, here's 13. Enjoy!

Kath

Part 13

"Sean? What are you doing here?" Liz asked, turning her reddened eyes up towards him.

"Well, it’s great to see you too, Liz," Sean said a bit hesitantly.

Liz took a deep breath and tried to ignore the slight sense of panic welling up in her chest. How could this happen to her? She’d been careful not to leave any word behind at work about where she’d be. She’d told Sean she wanted to do something for the wedding, and that it was a surprise, which wasn’t totally a lie. She’d planned to think of something she could get for Sean to bring home to him, planned on telling him it was an early wedding present. She did need an excuse to get out of town after all. So, she’d covered all her tracks. How had Sean known where to find her?

He was only going to complicate things. She’d never told Sean she’d been married before, the right time having never presented itself. He was bound to have some questions she wasn’t sure she could answer at the moment.

Liz shook her head, mentally berating herself for greeting Sean so rudely. After all, it wasn’t his fault that she was going to have some heavy explaining to do. That one was all hers. "I’m sorry, Sean, I’m just exhausted," Liz said as she stood up from the stool and crossed the room to where he was standing. She hugged him, and a soft smile fluttered to her features when she felt his arms tighten around her shoulders.

"How did you know I was here?" Liz asked against Sean’s chest.

"Well, I called your studio, and no one knew anything. When I couldn’t get a hold of Serena, I figured she was with you, so I contacted her office. They said she’d gone to New Mexico. I remembered you were from Roswell, so I figured you’d come back to tell your parents, see some old friends or something."

Liz kept her eyes closed, all but sensing one of the questions she knew Sean would have was coming.

"Liz, honey, I looked everywhere for a Jefferey and Nancy Evans listed in Roswell. I was going to come to your house and surprise you. There’s no listing anywhere in New Mexico, much less Roswell. How come your parents don’t seem to exist?"

"Sean, I know I have some explaining to do, and I know you have some questions that need to be asked. I can give you answers. But I’m afraid if I don’t get some sleep, I’ll be a dead woman walking. Can we talk tomorrow?" Liz asked. She turned her face towards Sean, trying with every bone in her body to make herself look as tired and exhausted as she felt. Relief flooded through her body when Sean’s face softened and his shoulders slumped slightly.

"Sure, darling. You look tired." He kissed her on the forehead. "Let’s go back to the hotel. I’m booked at the same place you and Serena are staying."

Liz nodded, and turned back to Maria. "Maria, I’ll see you tomorrow, all right?" Liz said, giving her friend a quick hug.

Liz turned, following Sean and Serena out of the Crashdown’s front doors. And as she followed them to the car, she couldn’t help but glance over at the UFO Center. And for a split moment, Liz Evans wanted nothing more than to run back inside and fix what had gone so wrong between her and Max. But as quickly as the thought had come, it vanished. Because Liz Evans was not a selfish person. She wouldn’t risk the end of the world because she wasn’t strong enough to do the right thing.

Thirty minutes later, after arriving at the motel, Liz said good night to Sean, and headed towards the room she shared with Serena as he headed into the room he’d rented for himself.

Taking a moment to relax against the door to her room, she watched as Sean made his way across the parking lot, and smiled when he turned and waved at her before heading into his own room.

Closing her eyes and breathing a deep sigh of relief, Liz was glad that she and Sean had made the decision long ago not to share a bed until after they were married. If things between them had crossed that line, it would have made things much more complicated than she was willing to let them get.

When she’d met Sean four years ago, they’d been nothing more than friends, despite his relentless pursual of her. It wasn’t until almost two years later she’d broken down on the side of the road and been rescued by Sean. Since then, they’d been happy together, but when the issue of sex had come up, she’d made the suggestion that they wait until marriage. She’d never expected Sean to agree so quickly, but when he had, she didn’t ask questions. She guessed he assumed she was a virgin and that she wanted to wait until marriage. But only Liz knew the real reasons.

What would sleeping with Sean do to him, given the status of her still developing powers? What if something happened that she couldn’t control? She didn’t even know if her powers could harm Sean, or if she could control them well enough to make sure they’d stay hidden.

That, and despite the fact that she had left him behind and didn’t love him anymore, Liz had only shared a bed with one other person, and still couldn’t imagine sharing one with anyone else. She had never expected things between she and Sean to get as serious as they had, and she knew she’d have to get over her qualms about sleeping with Sean. If she refused to sleep with him on the honeymoon, it would certainly mean he’d have questions. And she wasn’t sure how she would answer them.

She undressed and collapsed into bed, turning on her side, and hugging the extra pillow close to her stomach.

Liz closed her eyes, as the dam behind them broke, causing her tears to soak the soft pillow beneath her head.

They were tears of relief. Max had signed her divorce papers.

They were tears of joy. She could marry Sean, and move on with the life she’d spent four years building for herself.

They were tears of anxiety. She wondered how Sean was going to react when he found out she had been married before.

But most of all, perhaps more than anything, they were tears of heartbreak. Because it wasn’t until she’d left him standing there at the UFO center, broken and battered emotionally, that Liz Evans realized exactly how much she still loved the man who had given her his name.

All the years she had spent building a new life for herself without Max had been for nothing. All the time spent pretending he didn’t still matter had been a wast. None of it was true.

She knew now that there was no point in pretending to herself any longer. She was still in love with him and always would be.

But even if she could no longer lie to herself, she would continue to lie to everyone else. Because, in the end, there was no other choice.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Tess stepped up onto the small porch, knocked softly at the door. She waited for a moment, contemplated using her powers to unlock the door herself, but decided not to risk giving Isabel a heart attack. Thinking of a better idea, she pulled out her cell phone and dialed the familiar number.

After four rings, Isabel answered.

"This better be good," she said groggily.

"Isabel?" Tess asked softly.

"Tess? Is something wrong?" Isabel asked, suddenly concerned.

"Nothing’s wrong, Iz, I just…I was wondering if I could crash on your couch tonight? I’m out front, and I just…I really need somewhere to go."

"Honey, sure. I’ll be right there."

Tess closed her phone, and waited, sighing in relief when she saw the living room light come on, and Isabel’s form appear at the suddenly open door.

"Tess, what’s going on?" Isabel demanded, rushing Tess inside and shutting the door behind them. "Is something wrong?"

Tess took a deep breath, and shook her head, fighting a losing battle with the tears that were fighting their way out of her crystal blue eyes. "Nothing that a pint of ice cream and a big bottle of Tabasco won’t cure," she joked lamely, her voice breaking slightly.

Isabel hugged Tess tightly around the shoulders. "What’s this all about?" She asked, her voice full of concern.

"It’s Kyle. We had this long over due conversation tonight, and…"

"I’ll kill him," Isabel interrupted. "Tess, if he broke up with you, I swear, I’ll blast him from here to…"

Tess watched Isabel’s voice change from concerned and upset to impatient and angry, as her friend put her hands on her hips and started to rant about a problem she’d made up in her mind. Isabel was standing in front of her, in a night gown and fluffy leopard print sneakers, with her usually long silky locks rolled into tight pink foam curlers hanging at odd intervals from her head. She’d obviously gone to bed without washing off her makeup, because sleep had caused her mascara and eyeshadow to form a ruddy blue-gray circle around her eyes, and her lipstick had smudged around her lips, giving her flawless complexion a comical look. Tess couldn’t stop the hysterical laughter that made her double over in giggles. Dropping her purse to the floor, she grabbed her sides in an effort to keep her composure. Through the tears her laughing fit had caused, Tess glimpsed Isabel staring at her in shock.

"I’m-sorry-Isabel-I-just…" Tess tried to explain, but she realized that laughing right now was exactly what she needed to do. She’d had way too much on her mind lately and, right now, laughing just felt good. She looked at Isabel and burst into another fit of uncontrollable giggles upon seeing her with her mouth open wide in astonishment.

After what seemed like hours, Tess was finally able to stop giggling. As her laughter died down, she reached up to wipe the tears that her hysterics had caused. She took a deep breath, and leaned back against the couch, where she had slouched to the floor during her laughing fit. She threw her head back against the couch cushions, sighing deeply.

"Tess, you want to explain what’s wrong?" Isabel asked after giving Tess a chance to catch her breath.

Tess smiled again, her somber mood considerably lighter than it had been when she’d arrived. "Isabel, I’m just…sometimes I’m so overwhelmed, you know? I try to be strong. For you guys. For Max. For Kyle. But it’s just that right now, there’s so much going on. It’s a lot to take in at once. Especially now that Liz is back in town. I’ve always heard that things get harder before they can get better. They’ve already gotten harder. I just can’t wait for the better."

"Liz coming back has made things…awkward, to say the least," Isabel agreed quietly, easing herself down into the floor to sit cross legged across from Tess. "You want to talk about it?"

"It’s just that, you know, before, I thought I had everything planned out. What my future held, how things were supposed to be, how I felt about the people around me, the way my life’s turned out. And now, I’m just not sure of anything."

"Tess, are you having second thoughts about Kyle?"

Tess turned her face abruptly towards Isabel, her eyes wide with emotion. "No, Isabel. Of course not. Kyle is the one constant in my life. The one thing I know that’s good for me. I just want to make sure that I’m good for him. That he knows exactly what he means to me and how I feel about him."

Tess closed her eyes, dropped her head, knowing Isabel would listen until she knew it was time to talk. She knew that Kyle knew she loved him. But what hurt was that it had taken a life-altering explanation of something that happened in the past for him to believe it. Would he ever fully understand how much he meant to her? Would he ever be able to fully grasp the magnitude of the love she felt for the man who had snuck up on her and stolen her heart out of nowhere? Somewhere deep down, she knew. She just supposed that maybe it was her own insecurities and unresolved issues causing her to doubt the first true thing she’d ever found in life.

Her soulmate. Her other half. Kyle was the person that she’d spend the rest of her life with. Tess didn’t doubt that for a second. But she knew that there were some things that she needed to get out, problems she needed to solve, answers she needed to find before she’d truly be ready to move forward with her life, no baggage attached. And every single one of those answers in some way or another had to do with Liz Parker Evans.

"What are you going to do, Tess?" Isabel asked softly.

"I have to talk to Liz, Isabel. I have to talk to Liz and Max. They need to know the truth."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Getting up early, Liz showered quietly, and scribbled a quick note to Serena, should she happen to wake up. She got in the car, and drove to the Crashdown, knowing Maria would already be there preparing for the breakfast crowd. She walked up to the glass doors, and cupped her hands around her face, searching the small café for Maria’s bustling form. As she spotted her inside, she reached for the door handle and was momentarily sidetracked as she was hit with a flash from the past.

I look at you, and I know you're the person I'm supposed to be with. I've always known it… You're the one, Liz...the only one. I could never be with anyone else.

Despite her gloomy mood, Liz found herself smiling at a memory of she and Max for the first time since she’d been in Roswell. Actually, this was the first time since she’d left Roswell four years ago, she could remember even smiling at a memory of Max at all. It seemed a bit easier to remember him now. How could that be? How could things have gotten so much easier, yet so much harder and more complicated all at once?

She wondered if it was because she had finally accepted that she did love him still. Maybe denying it was what had made this whole homecoming so difficult. It didn’t change that they couldn’t be together, but it certainly felt like a load had been lifted off her shoulders that she was no longer lying to herself.

Once again, as this thought passed through her mind, she heard Max’s voice from the past. She saw his gentle eyes, filled with hurt and confusion. This time, he was answering the question she’d silently asked herself.

I think that’s what being in love is.

How had Max Evans, at sixteen, been so insightful? He had been lying to himself at the time, that they could go back to just being friends, but he had been right. Falling in love with him was the easiest thing she had ever done. Trying to pretend she no longer was had been the hardest. And, damn, if it wasn’t always complicated.

Shaking her head out of her reverie, Liz pulled open the door and walked inside, smiling at Maria as she turned around to see who had entered.

"Liz! Oh my gosh! What happened last night? Did you tell Sean? Does he know about Max? What did he say? Is he mad?"

Liz held up her hands, beckoning for Maria to stop. "Whoa, slow down, Maria. One thing at a time. I’m in a fragile state here. It’s not likely I could even walk and chew gum at the same time. So, first things first. Breakfast. For two."

Maria raised an eyebrow and tapped her foot on the floor. "Are you hungry, Liz?"

"It’s to go. I’m taking some back for Sean. I have to talk to him. Soon."

"Liz, how come you never told him?" Maria asked. "I know he doesn’t know. Serena told me. How could you not tell him, Liz? I mean, he’s your fiancé!"

Liz slid into the nearest booth, shaking her head. "I don’t have any explanation. Except that it hurt. To talk about Max and being married, and why I left. What would I tell him, Maria? I’m married to a former alien king, but I had to leave him so he could have a baby with his former queen to fulfill a prophecy and save the world? That one would go over like a lead balloon."

Realizing what she’d said, and that Maria still didn’t know the real reason she’d left, Liz looked up for Maria’s reaction and saw her staring back at her, with wide eyes and a befuddled expression. She opened her mouth to speak, but once again, Liz held up her hands to stop her. "I owe you an explanation, Maria, I know I do. But please, trust me, I can’t tell you right now. I just…can you just trust me that I’ll tell you, and let me do it on my own time? Please?" Liz could feel her hands shaking, and knew that Maria would back off. She needed time to think, and if anyone would understand, it would be the person who’d been there for her when her ride on the alien express had begun.

She was going to tell Maria eventually. But right now, she needed to handle Sean. He was innocent, and didn’t know what was going on. He deserved the truth. Well, as much of it as she could tell him, at least.

"Sure, Liz. Take your time. I trust you," Maria said, reaching over to grab Liz’s hand and squeeze them softly. "I’ll go make that breakfast."

Liz nodded and let her head drop to the table. She closed her eyes and groaned, trying to figure out exactly what she was going to tell Sean. Hearing the door open behind her, Liz heard heavy footsteps, and assumed it was one of the other waitresses coming in to help Maria. She realized that the steps had stopped right in front of her table, and raised her eyes.

She gasped slightly when she found herself staring into the eyes of a very angry Michael Guerin.

"Ummm…hey, Michael, long time no see," Liz said, laughing nervously.

The nervous smile faded from her features when Michael spoke his first words to her in over four years.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Tess opened her eyes and found herself staring straight at the gray and black striped pattern of Isabel Evan’s living room couch. Blinking twice to adjust to her surroundings, she groaned out loud when the previous night’s events came crashing back full force. Tess had done some heavy soul searching as she lie awake on Isabel’s couch, and she could think of nothing else she wanted to do other than to go to Kyle. She needed to talk to Kyle.

Tess turned over, and swung her legs over the side of the couch. She stood up, stretched her arms, and jumped a foot off the ground when she heard someone clear their throat from the other side of the room.

She spun around, and was surpised to see Max sitting in the chair across from her. He was watching at her, his face blank, emotionless, in a Max Evan’s trademark stare.

And, yet, she saw through him, as always. He was mad. Really mad.

"Max, what are you doing here?"

"You lied to me, Tess. All this time, you’ve been lying to me. And you say you care about me."

The gears in Tess’s mind started spinning. What was she lying to him about? She racked her brain, trying to remember if she’d told Max anything that hadn’t been true. But before she could remember, Max proved to her once more just how well he knew her.

"You didn’t say anything, Tess. It’s what you didn’t say."

Tess shook her head, still unaware of what Max was talking about. "Max, I don’t know what you mean, what are you talking about?"

"You know why Liz left Roswell, Tess. You know because you went to see her."

Tess’s eyes widened as realization dawned on her. He’d talked to Liz. She’d made good on her promise to tell him why she left if he beat her in pool, and now he wanted Tess’s version. He wanted to know what had happened in those last few days before Liz left, and he’d come to her for answers. But as the answer she knew Max would be seeking came to her, Tess knew that her own fears had been confirmed. She had lied to herself. Rather, Future Tess had lied to her. She had gone to see Liz. Despite the fact that it wasn’t actually her who had gone to see Liz, it was a version of her. And Tess couldn’t help but feel a tad bit guilty for the hurt she had caused in the lives of everyone she loved.

"What did she tell you, Max?" Tess asked. Because I want to know what really happened, too.

"It wasn’t what she told me, so much as what she showed me. She didn’t tell me everything."

"She showed you?" Tess asked. "You mean, you…"

"I kissed her. She was holding back and I knew it, so I did the only thing I could think of. I thought if I kissed her, I’d get flashes. I thought all of my questions would be answered."

"Did you get them? Did you get your answers?" Tess asked. Do you have my answers? she wanted to add. Tess waited for Max to speak, her heart thudding in her chest.

She wanted answers. She wanted Max to tell her what the other Tess had told Liz. She wanted to know what Liz had been told that had made her run out on her happy marriage. But more than anything, Tess wanted to know what lies she was responsible for. Because, the way things were playing out, someone somewhere was lying. And she was ninety-nine percent sure it wasn’t Liz.

On the other hand, Tess was afraid of what would happen if the truth did come out. How would Max see her, if he knew what really happened? How would he react when he found out that Tess Harding from the future had come back to the past to gain her destiny, and what she thought was rightfully hers? What would Max do when he realized that Tess had once been so evil and so hard hearted that she would lie to her own self to get what she really wanted?

"What did you see, Max?" Tess asked again, rephrasing her question after Max failed to answer her.

"I saw you, Tess. I saw you telling Liz that you and I were meant to be together. I saw you tell her that you and I were destined to be together."

"Max, I can explain-"

"No!" Max snapped. "Don’t explain. Don’t tell me your side. Don’t lie to me again, Tess. I don’t deserve that."

"I won’t lie to you, Max."

"You have been lying to me for the past four years, Tess. Don’t you think it’s a bit late to say you won’t?"

Tess cringed at the sarcasm dripping in Max’s voice. How could he think this of her? She was his best friend. She loved him like a brother. How could he think that she would have broken his heart by running the love of his life out of town, and then proceeded to lie to him about it for four years? Sure, she had come to Roswell to break up his marriage, although when she’d arrived she’d found Liz already gone, and Max still not the least bit interested in being with her. But the first few months after she’d come back were the last few months she had ever believed she wanted to be with Max. He knew that. She’d told him before.

So why would he hold it against her, thinking that all this time she’d been lying to him? The only thing she’d ever lied to Max about was Future Tess. And even then, she didn’t lie outright. She lied by omission. Because Max had no idea about Future Tess, and she had never told him. But surely he wasn’t this angry at her for that.

"That wasn’t me, Max." It was a lame answer, but she couldn’t think of any other.

"What do you mean that wasn’t you, Tess? I saw you! I would know you anywhere. You changed your clothes, and fixed your hair different, but it was you!"

"Max, it was me," Tess agreed, pleading with her voice for Max to listen to her. "But it wasn’t me. It was a version of me. From 14 years in the future."

"Tess, stop lying to me! Now you just sound crazy!"

"I thought I was too. The day I came home and found myself sitting in my bedroom."

"Do you know how ridiculous you sound?" Max demanded, snorting in disbelief.

"It was the granolith. She modified it for time travel. And she came back to bring me the destiny book. The real one. Max, the one we had wasn’t the whole thing. The one she gave me was the full version. It told of things to come that I had to try and prevent."

Tess watched Max’s face, knew a million thoughts were running rampant in his mind. She knew that he was trying hard to decide whether or not to believe her, that he was running the unanswered questions over and over in his mind. She also knew that he was rethinking what she’d just told him. Wondering if it was true that the Granolith had more uses than they thought.

"Why should I believe you, Tess? Why?"

"She showed me, Max. She showed me things. Horrible things that I couldn’t bear to see happen. I can’t begin to tell you what I saw."

Tess watched as Max’s expression changed. Was that…realization? Recognition? Had she said something that struck a chord with him somewhere?

"So after you saw her, you came here?"

"I came to you, Max. When I came here, I believed that the only way to save the world was for you to have a child. I believed I was the only one who could have that child. I believed it with my whole heart and soul, and I would have done anything to make sure it came to pass."

"Well, now you know that’s not true, don’t you? Because of Ellie. So why didn’t you tell me, Tess? She ran out on me for goodness sake! And you knew why! I had no idea! How could you just let me hurt like that, Tess!"

"Because I was hurting too!" Tess said angrily, tears filling her eyes. "At first because I believed I belonged with you. It hurt that you wouldn’t even give me the time of day. It hurt that the one person in the world I believed I belonged with didn’t want me! That you only wanted the girl who ran away from you!"

"And then?" Max questioned. "After you fell in love with Kyle? After Ellie? What stopped you from telling me then?"

"The truth, Max? I didn’t want to face it. I’d believed that you had to have a child, and that because I was a hybrid, that we were the only two capable of having that child. But I was wrong, Max! And you know why? Because in the end, I’m gonna turn out to be a horrible person! I’m going to turn out to be someone so cruel and evil that I would lie to myself just to be happy, with no thoughts about how many lives I wrecked along the way! So that’s why I didn’t tell you, Max," Tess replied tearfully. She took a deep breath, lowered her voice. "Because if what I thought was true, then I was a heartless person, Max. And I couldn’t bear the thought of being that person. I thought if maybe I didn’t say it out loud, that it wasn’t true. That it was just my imagination. But it wasn’t, was it?"

Tess turned her eyes up to Max’s, searching for some sort of comfort as she felt the tears running down her cheek. The hard look in his eyes softened.

"I had no idea, Tess. I had no idea things were this complicated," he said, moving over to the couch. He put an arm around Tess’s shoulders, and she laid her head on his shoulder as he talked. "I believe you, Tess. I’m sorry I jumped to conclusions. I should have known you would never lie to me."

Tess sniffled a bit, lifted her head, wiping her eyes with the sleeve of her sleepshirt. "Thank you, Max," she said. "Why? Why do you believe me?"

"Because you said the same thing Liz said. You said you’d seen things that could have happened. That’s what she said. You can’t both be lying. So you must be telling the truth."

"What are we going to do, Max? Something still isn’t right here. Something doesn’t click. I don’t know if it’s the prophecy, or the destiny book, or what. But I don’t think we know the whole story."

"I think you need to talk to Liz," Max said.

"What did she say?" Tess asked turning to look at Max again.

"When?"

"When you told her about the flashes. That you knew. What did she say?"

Tess narrowed her eyes as Max began to shift uncomfortably. "What, Max?" Tess prodded.

"Liz didn’t say anything, Tess. She doesn’t know."

"She doesn’t know? Max, you got a flash from her that revealed to you part of the reason why she left and you didn’t tell her? Why?" Tess demanded, disbelieving.

"Because there was a reason she didn’t tell me everything," Max said. "She’ll tell me when she’s ready. I know she will. But in the meantime, maybe you could answer me something," he continued.

Tess shrugged her shoulders. "Sure, Max. What is it?"

"I got flashes from Liz about you…er…the other you going to see her. But she didn’t tell me that it was you who gave her all that information. In fact, she was very careful not to mention you. For all she knows, you’re the one that ran her out of town, after coming back to claim your destiny with me."

"Yeah?" Tess said, trying to figure out exactly what he was getting at. After all, she and Liz weren’t exactly friends. Come to think of it, she wouldn’t even consider them acquaintances. They had nothing in common, and nothing to talk about. But Max’s next question made Tess realize that maybe things had changed. Maybe she and Liz did have something to talk about.

"If Liz has every reason to hate you, then why is she trying so hard to protect you?"







[ edited 2 time(s), last at 16-Feb-2003 9:19:15 PM ]