posted on 10-Oct-2002 9:29:55 PM by Phi
Title: Tell me your dreams.

Disclaimer: I own no one you recognise. Lilly, Tabby and Katie, well I created them but I feel wrong saying that I ‘own’ them. Lets just say I’ve been privileged enough to have a glimpse into their world for a brief time.

Rating: I’ll say Pg-13 for now but it might go up to R.

Category: AU, M/L mainly but also CC.

Author: Phi, E-mail: storm_calm⊕hotmail.com

Summary: After the death of her mother, Liz Ozanne is sent away to her father and his new family where she must confront two questions she never knew she had, Who is she and who was her mother?

A/N: This story is by no means what I would class as dark but it does deal with cancer and suicide, however indirect it is to main characters, the subjects can be understandably a very painful area for some. I’ve warned you. The title of this story is also the title of a Sydney Sheldon book, no infringement is intended and the two books have absolutely nothing in common bar the name. I’ve also done something I’ve never tried before, written Tess as someone (shock horror) likeable. I’m a dreamer through and through but I’ve tried to think of it as this, what would she be like had she grown up with the Czechoslovakians and have a proper loving family. This is one of my first, well the first I’ve ever posted. Feedback would be wonderful; I’ve been terrified about posting this.



Chapter One.

The best place in the world isn’t a sunny beach in the Caribbean, nor is it a ski slope in aspen. It’s right here, where I’m sitting right now chilled and soaked to the bone. This is heaven.

This is my home. I used to come down to this slipway and go shrimping with my grandfather when I was little. We’d roll up our trouser legs and wade through the shallows until I got bored and went to look in the rock pools for anemones and starfish. By the end of the day my rolled up pants would have slipped back down over my frozen legs and be damp and stiff from the salt of the sea.

I love it here; this is where anything could happen. I come here to think, to dream. I used to dream as a little girl that I could be a seal and live under the waves, in the dark cool depths.

Why do I have to leave?

My mother has been dead in her grave for less than a month and already I have to leave my memories and her on this island and fly to the other side of the world to live with my father. He left us when I was little to live with a woman in America, America! It’s probably the last place I’d ever thought I’d be going to. Now I have to live there because of a stupid court ruling.

My Grandma Claudia begged and sobbed for the judge to reconsider and let me stay, everyone begged but he took no notice of our plight. Like most he saw my grandparent’s ages and my fathers money. Grandma and Grandpa are fit and sprightly despite being seventy-three. Already I can see the fire and passion dimming in my beloved grandparent’s eyes when they realise there’s no way for me to stay.

I’ll be back in a year, as soon as I’m eighteen I’m coming straight back, but they’re seventy-three! That’s a whole year we have to miss in goodness knows how few.

My friends are beside themselves, we’ve grown up together, as have our parents and grandparents and relatives even further back. Our families have lived on the island for generations upon generations. My friends and I have gone through everything together. Same hospital we were born in, joint birthday parties, same classes, same everything. I can’t bear the thought of missing an entire year, we’ve never been apart, and we know how each other thinks. Now I’m going to miss so much of their lives.

Katie will no doubt go further with her boyfriend this next year; I won’t be there for details or to share tubs of ice cream with her when her heart will inevitably be broken. Tabby’s art scholarship dreams will be made or broken this year. I know so many people that might need me.

My best friend is at the top of that list. Lilly’s mother is falling sick with signs I recognise from my own mother’s deterioration and eventual death of cancer, my poor sweet and naïve little Lilly will be shattered if I’m right. Her mother was mum’s best friend and was a single mum herself. We grew up as a large extended family, if Lilly’s mum dies and I’m on the other side of the world…Lilly is a delicate and a happy thing.

She wouldn’t survive, not without me.

I hate my father with such raw passion; I’m scared of myself. I need this place, I need my grandparents and I need Lilly. He’s taking it all away. I will make his life a living hell until he sends me back; I’ll refuse to speak to someone so hateful. He’ll get his comeuppance; I’ll make sure of it.

Liz xxx

***

The words were blurred and stained from the rain that had been falling as she’d sat on slippery rock and looked out to sea but it seemed somehow appropriate that such words should be drenched with the sea’s salty tears.

The sea was everything to the people where she came from, the island was traditionally a fishing community and most children could swim before they could walk. Now she could feel the life and exuberance of the sea that was in her skin and soul slowly seeping away as the cramped and hot dry plane flew closer and closer to the desert place her father lived. She hated the dry.

The leather journal on her lap was thick and the pages were dog-eared.

When they were twelve, she and her friends had each bought an identical diary and vowed they’d write about everything that happened to them. Then when they were eighteen, they’d swap. The journal was three quarters full; some pages had colourful drawings from her friends. Glitter and shells decorated entries while every so often they’d stuck photos of the group in the diaries. Tabby, short for Tabitha, was the artist and permanently had a camera and sketchbook in hand; most photos were from her.

This was one of the few belongings she had actually bought with her. Her father and stepmother Nancy had written to describe the room Nancy had decorated just for her. Her room with her grandparents had remained basically untouched. She would after all be returning in a year.

Along with some clothes, a tired looking teddy bear, her journal and a heap of photos, she’d bought the one thing that never left her side. Her mother’s silver locket on a thin silver chain. It was heavy against her chest and had flowers engraved around the edge of the oval. Inside was a silky curl of her mothers black hair behind a small piece of glass while on the other side was a picture of Liz in her mother’s arms looking out to sea on the slipway where she’d written her journal entry.

They’d been talking about seals when Liz had pointed out to sea thinking she’d seen one. Her mother was smiling and looking to where the excited six-year-old was pointing. Her mother used to kiss the picture inside the glass each night, now Liz did.

The stewardess was walking down the aisle checking seat belts with a fake smile on her face; ‘the customer is always right’ routine probably wore pretty thin on even the short trips.

It was obvious from the change in noise from the engine that they were beginning their descent.

She sighed and sunk lower into her seat. The last time she’d seen her father was when he’d walked out on them when she was four. She wasn’t sure how she’d done it but four-year-old Liz had hated the feeling of betrayal so much that she’d blocked any memory of him.

Oh she’d seen the photo’s he’d sent. A happy family, smiling and laughing at the camera, oh how she hated that happy family. She was the other child; the one no one cared about. She didn’t even care that she was that child; they could have the bastard.

Jeff, her father, and his wife of twelve years Nancy had adopted two six year olds when Liz herself had been six. Tess and Michael, her friends had been horrified when she’d told them. From then on they spoke the two names only when they had to and crossed their fingers if they did.

They were Parker’s, her father’s clan. She was her mother’s child and had insisted on using her mother’s last name.

Elizabeth Victoria Ozanne, Daughter of Imogene Ozanne. A beautiful woman with a heart of gold, incredibly soft and kind with the most exotic looks many had ever seen. She held everyone she met captivated by a single smile; her daughter was her biggest fan and vice versa.

The ancient squeal of the tires coming down filled Liz with dread and claustrophobia, she hated her father so much! All she wanted to do was go straight back home.

People around her clung onto the armrests and closed their eyes, bracing for the skid down the runway. The whole plane jerked and shuddered making Liz’s teeth chatter. Finally the plane glided smoothly towards the terminal and the bored voice of the stewardess bid them farewell.

Everyone seemed to move at once, clambering over each other to get to the aisle; bags were pulled down from the overhead lockers and people jostled in the queue.

Liz stayed where she was; there was absolutely no reason to rush the awkward reunion that was coming once she was off the plane. He’d probably be late.

Finally the aisle was almost empty and Liz had no more excuses to delay the inevitable. She stood up and smoothed out the black silk of her short dress and tied the silk bow of her sheer black lace cardigan over her breast.

Her Grandmother was a sucker for tradition and Liz had felt that dressing in grieving black was appropriate since it also matched her mood. Her hair was pulled back still tight in a French plait even after the long journey. She’d purposefully dressed as Lilly said, ‘to kill’. She wanted her father to see that the gawky little brunette he’d left in pigtails and overalls had grown into a knockout. Her grandmother used to whisper that she looked more and more like her mother everyday.

Slipping the leather diary into her handbag, she pulled her black pumps back on and moved into the aisle. The stewardess barely managed a smile before yawning and taking out a piece of nicotine gum. The air conditioning couldn’t completely banish the heat as Liz walked down the hallway of the terminal towards customs, passport checks and duty-free shopping. Her hand strayed to the locket sitting proudly against her tanned skin.

Once she’d gone through the rigmarole of the endless checks she made a brief bathroom stop to touch up her subtle makeup then made her way towards the area her father would be waiting in. She mingled in the centre of the large crowd from the plane as they emerged into the busy part of the airport.

She caught sight of them immediately. Her father looked nervous while Nancy was trying to pacify him and the two seventeen year olds. Michael looked bored and resentful while Tess was more interested in her nails, no doubt they’d been allowed to leave school early and since it was Friday here; she’d have to spend all weekend with them. They hadn’t seen her yet; the last photo her mother had sent of Liz was when she was ten. Liz had still been in her tomboy stage and they were probably searching the crowd for a skinny girl in ripped jeans, a baggy shirt and short scraggly hair.

The crowd was thinning, Liz finally sighed and walked over to them. Nancy was the first to see her and gasped pressing a hand to her mouth, Tess stared at her wide-eyed while Michael grunted and went back to looking around with distaste.

"Lizzie?" her father finally asked looking at her with a white face, like he’d seen a ghost, the ghost of her mother.

"Hello Jeff" she said coolly.

"Oh my goodness, we weren’t expecting…" Nancy started then caught herself and smiled "It’s a pleasure to finally meet you Liz"

This woman had taken her father away from her and her mother; she at least owed her some thanks for making life easier "Nancy" Liz said politely.

"Um, uh this is Michael and Tess" Nancy introduced looking flustered.

Tess smiled at her and elbowed Michael "Hi Liz" she said warmly.

Michael blinked "yeah, hi"

Both Tess and Nancy glared at him disapprovingly.

Liz decided that she could tolerate Michael, he didn’t try and make a fuss and pretend like any of them wanted to be here. It pleased her that her father was so spooked by what she looked like. He’d have a reminder of everything he’d lost or betrayed in his face for the next year.

"Um, shall I take your bag?" he finally asked reaching for the small suitcase on wheels that Liz dragged behind her.

She tightened her hand around the handle and shook her head.

He recoiled like he’d been burned and nodded "we should get going then, do you have everything?" He asked looking at the small suitcase.

"Yes" she said shortly. He had an American accent, as did the others. She on the other hand had a well-educated English accent. She was probably coming across as a bit of a snob; she didn’t give a toss. She’d think of them however she wanted to and they could think of her however they wanted to.

Michael turned and started pushing his way through the crowd to get outside to the car. Nancy and Jeff followed while Tess hung back slightly, walking next to Liz.

"I love your accent, I guess you must be pretty homesick, I would be,” she said looking around the airport.

Liz gritted her teeth and managed a nod wishing that she would leave her alone. Solitude suited her current mood; Tess didn’t seem to get the vibe.

"Our rooms are right next to each other, I hope you like yours, it’s the best room in the house I think but mom didn’t let me have it because there’s a balcony just outside the window and anyone could climb up from the alley" Tess shrugged.

No wonder it’s my room then, I’m the one that has to fend off a burglar. Thanks a lot dad, trying to tell me something? Liz thought bitterly.

"You’ll get to work at the café with us, I’ll introduce you to everyone, it’s going to be great" Tess exclaimed.

‘Work’ and ‘Café’ rung clear in Liz’s head. Serving the masses with a smile? She could do that, surviving serving the masses with a smile and keeping her sanity was another matter all together. She loved her old job; she’d worked at the huge and incredibly beautiful library on the island that was like stepping into a castle from the seventeen hundreds. It seemed she wouldn’t be pursuing anything along those lines in Roswell.

"You’re going to be so popular at school! I can’t believe I actually have a sister, we’re going to have a blast!" Tess grinned at her.

Despite her best efforts against it, her heart went out to the girl. Liz had grown up with Lilly, Katie, Tabby and many other girls that had been like sisters to each other. She supposed that she could be a little friendlier to Tess, she seemed nice, a little ditzy but with a good heart.

"Uh, do you have a boyfriend?" she asked trying to sound friendly.

The girl chuckled and shrugged "I have a sort of boyfriend, we’re not officially together. Kyle’s on the football team" she said smiling dreamily.

It seemed that certain look didn’t change despite being in a different time zone.

"What about you? Any long distance romance?" Tess asked giddily, warming to the subject.

Liz managed a half smile "for some reason men find me intimidating. I think it’s from growing up in a predominantly matriarchal family."

Tess laughed, "Cool, then you’ll be looking for a boyfriend?"

The glint was already appearing in the blonde’s eyes "no, men are complications I can do without right now" Liz said shortly.

The two followed the others outside. Liz winced, the air was thick and hot, well compared to home it was. The fumes of fuel from the aeroplanes made her throat hurt and gave her the beginnings of a killer headache. They weaved through endless parked cars while Tess chattered on about the Café and Kyle. Liz watched Nancy and Jeff talk quietly and shoot glances over their shoulders like they were making sure she hadn’t run off.

Resisting the urge to roll her eyes was hard when she saw the car, a dark green mini van. What was the betting they had a cocker spaniel and a white picket fence around the café?

Michael pulled open the sliding door once it was unlocked and took up the back seats leaving Liz and Tess to sit together in the middle while Nancy and Jeff were up the front.

Liz ignored her father while he hovered around her as she lifted the suitcase into the van and stepped up gracefully.

Tess followed and pulled the door closed "I love your dress Liz, where did you get it?"

"Marks and Spencers" Liz replied bluntly.

"Oh" Tess said smiling with confusion.

The van started up and backed out of the parking space. Liz opened her purse and took out her Discman. She slipped on the earphones and turned to watch the scenery go past.

"Watcha listening to Liz? I like some of the boy bands" Tess grinned.

"Uh, it’s a musical piece I was intending to play at a recital," Liz said haltingly.

"Do you play an instrument?" Tess asked with wide eyes "I’ve always wanted to."

"The violin"

"Wow, what were you going to be playing?"

Liz sighed and looked back out the window "I left my violin at home, the piece is one of Albinoni’s."

"Your mother used to play the violin,” Jeff told her glancing in the rear-view mirror.

Her jaw tightened and she focussed intently on a scratch on the window "I know" she bit out, her blood boiling with anger that Jeff knew something so special about her mother.

The people round her seemed to get the hint she wasn’t into making conversation so Tess and her parents talked to each other. Liz leaned her head against the glass listening to the haunting tunes her mother had played to her when she was sick. There would be no tears; she wouldn’t bring the wall she’d painstakingly assembled on the plane down to let any of these people in. This was going to be a long year.

Her hand strayed to the locket and clasped it in her hand as the strange landscape went past; at least she had her journal and locket. No one would ever take those from her like they’d taken her family and home.

TBC

AN/ There goes six months of growing my nails because right now I’m biting them like there’s no tomorrow * blush *, put me out of my misery and give me your honest opinion. Do I carry on or not?
*sad**happy*

[ edited 15time(s), last at 22-Jan-2003 4:40:37 PM ]
posted on 12-Oct-2002 12:33:27 AM by Phi
Hi all,

Thankyou for the reviews, it’s been a huge boost of confidence. This is the first time I’ve posted on this site so I was a bit nervous that I’d do something wrong or the formatting would be unintelligible, so far so good *wink*. Yes, the next two parts are posted on fanfiction.net but I’ll try and update here today and tomorrow so that by the time the fourth part is completed, both sites will get it at the same time.

LizMix5- I also know what it’s like. My story, intriguing * blush * thank you!

Dancing alien- My nails are safe…for now*wink**happy*, theres that intriguing word again *wink*, thanks for the review.

Roswellluver- Yeah, life kind of sucks for Liz doesn’t it, but as we all know from the show, she’s strong. Thanks.

Begonia9508- Thanks for writing? Thanks for reviewing! It seems like I’ve been on this site forever, I’ve never had the courage to post before. It’s great to know somebody is looking for this story!*big*

Tamira- Hello! Right after I update here I promise I’ll B-mail you back, thanks for the lovely review and don’t worry, Jeff isn’t going to be receiving flowers and chocolates from Liz anytime soon.

Legna14- LOL, you do what I do!*big**wink* So this next part isn’t exactly going to be a revelation! Thanks for the review hun.

Elemenopy- Thank you and I hope you like the next bit.

The better twin- I need to continue? Well…if you say so *big**wink*.

Ok, I'll be back in a few with the next part *angel*.

posted on 12-Oct-2002 12:37:00 AM by Phi

Chapter two


"…I don’t know guys, I’ve told you what happened or as much as I know. Her grandmother wouldn’t tell me much; Liz has never written or called me herself. I just know that she and Imogene, well the bond they had with each other was almost unearthly. Claudia told me it was breast cancer that killed Liz’s mother, she was apparently sick with it for a long time. Imogene was always a bit of a gypsy, after taking the drugs for a while, she got weak and lost her hair and was tired all the time. At that point she refused to take anymore. She tried natural remedies, didn’t want her last months alive to be marred by drugs and chemicals.

Liz was so close to her…I think she needs time away from all the memories that god forsaken Island must stir." Jeff’s voice permeated the veil of sleep.

The car was still moving and she remembered with a heavy heart where she was. She kept her eyes closed and focussed on keeping her breaths heavy and even, she wanted to know what the man actually knew.

"She doesn’t seem like she wants to be here Jeff, I thought you said she wanted to be?" Nancy asked bemused.

Anger gripped Liz’s heart, that bastard! He’d even lied to his new family; she and her grandparents with the help of the community had kicked up a storm trying to keep her there!

"Well, I think she needs this time to get to know some more family. Her only other remaining relatives are in their seventies, she needs to get to know some people she can rely on and make plans for the future without worrying that they won’t be around." Jeff said carefully.

"We could all die tomorrow, she doesn’t need us and we don’t need her. She doesn’t want to be here? Send her back, she’ll just cause trouble if she stays." Michael said harshly from behind her.

"Michael! She needs family, daddy’s right, we have to be there for her." Tess protested.

There was a definite feeling of gratitude Liz had for Michael, she needed this family like a hole in the head, they probably thought of her the same way. It seemed she had one person on side that agreed she was better off with her grandparents.

"I think" Nancy started carefully "that if she’s still not responding in three months then we consider letting her go back."

YES! Liz suppressed a smile; she could be back home in three months!

"Now Nancy, three months is a bit short, she needs time to settle in. Starting school, working at the café, living in a strange place, that could take quite awhile…" Jeff protested.

Listen to your wife! Liz implored silently.

"No Jeff, I think three months is a good time period. She’s so very different than most people around here; she’s going to feel very lost and very out of place. If she’s not ok in three months then she won’t be ok full stop." Nancy told him firmly.

There was a brief silence.

"Ok, three months but in that time I want you all to be as helpful and nice to her as possible. Introduce her to some of your friends, show her around town. Be friendly, she needs friends right now" he commanded.

How on earth would he know? Anyway, she already had lots of friends that loved her. He had taken them away from each other. Liz frowned and turned slightly in her seat, she didn’t want them to know she was awake but she was getting uncomfortable, she could feel them watching her. What did they expect? Her to sprout wings and try to fly herself back home? She would if she could.

The car slowed down and eventually came to a stop. She listened as Jeff took the keys and opened the door. The floor shook slightly as Michael pushed past Tess and got out of the van ignoring her hushed reprimand for him to be quiet.

"Liz? Liz wake up, we’re home" she whispered leaning over and shaking Liz’s shoulder.

Faking a groan, Liz stretched and yawned, opening her eyes slowly to look at Tess blearily.

"Come on, we’re back!" Tess grinned taking her hand and tugging her toward the door.

Liz followed rubbing her eyes and stepping down to stand beside the car. She looked around at the busy street and then turned, coming face to face with the Crashdown. She stared at the gaudy lights and alien memorabilia everywhere. This was some long and disturbingly graphic dream she decided.

"This is it!" Nancy said proudly.

There it was, her substitute home. She’d never felt more homesick but she forced a brief smile to Nancy before reaching back and taking the handle of her suitcase, lugging it out. She was surprised when she felt a hand on her arm, she looked up at Michael. He stared at her with something she wasn’t used to, understanding. He took the suitcase from her and easily lifted it.

People in the café quietened down when they came in. Liz stared at the floor and followed Michael through the café; everyone in the small town probably already knew she was the motherless English girl, Jeffery Parker’s other child.

She didn’t lift her head for a second; she let her feet guide her up stairs and into an apartment. It seemed nice, well as nice as she could gather from what the carpet was like. She stared at the greyish cream flecked carpet and waited until the door was closed.

"Um, Liz your room is this way," Nancy said walking over to a door and avoiding eye contact.

The large room was airy and seemed unlived in. Nothing cluttered the few pieces of furniture scattered around the room. One part of the room had a brick wall, she liked that, it reminded her that she was stuck inside the prison of her fathers making. She had a single bed made neatly, Nancy probably made it with the sheets folded in efficient hospital corners that nurses learnt. She had a desk and a side table, a pretty wooden bureau with a mirror above it sat beside the window.

It appeared that Tess had been right; there was a balcony outside her window with a garden chair in the centre. Well at least she’d have an escape route when things got too bad. Unless her father had the ladder removed to make sure she remained confined.

"Would you like some help unpacking?" Tess asked eagerly. Liz turned away from the window and back to Nancy, Tess and Jeff. Michael had dumped her suitcase on the bed and no doubt gone to sulk in his room. Smart boy.

"No, thank you. Where’s the phone? I want to ring my grandparents." She said keeping any emotion from her face.

"Uh, I’ll go and get the cordless for you" Nancy said slipping past her husband, she looked relieved to be leaving the room.

"It’s a bit boring isn’t it, Mom and I thought you might want to go shopping tomorrow… or when ever. With some posters and photos and things around the room it’ll look a million times better." Tess chirped.

It was almost ludicrous to Liz, the girl truly didn’t feel the tension in the room or else she was an excellent actress. She thought the first was probably more likely.

Nancy slipped back in and handed Liz a black cordless phone "uh do you know the area codes and what have you?" she asked wrapping her arms around her waist and shaking some of her red hair away from her eyes.

"Yeah" Liz nodded waiting for them to leave.

"Well, we’ll let you get to it then. Dinner will be around six" Nancy said backing to the door and taking Tess by the arm. She left, pulling Tess behind her. Tess waved to Liz and smiled.

Jeff lingered in the doorway for a moment "it’s good to see you again Liz, we have a lot to catch up on." He closed the door, leaving Liz in the cold room.

She bit out a short laugh "a life time" she whispered harshly.

Wrestling with the lock on her suitcase, she finally opened it and smiled. Worn and faded with a patch on his fluffy leg and a crooked mouth from loss of stitching, her beloved teddy smiled up at her. She and Lilly had both gotten twin bears on their fifth birthdays. They’d held a summit at school; everyone in class had come up with names. It was a very serious matter at age five, names were powerful things.

The teacher had finally come up with two names that they’d approved of. Rupert and Baloo, two famous bears in children’s stories. Liz’s bear was dubbed Rupert in honour of the character ‘Rupert Bear’ and Lilly’s was dubbed Baloo for the bear in Rudyard Kipling’s ‘the jungle book’.

Rupert had been through many troubles as children’s toys often did but he was a much-loved bear.

Liz lifted him up carefully and hugged him to her chest, burying her face in his beige fluff. She curled up beside her suitcase and pulled her legs up under her. She kissed Rupert and stared around at the cold unfamiliar room then tentatively started pressing the numbers she’d memorised.

It took a while but eventually the phone started to ring.

"Hello?" A tired voice asked faintly.

Liz’s lip began to tremble "grandma?" she whimpered.

"Oh my goodness, honey bear is that you? Jack, Jack come in here its Liz!" her grandmother called.

Liz laughed feeling her throat tighten at the sound of Claudia Ozanne’s voice.

"Sweetie how do you put this thing on speaker again?"

Again Liz laughed, "press the button that says ‘speaker phone’ Gram"

There was a click then she could hear her grandfather "Lizzie bell?"

She hugged Rupert closer "hi grandpa"

"How are you? Are you there? You’re ok right?" he asked.

She looked around the room "I’m here, and I’m fine. He picked me up and I’ve met the others"

"Well? What are they like?" her grandmother asked with curiosity.

"They seem nice enough, the girl was very friendly. Michael seems to want nothing to do with me and I don’t blame him." She said.

"What about the woman?" Claudia asked.

"Nancy? She seems… nervous. He actually told them I wanted to come here, he doesn’t know I overheard them." She shook her head and her jaw tightened.

"What…what do you think of your father?" Jack asked hesitantly. It was no secret that Jack had liked Jeff immensely and had been furious when he’d up and left Imogene with a four year old.

"He’s how I imagined" Liz rolled her eyes.

"Darling try to be polite, I know you don’t like this but your mother raised you with manners and you know she’d want you to be good. Make the most of it Liz" her grandmother told her sternly.

Liz smiled "yes grandma."

"That’s my girl, Lilly just left, she wanted us to tell you to ring her once you rung us, you should ask…Nancy first, these calls cost money."

"Yeah, uh how’s Lilly’s mum?" Liz asked uncertainly.

"Oh love, don’t you go worrying over Laura Heyworth, she’s ok." Jack said.

"I know your fibbing grandpa, if the worst happens… what would happen to Lilly? Would she be packed off to her father like me?"

"Her father was a drunk that probably drove himself off a bridge somewhere in Europe years ago, Lilly would probably go into foster care. Look we don’t even know if Laura has…cancer. Lilly is fine." Her grandmother told her; her voice caught on the word cancer. Laura had been so close to Imogene that she was like a second daughter to Claudia.

A beeping noise came across the line.

Liz swore "grandma, grandpa? I’ve gotta go, they’ve got call waiting" she said bitterly.

"Ok darling, you be good and we’ll call you tomorrow ok?" Jack said.

She whimpered, "I want to come home" she blurted out.

"Oh honey bear, we want you home as well. It’ll only be for a year and maybe you’ll like it there. You better go Lizzie, we love you." Claudia told her.

A tear slipped down her cheek "I love you to."

The dial tone buzzed. She slowly pressed the end button and let the phone drop onto the bed. The phone began ringing in the other room, the cordless joined in a ring later.

She ignored it and stroked Rupert, staring out of her window and staying there until the sun slipped from view and dusk fell.

TBC *big**bounce*
posted on 13-Oct-2002 11:00:59 PM by Phi

carolina_moon- LOL I think Max Evans could make almost any situation better *wink*, he's not introduced in this chapter but if you hang for the next one...well he might be paying a visit *big**angel*. Thanks for the review.

roswellluver- Thanks for the review *big**tongue*

frenchkiss70- Thankyou, I'm pleased your hooked *wink**big*.

the better twin- Lilly is fine at the moment but your right, if they could stay together, both Liz and Lilly would be the better for it *shy*. Thanks for the review*bounce*


Fanfiction.net is down so I guess this site will soon be ahead of the other *big*. Here's part Three, enjoy.



Chapter Three


The clinking of plates, hushed laughter and talking finally pulled her from her self-inflicted trance.

It had slowly grown colder as the evening and shadows lengthened, but it didn’t really bother her, this was summer temperature where she came from. No one had come in or tried to talk to her. She slowly uncurled her legs and ignored the pins and needles; she placed Rupert neatly on her pillow and grabbed the walk about phone still lying on her bed.

Liz took off her shoes and padded bare foot to the door to peek out.

Michael was in the lounge area in front of her bedroom, he was slumped on the couch watching the television. Tess and Nancy could be heard talking in the kitchen. Where was her father? She SO did not want to have to deal with him.

Taking a deep breath she slipped into the lounge, closing the door behind her.

Michael didn’t even look up or acknowledge her presence so she followed the voices to the kitchen. Tess and Nancy were making dinner and laughing about something.

Tess was the first to see her standing awkwardly in the doorway "hi Liz, we’re having roast chicken for dinner, it’s my favourite. Mom makes a great apricot sauce to go with it."

Nancy looked up and smiled at Liz.

"Sounds nice, um where should I put the phone?" she inquired.

"Oh, I’ll take it. I’ve got to call a friend anyway; we’re going to the movies tomorrow. Hey, would you like to come? I know my friends would love to meet you!" Tess said grinning.

Briefly wondering if Tess would have asked had Jeff not told them to pussy foot around her in the car, Liz shook her head "it’s ok, I’m fine."

"Oh come on! Issy says the movie is supposed to be really good." Tess persisted.

"Did someone say a movie?"

Liz tensed when she heard her father’s voice behind her but forced her self to look impervious.

"Yeah, Liz is going to come with me, Maria and Isabel to the movies tomorrow, aren’t you Liz?" Tess said turning to look at Liz.

"I suppose so," she said stepping into the kitchen so her father could get past her.

"That’s a great idea, as long as it’s not in that old cinema,” he laughed nudging Tess with his shoulder.

The girl blushed and shoved him back giggling "Dad!"

Nancy and Jeff laughed.

All in on some family joke, it made Liz want to gag at how happy they were.

"So how are your grandparents Liz?" Her father asked taking a piece of carrot from where Tess was chopping.

"Fine" she said shortly.

"Well dinner will be in half an hour, why don’t you watch television or something." Nancy suggested.

She doubted that Michael would be thrilled to share the sofa with her "I’ll go and finish unpacking, is it possible for me to ring my friend later?"

"Well…it does cost quite a bit, why don’t you ring her tomorrow?" Nancy suggested.

As if they’d understand what Lilly might be going through, tomorrow seemed like forever "ok, um you know what, I’ve got jet lag and they did serve huge meals on the plane so if you don’t mind I might just get some sleep."

Nancy and Jeff traded knowing glances, as if Nancy was saying ‘I told you so’. Of course neither of them said it out loud "sure Liz"

She tried to smile and then hurriedly left the room. Michael hadn’t moved from where he sat on the couch. Liz opened the door to her room and sagged against the doorway, three months she had to do this, live this lie.

"He was so excited about you coming here."

Despite the cool and emotionless mask he hid behind, Liz could here the bitter jealousy in his voice. She turned around but stayed leaning against the wall; it was the only thing keeping her standing.

"He said you wanted to come, which isn’t true, is it,” he stated more than asked.

She watched him stare at the muted television with hostility, she wasn’t sure if it was directed at her or Jeff. Should she tell him the truth? It was obvious he respected and admired Jeff and that he probably hated her because she was biologically related to him while Michael didn’t know who his parents were. She was pretty sure Michael respected people that didn’t mess around but came out with the straight honest truth. And she respected that he respected that.

"Over thirty people helped me and my grandparents try to appeal, we kicked and screamed and nobody wanted to see the truth. I love my grandparents but they’re getting old and I want to spend as much time with them as possible, the courts only saw your father being, and I quote ‘a pillar in the community, with skills to raising a teenager.’ They also saw my grandparents ages." She laughed bitterly and stared at the carpet.

"I know you hate me for being related to him, believe me when I say that I would do anything to leave now and have nothing to do with him for the rest of my life. You want him? You can have him; he skipped out on his wife and four-year-old, excuse me if I don’t share your view of the perfect father. My parents? They’re my grandparents." She told him.

There was a brief silence before Michael turned to look at her closely "I like you, you don’t bull shit like most people around here do. You want to go home and I want you gone, seems to me we can work a deal."

An interesting idea, "go on" she prompted feeling her strength return with a rush. She pushed away from the wall and wandered over to stand beside the couch, her hands loosely clasped in front of her.

"In three months you’ll be reassessed by my parents, if you still want to go, you go." He told her simply.

She faked a yawn and covered her mouth primly "that all? I already knew that." She frowned dropping her hand to her side and cocking her head, waiting for him to say something else.

"You were awake,” he guessed a small smile of approval glinted in his stone cold eyes.

"What can I say? I’m a light sleeper. So brother dear, what else do you propose?"

"I’ll work on mom to get dad to lessen that three months if you convince him that you never want to see him again, this is my family. No offence, but you’re not in it." He told her calmly.

She smiled and dipped her head respectfully "no offence is taken, in fact, I’m touched. You have yourself a deal."

***

"…And it’s going to be a hot one today folks, remember to get those entry forms in for the latest KROZ competition…"

Damn radio, who in the world would want to wake up this early and were they deaf?

"Wake up, wake up" Tess’ bright and cheerful voice called loudly.

The curtains were jerked open and Liz shrank back under the covers, trying to get away from the disrespectful light. It hadn’t been a dream, how depressing.

"Maria and Isabel are stoked you’ll be coming with us to the movies" Tess exclaimed tugging off the blankets.

Stoked? Oh god she’d slipped into some alternate universe.

"Hey, I love you pyjamas" Tess said.

Struggling to sit up, Liz blinked blearily at her. White cotton drawstring pants trimmed with lace and a matching tank top? They were a year old and hardly anything special.

"Come on, we’re meeting Issy and Maria at the movies in an hour."

Watching the girl bounce out of the room only fuelled Liz’s bad mood. She struggled out of bed and stumbled over to the corner where she’d pushed her suitcase the night before.

After making a deal with the devil, she’d had a brief shower to get rid of the non-existent grime and sweat she always felt after going on a plane.

The clothes in her suitcase were in a mess after she’d dug around last night trying to find her nightclothes.

What did you wear to go to the movies in Roswell? Wait a moment, why did she even care?

With that thought she grabbed the items of clothing on top of the pile. Tight black jeans and a loose pale lilac peasant top, despite her misgivings about wearing such tight pants, Lilly had bought them for her insisting she would turn heads. The pants still weren’t her favourites but Lilly had been right.

She quickly changed and ran a brush through her still damp hair and pulled it into a plait. What were Tess’ friends going to be like? If they were anything like Tess then she’d be tired out within minutes of meeting them.

Nestling her locket just under her top, she surveyed her appearance in the dressing table mirror.

It disturbed her sometimes to look in the mirror and see so much of her mother staring back. Their eyes were different; Liz’s were dark brown while Imogene had had beautiful emerald green eyes. Other than that they looked very similar, no wonder her father had gone white when he saw Liz.

"You ready?" Tess called from outside the door.

She pulled on her shoes and kissed Rupert goodbye before opening the door.

"This is so unfair, why do you have such nice clothes?" Tess huffed with a smile. She grabbed Liz’s hand and started dragging her towards the stairs "bye mom, Dad. We’ll be back later."

They clattered down the stairs before either Nancy or Jeff could answer. Liz stopped in front of the door into the café; all eyes in the café would be trained solely on her. She wasn’t that thrilled with the thought of being openly stared at and gossiped about.

"You have to face them sometime" Tess prompted pushing her ahead and through the door.

As expected, she was suddenly being scrutinised by everyone from Jocks and cheerleaders to old ladies alternating between knitting and sipping cups of tea. Some people would have found the attention flattering, she wasn’t some people.

Tess propelled her forward smiling at the people as she went. Liz glared. It was a relief to get outside.

"So I’ll fill you in on my friends a little" Tess said bouncing along happily beside Liz.

Oh goody! Liz thought then felt an immediate pang of guilt; the girl had gone out of her way to be nice to her. She deserved a little more respect than Liz was currently paying her.

"Maria is a little eccentric, she’s bouncy and vibrant and she’s always happy. The only thing that really gets her riled up is Michael, they’ve denied it forever but they’re completely besotted with each other and get so angry at one another because they think the other hates them. They’re both so passionate when they want to be, it’s not really surprising. Isabel is somewhat different from Ria and me. She looks like a super model and can act the stuck up part if provoked.

Issy is really a sweet girl and she has a thing for another of our friends, Alex. She’s miss popularity while he’s the computer nerd, it’s so gorgeous. Kyle, my so-called boyfriend, is also part of our circle and so is Max. Max is Isabel’s brother and Michael’s best friend. He has nothing in common with either of them. He’s caring, sensitive, a bit of a shadow lurker but it adds to his appeal" Tess giggled.

"Sounds like you like him" Liz said.

"Like Max? No, he’s more like a second brother, but if we hadn’t grown up together…lets just say I’m not blind." Tess smirked and tossed some of her wild curls over her shoulder and waved to a middle aged man on the other side of the street.

"You have a lot of close friends,” Liz observed unconsciously hunching her shoulders a bit from the weight of so many questioning eyes trained solely on her.

"I guess so, we’re sort of the group everyone watches with curiosity. Max and Isabel were found like Michael and I were…they’re adopted as well, none of us had lives before we were found when we were six. Maria’s father ran out when she was seven, Alex’s parents are constantly away on business trips so he sees them for a grand total of about a month in each year and Kyle’s mother left when he was little. We’re sort of the mysteries around here, we don’t fit in anywhere." Tess said without bitterness.

"Now you have a motherless Brit." Liz commented looking out at the busy street filled with happy people enjoying the sun and the shops.

"Liz…" Tess started.

"No, it’s fine Tess." Liz said briskly "is that the movie theatre?" she asked pointing to the end of the road. It was blatantly obvious she was switching the subject but she didn’t care.

"Yeah" Tess said quietly.

They walked in silence from then on until they reached the theatre doors. Two blond girls were hurrying towards them looking immaculate and flustered.

"Oooh Tess we’re sooo sorry" the shorter of the two said pulling Tess into a quick hug. She was obviously the bouncy Maria; she was naturally pretty with thick shoulder length hair and a big smile accentuated by layers of wet lip-gloss. She looked like a gypsy with her tie dyed jeans and her flimsy shear pop art top over a white T-shirt "mom was doing her stock take, you know how she gets when she can’t find the exact amount of everything."

The other girl, Isabel, rolled her eyes "of course the one time I actually agree to switch shifts is the day she decides to do the stock take." Tess was right when she said Isabel was model quality, tall and elegant with curves in all the right places. Despite the casual jeans and pale peach sleeveless turtleneck, she was possibly the most commanding figure Liz had ever seen. She turned heads not only because of her looks but the solemn maturity she held about her. It was almost as if the mall rat she should be had grown up to quickly, she looked like she had secrets. She reminded Liz of Michael.

"Don’t worry about it, we’ve got fifteen minutes and we only just got here,” Tess said waving away their apologies.

"You must be Liz? Wow, from what Tess and Michael said, we were expecting someone quite different. I’m Maria De Luca and this is Isabel Evans" Maria said holding out her hand to Liz.

The gesture caught Liz off guard; she blushed and shook the girl’s hand.

"Welcome to Roswell Liz" Isabel said politely and shook her hand after Maria.

"Thank you,” she said meeting their assessing gazes.

"Come on then, the movie is about to start" Maria said looping her arm through Liz’s and leading her towards the door.

It surprised her that Maria and Isabel hadn’t just pushed her to the back to follow them around like a lost puppy but had actually accepted her into their ranks and were more than willing to proudly place her under their wing.

Tess and Isabel followed and started up a conversation about whether chocolate was better than popcorn.

Liz was quite happy to listen to the pointless but affectionate banter between the three best friends, she’d expected to feel left out and wanting Lilly but to her surprise, she wasn’t. Sure, having Lilly along as well would be wonderful, she had the same sense of humour as Maria and she would appreciate Isabel’s views and way of sticking up for her beliefs. But what truly surprised Liz was that she felt that she was completely at ease in their company, like her old friends were embodied in these three very different girls.

"No way! Plain popcorn doesn’t even come close to M&M’s" Maria protested indignantly "Liz tell them!"

"What?" Liz asked tuning back in to the conversation.

"Popcorn that isn’t buttered can’t even come close to chocolate,” Maria stated like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

They wandered over to the ticket booth and waited while two youngish teenage girls insisted they were eighteen "well I’m biased, my mother taught me to be a chocoholic,” she laughed.

"And rightfully so, Chocolate is the nectar of the gods" Maria said triumphantly.

Finally the two girls in front of them turned away dejectedly and Isabel stepped forward to speak to the acne ridden gangly boy behind the glass. She turned back to them and held out three tickets for them.

"I can pay…" Liz started.

"Nonsense, Isabel’s dad gets heaps of free tickets." Maria said taking two from Isabel and handing one to Liz "we come to the movies each week, on the wages my mother pays…we always use Isabel’s leverage. That’s why we keep her around isn’t it Tess" she said jovially.

"Of course" Tess agreed, she laughed at the look Isabel gave her and ducked a play slap.

"Last time I ever use my ‘leverage’ for information on Kyle’s after school exertions" Isabel shot back and laughed when Tess went pink with embarrassment.

They were still smiling as they ventured into the large bright movie theatre that smelled like popcorn and spilled cola. People were shuffling around, peering back to see if there were any better seats further back. The theatre was almost filled with people, generally sitting as close to the back as they could get. The three girls led Liz to the row before the very front "no one sits in the front row so you can put your feet up on the seats" Maria explained pulling Liz after her until they got to the middle and sunk down into the seats.

Isabel sat down on the other side of Liz and placed her leather shoulder bag in her lap. A couple of people waved to them and yet again, the steady inquisitive stares were on Liz.

"For the first week you’re a novelty item, then you’re forgotten and everyone carries on like you’ve always been there." Isabel told her quietly "we’ve watched the same pattern repeat it’s self over and over each time someone new comes."

Liz smiled at her nodded "it happens in all small places" she told her.

"Hey, enough of the chitchat, where’s our supplies?" Maria asked leaning forward to look at Isabel expectantly.

"Fine, fine" Isabel said opening her bag and handing each girl two tissues and a chocolate bar "though I’m sure it was your turn Maria."

"Was not, I did it for the re-run of ‘chocolat’ it was definitely your turn Is" Maria said settling back in her seat and kicking off her sandals to rest her feet on the seat in front.

The lights around them dimmed and the murmurs of conversation died down.

Liz looked around at the faces in the dark, despite her best attempts against it, she was enjoying this and she felt incredibly guilty about it. Still, her grandmother had told her to make the most of her year and she could have a little fun without softening her stone strong stance against hating Roswell and her supposed ‘second family’, couldn’t she?

TBC


posted on 15-Oct-2002 10:56:37 PM by Phi

Sarahdreamer- Thanks for the review! *bounce**big*

Tamira- LOL, a very apt way to put it! *wink*. Unfortunately to a court, Jeff probably would appear to be in Liz's best interests, he already has two teenagers and has a steady income, unlike her grandparents. Inspiring emotion? *shy**tongue* Well thankyou!

Roswellluver- Thanks for the review, Liz certianly needs some friends at the moment *angel*.

Frenchkiss70- I think any sort of bonding with Michael is going to be...different *wink**big*. Thanks for the review.

Begonia9508- I totally agree, being uprooted and dumped in front of her father... she deserves to have some good friends around her since all her others are so far away. Thanks Eve *angel**happy*.

The better twin- I like to think of it as stoic *happy*, he and Maria aren't going out yet (note; YET *wink*) so he's still stone wall Guerin except it's now stone wall Parker *big*. Mr Maxwell Evans is in the next part, thanks for the review.

Legna14- I'm glad *happy*, this next bit isn't on the other site yet.

Sablaine- Hmmm, what can I say without giving it all away? *wink**big*, I suppose it's safe to say that yes the four aliens on the show are aliens in this but there is a twist that won't be seen for a while yet.

LOL, sorry it stopped just when you were getting into the story! I got sick of those evil gerbils as well, but I have to say that everytime I write her I get a brief flashback to the conversation by the granolith in 'Destiney'. Your review really made me think, I guess Tess is a little in denial, she's so absorbed in her safe world, she's repressed her alien side.

As for Jeff, there are circumstances surrounding Imogene and Jeff's break up that Liz isn't privy to but it's not what you'd expect *wink*. Thanks so much for the review.


Thankyou all for the reviews, I'm not to sure about the next chapter, it's shorter than the others but for the life of me, I can't seem to get it any better. Max is finally introduced in this next part. Flames right through to candy coated praise will be lovingly excepted *big**tongue*

I'll be back in fifteen minutes or so with part four *angel*
posted on 15-Oct-2002 11:11:55 PM by Phi


Chapter four


"Well, it wasn’t the best I’ve seen but it was ok" Maria commented squinting and shielding her eyes with her hand when they emerged into the bright noon light.

"It was good" Tess agreed dropping her chocolate wrapper in a bin.

Liz smiled; she’d observed both girls discretely wipe their eyes at least twice. Isabel obviously had as well, she grinned knowingly at Liz and draped an arm over Tess’ shoulder "sure, sure, we believe you."

They started down the street at a leisurely pace, stopping every so often to critique window displays.

"Well seeing as your favourite movie is the secret garden, I doubt you’d understand." Tess told Maria in answer to a question Liz had missed.

"I was ten years old! Will you ever let me live that one down?" Maria asked exasperated.

"Not until it fails to get a rise from you" Isabel laughed "what about you Liz, what’s your favourite movie?"

Liz smiled and shrugged "I like lots of them"

"Like…" Maria prompted nudging her with her shoulder.

"Well my best friend and I used to get heaps each Sunday, all different kinds. She loved cruel intentions and made us get it every time, I like a French film called Amelie and one of my all time favourites is Romeo and Juliet, it’s my favourite book as well." Liz confessed.

"Ladies, we have another romantic" Maria professed holding Liz’s hand up "Chica we have to compare lists on the top five most romantic films of all time" she said dropping their hands.

"Titanic" Tess said.

"No way! That was when we had crushes on Leonardo Di Caprio, I have to say I like ‘a walk to remember’" Isabel said smiling.

Maria and Tess oohed and nodded their agreement.

Favourite movies and squeals of agreement at forgotten favourites filled the rest of the walk to the Crashdown. She was enjoying her self so much; she failed to notice her father when they entered the café. The four slipped into an empty booth.

"Ok, we have to write these down and go and rent them for a sleepover." Maria said slapping her hands down on the table with finality.

"Which house?" Tess asked.

"My parents are away visiting my Aunt Rebecca for a week so we can stay at my place, we’ll just have to get my brother to go out for the night." Isabel suggested playing with an edge of a laminated menu.

"Cool, you sure Max won’t mind?" Tess asked.

"Max won’t mind what?" an amused voice asked from behind Tess and Liz.

A shiver crawled up Liz’s spine and she could feel her skin tingling. The other girls were grinning at the person behind her; slowly she turned around in her seat.

Standing casually with his hands in the pockets of his jeans, Max was watching them with a small half smile. His warm treacle coloured eyes ticked over to Liz sitting silently, staring at him, and his eyes widened.

Liz stared at Max, unable to tear her eyes away, completely entranced by the boy she presumed to be Max Evans. At first glance, he appeared to be the typical boy next door or jock with his jeans and navy blue T-shirt that clung slightly showing the curve of muscles. As soon as her eyes locked on his, the illusion changed dramatically, her eyes greedily traced his face, his glossy dark brown hair was slightly tousled and he had a faint five o’clock shadow across his chiselled jaw. Her heart missed a beat at the sexy half smile to grace his lips but it was his eyes that caught a hold of her. No boy next door could possibly look that good, if they did, she would have dated some years ago.

The way he stared right back undaunted, It was so completely mesmerizing it was almost like drowning, but in a good way she decided later on, like sinking in warm tepid water without the need to breathe, breath seemed like a distant memory.

Little did she know but he was equally as enchanted by the small and alone looking brunette that had a longing and uncomfortable presence around her. It was like she was being forced into a situation that she didn’t belong in, she had an air of poise and grace to her that made the whole room seem to revolve around her. Like everyone else was laughing and full of life while she sat like a picturesque onlooker, blending into the ethers and watching the fun with resigned hopelessness.

"Hello? Max? Liz? Oh boy here we go" Isabel groaned watching as her brother stared at Liz in shock.

With his sister breaking the spell, he managed to tear his eyes from the girl and look back to his sister with annoyance "yes Isabel?"

"Finally! You have to go stay somewhere tonight, we’re having a sleepover." She told him smiling sweetly.

"In your dreams Bella, it’s my house as well." He responded smiling back with equal sarcasm.

"Argh, you have to!" she said glaring at him for messing up her plans.

"No, I really don’t" he said smugly "see the one thing mom said was ‘no parties’ how would she like a phone call from me to say her perfect little girl doesn’t listen? You can have your party Isabel but I’ll be right upstairs. Maybe I’ll invite Michael, Kyle and Alex over."

The staring match between the two carried on for a full minute before Isabel sighed and slumped back in her seat, visibly defeated "maybe we should go to Maria’s" she suggested.

"It might not be to bad if they stay upstairs and we stay downstairs,” Tess said quickly having perked up at the idea of spending a night under the same roof as Kyle.

A similar idea had crossed Maria’s mind concerning Michael "no way in HELL am I sleeping anywhere near Michael Guerin, god knows what I’d catch." She sighed and shook her head "but…we can’t stay at my place, mom’s making dinner for her and the sheriff" a shudder ran through her "I hope this little fling ends soon, the idea of Kyle Valenti as a brother… No thank you."

"Well our place is out, no room and dad and mom would be checking on us every other minute." Tess said.

Our place, Liz’s heart tightened painfully, she forced her self not to think about that. Instead she turned her attention back to Max. He seemed to find the whole conversation rather amusing and was it her imagination or was he sneaking looks at her every now and then? She was putting her money on her ever-hopeful imagination.

"So what is it?" Max finally asked.

The girls looked around at each other and Isabel scowled "fine, we’re staying at my place. But I warn you Maxwell Evans, if you so much as let anyone with a Y chromosome take a step down those stairs, I will make your life a living hell."

He bowed his head slightly and smiled at her "why Isabel, what could you possibly do to make it any worse? You already live one door down from me."

She laughed sarcastically and shook her head "funny Max, now shoo before my reputation is spoiled completely."

Taking his hands out of his pockets he leaned forward and kissed her lightly on the cheek "love you little sister"

"Love you little brother" she replied kissing him back then pushing him away towards the door.

Liz watched the interaction with amazement; they were so very different from anyone she knew that had a sibling. Usually they fought and hated each other while Max and Isabel were obviously very close and not afraid to show it. She frowned "little brother, little sister?"

Maria grinned "they’re twins but nobody knows what date they were born on or who is older, it’s a long standing battle between them, they both want to be older than the other."

She smiled and looked over her shoulder to watch Max leave; he looked over his shoulder as he went through the door. He smiled when he caught her watching him, then he was gone. Liz bit her lip and turned back, trying not to grin happily.

"So much for not wanting any complications" Tess said smiling at her, a knowing twinkle in her eyes "come on we should go tell mom not to both with any dinner, hey! You haven’t had anything to eat except that chocolate bar since you got here, aren’t you starving?"

Liz shrugged, now Tess mentioned it, she was starving "a bit"

"You guys go upstairs then and Maria and I will go shopping for Ice cream" Isabel said slipping out of the booth and pulling Maria with her "we’ll be back in a couple of hours to go get the video’s"

"See you later" Tess called as they headed towards the door, Liz waved.

Tess and Liz got up and made their way to the back, people seemed to be loosing interest in Liz already, much to her relief. Only as they went through the turquoise swing door did Liz see her father smiling happily behind the counter. Damn it! She’d have to be more careful in public if she and Michael were truly going to pull off a miracle. For some reason she wasn’t as ecstatic as she had been last night to think of leaving in three months, she still wanted to be home with Lilly and her grandparents but she was staring to feel something nibbling away at her conscience.

An annoying concoction of guilt and uncertainty was troubling her. She was sure it would quit bugging her when she had the chance to ring Lilly. Then everything would snap back into focus. But right now she was going to appease Tess and the others because she genuinely liked them and enjoyed the company, she was still dead set on going home but she could separate two worlds, at least for a day.

TBC

posted on 21-Oct-2002 10:38:52 PM by Phi
Sorry I haven't updated, the amount of assignments being piled on me at the moment... *sad*.

If I don't get the next part on tonight then I'll make a super human effort to get it on tomorrow *angel*.
posted on 22-Oct-2002 9:49:55 PM by Phi
Roswellluver, sarahdreamer, FreeFall, frenchkiss70; Thanks for the reviews *big**happy**angel*

the better twin- Thanks for the review AND the bumps! *big*



Chapter Five


She felt strange.

It was so weird to be packing a bag to go to a sleepover with people she’d only known for a day. Nancy hadn’t needed much pushing; she was probably relieved to get a night off from the quiet resentful teenager that had been dropped into her care. Jeff was grinning non-stop because Liz was fitting in with Tess and her friends, while Michael had given her an incredulous what the hell are you doing? Look.

All in all, she was confused. Tess was constantly darting in and out of her room with different clothes from her own wardrobe and looking through Liz’s, she was obviously enjoying having another girl her age to talk to. After awhile Liz had turned to packing a small bag to keep her self focused and sane.

All she’d accomplished so far was putting her pyjamas in her bag. Was she babyish to want to bring Rupert? At home they’d never grown out of teddy bears, everyone oohed awwed at window displays of over priced fluffy toys and racked their brains for any small children they knew that had birthdays coming up so they had a reason to buy one.

Finally she placed Rupert in her bag and then covered him with a calico skirt and white fitted shirt.

She dropped her makeup and toothbrush into the bag then zipped it up. She left it on her bed and went in search of Nancy.

As always, Nancy was In the kitchen, she either really liked cooking or it was the one place she had to herself since Michael and Jeff steered clear of it in case they were asked to help.

"Um Nancy?" Liz asked hesitantly.

Nancy looked up from where she sat at the table with a mug of steaming coffee and a magazine.

"I was wondering if you could give my grandparents or my friend Lilly the telephone number for Isabel’s house? They might not call but if they do…I’d really like to talk to them" she said fiddling with the chain of her locket and feeling awkward.

"Sure" Nancy said smiling at her "Liz? If you ever want to talk about anything…I’d be more than happy to listen"

Liz nodded and smiled at her, quickly darting out of the room. She so did not want people to start expecting her to cry on their shoulders because of the injustices of the world. So she’d lost her mother, what did it have to do with them? Her feelings were her own; she wouldn’t be sharing them with anyone but Lilly and her grandparents.

Tess was waiting outside her room with a black backpack on one shoulder. She smiled when she saw Liz "you ready? Issy an Maria are downstairs."

Pushing open the door and grabbing her bag, Liz smiled back "now I am"

They called out goodbyes to Nancy and clattered down the stairs into the back room where Michael was slumped on the couch in a kitchen apron "back to work Parker" Tess called giggling.

Taking his arm away from covering his eyes, Michael showed the first real smile Liz had seen on him, he waved Tess away and raised an eyebrow at Liz. She smirked and curtsied before pushing after Tess into the café.

Over the last few hours, business had slowly died down. Now only a few families sat around and the pace of the waitresses was noticeably slower and less flustered. Isabel and Maria stood up from their table when they saw them; Maria had a beaded shoulder bag beside her.

"Hey, ready to go?" Isabel greeted.

Both Tess and Liz nodded and they started for the door.

"I managed to pry the keys to our jeep from Max’s hand" Isabel said opening the door and holding it for them.

An old and tired looking ex-military jeep was parked neatly in front of the café. Maria threw her bag in the back seat and pulled her self up after her bag. Isabel got in the driver’s seat and Tess sat beside her. Liz shrugged and followed Maria.

"Any music preferences?" Isabel called over the roar of the engine once she’d started it.

Maria started bouncing in her seat "oh oh, put on the radio, they’re doing a chart count down."

Isabel smirked and fiddled with the radio until Delerium and Sarah McLachlan’s, silence, filled the air "leave it there, leave it there" Maria squeaked.

Laughing at her friend’s enthusiasm, Isabel slipped on a pair of ray bans and pulled out into the street. Liz gripped the side as Isabel put her foot down. Beside her Maria was belting out the words at the top of her lungs and holding her arms open to the heavens. Tess turned in her seat and joined in with Maria handing her a hairbrush to sing into. Liz laughed despite her self; Maria was certainly not your average girl.

"Come on Liz, sing with me!" she shrieked tossing her hair behind her shoulders when it whipped at her face from the wind.

"I’ll just be the audience thanks,” she laughed shaking her head.

Several songs later, every one of them apparently ‘my favourite song’ in Maria’s books, Isabel pulled up in front of a large typical suburban family house with a lawn mower abandoned on the front lawn.

"Home sweet home" Isabel announced turning off the car in the middle of a song. Maria grumbled but didn’t say anything. They climbed out with their bags and followed Isabel’s lead up the path.

"Maxie!" Isabel called sarcastically.

"Yes Sabel?" Max called back with equal sarcasm.

"We’re home, go upstairs." She yelled shutting the door behind them and ushering them into a warm well-lit lounge room.

Immediately Liz focused on Max who was lying in front of the television playing play station. Beside him a boy with brown blond hair was watching the screen intently, he looked like a jock.

"Oh hey Kyle, when did you get here?" Isabel asked pushing a suddenly reluctant Tess further into the room.

"Few minutes ago… well hello, you are looking scrumptious." He said turning around.

"Scrumptious, I don’t know whether we should drive you out of the house or kiss you" Maria announced dropping down next to Max to watch the screen.

"The first" Max said grinning at her.

"Hey Tess" Kyle said quietly, smiling widely at her.

She blushed and looked down at her feet "hi Kyle" she mumbled.

"I don’t know you" Kyle said moving his gaze to Liz.

"No, you don’t, I’m Liz" She said politely.

"English?" he asked.

"Nah Kyle, she’s Mongolian" Maria chirped stepping over Max and ruffling Kyle’s hair on her way to the kitchen.

"Watch it De Luca" Kyle said with his best threatening voice.

"You watch it Valenti, we might be brother and sister soon, be polite." She called from the kitchen.

Max sat up and patted Kyle reassuringly on the back as he groaned and gripped his head "when you’re sharing the same bathroom and fighting for the last piece of toast. I’ll be there to get you back for all the times you’ve told me to shut up about the horrors of living with Isabel."

"That was my piece of toast," Isabel said placing her hands on her hips.

"Sure Is, keep telling your self that" Max told her soothingly.

He grinned at Liz before running out of the room with Isabel hot on his heels "Max!"

Tess rolled her eyes "they’re worse than Michael and I" she told Liz and dumped her backpack onto the couch.

The looks Tess and Kyle were sending each other eventually made her feel to out of place in the room so she took the time to have a look around the place Max and Isabel had grown up in. Every room was filled with expensive looking furniture and mementos. Their mother had taste; it wasn’t cluttered nor was it the cold sterile house with plenty of space that seemed to be the current fashion. In each room she wandered through, there were at least three framed photographs. It was very homely and inviting.

One photo in particular caught her attention. It was, in hindsight, the only picture that had Max and Isabel younger than ten or eleven. They were both sitting cross-legged on damp grass in front of a large lagoon or pond. Max was staring out across the water, their hands were joined between them and Isabel was looking down at a duck trying to get a piece of bread from out of her hand.

"You found the odd one out," Maria said quietly.

Liz whirled around, not having heard her come up behind. Maria had a mug clasped in her hand and was staring at the enigmatic photo.

"See Issy and Max were found near where Michael and Tess were found, all were stark naked and didn’t understand a word of English, six year olds that didn’t respond to English, Spanish, Italian, you name the language, social services tried it. They all picked it up real fast but wouldn’t talk about whom they were or where they came from; it was like they were born six years old. Any way, the one thing Max and Isabel refused to let happen was pictures, they didn’t mind being video taped but they were terrified of cameras, more specifically, the flash from a camera." She shook her head and took a sip of her drink.

Liz turned back to the picture on the wall.

"Diane, that’s their mom, told me that this is the only picture she could get of them. They didn’t see her do it. Over the years they got better and finally gave up the fear." Maria carried on shaking her head with bemusement "for so long we wondered…" she trailed off.

Looking over her shoulder, Liz frowned when she saw Maria’s eyes had gone wide and she was blushing "uh, do you want tea? Diane makes the best peppermint tea I’ve ever had. She’s also got raspberry and the normal English stuff."

The sudden drop of subject had spiked Liz’s curiosity but from the scared look in Maria’s eyes, she let it go "I’ll have the normal English stuff."

Maria giggled but it was a little strained and high "k, I’ll go get some, could you ask if Kyle and Tess want some?"

Liz nodded and waited until Maria had hurried back to the kitchen. She reached out hesitantly and touched the cold glass of the picture frame; the warmth of her fingertips clouded the glass in small circles. What were Max and Isabel hiding?

In particular, the dark eyed little boy in the photo haunted her; there wasn’t happiness or child like glee lurking in the twin siblings’ eyes, just fear and confusion. It sent small shivers down her back; there were definitely secrets in this seemingly normal and happy group, secrets that scared them.

She shook her head and went back to the living room; she wasn’t sure if she wanted to find those secrets out, not if they scared the usually happy and carefree Maria that seemed to be unfazed by anything. If she was half as scared as she’d looked a few seconds ago…what would it do to Liz? Maybe focussing on going back to the safety and security of her grandparents wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

"Hey Liz" Tess said looking up from the small control Kyle had placed in her hands. There was a sparkle in the girl’s smile that Liz was sure had everything to do with Kyle’s hand resting on her knee as he taught her the necessities of video games.

"Hi, do you guys want a drink, Maria’s making herbal tea" Liz offered.

Tess nodded "oh yeah, some of Diane’s Peppermint thanks, Kyle?"

"Coke" he said without looking up from the television.

Liz smiled and wandered through to the kitchen. Maria was hurrying about muttering something under her breath as she poured boiling water into a mug.

"Uh, Maria? Tess wants peppermint and Kyle wants a coke." Liz said trailing her hand along a countertop.

"Ok, can you go and grab Max and Isabel? They should be upstairs bickering over something." Maria asked smiling at her distractedly.

"Sure" Liz nodded and left the room, heading for the stairs.

"I did not! Honestly if you didn’t leave your books all over the place then I wouldn’t have to search for everything" Isabel’s raised voice drifted down the stairs.

"Yeah well at least books can’t stain, next time you decide to paint your nails? Don’t leave the lid off and don’t leave the nail varnish around the house" Max shouted back.

Liz took a breath and hesitantly made her way up the stairs.

"What does it matter anyway, you can get it off easily" Isabel countered.

"It’s the principal Isabel, you remember to put away your stuff and I’ll remember to put away mine."

"Fine!"

"Fine!" he said back.

Isabel came storming out of a room and slammed the door behind her. She paused when she saw Liz standing at the top of the stairs with raised eyebrows "oh hey Liz, sorry about that. He accused me of spilling winter apple green nail polish on one of his precious books though I think he referred to it as ‘putrid green’, men!" she huffed before taking a deep breath. She smoothed back her hair and offered Liz a dazzling white-toothed smile "what can I do for you?"

"Uh Maria’s making drinks, what would you like?" Liz asked.

"Oh I’ll go down and help." She said heading down stairs.

"What about Max?" Liz asked looking back to the closed door.

"He can die of thirst as far as I’m concerned," Isabel said loudly so he’d hear.

Liz shook her head and walked over to the closed door, knocking hesitantly "um Max?"

The door swung open and she took a step inside. Max was sitting on a messy bed studying a small and old looking book which was covered in sticky nail varnish "hi Liz" he said looking up at her and smiling.

"Maria’s making drinks, would you like anything…?" she asked taking a peek around his room.

An I-Mac sat on a cluttered desk with a strange coloured screen saver swirling around the screen. A laden bookshelf sat beside it. She wandered over to it despite herself; a person’s taste in reading and music said a lot about them. A surprising range of books littered the shelves, everything from sci-fi novels to astrology books. There was even a thick encyclopaedia type book on ancient mythologies.

What really caught her attention was a small box set in one corner "ooh, look" she exclaimed carefully lifting it up for inspection. Each of the seven thin paperback books were immaculate with gold writing flowing down their spines.

"You like the chronicles of Narnia then?" Max asked from behind her.

She trailed her fingers over the image of a lion on the box "I love them" she exclaimed her eyes lingering on the second book "my mother read them to me every night before bed. We re-read the books so many times I can practically recite them word for word. Where did you get this? It’s such a beautiful set"

"My Aunt went travelling years ago, she found them in a garage sale. She originally bought them back for Is but Isabel isn’t really a book reader. I’ve had them since I was nine."

Reluctantly she put the box back on the shelf and turned around coming face to face with him "you like reading?"

He smiled and shrugged putting his hands in his pockets "I love it"

She grinned back and looked over to the small book lying on his bed "what book is that?" The close proximity of Max Evans was smashing all of her self-control. She wandered over to pick up the book and sat down gingerly.

"The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars, as daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven would through the airy region stream so bright that birds would sing and think it were not night." Liz looked up with a smile to gaze with awe at Max who in turn was blushing "Romeo and Juliet?" she breathed.

"I like Shakespeare." he said with a shrug.

"You couldn’t have known," she said quietly.

He frowned and looked at her inquisitively.

"You have the two books I love the most in this world, Romeo and Juliet and the lion, the witch and the wardrobe." She said with a smile then looked down at the page "the best scene in the book and it’s ruined" she said regretfully.

"It might come off," Max said sitting down next to her "and the best scene is at the end"

She felt her heart skip a beat when his thigh touched hers "the end?"

"When they die" he looked at the book.

"How can you say that? It’s so sad," she said shaking her head.

"It’s ironic and its true, you know Romeo and Juliet probably only would have stayed together for a year if they’d survived in the play" he said looking from the book to her bemused expression "two people with so much passion, the real love stories finish before things start to go wrong. Then the memories are left unspoiled by the inevitable break up."

She studied his face and shook her head slowly "how do you know? They defied everyone they met and truly did stay together for eternity, it isn’t about what could have happened, on the contrary, it’s about what did."

He smiled and shook his head "maybe, but it seems to me that it’s the greatest love story of all because they didn’t live happily ever after."

"It’s a shame you think that. Speaking from experience?" she asked quietly.

"No, just the way I see it." He replied honestly.

"Maybe that’ll change, someone will convince you otherwise." She suggested.

"Yeah, they’re welcome to" he said with a small smile.

Her breath caught in her throat as she watched him duck his head. He sounded very cynical and worn out for a seventeen year old that had lived in a small unexciting town his whole life. Then again she wasn’t always known for her optimism and she’d grown up in a small place for all of her seventeen years.

"Liz? Max?" Maria’s hesitant voice drifted up the stairs.

"So, drink?" Liz asked standing up.

He smiled and followed her "you read my mind."

TBC
posted on 28-Oct-2002 7:45:12 PM by Phi
Chapter Six

"Hey, I want the couch." Maria said loudly, hopping in her sleeping bag to collapse onto the couch before anyone else could claim it.

Liz pulled the blanket Isabel had lent her closer around her shoulders. It was only five o’clock and already they were in pyjamas with the curtains closed and various bags of fattening foods being passed amongst them.

Michael had turned up shortly after Max and Liz came downstairs and to avoid Maria, Michael had dragged Max and Kyle outside. The girls had left to spend two hours wandering around the video store before compromising and getting five. By the time they’d gotten back Max, Michael and Kyle had left to get pizza and meet Alex.

So the four girls had claimed the lounge room in their absence and set up bedding, food and videos. Isabel had insisted on bringing down her endless amounts of make up and hair accessories and she was in the process of plaiting ridiculously small plaits out of Tess’ mane of blond corkscrew curls.

To her surprise, Maria had proudly cuddled an almost furless rabbit without a nose and one long ear dangling from a thread. She’d immediately bought out Rupert. It was nice to hold onto something’s of child hood and not feel embarrassed about being so sentimental over a stuffed animal.

Liz smiled and jumped onto the other side of the couch, with her feet on top of Maria’s.

"What’s it going to be first?" Tess called out without turning around, Isabel’s firm grip made sure of that.

"How about you just shove any one of them in without looking" Maria suggested burrowing further into her feather down sleeping bag in bright purple.

"I would if Isabel would let me go,” she complained.

"Fine, I’ll hold onto the plaits while you put in a movie" Isabel compromised tugging Tess gently by the hair over to the television.

The front door opened and laughing and talking could be heard before the door slammed shut "Hey! No need to break the windows." Isabel called out returning to her place in an armchair with Tess sitting on the floor in front of her.

"What the hell, it’s five o’clock, what are you doing down here already?" Michael asked from the doorway. Liz and Maria twisted around in their seats to look behind them.

Kyle was staring open mouthed at Tess or more specifically, her sleeveless pyjama top with a low-neck line, while a dark haired tall and lanky boy in baggy jeans and a hooded sweatshirt who Liz presumed to be Alex was looking at everything in the room except Isabel.

Michael looked plain annoyed and had his semi-permanent scowl in place, which only got darker when he saw Maria. Liz felt her cheeks get warm when she met Max’s steady and heated gaze. She blushed and turned back around so they were behind her, she still felt his stare.

"We’re watching video’s Michael, five of them." Isabel said securing the end of one of Tess’ plaits with a small rubber band.

"For god’s sake, I’ll never understand the female mind" he said with exasperation.

"What a relief, you would go mad with the complexity" Maria retorted picking up a bag of chocolate mints and offering the bag to Liz.

"You still have bears?" Michael said incredulously.

Maria grinned over her shoulder at him "when the guys in this place are like you Michael Guerin, we have to have something with at least half a brain cell to cuddle up to. Oh and I wouldn’t go accusing us of strange habits, what is it with you and that motorcycle? Can you say making up for a feeling of inferiority in certain places?" She turned back to Liz and grinned with an eyebrow-raised. wait for it, she mouthed.

"Excuse me?!…" Michael started.

Pushing him out of the room, Max shot a pleading look at Maria "please don’t get him started Maria."

She shrugged and blew a kiss "anything for you Maxwell."

He rolled his eyes and left the room, sending one last glance at Liz as he went. Alex and Kyle obediently followed.

"Well, now they’ve gone we can watch the movie" Tess said picking up a television remote.

Liz snuggled back into the couch, hugging Rupert. Although the theme music to the movie was starting, her eyes kept wandering back to the place where Max Evans had been standing and watching her. She really needed to call Lilly and the others because if she didn’t know any better, she’d say she was falling for him in the worst way.

***

"Oh that was so sad" Isabel sniffled reaching out blindly for her seventh tissue in the last fifteen minutes "why did he have to die? All the cute guys die!"

Liz watched the tear stained face’s of the three girls around her with great amusement, she’d seen the last film at least three times and had found her self looking for the muck ups in each scene. There was a good half an hour left of this; the second movie and her legs were starting to cramp.

The telephone rang in the other room.

"Get the phone Max" Isabel yelled before biting into a marshmallow.

After two more rings, the phone was picked up. Hushed voices came from the kitchen, Liz turned around to look at the doorway. It had to be her grandparents or Lilly. At least she hoped it was her grandparents or Lilly.

Sure enough Max appeared in the doorway and gestured to the kitchen. She grinned and threw off her blanket stepping over bags of sweets and crisps. None of the others in the room seemed to notice, to caught up in the movie. She reached Max and smiled "who is it?"

"Um, I think it’s your grandma, the line has some static" he explained leading her into the bright kitchen. After the dark lounge room it took a second for her eyes to adjust. Max handed her the cordless phone.

Liz pulled out a high stool and sat down at the table, she watched Max disappear back upstairs "Hello?"

"Lizzie, who was that?" Grandma Claudia asked with laughter in her voice.

"Why?"

"Well, he seemed to be a very polite young man, I was simply wondering what you’re getting up to over there" Claudia laughed.

"Grandma! His name is Max, he’s the brother of one of Tess’ best friends." Liz told her blushing.

"So you’re making friends over there then?" Claudia asked with a mixture of pride and a little worry in her voice.

"Yeah, I suppose Nancy told you I’m at a sleep over" Liz said shivering slightly, not because of the cold but because of how strange it was to hear her grandmother’s voice while she was on the other side of the world. It was deceptively comforting at first then it became disconcerting.

"Yes she did, honey bear do you think that’s wise?"

Liz closed her eyes, the inevitable question. She’d been there throughout the whole traumatic and painful demise of her mother’s health and she’d been beside her when she’d died "I didn’t have a nightmare last night Gram, maybe I won’t get them back at all."

"Sweetheart you would have been so exhausted from the jet lag, tonight…" Claudia trailed off nervously.

"I’ll be fine grandma, if I’m not; I’ll call you" Liz said crossing her fingers guiltily, it would only add to the stress her grandma was already under.

"Well ok then. You’re grandfather has gone down to visit the Mason’s you remember the son don’t you? Well he came back from his job in Frankfurt, did you know…" Grandma Claudia rattled on about the gossip and latest events in the small community, it was nice to hear familiar names.

Finally Claudia sighed, "oh love, I’d better go, you get back to that party and don’t forget to brush your teeth!"

Liz chuckled and wiped away the tears on her cheeks "yes Gram"

"I mean it Elizabeth Ozanne! Have a goodnight and sweet dreams" Claudia said lovingly.

Liz bit her lip and sniffled "you to grandma, I love you"

"Love you to sweetie, Lilly says she’ll ring tomorrow evening your time"

"Ok, bye gram"

"Bye honey bear" the dial tone buzzed loudly in Liz’s ear. She slowly stood up and replaced the phone.

"Liz? Come on you have to tell us if the weird hat guy is the murderer" Tess called from the lounge.

Liz smiled and wiped away more tears putting on a brave face and returning to the lounge.

***

The sound of silence was blessed Max decided as he padded bare foot into the darkened kitchen. Kyle and Alex had fallen asleep after the exhausting task of trying to teach each other how to play the guitar and how to play football. Neither had gotten very far. Michael had fallen asleep while watching the upstairs television.

Even the sniffles and shouts and incessant giggles from the lounge had disappeared, not a moment too soon. It was two in the morning.

He’d been distracted all evening and not by the antics of his friends. Liz was a complete mystery; he’d come back downstairs earlier and heard the last part of her conversation with her grandmother. From what Michael and Tess had told them, Liz had practically begged to come to Roswell. That didn’t sound very plausible after the watery goodbye she’d had with her grandmother.

Despite everything he’d grown up telling himself and hearing from Isabel, Tess and Michael, he was starting to get attached to her even after knowing her for less than a day. Every little quirk about her fascinated him. The way she avoided looking people in the eyes when she was uncomfortable, the way she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth when she was distracted and the way she let her beautiful silky hair fall forward to hide her equally beautiful face.

He sighed and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes as he opened the refrigerator for the jug of water his mother kept chilled in the fridge. He took a glass from the dishwasher nobody had bothered to unload and poured a glass.

Sound of feet coming down the hallway got his attention.

"Max?" Maria’s unusually nervous voice asked.

He put down the drink and frowned, moving over to meet her in the door way "Maria, what’s wrong?"

She sighed and looked back at the lounge worriedly "it’s Liz, I think she’s having a nightmare but I can’t wake her up. Isabel and Tess are deep asleep."

Max pushed past her and hurried to the lounge. Isabel and Tess were in one corner of the room fast asleep with their mouths parted slightly and the blankets kicked off. He glanced at the couch and frowned, Liz was whimpering quietly and tossing her head with a frown of pain on her face. He moved closer and knelt down beside the couch.

"I’ve tried shaking her and talking to her, she won’t wake up" Maria’s hushed and scared voice said from behind him.

He nodded and reached out to cup Liz’s face in his palm "Liz? Wake up, it’s just a dream,” he whispered close to her ear, smoothing back her tangled hair from her damp brow.

She paused in her sleep turning her face towards him but almost immediately she whimpered again, twisting around and whispering something.

Max frowned and leaned closer, his heart constricting when he heard the one word she was whispering over and over "mum."

With no warning, she started to shake.

"Max!" Maria said worriedly.

Before he could answer, Liz’s eyes snapped open "Mum" she cried sitting up and panting, her eyes wild and unfocused.

Max stroked her hair soothingly "it’s ok Liz, you’re ok"

She turned to look at him blankly for a second before recognition swept over her and she shook her head, not able to speak with her tears flowing down her cheeks.

The need to comfort her was too strong, he stood up and gathered her into his arms, blanket and all "shh, we’re here" he whispered cradling her shaking body close. "Maria can you warm some milk and put a bit of honey in it?’ he said quietly stepping over the mess of tissues and chocolate on the floor.

Maria nodded and darted back to the kitchen, Max following her slowly.

Liz clung to him, burying her face against the crook of his neck, listening to the comforting rumble of his voice. She couldn’t stop the shaking, the images of her mother’s emaciated hand reaching out to her lingered around her.

Her throat tightened painfully and she fisted a handful of Max’s shirt in one hand, feeling her fingernails dig into her palms even through the material. She squeezed her eyes shut tightly and let Max carry her; it was a welcome respite from the toil and terror of her dream.

The temperature suddenly dropped a small bit; the air was cool and refreshing, crisp. She opened her eyes and looked around, keeping her head under Max’s chin. They were outside, the back porch. Max sat down in wicker chair and kept her in his arms, cradling her still trembling form close and making sure the blanket was wrapped around her tightly so she was warm.

She closed her eyes again and let the feeling of safety; warmth and concern from Max purge the nightmarish illusions from her mind. The tension slowly seeped out of her and she relaxed against him. Everything around her smelt of Max, an exotic mix of spices and soap that was Max in every way. If she tried hard enough, she could almost forget what she’d seen, almost.

"You ok now?" Max whispered tucking the blanket under her chin and stroking her soft hair.

"Sorry" she whispered not daring to open her eyes and find him gone.

"What? Liz, don’t apologise, ok? Never apologise for anything." He told her "do you want to talk about it?"

She sighed and settled her cheek against his chest, listening to the steady and reassuring beating of his heart "you don’t want to know" she told him.

"I do want to know, if you want to tell me,” he promised her.

Slowly she opened her eyes and watched his hand stroke her leg where the blanket had slipped off "it’s always the same" Liz started softly, she hadn’t even told her grandmother about what happened in the nightmare. She wasn’t sure how to explain it to Max but she knew with clarity that she wanted to try. Liz wanted more than anything for someone, anyone to understand.

"I watched her die over four months and the amazing was that she was always so cheerful even when she couldn’t hold down food and she couldn’t walk, the one thing that broke her was loosing her hair. She had beautiful hair" she trailed off in memory.

"It smelled like salt and pinecones, so thick and pitch black. In the dream she’s at our beach, our slipway and she looks exactly the way she did the day that she died. I see her walking down the slipway further and further into the sea. I’m about six years old in the dream and every time I watch her drown and I’m helpless, I can’t move at all. I watch her die, over and over again. It's so real it's like she's right there, just out of reach. She never says anything until the water's to her chin then...she says something about bells. That's when I wake up, it's bizarre but I think hearing her talk nonsense sort of jolts me awake, I realise it's just a dream."

She shook her head and sighed "god I hate this"

"Hate what?" Max asked quietly.

"Roswell, America, My father" she laughed, a harsh sound without any humour in it "he told everyone I practically begged him to let me come here. Everyone at home fought so hard for me to stay, we tried everything."

"You don't want to be here?"

"No, Yes, god I don't know anymore. Everyone's so nice here; it's so hard to hate them all. I want my friends and my grandma and grandpa and our little cottage on the other side of the road from the beach. This is so unfamiliar, Tess and everyone are so polite and nice to me, if it wasn't for my father being here I wouldn't mind it all so much."

"Isn't he the whole point though? Meeting him and getting to know him, I'd love to know my father." Max said watching her conflicted face.

"Your father...oh I'm so sorry Max, here I am going on about how much I hate Jeff, I'd forgotten you were adopted." Liz blushed and wiped the tears on her cheeks away with the back of her hand.

"No it's fine, I don't remember who my parents even were, but you remember your father leaving. It’s understandable that you’re angry with him,” Max told her.

"It's all such a mess but I can go home soon if Mich..." she trailed off and looked away guiltily "I'm sorry to wake you up and make you listen to my nonsensical babbling."

"One, I was already awake and two, I want to listen to you whether it's nonsensical or not."

There was a hesitant cough; they looked over to the door. Maria smiled and held up a mug "Uh, I couldn't find the honey so you've got warm milk and treacle." She shrugged and passed the steaming mug to Liz before sitting down cross-legged next to the chair "you feeling better?"

Liz blushed and nodded "sorry to cause so much trouble..."

"Hey, don't you apologise! Max, haven't you already told her to stop belittling herself?" Maria protested.

"Yeah, we have gone over that." Max smiled.

"Thankyou" Liz said softly watching the steam from her mug curl up and cloud in the frosty air.

"That's what friend's are for" Maria grinned patting her arm.

Trying unsuccessfully to stifle her yawn Liz blushed "we should probably go back inside."

"You do what you want to do, but that room is to stuffy and Isabel's snoring, I'm going to stay out here awhile."

Max nodded "me to."

Liz shrugged and looked back to the door "oh I can't be bothered, I don't want to fall asleep on you guys though."

"If you go to sleep I'll carry you back in, deal?" Max asked with a smile.

She nodded and took a sip of milk to hide her blush.

"So Max, does Michael snore?" Maria asked lying back and pillowing her head on her arm, looking out at the stars nonchalantly.

"Something tells me one day you'll find out for your self Maria." Max laughed.

Maria's mouth dropped open and she sat up quickly pointing an accusing finger at Max "take that back Maxwell Evans that's blasphemy, if he was the last man on earth I…I’d become a nun!"

Liz bit her lip but couldn't hold her smile "somehow I can't quite see you in a nuns habit."

"Black is slimming" Maria shrugged lying back down.

Max frowned at her bare arms "Aren't you cold?"

"Frozen, you want another blanket?" Maria asked hopping up and rubbing her hands together "I'm going to make some hot chocolate as well"

"I'm quite warm thankyou but I'd love a hot chocolate" Max grinned.

Liz rolled her eyes and looked over guiltily "could you make me one as well, treacle doesn't work as well as honey."

"Sure but be prepared for a sugar rush, Mrs Evans has everything I need to make one with all the trimmings." Maria clapped her hands and bounced back inside.

"She does that a lot." Liz chuckled watching Maria open the fridge and pile ingredients into her arms then close the door with her hip.

"What?" Max asked.

"Bounce" Liz smiled looking back to him.

"Definitely, Maria isn't scared to be her own person, she and her mom are so much alike...but don't tell her I said that." Max paused and watched Liz gaze out at the stars "are you ok now?"

She thought it over for a moment then looked back at him with a small smile "yes, I mean it still gives me chills when I don't block it out completely but I can deal."

"You've done that a lot haven't you?"

"What?" She asked frowning.

"Deal" Max said curiously.

"It's what I do" she shrugged flicking her nails like her mother had done when she was nervous or preoccupied.

"I guess we'll have to agree to disagree again."

She looked up questioningly.

"You disagree on my take of the book while I disagree that you have to deal on your own."

"Fair enough" She conceded. They sat in comfortable silence until Maria came back out.

"Voila, three heart stopper hot chocolates." She grinned handing them each a hot chocolate piled high with cream, chocolate sauce and baby marshmallows.

"How am I supposed to drink that?" Liz asked looking at the sticky sweet cup.

"With great difficulty" Max advised her dipping his finger into the cream and sucking it clean.

"How long have you known each other?" Liz asked leaning back closer to Max without realising it.

Maria did. She grinned and popped a pink marshmallow covered in chocolate into her mouth "lunch time on the first day of school for the year, we were ten. Isabel made friends in a second but Max just sat by a tree in his own little world. I was playing hide and seek and looking for somewhere to hide so I went over and sat down next to him and started up a conversation."

"And Tess and Michael?"

"Well that was a day later..."

Liz smiled and listened to Maria regale her with the exploits of their childhoods. She was finding it harder and harder to keep her eyes open, it was a mixture of the warm sweet drink, Maria’s voice and Max. She could hear the steady beat of his heart and the rise and fall of each breath, plus she was blissfully warm. Every now and then he'd move a little and his arms would tighten around her. All in all, she felt completely peaceful and safe.

The nightmare was fading like a distant memory, in the company of these two fascinating people, all her worries for her grandparents and her fears for Lilly were pushed to the very back of her mind. For the first time since her mother had been diagnosed with cancer, Liz felt like a normal teenage girl and it felt wonderful.

TBC *angel*
posted on 4-Nov-2002 9:59:39 PM by Phi
Thanks for the reviews. I've been neglecting this site lately, If I'm not on fanfiction.net then I'm desperately trying to cram for my exams in a few weeks. Here's part seven, part eight has been written but I haven't really got time to post two parts right now so it'll be on in the next few days *angel*


Chapter Seven


Liz smiled and pulled the blankets around her closer, she'd been having the nicest dream. Her eyes slowly opened. It was still dark and she could feel the presence of someone over her, she blinked blearily. A hand smoothed her hair out of her eyes "go back to sleep Liz" Max's soft voice whispered close by. She sniffed and nodded dumbly; she rolled over onto her side and sighed happily.

"Did she wake up?" Maria's hushed voice drifted over.

Someone pulled her blankets up around her shoulders "Yeah, you might have to sleep on the floor Maria, she's taken up the whole couch to her self."

Maria chuckled "smart girl. I know she said she was ok but that dream...I've never known someone not to wake up when you shake them."

"Actually it's not healthy to pull someone out of a deep dream to quickly. The body gets a shock, its like sleep walking, you faint if you come back to consciousness to fast. I think she's ok now, I'm just worried about the next time she has this dream and wakes up alone." Max's concern was evident in his voice.

"You think we should tell Jeff and Nancy or even Tess?"

Liz wanted to tell them she was fine and not to worry but the warm pull of sleep was just to alluring.

"No, I think we should just make sure that she knows next time she has it that she can talk to one of us or Nancy and Tess. I don't think her father is someone she trusts enough to talk to about this."

Liz felt her self slip under the surface of sleep and let the voices spiral away with the black.

***

"WAKE UP, WAKE UP!"

Her warm cocoon of blankets was ripped away from her and the couch dipped under the weight of three teenage girls jumping on it.

She groaned and turned over onto her stomach, burying her face under her pillow and holding it over her ears.

"Oh no you don't, not if you want home cooked blueberry pancakes and cinnamon toast." Maria said pulling Liz's pillow away.

Liz opened her eyes and sat up rubbing her eyes and staring up at the three annoyingly perky friends "pancakes?"

"With fresh strawberries on top. Come on, get up and try them." Tess commanded leaping from the couch and grabbing her own blanket, slinging it around her shoulders.

"On one condition, could you tone it down a little? Unlike some it takes me about half an hour to wake up." she groaned standing up wobbly and stretching her arms above her head. She lifted up her bag and pulled out her brush, dragging it through the knots until it was all untangled.

Isabel propelled her towards the kitchen "we thought we should show you a bit more around town if I can get the jeep from Max, you've pretty much seen the main street but there are a couple of places where kids from school hang out, you can be taught who to ignore and who not to."

“Why?” Liz yawned rubbing her eyes.

“So you don’t get eaten alive, your interesting and fresh meat, people will be assessing you the moment you walk in the door. From your clothes right down to what subjects you chose, the school is divided into groups. The geeks, the invisibles, the undecided, the popular’s and last but not least, the demi-gods.” Maria chirped coming up behind them.

Liz snorted “demi-gods?”

“Oh yeah, you must have the type where you come from. Haughty and indifferent, fashionable, stuck up and the ones that’ll become anything they want not because of grades but because of looks or daddy.” Isabel rolled her eyes and pushed her into the kitchen.

“You’re just filling me with confidence and excitement here” Liz muttered climbing up to sit on a stool by the counter.

“I wouldn’t worry” Maria soothed patting her on the shoulder and opening the curtains.

“Why not, by all accounts I’m going to be ‘eaten alive’ your words, not mine.” Liz protested.

“Because we’re anomalies, see Alex is a geek, Michael’s an invisible, Tess is an undecided, Max and I are popular and Isabel and Kyle are demi-gods.” Maria said brightly.

“Okayyyy?” Liz frowned, sometimes Maria’s logic was somewhat hard to decipher.

“What miss unsubtly is trying to say is, we’ve all been friends since before high school, when friends were classed as anyone that breathed. You can hang out with us, you’re part of our group now.” Isabel smiled at her.

“Ladies, Ladies, do I smell food?” Kyle’s loud voice announced his entrance.

“That depends, are you willing to unload the dish washer and put in a new load of dishes? Because if you are then that might be food you’re smelling.” Isabel informed him.

Kyle frowned and thought it over for a moment.

“We’ve made pancakes,” Maria told him putting out a pile of clean plates.

Kyle grinned and shoved past Isabel to the dishes.

“So what mind numbingly boring thing are you going to spend today doing?” Maria asked Kyle, sitting down beside Liz and pulling pieces of lint off her sleeves.

“Not much, I’ve got practice all afternoon. Say, how about you lot come down and be my adoring crowd of supporters?” Kyle fluttered his eyes at Maria.

Flicking the fluff at Kyle, Maria smiled smugly “I’m sure Tess would love to.”

The blush on Kyle’s face sent her into peels of laughter.

“Can it De Luca” Michael grumbled walking straight over to the fridge and pulling out a carton of orange juice.

“Michael, Glass” Isabel instructed with her back to him.

“How did you…” Liz frowned.

“I know Michael” Isabel told her simply, looking over her shoulder and pining Michael with a glare.

“Well aren’t you a ray of sunshine” Maria commented watching him with a raised eyebrow “where are the others?”

Michael closed the refrigerator and leaning back against the counter with his glass “Max isn’t anywhere and Alex will be down in a minute.”

“What do you mean Max isn’t anywhere?” Isabel frowned.

“I mean he must have gone out.” Michael told her draining the glass in two gulps.

She opened the microwave and took out a pile of pancakes “Well he better not have taken the car.”

“I thought you said they were home cooked” Liz observed.

Shrugging, Isabel started dishing them out “home cooked by mom, defrosted by me”

“That does me” Kyle grinned slamming the dishwasher door shut and hovering around Isabel.

“I thought it might. Max better get back with the jeep soon, it’s time to integrate Liz into our weird little society.”

***

She knew she should probably get up and start back to her car before the chill cramped her legs and arms completely but Lilly just couldn’t find the strength. The cold uncomfortable granite bolder she sat on jutted out from a sheer cliff and large lumps of stone like hers were strewn across what used to be a small dirt track. Below her the sea crashed against the sharp jagged peaks of half submerged rocks, she could feel the icy spray each time another wave hit.

Her trousers were sodden and clung to her legs, her coat had beads of water clinging to the pale felt but Lilly couldn’t find the energy to care. Eventually she’d get up like an old lady and hobble back across the grassy track and maybe she’d even buy her self an ice cream to use as an excuse for why she went out without telling any one. But the truth was simple; she couldn’t stand being the object of pity in her own house by everyman and his dog.

Usually the dark and cosy two bed roomed house with it’s open fire and narrow stair case was the last place she’d ever want to escape from, but today… today everyone she’d ever met in passing seemed to be turning up on the door step. It was a small place that she lived in and she liked that, except when gossip got around. A small place meant boredom among some and so they diverted more interest into things that didn’t concern them.

The thing that really irked her was the happy front everyone put up and the excuses they made for dropping around.

Her mother seemed relieved to have all these people to talk to, she tried to act like nothing was wrong when Lilly was around and she seemed genuinely surprised when her daughter didn’t try as well. Everyone Lilly knew was known for one specific trait, Tabitha the artist, Katie the romantic. For the last three days Lilly had been puzzling over the not so obvious people. Her mother had always been known for her wind chimes. Whenever they’d gone on holiday Laura had always bought a few strange looking or intricate wind chimes, she called it her hobby.

Lilly’s best friend Liz was probably best known for her music; Liz had played the violin since she was old enough to pick up her mothers. Imogene had been known for many things, her beauty, her intrigue, her music and her time spent on long overseas adventures.

Lilly felt a tear slip down her frozen cheek and let the wind brush it away, she missed Imogene and Liz so much. Imogene had always been like a second mother to her. Both Lilly and Liz had two single beds in their rooms because they stayed over at each other’s houses as much as they were at their own. Now they’d both lost a mother and each other. It hurt so bad she dared not shed more than one tear at a time in case she never stopped. Pushing the pain to the side, Lilly focused back on the one person she couldn’t decide on. Her self.

She liked clothes, friends and her four goldfish, dopey, sleepy, grumpy and Jean-Claude, Katie had named the last one after her old boyfriend. Somehow none of these things appealed to Lilly, she wanted to be known for things other than her bad taste in goldfish names. She frowned and thought hard, ignoring the wind whipping her dark hair around like medusa’s snakes. Suddenly it occurred to her, it had already started happening to Liz, people were forgetting her talent on the violin and instead she’d started being known as motherless. If what Lilly thought … No, what Lilly knew was going on with her own mother, she could see herself joining Liz under that title.

Despite her thick coat, she shivered, bad goldfish names suddenly didn’t seem that bad.

Lilly bit down hard on her lip feeling a warm trickle of blood pool. The bitter metallic taste made her wince but she didn’t mind, this pain she could deal with and then forget about the deeper one that even her mothers medicine cabinet couldn’t fix. She sighed and ever so slowly stretched out her legs and climbed down from the rock. She shoved her hands deep into her pockets and started back towards her car.

What her mother didn’t realise was that Lilly wasn’t so much scared of her dying but what would happen after. Like Liz, she’d grown up here and had loved every moment of it. Some cruel twist of fate seemed to force those who were content where they were to leave while the ones who desperately wanted to get out had to stay. One thing Lilly knew for sure was that if her mother died, Lilly would do everything in her power to get to Liz, because despite what Liz’s dad, the judge or anyone else said, Lilly and Liz belonged with each other and understood each other. No amount of court orders and plane trips would ever break that.


posted on 5-Nov-2002 7:39:08 PM by Phi
Well I'm quite surprised but I've got a brief little break in the midst of chaos so here's part eight *tongue*

qt416073- Yep, Tess, Michael, Isabel and Max ARE aliens *happy*

Thanks for the review roswellluver *angel*

Legna14- Lilly and Liz will be seeing each other again but I have to say that things will have to get worse to get better. Sometimes I get so caught up in writing I can skip vital details so you're probably right to be confused, I'll go back and check but Liz is staying until she's eighteen and no longer a minor. In this I've made that about a year away *shy* Sorry for the confusion.

cglenn- Thanks for the review and the bump *big**big*

frenchkiss70- Yeah, they're all part of the 'I know an alien club'. They've become sort of used to it because they've known for awhile, it'll all be explained in a few chapters.



Chapter eight

Liz smiled happily and flicked her damp plait over her shoulder, she’d gotten the first shower and despite having to put up with banging on the door, from the disgruntled squeal from upstairs she guessed that she was one of the lucky few with hot water. Isabel and Maria were upstairs getting changed, Alex was only just starting his breakfast, Michael and Kyle had gone outside with a basketball and Tess was painting her toenails to match her pink top. Max still hadn’t re-appeared.

Despite feeling like she was betraying everyone at home for having fun, Liz was enjoying her self. Maria was constantly making her laugh and even Michael seemed to be reasonably pleasant when he was with his friends. They were all trying to think of places to take her and things she should know. Beneath all the laughs and smiles she had an uncomfortable feeling, it was almost like there was an undercurrent of something, perhaps it was just her imagination. But she was definitely noticing see the furtive glances they gave each other every now and then, almost like they were looking for permission to talk.

Undoubtedly her perception was somewhat off kilter since she’d arrived but she was becoming more and more sure that there was something they weren’t telling her. She had seen Maria’s face when she’d talked about the picture of Max and Isabel, Liz couldn’t for the life of her figure out what it was nor was she sure if she wanted to.

“Liz?”

She jumped and looked up at Tess’ concerned face, she blushed guiltily “uh, I’m sorry, what did you say?”

“I wondered if you wanted to go out one night to the desert, you can see the stars really well out there. Are you all right, you were somewhere else just then” Tess told her with a smile.

“Sorry, I guess I’m just feeling the jet-lag a bit” Liz shrugged.

“I’m not surprised, I’d be asleep on my feet, especially after the time we got to sleep last night. Do you want to just go home and have a lie down? Isabel can always drag you around town another day.”

Liz laughed and shook her head “no I’m ok, we might just need to stop for a caffeine top up sometime.”

The front door opened and slammed shut.

“ISABEL!” Max yelled.

He stopped short in the doorway to the lounge “Hi”

Tess grinned “where’ve you been?”

He shrugged “running, where’s Issy?”

“Upstairs” Liz told him fiddling with the end of her plait.

He nodded and paused “did you sleep all right?”

Liz blushed and nodded.

Max smiled at her embarrassment and shook his head “you lot going anywhere?”

Tess got up carefully, making sure her wet nails didn’t touch anything “we thought we’d take Liz on a little tour.”

“Well be careful, I ran into Pam Troy, they were hanging around the Crashdown trying not to look like they were searching for Liz.” Max rolled his eyes.

Tess groaned, “Well we know not to go to the Crashdown.”

“Pam Troy?” Liz asked.

“A Demi-god” Tess told her “a real bitch and Isabel’s mortal enemy. Except they’re sarcastically polite to each other, she also has her eyes on Max”

Max shook his head “come on Tess, that’s not true.”

“We can’t quite work out if he’s just modest or oblivious” Tess chuckled.

“Hello? Still here” Max protested then sighed “I’m going to have a shower”

Tess blew him a kiss and winked at Liz. Liz blushed and watched him go.

“Looks nice all sweaty doesn’t he” Tess teased.

“Tess!” Liz protested but smiled despite her self.

“Oh come on, I see that glow you’ve got going on there” Tess grinned sitting on the arm of the couch and wriggling her toes.

“What glow?” Maria asked from the doorway.

Liz turned around and chuckled, Maria was wearing a short jean skirt and a see-through red cardigan over a spaghetti strap top “do you always dress up or is it something to do with Tess’ brother?”

Maria pouted and put her hands on her hips “don’t you start catching the insanity bug this lot seemed to have caught. Now Tess, what was this glow you were talking about?”

“Well a certain person just graced us with his presence and I detect a certain sparkle around Liz” Tess informed Maria, watching with amusement as Liz squirmed and blushed.

Maria walked over to Liz and lifted her chin “you’re right, she’s glowing”

“Stop it would you, there’s nothing going on, I should be so lucky” she sighed.

“Oh there’s something going on and its mutual, I’ve seen the way he looks at you, Max Evans has never looked at a girl that way before. Kiss him and I’m a hundred percent sure he’d kiss you back.” Maria told her firmly.

Liz blinked a bit thrown by Maria’s bluntness. Still, she didn’t believe her “Maria, someone like Max …”

“What do you mean someone like Max? You guys are perfect for each other”

“Maria, don’t” Tess started.

Liz frowned and watched Tess’ almost nervous face and Maria’s indignant one, there was that undercurrent again.

“Why not Tess? He deserves happiness and come to think of it, so does she. Just because he has to be…”

“Maria!” Isabel’s sharp voice cut her off.

Liz, Tess and Maria turned to look at Isabel in the doorway. She clutched car keys in one hand and her purse in the other; her knuckles were as chalk white as her face. She swallowed before taking a deep breath and her brilliant smile returned to her lips like nothing had happened “ready to go?”

“Sure, Liz have you seen my shoes?” Tess asked a little to shrilly.

Liz’s eyes narrowed as she took in the tension “they’re next to you.”

Tess giggled nervously and picked them up “so they are, I’m such a ditz. You got your shoes Maria?”

Scowling, Maria cocked an eyebrow and pointed to the black lace up boots that almost reached her knees.

Liz watched Tess open the curtains and grab her bag; Maria still was watching them sourly. Maria was the one that would be telling her anything Liz realised, should she ask her, Maria would say. It was something to remember. But right now, she had to carry on like nothing had happened and she would, but her happy carefree mood was long gone. She stood up and smoothed out her skirt, slinging her packed bag over a shoulder.

“Should I go and say goodbye?” she asked with a smile.

Tess almost sagged with relief; she shook her head “we’ll meet up at the Crashdown later.”

“Ok then” Liz followed Tess to the door, Maria not far behind her.

The car ride was normal, Tess and Isabel did most of the talking, and Liz asked some questions but didn’t really listen to the answers. She was intrigued by what they weren’t saying. Despite the fear she’d seen on Tess and Isabel’s faces and despite her want of staying tangle free while she was here, Liz was really curious.

Maria looked sullen and it was obvious she was restraining her self from retorting at some things Tess and Isabel said.

By the time they stopped, Liz was bursting with questions.

“I’m just going to get some milk,” Isabel said jumping down and pushing her sunglasses up to rest on the top of her head.

Maria jumped out as well “I’m going to show Liz mom’s shop” she ignored the steady cautioning looks from Tess and Isabel and instead helped Liz down “see you in fifteen.”

She started down the street at a brisk pace. Liz hurried after her.

“Argh! Sometimes they just get me so…” she paused and shook her head.

“What was that?” Liz asked hesitantly.

Maria pursed her lips and looked at Liz “you really want to know?”

Liz’s hand strayed to her mother’s locket “I'm not sure”

“Bright girl. Sweetie it’s not something that I have a right to tell you but please don’t hold this secretiveness against us, it’s nothing bad.” Maria assured her while running a hand through her wavy hair.

Liz nodded and looked around at the people and shops, for such a warm place, she was suddenly very cold. Her gaze ticked over to the other side of the street, specifically to a man sitting on a bench, apparently reading a newspaper. He was rather ordinary looking with short blond hair and a moustache, he was thin and tall with black rimmed oblong glasses perched on his nose, framing pale eyes, pale eyes that were watching her with recognition.

She stopped in her tracks and stared at him, she’d never seen him before but he was creeping her out. He was at least in his early forties and looked like he had quite a bit of money. Suddenly he smiled and stood up, keeping his eyes on her, folding his newspaper and tucking it under one arm. He steeled him self and opened his mouth. Time stood still as she watched his lips mouth the familiar name, ‘Imogene.’

Liz blinked.

“Liz? Liz! Are you ok?” Maria asked shaking her.

Turning to look at Maria, she shook her head, still in complete shock and disbelief “the man, the man called me Imogene” She whispered.

“What? Liz what are you talking about, what man?” Maria shook her head.

“That man…” Liz pointed across to the…empty bench “what? Where’d he go?” She scanned the crowd frantically.

“What did he look like?” Maria asked squinting across the road.

“Tall, blond about forty I…I don’t know” Liz stuttered pressing a hand to her breast, covering her locket “he looked almost Scandinavian and a moustache, he had a moustache.”

“I can’t see him, Liz are you sure…”

“YES!” She said a little to loudly. Liz pulled in a breath and blew it out slowly, trying to calm down “Imogene was my mothers name.”

Maria sighed and put her arm around Liz’s shoulders “well whoever he is, he’s gone. Maybe he knew your mom. Come on Liz, how about we take you home, this can wait.”

Nodding distractedly, Liz let Maria turn her around and start back the way they came. She looked up suddenly “you do believe me don’t you?” she asked anxiously.

Maria squeezed her arm and nodded “yes, I believe you.”

TBC *bounce*
posted on 10-Nov-2002 8:30:48 PM by Phi
Well I certainly got a shock when I saw all the reviews!

Roswellluver, Corrin, Carolina, Sky, Shann, Frenchkiss70- Thanks for the reviews *big**happy**big*

Sablaine- Woah, LOL *happy* Like you, I'm not sure where to start! Thanks for the review! I can't really say to much without ruining the background of the story. Basically, if things look a little to good to be true, they probably are. Now you're even more confused *wink**big*

In upcoming chapters I'll start tackling some of the questions, especially questions four and five *tongue*.

Strawbehrry Shortcake- Thanks for the review. I'm glad someone likes what I did with Tess, I got sick of reading fics where she's the evil Gerbil version *wink**big*

Part nine will be on either tomorrow or the next day *angel*.
posted on 12-Nov-2002 8:53:35 PM by Phi
As promised...


Chapter Nine

The building in front of her loomed ominously up towards the grey sky. So this was what it was like to stand before death and know there was no turning back.

“I’ll see you kids after school, remember you’re on roster Tess. Bye!” Nancy called from out the window and pulled away into the morning stream of traffic.

Yesterday she’d gone back to her room and crashed, slept fifteen hours straight, without dreams or interruptions. She’d woken up before anyone else and started worrying. She’d come to the conclusion that Maria was right, her mother must have known the guy she’d seen. It was complete coincidence. Once she’d had a second of relief she plunged straight into thoughts of the day ahead of her.

Tess stood beside her looking like an excited little girl in baby blue and pastel coloured clothes, Liz had to hand it to her, very few people could get up on a Monday at six am and still manage to look excited. Michael stood on the other side of Tess until he saw Nancy’s car disappear. He walked over to a trashcan and dumped his bag in it before heading back the way they’d come.

“Oh come on Michael, it’s Monday! Can’t you make an effort?” Tess whined.

Michael turned around but continued walking backwards “I got out of bed didn’t I?” he called raising his arms to heaven.

His sister smiled sarcastically back at him then turned around “you ready?” she asked, linking her arm through Liz’s.

“If we left it until I was ready, we’d never go in.” Liz sighed running a hand through her hair.

“You’ll be wonderful” Tess told her shaking her arm “your interesting, pretty and probably a straight A student. You’ll have them all eating out of the palm of your hand.”

The shrill ring of the bell drew the dawdlers outside to start a depressed trudge inside.

Tess started after them, pulling a reluctant Liz behind her. They reached the doors and pushed through. The long hallway was mayhem, people laughed and shrieked, friends embraced and lockers were wrenched open. Everything got a little quieter when people saw Tess and Liz.

Fighting the urge to run after Michael, Liz held her chin up and surveyed the people around her. Despite her disbelief, she found Isabel and Maria had been right; the whole place was divided into groups. She could see Alex talking to some people clutching books under their arms and Kyle, wearing a football jacket and throwing a football from hand to hand, was talking to others with the same jackets, skinny girls in nice but tight clothes were draped all over them. Liz bit back a laugh, it was just so mediocre.

“Heads up” Tess whispered pulling her down the stairs “Pam Troy’s seen you, what ever you do, don’t let her smell fear”

Liz laughed again and rolled her eyes, searching around for the girl nobody seemed to like.

“You must be the new girl everyone is talking about” a falsely sweet voice cooed from behind them.

Liz turned around and smiled, letting Lilly’s advice before she’d left come back to her, ‘people don’t have to know your bark is worse than your bite’. She’d taken that advise to heart when she’d met her father at the airport, she took it again now. Pam was tall, thin and blond but nowhere near as commanding as Isabel. She smiled at Liz and tossed her hair over her shoulder putting a perfectly manicured hand on her hip. She was pretty but definitely high maintenance, her short and tight pink dress showed a little more leg than Liz would have dared.

“Pam Troy I presume” Liz said politely, pulling her self up to her full hight and smiling at the girl without letting it reach her eyes.

Pam inclined her head and surveyed the black sleeveless summer dress Liz wore with approval “welcome to Roswell Liz. I hope Tess has shown you the ropes”

Liz raised an eyebrow and loosely linked her hands in front of her “yes she has thankyou, its quite a…small place isn’t’ it”

“I heard that you come from a small place” Pam replied still smiling, showing off as much bleached white teeth as possible.

Grandma, what big teeth you have, Liz bit down on her tongue to stop the genuine smile threatening to ruin her cool facade, “Yes but it’s very close to England, we spend a lot of time in London, or sometimes Paris” She shrugged “such a beautiful place don’t you think?”

“Yes of course, why don’t you join my friends and I at lunch time, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Roswell so far” Pam nodded her head and sashayed past them to join Kyle’s group.

“Well, did the temperature just hit freezing point, or is it just me” Liz commented eyeing the heels on Pam’s shoes.

“Congratulations Liz, you just got accepted into her group” Tess told her, not sounding too happy.

Liz frowned and looked over at the almost jealous look on Tess’ face. She laughed and patted Tess on the arm “me sitting at her table is about as safe as wandering over to a pack of hungry hyena’s intent on blood and about as likely to happen as me walking away without a scratch, come on, show me where my first class is and where I meet you for lunch.”

She looked around at the hallway and sneaked a look at Tess, she was grinning.

People were staring at her and whispering, she could feel it but she tried to focus on Tess instead “…the teacher is really nice, you can sit next to me. Your second class I’m not in and you’re in a higher science class than me. We’ll check again at lunch, they usually move you around on the first day.”

Tess paused at a locker and fiddled with the lock before pulling it open and grabbing a pile of books “you won’t need anything except a bit of paper for today, come on.”

When she wanted to be, Tess was quite quick. Liz hurried after her down another hall to an unmarked dreary looking room, Tess opened the door and steered her to the second row of desks, the people already in the room stared at her.

“Don’t worry about it Liz. Today will be a piece of cake”

***

Liz was about ready to cry.

It was the third class of the day and the whispered rumours were starting to get to her. The first period had been fine, Tess had produced everything she needed before she even thought of it and she’d even made a sort of friend of the girl sitting on the other side of her, Vicky.

Then came the second class. She’d known no one and had sat at the back of the room fighting back tears at the whispers, some of which were very inaccurate and about her mother. Now she was sitting in science staring at the grey tabletop and trying to block out the voices around her. She wanted to be back home so badly it hurt.

It was all her fathers fault, why was she doing this? Michael had the right idea ditching school.

The door opened again and she sighed leaning her elbow on the table and resting her cheek on her hand. There was a clock above the white board at the front of the room, perhaps it was stuck, surely more time had passed than that! She closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose, maybe she could pretend to be ill and go and lie down somewhere, in another hour she wondered if she would even need to pretend.

“Excuse me, is this seat taken?”

She looked up quickly and smiled.

Max smiled back and sat down beside her dropping his bag on the floor “people are cruel aren’t they”

“That’s one word” she nodded rubbing her eyes quickly, hoping she didn’t have tears on her face.

“What have they been saying?” he asked.

She shrugged and sighed “oh the usual, I apparently got caught smuggling drugs to my mother then I went against peoples wishes and had the illegitimate child of my mothers boyfriend who was in a rock band and finally I fled after a stalker cut my mother up into little pieces. Oh and that’s a couple of the rumours condensed into one if you’re wondering”

Max rolled his eyes and shook his head “you know what I don’t understand? How people with such rich imaginations can get F’s on short story writing.”

Liz laughed and sniffled wiping her eyes again “you know I was thinking Maisy is a nice name for my illegitimate daughter.”

Max grinned and nodded thinking it over “but if the father’s in a rock band, Maisy’s a little normal. She needs to be named after a flower.”

Nodding her agreement, Liz smiled “flowers um, poppy, bluebell…” she trailed off laughing.

“Bluebell, like it.”

They smiled at each other. Liz ducked her head and pushed her hair over her shoulder “thank you” she said quietly.

“What for?” Max asked her.

“For making me laugh” she shrugged and fiddled with her pencil “I haven’t exactly felt overwhelmed with self confidence today, so thanks.”

He shook his head “no problem, you know where to find me if you need to talk.” He frowned and leaned closer to her “I’m sorry to ask you this but Isabel and Maria have been really snappy at each other, do you know what it’s about?”

Liz blushed and nodded, she bit her lip and leaned closer as well “Maria was talking about you, I don’t know what she said that got Isabel and Tess so upset but something did. Maria wouldn’t tell me, she said it wasn’t hers to say.”

Max’s eyes widened and he sat back looking down at the table, his face was paler.

“Max?”

His shoulders slumped and he shook his head “I know what it’s about now, thanks Liz.”

“None of you are going to tell me are you” Liz murmured defeated.

“I’m sorry, it’s just really complicated. Maria doesn’t understand it fully either, it’s better for you not to know” Max told her.

“Then I wish you guys wouldn’t talk about it because I’m really curious and a little annoyed.” Liz told him.

Max took her hand and squeezed it “I know and like I said, I’m sorry Liz, I promise I’ll try not to mention it.”

She watched his hand for a moment then looked up at his face “I still really want to know what it is.”

He watched her for a moment and slowly nodded “I’d be disappointed if you didn’t. Somehow I don’t think it’s in your nature to just give up without a fight.” He let go of her hand and reached down to pick up his bag.

Before she had the chance to reply, the door opened and a dark haired woman walked in carrying a pile of books “good morning all.”

Liz focused on the teacher and rested her hand on her knee, still tingling and warm, she blushed and clenched it into a fist. Max was right; she wouldn’t give up without a fight.

***
For the rest of the day, Liz felt lighter, like the world actually wasn’t out to get her. Throughout lunch she sat with Tess and Maria, they managed to ignore the death glare Pam sent their way, which only intensified when Isabel hugged Liz as she went over to Pam’s table. Kyle had given Liz a wave and Alex gave her a thumbs up with a goofy smile on his face. She felt better for it. Max had disappeared after science; Maria had said something about track. Michael still hadn’t turned up but Tess assured her that he’d be back in time to grab his bag and get picked up with them.

By the time the final class finished, Liz felt triumphant. She and Tess wandered out to the car park and sat down on the curb to wait for Nancy.

“ So you survived, how does it feel?” Tess grinned sifting through her backpack and pulling out a pink lollipop and a black one, she held them out for Liz to choose.

Liz smiled and took the black “like an uphill battle I won today but have to repeat tomorrow.”

Tess shrugged and put the pink sweet in her mouth “fair enough. You know you’ll probably regret ignoring Pam Troy, I don’t think anyone’s ever blown her off before”

“Well, life’s about choices right? I chose people who hopefully won’t backstab me the moment I turn around.” Liz grinned licking her sweet.

A bag dropped down beside her with a thud, she jumped and looked over as Michael sat down beside her “you’re not gone yet” he observed looking out to the road.

“Michael!” Tess reprimanded him with a frown.

“It’s ok Tess” Liz told her and looked out to where Michael was looking “I was contemplating hitching a ride out of here the moment I walked through the door” she told him.

“Why didn’t you?”

“What would it prove? That a group of bored teenagers who want to be there about as much as I do can defeat me? somehow I think today I proved myself more than you did Michael.” Liz looked over to him and smiled when she saw his clenched jaw “maybe tomorrow you can actually make it inside the door before you give up.”

He stood up and looked down at her “I don’t need to prove myself to anyone, I just don’t enjoy being talked to like a five year old by teachers who don’t know a thing about me.” He headed across the car park towards the road “tell mom I’m grabbing my bike, I don’t know when I’ll be back” he called back to Tess.

She nodded and sighed, “why did you do that?” she asked Liz.

Liz smiled, watching Michael’s back disappear from sight “because now, I’ll bet you anything that tomorrow he turns up and at least walks into school, I challenged his pride and I think your brother has a lot more pride than he lets on.” She patted Tess’ shoulder “don’t worry, just wait until tomorrow, you’ll see.”

The dark green van pulled into the car lot and stopped in front of them. Liz got up and pulled Tess to her feet, following her into the back.

“Hi girls, where’s Michael?” Nancy asked glancing in the mirror.

Liz pulled the door closed and slumped down beside Tess “letting off steam.”

Nancy frowned but seemed to accept Liz’s answer “did you girls have fun?” she asked pulling out back into the street.

“Mom you should realise by now fun and school just don’t go together,” Tess laughed kicking off her shoes.

“What was I thinking?!” Nancy gasped and smiled over her shoulder at them “well I have to admit you look a lot happier than I thought you would” she told Liz.

She shrugged and glanced over at Tess “I’m just glad its over” she defended her self.

“Uh huh” Nancy answered not sounding at all convinced, “Tess your working remember?”

Tess wrinkled her nose “I know” she groaned.

“I’ll help out if you want” Liz blinked; she’d said that, that had been her voice!

Tess’ eyes widened and she stuttered, obviously as shocked as Liz “uh…y-yeah, that would be… great. Thanks”

Liz nodded and looked out the window.

“We don’t have a spare uniform at the moment so I’ll just show you the ropes, you know, how to get the milkshake machine to work and what have you” Tess told her “the others will turn up in about an hour.”

Liz settled back in her seat and listened to Tess tell her mother about her day. Another milestone was over, she just wished that she could shake the lingering feeling that something was seriously wrong. The man she’d seen was still puzzling her, only Maria knew what had happened. Denial was slowly beginning to wear off and questions were emerging. It was starting to feel just a little too convenient that he knew her mother and was in Roswell two days after Imogene’s only child moved there. Liz couldn’t do anything about it and that was the hardest part, the not knowing.

TBC
posted on 2-Dec-2002 4:23:51 PM by Phi
Thankyou all for the lovely reviews. The last few weeks have been pretty hectic for me, lots of three hour exams and revision. Sorry I've taken this long to post chapter ten but hopefully *wink* I'll be updating more frequently now the exams are all over.


Chapter Ten


She was swamped. Who’d have thought waitressing was this complicated? Just as she’d learnt how to make a coffee she had to learn how to make a milkshake. They were both drinks, why did they have to be so different?

Liz folded her arms on the counter and dropped her forehead to rest on them; at least she’d had the sense to change into jeans and a white T-shirt. She already had coffee on her top, it was only a few drops but she and stains just didn’t get along, no matter how many washes she put them through, they always stayed stubborn.

“You look like how I feel”

She smiled and looked up at Maria imploringly “can I move in with you? I think the Crashdown’s profits will be diminished if they leave me to waitress.”

“Nonsense, don’t listen to her Maria, she’s doing great.” Tess said pouring a cup of coffee and sliding it over to a customer.

“If you define great as: breaking two plates, spilling one in every two coffee’s and getting bitten by the milkshake machine then yes, I’ve found my calling.” Liz smiled sarcastically and rested her chin back on her arms.

“Well…I’d say one in every three” Tess offered meekly.

“See! Even she can’t deny it” Liz exclaimed.

“Can’t deny what?” Isabel asked sitting down beside her and waving to Max and Kyle coming in the door.

“Hi Isabel, Max, Kyle. Don’t order a milkshake ok? They’ll taste funny for a while” Liz said holding up her finger sporting a large plaster.

“It’s going that well huh?” Max asked with a smile sitting next to his sister.

Liz rolled her eyes “waitresses deserve huge tips”

“Dad’s not around, if you guys want to go out to the back room I’ll just finish up here, Hannah can handle things, its pretty slow today.” Tess said waving them off.

“Thank you!” Liz cried slipping down from her chair and stalking out the back.

The others followed a little slower. Liz slumped back in a chair and took her hair out of a clip “wake me up when it’s over” she mumbled.

Maria dropped down next to her and pulled Kyle down beside her “where’s Alex got to?”

“Band practise” Isabel said immediately and blushed when everyone looked at her “he has it on Monday’s” she murmured defensively.

Tess pushed through the door and pulled off her head band and apron “uh, creep” she muttered.

Kyle sat up “what?”

Tess blushed and shook her head “it’s nothing, some people just seem…strange, without doing anything.” She shrugged and put her hands on her hips looking at all the taken seats “if I get drinks will someone let me sit down?”

“Sure, you’ll move won’t you Max” Isabel said nudging her brother.

He opened his eyes and glared at her “fine” he sighed.

Tess grinned and grabbed Liz’s hand pulling her to her feet “hey!”

“What? You’re in training, come on!”

Liz groaned and dragged her feet, following Tess back into the café.

“What do you want?” Tess asked starting to fill four glasses with different things, she smiled when she saw Liz watching her “they always order the same things, Max and Isabel like cherry cola, Maria likes juice and Kyle likes normal coke. What do you want?” Tess asked putting four glasses on a tray and putting out another glass for Liz.

“Um, orange juice thanks” Liz said.

Tess nodded and pushed the tray over to Liz “go on, use two hands if you need to”

She stared at the tray for a moment, not convinced but lifting it anyway and carrying it carefully back out. She kept her eyes firmly on the drinks, biting her lip until she set it down on a table. Maria clapped “bravo, you’re a natural”

Liz curtsied and laughed, sitting back down.

Tess poked her head back in “Liz, do you mind having apple? We’ve run out of orange”

“Sure what ever” Liz nodded.

“How did your day go?” Max asked taking his glass.

She shrugged “ok, I don’t think I won any brownie points with Pam Troy though.”

“No great loss” Isabel advised her.

Tess came in and handed Liz her drink and gestured for Max to stand up. He sighed but slowly stood up and leaned back against the wall so Tess could sit.

Liz grinned and took a sip of her drink, wrinkling her nose, she wasn’t a big fan of apple juice but this was even more bitter than she remembered. She shrugged and took another sip. Liz watched Kyle watch Tess with a smile, it was sweet the little dance they had going. She turned her gaze to Max and frowned squeezing her eyes shut for a moment and then opening them again. She must be more tired than she’d thought, everything had blurred for a moment.

Sweat popped up on her brow. Liz blinked and frowned, shivering, suddenly not hot but cold. Her stomach felt funny and she pressed a hand to her head feeling dizzy, her throat felt dry and she struggled to pull in a breath.

“Liz?” Max asked looking at her with concern.

She tried to focus on his face “something’s wrong” she managed to get out before coughing violently.

Everyone’s attention was on her. Maria rubbed her back and Max moved over to kneel in front of her, laying the back of his hand on her forehead “she’s burning up” he murmured stroking her cheek “Liz can you tell me what’s wrong?”

She shivered, listening to her teeth start chattering “c-cold, my chest hurts and my eyes are…funny” eyelids fluttered and her glass slipped from her fingers, smashing on the floor.

Max looked from Liz to the glass “the drink” he said looking back at the others “something was in the drink, she was fine before”

“What?!” Tess asked standing up looking concerned.

Isabel and Kyle moved closer.

Maria looked over at Tess “you said something before, someone who looked strange”

Tess shrugged looking panicked “just some guy with a moustache, is she going to be ok?”

Liz grabbed Maria’s hand, her chest heaving, trying to find enough breath to speak “moustache” she managed.

Maria’s eyes widened with realisation “Tess, was the guy blond? About forty?”

“Yeah, yeah he was wearing glasses with black frames” Tess nodded wildly, biting her nails and watching Liz worriedly.

Liz moaned and squeezed her eyes closed, the colours of the room had blurred into one swirl. She whimpered with fear, she was so cold and her whole body felt like it was holding up the weight of a truck, everything hurt. She felt her self slip forward onto her knees, she gasped for breath and felt Max grab hold of her and hold her up.

“Kyle check if the bastard’s still out there, Tess go with him. Maria make sure nobody comes back here and Isabel ring Michael, tell him to get here NOW” Max commanded pulling Liz closer.

“Max…” Isabel started.

“Not now Isabel, I don’t care. GO!” Max shouted. He gently lowered Liz down so she lay on the floor, making sure she wasn’t near the shards of glass “Liz just breath ok?” he told her cupping her face in his hands “look at my eyes, Liz. Ok? You’re going to be ok.”

The room and people around them faded away, Max’s eyes narrowed as he subconsciously pushed away the bombardment of Liz’s memories and instead focused on the physical. Her could feel everything that she was feeling, the cold disjointed numbness, her fear, her homesickness and something else, hope, she was hoping this meant she’d be with her mother. He carried on reluctantly half following her thoughts but using his own knowledge to pin point the strange substance. Poison of some sort, the feeling of malice and fear he felt emanating from the molecules was like a fingerprint left behind by the person who’d drugged Liz.

With difficulty, he pushed away his anger and focused his mind on changing the vile liquid into harmless water. He methodically pulled back, layer by layer from Liz’s subconscious. On the last level he paused and fed her a thought before pulling away completely.

“Max? Max!”

He opened his eyes and looked around at the four anxious gazes of his friends “it was some sort of drug, poison I don’t know which but whoever it was that did this, they definitely targeted Liz” He shook his head and looked down at Liz’s now peaceful face “I made her sleep for awhile, we have to think about what we’re going to tell her.”

“What? How did you make her sleep?” Maria asked.

“Maybe make is the wrong word, I suggested to her subconscious that she should sleep, she can choose to wake up at any time” Max told her wearily “how long was I out?”

“Fifteen minutes, I’ve never seen you like that for so long” Isabel murmured pressing a hand to her heart and sitting down, relief driving away the last of her adrenalin rush.

“It was bad stuff” He shook his head and focused on Maria “did Liz know this creep?”

Maria shook her head and took a deep breath “ok, look I’ll tell you what I know but first we should move her upstairs and wait for Michael and Alex.”

“Dad had to drive to Albuquerque to get the new grill, Mom went to the hair dresser, she should be back in half an hour.” Tess shrugged and crossed her arms over her chest for warmth “this is going to take longer than half an hour.”

“We have no choice, try and delay Nancy for as long as possible,” Max told her standing up then bending down and carefully picking Liz up.

“What do we tell her Max” Isabel burst out staring imploringly at her brother; she didn’t need to hear what he wanted to do, because she already knew. But somehow she thought hearing him say it would make it more real, this girl was still a stranger, the only reason they were letting her in was for Tess and Michael’s security. The girl had to be on side and thinking they were normal, she was less likely to spot the inconsistencies if she trusted them.

Max looked into his sister’s terrified eyes and knew she needed him to be strong but he couldn’t for the life of him find the strength to give her the reassurance that she so desperately wanted “I don’t know Isabel, I really don’t know.”

TBC
posted on 8-Dec-2002 4:10:58 PM by Phi

*big**happy**tongue* AlienDreamer101, the better twin, Natevans, sweetygurl (twice!), viccu, Lullaby, roswellluver, dev688, britterz_8, frenchkiss70. Thanks to all of you for the reviews *angel*.

Rookie- Thankyou *big**happy* LOL, yes I am a ‘closet writer’ but unfortunately I am also a writer with what seems like a hundred and one half started stories. I’m still dabbling so if TMYD goes well then I might try to get another fic on this site.

Legna14- Wow, your art teacher is mean! *sad**wink* Well you’re certainly appreciated here, thanks so much for the review.


Chapter Eleven


Her eyes snapped open and she sat up with a start. The drink, Max, cold, moustache, waitressing. Her thoughts were scattered and disjointed. It took her a moment to string together memories and even then it didn’t make sense. She was in bed, warm and sleepy. Then again…she steadied her self and looked down. She groaned and pressed her hand to her mouth; she was wearing jeans and a white top with a coffee stain on.

The pain was gone and she was breathing easily, even the aches and tiredness from jetlag had disappeared. But none of it made sense, how had she ended up here? She remembered falling to the floor and the pain but not much else, the last thing she could remember was…Max, he had caught her.

“NO!”

Liz jumped and looked at the door, half expecting someone to burst in and attack. After a moment of silence, she cautiously pushed back the covers and stood up stiffly. She slowly made her way to the door, trying to be as quiet as possible, testing for squeaky floorboards before she put all her weight there. Finally she got to the other side of the room and pressed her ear to the closed door. There were definitely voices but they were too muffled for her to hear. She took a breath and rested her fingers on the handle; turning it slowly and pulling it open a crack.

“…so stupid! How could you do this?” Michael shouted.


“Well what was I supposed to do Michael? Let her die?” Max shouted back with as much anger in his voice as Michael.

“Ring an ambulance maybe?” Michael retorted.

“Oh sure Michael, and even if she didn’t die while we waited the police would have been notified and there would have been an inquiry. In case you hadn’t noticed, among the five witnesses are Tess, Max and Isabel. The police would do background checks and I think we can all agree that some pasts are better left untouched.” Maria said angrily.

There was a heavy silence for a moment and Liz strained to listen closer. None of what they were saying made any sense at all.

“Ok so maybe you’re right but you realise we have to leave now. Don’t look at me like that. Max has blown our cover, the second she wakes up she’ll run all the way to the police, I’d have thought you’d remember what telling the police leads to Maxwell.”

“Michael…” Isabel’s voice sounded scared and angry.

“No Isabel” Max said more quietly than before “you’re right Michael, I remember all to well and I have the scars to prove it which is more than I can say for you. They did things to me in the white room that you wouldn’t believe even in your worst nightmares and you know what? I still risked being sent back there because I truly believe Liz won’t say anything, I trust her.”

“This isn’t just about you Max,” Tess added.

“Excuse me? Are you saying you wanted Max to let your sister die?!” Maria shrieked.

“NO! I’m just saying that Max’s life isn’t the only one at stake here.” Tess defended.

“Ok just calm down everyone, yelling about it isn’t going to change anything. Look, Maria and Kyle and I found out and we didn’t turn you in.” Alex spoke up.

“We’ve known each other for years, Liz only just met us four days ago. Plus you guys found out by seeing Isabel change the colour of her top, Liz was healed. Max has only ever healed other aliens and even then it was only ever bee stings and scratches.” Tess said.

“So what? Max saved her life, you really think she’s going to hate him for that?” Kyle countered.

“Look, I would trust Liz with the truth but if you guys don’t want me to tell her that I’m not the only one then I won’t. But if she asks, I’ll still tell her about me, she deserves that much.” Max said firmly.

“You love her don’t you” Isabel said more than asked.

“I trust her Is” Max replied.

“That’s not what I said”

There was a pause “I don’t know Isabel, but I…look can we just leave it at that I her trust her?”

Liz blinked and pushed the door closed again, she backed away from the door staring at it blankly until her legs hit the side of the bed. She sat down heavily. She hadn’t heard what she’d just heard; she was delirious or still asleep. Better yet, they were delirious. Liz pressed her hand to her chest remembering the searing pain and the fear that had consumed her; it felt like it had only been minutes ago.

Something was terribly wrong here but she could think of no logical reason other than she had gone mad and that this was some strange delusion she was having.

Her stomach twisted painfully, she didn’t really believe her theory no matter how much she wanted to. Aliens, sure she believed there were things that couldn’t be explained or disregarded, but Tess and Michael Parker? The girl she’d grown fond of despite her self and the boy she had a grudging respect for? Then there was Max and Isabel; sure Isabel always look unusually perfect and secretive but alien? And as or Max, He was mysterious and she’d never met any guy quite like Max but wouldn’t she have sensed something this huge in him? Even after all her denial and reasoning, she had to admit, she’d started to fall for him.

But she had known.

She whimpered and drew her legs onto the bed and hugged her knees to her chest, all along she’d felt that there was something they weren’t saying. The furtive glances, the picture of Max and Isabel, the outburst from Maria and Max’s face in science. Come to think of it, there were many little ‘moments’ and a general abnormality about the group. The nail varnish on Max’s book, Isabel had said ‘you can get it off easily’, how did you get almost an entire bottle of nail varnish that was half dried on off a page? Then there was what Tess had told Liz on the way to the movie’s and Maria had echoed that by the picture, Tess and Michael had been found wandering in the desert when they were six, so had Max and Isabel. Tess and Michael hadn’t spoken English, neither did Max and Isabel. They’d even been found within a few days of each other by all accounts.

Everything about them was strange, Max and Isabel’s fear of the flashes from a camera and even Michael’s over protectiveness of his family and friends, like he was expecting an attack.

She trembled and shook her head, healed. The logical side of her was deep in denial but the rest of her…god forbid but she was actually starting to believe.

The door to her room clicked open.

Max stopped short when he saw her wide-awake and trembling, her dark eyes were wide and scared and very confused. He glanced behind him and pushed the door shut “Liz?”

She let out a shaky breath and shook her head, staring down at the bedspread “I’m going mad aren’t I, I’m having delusions and I can’t tell what’s real and what’s not.”

“You heard” Max whispered looking down and closing his eyes. He shook his head wearily and opened them again “oh god. How much did you hear Liz?”

“Nothing, because it’s just a dream. Max please, say it’s just a dream,” she begged looking back up at him imploringly, desperately.

He took a step forward and stopped short when he saw her flinch “you were poisoned Liz, you were barely breathing and your heartbeat was slowing down. About eleven years ago Isabel, Michael, Tess and I were found in the desert. We all came from the same place Liz. Please listen until the end before you ask questions because it won’t make much sense to begin with, I don’t even know if it will when I’m finished.”

She nodded slowly and moved over to sit with her back to the wall so that he could sit down.

“In nineteen forty-seven a UFO crashed in Roswell, not a weather balloon. The government cleaned up the site before the word even got out. They found at least one alien at the crash site and possibly another one further away from the ship. But by the time they got there four…incubation pods from the crash had already been hidden in the desert. Eleven years ago four children broke out of those pods, they looked completely human and didn’t remember anything about whom they were or where they were. They were confused so they decided to walk until they found someone. They didn’t get far before they saw headlights in the distance. Two of them were nervous and ran away but the other two carried on walking.

A very nice couple found them and after awhile spent in an orphanage, the couple managed to adopt the boy and girl. They always knew they were different, they could manipulate the molecular structure of an object; change basically anything like the colour, the shape, and the texture of it. The girl could also watch other people’s dreams in her sleep and the boy after lots of practise on small intentional cuts figured out how to heal. It wasn’t until they went to school a year later that they met the other two children again. The four became very close and practised their powers in secret. The other boy could blow things up while the other girl could make people see illusions, something or someone that wasn’t really there.

A couple of years later, they made other friends but they continued to lie about whom they really were because they were scared. Then when they were fifteen, the friend’s saw them use their powers, things started to change. The friend’s excepted them but weren’t as used to lying as the other four, people got suspicious and one day some people came, people from the government. They took the boy away and locked him up in a room. They did…terrible things to try and make him talk. He was only there for two days before the others got him out but he was … changed, all of them were. They were scared of their own shadows and became very focused on blending in and being absolutely normal.

They made other friends but stayed pretty much with each other, they didn’t try to find out who they were like they’d used to, they were scared about what had happened, even though no one ever talked about it. Then when they thought they’d buried them selves so deep in the lie that no one would ever see the truth, a girl came along with lots of her own secrets. She got under their skin with her beautiful eyes and her kind heart. She got sick. Everyone was so scared and didn’t know what to do. If they helped her, would she send them all back to the room no one ever talked about it? But when the boy saw her lying there with indescribable terror in those beautiful dark eyes he couldn’t let her die, he wanted the pain and fear to stop. So he healed her.”

Liz stared at him.

Max sighed and looked away, over to the window.

“How does it end?” Liz whispered so quietly Max wasn’t sure she’d spoken at all.

“I don’t know, its up to the girl to say the rest.” Max told her turning back to watch her. She looked so conflicted, torn between believing and running.

“What if the girl doesn’t know?”

He shook his head “she knows, she just hasn’t realised it yet. She can choose to believe it’s just a pretty fairytale or she can choose the other option.” He stood up and put his hands in his pockets, hunching his shoulders “you should probably rest, Nancy will be back soon.” Max said turning to leave.

“Wait”

Max stopped and slowly turned back to her.

She uncurled her legs and kneeled on the bed staring up at him “why?”

“What do you…” He trailed off when she placed her finger over his lips to silence him.

“Why did you save me Max, if what you say is true…you risked being hurt again. Why?” She whispered staring at him.

“I couldn’t let you go through what I’ve been through, be so close to death that you want it. You deserve more than that.” Max said equally as soft.

In that moment, the fog lifted, every fucked up thing in her life just seemed so clear. Here she was in a place she’d never wanted to be in, with a man she’d told her self she’d never wanted to see and every logical part in her was being smashed by the much greater want to believe in something that had no logic to it at all. Looking into Max’s trusting eyes, Liz wanted more than anything for what he’d said to be true. This was a turning point, if she let Max Evans walk away believing she hated him then there would be no turning back, no more Max Evans or the people arguing a few doors down in her life. The Max she’d come to know was exactly the same, he was just even more special. If she let him walk, or indeed if she walked, she would become what she hated, her father.

That was something she couldn’t become, someone who abandoned the people who looked out for them, wanted them in their lives. So what if Max was different? What he’d said about wanting to know his real father, she understood now. All of them were so brave; they had no idea where home was or if they had family and friends waiting for them somewhere. They knew nothing except that people were scared of things they didn’t understand, that they would be hurt if they let people see who they really were. And now Max trusted her with his life, she just hoped she had as much courage as he did.

“Thankyou” she said finally.

Max shook his head “no, I should be thanking you. I presume this means that the girl’s found out what the rest of the story will be”

Liz managed a smile and got up off her bed, stepping closer to him “the girl’s going to start her own chapter” she told him rising onto her tiptoes and brushing a feather light kiss over his lips. She ducked her head, slipping past him to open the door.

Max touched his lips hesitantly and smiled turning around to look at her. Liz had changed everything; he only hoped that it didn’t mean that by changing them, she would be changed as well.

TBC

posted on 16-Dec-2002 5:28:06 PM by Phi
My muse decided to go on an unannounced trip to places unknown *wink**tongue* She's back now but I'm sorry about the wait. Hopefully I'll have a little more inspiration when I write the next part.


Chapter Twelve

The clamouring, pushing crowd and the constant racket around her had started to give Liz claustrophobia. Lunch was supposed to be a time to relax, rest and be re-energized for the afternoon. The cafeteria itself was tiring enough with out the hoards of bustling hurried kids trying to beat the line.

She pushed away her tray of untouched processed foods and leaned her head down to rest on her arms.

Two weeks had passed since she’d found out. Michael and Isabel had avoided her completely while Alex, Maria and Kyle treated her like cut glass. The only two people that treated her the same were Max and Tess. Tess seemed almost relieved to have another girl to talk to about ‘everything’; she’d given Liz little demonstrations of what she could do like making Liz see snow falling from the ceiling. Max seemed less tense and guarded but he still was a little nervous in regards to talking about the alien side of their lives.

They’d pretty much stayed distant from each other like it was some unspoken rule; see how long it takes for Liz to crack. Little did they know but Liz felt fine, she’d even go so far as to say happy. Tess was becoming a very good friend as had Maria, even if the relationship was a little strained of late. One thing she had noticed was that her defences were up, the slightest thing would catch her attention and she found her self looking around for Max, she’d seen that with the others as well. Max was the obvious leader in the group.

As far as the moustache man, they hadn’t seen any sign of him at all. Everyone was concerned for her, it was easy to see from the way they treated her, like animals did, they travelled with the sick and young in the centre of the pack so they could be on the outside looking for a threat. Bad analogy but a just one.

Nancy had kept her distance from Liz while Jeff sort of hung back, watching. They both seemed a little confused by the quick but strong links Michael and Tess’ friends had developed with Liz but they looked genuinely pleased about Tess and Liz’s closeness. Neither looked surprised or worried about Michael’s borderline hostility towards her, it seemed he was like that with most people.

After the hectic two weeks of being in Roswell, Liz had found, much to her relief that Pam and her crowd hadn’t really bothered her. Maria told her constantly she was part of the popular crowd, whatever that meant. She found the work about the same as at home and the teachers seemed to like her. Maria also teased that she had a good balanced diet of high school that meant she’d be a happier healthier teenager all around. After meting Amy De Luca, Liz agreed with Max that Maria and Amy were very similar.

As for home, the phone calls had been reduced to one every other night after a look Nancy had given Liz. So far Liz had only spoken to her grandparents and one time had caught Tabby who was over visiting the Ozanne’s. Lilly so far had either been to busy to come to the phone or out, it was obvious she was avoiding speaking to her and it had Liz very worried. Tabby had been vague when Liz had asked about Lilly; it wasn’t that Tabby didn’t know but that she wouldn’t say.

Liz sighed and closed her eyes trying to block out the noise, she could very easily fall asleep on her feet at this point. She was having the nightmare at least once a night but she’d taught her self to sleep on her front so that if she screamed, the pillow muffled it. No one knew, Maria was to distracted with work, her mother and bickering with Michael to notice but Liz thought that Max might be starting to figure it out since she’d caught him staring at her a few times, not that she particularly minded.

Still, it was Friday today and people seemed to have gotten the message that she was NOT a morning person, for their own sake they let her sleep in on Saturdays.

“Roswell that depressing?” Maria asked from behind her.

She smiled and opened her eyes but didn’t move “something like that”

Maria sat down next to her dumping her bag on the table “you know our table is only a few rows away”

“Even in here, the silence at that table if I was at it, would be deafening” Liz chuckled watching Maria take out her lip-gloss and expertly applying two more layers.

“No it wouldn…” she trailed off and pursed her lips, thinking about it for a second “maybe your right, oh well their loss, my gain.”

“You don’t have to do that Maria. You’re as uncomfortable around me as they are, but for the record, I won’t break if you want to mention anything alie…”

Maria shook her head and cut her off “no A word in public, I’ve become fond of the term ‘Czechoslovakian’ but you’re welcome to use your own substitute.”

Liz laughed and rolled her eyes “ok then, Czechoslovakian.”

“I’m sorry chica, I know I’ve been MIA for awhile. I guess I was trying to give you time to adjust. It took me about a month and a good yelling match with Michael to get over the shock.” Maria smiled fondly.

“Well, I’m adjusted.”

“Yeah I know you are, you’re tougher than me, that’s for sure.” Maria sighed and folded her arms on the table “I would be a complete basket case if I’d found out about Czechoslovakia the way you did.”

Liz lifted her head “I don’t think there would be any way to break it to someone lightly.”

Maria nodded “I suppose. Anyway, have you kissed Max yet?”

“MARIA!” Liz protested rolling her eyes and sitting up properly.

“What? So you’ve found out he’s Czech and not American, nothing’s holding you back, that is if you still…glow when he’s around.” Maria shrugged peering at her closely.

“Can we not have this conversation” Liz blushed looking over to the lunch queue.

“Oh my god, you’ve kissed him!” Maria exclaimed grabbing Liz’s arm.

“What? How did you…I mean, no I didn’t.” Liz stuttered trying not to look Maria in the eye.

“Yes you did, Liz I’m so sorry I haven’t been there to plug for details but I promise I’ll do my best now. SO?!!!” Maria squeaked.

“Maria, it was not a … big deal” Liz shrugged flicking her nails anxiously.

“Oh Puhlease. You kissed a Czechoslovakian Liz, you are the first of all of us.” Maria informed her.

“What do you want me to say? It was heart stopping, mesmerising, blissful and like tumbling down into oblivion? Well, ok it had the potential to be all of the above but honestly, it was hardly a kiss at all it was just … thankyou, the guy saved my life, it was either that or a card.”

Maria watched her with scepticism “right, hardly a kiss at all and it had the possibility of feeling like all of that? Do you think I was born yesterday?”

“Has anyone ever told you that you have a very distrustful personality?” Liz asked standing up and grabbing her tray and bag, hoping to escape Maria’s scrutiny.

“Not distrustful, perceptive. You two have this whole deep connection thing going on, like you’ve known each other forever, you’re head over heels in love with him. Now spill”

“Look, it lasted barely two seconds and we haven’t even acknowledged that it happened, it was thank you.” Liz told her dumping her tray and heading out into the corridor. She turned to look at Maria just outside the door.

“Ok, I’ll leave you alone if you answer me the two simple questions that will define everything.” Maria said placing her hands on her hips. She smirked when she saw Liz’s resigned nod “was it on the lips and did either of you look embarrassed afterwards?”

“Fine, yes and no” Liz answered crossing her arms over her chest.

Maria laughed and started walking away from her.

“What?” Liz called.

Maria turned around but continued walking backwards “I have three words for you, head over heels.”

***

The blackness enveloped her, it took a second before her eyes adjusted to the dark and even then she lay perfectly still. She couldn’t move, it was like the spectra of her nightmare was lingering around her, hovering over her back, waiting for her to roll over and come face to face with it. After a few minutes her racing heartbeat slowed down somewhat and her skin felt cold and clammy from sweat. Finally she gathered the courage to roll over, there was nothing there, there never was.

It was childish really, nightmare monsters stopped appearing when you were a kid but it always got to her. The fear sort of condensed and expanded from the dream plane, clinging onto her even after she awoke. Liz twisted around and pulled her self up to sit against the wall. It was a cool night and she could hear the gentle sighing of the wind outside her window, she dragged a hand through her hair, pulling away the damp strands that clung to her forehead.

Maybe it had been the shock of knowing someone had tried to kill her that had made the dream change, perhaps it was just being so far away from home, what had done it didn’t really matter. The dream was exactly the same except now instead of being calm and still, the water was rough with large waves and the sky was almost black, lit up with bolts of lightening out to sea. The clouds almost writhed in the sky, like she was watching them on fast forward. Her mother was exactly the same, in her night dress with her bald head water slamming into her and making her pale pink nightdress almost see-through and sticking to her gaunt body.

It was so real that Liz could feel the gritty sand granules that were picked up by the wind, stinging her skin. Her fringe kept getting in her eyes and her pink and white sneakers with curly elasticised pink laces felt like they were glued to the slipway. The shoes and hair was what made her believe that she was only about six or seven in the dream, she remembered picking out those shoes for school and she’d grown out her fringe when she was seven.

She let out a shaky breath she hadn’t realised she’d been holding and pushed back the covers. She padded over to the door and pulled it open, wincing at the impossibly loud ‘click’ it made. Tess had a habit of sleeping with her door completely open and seeing as her room was right next to Liz’s, it made sneaking around hard.

Keeping her hand against the wall for guidance in the dark, Liz tiptoed past Tess’ room and to the kitchen. She curled and uncurled her toes when they touched the cold tiled floor but carried on blindly to the refrigerator. The little light blinked on when she opened the door.

“I had the last of the orange juice, sorry”

She squeaked and whirled around. The small light didn’t cast much light around the room but she could see the person’s silhouette in the shadows “Max! What are you doing here?” She whispered accusingly.

“Nice to see you to. Michael rung me about an hour ago, said he had a dream or a vision or something. Anyway he wants to go out to the Mesaliko reservation, says it’s important. He’s writing a note, explaining he went out running.” Max said, his voice hushed.

Liz pressed a hand to her chest, feeling silly for being so jumpy “a vision, is this another…power?”

Max chuckled “no, Michael has ‘visions’ every other week, he’s the only one of us that desperately wants to find out where we come from. Still, we humour him. As you might have noticed, Michael’s ego is delicate.”

She went back to the kitchen door and closed it as quietly as she could, feeling around the wall for the light switch. She blinked and squinted trying to get used to the bright light and then went back to shut the refrigerator “you can humour him at two in the morning?” she asked glancing at the blinking digital kitchen clock.

“I’m used to it” Max shrugged.

“Why this me…, reservation?” she stuttered pulling her self up to sit on the side bench.

“There’s a man there, Riverdog, he knew the person that hid us in the desert, he called him Nasedo, it means visitor. We don’t know what happened to Nasedo, he disappeared but there’s a cave that Riverdog led us to, it’s where we were…born I suppose.” Max explained dragging a hand through his tousled hair.

“You look like you only just woke up” Liz smiled sympathetically.

“So do you. You’re still having the nightmare aren’t you” Max asked.

She blushed and looked down at her hands “sometimes. Honestly, I’m ok Max.”

“Let me guess, you’re dealing”

Liz looked back at him and nodded.

He sighed and pushed away his glass “I won’t push it but you know you don’t have to hide it…”

She nodded again and rolled her eyes “I’m fine Max, don’t worry about me. Out of curiosity, what does Michael think he saw?”

“The cave that we were born in, some guy and an eye.” Max replied still staring at her with such intensity it made her tingle.

Trying to shrug it off, Liz focused on thinking about Michael and this dream “no offence, but what do any of those things have in common?”

“Probably nothing, visions or flashes are usually pretty impressionistic.” Max told her.

“You’ve had them?”

He smiled and nodded but didn’t elaborate as to where, “the best way to describe them is that there are two kinds. One is when you touch something that has been in a situation or in contact with someone that is dangerous or scared, because of a really strong emotion or situation, they leave behind something like a fingerprint of what’s being seen or felt. The second type is when you physically touch someone, there’s this sort of connection that forms, and you see things that that person feels strongly about, their biggest fear, their biggest hope or wish. Things that are always in their mind.”

Liz frowned “which did Michael have?”

Max smiled and shook his head “Michael has his own way, it’s similar to how Isabel manifests her self in dreams. Michael projects such an impassioned, fiery aura that dreams are sort of pulled towards him. Even he can’t describe it fully.”

“So you’re going out into the desert?” She asked nonchalantly.

“Yeah”

“You know I’ve been told that I have to go out there one night, apparently the stars are beautiful.”

“No way, you can’t come with us” Max shook his head adamantly.

“Why? I won’t wander off or anything. Please Max, please?” She pleaded pouting stubbornly.

He looked away with a smile, trying not to look back at her big dark pleading eyes “no Liz, it could be dangerous”

“You said that you only do this to humour Michael” Liz reminded him jumping down.

“I know but…” Max trailed off when he felt a hand on his knee.

Liz grinned up at him from where she knelt in front of him “please, I promise I won’t go off on my own.”

He stared down at her then finally sighed and rolled his eyes “fine”

She squealed and stood up hugging him quickly. Immediately she blushed and glanced away, berating her self for being so forward.

“Go and change, we’ll meet you downstairs in fifteen minutes” Max said quietly “I’ll try and convince Michael not to blow a fuse.”

TBC
posted on 27-Dec-2002 3:30:31 AM by Phi
Hi all, hope you had a fantastic Christmas and got showered with presents. Apparently a laptop and a telescope are to big to be stocking stuffers but hey, maybe next year I'll buy a bigger stocking*wink**big*

I'm going away on a holiday soon but I should hopefully get one more part out after this one. Thanks for the reviews and here's Part Thirteen *angel**tongue*.


Chapter Thirteen

Liz wriggled further into her black sheep skin coat, silently thanking the sheep that’d made it. Who’d have thought that a desert area could get so cold at night? Michael was still muttering about her from where he sat in the passenger seat, she doubted he was singing her praises.

The Jeep was open air which added the wind chill to the already crisp night but it also meant she could see the stars. Whoever had told her about the stars had been right, everything around them was completely black and the stars shone brighter than she’d ever seen. There was a definite tension in the air, she felt like there should be men chasing them with semi-automatics.

She instinctively reached up and grabbed her locket, tracing the smooth surface and feeling the cool metal warm up in her hand. She’d contemplated taking it off in case she lost it but she hadn’t been able to, it felt like her good luck charm even though her luck of late couldn’t really be classed as ‘good’. It felt wrong to ever not have it with her, so she left it on.

A cluster of lights appeared in the distance and Michael’s murmurings stopped.

“Where do you want to go?” Max asked glancing at his friend’s set face in the darkness.

“Riverdog, he’ll know what to do” Michael told him.

Liz remained silent and just watched as they got closer and closer to the cluster of buildings, Max pulled off the road and down a small track. She could now see a bonfire a bit behind the first wooden building; silhouettes of people around it could be made out. The jeep stopped and Michael and Max got out. Liz bit her lip only hesitating for a second before standing up and lifting the hem of her long coat and jumping down after them.

“Liz” Max started gripping her arm.

“I said I wouldn’t wander off and I won’t, I’ll stay right next to you and Michael” She told him tossing her two plaits over her shoulders and taking Max’s arm “come on Max”

He sighed and she thought he might have smiled but in the dark she couldn’t tell, “Stay close.”

She grinned and nodded letting him go and following behind them. Rhythmic chanting drifted toward them from around the fire, Liz watched almost entranced as something was thrown on the blaze and sparks shot up into the sky. Someone slowly and stiffly stood up from the group and started towards them.

“That’s Riverdog, he might tell you to stay behind, he was hesitant to let the others see the cave because they’re not like us” Max whispered to her.

Liz watched as an old man stopped in front of them. There was a look about him that demanded respect, the wisdom and intelligence in his dark eyes commanded attention. Every movement seemed smooth and precise, she stared at him with awe and in turn he stared at her like she was a new mystery to be unravelled. He nodded once and turned to Max “I knew you would come. Follow me.”

He turned around and started back towards the group, taking a torch from another person in the circle and lighting it from the bonfire. Max and Michael followed him immediately. Despite their obvious trust, Liz stood still and stared at the figure of the old man, making out his lined face in the dancing light cast from the fire.

“Liz?”

She tore her eyes off Riverdog and turned to look at Max who’d stopped and was looking back at her, holding out his hand. Michael had carried on but Riverdog had turned and was also looking at her, like he was assessing every move she made in a manner that was profoundly disturbing. She glanced back at the jeep then back to Max’s reassuring smile and she stepped forward. Riverdog’s eyes seemed to dance in the poor light but with something that kicked her heartbeat up, respect and approval. She almost ran the last few steps and grabbed Max’s hand, she didn’t care if she was being forward, the whole place was freaking her out.

They stood on the borderline between the desert and civilisation, the land stretched out before them, shrouded in a blanket of shadows. “Something is coming, it’s in the air” Riverdog told them looking out towards a faint outline of rocks “I don’t know if it is good, you must be prepared for danger.”

“I had a vision of someone running” Michael told him putting his hands in his pockets and frowning with concentration, trying to bring back the details of what he’d seen “and an eye, a symbol of some sort.”

Riverdog nodded and continued to stare out at the desert, apparently not at all surprised. He refused to meet their gazes “I can’t tell you the answers you are looking for, they will find you them selves. It will be soon, but I can’t tell you if they’ll be answers to the questions you wish to understand now or to questions you don’t yet know to ask.”

There was silence for a moment while they muddled over his words.

“Can we go out to the chamber?” Max asked breaking the silence.

Riverdog finally looked over at him and then down to Liz who was standing as close to Max as possible, staring at Riverdog with distrust. He smiled “of course.”

“Wait, you don’t mind her coming?” Michael asked sounding disappointed.

“She must see what she needs to know if she is to help” Riverdog advised handing the torch to him.

He started back towards the fire but paused by Liz “remember little one, you must decide your own path”

Liz frowned and watched him leave with confusion; she glanced up at Max questioningly. He shrugged and looked back as well.

“Are you coming?” Michael asked sounding irritated and impatient.

Liz blinked and looked out at the unknown shadowy terrain. She was a water baby, raised next to the sea. Desert was something she didn’t know anything about, especially at night, what silently stirring creatures lived out there? She shivered and with the hand that wasn’t gripping onto Max’s like a life line, clasped her locket and brought it to her lips, kissing the warm metal lightly. Liz nodded once and let Max pull her forward.

The chanting from the fire slowly became more and more distant as they got further and further into the desert, the flickering flame from the torch the only light. Everything looked the same to Liz, the rocks, and sand and small bushes, but Max and Michael seemed to know the way they were going so she tightened her hold on Max and let him lead her.

She was looking around at the sand and rocks, wondering if any of the little mounds were homes to snakes when she was pulled down and a hand muffled her shriek. She trembled and stared at Max. He and Michael had ducked down behind some boulders and he’d pulled Liz down with them gripping her around the waist and holding her close. Michael peered over the rocks and quickly pulled back.

Liz stared at them with wide eyes. Max slowly took his hand away from her mouth and pressed a finger to his lips, telling her to be quite. She nodded and stared up at the night sky trying not to hyperventilate and listen intently at the same time. A jagged point of rock was digging into her hip painfully but she dared not move even a fraction of an inch. Michael, smothering the flame in the sand, extinguished the meagre light.

Steady footfalls on rock got closer.

Closing her eyes tightly, Liz ducked her head and pressed closer to Max. Why hadn’t she listened to him? She should be tucked up in bed, counting water stains on the ceiling and drinking caffeine to keep her self from slipping back to sleep and into another dream. Max cupped her cheek and pulled her head down under his chin, hugging her tightly.

The footsteps stopped. Liz almost whimpered. She could hear the person’s heavy breathing, whoever it was, was standing almost directly on the other side of the rock.

After a pause that seemed to last a life time, there was a muttered curse and the person seemed to turn around and head back the way they’d come.

She heard Michael move slightly, presumably to check if the person was gone.

“That was the guy,” he whispered, “the one I saw in my vision.”

Max moved slightly but he didn’t let go of Liz “has he gone?” he whispered.

“Yeah, come on, we have to go after him” Michael whispered back anxiously.

This time Liz did whimper.

“We’re going home Michael” Max told him firmly.

“What? Maxwell I saw him” Michael protested his voice rising.

“Keep your voice down. Michael that guy knew we were out here, he was looking for us and you want to be found?” Max asked incredulously “you heard what Riverdog said, we could be in danger, we can’t risk it.”

“Max, he might know where we come from, who we are…” Michael said angrily.

“Or he might be working for the FBI, Michael think about it. You know what he looks like, if he’s looking for us then he won’t give up, there will be another time but maybe then it’ll be on our ground, on our terms and with Isabel and Tess there to help.” Max replied sounding just as angry.

Michael didn’t reply.

“Come on Liz” Max said standing up and pulling her up with him.

She opened her eyes but kept her head resting against Max’s shoulder, she stared down at Michael’s angry and confused expression “please Michael?” she asked quietly, not knowing if it would only provoke him to want to go even more.

He stared up at her scared face and Max holding her tightly “fine” he finally ground out.

Liz sighed and drew away from Max but kept her arm around his waist.

“You ok?” he asked her wrapping an arm around her shoulders and tugging lightly on a plait with the other.

She offered a shaky smile and sniffed “terrified” she admitted swallowing heavily and glancing around at the shadows “can we go?”

Max stroked her cheek and nodded starting back to the jeep, even without the torch he seemed to know exactly where to go.

Liz stayed silent even when they reached Riverdog, Michael stopped to talk to him but Max carried onto the jeep and helped her into the passenger seat. Michael lifted an eyebrow when he returned but didn’t say anything.

Everything seemed a little more ominous on the way back. The stars had lost some of their sparkle and the black had turned into a viscous smothering weight she couldn’t wait to escape from. She could feel Max’s worried gaze on her every now and then.

She barely noticed when they reached the outskirts of Roswell, she really only noticed where she was when the jeep pulled to a stop in front of the Crashdown. Liz blinked and looked around when Max tapped her on the shoulder. She struggled down and followed them inside and upstairs.

Michael closed Tess’ door “If you want to stay, the sleeping bag’s under my desk” he told Max and went through to the kitchen to rip up the note he’d left.

Max sighed and gently guided Liz to her room, closing the door behind them and turning on the light. He watched her with concern, she was in shock, the adrenalin had worn off and she looked exhausted. He carefully took off her coat and dropped it onto the end of her bed “Liz?”

She blinked and looked up at him with a start “sorry?”

“Are you ok… what a stupid thing to say, of course you’re not ok” he shook his head and looked away guiltily “I’m so sorry I put you in that situation”

“What? Max I wanted to go” she reminded him, feeling her energy and wits come flooding back. Her stomach wound itself in knots when she realised how worried Max had been for her, it had really only been delayed shock which she’d shaken off.

“Yeah but I let you” Max shook his head and sighed again “I shouldn’t have got you into this whole mess, it’s not fair on you”

“Excuse me but you saved my life, twice now. This isn’t your fault or mine or even Michael’s, it’s that prick that was looking for you” Liz told him.

She watched Max’s golden eyes reflecting the turmoil of his thoughts. Liz stepped closer to him and cupped his cheek, making him look at her “don’t do that Max, don’t take all the responsibility onto your own shoulders alright? This isn’t your fault, you’ve done nothing wrong and I certainly don’t blame you for all of this. This whole new world has opened up to me, I’ve had all these questions and all this confusion, but I failed to see the most obvious thing of all, you’re the answer.”

He frowned and began to say something; she placed a finger on his lips and shook her head “Remember what I said about Romeo and Juliet? It doesn’t matter that we could have gotten caught, what matters is that we didn’t.”

“Are you trying to say we’re going to commit suicide?”

She rolled her eyes and pressed closer to him “I’m trying to say this…” she rose up onto her tip toes and softly brushed her lips over his. She drew back slightly to see his face.

He stared down at her lips then her eyes “Liz…” he started, fighting against the incredibly strong pull to just take her into his arms and never let her go.

“Don’t” she shook her head, her eyes dancing “just tell me you don’t want to be more than friends and I’ll walk away”

Max continued to stare down at her trusting eyes and the small smile on her lips, despite wanting to keep her safe from his world, he couldn’t lie to her. He shook his head and slid his arms around her small waist, pulling her as close as possible “are you sure? I mean in the last hour you could have been…” he trailed off not wanting to say the word. He searched her eyes for any small sliver of uncertainty.

She smoothed her hand through his hair and draped her arms around his neck “Max, I’ve never felt so sure in my life.”

TBC
posted on 3-Jan-2003 12:20:03 AM by Phi
Sorry but this won't be the part you want. I've been tossing around idea's in my head and this was the only thing I could write. I'll work on the next part (I promise it'll be dreamer) over my holiday. I'll be back in two weeks, hopefully with one new part, maybe two *wink**tongue*.


Chapter Fourteen

The squawk of seagulls finally dragged Lilly from her warm catatonic dozing. She’d managed to convince her mum an hour ago that her snivelling from hay fever was actually a nasty cold. She’d mumbled it from under her covers when Laura had prodded the swaddled form of her unmoving and unrepentant teenage daughter, she hadn’t bought it for a moment. Lilly could work her self into a foul mood if provoked and since she hardly ever tried to get out of school, Laura put up with the occasional feigned sickness.

Before Liz had left, Lilly had looked forward to walking up the stone steps to be greeted by her small pack of friends who would encompass her in warm hugs. The heady scent of mixed perfumes and shampoos was the one memory that always jumped to mind when she thought of school. They would hug her and show off new pieces of jewellery. Since they had to wear uniforms, jewellery was the only thing they could show off. The more distant of her friends would wander off to greet the stragglers.

She and Tabby, Katie and Liz would walk slowly toward their lockers, arm in arm and greeting acquaintances as they went. Katie would be bubbling about her boyfriend; starry eyed and convinced she was in love. Tabby would twist her multitude of glittery bracelets under her shirtsleeve so they wouldn’t be confiscated and lick a fingertip to try and rub away the ink doodles all over her hands.

As for Liz, she would do what her mother always did; it was unnerving how similar they were. She looked so beautiful without ever trying, like her mother she would simply watch everyone with a sort of acceptance and peace. She seemed to notice every small detail around her. Lilly would be quiet as well, they’d watch the others with affection. In fact, their whole world had always been peaceful; she’d never even heard Liz raise her voice.

Lilly frowned and pushed back her pink and blue duvet and struggled, rather ungracefully, to her feet. Her long mass of chocolate brown curls fell haphazardly over her eyes. She raked her hand through them and stumbled over to her closet, cursing when she felt her toe collide with the leg of her dressing table. Her shoulders slumped as she caught sight of her reflection in the mirror above the table. She looked like hell and she wasn’t really surprised.

Dark circles ringed her eyes and she’d forgotten to take off her eyeliner the night before. Her normally pink tinged skin from the salt air was a colour somewhere between hollandaise sauce and ash. Her normally green tinged eyes looked like grey slate and she looked like she had a permanent grimace on her lips.

The constant nightmarish pictures she’d had the few times she’d let her self doze off, had woken her in cold sweats. Lilly let her eyes flutter closed to try and block out the pathetic image of her former exuberant self. The pain and self pity tugged at the corner of her mind but she pushed it away angrily, if she let herself fall into that… well it was getting harder and harder to pull her self out of it. When she did succumb, it was like sinking into freezing cold black and thick liquid that sucked her under.

She opened her eyes again and turned back to rifle through her closet. She pulled out the first things her fingers touched, grey track pants and the loose pink and grey striped T-shirt. She’d bought them her a few months back when she’d decided on the spur of the moment to start jogging and get into shape. That had never happened but she still liked the top and it looked nice on, it was a shame she didn’t have a single sporty bone in her body.

Taking a wet wipe out of a box on her dressing table, Lilly wiped away the black streaks around her eyes. She attacked her tangled hair and managed to plait it. The house was so quiet when her mother was at work. Lilly rubbed her tired eyes and padded over to open the door.

“Lilly pad?”

She shrieked and jumped back, pressing a hand to her chest.

Laura smiled apologetically. She was sitting at the dining table in a shaft of sunshine from the window, nursing a steaming cup of tea. Laura was fair, unlike her daughter who took after her absentee father who had been half Mediterranean. It had always eaten away at Lilly that she and her mother appeared so completely different. Laura was short and thin, Lilly was tall and curvy. Laura had big wide blue eyes that made her look like a little girl and was only reinforced by her almost white blond hair. She had always looked slim but sitting in that shaft of light, she looked unearthly, ethereal.

A pale blue cashmere blanket was draped around her.

“Sorry sweetie, would you like a cup of tea?” Laura asked standing up and folding the blanket neatly.

“No thank you, why are you home? You don’t have a day off, do you?” Lilly said frowning and venturing further into the room.

“I decided to take one. What do you say we go out today? I was thinking this morning, when was the last time we went out to the common? I remember you always loved going out there with Baloo, you would try and climb a tree and you would get so frustrated when you couldn’t hold him and climb at the same time.” Laura chuckled fondly at the memory.

The mention of her battered old teddy made Lilly smile “I couldn’t understand why Baloo couldn’t climb like the bears in story books.” She shook her head and focused back on her mother “why? We haven’t been out there since I was, like…eight.”

Her mother nodded slowly and looked down at the mug she still held “I just thought it would be nice to go, it’s such a peaceful place.”

Lilly looked away guiltily from the sad little smile on her mum’s face “yeah it is. Sure, I’d love to go, on one condition though”

Laura nodded again, looking a bit confused.

“We get ice cream sundaes with all the trimmings and one of those little paper umbrella’s.” Lilly grinned.

Her mother laughed and shook back her hair “Lilly, you’ve never wanted to grow up have you? Always my little girl.”

Lilly watched her mother go in search of her jacket and felt the smile slip from her mouth, what was with this sudden interest in the past? Sure, she loved the common; she had fond memories of getting all worked up and in a tantrum when Baloo got caught on a branch or if her mother had gone ahead without her. She loved that place, but why was her mother taking a day off work to go there after nine years?

***

“I love the air here,” Laura murmured breathing in a deep lungful of air and letting it out with a satisfied sigh.

“What do you mean? It’s like all the other air we breath.” Lilly wrinkled her nose and looked out over the large grassy area from where they sat on a bench, a cluster of pines framing one side of it.

“Ah Lil, you haven’t been overseas much. Try living in the heart of London, this is blessed compared to a lot of the world.”

Lilly looked at her for a second, assessing her tone, finally she shrugged “whatever.”

“Do you remember the time you and Lizzie saw a water slide advertised on television?” Laura asked suddenly. She smiled and shook her head at the memory “Imogene and I, we just watched your eyes go wide with wonder. The look on both of your faces… It was priceless, well it was until you got it into your heads to make your own.”

“I don’t remember that” Lilly said softly, watching her mothers eyes glaze, lost in the memory.

“I suppose you wouldn’t, you were only about five. Imogene still had the old house she and Jeff had bought; she sold it later that year. Anyway, Liz had a play set in the garden with a slide attached, not a big one but it was still a proper one made from steel. You two got into your bathers while we were making lunch and you got some liquid soap from the bathroom while she figured out how to turn on the hose. I’ll always remember that scream.” She sighed and closed her eyes, wincing. “We ran out to see what had happened, the hose was whipping around on the grass and Lizzie was standing at the top of the slide in her little green swimsuit with her hands over her ears and her eyes closed. You were in a heap at the bottom and the slide was covered with bubbles and blood.”

Lilly stared at her with wide eyes, she’d never heard of this. Her mother opened her eyes again and smiled at her.

“I think my heart must have stopped because for a moment all I could do was stand there in the doorway holding a piece of buttered bread. Then I just ran, you looked so little and so perfect lying like a rag doll, I can still see you there in your pink and white check costume with blood down it. You were only unconscious for about two minutes but I’ve never been so terrified in my life. We later gathered from Liz’s hushed little murmurs that she’d gotten scared and you being you had gone down first on your stomach like you’d seen in the advert.” Laura chuckled and rolled her eyes “at school you took great pride in showing off your war wounds, Liz looked at you like you were a saint and the teacher had to give you lot a lecture on not imitating what you saw on television.”

“I can’t believe I don’t remember that” Lilly frowned.

Laura nodded and once again looked across the grass “you don’t remember your father do you.”

Her breath caught in her throat and Lilly swallowed heavily, her heartbeat speeding up, she was really getting worried about this trip down memory lane “no.”

“That’s my fault I suppose. Paul was an amazing man, he lived life so passionately, he took every challenge as an adventure but I…” she trailed off and shook her head, tears glistening in her crystalline blue eyes “I couldn’t let him stay, he wasn’t someone who could settle. I don’t know what it would have done to him but I knew, I still know that it wouldn’t have made him into a good father for you.”

“Mum…” Lilly started, shaking her head, trying to get her to stop.

“No Lilly, I want you to know, I don’t want you to hate him. He would have stayed; his pride was his one weakness. If you ever need him, or want to know him then I have an address for his half sister in Naples, she might have an address for Paulie.” Laura shrugged looking down at her hands.

“Mum, Mum listen to me. I don’t know him, and I don’t blame you for that; I’ve never wanted to know him. I’ve had the best family any girl could ask for. I’ve had you, Imogene and Liz. I don’t need him now, nor will I ever.” Lilly told her feeling anxiety in the pit of her stomach, how could her mother think she blamed her?

“Don’t say that Lilly, you might need him and I need you to know that if you do, he will help you, like he would have helped me.” Laura said the last part softly.

“But you didn’t need help and neither will I. Can we go back to the car now, I should have bought a jacket, the winds coming up.” It was the most obvious change of subject ever but Lilly didn’t care, anything to get her out of this bizarre conversation.

Laura sighed, sounding like an old lady who had given up hope “how about we stop by at Alison’s café and have scones with spoonfuls of whipped cream and jam?”

Warming to the safe topic, Lilly faked a yawn and chuckled, looping her arm through her mothers “okay I’ll compromise for scones but only if you buy me one of those new flavoured cokes.”

“Honestly Lilly, that stuff will rot…”

“My teeth, yeah I know. I’ll pay for the dentist” Lilly smiled keeping up with her mother as they wandered toward the car. Despite the current playful banter, her unease was slowly eating her up, her mother was hiding something and Lilly was terrified it was what she thought it was.

***

“Ay, Miss Le Tissier? How should I respond to that, B?”

Lilly chuckled into her locker before trying to wipe the smile off her face and turning around. Tabitha Le Tissier could intimidate even the thugs at the grocery store that tried to take a little old ladies hand bag, with a flick of her black and green hair or a perfectly shaped raised eyebrow, they all cringed and slunk away hesitantly touching the scars from times when they hadn’t been so wise. Unfortunately the one person Tabby seemed unable to crumble was a person she saw almost every day. Mr Gabriel was the head English teacher and somehow every year, he had Tabby in his class.

Tabitha’s take on the English language differed to Mr Gabriel’s, she loved to use complicated words but also embraced the slang. I didn’t help that Mr Gabriel still seemed to think he was in the late fifties when girls with green hair extensions, dark makeup and a multitude of gaudy jewellery were simply unheard of. In return, Tabby was hell bent on taking the tweed and pipe from the man. Despite all pretences, there was a wary respect between the two, they just didn’t realise it.

“Gabriel wanting you to do ‘lines’ again?”

Tabby scuffed the toe of her heavy boots covered with glitter pen doodles and stickers against the locker besides Lilly’s “I wish, he wants a written essay on the origins of the English language and get this…by tomorrow!” She rolled her dark green eyes to heaven, the lime green eyeliner making it all the more dramatic. The teachers had given up marching her off to the office to have it removed, the agreement was that she take it all off on open days.

She sighed and then shrugged returning almost instantly to her normal bouncy self “still, he’s slipping. He didn’t give me a minimum of words, come on Heyworth, lets go paint the town red, my personal favourite for a place like this.” She slung an arm across Lilly’s shoulders and waited for her to close her locker.

“Hold it scarlet, I need to go home and change first, you know what mum’s like if I so much as wrinkle this stuff” she grumbled frowning down at her long black and navy kilt.

“I know that speech well, it goes somewhere a long the lines of ‘Tabitha Louise Le Tissier, when you start earning the money around here and doing the washing, then you can mess up that uniform.” Tabby chuckled and leaned her head down on Lilly’s shoulder “you have something I can borrow?”

Lilly nodded and they pushed out the front doors through the jostling crowd lingering on the steps.

“Hey Lil? Have you rung Liz yet?” Tabby asked in the comfortable quiet.

Suddenly it wasn’t so comfortable “uh, no. I haven’t had the time.”

“Pull the other one Lilly, you’re avoiding her, why? You and I both know how much she hates her father, she needs some support at the moment.” Tabby told her lifting her head and dropping her arm.

“I…I will, just not right now.” Lilly replied.

“Lilly, you and Lizzie, you’re like sisters. Whatever you do, don’t let pride or any other twisted excuse come between you. Once you’ve done that, it’s irrevocable and you’ll turn into a bitter old spinster without a friend.” Tabby shook her head and reached up to pull her hair out of a pony tail.

“And here I was thinking that you’re my friend.”

“Yeah but I’ll be one of those cool grandma’s swanning it in Ibiza or marrying rich old men on cruise ships.” Tabby said confidently.

They rounded the corner into Lilly’s street and Tabby paused, sighting a painted blue bollard on the edge of the pavement. She took a running jump over it. Most kids on the Island knew how to do that, it was like leap frog. The bollards were on most water front roads from in the old days when ships would sail in. It was a little awkward in skirts but this was Tabby, she made anything look like a piece of cake.

Lilly smiled and waited for Tabby to tackle the last two before her house. Tabby grinned and did a little bow, holding up a pretend meddle to the sky and kissing it. They ran up the path and Lilly bent down to feel under a bench on the veranda where she hid her key. Nine different wind chimes hung under the eaves of the roof.

The door swung open after a few curses and jiggles of the key. They dropped their bags by the hat stand in side the door and Tabby pulled off her black jumper dumping it unceremoniously on top of her bag.

“You want a drink?” Lilly asked Tabby as she collapsed into a soft floral print armchair.

“Gin on the rocks”

Lilly rolled her eyes “how about chocolate milk?”

“Oooh, chocolate” Tabby squealed jumping back up and following Lilly into the kitchen “hey, where’s your mum?”

“She must not be back yet” Lilly shrugged taking down two glasses from a cupboard.

Tabby wandered back into the lounge. She frowned, spotting something sitting on the otherwise clear table “Lilly pad? I think your mum left a note.”

Handing Tabby her glass, Lilly picked up the piece of paper filled with the black bold print from their computer “Dear Lilly …” she read on silently. By the third line she’d stopped breathing, her glass fell from her hand spilling milk all over the glossy mahogany table. Tendrils of fear seemed to snake up from the wooden floor, encasing Lilly in heart stopping pain, forcing the last of her breath from her lungs. Lilly couldn’t read the rest, the thin sheet of paper fluttered out of her useless fingers, dimly she could hear Tabby’s concerned voice. Suddenly her senses came rushing back to hit her with such force she swayed on her feet. Vaguely with a sort of detached interest, she noticed her hands were trembling and someone was crying, almost keening like they were fighting for breath. With a jolt, she realised it was her.

It felt like her heart had stopped beating then just as quickly it was racing, she turned and ran like the devil was after her, her heart pounded with inconceivable desperation as she raced down the hall flinging open her mothers door. The person who’d been wailing before now screamed, a tortured and horror stricken sound, and Lilly’s world came crashing down around her in a hail of glistening and painful truths.

TBC
posted on 22-Jan-2003 4:50:39 PM by Phi
I'M BACK!!! *big**wink*

My trip got majorly delayed by RL so I only actually got back two days ago. Thankyou so much for all the reviews and the bumps. I almost had a heart attack when I realised that two of you have nominated me on the nomination board. THANKYOU *shy**big* * blush * I certainly don't feel like I deserve it.


Chapter Fifteen


“Miss? Miss, I asked for no salt on my fries”

Liz paused and slowly turned back to the middle aged blond woman in a business suit. A small black cell phone looked like it was surgically attached to her ear “salt Madam?”

“I’m on a strict diet program, this is simply unacceptable.” The woman said, pushing the plate away and turning her nose up.

Biting back the retort, Liz forced a polite smile and took the plate from the woman, taking it over to Michael behind the counter in the kitchen “apparently a sprinkle of salt will make that woman gain a hundred pounds. Can you try and take it off?”

He grunted and grabbed a new plate. He dumped a new pile on it without salt and shoved it over to her without so much as a glance.

Liz took it from him and returned to the woman. Refraining from dumping the greasy fries over her impeccable suit, Liz placed the plate in front of her with a flourish “can I get you anything else madam?”

“No thank you” she replied frostily.

Liz took a deep breath and turned back around, catching sight of Tess grinning at her from behind the milkshake machine. The café was pretty quiet today and Liz had started to get the hang of being a waitress, well she’d at least started to get the hang of not dropping the plates. She eased her self down onto a stool across from Tess “please tell me I can have a break” she pleaded.

Tess nodded and patted Liz’s hand sympathetically “you’re doing real well. Why don’t you stop for today? I’m fine on my own.”

Pressing a hand to her heart, Liz mouthed a silent thankyou and jumped down, heading out to the back room. She took off the silver apron and collapsed back into a couch, wriggling around so that she could lie back. A small smile tugged at her lips as she had found it had done all day.

The night before had been indescribable; she’d never been made to feel as treasured and loved as Max had made her feel last night. He’d held her so close it was like she was wrapped up in him, the world could have stopped and she wouldn’t have noticed.

It was wonderful to finally have admitted that she was in love, of course she hadn’t admitted it to him, it had been hard enough to admit it to her self. She found everything about Max fascinating, the light stubble along his jaw and the way it felt against her hands, the soft taste of his lips and the cute way his hair always fell sort of haphazardly over his forehead.

How long they’d stood there caught up in each other, she wasn’t sure, at the time she was kind of stuck on the fact that she was being kissed by and kissing back the most amazing guy she’d ever met. Unfortunately Michael had gotten bored and knocked lightly on the door, trying to find Max. They’d broken away almost guiltily and Max had glared at the door like he wanted to strangle Michael.

She chuckled and shook her head, staring up at the ceiling. She’d tried to get him to ignore Michael but the self control Max was so well known for, and the control she’d worked so hard to break, had come rushing back. He’d kissed her once more, softly and with finality and told her to sleep. She’d watched him turn to go and couldn’t leave it like that.

“When I wake up in the morning, is this going to have been a dream?”

He’d paused and looked over his shoulder at her, a crooked smile on his lips “is that what you want?”

“No” she’d whispered shaking her head adamantly.

“Then it won’t have been”

Liz sighed and bit down on her lip, she just couldn’t stop smiling. Tess probably thought she was taking happy pills.

After a brief debate, Max and Michael had agreed that they shouldn’t tell the others what had happened at the reservation, at least not until they were certain the man had been a threat.

“Hey Liz?”

With great difficulty she lifted her head to look at the door.

Maria smirked and raised an eyebrow “sleeping on the job.”

“So sue me. How are you Maria?” Liz asked sitting up and giving Maria her full attention.

“Can’t complain, the others are here. Isabel’s trying to inject some fashion sense into Alex, It’s kind of funny.”

Blushing slightly, Liz looked at the door “is Max out there?”

Maria frowned looking from Liz to the café behind her. She came further into the room and let the door swing shut behind her “so both of you have that glow that Tess pointed out. What happened?”

Liz’s blush darkened and she looked down at her hands, still smiling.

“Oh.my.god, you kissed him for real this time!” Maria shrieked bouncing over and sitting down beside Liz eagerly.

“You could say that” Liz agreed avoiding her gaze from Maria.

“So? What was it like?” Maria grinned bouncing her knee.

Liz bit her lip and shrugged finally looking at Maria “I don’t know how to describe it, I don’t think there’s enough words to even begin to.”

Maria sighed dreamily “please try, my life is doomed to bitterness and my mother’s tapes of Oprah. The only hope for me would be Kyle who’s scarily close to being my brother or Michael who’s… an onion.”

“An onion?” Liz giggled

“Yeah, every time you peel off another layer of his personality, you cry even more. Come on, give me details. Was it hot? On a scale of one to ten.”

Liz thought about it for a moment “Definitely ten” she laughed and shook her head.

“Wow” Maria murmured starry eyed “so have you talked to him?”

“I haven’t seen him” Liz shrugged glancing back at the door.

“Well now’s your chance, Romeo’s sitting out there though he’s more interested in looking around for you than Isabel’s little gems of fashion trivia. “ Maria sighed again “god, you’re so lucky!”

“I don’t know if I can go out there” Liz suddenly said, her eyes widening and filling with panic “what if he says it was a mistake? What if he wants to forget it ever happened!”

“Uh huh. What if the sky turned florescent green and Michael Parker owned a suit, cause sweetie that’s about as likely to happen as Max regretting kissing you. Go on, go out there or if you want to talk to him I’ll get him to come in here” Maria offered standing up.

“No…yes, I don’t know. What would you do Maria?” Liz asked desperately, looking up at her friend imploringly.

“Personally I’d go out there and kiss the boy breathless, but hey, that’s just me. You two seriously need to talk, and when I say talk, I mean just talking.” She grinned at the bashful look on Liz’s face “I’m going to get him to come in here.” She clapped her hands together and laughed at Liz’s obvious nervousness “he’s not going to bite, ok? Do you need a moment? Just take some deep breaths and try not to hyperventilate.”

She took a deep breath like Maria had said and squared her shoulders. Liz nodded and watched apprehensively as Maria disappeared back out to the group.

Idly, Liz noticed that she was flicking her nails again; with all the stress in her life at the moment she was going to be breaking nails every other day.

“Liz?”

Her hand froze mid flick and she slowly looked up.

Max smiled, his hands were in his pockets and shoulders were hunched. She couldn’t resist smiling back; he looked so sweet when he was embarrassed.

“I suppose we should talk” she started, not quite sure of what to say.

“Yeah.”

She rolled her eyes “is this going to be one of the conversations where I talk and you take a page out of Michaels book? Because truthfully, Monosyllabic doesn’t suit you. I really need to know whether we are friends that kissed…twice, or are we more than friends…I’m really confused.”

“What do you want?” Max repeated the same question he’d asked her in the early hours of the morning. He was staring at her so closely, Liz shivered.

“Depends on what you want.” She countered.

He sighed and shook his head “this isn’t going to go anywhere if we do this. Every time I see you all I think of is what it would be like to touch your hair or listen to you laugh but at the same time, I don’t want to.” He saw the crestfallen look on her face and quickly realised what she was thinking, “No, Liz that’s not what I meant. I don’t want to be near you because I’m terrified that what happened at the reservation last night could happen again, I could get you hurt or…or worse and I couldn’t live with myself if anything ever happened to you.

You shouldn’t have to be second guessing everyone you talk to or checking if someone’s following you. You deserve to be happy and safe and I can’t ever give you that.” He trailed off and looked away, pain in his eyes.

A soft warm hand on his arm drew his attention back to her “I’m in this now Max, I’m going to be put in danger any way, I already am and the danger has nothing to do with who you are. Ironically, if I hadn’t met you, I would be dead. You saved me Max; you protected me not put me in danger. I haven’t been able to stop smiling all day. I watched my mother die, until I met you, I didn’t think I’d ever feel this happy again.”

She sniffled and wiped away the tears on her cheeks angrily “I told you this girl was going to be writing her own chapter and I meant it, please Max, forget all the other factors for a moment and tell me, because I know what I want.”

He lifted her chin so she looked up at him, his gentle eyes staring into hers, through hers like he could see every thought in her mind. Perhaps he could. He leaned down and gently touched his lips to hers, so softly and carefully it made her heart ache. He drew back but not to far and studied her eyes again “does that help?”

“If you think I’m letting you get away now, you’ve got another thing coming” She grinned, her tears long forgotten.


”…Really Mr Parker, you’re looking for Liz? May I just say that that shirt makes you look at least ten years younger, did Nancy pick it out? She’s always had taste…” Maria’s shrill and overly loud voice came from the doorway.

Liz rolled her eyes and covered Max’s hand on her hip, lacing her fingers through his and tugging him towards the door “hey Maria” she smiled and patted her hand as she slipped out into the Crashdown.

Despite everything she’d told him, Liz wasn’t Naïve. Words weren’t going to be enough. There was some truth to what Max had said; more than she cared to admit. Everything had the potential to be dangerous. Things weren’t always going to be smooth.

The blond woman had vacated her booth and their friends now sat there, Alex looking like a dear caught in head lights as Isabel sat opposite him, gesturing wildly. Kyle was going pink in the face from trying not to laugh. Tess was lingering next to his shoulder and watching avidly as Isabel got her self worked up into an impassioned speech.

Her father was standing next to Maria and staring at Liz almost guiltily; the cordless phone was clenched in one hand. He hadn’t even noticed Maria’s diversionary tactics. A chill crawled down Liz’s neck when he continued to watch her “Jeff?”

Like waking up, he blinked and shook his head “uh Liz it’s…uh, your grandmother and arr… Lilly.”

Reaching out tentatively, she took the phone “Lilly” she repeated without really thinking, something didn’t feel right, her happy mood had fled without her really knowing why. Lilly had finally gotten around to calling; she should be even more ecstatic. For some reason, she really didn’t want to answer the phone.

Hesitantly she lifted it to her ear, her gaze still on the apprehensive look on her fathers face and her hand still clasped in Max’s. She had the attention of all three people around her.

“Hello?”

“Liz? *Sob* Liz? Oh god *Sob* this isn’t happening, she wouldn’t just leave me…”

“Lilly? Lilly calm down, what’s wrong?” Liz frowned, bowing her head and ignoring the increasing number of eyes trained on her.

There was a slight scuffle on the other side of the phone “Liz, is that you?”

“Grandma? What’s going on, was that Lilly? I couldn’t understand a word she said”

“Sorry sweetheart, Lilly wanted to call you as soon as she got here but it took us a while to…” Claudia trailed off and took a deep shaky breath to try and compose her self for her grand daughter’s sake.

The chill that had been creeping down her back like a trickle of rain had now progressed into being a full on ice berg “Grandma, you’re scaring me” Liz whimpered, feeling Maria step closer and Max’s hand tighten on hers.

“Oh honey bear…Tabitha bought Lilly over here an hour ago, the police are still at her house…”

“POLICE? What the hell is going on?” Liz shrieked.

Again there was a short silence before Lilly once again got hold of the phone “She’s disappeared Liz, they think mum killed her self.”

TBC
*big**angel*